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.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.