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#pounditSaturday, May 28, 2022

Baseball

Video: Jake Odorizzi carted off with serious leg injury

Jake Odorizzi taken off the field

Jake Odorizzi was carted off the field after suffering a serious leg injury during Monday night’s game between his Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox.

Odorizzi was pitching in the bottom of the fifth with his team down 2-1. He had two outs and got Enrique Hernandez to hit a weak ball to first base. Odorizzi took off sprinting to cover first, but his leg gave out, and he collapsed to the ground.

Odorizzi was then taken off on a stretcher:

That injury did not look good.

Odorizzi entered the game 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. He is in his second season with the Astros. By the looks of things, he will probably go on the injured list for extended time.

Video: Famous DJ Steve Aoki airmails awful first pitch at Fenway Park

Steve Aoki throws a wild first pitch

DJ Steve Aoki won’t have a career in baseball anytime soon.

Aoki threw out the first pitch prior to Monday night’s game between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros at Fenway Park, and it wasn’t remotely close to being a strike.

Most people who throw out a first pitch end up bouncing the ball, which is embarrassing enough, but the 44-year-old Aoki’s pitch flew way over the catcher’s head and landed high into the netting behind home plate.

Here’s another angle:

Aoki’s pitch at least made it to the plate, but it’s certainly up there with 50 Cent’s horrendous first pitch in 2014 as one of the worst we’ve ever seen (watch the 50 Cent pitch here).

At least Aoki had some sweet pants on to distract people from his terrible pitch.

Blake Snell return date for Padres revealed

Blake Snell throwing the ball

Aug 13, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) pitches in the second inning of the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres’ pitching staff is about to receive a major boost.

Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Sunday that Blake Snell will make his season debut on Wednesday in Philadelphia against the Phillies.

The 29-year-old pitcher was scratched before his first start of the season in April with groin soreness, and was later placed on the injured list with an adductor strain.

Snell made three rehab starts with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate, the El Paso Chihuahuas, and struck out seven in five innings of work during his final rehab appearance.

The left-hander is set to join a Padres team that is 22-13 and tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the division.

Snell, who was traded to the Padres ahead of the 2021 season, struggled in his first year with the team. He had a 4.20 ERA in 27 starts.

Snell will likely be on a pitch limit for his first few starts after throwing just 59 pitches in his last Triple-A outing. But if he can return to form, and if Yu Darvish, Mike Clevinger, Sean Manaea and Joe Musgrove continue to pitch well, the Padres could have the deepest starting rotation in baseball.

Braves had major issues with haunted Milwaukee team hotel

Atlanta Braves stadium

Oct 29, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves fans in the Battery prior to game three of the 2021 World Series against the Houston Astros at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee is allegedly haunted. It’s also a frequent team hotel for teams the Milwaukee Brewers are hosting, which can make for some stories.

The Atlanta Braves can attest to that. While it doesn’t sound like any players experienced any explicit issues with the supernatural, they certainly had a miserable trip. According to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, Braves players dealt with a power outage, low water pressure, and no hot water at the Pfister on Monday.

No, those issues do not sound much like what one player described after staying at the supposedly haunted hotel. However, is it really that crazy to think that the evil spirits might be throwing the Braves off in a more subtle way?

The Braves are definitely not the only team that have had to deal with something like this. Maybe they can reach out to NBA teams that have stayed in Oklahoma City for some assistance.

Michael Conforto could still play for MLB team in 2022?

Michael Conforto in Mets gear

Aug 2, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) warms up prior to the game against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent outfielder Michael Conforto was believed to be out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, and would thus go unsigned until next winter. Neither of those things may be true, according to his agent.

Scott Boras claimed that “multiple” teams are interested in signing Conforto after the MLB Draft, at which point draft compensation will no longer be attached to the outfielder. Boras also said that Conforto has at least a chance of being able to hit in September as he works his way back from shoulder surgery.

“There is a possibility the swinging modality can be back to normal at a much earlier date than the throwing aspect,” Boras said, via Joel Sherman of the New York Post. “He had his surgery in April. There’s a chance depending on how he progresses that (hitting in the majors late in the season) is a possibility.”

If true, Conforto could be a nice bat to add to a contending lineup in September. Until then, though, questions about his health will linger, as there is a chance Boras is just trying to upsell his client here. After all, it’s different from what Boras was saying not that long ago.

Conforto hit 33 home runs in 2019, but his numbers have fallen off since then. The 29-year-old will attract interest as long as he’s healthy, but nobody knows quite when that will be.

