"Setup man of the decade" Scot Shields pondering retirement

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Scot Shields is one of the elite relievers of the past decade, but missed most of last season with a knee injury and was relegated to mop-up duties for the Angels this season with a 5.28 ERA in 46 low-leverage innings before injuring his elbow on September 7.
Yesterday the 34-year-old right-hander told Dan Woike of the Orange County Register that his odds of returning to the Angels are “between slim and none” and he’s giving serious thought to retiring:

I don’t know. I could be home. I’ve definitely put thought into that, just going home and spending time with the family, or, I could pitch again. If the right situation comes up, I’ll look at it. But I’ll be very happy to just go home. I’ve been soaking it in for awhile now–for about the last three months–just in case this is it.

Shields never emerged as a household name because he never became a closer, but from 2002-2008 he averaged 90 innings per season while winning 45 games with a 2.98 ERA. Among all active relievers with at least 500 career innings only Mariano Rivera (2.23), Billy Wagner (2.31), Francisco Rodriguez (2.50), Joe Nathan (2.75), and Trevor Hoffman (2.87) have lower ERAs than Shields’ career mark of 3.18.
Sports Illustrated named Shields the “setup man of the decade” and Angels manager Mike Scioscia called him “the gold standard of setup guys for a long time.”

The first native Lithuanian in MLB history made his debut last night

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Why yes, it is a slow news day. But let’s not allow that to take away from some MLB history.

Last night a young man named Dovydas Neverauskas pitched in mopup duty for the Pirates, who were getting hammered by the Cubs. Mr. Neverauskas pitched two innings, allowing one run, making him, by default, the most effective pitcher the Pirates sent out there last night.

That’s good, but that’s not what makes it historic. What makes it historic is that Neverauskas is the first person born and raised in Lithuania to make the Majors. Here’s some back story on him from last year’s Futures Game.

Lithuania is known for producing basketball players. Now it has its first major leaguer. Whether he becomes baseball’s Arvydas Sabonis is an open question.

Bumgarner: dirt bike adventure was “definitely not the most responsible decision”

MLB.com
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Madison Bumgarner talked to the press yesterday about his dirt bike injury and its fallout.

While there is some speculation that the Giants may change their approach to Bumgarner’s contract situation at some point as a result of all of this, yesterday Bumgarner noted that the organization has been supportive as have his teammates. He said he apologized to them as well for an act he characterized as “definitely not the most responsible decision.”

As for the wreck itself, Bumgarner was a bit embarrassed to say that it wasn’t the result of doing anything cool or spectacular on the bike. Sounds like he probably just laid the thing down. Guess it makes no real difference given that he’s injured either way, but you’d hope to at least get a cool story out of it. Alas.

Here’s video of him talking to the press. The best and most accurate takeaway from it: when he says “it sucks.” Yep.