UPDATE: Yep, didn’t matter. The Nationals defeated the Padres 5-3 on Friday night. Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Corey Brock of MLB.com that he sympathized with Bud Black’s mistake:
“It’s my nightmare, Casey Stengel’s nightmare, it’s the future managers
of the world’s nightmare. I know I look at it 10 times. I’ve had our
coaches look over it, over and over,” Riggleman said. “I shouldn’t speak
for Buddy. He is first-class. He brought to the attention of the
umpire. … Just for the sake of our ballclub. We protested.”
Friday, 11:46 PM: Here’s something you see just about never. According to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com, the Nationals played Friday night’s game under protest because the Padres listed Adam
Russell as the starting pitcher on the lineup card instead
of Clayton Richard.
Seriously. The same Adam Russell that was sent to minor leagues earlier in the day. The same Adam Russell that has 43 major league appearances, but no starts. I could understand Bud Black writing Kevin Correia, maybe Jake Peavy if he was feeling nostalgic, but Russell? Crazy.
Anyway, I don’t have a rulebook in front of me, but Goessling lays out the grounds of the Nationals’ protest like this:
The official MLB rules that govern what happened are Nos. 3.05 and 4.01;
3.05 says an improper pitcher becomes legal if he is permitted to
pitch, which is why the Nationals had to protest before Richard threw
his first pitch on Friday night. But rule 4.01 says teams should not be
“trapped” by a mistake that was obvious to everyone and can be
Protests happen all the time — and this one was accepted by the umpires — but one hasn’t been upheld since 1986 when it was determined that a game between the Pirates and Cardinals was improperly called due to rain. In the end, it seems like a pretty honest mistake. And if the Nationals win, which they are doing right now, 4-2 in the 8th, it won’t matter.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.