As Matthew mentioned last night, David Ortiz flipped his bat in a somewhat flamboyant style after hitting his two-run homer off Hector Noesi in the top of the fifth (video here). After the game, Joe Girardi said “I didn’t really care for it,” inasmuch as it was kind of showing up Noesi.
After that, however, he actually made a point to say that Ortiz plays hard and plays the game the right way and suggested that, no, there wouldn’t be any sort of retaliation about it. He and other Yankees quoted about the matter more or less said that’s Papi being Papi, that it’s nothing new and that while they wish he didn’t hit a homer against them, it was no big deal. A-Rod talked about the kind of respect Yankees players have for the Red Sox.
But despite all of these quotes, the headline stack this morning at the Daily News had links to stories titled “Ortiz’s show drives Yanks batty,” and “Yanks may need to retaliate.” The latter one is a link to a John Harper column that repeats all of those “it’s no big deal” quotes yet somehow concludes that Girardi believes that retaliation is in order and predicts that some form of retaliation will come before the series is over.
Is the manager saying “I didn’t much care for it,” just a low-key rallying cry? I guess we’ll know after tonight and Thursdays games, but this reads more like an instance in which a tabloid is wishing and hoping for fireworks than rationally gauging their likelihood.
Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.
Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.
It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.
“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”
Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.
This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.
With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.