And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Braden perfect.jpgAthletics 4, Rays 0:  I wrote my real-time reaction last night when it happened, and touched on the A-Rod implications a bit later. With a night’s sleep on it, I’m thinking more cosmically about it.

HardballTalk’s Senior Commenter, Old Gator, sent me a book last week called The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. I’m not far enough into it to give you an overview, but there is a point early on when the main character describes a perfect game that just happened:

. . . think what a wonderful rare thing it is to do something, no matter how small a thing, with absolute unqualified utterly unsurpassable perfection! To do a thing so perfectly that, even if the damn world lasted forever, nobody could ever do it better, because you had done it as well as it could possibly be done . . . In a way, you know, it’s even sad somehow, because, well, it’s done, and all you can hope for after is to do it a second time.”

I read that mere hours before I caught the last few innings of Braden’s perfecto, and it really hit the spot right now.

Phillies 5, Braves 3: I’m not giving up on the Braves because in 25 years I have never given up on them and never will. But I will bail on individual games. I bailed on this one in the bottom of the first when Raul Ibanez flew out to shallow, shallow right with the bases loaded scoring Chase Utley from third and Melky Cabrera didn’t even make a throw. Which means either (a) Melky is a freaking moron who had no idea that there was someone on third; or (b) he doesn’t have enough confidence in his arm to throw someone out from what was basically deep second base.  Either way it’s pathetic, and it was too sunny a damn day in Ohio for me to get an ulcer watching that garbage. My son and I skipped stones at the pond near our house instead. He’s four and he has a better arm — and more confidence in it — than Melky Cabrera.

Cardinals 11, Pirates 4: Eleven runs and neither Albert Pujols nor Matt Holliday (who took the day off) drove one in. The difference between the 2009 and the 2010 Cardinals? Balance, baby.

Brewers 6, Diamondbacks 1: The Diamondbacks gave up three homers yesterday and have now given up 50 homers on the season, and that’s by far the most in baseball.

Mariners 8, Angels 1: Fire the hitting coach on Sunday morning, put up eight on the defending division champs on Sunday afternoon.  That worked so well that teams should fire their hitting coach every day!

Rangers 6, Royals 4: Royals manager Trey Hillman after the game: “If you had
told me we would be 10 games under .500 at this time, I never would have
believed it.” Me neither. I would have guessed they’d be 15 under, easy.

Twins 6, Orioles 0: Nick Blackburn pitched seven shutout innings but didn’t strike anyone out. And that’s the second time he did this year. Mauer was back for the first time in nine games and went 1 for 3 as the DH. Justin Morneau had the golden sombrero, which I imagine is much more fun when you win a game than when you lose.

Nationals 3, Marlins 2: Matt Capps got his 13th save. The night before the game he met my friend Megan at a charity ball. I was going to say that Megan was a wonderful inspiration for him, but she met Pudge Rodriguez at the same ball and he went 0 for 4.

Red Sox 9, Yankees 3: A.J. Burnett had faced the Orioles the last two times out, so maybe he just forgot how to pitch to people who know how to play this game. Nice way to salvage the series, but Boston still has a long road ahead of them if they want to make things interesting.

Blue Jays 9, White Sox 7: Ugly 9th for Bobby Jenks, with the big blast being Fred Lewis’ three-run blast which proved to be the game winner. After the game, Ozzie Guillen said he may look for alternatives at closer. In response, Jenks said that “doesn’t even make sense.” Bobby, have you met your manager? Half of what that dude says doesn’t make sense. This is news to you?

Giants 6, Mets 5: If you walk seven guys in less than four innings you need to look in the mirror. If you walk seven San Francisco Giants in less than four innings you need to look for a new job. Oliver Perez, ladies and gentlemen.

Reds 5, Cubs 3: From the game story: “Votto connected on Ryan Dempster’s first pitch after he was visited by manager Lou Piniella.” Unless Lou is laying heavy money on the opposition, I’m going to guess that Dempster didn’t do what Lou told him to.

Astros 4, Padres 3: Hunter Pence with a walkoff double in the 11th to
avoid the sweep at the hands of the Padres. With ten games
against the Giants and the Dodgers starting on Tuesday, San Diego’s travel schedule sounds like the lyrics from “California Love.” Pasadena, where you at?

Dodgers 2, Rockies 0: Ubaldo Jimenez has his ERA skyrocket from 0.87 to
0.93 on account of the sheer number of run he gave up yesterday. No,
that’s not a typo. He really just gave up one run. Thing is, Clayton
Kershaw gave up none in eight innings, allowing only two hits and
rendering last Tuesday’s massacre at the hands of the Brewers a distant
memory.

Indians 7, Tigers 4: Oh sure, wait until I’m way back down here in
Columbus to have nice weather. Youse fancypants, all a youse.

Evan Gattis undergoes surgery for hernia; recovery is 4-6 weeks

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news

One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.

Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.

Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.

Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.

Seung-Hwan Oh finally receives his work visa, will be on time for Cardinals camp

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At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

But that is now officially a non-story.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.

Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”

Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

John Lamb had back surgery in December, will likely get off to late start in 2016

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John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.

Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.

It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.

This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.