I have the best readers on the planet.
In this morning’s recaps I made a joke about how the 47 year-old Jamie Moyer pitching to the 20 year-old Starlin Castro linked Castro directly to 19th century legend Cap Anson. I was just being silly with that, of course.
But reader Luis took it as a challenge and did the actual linking of Castro and Anson:
- Starlin Castro played with Koyie Hill for the 2010 Chicago Cubs
Exclude Koyie Hill
Koyie Hill played with Rickey Henderson for the 2003 Los Angeles
Dodgers Exclude Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson played with Phil Niekro for the 1985 New York Yankees
Exclude Phil Niekro
Phil Niekro played with Warren Spahn for the 1964 Milwaukee Braves
Exclude Warren Spahn
Warren Spahn played with Tony Cuccinello for the 1942 Boston Braves
Exclude Tony Cuccinello
Tony Cuccinello played with Edd Roush for the 1931 Cincinnati Reds
Exclude Edd Roush
Edd Roush played with Nixey Callahan for the 1913 Chicago White Sox
Exclude Nixey Callahan
Nixey Callahan played with Cap Anson for the 1897 Chicago Colts
God, I love that kind of stuff. You can do it with anyone. I’m not quite sure who the Kevin Bacon figure is in the baseball version of this game, but I’ve always found Niekro and Hoyt Wilhelm to be insanely useful in this regard.
UPDATE: lar reminds us in the comments that Baseball-Reference.com has an app for that.
UPDATE II: Jay at Fack Youk covered this ground last year and found that (a) Warren Spahn is the real Rosetta Stone for this game; and (b) Kevin Bacon couldn’t carry Dennis Hopper’s jock when it comes to the degrees game. Definitely check it out.
In a special for USA TODAY Sports, Mike Vorkunov details how six teams — the Mets in particular — provide an education program that helps their Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas. It seems like an obvious win-win: smarter players make smarter decisions, making them more likely to achieve their potential as athletes. That, of course, requires spending money, which is why only six teams make the investment. For the players, if baseball doesn’t work out, they are better able to support themselves in other ways.
Vorkunov lists the Pirates, Tigers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners as the other teams who provide an education program for their Dominican prospects. We learned earlier this month that the Phillies were also investing in making sure their minor leaguers eat healthy. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “few teams” supply their minor league players with healthy food options.
Juan Henderson, the head of the Mets’ Dominican academy, said, “We see the benefit of it. I gotta tell you, we’re working with a new generation of baseball players. You see in the past that players just carry a bat and a glove and a helmet on the baseball field and in the academy. Those years, I think, are going to be pretty much over. Now they also do that, but they also carry books, they also carry an iPad, they also carry a laptop.”
Kudos to the six teams for making a great decision and here’s hoping the other 24 teams follow suit.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols cranked out a two-run home run in the third inning against Rangers starter Derek Holland, breaking a scoreless tie. It’s the ninth homer of the season for Pujols and the 569th of his career, putting him into a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.
Harmon Killebrew is Pujols’ next target at 573, followed by Mark McGwire at 583 and Frank Robinson at 586.
Pujols hadn’t homered since May 13. He entered Monday night hitting a mediocre .228/.309/.395 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 188 plate appearances.
Monday has unfortunately been a day of injury news. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is the latest to hit the 15-day disabled list, as he has been diagnosed with a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. The club has recalled infielder Cheslor Cuthbert from Triple-A Omaha.
Gordon suffered the injury colliding with third baseman Mike Moustakas attempting to catch a fly ball on Sunday afternoon. He is expected to miss three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.
Gordon was having a tough 2016 campaign and the injury only makes it worse. He’s hitting .211/.319/.331 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 166 plate appearances on the year.
The Royals will likely use Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando in left field in Gordon’s absence.
The Orioles announced on Monday night that the club has traded reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves are also receiving a Competitive Balance Round B pick (76th overall) in the 2016 draft.
Matusz, 29, made his season debut on April 23 after battling a back injury since early March. It’s been a struggle, as the lefty has yielded eight runs on 11 hits and seven walks with just one strikeout in six innings. He is earning $3.9 million and can become a free agent after the season.
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are expected to designate Matusz for assignment. Essentially, the Braves bought the draft pick for Matusz’s remaining salary of $3 million of $3.9 million total.
Barker, 23, has been pitching at Double-A Mississippi after getting a taste of Triple-A last year. So far this season, the right-hander has a 2.00 ERA with a 40/12 K/BB ratio in 45 innings spanning eight starts and a relief appearance.
Belicek, a 23-year-old left-hander, has spent most of the year with Single-A Rome, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 29/1 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings over 11 relief appearances.