One of the reasons teams have media relations people is so that a nice little shine can be put on news tidbits that aren’t particularly shiny. Health updates are one of those things. For example, did you know that there’s an exhibit in the PR Professionals Hall of Fame dedicated to preserving the memory of one Alfred R. Wilkinson? Who is Alfred Wilkinson you ask? Why, he’s the former Yankees PR man who came up with the term “flulike smptoms” to cover for Mikey Mantle’s legendary May 19th-23rd 1962 Minneapolis bender, and it’s been used ever since. It’s true! (note: may not be true).
I bring this up because I’m sure the Boston Red Sox have their own version of Alfred Wilkinson, and he probably should have been consulted before Terry Francona briefed the media on why Daisuke Matsuzaka had to cut his side session short today:
Daisuke Matsuzaka was forced to abandon his scheduled side session
due to what Red Sox manager Terry Francona classified as ‘intestinal
turmoil.’ The pitcher threw up after executing long toss, not getting a
chance to begin his work in the bullpen. Matsuzaka was sent back to the
team hotel with the hope that he will be able to throw a lighter side
“He got sick,” Francona said. “I don’t know how you say that in
Japanese, but he puked.”
Sure, maybe “flulike symptons” is not appropriate for Matsusaka’s particular situation, but I’m sure there was a more artful way that could have been phrased. How about “stomach flu?” Or perhaps he had a sore thumb! Everyone has one of those these days!
But really, if the Sox are going to bypass their P.R. people, the least they could do is let Dustin Pedroia do the briefings. I’m sure the guy who came up with “laser show” could characterize Dice-K’s little problem in a much more entertaining way.
Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.
While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.
Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.
It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:
Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:
Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.