Daily Dose: Webb may be done for 2009

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Brandon Webb has undergone two MRI exams since canceling a bullpen
session last Friday after a setback with his injured shoulder and
manager A.J. Hinch said Tuesday that “it’s hard to say” if Arizona’s
ace will pitch again this season. “The priorities have shifted to
making sure we know everything about his health, about what’s causing
his pain,” Hinch said. “Pitching in 2009 is a distant second.”

Webb hasn’t pitched since a rough Opening Day outing and has
struggled dating back to last August, which has the Diamondbacks very
concerned given that he’s made no progress in three months on the
sidelines with what was initially termed a muscle injury. There’s now
speculation that he’ll need surgery to repair tears in his tendon or
ligament, but there’s no real use guessing without the MRI results.

While the Diamondbacks’ season keeps going from bad to worse, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Joey Votto came off the disabled list Tuesday and revealed that
his month-long absence was due to depression following the death of his
father last year. “There were nights that I couldn’t be alone,” Votto
said. “The very first night I was alone was when I went to the
hospital. I couldn’t take it. It just got to the point where I felt I
was going to die, really.”

Votto described how panic attacks led him to seek medical help and
caused him to be removed from several games, which makes his batting
.357/.464/.627 in 38 games all the more amazing. Obviously the Reds and
Votto’s fantasy owners will be keeping close tabs on him going forward,
and he hopped back into the lineup Tuesday night by going 1-for-4 with
two strikeouts while batting third.

* Plans for Kelvim Escobar to replace Scot Shields in the Angels’
bullpen took a hit Monday when he had a “pinching sensation” in his
injured right shoulder while playing catch. He met Tuesday with Dr.
Lewis Yocum and said afterward: “I think I need to slow down. I
expected to feel a lot better, but sometimes it takes time.” Escobar’s
uncertain status may lead to the Angels pursuing relief help via trade.

* San Diego activated Scott Hairston from the disabled list Tuesday
and cleared room for him by placing Brian Giles on the shelf with a
knee injury. Whether knee issues are to blame for Giles’ abysmal
.191/.277/.271 line is unclear, but sending him to the DL is the
easiest way to clear the Padres’ outfield logjam that includes
Hairston, Tony Gwynn Jr., Chase Headley, and recent call-up Kyle
Blanks.

AL Quick Hits: Roy Halladay (groin) tossed a bullpen session
Tuesday and is on track to rejoin the rotation next week … Magglio
Ordonez was back in the lineup Tuesday after a brief benching …
Chien-Ming Wang pitched fairly well Tuesday while giving up three runs
in five innings, but still fell to 0-6 … Alex Gordon (hip) is expected
to begin a rehab stint next week … Josh Outman (elbow) is slated to
undergo an MRI exam Wednesday and won’t be able to throw for at least a
few days … Asdrubal Cabrera (shoulder) reportedly could come off the
disabled list as soon as Thursday … Ryan Raburn blasted a walk-off
homer as a pinch-hitter Tuesday as Kevin Gregg blew his third save …
Jason Kubel remained out of the lineup Tuesday with flu-like symptoms …
Scott Kazmir (quad) said Tuesday that he’s ready to rejoin the rotation
after one rehab start and hours later David Price was rocked for 10
runs in a World Series rematch against the Phillies.

NL Quick Hits: Joel Pineiro tossed a complete-game shutout
Tuesday, giving up just two hits to the Mets … Ryan Howard (flu)
started at designated hitter and hit an RBI double Tuesday … Jonathan
Broxton picked up a one-out save Tuesday when Hiroki Kuroda couldn’t
quite finish the game … Derrek Lee went 2-for-3 with a double Tuesday,
extending his hitting streak to 20 games … Dave Bush is expected to
miss 2-3 weeks with a small tear in his biceps … Aramis Ramirez
(shoulder) is scheduled to take batting practice Friday … Miguel
Montero will be Arizona’s main catcher with Chris Snyder (back) put on
the disabled list Tuesday and Chris Young (groin) may soon be joining
him … Tommy Hanson struggled with his control Tuesday, but improved to
3-0 by shutting out the Yankees for 5.1 innings … Raul Ibanez (groin)
took batting practice Tuesday and hopes to come off the DL when
eligible next week.

