UPDATE: I guess the “statement” only lasted so long. Bottom of the eighth and Mark Teixeira just deposited a Daniel Bard fastball to the upper deck in right field. You may now exhale, Mr. Papelbon.
4:54: P.M.: Daniel Bard just came into the Yankees-Red Sox game in the bottom of the seventh with the Sox leading 2-0, the bases loaded, one out and Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher coming to bat.
Bards threw six pitches, all fastballs, clocking in at 97, 99, 98, 98, 97 and 99. Strike, strike, strike, strike, strike, strike.
I don’t know if the Red Sox season is truly over or not. But if it isn’t, and if they somehow manage to make it into the playoffs, I can’t help but think this moment will be remembered.
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.
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.