Yount Gamel

Scenes from Spring Training: Randomness at Brewers camp

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I mentioned earlier that I’m in an impossibly good mood today. The park has a lot to do with it. Great weather of course. Just woke up on the right side of the bed somehow.

And when I’m in a good mood I like to walk around and take pictures of stuff. Yes, I realize that my job is very hard. Sorry to keep reminding you all of that.

Stuff like this scene to the right. Robin Yount instructing Mat Gamel on the finer points of infield defense. It must have worked, because Gamel put on a defensive clinic at first in the third inning of today’s game. He saved Brooks Conrad’s bacon with a nifty jump-tag when Conrad threw wide of first on a grounder. The next batter hit a hot shot to first which Gamel gobbled up and most guys wouldn’t have.  Now all he needs to do is to find Yount a hat that fits him and his day will have been perfection.

Other stuff I saw while bopping around Maryvale before today’s game:

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I wrote this morning about how close I came to getting a baseball.  If I thought about it — and didn’t mind getting my butt kicked out of the park — I could have gotten a lot of baseballs here.

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This guy was fun. Wearing a Prince Fielder Tigers jersey at the Brewers ballpark. And you all say I’m a troll. This guy is the troll king. I should look into hiring him.

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“Dudes, wait … listen … what if the universe is just, like, a particle of some larger atom.”

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“I know, Frankie De La Cruz … I blew your mind just now. I’m sorry. Here, we can hug the confusion away.”

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Four parks so far this week, four pics of equipment bags on grass. I have two more to go this weekend for the perfecto. I like my chances.

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This was pretty neat. The entire team — and manager Ron Roenicke — was there and watching attentively as others did base running drills. You don’t see that very often. Usually teams break up into a bunch of different groups when those kinds of drills are going down. No idea if this is a usual thing or if it was just random happenstance.

I’m watching the game now. Best things besides those Gamel plays so far: (1) Dan Wheeler retiring Zelous Wheeler on a 6-3 grounder; and (2) Ryan Braun walking.

AGAIN.  God, that guy.

Braves’ Markakis misses game because of family emergency

Nick Markakis, Nick Swisher
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NEW YORK (AP) Braves right fielder Nick Markakis has left the team because of a family emergency.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said before Wednesday’s game against the Mets that Markakis had headed home to Maryland. The veteran is expected to be back in time for Friday’s home game against Arizona. Atlanta is off Thursday.

Chase d’Arnaud is starting in right field and Mallex Smith is leading off Wednesday.

Markakis is hitting .281 with no home runs and 20 RBIs.

Report: more major league PED suspensions coming soon

FILE - In this May 30, 2007 file photo a blister with the steroid Oral-Turinabol is displayed in Dresden, eastern Germany. Oral-Turinabol was the main drug in the state-controlled doping in former East Germany.    (AP Photo/Matthias Rietschel, file)
Associated Press
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T.J. Quinn of ESPN’s Outside the Lines reports that another major leaguer — or possibly several of them — will soon be suspended for PEDs. He says that, as was the case with Chris Colabello and others recently, the drug will be Turinabol, which is an old school anabolic steroid. Quinn says that improved testing procedures, which he details in the article, are a likely reason for the spike in Turinabol positives, though it’s also possible that there is a tainted supplement being taken, though he deems that speculative.

What isn’t mentioned is . . . how an ESPN reporter knows a positive test is coming when the drug testing program is supposed to be confidential. Someone with the league or the union must be telling him, right? That’s sort of messed up, no? Will MLB investigate who is leaking such things?

Whatever the case, we’ll soon have a new police blotter item, it seems.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday’s afternoon action

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez gives a thumbs-up as he is pulled from the team's baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in the eighth inning, Friday, April 29, 2016, in Seattle. The Mariners won 1-0. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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Wednesday usually means day baseball and today we have seven games on tap before the cocktail hour. Well, before most people’s cocktail hour. Do what you want but some of us have fewer hangups about such things. Working at home is amazing, you guys.

The most notable thing of today’s pitching matchups is that, because of staggered days off, skipped starts and stuff, we’re finally out of that lockstep, early-season thing in which aces face aces all the time. That’s fun and everything — it’s great for the fans — but I bet it annoys the pitchers to some degree. Felix Hernandez vs. Sonny Gray is a marquee matchup. But I bet Felix is happy to be facing Sean Manaea in his second-ever big league start as opposed to a dude who might match zeros with him. Ohio State schedules MAC schools for many of the same reasons.

Anyway, here are the matchups. Skip work, tell your boss you’ve gotta see a guy about a thing and watch baseball. In your heart you know it’s the right thing to do:

Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Juan Nicasio), 12:35 PM EDT, PNC Park;

San Francisco Giants (Jake Peavy) @ Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily), 12:35 PM EDT, Great American Ball Park

Atlanta Braves (Jhoulys Chacin) @ New York Mets (Steven Matz), 1:10 PM EDT, Citi Field

Los Angeles Angels (Hector Santiago) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Zach Davies), 1:40 PM EDT, Miller Park

Washington Nationals (Stephen Strasburg) @ Kansas City Royals (Kris Medlen), 2:15 PM EDT, Kauffman Stadium

Seattle Mariners (Felix Hernandez) @ Oakland Athletics (Alex Manaea), 3:35 PM EDT, Oakland Coliseum

Colorado Rockies (Tyler Chatwood) @ San Diego Padres (Cesar Vargas), 3:40 PM EDT, Petco Park

Is Bud Black the favorite to be the next Braves manager?

Bud Black
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We talked last week about how Fredi Gonzalez is likely a dead man walking as the Braves manager. They stink, he’s a lame duck and part of the team’s whole marketing thrust is “2017 will be a new beginning,” what with the new ballpark and all. It stands to reason that Mr. Gonzalez doesn’t have long for this world.

Last week I suspected he’d be fired tomorrow, the Braves off day before a home stand. They’ve won in the past week, but it still wouldn’t shock me. Even if firing Gonzalez would be an act of scapegoating. It’s the roster that’s the problem, not the manager, even though Fredi doesn’t exactly inspire anyone.

Today Bob Nightengale throws this into the mix:

As of yet he hasn’t followed that up with an actual column or more tweets about who, exactly, considers Black to be the heavy favorite, but there’s a definitiveness to that which makes me think he’s heard something solid.

Black, as you know, was the long time Padres manager who had an unsuccessful flirtation with the Nationals before they hired Dusty Baker this past offseason. Black is now cooling his heels with his longtime boss Mike Scioscia in Anaheim, in what is clearly a “wait for his next managing opportunity” posture.

Could it be in Atlanta? At least one national writer and some nebulous group of insiders believe so, it would seem.