Pitching only once every five or six days over the course of a 21-year major league career, right-hander John Smoltz had ample time to develop a pretty outstanding golf game.
Smoltz finally got to put those golf skills in action this weekend at the South Georgia Classic, a tournament on the PGA Nationwide Tour.
The debut did not go well.
From the Associated Press, via ESPN.com, comes word that the 43-year-old Smoltz missed the cut by a whopping 27 strokes. He shot an 84 in his first round and an even more brutal 87 in his second round.
Smoltz wound up with the worst stroke total in the entire 147-player tournament.
The poor showing probably isn’t going to deter the former ace completely, but it should certainly act as a wake-up call. Hitting good golf shots on a lazy Saturday out at the local country club is tough enough as it is. Doing so under the pressure of tournament competition is a different animal altogether.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.