McGwire to blame for Holliday's slow start?

Leave a comment

Thumbnail image for holliday_090827.jpgSome have speculated that Matt Holliday’s
relationship with new hitting coach Mark McGwire might be one of the
selling points to keep him in St. Louis. Well, think again.




In an interview with Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, agent Scott Boras attributed Holliday’s early season struggles to swing changes McGwire had made during offseason coaching sessions.



“After five weeks [Holliday] went back to his old stance,” Boras said.
“From that point on, he was the same player he always has been.”




Coincidence or not, Holliday batted
just .226/.282/.383 with four home runs, 20 RBI and a .665 OPS over the
first 28 games of the season with Oakland. He hit .335/.419/.547 with 20 homers, 89
RBI and a .967 OPS from that day forward.




For all the concern about Holliday’s
home/road splits, it’s worth noting that he batted .377/.442/.667 with
nine home runs, 35 RBI and a 1.119 OPS at Busch Stadium, a place that
was one of the toughest stadiums for a right-handed hitter during the 2009 season, according to the newest Bill James Handbook.
Even tougher than Citi Field, a supposed “death valley for right-handed hitters.”




Boras might be using McGwire’s
adjustments as a bit of a scapegoat here, but it’s clear that Holliday
can be a productive hitter just about anywhere.

Sonny Gray was denied insurance coverage for the World Baseball Classic

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.

According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.

Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.

While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.

Report: Josh Hamilton likely to undergo another knee surgery

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.

More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.

Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.