Rafael Furcal leaves Dodgers to be with sick family member

Leave a comment

Rafael Furcal left the Dodgers and has returned home to the Dominican Republic to be with a sick family member. He’s been placed on the bereavement list, which means Furcal will miss at least three games.
Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Furcal called Joe Torre at around one o’clock this morning and the manager told him to “take as long as he needs.”
Furcal has hit well since returning from a month-long stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, going 26-for-86 (.302) with eight extra-base hits in 21 games. Chin-lung Hu was called up from Triple-A to take Furcal’s spot on the roster, but Jamey Carroll is expected to be the primary fill-in at shortstop and Blake DeWitt stepped into the leadoff spot for this afternoon’s loss to the Reds.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

Rob Tringali/Getty Images
1 Comment

Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.