Kevin Gregg, David Ortiz, Marco Scutaro, Derrek Lee

Kevin Gregg is fired up (and maybe a bit of an idiot)

74 Comments

So, Kevin Gregg, who couldn’t hit David Ortiz with a pitch Friday no matter how hard he tried, took to the offensive after the game.

Gregg pretty much admitted he was trying to send the Red Sox a message with the inside fastballs to Ortiz in the eighth inning tonight.  It was obvious he was trying to drill Boston’s DH, preferably in the thigh or buttocks from the look of things, but he missed him each time.

You know what happened then.  The benches cleared after the third pitch.  After order was restored, Gregg threw a fastball over the plate that Ortiz popped up to right-center.  Gregg motioned and jawed for Ortiz to run to first as soon the ball left the bat.  Ortiz took exception, mayhem ensued and both players were ejected.

Said Gregg afterwards:

It is 3-0, they are up seven, and I think there are some ethics to this game and guidelines that you have to stay within. Run. You hit a lazy fly ball, you have to run the bases. And apparently, he didn’t like me telling him that stuff and he came out there. If he thinks there’s something wrong with me saying that, then he has other things he has to check out in this game.

Well, of course Ortiz didn’t like him saying that.  Particularly given the fact that Ortiz was running.  He didn’t stand around after the popup.  He started trotting to first just like he would have hitting a similar fly under typical circumstances.

Gregg wasn’t done, though:

They are going to whine and complain about it because they think they are better than anybody else, but we have just as much right to pitch inside. “You get tired of going out there and getting your butt kicked when you come in here you have to stick up for what is ours.

“I think we showed them we are not backing down. We are not scared of them and their $180 million dollar payroll. We are here to play the game, and we have every right to play the game and do everything we can to win.”

No, the Orioles weren’t there to play the game.   Their pitching was terrible for the second straight game, their pitching was non-existent and they lost 10-3 after dropping Thursday night’s game 10-4.  They’re now 1-7 this month.

The Orioles couldn’t beat the Red Sox on the field, so Gregg took matters into his own hands instead.  And he failed miserably because he couldn’t even make the statement he wanted to by drilling Ortiz.

But at least Gregg can take solace in the fact that his actions contributed to the five-game suspension Ortiz seems sure to receive.  If the Orioles can’t beat the Red Sox themselves, they’ve at least made it a little easier for some other team to pick up a couple of W’s against them later this year.

Joe Mauer reveals he’s had blurred vision since 2013 concussion

Joe Mauer
2 Comments

After a decade as the best all-around catcher in baseball Joe Mauer suffered a concussion in August of 2013 that forced him to change positions and marked the end of his time as a great hitter.

Mauer was doing his usual thing at the time of the concussion, hitting .324 with a .404 on-base percentage and .880 OPS. Since returning from the brain injury he’s hit .270 with a .348 on-base percentage and .725 OPS while seeing his numbers decline across the board.

Mauer revealed today to Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that “lingering symptoms occasionally blurred his vision at the plate the past two seasons” and “he will experiment hitting with sunglasses for the first time to improve his pitch tracking” this season.

Here’s more from Murphy:

Bright sunshine sometimes triggered blurred vision that Mauer links to the concussion with which he was diagnosed in August 2013 after absorbing at least “two significant blows” from foul tips while he was still catching.

“I don’t want that to be kind of an excuse. If I’m out there, I’m out there. That’s just the way I am,” Mauer said. “There are times I’ve gone up to the plate and I just couldn’t pick up the ball. That’s part of the frustration because I’m trying to do everything I can to get back. It just takes time.”

There are more quotes along those same lines and Mauer’s numbers in night games were much better than his numbers in day games last season.

I live in Minnesota and it has been incredibly frustrating to see such a large (or at least vocal) segment of the Twins fan base treat Mauer’s steep decline as if it has nothing to do with the significant brain trauma he suffered. I’m hopeful that Mauer going public about literally struggling to see the baseball while at the plate will convince people to treat him more humanely, but that’s probably wishful thinking at this point.

What a shame, on every level.

Masahiro Tanaka can’t say for sure if he’ll be ready by Opening Day

tanaka
Leave a comment

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka said today that he “can’t say for sure” whether he’ll be ready for Opening Day.

Tanaka underwent arthroscopic surgery in late November to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October and, while healthy, may be behind other pitchers.

Tanaka posted a 3.51 ERA and a 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season. He also has a partially torn UCL he’s been pitching through for some time which is always something the Yankees have on their mind when it comes to schedules and workouts for their ace.

Denard Span, not Angel Pagan, will be Giants’ center fielder and leadoff hitter

Denard Span
3 Comments

Making official what was assumed when the Giants signed Denard Span to a three-year, $31 million contract last month, manager Bruce Bochy announced that Span will start in center field and bat leadoff.

That means 34-year-old Angel Pagan, who’s been the Giants’ starting center fielder and primary leadoff hitter for the past four seasons, will slide to left field and bat further down in the lineup. About a month before the Span signing Bochy said Pagan would remain in the center fielder/leadoff role, but the situation obviously changed.

It’s a move that makes sense, because Span–if healthy following hip surgery–is a superior defensive center fielder with better on-base skills. And if Pagan doesn’t bounce back following a rough 2015 season then having him in left field will make it easier for the Giants to platoon him or bench him in favor of, say, Gregor Blanco or a bigger bat.

Pitchers to receive new visor-like protective headgear

Headgear
MLB/MLBPA
12 Comments

For the past few years MLB, the MLBPA and cap and helmet manufacturers have been working on various models of protective headgear for pitchers. Some of the models have been unworkable, some of them have not met the satisfaction of pitchers and others have, well, looked a little odd. At present the only pitcher who routinely wears any headgear is Alex Torres, who wears the bulky isoBLOX helmet.

Now, however, there is a new option. And, as you can see above it’s a bit different than what we’ve seen before. It’s more or less like a visor, which will have a nylon top on them to give a full cap-like appearance. The ear flaps will be lefty and righty-specific, given that righties are more likely to be hit on the right and lefties on the left given their follow-throughs.

The new caps will be given out to players this spring and, like the old ones, will be used or not used at the choice of the players. You can read more about the new helmet at ESPN’s Outside the Lines report.