According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, the Reds activated both Jim Edmonds and Mike Leake from the disabled list today. Just don’t look for them to play prominent roles down the stretch.
Earlier this week, we thought that Edmonds’ career could be over after he revealed that he has a torn oblique muscle. That hasn’t changed, really. In fact, the news that he was being activated surprised both Edmonds and Reds manager Dusty Baker.
“I really wasn’t expecting to come off today,” Edmonds said. “[Walt
Jocketty] told me and that’s a good thing. Nobody wants to be on the DL
anyways. I’m here if it’s needed.”
“I was surprised myself,” Baker said. “Walt informed me. I saw him
moving around pretty good in the outfield. I haven’t seen him hit. So
far he’s been hitting off the tee.”
As for Leake, he was shut down two weeks ago due to right shoulder fatigue. That hasn’t changed, either, but Baker believes he can still help in other areas.
“Leake will fit in to pinch-hit, pinch-run, pinch-bunt. Pinch
everything,” Baker said. “He told me two months ago if I needed an
emergency outfielder, he could do that too. That’s a real emergency.
He’s not ready to pitch. He wasn’t supposed to pick up a ball for two
I’m skeptical that Edmonds will contribute in any significant way, but the addition of Leake shouldn’t be overlooked. The 22-year-old rookie is batting .340 (16-for-47) with six sacrifices this season. I wish I could remember who brought it up first, but Leake actually has a higher VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) as a hitter than he does as a pitcher this season.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.