There’s a side to Brett Lawrie’s story.
That’s what he said after appealing the four-game suspension handed down by MLB on Wednesday. Lawrie, of course, spiked and hit umpire Bill Miller with his helmet during Tuesday’s game.
And he’s not really sorry about it.
“The only thing I regret is the helmet hitting him,” Lawrie said. “I never meant to do that and it shows. I threw it off the ground, it took a bad hop and it hit him totally by accident. I never meant to throw it at him. As that’s coming across, it seems like a lot of people are saying that I threw it at him, I never threw it at him. I never had any intentions of hurting anybody. I was just frustrated at the play at the time and that’s baseball for you.”
Of course, the bad hop comment is ridiculous. Whether Lawrie meant to hit him or not, the helmet bounced exactly the way it should have given the way he threw it. Lawrie probably didn’t intend to hurt anyone, but he was out of control and nothing so far suggests that he’s learned anything from it.
The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.
The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.
Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.