I can’t summon up a lot of angst about this one. No, Michael Cuddyer isn’t one of the AL’s top 10 outfielders. One could argue about whether he’s in the top 20. Still, I think every guy who sticks around as a nice regular for 12-15 years should get to experience an All-Star selection once.
Cuddyer, a free agent-to-be, is in his 11th season and very possibly his final season with the Twins. He’s been a regular the last eight of them, hitting as many as 32 homers and driving in as many as 109 runs. Along the way, he’s played whatever posititon the team has asked for him. He was drafted as a shortstop, converted to third base and established himself as a full-time right fielder in the majors, only to return to the infield at both second and third when needed the last couple of years.
This season, Cuddyer shook off a positively horrible start — he went 16 straight games without an RBI to begin the season — to rebound to .286/.356/.459 with 11 homers and 32 RBI. The .815 OPS ranks him eighth among AL outfielders.
In the end, Cuddyer is likely only in this position because Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau got hurt. Also, a healthy Denard Span would have been a better choice for the AL roster. Based on 2011 play alone, I’d rather have seen the AL team carry Alex Gordon in the outfield and then Scott Baker over Aaron Crow, leaving the Twins and Royals with their one rep apiece.
But I’m not upset over Cuddyer’s pick. It’s a nice reward for a guy in the midst of a fine career who may never have such an opportunity again.
Emotions are apparently high all around baseball, not just in Miami. In Toronto, the emotion was anger between the Yankees and Blue Jays.
Josh Donaldson was hit by a Luis Severino 1-1, 97 MPH fastball with one out in the bottom of the first inning. In the top of the second, J.A. Happ threw to fastballs back-to-back that were up and in to Chase Headley. The second one hit him. The Yankees, understandably, were not too happy about it, but order was quickly restored and play resumed with home plate umpire Todd Tichenor issuing warnings to both teams. The Yankees would finish the inning without scoring a run.
In the bottom of the second, Severino began the inning with two up and in fastballs at Justin Smoak. Both Severino and manager Joe Girardi were ejected and the benches emptied again, this time with more anger. There was some yelling as well as some pushing and shoving.
It doesn’t appear that Severino appeared to intentionally hit Donaldson, but he very clearly intended to retaliate against Smoak. Happ has issued retaliatory beanballs before in defense of Donaldson. He did so on April 23 against the Athletics. Donaldson hit a home run in the second inning and was hit by a Liam Hendriks pitch in the sixth. Khris Davis led off the next inning for the A’s and Happ hit him with a pitch. Plus, Happ’s two pitches to Headley were both up and in.
Severino and Happ are likely looking at fines. There’s a possibility of suspensions as well. Happ, however, was not ejected from the game.
As expected, the Marlins and Mets paid their respect to pitcher Jose Fernandez prior to the start of Monday night’s game at Marlins Park. It was emotionally charged and very tough to watch without becoming a sobbing mess.
The stadium was as quiet as a library even before the P.A. requested a moment of silence. The Marlins’ players rubbed the chalk line, just as Fernandez used to do. The starters — sans starting pitcher Adam Conley — rallied around the pitchers’ mound. The Mets’ players poured out onto the field and removed their caps as the National Anthem was played.
Once the anthem was completed, the stadium remained quiet. The Mets and Marlins formed lines and went through hugging each player. The fans began chanting, “Jose, Jose, Jose!”
The rest of the Marlins joined the starters and they wrapped around the edge of the dirt on the pitcher’s mound. Some of them drew in the dirt with their fingers. Others rubbed dirt on their pants. Then, they huddled and Giancarlo Stanton gave a motivational speech of sorts. The players came in close and they all put their index fingers in the middle, pointed up at the sky, and broke the huddle to begin the game.
There is crying in baseball.