John Manuel of Baseball America reports
that the Padres are on the verge of calling up Kyle Blanks from
Triple-A, which is interesting given that the massive first-base
prospect appeared to be blocked by Adrian Gonzalez as recently as last month.
Since then the Padres have moved the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Blanks to left
field on a part-time basis and are apparently pleased enough with his
progress there defensively in 15 games at Triple-A to give him a shot
in San Diego.
It remains to be seen what type of role Blanks will play and how
long his first taste of the majors will last, because it’s possible
that the Padres are calling him up primarily to serve as designated
hitter for back-to-back interleague series in AL ballparks next week.
However, before then they host the A’s for a three-game series that
begins tonight and calling him up for that suggests Blanks could stick
around … as an outfielder.
Early reviews of his defense in left field have been fairly
positive, but Blanks is probably never going to be an asset there
defensively and would be the heaviest outfielder in baseball history if
he finds a long-term home at the position. That honor currently resides
with Frank Howard, who checked in at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds 40 years
ago, yet played over 11,000 innings in the outfield while hitting 382
Of course, Blanks isn’t being called up for his glove and playing a
palatable left field would merely be a way to get his bat into the
lineup alongside Gonzalez. Banks has hit .283/.393/.485 with 12 homers,
22 total extra-base hits, and 39 walks in 66 games at Triple-A as a
22-year-old and is a career .304/.393/.505 hitter in over 1,900 plate
appearances in the minors.
As a right-handed hitter he’ll complement the left-handed hitting
Gonzalez and hopefully help a Padres lineup that ranks dead last among
NL teams in batting average (.215), on-base percentage (.297), and
slugging percentage (.365) against southpaws. San Diego also ranks dead
last in OPS from left fielders (mostly Chase Headley) and right
fielders (mostly Brian Giles), so there’s plenty of room for Blanks
somewhere. Plus, who wouldn’t want to watch a surprisingly nimble
300-pounder chase after fly balls at Petco Park?
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?