Royals name Jonathan Broxton as Joakim Soria’s replacement

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After staying mum on the topic for the past couple of weeks, Royals manager Ned Yost told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star this afternoon that Jonathan Broxton will replace Joakim Soria as the team’s closer.

This announcement doesn’t come a big surprise. Sure, Broxton has that “proven closer” tag which managers seem to dig, but he was also healthy and effective this spring following elbow surgery last September. After signing a one-year, $4 million deal with the Royals over the winter, the 27-year-old right-hander posted a 1.13 ERA and 11/4 K/BB ratio over eight innings during Cactus League action.

Greg Holland was the other legitimate contender for the gig. The 26-year-old right-hander had a 1.80 ERA and 74/19 K/BB ratio over 60 innings last season and pitched just fine this spring, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets a shot before long. If the Royals fall out of the race, Broxton could easily become trade bait.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.