Let’s dig into some news from around the league …
- Yankees closer Andrew Miller was struck in his glove hand with a line drive on Wednesday, the impact of which yielded a fracture. But he only had his wrist lightly wrapped Thursday morning, and he doesn’t believe the injury will force him to miss any time. Hey, it’s not his throwing arm. Instead, he will simply wear extra padding and start the season as an active member of the roster. If he does have to miss some time, though, the Yankees will still be able to roll with Dellin Betances as their more than capable closer, until Miller (or eventually Aroldis Chapman (suspension)) returns. Must be nice.
- Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz is stepping aside from his previous day-to-day activities into more of a general advisory role within the club. Replacing him will be two current Braves executives, Derek Schiller (new president of business) and Mike Plant (new president of development). Schuerholz has had a long, renowned career with the Braves and is scheduled for induction into the Braves Hall of Fame in August.
- Jose Reyes’ domestic abuse charges have been suspended by Maui prosecutors, because Reyes’ wife isn’t cooperating with the investigation (which is deeply saddening, on the surface). Still, even without criminal charges, Reyes will face MLB disciplinary action, and is expected to receive a harsher punishment than the 30-day suspension accepted by Aroldis Chapman, because “significant physical evidence – such as his wife’s injuries – exists.” This is a rather troubling story.
- There’s no way that the Pirates did it again, right? The Pirates – and more specifically, their reclaimed pitchers – may be approaching near Cardinal Voodoo-level success, as Juan Nicasio has made their rotation. Spring Training is just Spring Training, but the former Dodgers pitcher has 24 strikeouts in just 15.0 innings, with 5 walks, 10 hits allowed, and no runs given up. You can’t really do any better than that.
- Key Cardinals reliever Jordan Walden will start the season out on the disabled list, after experiencing pain and discomfort in his right throwing shoulder immediately following his scoreless outing on Wednesday. Apparently, Walden had experienced a similar discomfort earlier in the Spring, forcing him to miss a few days, but with the season just a few days, a DL stint is now necessary. There is no indication or plan for a return, as of yet.
- At FanGraphs, Neil Weinberg examines what is possibly the only divisional race in baseball: the NL East. By comparing the difference in odds between the top two teams of each division, Weinberg finds that the NL East race for first between the Mets and Nationals is the closest two-team race in baseball. The weakest two team race? The Chicago Cubs atop the NL Central. Bully for us.
- Also at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron asks where are all of the contract extensions this Spring? Over the past few seasons, we’ve grown accustom to extensions being handled and completed during Spring Training and announced before the season starts (Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Chris Archer, etc….), but in 2016, all we got was Kolten Wong and Salvador Perez (all the way back on March 1; also Perez’s wasn’t a traditional extension because of his unique contract situation). Now, it’s possible that some deals will leak out as the season begins, but the pendulum could be swinging back in the other direction, too. It’s entirely possible that more young players are planning on holding out for free agency, instead of locking in the big money now. Only time will tell, but this is going to be something to keep an eye on, especially as the Cubs are loaded with multiple young, talented extension candidates.
- Over at the Hardball Times, Franke Firke writes about what to expect from the baseball community in 2016 and going forward. In other words, the times are a changing both in and out of baseball, and Firke has you covered on what you can expect. For example, Firke believes you’ll see even more data/stats, a paradigm shift in baseball media, a general change in tone and much more. It’s a interesting read, and worth your time if you are active in the online baseball community.
- Matt Bush was selected as a shortstop by Padres in the first round of the 2004 MLB Draft, and has had quite a journey since. After a series of arrests led to 39 months in jail, Bush has begun turning his life and career around, but this time, he’s doing it from the mound. As a 30-year-old in the Rangers system, Bush has been hitting 100 MPH on the radar gun, and will start the season out at AA. If he can make his way back to the majors, his will have been an excellent story of rehabilitation and success. People make mistakes, but correcting them and moving forward is the best thing for everyone. For his part, Bush has been very open about his past, you can read about his entire story here – it is also well worth your time.
- The Orioles let one of their scouts play in an intrasquad game for his mother.
- Speaking of the Orioles, they are trying to get newly-signed Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim to accept a demotion to AAA (he does not have to, and he gets his $7 million either way).
- Thanks to injuries, the Los Angeles Dodgers are a mess. When I read the details of the players they’ll go without, I feel silly, looking back on how much we freaked out when it was possible that Jake Arrieta might start game five instead of Opening Day, or that Javier Baez will miss a few games to start the season. The Dodgers have some of the most impressive depth in baseball, but even that won’t help them easily weather this storm. The amount of players they’ve lost has been truly fascinating (probably not the word they would use). The Giants have a real opportunity in the NL West. Let’s see if they take it.
- The Marlins are angry with Jared Cosart after he showed up on Wednesday in violation of the new team policy. No, he wasn’t chewing tobacco when he shouldn’t be, or showing up late to practice on a motorcycle with no helmet and a live animal. Instead, Cosart was in violation of team policy on Wednesday … because of some stubble on his face. In case you forgot, the Miami Marlins no longer allow their players to have facial hair of any kind – which, whatever – and apparently that goes for Spring Training, as well. Manager Don Mattingly said, “Make sure I’m not the one telling you to shave.” You know, this guy.
- This Phillies dog is soooooo laid back. Good boy.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.