I suppose that’s low-hanging fruit. Alas. Point is that Barry Bonds was back in San Francisco yesterday for the reunion of the Giants 2000 team/celebration of ten years of that nice ballpark they have. He hasn’t done much media lately because someone who is indicted on perjury charges is well-advised to never say anything to anyone, but he did give the press six minutes of his time. Highlights, such as they were:
- Bonds had some nice words for Mark McGwire: “I’m proud of what he did. I’m happy for him.” From the video of the interview you can tell he”s talking about becoming a hitting coach, but you just know people are going to take that as Bonds saying he was proud of McGwire for confessing to using roids.
- Indeed, the next question from a reporter was asking Bonds if he could see himself “doing what Mark did,” and then quickly appending ” . . . becoming a coach” in a way that made it seem clear that the reporter was aware of the ambiguity between apologizing/coaching. Bonds winced a bit until that “becoming a coach” part was added. You can tell he thought he was being asked if he was going to apologize. Just kind of interesting to watch.
- Bonds said that he wasn’t retired yet and wasn’t sure what he’d do in the unlikely event that a team called him. Seems to be that he was just being PR mindful about the subject, however. Rich Aurilia had just announced his retirement at the same event, Bonds probably knew it, so there’s no way that he was going to stomp on that with some announcement, formal or otherwise, of his own. Bonds can be a jerk, but he’s not so big a jerk that he’s going to rain on a former teammates’s parade. My guess is that he just ends up doing it Rickey-style and never saying he’s retired because, really, what’s the point?
- The quote in the headline came when it was noted that he was in shape. The full quote is fun for any of you who love to hate Bonds: “I’ve just been working out a lot, that’s all. I work
out all the time. It’s been in my genes my whole life. I
just don’t work out as hard anymore. I don’t lift as heavy weights
anymore to be bulky. I don’t know, I’ve got that Hollywood look.”
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.