– Tommy Hanson didn’t allow a hit over the first 3 1/3 innings
of his major league debut against the Brewers on Sunday afternoon, but
he gave up seven runs — six of them earned — including three home
runs — two of them by Ryan Braun — after that. The strapping
right-hander fanned five and walked one over six innings and thanks to
a three-run eighth inning by the Braves, he was taken off the hook.
– Roy Halladay became the first pitcher in baseball to reach 10 wins
against the Royals on Sunday. He struck out six in a complete game
shutout and now has a 2.52 ERA to go along with a stingy 1.02 WHIP.
– In an excellent piece
by Tim Kurkjian for ESPN.com, we learn that Princeton graduate Ross
Ohlendorf wrote his thesis on the top 100 picks from the 1989 to 1993
Amateur drafts to determine the value of the picks. He found that on
average, the player brought twice the return.
– Mariano Rivera would have preferred to pitch to Evan Longoria
instead of intentionally walking him on Saturday, but he got him to
ground out to secure his 13th save in a 4-3 comeback win over the Rays on Sunday. The Yankees plated three in the eighth inning to push ahead.
– Livan Hernandez hurled seven scoreless innings
in a 7-0 win over the Nationals on Sunday afternoon. With the win, he
moved to 5-1 with a surprising 3.88 ERA through 11 starts this season.
– Clete Thomas connected for an eighth-inning go-ahead grand slam — the first of his career– in a 9-6 win over the Angels on Sunday.
– According to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, the Indians have yet to decide
if they will be buyers or sellers mode as the trade deadline
approaches. The Indians currently find themselves seven games behind
the first-place Tigers.
– And finally, D.C. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin put the kibosh on fireworks at Nationals Park.
The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.
Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”
Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”
Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.
Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.
According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.
While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.