UPDATE: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Nishioka has a fractured fibula and (obviously) is headed for the disabled list. At minimum he’ll be out for a month and possibly much longer. As expected, Hughes is coming up from Triple-A to replace him.
Moments after botching a tailor-made double play ball by bouncing the throw to first base, Tsuyoshi Nishioka got another chance to turn two and instead got upended by Nick Swisher’s takeout slide.
Nishioka did a remarkable job of not bailing on the play and made a strong throw to first base that almost nailed the runner, but then he went down in a heap and had to be helped off the field by his translator and the Twins’ trainer while not putting much weight on his leg.
Nishioka has struggled offensively and defensively so far, hitting just .208 with eight strikeouts and two errors at second base, but the Twins’ lack of infield depth means they can ill afford to lose him for an extended period.
Matt Tolbert replaced him at second base this afternoon and Luke Hughes, who lost the utility man competition to Tobert during spring training, would likely be called up to start at second base if Nishioka heads to the disabled list after the ugly collision.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .