Cliff Lee got his day in court on Wednesday, and he certainly can’t complain about being shortchanged on time.
The Mariners left-hander spoke with baseball executives for two-plus hours via conference call as he appealed the five-game suspension he was handed for throwing a pitch over the head of Arizona’s Chris Snyder during a spring training game.
The incident occurred after Lee had collided with Snyder earlier in the game. Lee suffered a strained abdomen on the play (which put him on the disabled list), and he cited the injury as a reason for his lack of control in that game.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes that Lee had been struggling with his command early in spring training anyway, and provides some convincing video evidence from one of Lee’s simulated games. At least I’m sure it was convincing to the minor leaguer he drilled in the back.
Hey, who wants to help Cliff out with his simulated game? You? Great! Just don’t crowd the plate.
A decision on Lee’s appeal is expected to come in the next couple days. Of more importance, Lee could return to action in late April or early May.
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We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.