Chan Ho Park wants to start again, but he should stick to relieving

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This morning Craig discussed the continued uncertainty surrounding whether Joba Chamberlain will start or relieve for the Yankees, but he’s not the only pitcher unclear about his role for 2010.
Philadelphia is interested in re-signing Chan Ho Park as a reliever after he thrived in that role this season, but the 36-year-old free agent and longtime starter is also being offered rotation spots elsewhere.
“I want to be a starter again,” Park told the Korea Times. “Being a starter is more attractive for me, because I can take over a whole game.” Meanwhile, agent Jeff Borris explained that “we’re really not shutting the door on any possibilities right now” while noting that multiple teams have expressed interest in Park for both roles.
If he truly wants to be a full-time starter again then Park should sign with a team willing to hand him a rotation spot no questions asked, because this will likely be his last multi-year contract and final chance to dictate his role. However, if he’s interested in picking the role in which he’s actually most likely to have success there’s no question that he should stick to the bullpen.
In his last 34 starts–which is basically equal to one full season in a rotation–Park has gone 9-9 with a 5.05 ERA in 194.1 innings. During that same time period Park made 91 relief appearances, posting a 3.45 ERA in 125 innings. He hasn’t had an ERA below 4.80 during any season with double-digit starts since way back in 2001, but Park had a 2.52 ERA out of the Phillies’ bullpen this season and posted a 3.84 mark as a reliever last year. Stick to relieving, Chan Ho, you’re really good at it.

Steven Souza Jr. exits game after injuring his hand on a hit by pitch

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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.

Video: Brett Gardner goes deep for his first and second home runs of 2017

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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.