Is Bud Black the favorite to be the next Braves manager?

Bud Black
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We talked last week about how Fredi Gonzalez is likely a dead man walking as the Braves manager. They stink, he’s a lame duck and part of the team’s whole marketing thrust is “2017 will be a new beginning,” what with the new ballpark and all. It stands to reason that Mr. Gonzalez doesn’t have long for this world.

Last week I suspected he’d be fired tomorrow, the Braves off day before a home stand. They’ve won in the past week, but it still wouldn’t shock me. Even if firing Gonzalez would be an act of scapegoating. It’s the roster that’s the problem, not the manager, even though Fredi doesn’t exactly inspire anyone.

Today Bob Nightengale throws this into the mix:

As of yet he hasn’t followed that up with an actual column or more tweets about who, exactly, considers Black to be the heavy favorite, but there’s a definitiveness to that which makes me think he’s heard something solid.

Black, as you know, was the long time Padres manager who had an unsuccessful flirtation with the Nationals before they hired Dusty Baker this past offseason. Black is now cooling his heels with his longtime boss Mike Scioscia in Anaheim, in what is clearly a “wait for his next managing opportunity” posture.

Could it be in Atlanta? At least one national writer and some nebulous group of insiders believe so, it would seem.

The Reds bullpen set a record for futility

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover reacts after giving up a solo home run to Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, left, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2016, in Cincinnati. The Cubs won 8-1. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning but it’s worthy of its own post.

The Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen gave up two runs last night. In so doing it made for the 21st consecutive game in which it has allowed at least one run. That’s a new major league record, having surpassed the 2013 Colorado Rockies’ record of 20, according to Elias.

Last year the Reds set a record — shattered it, really — by going with rookie starting pitchers in 64 straight games to end the season. Those guys aren’t rookies anymore, but they’re still really inexperienced. They could probably use some better bullpen help than they’ve been getting.

Headline of the Day– A-Rod: “Trophy Boyfriend”

Alex Rodriguez
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For as long as there have been couples, the woman in a couple has been publicly defined by the man’s life and accomplishments. It doesn’t matter if the woman cures cancer, walks on the moon or wins the Eurovision Song Contest, when news stories or obituaries are written, she is invariably referred to as “wife of ___” or “girlfriend of ___.” Even if the guy is a grade-A schmuck.

While that pattern still persists, it’s nice to see someone flip the script on it once in a while. Like The Cut did in its story about a new, high-profile couple going public:

 

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The couple: Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki. Who, if you were unaware, is a Silicon Valley biotech CEO and a billionaire. She went to Yale, played varsity hockey in college and is a mother. Alex Rodriguez is accomplished and famous, but outside of the sports bubble he’s a padawan to Wojcicki’s master Jedi. Despite this, in places other than The Cut, it would still not be surprising to see her referred to as “A-Rod’s girlfriend,” because that’s just how people roll. Here’s hoping others take The Cut’s lead when referring to women in the public sphere more often.

A related note: in the rare cases when a famous male personality is identified in reference to his female partner and not the other way around, people like to make jokes and like to question the masculinity of the man. Which is equally stupid. And, to the man in question, should be utterly beside the point.

To that end, I think it’s worth noting that Alex Rodriguez has been involved with several women who, outside of baseball, are far more famous than he is and it’s never seemed to be an issue for him whatsoever. People like to say a lot of things about A-Rod’s ego and personality, but in this respect I bet he’s a hell of a lot better adjusted, grounded and self-assured than the vast majority of men who might find themselves in his place.

Video: Jeff Samardzija breaks a bat over his knee after striking out

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 8.23.03 AM
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Jeff Samardzija had a great night last night. He allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and picked up the win. In the early going he’s proving wrong those who thought that the Giants overpaid for him and is providing solid performance from the third spot in the Giants rotation. It’s all good.

But good is not always good enough for a professional athlete. Especially one like Samardzija, who excelled in multiple sports and likely can count his lifetime athletic failures on one hand. No, when you’re wired like that you get upset even when you’re excellent because sometimes you want to be perfect.

For example, most pitchers don’t get too worried about striking out. They’re there to pitch, not bat. They turn on their heel and calmly walk back to the dugout. Samardzija, however, got a bit irate when he struck out. Then he did this: