Brian Cashman doesn’t believe CC Sabathia lost 30 pounds

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Earlier this week Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported that CC Sabathia lost 30 pounds during the offseason, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman isn’t buying it.

Here’s what Cashman told Wallace Matthews of ESPN.com after seeing Sabathia in person recently:

I don’t believe it. I saw him at the B.A.T. dinner and he didn’t look like he lost 30 pounds to me. Maybe half that amount. We haven’t weighed him so I don’t now where that number comes from. He obviously has worked very hard to rehab his knee and he’s lost some weight, but he’s still around 300 pounds. Clearly, he’s a tremendous athlete and he can handle it , but it has to be managed so it doesn’t become a problem. I just think 30 pounds would have been a lot more noticeable.

As a longtime fatso who has shed 30-plus pounds on numerous occasions over the years, I can tell you from experience that it’s almost impossible to eyeball whether someone as big as Sabathia has lost 15 pounds or 30 pounds (or, for that matter, gained 15 pounds or 30 pounds). Once you get to be that size–and my guess is Sabathia is well over his listed weight of 307 pounds–the random weight fluctuations are pretty huge and you can easily drop 20-30 pounds in a very limited amount of time.

In other words, Cashman probably can’t accurately gauge Sabathia’s weight just by looking at him wearing a suit at a charity event and someone as big as Sabathia losing 30 pounds in an offseason really isn’t such an impressive feat anyway. I could easily lose 30 pounds by the end of the month. You know, if I wasn’t so lazy and didn’t like Chinese food so much.

Also of note is that this continues Cashman’s offseason-long pattern of saying more and more outspoken things in the media for seemingly no good reason. It started with the Derek Jeter negotiations and extended to telling everyone that he was forced to sign Rafael Soriano for $35 million, and now he’s basically saying “eh, Sabathia still looks like a fatso” following reports that the Yankees’ ace tried to get into better shape.

I’m not complaining, of course, because an outspoken Cashman is a whole lot of fun for guys like me. I’m just not sure what he and the Yankees stand to gain from it. Or maybe I’m just so used to the general manager of my beloved Twins refusing to say anything of interest through the media, ever, that it only seems weird for Cashman to be so open. Or maybe I’m just ornery because I haven’t eaten in a while.

Yoenis Cespedes should be ready for Tuesday’s game

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The Mets are off today, and that day off may be just enough to get outfielder Yoenis Cespedes ready to start their next game, on Tuesday, against the Braves. At least that’s what he’s telling Mets manager Terry Collins.

Cespedes did not play in the weekend series against the Nationals, but was available as a pinch hitter yesterday. He was even on the on-deck circle at the end of last night’s game.

Cespedes, who tweaked his hammy running to second base on Thursday, is hitting .255/.364/.636 with six homers and 10 RBI in 15 games on the young season.

Marcus Stroman was called for an illegal quick pitch for some reason

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A “quick pitch” is an illegal action in which the pitcher pitches the ball before the batter is prepared. What makes a quick pitch a quick pitch? According to Rule 6.02(a)(5), it’s this:

 . . . Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter’s box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted.

There are a couple of reasons why you don’t want quick pitches in baseball. In one respect, it’s about safety, as mentioned specifically in the rule. You don’t want a pitcher throwing a 90 m.p.h. fastball in the batter’s general direction if he’s not ready for it, because if it goes off course the batter will have no ability to defend himself and bail. But there’s also a spirit-of-the-game reason for it. The essence of baseball is the face-off between batter and pitcher. While everyone wants the game to move along promptly, the game isn’t really the game if the batter isn’t ready.

There is more art than science to all of this, of course, as all batters and pitchers have different pre-pitch routines, but when you watch a game, there’s a rhythm to all of that. You know the batter is gonna take a couple of practice swings and settle in. The pitcher tends to respect that. The quick pitch rule is rarely invoked for this reason.

It was used in yesterday’s Angels-Blue Jays game, however. And used badly in my view. Watch Marcus Stroman pitch to Kole Calhoun. The ump is Ramon DeJesus. The count was 3-1, so the automatic ball resulted in Calhoun being awarded first base:

Calhoun was obviously upset about something, calling time after Stroman is into his motion (which is not allowed) throwing his hands up and stuff after the pitch. But tell me, in what way was he not “reasonably ready” for that pitch, to use the language of the rule? He’s facing Stroman, looking at him. He’s done with his warmup swings, his bat is up and cocked and he’s standing in hitting position. I understand that it’s a judgment call by the umpire, but it seems to me like the umpire just called time too late because Calhoun didn’t feel ideally comfortable or something.

Either way, it set off Stroman and manager John Gibbons. Gibbons was ejected arguing the call. Stroman, who was otherwise excellent yesterday, was rattled for a bit, giving up a couple of hits and a run afterward. It was Calhoun who scored, natch.

It didn’t affect the outcome, but it certainly seemed like a bad call. And possibly a bad precedent, as batters may now try to lobby harder for quick pitch calls, given its success yesterday. Or, if umpires tend to think that was a bad call too, maybe they’ll overcompensate for it and be less likely to call quick pitches? You never know how this stuff will play out.

Whatever happens, I’ve been against Major League Baseball’s habit of increasingly taking judgment calls away from umpires, trying to make the subjective objective and making a flawed instant replay system the Supreme Court of Baseball Calls. But jeez, it’s hard to argue for allowing umps to hold on to judgment calls when they blow ’em like this.