Nate McLouth has been absolutely terrible since coming off the disabled list, going 1 for 15 with no extra base hits. On the year he’s hitting .178/.279/.265. If there’s a worse regular for a playoff contender I haven’t seen him. Today the Braves said “enough” and optioned him to Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Braves don’t have a lot of outfield options. Gregor Blanco will likely get some time in center when he’s called up (which can’t be for another four days because he was optioned). Brent Clevlen was activated today but, c’mon, it’s Brent Clevlen. There is some talk that Jason Heyward could play center, but it seems like a big risk to take with such an important part of the team. Atlanta has to make a move to shore up the outfield.
Probably worth noting at this point that lots of Pirates fans and many Pirates players got all angry last summer when McLouth was traded. I understand the general frustration with that team constantly turning over its roster, but in this specific instance, no great loss.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.
The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.