Steve Swindal, originally the designated successor to George Steinbrenner, was at Yankees camp Wednesday, watching his daughter sing the national anthem and talking about his current enterprise; he runs a camp for prospects in the Dominican Republic.
Swindal, former husband to Jennifer Steinbrenner, was supposed to to occupy the role currently held by Hal Steinbrenner. However, he was arrested for DUI in 2007 and divorced by his wife a month later. The Yankees then bought out his ownership stake, and George chose Hal as his successor.
Swindal now runs a camp with Abel Guerra, the Yankees’ former VP of international operations. In return for a portion of any future signing bonus, he houses, feeds, schools and trains prospects in the Dominican Republic. Rafael Perez, MLB’s director of Dominican operations, calls it “the nicest academy of any agent.”
The business probably doesn’t have such a promising future after MLB cracked down in foreign spending budgets in the CBA agreed to over the winter, but Swindal plans to keep at it.
“Hopefully we’ll have a couple guys go for a million dollars this year. We’re certainly projecting that. With the new CBA, I don’t know how it’s going to affect it,” Swindal said. “I know the talent is always going to be there, and somehow the clubs are going to find a way to get the talent. The country is just so full of baseball heritage and it just starts from birth with young people. it’s getting stronger.”
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.
The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.