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#pounditWednesday, August 10, 2022

Baseball

Video: Max Fried smacks his head on ground after making throw

Max Fried on the ground

Max Fried gave Atlanta Braves fans a scare on Saturday night when he faceplanted into the turf at Citi Field.

Fried was pitching for the Braves against the Mets, and New York had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the third. Darin Ruf hit a grounder to first baseman Matt Olson, who threw to second in hopes of a 3-6-1 double play. They got the force at second, but they weren’t able to turn the double play at first due to a bounced throw.

Fried went to get the errant throw and tried to pick it up and throw to home, but he faceplanted in the process.

Here is the full play:

And here you can see how Fried hit his head on the ground:

Fried stayed in the game, though the Mets scored two runs on the play to go up 3-0. The southpaw got the next batter out to end the inning and also went 1-2-3 in the fourth.

Rays could get key pitcher back ahead of schedule?

Tyler Glasnow throwing a pitch

Oct 20, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow (20) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1st inning of game one of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays could be in line for a significant boost ahead of the postseason with the health of a key pitcher.

Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder revealed that right-hander Tyler Glasnow is “fully healthy” roughly a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and has been throwing 99 MPH in his rehab. Snyder added that the chances of Glasnow returning in 2022 were “not zero.”

Glasnow opted for surgery about a year ago, and the initial prognosis was that he could be out until 2023. That may still be the case, but it is hugely encouraging that he might pitch this season at all. If the Rays do decide to use him, they may be cautious with the 28-year-old and use him out of the bullpen or in limited duty.

Glasnow appeared to be in the midst of a breakout season in 2021 before he got hurt. Through 14 starts, he was 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 88 innings.

Shohei Ohtani sums up Angels’ difficult season

Shohei Ohtani smiles

Jul 19, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; American League pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) of the Los Angeles Angels smiles at fans before the 2022 MLB All Star Game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Things have not gone according to plan for the Los Angeles Angels this season. They are 45-61, in fourth place in the AL West and 24 games out of first place. That’s a miserable place to be, admits superstar Shohei Ohtani.

“Remaining motivated in that way is hard,” Ohtani told the Los Angeles Times following a 3-1 loss to the A’s earlier this week.

Ohtani hurled 5.2 inning of two-run ball, but it wasn’t enough for the Angels. Their bats couldn’t get going and Ohtani himself went 0-for-3.

“Individually, there are many things I have to do,” he said. “But my life in baseball will continue for some time and whatever the circumstances, I’d like to be focused each and every game.”

Since those comments were made, the Angels have gone 1-1 including an 8-7 loss to Oakland in which they connected for seven solo home runs. They were barely able to escape the Marines on Friday night, rebounding in the 10th inning after blowing a 4-0 lead in the ninth.

Things are not likely to get any easier for Los Angeles, either. They traded away starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, closer Raisel Iglesias and outfielder Brandon Marsh at the deadline.

“I’m cheering from the bottom of my heart for the players who left,” Ohtani added. “I’d like them to be part of good teams, get results and do their best in the postseason.”

The postseason is where Ohtani would love to be, but he recognizes that’s not likely to happen. That reality puts a strain on the day-to-day.

“As a player, it’s pretty tough knowing the chances are low that a win will play a part in getting you to the postseason. But I think I’d like to do what I have to do the best I can,” he said.

The remainder of the season is certain to be a grind for Ohtani and his Angels teammates.

Video: Dodgers prospect absolutely obliterates home run

James Outman swings

James Outman had an undeniably impressive first stint in the majors. He collected six hits in 13 at-bats, including two doubles, a home run and three RBI. He reached safety in all four games he started, but the Los Angeles Dodgers ultimately optioned him back to Triple-A following the return of Chris Taylor.

Returning to the minors did little to cool Outman off.

In his first at-bat back in the minors, the Oklahoma City Dodgers outfielder obliterated just the third pitch he saw. And when we say “obliterated,” we very much mean “obliterated.”