Twins pitcher Joe Ryan made sure to cash in on funny incentive

Joe Ryan catches a foul ball

Minnesota Twins pitcher Joe Ryan is under contract for around $700,000 this season, which is why he is not about to turn down any money his teammates might owe him. He made that clear during his start on Sunday.

Ryan caught a foul ball near the visiting dugout during Minnesota’s 3-1 win over the Cleveland Guardians. After making the play, the right-hander immediately motioned toward his own dugout and made a “five-zero-zero” gesture. He explained after the game that the Twins’ starting pitchers have an agreement where if one of them catches a foul ball, the other four owe their teammate $100 each.

Ryan is 4-2 with a 2.39 ERA this season. He is clearly MLB-ready, but he is still living on a minor leaguer’s budget. He looked like he was thinking about that $500 the second the ball went into the air.

Video: J.P. Crawford makes an acrobatic tag to prevent stolen base

J.P. Crawford makes a tag at second base

J.P. Crawford is off to a great start at the plate this season with a .327 batting average. But the Seattle Mariners shortstop proved during Sunday’s 8-7 win over the New York Mets that he’s just as good in the field.

With Seattle down 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Mets left fielder Mark Canha attempted to steal second base with two outs and second baseman Jeff McNeil at the plate.

Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh made an inaccurate throw to the right of the second base bag after a great jump from Canha. But Crawford made a diving catch and was able to lay an incredible tag on Canha’s left foot for the final out of the inning.

Crawford had one hit and scored a run in five at-bats during the game, but his tag may have been the difference.

If Canha had stolen second base safely, there’s a chance that McNeil, who’s hitting .308 on the season, would have driven Canha in with a base hit. That extra run would’ve had the game tied at 8-8 after nine innings and headed for extras, where anything can happen.

The 27-year-old Crawford has 37 hits in 32 games this season, including four home runs and 11 RBI.

The Mariners are 16-19 and seven games back of the division-leading Houston Astros. Maybe Crawford can continue to help drive them towards a winning record.

Video: Albert Pujols makes first career pitching appearance

Albert Pujols leans in on the mound

This is Albert Pujols’ final MLB season, and he’s making sure to check all items off his bucket list.

Pujols went 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored and 2 walks in his St. Louis Cardinals’ 15-6 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday night. But it wasn’t at the dish where he made his biggest contribution.

Pujols pitched the final inning of the game and helped close out the Cardinals’ win. Take a look at this 54-mph heat he was tossing up there:

That was the first out he ever recorded. But it went downhill from there.

Pujols allowed four runs on three hits and a walk. He surrendered back-to-back home runs — a 3-run shot to Luis Gonzalez and a solo blast to Joey Bart. But he didn’t surrender the 13-run lead!

With the game being such a blowout, the Giants also used a position player to pitch. Gonzalez threw 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. He looked like a high-arc softball pitcher and tricked some of the Cardinals’ hitters with his high lobs. But nothing was as fun as seeing the 3-time MVP do his thing on the mound. His pitching motion and mechanics were solid.

Gavin Lux delivers walk-off hit for Dodgers after costing them with error

Dodgers players celebrate

Gavin Lux went from being the goat to the hero for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in the span of a few hours.

Lux booted a routine groundball during the top of the second inning Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Instead of Lux recording what should have been the third out, he didn’t field the ball, and a run scored on his error. The Phillies then added three more runs after the error to go up 4-0 before Nicholas Castellanos flied out to end the inning with the bases loaded.

Here is the error:

The Dodgers chipped away at the Phillies’ lead, adding runs in the third, fourth and eighth. They were down 4-3 entering the bottom of the 9th. Corey Knebel got the first two batters out, but then the Dodgers rallied. Cody Bellinger tripled and Chris Taylor walked, which brought Lux to the plate with two outs and his team down by one in the bottom of the ninth.

Lux redeemed himself:

The comeback win helped the Dodgers avoid a 4-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies. And once again, the Phillies’ bullpen blew it. But that redemption had to feel great for Lux after his ugly error.

Phillies’ Odubel Herrera looks so lost on embarrassing swing and miss

Odubel Herrera swing

Pitchers with great stuff can induce some awkward swings and misses from good hitters. Few, however, will ever be made to look as bad as Odubel Herrera did on Sunday.

Herrera was facing Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Yency Almonte during Sunday’s game, and the Philadelphia Phillies center fielder was even ahead 2-1 in the count with the bases loaded. Almonte uncorked a wicked slider that fooled Herrera so badly, he actually swung and missed even though the pitch went between his legs.

It looks even worse in slow motion:

Herrera wound up grounding out, so at least he ended up making contact.

In the past, Herrera has caused some controversy with his bat-flipping habits. The real way to make him look silly is to do what Almonte did and coax one of the ugliest swings of the season out of him.