The AJC’s David O’Brien has a nice article up today on Braves rookie sensation Jose Constanza, who apparently goes by “Georgie” in the Atlanta clubhouse. And just what sort of article would it be without the traditional quote about how the ace never likes to face one of those pesky singles hitters:
“For me, personally, I’d rather face a guy like Barry Bonds than someone like [Constanza],” said pitcher Tim Hudson. “I want somebody up there that’s trying to hit homers; you have a tendency to get those guys to swing and miss. Constanza, I mean he’s pesky, he’s going to put the ball in play. A ball on the ground, more than half the time it’s going to be a hit.”
And, yeah, maybe he has a point. But boy did he use a bad example in this case. Bonds went 11-for-27 with five homers and just one strikeout against Hudson, good for a .407/.500/1.000 line. Maybe he would have been better off saying Troy Glaus, who hit .175 with one homer in 57 at-bats against Hudson, or Alfonso Soriano, who has hit .154 with three homers in 39 at-bats.
Or maybe he should have just passed entirely, because it sure looks like Hudson has handed singles hitters extremely well in his career. David Eckstein hit .242 in 66 at-bats, Darin Erstad came in at .243 in 70 at-bats, Ichiro is at .215 in 65 at-bats and Cristian Guzman was at .206 in 63 at-bats. Those are all of the “singles hitters” that Hudson has faced 60 or more times. One has to scroll down to Omar Vizquel (.314 in 35 at-bats) and Orlando Palmeiro (.382 in 34 at-bats) to find any singles hitters having fared well against Hudson.
Certainly, none have owned him like Ryan Howard (.298, 6 HR in 47 AB), Albert Pujols (.448 in 29 AB), Adam Dunn (355, 4 HR in 31 AB) and Carlos Delgado (.310, 7 HR in 58 AB).
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.