Mike Pelfrey is in the best shape of his life

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Mike Pelfrey.jpgAdd Mets’ pitcher Mike Pelfrey to the list of this offseason’s biggest losers:

One week until Fat Tuesday, but Mike Pelfrey won’t be participating. The
Mets pitcher is prepared to arrive in camp next week some 25 pounds
lighter than last season and believes that will propel him to new
heights after a disappointing 2009.

“I was pretty upset with not
only how the team played, but with how I played last year, knowing
that’s not me,” Pelfrey told The Post yesterday. “I had a lost year. I
had a terrible year.”

A couple of years ago someone — I can’t remember who — did an analysis of how guys did in the seasons after “best shape of his life” articles appeared about him during the spring.  I seem to recall that there actually was an uptick in performance among the newly-dedicated, albeit not a dramatic one.  Enough to make me want to go back and see how Carlos Zambrano, Bobby Jenks, Geovany Soto and Pelfrey did this season come October.  Someone remind me, OK?

As for Pelfrey, I think he will bounce back, if not for the weight, than because he seemed a bit unlucky last year.  He gave up a lot of hits on balls in play, which is something that fluctuates. Also, the poor Mets infield defense victimizes him more than his teammates. That won’t change too much in 2010 — he still doesn’t strike out a ton of guys and the Mets didn’t upgrade the defense any — but maybe a few more balls bounce in his favor.

And if he does bounce back we can chalk it up to the weight loss anyway because it’ll make him feel good and encourage him to lay off the pie again next winter.

Bruce Maxwell is the first MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.