It’s understandable if MLB players aren’t quite in the best shape yet in the month of February, but Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig brought that to a whole new level this week.
Puig was scratched from the team’s spring opener against the Chicago White Sox on Friday, and manager Dave Roberts revealed that it was because of a hip injury caused by Puig’s new shoes, per Andy McCullough of the LA Times.
Yasiel Puig was scratched because of “something with the hip” caused by his new shoes, Dave Roberts said.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 23, 2018
The 27-year-old Puig is coming off a resurgent 2017 campaign where he hit .263 with 28 home runs, 74 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases, all three of which were career-highs. It sounds like he may have some work to do over the next several weeks to get back into that form physically though. But hey, those shoes can be dangerous — just ask this fellow National Leaguer.
The San Diego Padres have new t-shirts and a new catchphrase courtesy of Eric Hosmer.
Padres players were treated to “Hot Talent Lava” shirts at spring training, a nod to a somewhat odd analogy used by Hosmer’s agent Scott Boras in his introductory press conference.
The Padres are wearing shirts that say #HotTalentLava on the front and "= Major League Rock" on the back.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) February 23, 2018
— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) February 23, 2018
“I think the organization is a volcano of hot talent lava,” Boras had said of the Padres, via Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “To turn that lava into major league rock, that’s a hard thing to do.”
We have, without a doubt, heard worse metaphors before. Still, Boras has a way with words. If it becomes a rallying cry for the Padres, so be it.
- San Diego Padres
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Nick Williams nailed his Gabe Kapler’s rental car with a home run during batting practice on Tuesday, and the manager loved it.
Kapler had a perfect quote about the matter when talking with reporters:
Nick Williams hit Gabe Kapler's SUV with a batting-practice homer today. “I would trade a Nick Williams home run for a dent in a rental car, any day of the week," Kapler said.
— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) February 20, 2018
What’s funny is that on Wednesday, Williams nearly repeated the trick.
After denting Kapler's car yesterday with a home run, Nick Williams nearly hit it again today during BP. "If he is destroying cars and it happens to be mine, no problem. We're going to make it a bullseye for him." #Phillies
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) February 21, 2018
If this means Williams is in for a big season, Kapler will be game. The 24-year-old outfielder had a nice rookie campaign as he batted .288 with an .811 OPS in 83 games last year. Maybe he’ll be able to improve upon last year’s home run total of 12.
One of the newest members of the San Francisco Giants may need to update some of his equipment accordingly.
Evan Longoria was traded by the Tampa Bay Rays to the Giants over the offseason. Not only is he on a new team, but he also will be wearing the No. 10 since the Giants have the No. 3 retired.
Some eagle-eyed fans noticed though that in his team photos for the Giants, the knob of Longoria’s bat still has the Rays’ logo and Longoria’s old number on it:
Evan Longoria’s bat knob still has his old Tampa Bay logo and number on it for the Giants team pictures pic.twitter.com/KURYaXVLhD
— Bush Leaguer (@BushLeague101) February 22, 2018
That shouldn’t be anything a new sticker couldn’t fix.
Longoria is looking to bounce back from a down 2017. He batted .261 with just a .424 slugging percentage and a .737 OPS. The latter two marks were the second-worst of his career.
- Evan Longoria
Former MLB pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver had some fun roasting themselves via Twitter on Wednesday.
The Athletic reporter Pedro Moura tweeted that Dodgers pitcher plans to pitch out of the stretch this season rather than use a windup when nobody is on base.
Alex Wood intends to pitch out of the stretch throughout 2018. He said he had an epiphany to scrap his delivery in September, watching Stephen Strasbourg pitch against the Dodgers.
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) February 21, 2018
Naturally, that led to a hilarious joke from Haren.
I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice https://t.co/13bDxVOzsF
— dan haren (@ithrow88) February 21, 2018
Then Jered Weaver chimed in:
Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways
— Jered Weaver (@Weave1036) February 21, 2018
When a fan commented that they remembered Weaver for his time with the Padres — he had a 7.44 ERA in nine starts — the pitcher had a nice retort.
Atleast you didn’t have to live them
— Jered Weaver (@Weave1036) February 21, 2018
The pitchers may be clowning on themselves — and the jokes are solid — but let’s not forget that they each made three All-Star teams. While the end of their respective careers may have been rough, both were very good pitchers. Weaver was a top-five finisher in Cy Young voting three times. That should not be forgotten, despite the jokes.
While his value derives primarily from his power, Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano may be getting a little bit too hefty for the team’s liking.
Twins general manager Thad Levine revealed this week that Sano arrived at camp overweight. The term Levine used to describe the 24-year-old was that he brought in a “generous carriage,” per Phil Miller of the Star Tribune.
Sano is coming off a career-best year where he hit .264/.352/.507 with 28 home runs and 77 RBIs. He was also selected to his first All-Star team.
In fairness, Sano did undergo surgery in November for a stress reaction in his left shin, which may partially explain his poor conditioning. Nevertheless, it has been a tumultuous offseason for Sano for multiple reasons, and now he only has about a month to get back into shape before the 2018 season starts.
- Miguel Sano
Major League Baseball has been searching for ways in recent years to improve pace of play and inject more drama into games, but one idea that an MLB executive floated this week seems downright preposterous.
During Tuesday’s edition of “The Rich Eisen Show,” Eisen revealed that he was told by an MLB executive that one idea that has been proposed to make baseball more exciting is to allow the trailing team to send any three batters it wants to the plate in the ninth inning.
There's an idea being floated in MLB of a manager being allowed to bat whoever he wants when trailing in the 9th.
MLB exec: "No other sport has the best players sitting on the bench in the final minutes of a game. Imagine LeBron, Brady, Renaldo watching from the sidelines" https://t.co/JGts5naG4U
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) February 21, 2018
Here’s the full video where Eisen explains the details behind the seemingly ludicrous proposal:
One #MLB executive told @richeisen about an idea to improve excitement in the game by allowing managers to put anyone up to bat in the 9th inning if trailing. Good idea or crazy? pic.twitter.com/IgM6Zrofer
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) February 20, 2018
Imagine the Yankees being able to send Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton to the plate anytime they were trailing in the 9th inning? While the idea might excite some casual fans, you’re talking about changing the entire landscape of the game.
As one of Eisen’s colleagues mentioned, what happens if a pitcher has a perfect game going? Should he be penalized for mowing through an entire opposing lineup for eight innings and only leaving himself the seventh, eighth and ninth hitters to retire in order to finish off the feat?
If you thought the new rules regarding mound visits were crazy, we apparently ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Chances are, the 9th inning thing will never happen.