Here’s something you coulda set your watch to yesterday: as soon as Colby Rasmus was clear of the Cardinals, his father, Tony Rasmus, slammed Tony La Russa. He claimed that, contrary to what La Russa says, he wasn’t working with Colby on his hitting. He thinks that La Russa is simply a control freak who was looking for someone to go after and Colby was an easy target:
“Tony needed pitching and wanted to force the GM into making a trade, so he belittled Colby to the fans … Tony would like to have 25 pitchers, like he thinks he has to put his stamp on every ball game. They had nothing else to trade. I think everyone is better off now … There are three or four guys in the St. Louis clubhouse right now, thinking ‘oh-oh, who is the manager going to pick on next with Colby gone?’
I’m not the biggest Tony Rasmus fan on the planet — parents of grown up major leaguers should be seen and not heard — but it’s not like he’s totally out to lunch on this stuff.
Fact is La Russa has had run-ins with a number of guys over the years. Fact is that La Russa does like to put his stamp on games. Fact is that La Russa probably would like to have more pitching so that he may one day achieve his Holy Grail of a the 27-pitcher, 27-out ballgame. Fact is also that Colby Rasmus probably will do better now that he’s out of St. Louis than he did when he was there.
But seriously Mr. Rasmus: time to zip it. You may have a couple of valid observations about the difficulty some people have with Mr. La Russa, but your comments do more harm than good for your son. And it’s not like anyone is going to win a run-in with Tony La Russa in St. Louis. At some point you and Colby should have probably realized that.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.