Last week Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd criticized Jhoulys Chacin for being one of the few players not reporting to spring training in the best shape of his life, saying that he wasn’t pleased with the right-hander’s offseason workouts and added weight.
Chacin spoke to Rafael Rojas Cremonesi of the Venezuelan newspaper Meridiano and SB Nation blog Purple Row, refuting O’Dowd’s comments:
I came to Arizona this past Monday. I have not stopped training during the winter, both in my country and here. I have always done the best job I could all throughout these past few months. I don’t know where these comments came from, I believe they’re the result of what other people have told him, instead of his own personal evaluation.
I am looking forward to meeting O’Dowd personally and I am confident that he will have a different conclusion after a first-hand evaluation. He will realize he made conclusions based on incorrect claims made by other people. There’s a myth in the baseball world which states Latin players do not work at their hardest during the winter. We return to our home countries and people think all we do is party. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Chacin added that he’s currently 226 pounds, which is actually two pounds lighter than when he reported to spring training last year and four pounds lighter than his weight at the end of the season. O’Dowd indicated that Chacin reported to spring training at 218 pounds last year, so clearly there’s been a mixup somewhere along the way.
And while there are probably better ways for both sides to address the situation than going through the media, I give Chacin a lot of credit for responding in what seems like a very calm, intelligent manner to that public criticism from his boss. Whether or not he’s actually in worse shape this year is another issue, of course.
If we haven’t said it before, it bears repeating: When it comes to pure muscle mass and power, no major league player rivals the sheer force of Giancarlo Stanton. His record-setting 504-foot home run in 2016 has yet to be bested in the Statcast era (though it narrowly beat out Jake Arrieta‘s 503-foot blast in 2015, because baseball is weird), he broke the Dodgers’ outfield fence on an attempted catch at the wall last Sunday, and he carries 25 home runs that have each exceeded 460 feet.
It should come as little surprise, then, that when Stanton muscled his 12th home run of the season against the Angels on Friday night, it not only hit the batter’s eye, but left a visible dent in the wall:
Stanton’s mammoth shot put the Marlins on the board in the first inning, setting the stage for a four-run effort that gave the club an early lead. The home run measured a cool 462 feet, the slugger’s longest of the season. He still has a little ways to go to catch up to the 2017 season leader, Jake Lamb, whose 481-foot home run against the Rockies currently leads the pack.
The next item on Stanton’s bucket list? If we’re lucky, maybe something a little like this:
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.