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.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.