Omar Vizquel: the all time Venezuelan hits leader

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In last night’s Rangers-Astros game, Pudge Rodriguez broke the all-time
record for games caught. But that wasn’t the only notable achievement: Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio for most hits by a native of Venezuela.

While most would agree that Pudge’s record was a tougher nut to crack,
being the Venezuelan hits leader is not nearly as narrow a feat as some
may suspect. Indeed, Vizquel has outhit a pretty impressive group of
people in outhitting his fellow countrymen. In addition to Aparicio,
Vizquel has Andres Galarraga (2333 hits), Dave Concepcion (2326), Bobby
Abreu (2011), Magglio Ordonez (1889), Ozzie Guillen (1764) and Tony
Armas (1302) in his rear-view mirror, among others.

There’s a debate out there about whether Vizquel is a legitimate
Hall of Fame candidate, and I suspect that he’ll get a lot more support
from writers than he otherwise might have due to the perception that he
was a little guy who made it in a steroid-fueled world. And that will
hold true regardless of there likely being no way of knowing if he ever
took steroids in his long career. Personally, I don’t think he’s a Hall
of Famer, and I’ll no doubt argue that he doesn’t belong at some point.

But when I and others do, don’t you dare mistake such arguments as disparagement of Omar Vizquel. He’s been really really good for a really really long time, and this record is just further evidence of that.

Madison Bumgarner diagnosed with fractured left hand

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Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner sustained a displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand on Friday. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, a procedure that could require a four- to six-week recovery period before he’s cleared to throw again. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bumgarner’s total recovery time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. In a best-case scenario, the lefty said he should be able to pitch again before the All-Star break, but given the amount of time and care it’ll take for him to shoulder a full workload, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do so.

Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.

The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. Without him, the Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.

This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”