There’s a chilling little story coming out of Toronto as Mike
Wilner, who covers the Blue Jays for Toronto’s The Fan 590-AM, was suspended for the team’s weekend series against the Yankees following a confrontation with Jays manager Cito
Gaston last week. The “brief but tense” exchange happened on Wednesday, when Wilner asked Gaston about his bullpen usage. The reason his suspension is chilling is because both the Blue Jays and the radio station are owned by Rogers Communications.
Did someone at the team complain to Rogers execs about Wilner’s questioning of Gaston, leading to his suspension? That’s what the sources to the various reports of the event are suggesting. Though it would be strange if Wednesday’s thing — which most reports I’ve read described as a bit tense, but nothing crazy — was the kicker, as Wilner has been highly critical and often downright hostile to Gaston in the past. Indeed, earlier this season he either felt the need or was forced to apologize to Gaston on his blog for his sharp comments relating to Lyle Overbay.
I don’t know what happened behind the scenes here, but I hope that neither the the Jays nor Gaston had anything to do with this. Sure, no one likes to be criticized, but you gotta have a thicker skin about this stuff, and going after the media like this makes you look really bad.
Same goes for Rogers too, who I hope would realize that a conglomerate can’t expect its media holdings to have any credibility if they are punished for criticizing the sports teams they are tasked with covering. A certain decorum can be expected, sure, but if your media guys can’t ask tough questions, they’re basically a glorified P.R. department, aren’t they?
Now, let me give you a piece of mind about Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Bob Costas and the entire cast of “The Office” . . .
Mariners’ right-hander Felix Hernandez is looking at a 3-4 week recovery period, the team announced on Friday. Hernandez has been officially diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder after getting pulled from his last start against the Tigers on Tuesday.
It’s not the first shoulder issue the 31-year-old righty has dealt with during his career. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Hernandez was previously diagnosed with bursitis during a minor league stint in 2005, several weeks prior to making his major league start for Seattle. This time around, however, the injury is coupled with a few years of not-so-sharp stuff, waning velocity and career-low numbers, and while it’s certainly not a worst-case diagnosis, it seems like greater cause for concern.
Without Felix, the Mariners will keep rolling with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gallardo and Chase De Jong in their rotation. They’ll also keep Ben Gamel in right field, with starting right fielder Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks after sustaining a Grade 2 strain in his right oblique on Tuesday.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.