Livan Hernandez, Pat Burrell pull the forks out of their backs

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Burrell homer.jpgAt least temporarily. Yesterday Pat Burrell homered during the completion of the Rays-Red Sox game that was suspended on Friday, and then he had a three-run double in the
scheduled game
.  He hadn’t had any home runs or RBI entering play yesterday and was below the Mendoza Line. Overall that’s five straight wins for the Rays, who are doing nothing to make me sorry for picking them to finish ahead of the Sox this year.

But Burrell’s exploits weren’t as unexpected as Livan Hernandez’s. It may be lost in the noise of a no-hitter and a marathon game, but  Hernandez has started out the season with 16 scoreless innings,
including last night’s shutout of the Brewers.  This from a guy who the Nationals didn’t really even want to sign this offseason.

Saturday gave us all kinds of unexpected things. Big performances from Pat the Bat and Livan may have been the most unexpected.

Adrian Gonzalez might retire after his contract is up if his back isn’t any better

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Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:

“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.

“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”

Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.