Phillie Phanatic gets smacked with a foul ball

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I knew a guy who used to do the mascot thing. It’s not an easy gig. The suits are hotter than blue blazes, it’s not easy to see in them, let alone dance and clown around, and you can bet your life on the fact that at least half of the people you interact with over the age of 10 are going to be jackasses to you.

I suppose, given his stature as baseball’s most popular and acclaimed mascot, life for the Phillie Phanatic is a bit better than the guy wearing the bobcat suit for a single-A team, but that does not mean that the job is without its hazards:

The Phillie Phanatic, making a rare minor league visit to Allentown, was taken to a hospital Wednesday night after he was hit in the neck by a foul ball during the IronPigs baseball game at Coca-Cola Park. Tom Burgoyne, the man behind the Philadelphia Phillies mascot’s green fur, was still being treated at 10:15 p.m. in the emergency room of Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest.

The Phanatic’s neck is where Mr. Burgoyne’s head would be, so it’s no surprise that he was shaken up.  Here’s hoping he’s OK and is back to, I dunno, riding ATVs and picking fights with opposing backup catchers and first base coaches soon.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.