As expected, Angel Guzman has opted for season-ending shoulder surgery after meeting with Dr. James Andrews earlier this week.
Guzman has a lengthy history of arm problems, including a previous Tommy John elbow surgery, and the latest injury is a significant ligament tear in his right shoulder. Andrews advised him to go under the knife rather than attempt to rehab the injury without surgery.
As for when he might be able to pitch again, Guzman wasn’t sure:
I don’t know how long it’s going to take. … Sometimes those doctors use language that is hard for me to understand. At least [Andrews] gave me hope. He said a lot of pitchers have had that surgery done before and have come back good.
It’s going to take more than that to keep me away. I have to keep my mind the way I’ve been doing, like last year. That’s the only thing I can control. … I don’t want, in two years, just thinking, “Why didn’t I do it?” I’d prefer to get it done now and see if I really can keep pitching.
Guzman emerged as a reliable setup man last season with a 2.95 ERA and .192 opponents’ batting average in 61 innings, and his injury reportedly has the Cubs in the market for additional relief help. At this point the best-case scenario for Guzman is probably a mid-2011 return.
Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.
The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?
Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.
The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.
I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: