Well, maybe of his managerial life. Because, it seems, that his collapse at the Winter Meetings that threw a scare into everyone wasn’t the first time that’s happened to him. According to Jannie McCauley of the Associated Press, Tracy has been having issues with dizziness and fatigue for several years, and the fainting down in Florida was merely the capper to it all. However, he’s feeling much better now:
After his December episode, Denver cardiologist Dr. Barry Molk decided to drastically decrease Tracy’s meds – and it turned out to be the right move. He has more energy than he has in some time. He no longer is on the diuretic.
“I’m doing better than I was doing physically at any point during the course of the 2010 season,” Tracy said in a phone interview. “I just didn’t need as much medicine. And I needed that little tap on the shoulder from upstairs that I needed to go in for a little tuneup.”
I think the scariest part of all of this are Tracy’s comments that he kept his health issues — including several previous fainting spells and high blood pressure — secret because he “didn’t want them to think I was losing my edge.” With the “them” clearly meaning his bosses in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Colorado. Which, on some level I understand. But man, we only get one life. If you have a job where attention to your health is a weakness, find something else to do.
Glad to hear that Tracy has changed his mind about all of that. Even more glad that he’s gotten on a program that helps him out and has him feeling better. And while one’s health isn’t anyone else’s business,* I’m glad Tracy has gone public with this, because there’s no doubt others in and around baseball who are hiding their own health problems who may decide to take better care of themselves in light of Tracy’s example.
That is, unless you’ve been dead for 70 years and your family doesn’t object.
There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.
It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.
Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.
Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.