Top prospects for two teams — the Giants’ Brandon Belt and the Blue Jays’ Brett Lawrie — each had scares yesterday as they were each hit by pitches on the left wrist. Each of them also received good news: in both cases no bones were broken and the diagnosis was a mere bruise.
Lawrie’s little ordeal was more interesting inasmuch as it kind of unfolded in real time. Reader Rob Browne emailed me about his HBP right as it happened in the Las Vegas-Tucson game, I tweeted it and then the Internet went kind of wacko for a while. Understandable given how much Jays’ fans are anticipating Lawrie’s arrival in Toronto, most likely at the end of the week. Lawrie was rather anxious too, tweeting the following:
At hospital , pls be bruised .. #praying
Just a BRUISE !!! #yaaaaabudddddy
Belt’s news came in more traditional fashion, with Andrew Baggarly tweeting it.
Both guys will probably get a day or two off after which they can continue to serve as the repository for their respective fan bases’ hopes and dreams.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.