Padres' Kyle Blanks slated for Tommy John surgery

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Kyle Blanks, who has been on the DL since May 17 with what the Padres called a strained throwing elbow, will undergo Tommy John surgery Friday and miss the rest of the season.
A pitcher undergoing a similar surgery would face the likelihood of missing at least half of 2011. Blanks might be able to return sooner, but it’d be easier for him to do so as a first baseman than as an outfielder.
Of course, Blanks should have been playing first base all along. The 6-foot-6, 270-pound behemoth has started 62 games in the outfield for the Padres the last two years because of Adrian Gonzalez’s precense on the roster. Playing out of position caused him to develop plantar fasciitis last year, ending his season in August.
Whether or not making throws from the outfield caused his torn elbow ligament is unclear, but it could well have played a role.
The injury puts his future within the organization in doubt. The Padres would have to be especially nervous about trading Gonzalez this winter with their replacement iffy for Opening Day. And if Gonzalez stays and Blanks is unable to come back and make throws from the outfield next year, then the young slugger may well be a non-factor until 2012.

Must-read: A profile on former Rays prospect Brandon Martin, currently in jail for alleged murders of three men

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Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times has an outstanding profile of former Rays prospect Brandon Martin, who is currently in jail for allegedly murdering three men nearly two years ago.

Fenno describes Martin’s erratic personality as he became a highly-touted baseball prospect who then descends into drug use. Friends described Martin has having completely changed into an unrecognizable person. Martin had repeated conflicts with friends and family such that police reports became common and he was placed in a psychiatric facility. Sadly, the facility only held him for less than 48 hours. He would allegedly murder three people upon returning home: his father, his brother-in-law, and a home security system contractor. Martin fled from police, who eventually caught up to him and subdued him with the help of a police dog.

Fenno’s profile is really worth a read, so click here to check it out.

Martin, 23, was selected by the Rays in the first round (38th overall) of the 2011 draft. He spent three years in the Rays’ system, reaching as high as Single-A Bowling Green.

Pedro Martinez: “If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him.”

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On Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado‘s head. It was revenge for a slide of Machado’s which ended up injuring Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Barnes was suspended four games.

Hall of Famer and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez said that if he were in Barnes’ shoes, he would have also thrown at Machado, although not necessarily at his head. Via ESPN’s Scott Lauber:

If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him. The only thing I would’ve done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower.

Martinez added that Machado “did not intend to hurt Pedroia. And I know that because I know Machado.” And he doesn’t think Barnes meant to throw at Machado’s head.

Martinez, of course, was certainly a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to batters and even hit a few of them when he felt he or his teammates had been wronged. This is an unfortunate part of baseball’s culture and the fact that it continues means that it will eventually result in someone being seriously hurt. It’s disappointing that Martinez isn’t willing to be a better role model now that his playing days are over. Martinez could have set an example for today’s pitchers by saying what Barnes did crossed a line. Getting a Hall of Famer’s seal of approval will only embolden players now when they feel they must defend their teammates’ honor.

The “tradition” of beaning batters to defend one’s teammates is anachronistic in today’s game, especially when Major League Baseball has made strides in so many other ways recently to protect players’ safety.