Frank Robinson Statue

Better than a bobblehead: get your replicas of statues of Orioles legends

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I got this in the mail recently. Not the Calvin and Hobbes picture. My son drew that.  No, I mean the Frank Robinson statue.

The Orioles sent it to me (and as you can see, my son took it). And yes, I suppose they did so in order to persuade me to write about their promotion. But their promotion is designed in part to give everyone who takes advantage of it statues like these too. I want you all to have them, so I’m willing to be used.

The promotion: the Orioles Legends Celebration Series, in which the Orioles are unveiling statues of their past greats in the picnic area beyond center field at Camden Yards.  They’re doing this for both the great players and Camden Yards itself, as the ballpark is celebrating its 20th anniversary. How on Earth Camden Yards is already 20 years-old I have no idea, but there you have it.

On unveiling days, they’re giving out replica statues like this one of Frank Robinson.  His was already done in April– I suppose you can find one on eBay if you really wanted some — but there are five more to be done this season:

  • Earl Weaver — June 30;
  • Jim Palmer — July 14
  • Eddie Murray — August 11
  • Cal Ripken Jr. — September 6; and
  • Brooks Robinson — September 29

I haven’t seen what the other ones look like, but I do hope that Weaver’s is of him arguing. Or perhaps holding forth about Don Stanhouse, team speed, Terry Crowley, Alice Sweet and her tomato plants. No, I’m not explaining that one. If you don’t know, go Google it. But make sure no kids or bosses are within a mile of you when you do.

Anyway, good show Orioles. These statues beat the heck out of bobbleheads. Now: when is the Randy Milligan statue being unveiled?

Masahiro Tanaka can’t say for sure if he’ll be ready by Opening Day

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Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka said today that he “can’t say for sure” whether he’ll be ready for Opening Day.

Tanaka underwent arthroscopic surgery in late November to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October and, while healthy, may be behind other pitchers.

Tanaka posted a 3.51 ERA and a 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season. He also has a partially torn UCL he’s been pitching through for some time which is always something the Yankees have on their mind when it comes to schedules and workouts for their ace.

Denard Span, not Angel Pagan, will be Giants’ center fielder and leadoff hitter

Denard Span
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Making official what was assumed when the Giants signed Denard Span to a three-year, $31 million contract last month, manager Bruce Bochy announced that Span will start in center field and bat leadoff.

That means 34-year-old Angel Pagan, who’s been the Giants’ starting center fielder and primary leadoff hitter for the past four seasons, will slide to left field and bat further down in the lineup. About a month before the Span signing Bochy said Pagan would remain in the center fielder/leadoff role, but the situation obviously changed.

It’s a move that makes sense, because Span–if healthy following hip surgery–is a superior defensive center fielder with better on-base skills. And if Pagan doesn’t bounce back following a rough 2015 season then having him in left field will make it easier for the Giants to platoon him or bench him in favor of, say, Gregor Blanco or a bigger bat.

Pitchers to receive new visor-like protective headgear

Headgear
MLB/MLBPA
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For the past few years MLB, the MLBPA and cap and helmet manufacturers have been working on various models of protective headgear for pitchers. Some of the models have been unworkable, some of them have not met the satisfaction of pitchers and others have, well, looked a little odd. At present the only pitcher who routinely wears any headgear is Alex Torres, who wears the bulky isoBLOX helmet.

Now, however, there is a new option. And, as you can see above it’s a bit different than what we’ve seen before. It’s more or less like a visor, which will have a nylon top on them to give a full cap-like appearance. The ear flaps will be lefty and righty-specific, given that righties are more likely to be hit on the right and lefties on the left given their follow-throughs.

The new caps will be given out to players this spring and, like the old ones, will be used or not used at the choice of the players. You can read more about the new helmet at ESPN’s Outside the Lines report.

Brewers sign reliever Blaine Boyer

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Right-hander Blaine Boyer, who spent last season with the Twins, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Brewers that includes an invitation to spring training.

Boyer was also on a minor-league deal last spring when he snagged a spot in the Twins’ season-opening bullpen and he stayed there all year, posting a 2.49 ERA in 65 innings. His secondary numbers weren’t quite so impressive, particularly his managing just 33 strikeouts compared to 19 walks, but the 34-year-old journeyman is a decent middle relief option.

Boyer has a 4.22 career ERA, including a 2.91 ERA in 105 innings since returning from injuries in 2014.