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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Baseball

Yasiel Puig scratched from spring training game with injury caused by new shoes

Yasiel Puig

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.

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.

Padres wear funny shirts at spring training courtesy of Eric Hosmer

Padres logo

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.

“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.

Phillies manager has great quote about Nick Williams hitting his car with homer

Phillies logo

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:

What’s funny is that on Wednesday, Williams nearly repeated the trick.

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.

New Giants 3B Evan Longoria needs to update his bat

Evan Longoria

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:

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.

Ex-MLB pitchers Dan Haren, Jered Weaver hilariously roast themselves

Jered Weaver stare

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.

Naturally, that led to a hilarious joke from Haren.

Then Jered Weaver chimed in:

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.

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.

Twins’ Miguel Sano reported to camp overweight

Miguel Sano

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.

Report: MLB floating idea of letting trailing team bat anyone they want in 9th

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.

Here’s the full video where Eisen explains the details behind the seemingly ludicrous proposal:

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.

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