Texas Rangers v San Francisco Giants, Game 2

How about that Edgar Renteria?

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I would have been mildly surprised if, before the series, you told me that the Giants would be up 2-0.  I would have been a bit more surprised if you would have told me that the Giants would be up 2-0 because Cliff Lee got lit up in Game 1.  But I would have been most surprised if you told me that a big part of the Giants being up 2-0 was because Edgar Renteria has been playing incredible baseball.  Really, that wouldn’t have computed.

As you saw last night, Renteria hit a solo homer off C.J. Wilson in the fifth inning and hit a two-run single in the eighth.  On Wednesday he was one for three and scored a couple of runs.  Each night he played some pretty darn solid shortstop, with the only blemish being a dropped throw when Buster Posey tried to cut down a runner last night.

More than anything, though, is that he has looked downright spry out there.  Intense, even. I don’t mean to disparage him or anything, but “intense” is not a word you could have used to describe Renteria’s play for the past several years.  He’s a guy who has talked openly of retirement recently. Who has business and charitable interests in Colombia that occupy him more and more as time goes on (he really is a big deal there).  He sat an awful lot in the second half of the season and it would have surprised no one if he all but disappeared as the playoffs got underway.

But he hasn’t. He’s been pretty awesome, actually. And I suppose him sitting so much in the second half has a lot to do with that. I mean, those [ahem] “35-year-old” bones probably needed the rest.  And even if Bruce Bochy never figured that Renteria was going to be an important part of the Giants’ championship push, the rest has done them wonders.

Renteria may still retire after this season. But if he does, it’s nice to see him go out looking a bit more like the exciting player we met as a Florida Marlin than the aging vet he has appeared to be these past few years.

Moises Alou pledges to help Cubs give “closure” to Steve Bartman

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 7:  Moises Alou #18 of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-run home run in the first inning against thye Florida Marlins during game one of the National League Championship Series October 7, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
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After the Cubs won the World Series last month — their first since 1908 — owner Tom Ricketts said he plans to reach out to Steve Bartman to provide “closure.”

Bartman was the fan who interfered with left fielder Moises Alou’s attempt to catch a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins. Alou was particularly irate about Bartman’s presence and it led to the fan becoming persona non grata in Chicago. In the time since, even before the Cubs won the World Series, the club has tried to make amends but Bartman has rejected offers to speak publicly and he has also rejected invitations to Wrigley Field.

Alou pledged to make time to attend any ceremony the Cubs stage for Bartman, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times reports.

Alou said, “Why not? I’d like to meet Bartman.” He continued, “I have nothing against the guy. I said it right after the game. I had the ball, and I got upset, but at the same time it’s not that kid’s fault. Everybody goes to the ballpark, and they bring a glove. Every wants to catch a fly ball.” However, He still maintains that he would have caught the ball if he had not been impeded.

Diamondbacks sign Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million deal

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Jeff Mathis #6 of the Miami Marlins hits a grand slam during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.

Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.

The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.