UPDATE: Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Domonic Brown has a fractured hook of the hamate bone in his right hand. Unbelievable.
Surgery is likely, according to David Hale of the News Journal, and would likely sideline him for 3-to-6 weeks. In other words, Ben Francisco is your Opening Day right fielder.
4:17 PM: Domonic Brown isn’t having the best luck this spring.
After going hitless over his first 15 spring training at-bats, Brown hit a clean single up in the middle in the second inning of this afternoon’s game against the Pirates. However, in the next half inning, John Mayberry Jr. came out to play right field while Brown headed back to the clubhouse with Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer mentioned that Brown fouled off a pitch during his at-bat in the second inning and looked down at his hand. It was just speculation at the time, but it turns out he was dead-on. According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Brown is having an X-ray on his right hand.
Many expected the top prospect to grab a hold of the right field job during exhibition action, but just about everything has gone wrong for Brown so far. On the bright side, Ben Francisco had another great day with the bat today, going 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and two runs scored. He’s batting .421 (8-for-19) with two home runs and six RBI over his first six Grapefruit League games.
In something of a surprising move, the Chicago Cubs fired their pitching coach, Chris Bosio on Saturday. Bosio had held the job since the 2011-12 offseason.
The Cubs made the NLCS this year, but were nowhere as near the formidable as their 2016 World Series champion iteration. While there were several reasons for that, one was that the pitching staff, which featured multiple, better-than-expected performances in 2016, but took a step back in 2017. Some of that was personnel — Joe Maddon did not have Aroldis Chapman to call on in the postseason like he did last year — and a lot of that was mere regression from veterans like Jon Lester and John Lackey. A lot of it had to do with a much higher walk rate this year than in the past.
Still, there was no chatter during the season or at the time of the Cubs’ playoff exit the other day that Bosio might be a fall guy. The Chicago Tribune reports that it was Joe Maddon’s call and that he had grown displeased with Bosio. The Tribune report suggests that Cubs pitchers will be displeased with the move as they were devoted to Bosio. Coaches, of course, come and go, so I suspect they’ll get over it.
Whatever the case, Bosio likely won’t say unemployed for long. He is widely credited with helping Jake Arrieta transform from a project to an ace and for the considerable and the somewhat unexpectedly successful development of Kyle Hendricks. The Tribune suggests that he’d be a good fit in Minnesota, where his former teammate Paul Molitor is in search of a new pitching coach.
There are several intriguing coaches available at the moment, most notably Mike Maddux, who has been the Nationals pitching coach but whose status is now in flux given the firing of Dusty Baker. Maddux’s brother Greg, of course, is a spring training pitching instructor for the Cubs. The Tribune adds that Maddon may look to his old Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey or, possibly, even recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell, who made his bones as a pitching coach.