Phillies have ‘some hunger in our mouths’

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Yesterday we found out that Hanley Ramirez has the “hunger of a rookie.”

Today we find out some bad news for Marlins fans: The Philadelphia Phillies are also very hungry, maybe even hungrier than Hanley Ramirez. That’s what happens when you reach the NLCS and then sign Cliff Lee in the offseason.

This is what Phillies starter Roy Halladay told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:

“The longer you play the more hungry you get,” Halladay said. “All of us are to the point where we’ve had success and established ourselves. Once you do that, the most important thing becomes winning. I know Oswalt and Cliff feel the same way. We’re at that point in our careers where you really have to start chasing it. To be able to be on this team, right now, I think we all have to like our chances and hope we can do what we need to do to get it done.”

Shane Victorino went even further:

“There’s some hunger in our mouths,” centerfielder Shane Victorino said. “I don’t think we can be any hungrier than we are right now.”

Since this is two hungry guys vs. Florida’s one hungry guy, I’m going to have to tab the Phillies as the early favorites to win the NL East. Of course we have yet to hear from the Mets, Nats and Braves, so things could change.

All this talk of appetites brings two questions to mind:

1) Could there possibly be a better way to explain the arbitration process than to give a fake Prince Fielder a bunch of cheeseburgers? (“Now, the arbitrator cheeseburger’s decision is binding and determines the number of cheeseburgers for compensation. He could determine that the player deserves six, eight, or 10 cheeseburgers, which I will now eat.”)

2) How will this phenomenon affect all these players who are in the best shape of their lives?

As complicated as these matters are, one thing is clear: I’m hungry for spring training to start.

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Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.