R.A. Dickey returned to the United States on Tuesday after successfully reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro last week.
Dickey’s former teammate and current Rockies right-hander Kevin Slowey and Mets bullpen catcher Dave Raccaniello also participated in the climb, which was part of an effort to raise money and awareness for the Bombay Teen Challenge, an organization dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking in India.
You’ll recall that the Mets sent a letter to Dickey prior to the climb reminding him that they could void his contract in the event that he suffers an injury. Well, they quickly made amends with the knuckleballer once it was clear he was out of harm’s way. Dickey told David Waldstein of the New York Times that the group surpassed their goal of raising $100,000 with the help of a donation from Mets’ CEO Jeff Wilpon.
“He offered his congratulations and made a generous contribution,” Dickey said. “I understood their concerns, and I thought it was a great gesture on their part to help out in the end.”
Well done all around. While the immediate future doesn’t look very promising for the Mets, they are pretty darn fortunate to have someone like Dickey representing the organization.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.
Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.
Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.