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#pounditMonday, October 3, 2022


Tony La Russa done with White Sox?

Tony La Russa looking on

Aug 22, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa (22) looks on during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tony La Russa will not return to the Chicago White Sox this season as he deals with health issues, and it sounds like he has managed his last game for the team.

The White Sox on Saturday announced that La Russa has been instructed by doctors to remain away from the team through the end of the season. The 77-year-old has not managed since Aug. 30 due to his health issues, which are related to his heart. Bench coach Miguel Cairo has taken over in the interim.

Rumors have been swirling this week that La Russa will not be back in 2023. Dan Berstein of 670 The Score said he was told that is true and that La Russa will not be involved with the White Sox next season in any capacity.

La Russa managed the White Sox to a 63-65 record this season. They have played about the same under Cairo and entered Wednesday with a record of 76-78. Chicago has lost seven straight games.

The White Sox went 93-69 last season under La Russa, who is in his second stint as the team’s manager. They won the AL Central and then lost to the Houston Astros in the ALDS.

Video: Tony Kemp makes ridiculous flying catch against Angels

Tony Kemp catches a ball

Tony Kemp made a flying catch on Tuesday night that is worthy of your attention.

Livan Soto was batting with a runner on second and one out in the bottom of the eighth with his Los Angeles Angels leading the Oakland A’s 4-3. Soto flared a ball to shallow right. Kemp, who had just entered the game as a defensive replacement, chased after the ball and made a leaping catch.

That was amazing. Kemp caught so much air on that play. He looked like an expert the way he tucked and rolled as he hit the ground. That was so smooth. He even threw the ball back to the infield to try and get Jo Adell out at second with the double play.

Plays like that are nothing new for Kemp, who made a ridiculous play in May.

Umpire calls out Bo Bichette on bases for idiotic reason

Bo Bichette on the base

Bo Bichette played a very forgettable game for the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night, and the umpires did him no favors by making a dumb call.

In the top of the fifth inning, Bichette made bad plays in the field two batters apart. His mistakes helped the Yankees score a run to go up 3-1. He tried to redeem himself at the plate in the bottom of the sixth, but that’s when the bad call came.

Bichette was batting with a runner on first and one out with his team down 5-1. Bichette lined a ball into right-center for what should have been a double. But Isiah Kiner-Falefa held his tag on Bichette at second after the Jays infielder slid in safely. Second base umpire Tripp Gibson said that Bichette came off the bag at some point and called him out.

That’s about as stupid of a reason to call someone out as it gets. Outs called for plays like that make no sense to me and should not be counted. That is so far from the spirit of the game. Why are we calling someone out who just slid into the bag for standing up and supposedly losing contact with the bag for a millisecond as he stood up? Bichette was trying to maintain contact the entire time and effectively did.

Umpires calling players out for that only encourages fielders to try and pull stuff like that. It completely detracts from the game and serves no benefit.

Bichette’s other errors were completely inexcusable. He misplayed a popup by Anthony Rizzo in the top of the fifth when he should have let his outfielders take the ball.

Two batters later, Bichette committed a throwing error.

The Yankees won the game 5-2 to clinch the AL East. Everything — including the calls — went their way.

Barry Bonds has surprising admission about Hall of Fame

Barry Bonds in a suit

Jul 8, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants former outfielder Barry Bonds looks on prior to a game against the Miami Marlins at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Barry Bonds offered an interesting comment about the Hall of Fame during a recent TV appearance.

Bonds was a guest during Sunday night’s “KayRod Cast,” which is an ESPN alternative broadcast for “Sunday Night Baseball” featuring Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay. A-Rod and Kay were joined by Bonds for an interview.

In the interview, Bonds was asked if he is still hoping to make it into the Hall of Fame. Both Bonds and Roger Clemens failed to make the Hall of Fame during their first 10 years of eligibility on the ballot. They will now go to the Today’s Game committee for evaluation.

Bonds admitted that he still dreams of making it into Cooperstown.

“To me, the only candid answer I can give you is that that dream is not over,” Bonds said on ESPN. “That’s it. One phase of it has passed, but the dream of the Hall of Fame for us is not over.”

Some people have taken a different approach regarding their Hall of Fame denial. Clemens downplayed how much the Hall of Fame means to him. Curt Schilling has tried to get himself removed from the ballot entirely. But Bonds is taking the opposite approach.

Bonds isn’t being shy about his feelings and making himself vulnerable. The man hit a record 762 home runs. But anyone who has definitively used performance-enhancing drugs has not been admitted to the Hall of Fame. That’s bad news for the future prospects of Bonds, Clemens and Rodriguez.

H/T NBC Bay Area

Ex-Yankee’s old prediction about Aaron Judge goes viral

Aaron Judge running

Aug 23, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (99) runs to first base after hitting a single against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

One former New York Yankee is looking like Miss Cleo right about now.

Retired six-time All-Star slugger Jose Canseco took to Twitter on Sept. 13 with a prediction. His prediction read, “There is a simple reason why [Aaron] Judge will hit exactly 60 hrs this year.”

Canseco, who played for the Yankees during the 2000 season, did not give any further details as to what the “simple reason” was. But his prediction was made when the history-chasing Yankees slugger Judge was at 55 home runs on the year. Judge then proceeded to hit five home runs over the next week to bring himself to 60, the exact number that Canseco mentioned.

However, Judge, who needs one more homer to tie Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a single season, now finds himself mired in a mini-slump of sorts. Judge is now homerless over his last six straight games (spanning 26 total plate appearances) with only nine games remaining in the regular season to either tie or surpass Maris.

