The Padres pitchers are very tall

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The San Diego Union-Tribune has a fun article today about how their pitching staff has grown over the course of the season:

Remarkable as it is that he’s not even the Padres’ tallest pitcher
— that would still be 6-10 veteran Chris Young — [Adam] Russell isn’t that
much taller than five others on the staff. Mat Latos, Ryan Webb and
Aaron Poreda are listed as 6-6, one inch taller than Mike Adams and
Clayton Richard. None of whom, Young excepted, was on the Padres roster on Opening Day. Young, Latos and Adams were the only ones among the aforementioned
seven who were Padres property.

When the Padres traded Jake Peavy to
the Chicago White Sox on July 31, all four of the pitchers who came to
the San Diego organization were 6-5 or taller, and three of them are
now with the Padres.

“We traded away a point guard,” said Young, “and got four forwards in return.”

There’s the usual talk in there about how it’s hard for a tall pitcher to get all of his parts moving in synch for purposes of his delivery.  I know tall guys have a hard time with this in practice, but I’ve never understood exactly why this is.  They’re still proportional, right? Why can’t they do what short guys do only, you know, bigger?  That aside, I’m surprised that more of them don’t do the Randy Johnson thing and adopt a simple-as-simple-can-be windup, even if they have to come down low to do it. 

The other bit of bothersome conventional wisdom in the piece comes when Ryan Webb mentions that he wanted to be a shortstop, but when he tried out for the position in junior high school, his coach told him he couldn’t because at 6’4″ he was too tall.

I suppose things have worked out for Webb — he’s in the majors after all — but why anyone thinks a 6’4″ dude can’t play short is seriously lacking a grasp of baseball history.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.