Dallas Braden took the mound yesterday for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in May, throwing 25 pitches and then telling his Twitter followers that his “arm feels great” and “I wept with joy.”
Braden made headlines for his perfect game in 2010 and squabble with Alex Rodriguez over mound ownership in Oakland, but made just three starts last season before being shut down.
Braden told CSNBayArea.com that he’s ahead of schedule with his rehab and hopes to rejoin the A’s rotation early in the season, and perhaps even by Opening Day. Oakland avoided arbitration with Braden by agreeing to a one-year, $3.35 million contract in mid-December and there’s certainly plenty of room for him in the rebuilt/blown up rotation.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)