Braden Looper retires

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According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, Braden Looper retired earlier today after being informed that he wouldn’t make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.

Looper didn’t pitch in the major leagues last season, but signed a minor league contract in January that could have earned him up to $3 million with incentives. The 36-year-old right-hander posted a 9.95 ERA and 8/3 K/BB ratio over 12 2/3 innings this spring.

“After taking a year off, he came in and gave it a good shot,” general manager Jim Hendry said. “We just felt in the end he wasn’t going to be able to break with the 12 (pitchers). He had an outstanding career and it really was a good, sound idea. I’m glad we did it.

“He handled himself like a true professional, was very helpful to the young pitchers in camp and was very appreciative of the opportunity and certainly understood why he couldn’t break with the (team).”

Looper calls it a career with a 72-65 record, a 4.15 ERA and 103 saves over parts of 12 major league seasons with the Brewers, Cardinals, Mets and Marlins. He won a career-high 14 games with the Brewers in 2009, despite posting a 5.22 ERA and leading the majors with 39 homers allowed over 194 2/3 innings.

Why so negative? OK, sorry, maybe I’m still a little bitter about this. Enjoy your retirement, Braden.

Odubel Herrera went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts today

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Did you have a bad day? It’s OK. We all do sometimes. It’s just part of life. Even ballplayers have bad days. Even the good ones.

Odubel Herrera is a good one. He’s only 25, but he’s already got two seasons of above average hitting under his belt. Dude gets on base. He could be a regular for tons of teams, so there’s no shame at all in him having a bad day. And boy howdy did he have a bad day today. He went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in the Phillies extra innings win against the Rockies.

“I feel that I am making good swings but I’m just missing the pitches,” Herrera said.

Well, that is how strikeouts work.

Four strikeouts in a game is known as a Golden Sombrero. Players don’t strike out five times in a game very often so they don’t have an agreed upon name, but I’ve seen it referred to as the “platinum sombrero,” which seems pretty solid for such a feat. Six is a titanium sombrero or a double platinum sombrero, though there are references to it as a “Horn,” for Sam Horn, who deserves something to be named in his honor. Horn is like Moe Greene — a great man, a man of vision and guts — yet there isn’t even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him!

But I digress.

The last time a Phillies player did it was when Pat Burrell K’d five times in September 2008. The Phillies won the World Series that year, of course, so maybe this is an omen. [looks at standings] Or maybe not.

Anyway, get a good night’s sleep tonight, Odubel. Shake it off. Tomorrow is another day.

Rachel Robinson to receive O’Neil Award from the Hall of Fame

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NEW YORK (AP) Rachel Robinson will receive the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from baseball’s Hall of Fame on July 29, the day before this year’s induction ceremony.

She’s the wife of late Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who broke the major league color barrier in 1947. Rachel Robinson created the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 1973, a year after he husband’s death. Rachel Robinson, who turns 95 in July 19, headed the foundation’s board until 1996.

The O’Neil award was established in 2007 to honor individuals who broaden the game’s appeal and whose character is comparable to that of O’Neil. He played in the Negro Leagues, was a scout for major league baseball teams and helped establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

The award was given to O’Neil in 2008, Roland Hemond in 2011 and Joe Garagiola in 2014.