Unsurprisingly, the Royals made the decision Sunday to option former starting third baseman Alex Gordon to Triple-A Omaha.
Gordon spent the first two weeks of the 2010 season on the disabled list and hit just .194 with a .323 slugging percentage in 31 at-bats once he regained his health. All the while, Alberto Callaspo has jumped out to a hot start and has rightfully earned the Royals’ starting third base gig. Perhaps Gordon, 26, will find his stroke down in Triple-A and return to the big leagues as a useful utility player. Or maybe not. Big-time busts are far from a rarity in the baseball world.
Gordon, as some may remember, was the second overall pick in baseball’s first-year player draft back in 2005. Justin Upton was selected at No. 1 by the Diamondbacks.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.