Link-O-Rama: Umpires Gone Wild!

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* It wasn’t quite as eventful as Carlos Zambrano’s implosion yesterday, but this afternoon’s Twins-Red Sox game just saw home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor eject both starting catchers and both managers in the same inning, about five minutes apart.

Mike Redmond and Ron Gardenire were tossed in the top of the seventh
after a borderline call at the plate went against the Twins and in the
bottom of the frame Jason Varitek and Terry Francona were thrown out
when Josh Beckett didn’t like the strike zone. Beckett avoided
Tichenor’s wrath despite screaming obscenities from the mound by
smartly turning his back and walking toward second base while Varitek
took up the fight.

* The White Sox may not be ready to call up Gordon Beckham yet, but they did promote him to Triple-A yesterday. Beckham’s final line at Double-A: .299/.366/.497 with four homers, 17 doubles, and a 24/14 K/BB ratio in 38 games.

* It took 180 plate appearances, but Bobby Abreu finally hit his first homer
of the season. Now that Abreu and David Ortiz are both off the schneid,
Russell Martin is the closest thing to a power hitter among the 17 guys
who’re still homerless with at least 100 trips to the plate.

* Now that David Price is in the Rays’ rotation and Matt Wieters is
due to arrive in Baltimore tomorrow, can Braves right-hander Tommy
Hanson be very far behind?

* Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com projects the first 20 picks of this year’s draft, which is less than two weeks away. You’ll be absolutely shocked who he has as the No. 1 pick.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.