Fans at the Giants home opener Friday against the Pirates got a special treat, as Bryan Stow appeared on the center-field screen prior to the game and his 13-year-old son threw out the first pitch.
As the entire Giants team stood atop the mound Friday, Stow appeared on the center-field screen with his mother, Ann. He told Tyler, “Good luck, son,” before the pitch was delivered. The Giants went on to beat the Pirates 5-0 as Matt Cain tossed his third career one-hitter.
Stow fell into a coma after being beaten at Dodger Stadium following a Giants game nearly a year ago. His condition has improved to the point at which he’s able to talk and eat by himself. He currently shares an apartment at a rehab facility with two other patients while getting full-time assistance. He continues to suffer from short-term memory loss, but he’s made terrific progress from injuries that left him near death.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.
The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.
Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.