I wrote yesterday about how mainstream media members are thankfully beginning to take notice of how aggressively awful and confrontational umpire Bob Davidson has been for years and amazingly he had another “incident” last night.
Of course, given how many “incidents” Davidson has every season the timing of the whole thing probably isn’t that remarkable.
Through his first 92 games as Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson had never been ejected, but Davidson changed that by booting him for arguing about a checked-swing strike call.
Gibson got his money’s worth via a bill-to-bill screaming match with Davidson, who as usual did everything he could to worsen the situation by allegedly trying to goad catcher Miguel Montero into a confrontation earlier in the game.
I’ll let Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com set the scene:
[Gibson] and home-plate umpire Bob Davidson went lip to lip, as Justin Upton called it, after Davidson called Miguel Montero out on a check-swing third strike in the bottom of the third inning. It was the same call on the same pitch–a low, inside breaking ball–that retired Montero in the first, lighting the fuse. …
Montero was upset after being called out in the first inning, and Davidson appeared to say something to him on his way to the dugout. “I never said anything to him; he said something to me,” Montero said. “I thought he wanted me to say something back, something to throw me out of the game and pay a $500 fine.” After the second strikeout in the third, the D-backs’ dugout was all over Davidson, who ejected Gibson, leading Gibson to run out on the field.
In other words, Davidson made a “questionable” call and then tried to escalate the situation by creating a confrontation. Mission accomplished, I suppose. At least if his mission is “be awful at your job and get your name in every game recap.”
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.