Yesterday began with the AJC’s Dave O’Brien speculating that the Braves could maybe sign Johnny Damon. Today dawns with a move that is somewhat less inspiring:
Just a few hours after signing Troy Glaus, the Braves added his backup when
they agreed to terms with Eric Hinske on a one-year contract to serve as a
pinch-hitter and versatile bench player.
No financial terms were available this morning, but I presume he’ll be making roughly the same salary as your neighborhood barista.
Just before the Hinske signing, O’Brien related word from the Braves themselves that they will not be making any other major moves beyond adding an corner/pinch hitter type of guy. This is that move, it seems, and with that the Braves’ offseason is likely over for all intents and purposes. That means that they are content to go with an outfield of Melky Cabrera, Nate McLouth and Matt Diaz to start the season. Unless, that is, they decide to say screw the super two status and break camp with Jason Heyward as their everyday right fielder and platoon Melky and Diaz in left.
I hope they choose the latter. I fear, however, that they will choose the former and once again lose the division race before it even gets going due the lack of a full complement of major league caliber outfielders.
But let’s think more positively. Hinske finished the 2007 season in the World Series with the Red Sox, the 2008 season in the World Series with the Rays and the 2009 season in the World Series with the Yankess. It is therefore proven beyond a shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic that the Braves will win the 2010 pennant.
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.
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.