Washington is the center of the baseball universe today. Last night it was Bryce Harper’s time in the spotlight. Today is much bigger: Stephen Strasburg’s debut.
It’s easy to go overboard with this, of course. He’s a phenom. A freak. A savior. You name it. But he’s also a young pitcher who, however much he dazzled ’em in the minors, will take his bumps and bruises for a while in the big leagues. Nothing brings that concept home more than a review of the last twenty or so debuts from stud pitchers, a slide show of which you can see here.
The best part of the slide show: just how damn young some of those guys look.
The Cleveland Indians have released Mike Napoli.
This is not terribly surprising as he was seen as a depth move to begin with. Injury insurance for Yonder Alonso at first base and Edwin Encarnacion at DH, neither of whom are injured at the moment. Napoli was on a minor league contract and the Indians made it clear that, if he can’t find a major league job elsewhere, he’s welcome to come back and cool his heels in Columbus in the event he’s needed later.
Which may be what happens if he wants to keep playing because, after a season in which he hit .193/.285/.428, and a spring in which he hit .218/.310/.431, there aren’t likely to be a ton of takers.