Dan Johnson saved Tampa Bay’s season with his homer in Game 162, but the first baseman was left off the playoff roster and yesterday the Rays outrighted him from the 40-man roster.
Johnson refused an assignment to Triple-A and is now a free agent at age 32.
Aside from the dramatic Game 162 homer against the Yankees Johnson hasn’t had much success–or much playing time, period–in the majors recently, hitting just .167 in 82 total games since 2008.
However, prior to that he a was a productive regular for the A’s and Johnson has batted .288 with 43 homers in 191 games at Triple-A between 2010 and 2011. He’d be a useful role player on quite a few teams, but Johnson will probably have to settle for a minor-league deal and try to hit his way back to the majors.
The Yankees fell behind early to the Orioles on Sunday afternoon, a day after dropping both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader. Their game, as did every other game on Sunday with the exception of the Braves-Cardinals doubleheader, started at 3:05 or 3:10 EDT, a change Major League Baseball recently made to create fairness on the final day of the season.
Girardi is not a fan. Per the Associated Press:
It was cloudy at Camden Yards at 3:05 p.m., but late-afternoon games often make it difficult for batters to see pitches.
Girardi said, “Here’s the thing that bothers me: If it’s a sunny day you’re playing in shadows.”
He added, “If it’s the most important game of the year to get in, I don’t think that’s right.”
Understanding the idea is for every team to play at the same time, Girardi said, “Then play all night games.”
One wonders if MLB had scheduled Sunday’s slate of games for the night, if Girardi would have instead complained about batters losing fly balls in the stadium lights. Furthermore, both teams have to play in the same conditions.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was given an opportunity to play a new position in Sunday’s series finale against the Phillies. After the Phillies rallied to take a 6-2 lead in the seventh, the Marlins let Suzuki take the hill in the eighth. And, in news that surprises no one, he was impressive.
Though Suzuki gave up a run on two hits, he flashed a fastball that hit the mid-80’s and a breaking ball with some bite.
Suzuki, who turns 42 years old later this month, is 65 hits of 3,000 in his major league career. The Marlins are interested in bringing him back in 2016.