Youngins won’t remember this, but on this day in 1992 the California Angels’ team bus was involved in a nasty crash. They were on their way to the airport on their offday following a series against the Yankees in New York when it overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Chris Jaffe has a column up about it today over at The Hardball Times. No one died, but …
But one man unquestionably had it the worst of all, manager Buck Rodgers. He damaged a knee and rib cage, and most of all had a badly broken elbow, which was broken in multiple places. The doctor who examined Rodgers said he looked like a post-fall Humpty Dumpty.
Rodgers would have to miss much of the season. He was confined to a wheelchair for a time due to his knee, and between that and his elbow, he didn’t return for over three months.
I know it is either taboo to mention it because it’s so awful or cliche to mention it since George talked about it on “Seinfeld” once, but major league baseball teams do an awful lot of travelling. We’re fortunate there hasn’t been more incidents such as these, or worse.
The Angels, who had lost three straight just before the accident, took a while to recover. They lost 15 of their first 18 after the accident, and they never really bounced back. Rodgers did return to the dugout on Aug. 28, but the season was a lost cause by then.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.