From Adam Rubin of ESPN New York comes word that Mets left-hander Jon Niese had to be lifted prematurely from his Saturday afternoon matchup with the Rangers due to a “rapid heartbeat.”
Niese struck out seven batters and allowed only two runs over 5 2/3 quality innings against a dangerous Rangers lineup. But it was a steamy day in north Texas and the heat almost certainly played a factor in the lefty’s irregular heartbeat.
Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters in his postgame press conference Saturday that the matter is not considered serious and Niese was later spotted smiling while walking around the visiting clubhouse. It’s feasible that the 24-year-old southpaw, who has a solid 3.70 ERA in 97 1/3 frames this season, won’t need to miss any more action.
UPDATE, 7:55 PM: According to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, Niese said he is “unalarmed” by the rapid heartbeat but is likely to undergo further testing next week in Detroit.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.