Mark Buehrle

Mark Buehrle hoped that Michael Vick would get injured, but MLB.com doesn’t want you to know that

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Weird stuff afoot over at MLB.com.

Yesterday afternoon a story by Scott Merkin appeared featuring Mark Buehrle and focusing on his passion for animal rights.  Not surprisingly, the subject of Michael Vick came up.  When the story first went up, the following quote was in it:

“He had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we watched the game and I know it’s bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt,” Mark Buehrle said. “Everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”

I read it when it was published. And Merkin teased the story on Twitter with that exact quote.  But if you go there and read it now, the quote about hoping Vick gets hurt is gone.

I can think of three reasons why the quote might have been excised: (1) it was a total misquote by Merkin; (2) it was supposed to be an off-the-record quote that Merkin mistakenly put on-the-record; or (3) Mark Buehrle, the White Sox, Major League Baseball or someone else complained about it being in there because it made Buehrle look bad and asked that it be removed.*

The first two reasons are defensible (though I would hope for some note of the correction in the piece itself).  Unless I’m simply missing something — and since I am not a trained journalist I admit that I may be — the third reason is not acceptable. Rather, it would tend to put lie to the disclaimer that appears at the end of every MLB.com story: “This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.”

When MLB.com launched I was initially skeptical and believed that we’d get a lot of propaganda pieces.  I have been so happy over the past few years to realize I was totally wrong about that.  The MLB.com folks do a great job for the most part, and I think their beat writers are on par — and often better — than their newspaper counterparts.

But this one troubles me a bit.  I hope there’s an innocuous explanation for it.  I’ll say this much, though:  Merkin is a good writer and reporter and I have a hard time featuring him misquoting a guy in a major fashion.

*It’s beyond the subject of this post, but I question whether the quote makes Buehrle look bad.  Sure, it’s bad form to ever wish injury on someone, but as an animal lover you have to believe that it’s Buehrle’s honest opinion. And I’m guessing he’s not alone in that opinion.

Orioles re-sign Paul Janish to minor league deal

SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 28:  Paul Janish #15 of the Baltimore Orioles poses during photo day at Ed Smith Stadium on February 28, 2016 in Sarasota, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Orioles signed free agent shortstop Paul Janish to another minor league deal on Saturday, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The contract includes an invite to spring training.

It’s hardly a surprising move for the Orioles, who have released and re-signed the 34-year-old infielder to multiple minor league deals over the past two years. A perennial Triple-A player, Janish slashed .242/.282/.303 with four doubles and a .585 OPS in two campaigns and 28 games with the Orioles. While he won’t be in line for a full-time role in the majors this season, he profiles as a solid defender and should give the team some infield depth alongside fellow veteran infielders Robert Andino, Johnny Giavotella and Chris Johnson.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.