Joe Torre and Jim Tracy: a study in contrasts

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Joe Torre, Dodgers Manager:

If the Dodgers aren’t still sitting atop the National League West
one month from now, it won’t be the fault of the pitching, the offense
or even the defense. No matter what happens between now and then, if
the team isn’t in first place, go ahead and blame manager Joe Torre. He
won’t mind. Really.

With an 8 -game lead in the division heading into play Monday, as
well as the best record in baseball, the Dodgers are in good shape at
the start of June. And when July arrives, the roster will get a boost
with the return of Manny Ramirez. So Torre went ahead Monday and said
that if Ramirez doesn’t return to a first-place club, then the manager
should be blamed.

“I don’t know how many we’ll be ahead, but you’re right, if anything goes bad I screwed up, no question,” Torre said.

Jim Tracy, Rockies Manager:

One of the charges against Tracy in Pittsburgh was that he took too
much credit when the team won and blamed the players too much when the
Pirates lost. After the game Sunday, Tracy blamed his starter Jorge De
La Rosa for not pitching properly to Gonzalez when he had an 0-2 count,
allowing the Padres slugger to homer. Gonzalez wouldn’t have homered if
he were standing on first base . . .

. . . Tracy then blamed his pinch-hitter Smith for not hitting
properly when he had a 3-2 count. According to Tracy, the Rockies
cannot “do any hitting with the bat on their shoulder.”

All in all, I think the Dodgers are better off now than they were four years ago.

(links via BTF)

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.