Mark Mulder to retire . . . Maybe

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Mark Mulder.jpgUPDATE: The Chron’s Susan Slusser reports that Mark Mulder’s agent is saying that reports that Mulder is retiring are “not accurate” and that “Mark has not made a decision.”

Interesting. Earlier Brewers’ pitching coach Rick Peterson said Mulder was retiring, but maybe he misinterpreted.  Or maybe it’s like when I told my buddy at work that I was going to quit and become a blogger on a Monday but didn’t tell the bosses until Friday.

UPDATE II: Slusser spoke with Eric Chavez, who spoke with Mulder today, and Chavez says Mulder is “done.”

Mark Mulder: call your agent.

11:00 A.M. It’s being reported by a Milwaukee television station this morning that Mark Mulder is retiring.  The Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt tweets that while the Brewers haven’t heard anything of it, “a club official said he wouldn’t be surprised if that’s his decision.”

The reason this is coming out of Milwaukee is that Mulder had been flirting with joining the Brewers this winter due to his connection to Brewers’ pitching coach Rick Peterson, but it’s not happening now.

Mulder, of course, came up as one of the “Big Three” alongside Tim Hudson and Barry Zito in Oakland. You know, the guys who got surprisingly little press while they took turns winning 20 games and carrying the team while their general manager was being canonized for trading for John Mabry. OK, I kid Moneyball because I kid everyone, but really, the extent to which the Big Three were overlooked on those take-and-rake A’s teams borders on the criminal.

And Mulder may have been the most overlooked of the Big Three.  Hudson was considered the ace and Zito got his gigantic contract, but Mulder was a damn fine pitcher there for a couple of years. He won 21 games in 2001 and 19 the next year while keeping the ball in the yard, posting some pretty healthy K/BB ratios and pitching well in the playoffs.

Sadly, his shoulder went pop a year after joining the Cardinals. After a good 2005 season, 2006 was cut short, 2007 and 2008 were near total losses for him. He didn’t pitch at all last year.

While Zito still chugs along in San Francisco and Hudson looks to be on the comeback trail in Atlanta, Mark Mulder’s long absence from the stage makes him seem so much older than the 32 he is. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see more of him.

Angel Hernandez ejects Asdrubal Cabrera from a spring training game

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You don’t see many ejections in spring training games. The stakes are virtually non-existent, so it’s not like a player is likely to blow up at a bad call or something. That’s especially true now, as we enter spring training’s final week. Everyone wants to get through it uninjured and without fuss. And it’s getting hot in Florida in Arizona too. No one’s got time for that.

Yesterday Asdrubal Cabrera and Angel Hernandez did, though. Cabrera was batting in a road game against the Nats. He asked for time to step out of the box. Hernandez didn’t give it to him. This annoyed Cabrera who, after hitting a single, jawed at Hernandez as he ran out of the box and then pointed at him once he reached first base. Hernandez ran him.

Cabrera didn’t quickly leave the field. He took a slow, slow walk to the outfield and left via the gate in right, which is where visiting players tend to enter and leave spring parks. Watch:

 

Here’s what Cabrera told reporters after the game:

“‘C’mon, man, you’re better than that,’ ” Cabrera said, recalling what he yelled at Hernandez. “And he threw me out.”

Eh. I have no love for Angel Hernandez, but “you’re better than that” is a weak sauce insult. For one thing, maybe the person isn’t better than that? For another, it’s functionally equivalent to “you know better,” which is a thing a parent says to a kid. It’s fine when your dad says it, but Cabrera isn’t Hernandez’s dad and thus saying so carries with it an implicit belittling intent. It’s an ad hominem, which violates the usual ump-player understanding in which you can say a call was b.s. but don’t say the ump is a jerk personally.

More generally, it’s just cowardly. It’s designed not to deal with the substance of the beef. “You are a fine person all of the time, kind sir, but in this instance you are not up to par.” Well, why? Say so or shut up and quit being passive-aggressive.

Again: Hernandez is generally horrible. He’s not better than that, actually. But Cabrera deserved to get run, if for no other reason, than his insult was lame.

Report: Jung-Ho Kang not granted a visa to enter the United States

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This could be a problem for the Pirates.

Ballwriter Sung Min Kim tweets that, according to a Korean report, which you can read here if you know Korean, Pirates infielder Jung-Ho Kang has been denied a visa to enter the United States. The report just broke this morning and has yet to hit the English language press.

He adds that the report suggests that Kang, who was just convicted of a third DUI in Korea, may have a DUI conviction in a third country, though that part is unconfirmed. It’s also unclear whether that, or the mere fact of his conviction in Korea, has held up his visa.

Either way, Kang has yet to see a day of camp and will almost certainly not be ready to start the season for the Pirates, even if he gets his visa today. It sounds, however, like this could be a more drawn out process. We’ll stay tuned.