Ben Francisco has begun to lose his grip on the starting right field job by batting just .107 (3-for-28) with a 7/7 K/BB ratio this month, but at least now he has a little more time to right the ship.
According to David Hale of the Wilmington News Journal, Domonic Brown was diagnosed with a first degree sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb and will be sidelined for 5-7 days. Brown suffered the injury while playing with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, so he could presumably return to action sometime next week.
Brown has bounced back nicely from hamate bone surgery by batting .353/.425/.588 with two homers, two doubles and seven RBI over his first 40 plate appearances with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The most important thing is that the 23-year-old gets regular at-bats right now, but he should eventually get a chance at the job he was expected to win at the start of spring training.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.