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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The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.