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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Baseball

Report: Padres planning to promote three top prospects

Padres logo

The future is now for the San Diego Padres.

The Padres officially called up infielder Luis Urias on Saturday, and according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, top pitching prospects Adrian Morejon and Michel Baez are set to follow imminently.

Urias was the team’s No. 3 prospect at the start of the season, according to MLB.com. Morejon, a left-hander, and Baez, a right-hander, ranked No. 7 and No. 8.

There are a few possible reasons for these moves. The Padres are 4.5 games out of a wild card spot, which could be a motivating factor. However, the Padres have also been linked to some major trade chips, and some of these prospects would probably be discussed as part of a potential trade package.

Jose Berrios seems unhappy about Twins trading Mike Morin for cash

Jose Berrios

The Minnesota Twins traded away righty reliever Mike Morin this weekend, and ace pitcher Jose Berrios did not appear at all enthused about the move.

Morin was shipped to the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in exchange for cash considerations. In response to the deal, Berrios took to Twitter to wish Morin well but wrote of the Twins that “they just want to get money.” The two-time All-Star then deleted the tweet shortly thereafter.

Morin had posted a 3.18 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP in 23 appearances in relief for Minnesota this season. He was, however, designated for assignment by the team earlier in the week.

The Twins currently lead the AL Central with a 59-37 record, so it doesn’t make sense for them to be sellers at the trade deadline. That being said, the Morin move could just be a precursor to a bigger deal for a better reliever.

Watch: Luke Voit takes fastball to face, tries to stay in game

A fastball was no match for New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit, at least initially.

Voit took a 91 MPH Chad Bettis fastball to the face in Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. Not only did Voit stay on his feet, but he managed to stay in the game for the remainder of the fourth inning. The ball glanced off his shoulder just before hitting him in the face, which may have taken a bit of the sting out of it, but not much.

With the Yankees up 9-0 in the fifth, though, they opted to take Voit out of the game, even though he looked to be fine.

Very bad things can happen when baseballs traveling at a high velocity collide with jaws. Luckily, it looks like Voit dodged that.

Report: Top MLBPA lawyer’s departure viewed as increasing threat of strike

Major League Baseball still has two and a half seasons to go before the expiration of their current labor agreement with the MLB Players Association, but a minor news item announced Friday could have significant repercussions down the line.

MLBPA lawyer Rick Shapiro departed on Thursday, and his exit has reportedly been viewed with some trepidation within the sport. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Shapiro was viewed as a dealmaker, and his departure raised concerns that a potential strike is more likely than previously feared.

The current labor agreement runs through 2021, but given the state of free agency and other issues, some players have been floating the idea for a while. A lot can change in two years, but there’s certainly some discontent right now. Whether that can be addressed in the next negotiation remains to be seen, but the fears are there.

Kenley Jansen admits to being ‘sick and tired’ of Dodgers’ bullpen criticism

Kenley Jansen

Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out the side on Friday against the Miami Marlins, not allowing a single runner to reach base in the process. He admitted afterwards that there was a little bit extra behind it.

The Dodger bullpen was responsible for two lost games in their series against the Philadelphia Phillies during the week, with Jansen melting down in one of them. He admitted after Friday’s 2-1 win over Miami that he was tired of hearing the criticisms and answering the questions that came along with those struggles.

Jansen pitched through an injury when blowing a save in Philadelphia, ratcheting up criticism from both fans and his manager. The Dodgers will be playing in October, and the bullpen is viewed by many as their biggest potential weak spot. Jansen is tired of hearing it and made a statement on Friday; now some of his teammates may need to do the same.

Jake Odorizzi says he was ‘pitching in a rainforest’

Jake Odorizzi

The major heat wave that has plagued much of the country during the week hasn’t been fun for many, and that includes MLB pitchers.

Minnesota Twins starter Jake Odorizzi took the mound in 94 degree temperatures with humidity, and gave up two runs in the first inning as the Twins ultimately lost 5-3 at home to the Oakland Athletics. Odorizzi made clear that he felt the conditions had a lot to do with his early struggles, saying it was like “pitching in a rainforest.”

Typically when you think of weather issues impacting baseball games, it’s rain-related. Humidity can be a big issue for pitchers who rely on gripping the ball to get the job done, though, and that was the case here.

Mike Leake loses perfect game in 9th on Luis Rengifo single

Seattle Mariners logo

Mike Leake lost a perfect game bid in the ninth inning of Friday night’s contest between his Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels.

A week after being knocked out of the game in the first inning by the Angels, Leake bounced back with a stellar start. He dominated the Angels through eight innings before allowing a leadoff single to Luis Rengifo on a 1-1 pitch in the top of the ninth.

The hit cost Leake both his perfect game and no-hitter. He also walked the next batter, Kevan Smith. But Leake got two more easy outs and then struck out Mike Trout to end the game, giving him a spectacular one-hit shutout with six strikeouts.

Leake did it all on 98 pitches, 66 for strikes. He showed excellent movement on his pitches, keeping the Angels off-balance most of the evening. Prior to the ninth, he hadn’t thrown more than 12 pitches in a single inning.

The 10-0 victory was nice revenge for Seattle, which got stomped by the Angels 13-0 exactly a week prior. Not only was Leake knocked out of that start in the first, but the Mariners were no-hit. They nearly returned the favor both on offense and defense.