Eccentric basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale makes his offseason home in Tampa Bay and seems to make it to several Rays games a year. On Thursday he got more than he bargained for.
According to the Associated Press, Dicke V was nailed in the stomach by a foul ball off the bat of Blue Jays leadoff hitter Fred Lewis. Vitale was sitting in the front row along the third base dugout, in prime foul ball territory. He rubbed his stomach for a few minutes and looked to be in some pain, but eventually shook it off and was seen laughing with the fans seated around him.
Vitale has had the pleasure of watching one heck of a Rays team this year. As of Thursday evening, the club boasts an MLB-best 39-20 record and holds a two-game lead over the Yankees. Go Rays, babyyy.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.