Last week umpire Phil Cuzzi incorrectly called out Jayson Werth on a play at first base in the ninth inning of a 1-0 loss to the Mets, at which point Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo allegedly sought out the crew as they were leaving the field and had a verbal altercation.
Cuzzi filed a complaint against Rizzo and several Nationals players, and yesterday MLB handed down some punishments. Details are sparse, but Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Rizzo was “disciplined” and Ivan Rodriguez was fined “an undisclosed amount.”
Rizzo has yet to comment on the undisclosed discipline, but said previously that the incident with umpires was not a result of the blown call on Werth. If true that almost makes the whole thing sound worse, as it means he was seeking out umpires to scream at about something else.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.