The Red Sox aren’t acting like a team that has won six in a row.
On Friday, they turned over 12 percent of their major league roster, calling up infielder Drew Sutton, activating Dan Wheeler from the disabled list and activating the newly acquired Franklin Morales. Going to make room were right-hander Michael Bowden, left-hander Hideki Okajima and shortstop Jose Iglesias.
The team also confirmed the Kevin Millwood signing and bumped both Okajima and outfielder Daniel Nava from the 40-man roster.
The Millwood signing would stink of desperation if the Red Sox weren’t so hot. Millwood, though, might prove useful in a park that doesn’t yield a lot of homers, and though Fenway is rightfully considered a favorable hitter’s environment, it’s not a home run park. One can surmise that the Red Sox took note of the fact that Millwood is 4-2 with a 3.62 ERA lifetime at Fenway, a particularly strong line given that Boston was typically running out some of the league’s best lineups during his starts.
The arrival of Morales led to the departure of Okajima. Okajima had a 4.32 ERA in seven appearances since being recalled from Triple-A, but he wasn’t working his way up the depth chart, as evidenced by the fact that he hadn’t pitched in 10 days. Morales’ upside was too tantalizing to ignore, and Okajima could always choose to remain with the team if he clears waivers.
Nava, a fun story last year, is also about to go on waivers. The former indy leaguer, who his a grand slam in his first major league at-bat on June 12, 2010, was batting just .192/.321/.262 with no homers in 156 at-bats for Pawtucket.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.