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#pounditSunday, August 14, 2022

Baseball

Video: Daniel Vogelbach goes viral for hilarious walk-up song

Daniel Vogelbach using "Milkshake" by Kelis as his walk-up music.

New York Mets DH Daniel Vogelbach has become a fan favorite in recent weeks, and that popularity likely grew during Wednesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Pittsburgh Pirates traded Vogelbach to the Mets in July for pitcher Colin Holderman.

Vogelbach served as the DH and batted fifth during the Mets’ 10-2 win over the Reds on Wednesday, and went viral for his walk-up song choice.

The 29-year-old had five at-bats, and strolled up to the plate with the famous song “Milkshake” by Kelis blaring throughout Citi Field each time.

The image of the 270-pound Vogelbach walking up to that song was a sight to see. Take a look here.

What makes Vogelbach’s decision to choose this song so funny? The song has to do with what makes a woman stand out from others, particularly with her physical appearance. Vogelbach using the song likely shows how willing he is to make fun of and embrace his heavy physique.

There is another reason why Vogelbach went with “Milkshake” as his walk-up song. The Mets celebrated Women’s Day at Citi Field on Wednesday, and multiple players chose songs by female artists to walk out to. Shortstop Fransisco Lindor opted for “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJs, while first baseman Pete Alonso went with “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks.

Vogelbach told reporters that he chose “Milkshake” at the encouragement of his teammates, but that using the song for his walk-up music was just a one-time thing.

The former All-Star has provided a boost to a Mets lineup that was in need of some more production from the DH spot. In 14 games with the team entering Wednesday, Vogelbach was hitting .333 with 13 hits, including two home runs and seven RBI. On Wednesday, Vogelbach went 2-for-5 with three RBI and one run scored.

Dodgers could get unexpected piece back in time for playoffs?

Dave Roberts in a Dodgers hat

Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Robert’s (right) watches batting practice prior to game four of the 2019 NLDS playoff baseball series against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers just had a fairly (and unusually) quiet trade deadline, but they may still be getting a boost for the stretch run regardless.

Injured Dodgers outfielder Kevin Pillar told reporters this week that he is surprisingly ahead of schedule in his recovery from a left shoulder fracture and could return by the end of the regular season.

“Definitely exciting news,” said Pillar, per Jack Harris of the LA Times. “I would definitely call it best case scenario.”

The 32-year-old added that he has been cleared to resume baseball activities and could possibly start playing in minor-league games by Labor Day. Pillar also recently tweeted a video of himself taking swings in the batting cage.

Pillar signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers last offseason but made just 13 plate appearances for the team before getting injured in early June. The team has done just fine in his absence, posting an MLB-best 76-33 record with Cody Bellinger, Trayce Thompson, and sometimes Gavin Lux playing where Pillar usually does. The Dodgers have gotten Chris Taylor back from injury as well and traded for another outfield option in Joey Gallo.

Still, Pillar could make an impact come postseason time as a defensive replacement or as a platoon piece against lefties. That is a great luxury for the Dodgers to have, especially with some other leaks emerging elsewhere on the roster.

MLB investigating Pirates player over cell phone incident

Rodolfo Castro dives into the base

MLB is looking into a Pittsburgh Pirates player after a bizarre incident on Tuesday night.

Rodolfo Castro walked in the fourth inning and was heading to third on Oneil Cruz’s single. He did a head-first dive into third and his phone popped out from his back pocket onto the field.

Umpire Adam Hamari noticed the phone and pointed it out to an embarrassed Castro, who handed it to his third base coach.

Castro drew attention online for the unprecedented brainfart. He made it clear in comments after the game that he had just made an unintentional error.

“I don’t think there’s any professional ballplayer that would ever go out there with any intentions of taking a cellphone,” Castro said through an interpreter after the game. “It’s horrible it happened to me. Obviously, it was very unintentional.”

Ken Rosenthal says MLB is looking into the matter. They will want to know whether Castro made an idiotic mistake, or whether this is part of some sort of technological edge the Pirates are trying to gain.

We’re guessing that Castro’s “idiot defense” will hold up in this case. What an embarrassing mistake.

Tigers fire longtime GM Al Avila amid disappointing season

Al Avila talks to the media

The Detroit Tigers have made a significant change at the top of their organization amid a disappointing season.

The Tigers announced Wednesday that they have fired general manager Al Avila after seven years at the helm. Owner Christopher Ilitch said he would lead the search for a new GM, with assistant GM Sam Menzin taking over the role in the interim.

The Tigers have not posted a winning season since 2016, Avila’s first full season in charge. Since then, the team has torn down its core and embarked on a lengthy rebuild. Detroit spent big on free agents Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez in a bid to take a step forward in 2022, but that has backfired. Baez is hitting just .220 with 10 home runs, while Rodriguez has missed most of the season due to an unexplained personal issue.

Avila took over as GM from Dave Dombrowski in 2015. Prior to that, Avila had been Dombrowski’s assistant general manager since 2002.

After going 77-85 last season, the Tigers have fallen backwards and enter play Wednesday at just 43-68, and their 356 runs scored is the worst mark in the league.

Ronald Acuña Jr scores on incredible slide into home

Ronald Acuna Jr slides into home

Ronald Acuña Jr scored an insurance run for the Atlanta Braves in extra innings on Tuesday night, and he did so with one of the best slides into home plate that you will ever see.

With the Braves and Boston Red Sox tied 7-7 in the top of the 11th, Acuña and Michael Harris II scored on a single to left from third baseman Austin Riley to give Atlanta a 9-7 lead. Harris scored easily, but it looked like Acuña might be thrown out at home. If not for his incredible slide, he probably would have been.

Here’s another angle that shows how Acuña was just barely able to sneak his hand in:

The Braves went on to win 9-7. While they may not have needed that run from Acuña, his slide was still the highlight of the game.

