Laynce Nix's incredible 2010 season

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You say incredible doesn’t describe it? Well, no, for a bench player to be hitting .225/.265/.396 with four homers and 12 RBI in 111 at-bats three and a half months into the season isn’t particularly notable. In fact, it’s not far off from what should have been expected. My preseason projection called for him to hit .233/.284/.434 with six homers and 18 RBI in 129 at-bats.
What I think makes it incredible is just how bad Nix has been outside of a three-day span. On May 20, Nix got a start against the Braves, his first in 10 days. He promptly went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and a two-run double. It was good timing for him, as the Reds were in Cleveland the following three days, making the DH available. Nix started the next two games and went 5-for-8, hitting a homer in each.
And that was it. The Indians threw a southpaw the next day, so the left-handed-hitting Nix returned to the bench. Since Jonny Gomes was also red hot at the time, Nix stayed there after the Reds returned to playing NL teams. He’d make just two starts over the next two weeks, and he wasn’t a big factor once the extended interleague play returned.
So, here’s Nix’s season to date:
April 5-May 19: .171/.227/.317 with one homer and three RBI in 41 at-bats
May 20-May 22: .615/.615/1.538 with three homers and seven RBI in 13 at-bats
May 23-Present: .175/.217/.193 with no homers and two RBI in 57 at-bats
Outside of the three-day stretch, Nix is hitting .173 with one homer, five RBI and 26 strikeouts in 98 at-bats.
What I also find pretty remarkable is that he’s been intentionally walked twice in the last two weeks. That’s actually what’s driving up his OBP. His last unintentional walk came on May 2, and all three since have been of the intentional variety. He has more intentional walks than runs batted in since May 23.
Nix’s time in Cincinnati could come to an end soon. The Reds just placed Chris Dickerson (wrist) on a rehab assignment, and if he impresses, it’s possible he’ll replace Nix on the bench in a couple of weeks. So far, he’s 3-for-6 with three walks in three games. The Reds would probably rather keep Nix if he regains his stroke, since he is the one legitimate power hitter on their bench. Nix, though, has simply never made enough contact to be particularly useful to a major league team. Whether it’s Dickerson or someone from outside of the organization, the Reds should upgrade.

Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.