The ball came off Outman’s bat at 107.5 MPH and traveled an estimated 441 feet. Blake Harris of ESPN joked that it actually went 583 feet, which would have made it the longest recorded home run in history.

Whatever the distance, it was an absolute bomb — something the Dodgers have come to expect from Outman.

The 25-year-old Outman, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2018 MLB Draft, is rapidly developing into one of the Dodgers’ top prospects. He clearly has a bright future and if he keeps hitting bombs like that, he’ll find his way back to the big leagues in no time flat.

Freddie Freeman bobblehead doll has the whitest teeth imaginable

A Freddie Freeman bobblehead doll

Freedie Freeman has a set of pristine pearly whites in his mouth, but the Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman has been upstaged by his own bobblehead doll in the teeth department.

The Dodgers are holding a Freeman bobblehead giveaway night on Wednesday, Aug. 10, and they have been promoting the event quite a bit lately. Those who have seen the ads for the Freeman bobblehead promotion online or on TV likely noticed something with the doll: it has incredibly white teeth.

Take a look:

Did they paint those teeth with some white out? Goodness.

Even when promoting the bobblehead through an ad during Friday night’s Dodgers-Padres game, Dodgers analyst Orel Hershiser couldn’t help but make note of the white teeth. Freddie himself has gone viral in the past for his perfect teeth. Next up it will be his bobblehead doll’s teeth getting all the attention.

Video: Mets broadcast goes ‘Kill Bill’ after hit-by-pitch

Buck Showalter unhappy

The New York Mets have been among the teams in MLB hit by the most pitches this season, and another hit-by-pitch during Friday’s 9-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves provided an opportunity for the Mets broadcast to break out a new special effect.

With the Braves up 8-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning and one out, Atlanta starter Ian Anderson threw a pitch that just missed hitting Pete Alonso in the face. After Alonso got up from the ground, the SNY broadcast switched to a close-up of Mets manager Buck Showalter glaring out from the dugout.

While Showalter was on camera, the screen went red and slowly zoomed in on the manager’s face as the infamous Ironside Siren sound from the movies “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” and “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” played for close to 10 seconds. The siren was sampled from the intro to Quincy Jones’ theme song for the 1967 film “Ironside.”

In the two “Kill Bill” movies, the siren is played whenever Uma Thurman’s character, “the Bride,” sees someone who has wronged her. The siren indicates that there will be trouble ahead.

Thurman’s character would takes matters into her own hands in a violent manner, but Showalter and the Mets have not often retaliated.

SNY may have been playing off of Showalter’s probable frustration with the number of his players who have been hit this season. The Mets led the majors entering Friday with 70 hit-by-pitches, five more than the second-place Cincinnati Reds.

While Alonso was fortunate that the ball just missed him on Friday, he was hit in the face during Opening Day on April 7 against the Washington Nationals. The following day, Mets shortstop Fransisco Lindor was also hit in the face. That scary hit-by-pitch resulted in a wild brawl (see video here).

Miguel Cabrera addresses whether he will retire

Miguel Cabrera in the dugout

Mar 30, 2022; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) looks on from the dugout in the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training at BayCare Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers legend Miguel Cabrera has one year left on his current contract after this season and reportedly intends to play it out.

According to Chris McCosky of The Detroit News, Cabrera told McCosky directly that he does not plan on retiring after the 2022 season.

Cabrera said that he wants to finish out his contract and retire after next season.

On Thursday, Cabrera indicated to reporters that he was unsure about whether he would play after 2022 due to health reasons. The 39-year-old said that he has not been feeling well but is still trying to get out on the field and play.

While Cabrera has been worn down by knee injuries as he has gotten older, his career has been among the all-time best for a right-handed hitter. The 12-time All-Star has four batting titles and a Triple Crown. Cabrera has the 25th-most hits in MLB history (3,074) and the 27th most home runs (506). While he is hitting .268 this season, he had just four homers and a .332 slugging percentage entering Friday. Those power numbers are a drastic decrease from his prime.

