Why did Jerry Manuel pull Johan Santana?

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Johan Santana.jpgIn one of the better pitchers’ duels I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this season, Johan Santana and Yovani Gallardo swapped zeroes over the first eight innings of Friday’s game. The Brewers eventually won the game 2-0 on a walkoff two-run blast by Corey Hart off Ryota Igarashi in the bottom of the ninth inning, ending a 35-inning scoreless streak and an 86-inning homerless streak by Mets’ hurlers.

I’m still wondering why Santana, who was only at 105 pitches after eight innings, didn’t get a chance to decide his own fate.

Manuel explained his decision to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com:

“Once he had doubled, fought through the eighth, I didn’t think it would
be a good move,” Manuel said of Santana’s continuing. “And Fielder, I
think, was seeing him pretty good anyway. I didn’t want to chance him to
lose that ballgame out there after the way he had performed.

Anyway, Feliciano retired Fielder on a groundball to David Wright, but then Igarashi was brought in to face a series of right-handed hitters. Igarashi gave up a single to Ryan Braun, then retired Casey McGehee on a flyball to right, but them, boom, a two-out, two-run shot by Hart. Game over.

Santana told Rubin that he understood Manuel’s decision:

“At that point right there, Jerry decided to bring in Feliciano, but I
was fine. … He decided to go to the bullpen and that’s about it.

“The
way everything was going — the situation, the atmosphere, everything
— you don’t want to come out of the game, for sure,” Santana continued.
“At the same time, we were playing baseball and trying to win the
ballgame.”

That makes one of us.

*Note: Admittedly, I got the whole Santana ground-rule double thing wrong. Jerry isn’t that crazy. But I stand by my point that he should have been left in the game.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.