In a move that won’t turn a lot of heads but which will nonetheless have huge implications, Braves’ longtime scouting director Roy Clark told the team yesterday that he’s leaving the organization
to become an assistant general manager with the Nationals.
For those unfamiliar with Clark, he’s the guy who has identified just about every prospect that has come through the Braves’ system over the past 11 years, and arguably no team in baseball has had more talent come through its system than the Braves during that time. He’s been with the club for over 20 years total.
This is the second time the Nationals have taken a run at Clark, having offered him a job back in 2006. This time, however, they have offered him much more power than before, and he’ll presumably have near total power over the draft and player development.
The Nationals are viewed as something of a laughingstock now. So too were the Braves when Clark joined the team in the late 80s. An argument can be made that Clark had more to do with changing all of that than any one man in the organization. An argument can also be made that no front office move will do more to change a team’s fortunes this offseason than this move will for the Nats.
Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.
While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.
Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.
It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:
Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:
Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.