Good news for the Mariners' lineup: pitchers get to bat soon

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Mariners logo.gifThe commencement of interleague play means that help is on the way to the Mariners’ anemic lineup:

As a senior at Long Beach State, [Jason] Vargas served as the Dirtbags’ usual
designated hitter, finishing with a .354 batting average, 14 doubles
and five homers. Furthermore, the former Marlins and Mets pitcher didn’t
embarrass himself when he was required to bat for himself during his
three years in the National League.

During his big-league career,
Vargas – 14-for-48, with three doubles and two walks – is a .292 hitter
with a .320 on-base percentage and a .354 slugging percentage. Those
numbers are a significant improvement over, say, the .221/.248/.279 Jose
Lopez took into the Mariners’ game Tuesday at Oakland.

The notion that Mariners’ pitchers will represent an improvement in the lineup would be hilarious if it weren’t true.

Oh, and this report comes from John McGrath of the Tacoma News-Tribune, which is the same paper who kicked off the Sleeping Griffey fiasco.  I have no reason to believe that they were out to get Griffey with that stuff, but you get the sense that they’re having quite a bit of fun twisting the knife with this latest bit.

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.