Here’s Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, chatting Friday with Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
”I am going to retire an Angel. Next year is my last year, and I’m going to retire an Angel. I’m going to evaluate it this offseason. That’s when I’ll know. It’s 60-40, to the positive, that I’ll keep playing. You don’t want to see your skills diminish. You don’t want to linger.”
In other words, Hunter is leaving his options open. But retirement is a strong possibility if things continue to trend south.
Hunter’s five-year, $90 million contract with the Angels runs out after the 2012 season. If he fails to draw attractive free agent offers that winter, the veteran outfielder will simply hang up his cleats.
Hunter, 36, has been named to four All-Star teams and collected nine straight Gold Glove awards from 2001-2009. But he’s batting just .261/.332/.423 across 555 plate appearances this year and was bumped from center field at the end of the 2010 season by the more defensively adept Peter Bourjos.
The writing is on the wall, and it sounds like Hunter would prefer to go out with his head held high.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.
Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.
Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.
The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.