Red Sox will play Adrian Gonzalez in outfield, David Ortiz at first

17 Comments

Wednesday’s the day, according to the Boston Herald’s John Tomase.

With John Lackey on the mound, the Red Sox intend to start David Ortiz at first base and Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield in Wednesday’s game against the Phillies.

Tomase didn’t say which outfield position Gonzalez would play.  Left field would make more sense, given the Phillies’ reliance on left-handed hitters.

There’s really no chance the Red Sox would be trying this if their schedule didn’t have them playing nine straight games in NL parks.  A week and a half is just too long to have to limit Ortiz to pinch-hitting appearances.  The alignment switch Wednesday is as much about keeping him sharp as it is about trying to win a baseball game.

Because it’s pretty hard to imagine that the Red Sox are really better off taking such big defensive downgrades at two positions in order to make room for Ortiz.

Anyway, it should be entertaining.  Just in case there wasn’t already enough reason to watch what are arguably the two best teams in baseball face off.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
3 Comments

Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.