Well, more specifically, Jonathan Herrera shut the door on his hands, leaving him with a fractured right index finger and a damaged ligament in his left pinkie finger and bringing his 2011 campaign to a close.
Herrera, who spent most of the first two months as the Rockies’ starting second baseman, ends the year having hit .242/.313/.299 in 281 at-bats. He got NL-only leaguers excited by stealing four bases in three games from April 10-13, only to go 0-for-4 in that category in his remaining 102 games.
And that pretty much sums up Herrera. He’s an above average defensive second baseman, but he’s not so superb to warrant regular playing time unless he’s hitting .280-.290. The Rockies benched him in June and had only occasionally used him since. He did have a three-hit game on Friday, but it was his first since April 8.
The Rockies will have some decisions to make at second base this winter. Free-agent-to-be Mark Ellis got off to an excellent start after coming over from the A’s, but he’s really cooled off since. He’ll be 35 next year, and he only figures to get more injury prone with time. The Rockies could let him go and have Herrera, Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr. all battle for playing time, but while they might get lucky there, none of the trio projects as an average regular. Nelson is back in Triple-A after hitting .231/.258/.340 in 156 at-bats for Colorado. Young, who would be a threat to lead the league in steals if he starts 150 games, is batting .224/.323/.254 in 134 at-bats. He’s also the weakest defender of the bunch.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.