Given that (a) no team has been linked to him at all this winter; and (b) he himself has sounded very unenthusiastic about playing again, this is not terribly surprising, but Jon Heyman reports that J.D. Drew is likely to retire.
If he is done, Drew put together a better career than you think he did. He hit .278/.384/.489 with 242 homers in his career and played some pretty snazzy defense until age caught up with him. He was much maligned as a slacker and malingerer, but most of that was based on the way he carried himself — he wasn’t a rah-rah guy — than on actual reports of him, say, not actually being hurt or not giving his best effort.
In some ways he was a victim of three things that often give guys a bad reputation with the media: (a) that lack of being a vocal leader type; (b) the fact that so much of his value came via unsexy things like plate discipline; and (c) that thing at the beginning of his career where he and his agent — Scott Boras — hatched the plot in which he refused to play for the Phillies.
You can say what you want about the business savvy of all of that, but it all added up to people viewing Drew’s baseball abilities far more harshly than they may have viewed a similar player who walked a different kind of walk.
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.
The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.
Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.