Rocco Baldelli to announce his retirement today

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From Marc Topkin at the St. Pete Times:

Rocco Baldelli would have reason to spend hours, if not days, lamenting how his once promising baseball career was cut short by injury and a mysterious illness.

He won’t do that, because that’s not his nature. Plus, he’s too busy embracing the next phase of his life.

Baldelli, 29, is expected to officially announce his retirement as a player today, as well as his new assignment as a special adviser in the Rays’ front office, working in scouting and player development.

Baldelli’s career was once quite promising. He came up as a 21-year-old in 2003 and showed himself to be a pretty well-rounded player. A little pop, a little speed and a glove that looked like it could stick in center field. But then he faltered and later he was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder that never allowed him to get right.  After a trip to Boston in 2009 and then a return to the Rays last year, he spent most of last season in a front office job before playing ten games at the end of the season.  His last action came when he was inexplicably given the start against Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the ALDS back in October. He went 0 for 3 and was deactivated after the game.

It’s sad to see his playing days end, but it sounds as if he’s prepared for that and is ready to move on with his life in baseball, working in the Rays player development department.

Good luck, Rocco.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.