It’s all just talk, not news, but over at the Providence Journal Brian MacPherson speculates that the Red Sox and Jonathan Papelbon may very well be together beyond 2011.
His thinking: there are a lot of relief pitchers who will be available this winter, which could depress Papelbon’s asking price on the open market. At the same time, Papelbon has been really good this year, reminding the Sox of just what they’ve had and what they might miss. Oh, and the Bobby Jenks flop is evidence that you can’t just go out and snag any old closer (and means that Jenks can’t really be counted on to step in and fill Papelbon’s shoes next year).
My mind goes kind of fuzzy whenever I think about the closer market simply because they are so volatile and because the talk surrounding closers is full of so much hokum (e.g. “proven closers” and all that jive). But MacPherson has me wondering whether what we all thought coming into this season — that Papelbon is gone — is really the case.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.