In 2023, Cabrera is highly unlikely to produce at a level that warrants the $32 million payday he will receive. But his presence will provide fans in Detroit and around the country a chance to bid farewell to a likely future Hall of Famer.

Report: 2 NL teams named potential suitors for Shohei Ohtani in 2024

Shohei Ohtani smiles

Jul 19, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; American League pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) of the Los Angeles Angels smiles at fans before the 2022 MLB All Star Game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels did not end up trading Shohei Ohtani this season, but they may lose the star to one of a few nearby teams if he hits free agency in 2024.

The Athletic’s Jayson Stark spoke to some front office executives around MLB about what teams could vie for Ohtani if the reigning American League MVP makes it to free agency.

One of the executives told Stark that he believes Ohtani will opt to stay on the West Coast, and listed both the San Fransisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers as possible landing spots for the 28-year-old.

“My first instinct is to say Dodgers or Giants,” the unnamed executive told Stark. “But I actually don’t think he would go to the Dodgers just because it would look like he’s sticking it to the Angels. I could see him going to Seattle. But West Coast. That’s my guess.”

The Angels had been listening to offers on Ohtani prior to the August 2 trade deadline, but owner Arte Moreno was unwilling to give the go-ahead on a trade for one reason.

With the Angels at 44-61 entering Friday and an extreme long-shot to make the postseason, Ohtani figures to be one of the top draws for the fanbase the rest of the season. He is once again in contention for the A.L. MVP, hitting .258 with 24 home runs and 64 RBI. On the mound, Ohtani has a 2.83 ERA in 105 innings with 152 strikeouts and 24 walks.

H/T NBC Sports Bay Area

Zack Greinke sent Whit Merrifield cool text message after trade

Zack Greinke at a press conference

Oct 11, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) speaks to the media before the Houston Astros and New York Yankees work out at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Greinke is known for being a man of few words. But when he speaks, his words carry meaning. And he apparently had a nice message for Whit Merrifield recently.

Merrifield was traded from the Royals to the Toronto Blue Jays ahead of Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Merrifield is a two-time All-Star and career .286 hitter. But this season, his numbers have been bad. His .242 batting average and .645 OPS are career-low marks.

Merrifield told reporters that upon being traded, he received a text message from Greinke of a tweet. He didn’t know what to make of it until seeing his former Royals teammate later that day.

“That was it. There was nothing else but the Tweet. And so, I saw him later on that day, and I was like, ‘Zach, I got your Tweet. What’s up?’” Merrifield said, via Sportsnet. “And he goes, ‘Yeah, man, I just want to let you know that you’re a good player. Even though sometimes the numbers might not show it.’”

That’s a pretty nice message from Greinke.

What the pitcher wanted to convey is indeed true. Merrifield’s expected numbers are much higher than his actual stats for this season, indicating the versatile player is enduring some bad luck.

Merrifield’s luck is turning too. In July, he batted .286 with an .826 OPS — numbers much more in line with his career stats. The Jays are banking that Greinke is right and that Merrifield’s stats don’t reflect the player the 33-year-old is.

Dodgers manager gives update on Clayton Kershaw’s status

Clayton Kershaw in the dugout

Mar 4, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) looks on prior to a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts gave an update Friday on the status of pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw left Thursday’s win over the San Francisco Giants after feeling tightness in his back while warming up ahead of the fifth inning. The three-time Cy Young Award winner said he felt something lock up.

“Just felt something kind of lock up there in the fifth and couldn’t really throw after that,” Kershaw said. “Something in my back again.”

Roberts joined MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM Friday and said that he’s not too concerned long term.

“I just can’t see it not being an IL situation. But I am optimistic in the sense that it shouldn’t be too long term of being down,” Roberts said.

Kershaw missed time earlier this season with a hip/back issue. He has dealt with back problems throughout his career.

The Dodgers have gone 12-3 since the All-Star break and have the best record in MLB. They have plenty of depth, but the absence of Kershaw could help the emerging Padres help close the gap in the NL West.