Daily Dose: Jay Bruce fractures wrist

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Jay Bruce rejoined the Reds’ lineup Saturday following a brief benching
that was meant to, as manager Dusty Baker put it, “clear his head.”
Instead he struck out in the top of the first inning and then fractured
his wrist while attempting to make a diving catch in the bottom of the
frame. The good news is that the injury was to his right wrist and
Bruce is a left-handed batter and thrower.

The bad news is that he was put on the disabled list Sunday while
the Reds wait for the results of an MRI exam to determine exactly how
long he’ll be sidelined. If the MRI results agree with the initial
X-rays Bruce should be able to avoid going under the knife, but
season-ending surgery is possible. For now Chris Dickerson and Jonny
Gomes will fill in, but the Reds may be in the market for an
outfielder.

While the Reds hope that Bruce’s sophomore season doesn’t end with a
measly .727 OPS, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* John Bowker went hitless through his first two starts since being
called up from Triple-A last week, but was 2-for-4 with a homer Sunday.
Bowker has often been overlooked by the Giants and will likely need to
have immediate success to keep getting starts once the second half is
underway, but he’s clearly capable of being an asset in NL-only leagues
and could even emerge with mixed-league value.

Bower has posted a modest .700 OPS through 362 plate appearances in
the big leagues, but batted .322/.416/.550 at Triple-A and
.307/.363/.523 at Double-A to show that he’ll likely produce if given
the chance. He’s already 26 years old, so stardom isn’t in Bowker’s
future, but he has 20-homer power with solid on-base skills and should
hit around .270 with a handful of steals.

* Matt Cain left Saturday’s game in the second inning after being
hit on the elbow by a line drive and has been replaced by Zach Duke for
the All-Star game, but is expected to make his next scheduled start
Sunday. Cain described his elbow as “just sore” and said that “it feels
better than we really thought it would.” He ends the first half at 10-2
with a 2.38 ERA and 95/46 K/BB ratio in 117 innings.

* With both Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield picked for the All-Star
team the Red Sox have decided to go with six starters to begin the
second half. Clay Buchholz will get the nod Friday against the Blue
Jays, but he’ll almost surely go right back to Triple-A regardless of
how well he pitches. However, he’s 7-1 with a 2.99 ERA and 86/29 K/BB
ratio in 93.2 innings there and may still be a second-half factor.

AL Quick Hits: Josh Beckett picked up his 100th career victory
Sunday with his fourth career complete-game shutout … Justin Verlander
shut out the Indians for seven innings Sunday and is tied with Tim
Lincecum for the MLB lead with 149 strikeouts … Carlos Gomez went
3-for-5 with a homer Sunday, knocking in five runs … John Lackey tossed
seven innings of two-run ball Sunday to out-duel CC Sabathia and
complete a three-game sweep of the Yankees … Jason Bay didn’t have an
official at-bat despite reaching base five times Sunday, drawing three
walks and being hit by two pitches … Kevin Slowey (wrist) was unable to
throw a bullpen session Sunday, so he’ll miss at least one more
rotation turn … Brandon Inge went deep twice Sunday after being picked
to the Home Run Derby … Mark Buehrle failed to pitch at least five
innings Sunday for the first time, coughing up eight runs while
recording 10 outs … Mike Lowell (wrist) is expected to come off the
disabled list Friday.

NL Quick Hits: Barry Zito was rocked for nine runs Sunday,
finishing the first half with a 5.01 ERA … Carlos Zambrano turned in a
Quality Start and smacked his third homer of the season Sunday … Carlos
Delgado (hip) hit in a cage Sunday, but remains 3-4 weeks from
potentially returning … Kyle Lohse allowed four runs over five innings
in his return from the disabled list Sunday … Will Venable went 4-for-5
with four runs and his first homer Sunday … J.A. Happ improved to 6-0
by allowing one run over seven innings Sunday … Clayton Kershaw got the
best of Yovani Gallardo with six innings of one-run ball Sunday … Brian
Moehler had six shutout innings Sunday, slicing his ERA to 5.08 …
Florida sent Sean West to the minors Sunday despite posting a 4.91 ERA
through his first 10 starts … Brad Hawpe homered and delivered a
walk-off double Sunday, heading into the break with a .320 batting
average.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.