Keith Hernandez draws attention for funny zinger about Phillies

Keith Hernandez explaining why he hates calling Mets games against the Phillies.

Beloved New York Mets color commentator Keith Hernandez drew attention on Tuesday for a funny zinger he delivered about the Philadelphia Phillies.

During the SNY broadcast of Tuesday’s game between the Mets and Cincinnati Reds, play-by-play man Gary Cohen was going through the Mets’ schedule for the next few weeks. Hernandez said that he will miss this weekend’s Phillies series because he will be in St. Louis for a celebration of the 40th anniversary of his 1982 World Series-winning Cardinals team. When Cohen asked him about what his excuse was for next week’s Phillies series, Hernandez took a pretty brutal shot at the Mets’ division rival.

“I’ve expressed to our front office at SNY that I hate doing Phillie games,” Hernandez said. “They never seem to disappoint. As far as fundamentally, defensively, the Phillies have always been just not up to it.”

Credit to Hernandez for coming up with the zinger on the spot.

Hernandez did admit that the Phillies were hot right now. Cohen mentioned that SNY could still try to fit Hernandez in for the series, to which Hernandez replied, “Don’t hold your breath.”

As Hernandez said, the Phillies are on a hot streak at the moment. Entering Tuesday, Philadelphia had won five straight games and was 10-1 in their last 11 games. At 60-48, the Phillies were a game up on the San Diego Padres for the second National League Wild Card spot prior to Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins.

Perhaps the Phillies will use Hernandez’s slight as motivation for their six games against the Mets in the next 12 days. Phillies fans are already all over Hernandez over the remark.

Ex-Red Sox fan favorite lands with rival team

Jackie Bradley Jr pointing

Aug 22, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (19) reacts after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It is not the worst-case scenario (read: the New York Yankees), but Boston Red Sox fans will probably still be disappointed to find out where a former team favorite is headed to.

Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reported Tuesday that ex-Boston outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. has agreed to sign with the rival Blue Jays. Cotillo adds that Bradley will be receiving a major league deal from Toronto.

The 32-year-old Bradley was a well-loved member of the Red Sox for several seasons, best known for his crash-test-dummy defense, his machine blast of an arm, and his postseason heroics. Bradley was an All-Star in 2016, a Gold Glove winner in 2018, and a core part of Boston’s 2018 World Series victory (earning ALCS MVP honors that year).

But in 2022, his second stint with the Red Sox, Bradley was not cutting it. He was hitting .210 with a .578 OPS in 91 games for Boston before getting released earlier this month. Now Bradley heads elsewhere in the AL East division to see if he can deliver better production to a Jays team currently atop the AL Wild Card race. This may also be revenge of sorts for Boston signing away a beloved ex-Toronto player a couple of years ago.

Video: Little Leaguer hits absolute bomb of a home run

Jaron Lancaster swings

A Little League player went viral for an absolute bomb of a home run he hit this week.

Jaron Lancaster is a star player for Hawaii’s Little League team that is playing in the West Region. They were facing Northern California in the second round of a double-elimination tournament on Monday. They won the game 13-3 and got some help from Lancaster’s big bat.

Take a look at this hanging breaking ball he launched for a huge 2-run home run in the fifth.

That was a bomb. He hit that beyond the scoreboard and to the second fence.

The Little League World Series is for 11 and 12-year-olds, though some of the older kids are nearly 13 by now. The good players have long outgrown the majors-size fields that go only 225 feet or so and will soon be playing on fields that measure around 300 feet. It seems like Lancaster is ready for that.

The youngster also happens to be pretty dominant on the mound too:

Hawaii is in the driver’s seat to make the Little League World Series out of the West Region.

Video: Little Leaguer goes viral for heartwarming gesture

Isaiah Jarvis comforting Kaiden Shelton after Shelton hit him in the head with a pitch.

The result of the Southwest Region championship game between Texas East and Oklahoma on Tuesday for a spot in the Little League World Series was overshadowed by a viral and heartwarming moment of sportsmanship.

Oklahoma was batting in the bottom of the first inning down 3-2 with runners on first and second base. Texas East pitcher Kaiden Shelton hit Oklahoma’s Isaiah Jarvis in what looked to be the ear flap of Jarvis’ helmet.

Jarvis fell to the ground clutching his face in his hands in what was a scary moment. When Jarvis got to first base, he noticed Shelton visibly shaken and upset on the mound. After chucking his helmet aside, Jarvis walked to the mound and comforted Shelton with a hug. As Texas East players and their manager came to the mound, Jarvis appeared to provide some words of encouragement to Shelton before heading back to first base.

What an incredible act of sportsmanship from Jarvis.

Texas East won 9-4 to advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., which will take place from August 17-28.

Chris Sale out for season following bicycle accident

Chris Sale pitching

Oct 8, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning in game two of the 2021 ALDS at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Sale has suffered yet another injury, and the latest had nothing to do with baseball. Unfortunately, it will sideline the star pitcher for the remainder of the 2022 season.

The Red Sox announced on Tuesday that Sale had to undergo wrist surgery after injuring himself in a bicycle accident. Sale suffered the injury on Saturday.

Sale had been working his way back from another freak injury, though that one was sustained on the diamond. The left-hander took a line drive off the pitching hand last month that resulted in a fractured pinky.

The finger injury came in the first inning of Sale’s second start of the year. He missed the first three months of the season with a stress fracture in his rib cage. He pitched in just nine games last year due to a shoulder injury and missed all of 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

You simply cannot have worse injury luck. Sale showed how badly he wants to regain his old form when he went ballistic in the clubhouse over a bad rehab outing in the minors (video here). The 33-year-old’s latest comeback will now have to wait until 2023.