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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Baseball

Jacob deGrom may not need MRI on elbow

Jacob deGrom

The prognosis on New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom may be a bit better than previously thought.

deGrom was spotted playing catch in the outfield on Saturday despite an elbow that was bothering him the day before. He was previously set for an MRI, but according to manager Mickey Callaway, that may no longer even be necessary.

Anytime you hear about a pitcher going in for an MRI after experiencing elbow soreness, as we did Friday, you tend to worry about the worst. However, it simply doesn’t appear that deGrom’s elbow issues are that serious, and that’s great news for both the Mets and their prize arm.

Angels’ Justin Bour embarrassed by ‘Little League’ mistake

Justin Bour

Justin Bour has now been a part of two of the stranger baserunning plays in MLB this season, though his latest reflected poorly upon him and left him embarrassed.

Bour was batting with one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the 8th inning Friday night with his Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners tied at one. He popped up an 0-2 pitch to second base. Runner Brian Goodwin was moving on the play and didn’t see what happened, so he started to run back to first after nearly reaching second. More importantly, Bour did not run to first, possibly because he a) thought the ball was going to be caught or b) thought he was out on the infield fly rule.

The Mariners dropped the ball intentionally and got a double play to end the inning.

The infield fly rule is not invoked unless there are at least runners on first and second, so if that’s what he was thinking, it was a poor assumption. Not running out the play is what really cost the team, because the Angels at least would have had a runner on base had he done so.

That’s why Bour called his mistake “embarrassing” and said there was no excuse.

Angels manager Brad Ausmus called it a lesson you learn in “Little League”.

As bad as that play was, credit must also be given to Dee Gordon for orchestrating the entire thing. The Mariners second baseman demonstrated incredible Baseball IQ by realizing Bour wasn’t running and that Goodwin was heading back to first. Sensing an opportunity, he told teammate Ryon Healy repeatedly to drop the ball, then instructed Healy to throw to second and then to first for the double play.

As for Bour’s other wacky play on the bases, that came last weekend against the Cubs.

Yankees reliever has funny comment about quirky uniform matchup

Adam Ottavino Terrence Gore

Adam Ottavino and Terrance Gore combined to make uniform history on Friday night.

When Ottavino and Gore faced off against each other in the top of the seventh inning of Friday’s New York Yankees-Kansas City Royals game, it marked the first matchup in MLB history between two players wearing jersey number zero.

Ottavino was asked about the quirk after the game and gave a funny comment, saying it was “two guys with a stupid number.”

Gore has worn number zero for his entire time with the Royals, which spanned two stints (2014-2017, 2019). He wore No. 1 with the Cubs last season. Ottavino has worn four numbers during his career, with zero being his uniform of choice since 2013, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

As for the matchup, score a win for Ottavino, who struck out Gore and was credited with his third hold of the season in the Yankees’ 6-2 win.

Miami Marlins have already fired their hitting coach

Miami Marlins

The struggling Miami Marlins have already made a change to their coaching staff.

The team announced on Friday that they have fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo and promoted Jeff Livesey to the interim role.

The news ironically came out after the Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 on Friday for their fifth win of the season.

Miami making the change is not surprising. They are last in the league in runs scored and have a .607 team OPS, which ranks among the worst in the league. Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill explained the move, saying simply that they were an easy offense to face and weren’t making adjustments.

Changing hitting coaches might help the team, but what would really help is not trading away MVPs like Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton and All-Stars JT Realmuto and Marcell Ozuna.

Fernando Tatis Jr in excellent company after latest home run

Fernando Tatis Jr

Fernando Tatis Jr has joined some excellent company following his latest home run.

Tatis homered in the bottom of the third inning of Friday’s San Diego Padres-Cincinnati Reds game to tie things at one. The home run was the sixth of the season for Tatis, who is a rookie.

The 20-year-old shortstop now has six home runs in his first 20 career games. That puts him towards the top of a list for most home runs in the first 20 career games by a player under age 21.

Devers is in his third MLB season and has dropped off significantly since his hot start, though he has shown some promise. Swoboda had a nine-year career but never made an All-Star team. However, the two other players on the list — Cepeda and Robinson — are Hall of Famers.

We’re guessing Tatis, who has been widely viewed as one of the top prospects in baseball, will end up with a career closer to Cepeda and Robinson than Devers and Swoboda.

Batting .300 with a .973 OPS this season, Tatis is off to a great start.

Watch: Shohei Ohtani launches 458-foot home run in batting practice

Shohei Ohtani

The Shohei Ohtani show is back!

Ohtani took batting practice on the field with his teammates for the first time all year, and he showed that his power stroke has not left.

The Japanese star launched a 458-foot home run to the rock formation beyond center field at Angel Stadium that was measured at 109 mph off the bat, according to The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya.

Ohtani has emphasized throughout his time speaking with reporters during his recovery that his power and pop have been great. He already is showing that.

Not only is Ohtani progressing as a batter, but he’s also doing so as a pitcher. He progressed to throwing from 90 feet on Friday.

Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1 and will miss the 2019 season as a pitcher. He’s expected to return as a DH for the Angels next month.

Jacob deGrom returning to New York for MRI on elbow

Jacob deGrom

It may end up being nothing serious, but the New York Mets are a little bit worried about their ace pitcher.

Mets manager Mickey Callaway announced Friday that pitcher Jacob deGrom is returning to New York for an MRI on his elbow, which was characterized as “barking” after playing catch.

deGrom simply has not looked like himself in his last two starts. The Minnesota Twins hit three home runs off him while putting up six runs in four innings, followed by the Atlanta Braves putting up three runs in five innings with two home runs of their own.

deGrom signed a big new contract just before the start of the season. They’ll be desperately hoping this is a minor thing and not the sign of something more serious.