Cameron Maybin’s body was in Citi Field on Monday afternoon, but he may
have left his head somewhere in the depths of Roger Dean Stadium. The
Marlins’ center fielder, who just turned 23 on Sunday, was 0-for-4 with
three swinging strikeouts, narrowly
avoiding the dreaded golden sombrero. But that’s not even the worst of
it. By my count, he let three flyballs drop in front of him and one go
over his head, the latter part of a critical four-run sixth inning for
It wasn’t an easy day to play center field, as Gary Matthews Jr. can
surely attest. MLB.com says the wind was blowing out to left field at
about 13 mph, but it was playing tricks with any ball in the air,
forcing Matthews to stagger on a regular basis. I haven’t watched
Matthews much over the past few seasons, so I can only assume that’s not
some sort of trademark. If so, well, I need to stock up on antacids.
In any case, Maybin’s tools are undeniable. Though he was demoted last May, he even hinted at some
progress as a September call-up last season, batting .293/.353/.500 with
three homers, 10 RBI and 19 runs scored over his last 28 games. I don’t want this to sound like a knee jerk reaction, because I believe he should be playing every day in the majors, but he simply lacks the polish to be hitting No. 2 in front of Hanley Ramirez right now.
Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.
Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.
Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.