Anthony Rizzo spring training

How much longer can the Padres keep Anthony Rizzo down?

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14 homers, 56 RBI.

Those are Anthony Rizzo’s totals in 44 games for Triple-A Tucson so far.

And they’re totals Brad Hawpe may struggle to match if he spends the entire season as the Padres’ first baseman.

Rizzo actually has slowed down a bit of late.  He’s hit a mere .329/.415/.671 in May after dominating Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .400/.471/.744 line in April.

But even Rizzo’s bad splits are terrific.  He’s doing his best work at home in Kino Stadium, but he’s still hitting .340/.411/.660 in road games.  Of course the left-handed hitter is tearing up right-handers, but he’s hitting a fine .333/.364/.500 in 30 at-bats against southpaws.

And with 56 RBI in just 169 at-bats, it’s obvious he’s saving his biggest hits for when it matters.  11 of his homers have come with men on base.  He’s hitting .410/.474/.860 with runners on and .458/.521/.949 with RISP.

The Padres, meanwhile, have gotten a .224/.270/.367 line with six homers and 22 RBI in 196 at-bats from their first basemen.  Hawpe is on pace for 13 homers and 42 RBI at the moment.

To be fair, Hawpe is getting the job done at the moment.  He’s actually been very good this month.  But with Eric Hosmer having graduated, Rizzo has taken over as the game’s best first base prospect and he’s moved up his timetable in a big way with his huge start.  If Hawpe goes into another slump, it’s going to be very difficult for the Padres to resist the lure of calling him up.

Someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey after a vigil

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on July 9, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.

That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”

The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.

 

What Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher would you ask to pitch today?

Mike Mussina
Associated Press
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In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?

The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.

My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.

If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.

Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.

So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?