Judge will most likely still homer again before the season is over. But it begs the question of what Canseco knew when he sent that tweet (as well as what his reason was for why Judge would hit exactly 60). Did Canseco think that Judge would succumb to the pressure of making history? Or was it simply that pitchers would stop giving Judge anything good to hit down the stretch?

In any case, Canseco has not tweeted again since posting his clairvoyant message. But it is worth noting that Canseco actually made a stunningly correct prediction about another Yankees figure just a little while ago.

Marlins reach decision on Don Mattingly’s future

Don Mattingly smiles on the field

Apr 11, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly reacts before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Don Mattingly’s seventh season as manager of the Miami Marlins will be his sixth losing one with the club, and it will also be his last.

Mattingly and the Marlins have reached a mutual agreement that the manager will not return next season, Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reports. Mattingly’s contract is set to expire, and he informed players and staff on Sunday that he will not be back in 2023.

The outcome is hardly a surprise. The Marlins entered Sunday with a record of 63-89 and have been nowhere near contention. Their only winning season under Mattingly came when they finished 31-29 in the pandemic-shortened season back in 2020. Miami also had some clubhouse issues this year, which probably did Mattingly no favors in terms of job security.

Mattingly is the longest-tenured manager in Marlins history. He made just one playoff appearance with the team in 2020, but they were swept by the Atlanta Braves. The 61-year-old enjoyed much more success managing the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2011-15, winning three straight N.L. West division titles and amassing a 446-363 record.

Fans had the same complaint about ESPN while watching Texas game

Texas Tech faces Texas

Fans watching Saturday’s game between Texas and Texas Tech had the same complaint just as things were getting underway.

ESPN was airing the game, but they also wanted to keep fans updated on Aaron Judge’s pursuit of 61 home runs this season. When Judge came to the plate in the New York Yankees’ 7-5 win over the Boston Red Sox, ESPN cut in so sports fans could be able to watch in case the slugger went deep.

However, ESPN’s exact timing could have used work.

ESPN’s cut-in during the bottom of the 7th inning occurred mid-play as Texas Tech was looking to throw a pass.

You think they could have just waited until after the pass play to do the cut-in. That’s how many fans felt. Many fans also probably felt that if they wanted to watch Judge rather than football, they would have put on the Yankees game.

Cutting in so fans could see the at-bat is fine … just wait until after the football play ends before doing it.

Twins make decision on manager Rocco Baldelli’s future

Rocco Baldelli in his Twins uniform

Aug 10, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli walks to the dugout in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli is about to be going … absolutely nowhere.

Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey spoke with reporters this week and said that the team has no plans of making a managerial change. Falvey also indicated that Baldelli will be staying on for the 2023 season and beyond.

“Rocco’s our manager,” said Falvey, according to MLB Trade Rumors. “He’s my partner in this all the way through. Rocco’s a big part of our future. Not just next year, but beyond.”

Baldelli, still only 40, is in his fourth season at the helm in Minnesota after being hired in late 2018 by the Falvey-led regime. Baldelli’s achievements with the Twins include being named AL Manager of the Year in 2019 and leading Minnesota to two AL Central titles (including a 101-win season).

But the Twins have had markedly less success under Baldelli during the last couple of seasons. They went 73-89 last season (last in the division) and are currently 73-78 this year (all but eliminated from the playoffs at 9.5 games back of the last Wild Card spot). But the team still has plenty of confidence in Baldelli and will be hoping for less bad luck in the coming seasons.

White Sox announce news on Tony La Russa’s future

Tony La Russa looking on

Aug 22, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa (22) looks on during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago White Sox on Saturday announced some news regarding Tony La Russa.

The White Sox said that La Russa will not return as the team’s manager this season. Miguel Cairo will continue in the acting manager role.

“After undergoing additional testing and medical procedures over the past week, doctors for Tony La Russa have directed him to not return as manager of the Chicago White Sox for the remainder of the 2022 season,” the statement said.

“Bench coach Miguel Cairo will continue to serve as acting White Sox manager through the remainder of the 2022 season.”

La Russa has not managed the White Sox since August 30 due to his medical issues, which are related to his heart. The team was 63-65 when the 77-year-old last managed them. They have played slightly better under Cairo and were 76-75 after Friday night’s loss to the Tigers. The White Sox have lost four in a row.

Luis Castillo agrees to huge contract extension with Mariners

Luis Castillo smiling

Aug 21, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Luis Castillo (21) smiles as a call is reviewed during the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners made a big move to acquire pitcher Luis Castillo at the trade deadline. On Saturday, they agreed to an arguably bigger move to keep him long-term.

Castillo has agreed to a five-year, $108 million contract extension with the Mariners, as first reported by Jeff Passan of ESPN. The deal also includes a vesting option for a sixth year.

Castillo would have been eligible for his final year of arbitration this winter, and would have been able to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2023 season. Instead, he is committing to the Mariners through at least the 2027 season, setting up the 29-year-old as a mainstay in the Seattle rotation for years to come.

Though he has flown under the radar, Castillo has emerged as one of the better pitchers in the game. Since being traded to the Mariners, he has posted a 2.83 ERA in nine starts, striking out 64 batters in 54 innings of work. Some of the game’s most prominent franchises were interested in trading for him when the Cincinnati Reds made him available this year, so this certainly looks like a great move from Seattle’s perspective.