New York Yankees manager Girardi talks with umpires  West and Schrieber in St. Petersburg

Umpire ejected Russell Martin for making a joke last night

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Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber tossed Russell Martin from last night’s game in the fifth inning because he made a joke following back-to-back walks by Phil Hughes.

Or at least Martin claims his comments were a joke, telling reporters afterward that he asked “did you stretch before the game tonight?” and then added “I feel like you’re kind of tight tonight.”

Given the situation it’s not hard to see how Schrieber may have missed the humor, especially since Martin admitted afterward that he was being critical of the strike zone, but throwing him from the game seems like overkill.

Or as Martin put it afterward:

What, we can’t talk anymore? It’s a game, man, we’re supposed to be having fun. I was just trying to get him to laugh. I didn’t say he sucked. I didn’t say he was the worst umpire in the league. I didn’t cuss at him. I didn’t say any of that stuff. And I got thrown out. That’s tough to do.

Schrieber declined to comment because umpires rarely speak to the media, so we may never know his version of the story.

Report: Mariners acquire Chris Heston from the Giants

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.

Joe Nathan wants to pitch in 2017

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Joe Nathan #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on August 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-2.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.

Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.

According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.