UPDATE: Not so fast. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Braves manager Bobby Cox said that the team will wait until Sunday to make a decision regarding Billy Wagner’s spot on the NLDS roster.
The Braves are still holding out hope that he will be available should the team advance to the NLCS, so it’s possible they will play short-handed in the meantime. If the Braves determine that Wagner will not be able to return in the near future, Takashi Saito or Jair Jurrjens would likely replace him on the roster.
8:52 AM: According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Billy Wagner will be replaced on the NLDS roster due to a strained left oblique suffered in the 10th inning of last night’s game against the Giants.
“I went to field Renteria’s bunt, and when I tried to get out of
Troy’s way, that’s when I felt a tweak,” Wagner said. “I tried to make a
pitch, just get out there and finish the inning. After I made the
pitch [to Torres] and tried to go toward the plate, I couldn’t move.
“Thank God he bunted it hard enough to get it back to me, or I couldn’t have made a play at all.”
Wagner is expected to be replaced on the roster by either Takashi
Saito or Jair Jurrjens, both of whom are recovering from injuries of their own. O’Brien gives the advantage to Saito, who was left off the original NLDS roster due to an inflamed shoulder.
Now that Wagner will be removed from the roster, he will be ineligible to return should the Braves advance to the NLCS. In other words, the Braves must reach the World Series in order for Wagner to pitch again during the postseason. The veteran left-hander has held pretty firm about his intent to retire after the 2010 season, so it’s very possible that this was the last time we’ll ever see him on the mound. That’s just not right.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .