The Phillies just made it official, sending outfielder Domonic Brown and right-hander Andrew Carpenter to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. These moves cleared the way for the newly-acquired Hunter Pence to be added to the active roster and for third baseman Placido Polanco to return from the disabled list.
We already talked about the Brown demotion this morning, but the plan is for him to play everyday in the minor leagues, presumably until rosters expand in September. The 23-year-old has looked a little shaky defensively, but has held his own offensively with a .728 OPS and 34/25 K/BB ratio over 209 plate appearances this season.
Polanco hasn’t played since July 4 due to lower back inflammation. The 35-year-old was hitless over six at-bats in two rehab games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but the Phillies were obviously more focused on the condition of his back than the results. They’re hopeful some rest and a recent epidural injection will make a difference, as he is batting just .216/.276/.261 with two homers and a .537 OPS since the start of May.
UPDATE: Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that the plan is for Brown to play left field for the foreseeable future, as there will be an opening there when Raul Ibanez becomes a free agent following the season. He is starting in left field (hat-tip to the comments section) for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this evening.
Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston
David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.
Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.
In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.
Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”
Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.
The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:
“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”
As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.
It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.