While the Giants gave Aubrey Huff a vote of confidence following his adventures in right field following Opening Weekend, they’ve apparently seen enough. Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Brandon Belt has been shagging flies in right field and that Bruce Bochy is going to move him out there — and Huff back to first — sometime in the next few days.
It makes sense: while Belt hasn’t played in the outfield since he was in high school, his lack of finely-honed instincts can be compensated for somewhat by his speed and athleticism. After all, Huff’s instincts are poor too, and he lacks the speed.
Of course, Belt shouldn’t get too cozy out there. Given that he has utterly failed to hit so far this year — he’s currently sporting a line of .158/.256/.263 in 43 plate appearances — this may be more about getting Huff used to first base in anticipation of Cody Ross coming back from the DL and returning to right field. At which point it’s entirely possible that Belt is sent back down to Fresno for some seasoning.
At the end of January, the Nationals signed relievers Joe Nathan and Matt Albers. Today the Nationals have released Joe Nathan and Matt Albers.
Nathan, 42, pitched in just ten games last year, totaling only six and a third innings, between the Giants and the Cubs. He missed the entire 2015 season except for one third of an inning on Opening Day. Albers pitched in 58 games for the White Sox last year, posting an unsightly 6.31 ERA He pitched wonderfully in 30 games in 2015 however.
This spring Nathan and Albers pitched in more games than any other Nats relievers. Twelve for Nathan, ten for Albers. And they pitched well, with Nathan giving up five earned runs and Albers none. Apparently, however, there just isn’t room on the roster for those two.
This could be the end of the line for Nathan, a 16-year veteran with 377 career saves.
The substance of the report is not shocking. Francisco Lindor is one of baseball’s brightest young stars and the Cleveland Indians would, no doubt, wish to lock him up for an extended period of time. The surprising part is the guy who reported that, yes, the Indians are working to get Lindor a seven-year extension.
That guy: six-year-old Brody Chernoff, son of Indians general manager Mike Chernoff. Brody was invited into the team’s broadcast booth during the ninth inning of their game against the Chicago White Sox. Indians announcer Tom Hamilton asked, no doubt jokingly, if his working on anything interesting. Brody:
“He’s trying to get, um, Lindor to play for seven more years,”
Again, not shocking. It would’ve been way worse if Brody had said “Dad’s working on a three-way deal that’ll send Naquin to an NL team in order to affect a three-way trade that’ll land us Verlander without having to deal directly with a divisional rival.” But I imagine Dad still would’ve preferred he not mention that.