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.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.

 

Jake Diekman will miss at least half of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Jake Diekman #41 of the Texas Rangers works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.

Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.

The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.