I stopped doing these for some reason. Sorta forgot about them. But it seemed like a lot happened this weekend, so for those of you with lives that don’t entail them being tied to the Internet all weekend, here’s what you missed:
- Bill James doubles down on the Joe Paterno defense. It’s like watching a car crash at this point.
- The Dbacks have told Justin Upton that they might sell low on a hitter who could quite conceivably be a Hall of Fame talent (i.e. that they might trade him now).
- Bobby Valentine needs to stop talking about Kevin Youkilis. I know, I know: I had you at “stop talking.”
- That’s SIR Bam Bam to you, peasants.
- Strikeouts are fascist and, besides, just because you get a lot of them doesn’t mean you’ll win.
- Lenny Dykstra pleads guilty. I guess even Lenny Dykstra looked at all the stuff Lenny Dykstra did and said “damn.”
- Todd Helton has a hip injury. Broken? Get it? Because Todd Helton is old and old people break their hips. Hahahaha … eh, uh. Sorry.
- You laugh at Juan Pierre over “cybergenics” now, but wait until he has a book out about it, builds it into a big cult-like religion and then only he and his followers are saved from ancient aliens or whateverthehell.
- Bryce Harper made the Marlins look dumb. Then Ozzie Gullien made them look dumber.
- The Indians aren’t expecting Grady Sizemore back. This is not a repeat from 2011, 2010 or 2009.
- Ryan Dempster keeps blankin’ them.
- The Braves traded for a shortstop. If there was any cosmic justice it would have been a package for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison in exchange for some slugger that stinks. But I suppose Paul Janish will do as a stop-gap.
- Another player goes to the DL after punching something. Boy, we’re sure raising them stupid these days.
- Adrian Gonzalez learns an important lesson: children are awful, always.
- Tommy John surgery could have been Sandy Koufax surgery. And I guess Sandy Koufax could have been a Tannana-esque soft tosser into the mid-to-late 1970s. That would have been odd.
- Spike Lee caught Mark Teixeira’s bat. Teixeira did the right thing and autographed it.
- A couple of times a year I say that
fake to first, throw to third I meant fake to third, throw to first play never works. Then, a couple of times a year, it works. This was one of those times.
- My god, that kid is fast.
And now, into the week in which some trades may go down. I mean ones bigger than Paul Janish.
In a special for USA TODAY Sports, Mike Vorkunov details how six teams — the Mets in particular — provide an education program that helps their Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas. It seems like an obvious win-win: smarter players make smarter decisions, making them more likely to achieve their potential as athletes. That, of course, requires spending money, which is why only six teams make the investment. For the players, if baseball doesn’t work out, they are better able to support themselves in other ways.
Vorkunov lists the Pirates, Tigers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners as the other teams who provide an education program for their Dominican prospects. We learned earlier this month that the Phillies were also investing in making sure their minor leaguers eat healthy. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “few teams” supply their minor league players with healthy food options.
Juan Henderson, the head of the Mets’ Dominican academy, said, “We see the benefit of it. I gotta tell you, we’re working with a new generation of baseball players. You see in the past that players just carry a bat and a glove and a helmet on the baseball field and in the academy. Those years, I think, are going to be pretty much over. Now they also do that, but they also carry books, they also carry an iPad, they also carry a laptop.”
Kudos to the six teams for making a great decision and here’s hoping the other 24 teams follow suit.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols cranked out a two-run home run in the third inning against Rangers starter Derek Holland, breaking a scoreless tie. It’s the ninth homer of the season for Pujols and the 569th of his career, putting him into a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.
Harmon Killebrew is Pujols’ next target at 573, followed by Mark McGwire at 583 and Frank Robinson at 586.
Pujols hadn’t homered since May 13. He entered Monday night hitting a mediocre .228/.309/.395 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 188 plate appearances.
Monday has unfortunately been a day of injury news. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is the latest to hit the 15-day disabled list, as he has been diagnosed with a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. The club has recalled infielder Cheslor Cuthbert from Triple-A Omaha.
Gordon suffered the injury colliding with third baseman Mike Moustakas attempting to catch a fly ball on Sunday afternoon. He is expected to miss three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.
Gordon was having a tough 2016 campaign and the injury only makes it worse. He’s hitting .211/.319/.331 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 166 plate appearances on the year.
The Royals will likely use Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando in left field in Gordon’s absence.
The Orioles announced on Monday night that the club has traded reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves are also receiving a Competitive Balance Round B pick (76th overall) in the 2016 draft.
Matusz, 29, made his season debut on April 23 after battling a back injury since early March. It’s been a struggle, as the lefty has yielded eight runs on 11 hits and seven walks with just one strikeout in six innings. He is earning $3.9 million and can become a free agent after the season.
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are expected to designate Matusz for assignment. Essentially, the Braves bought the draft pick for Matusz’s remaining salary of $3 million of $3.9 million total.
Barker, 23, has been pitching at Double-A Mississippi after getting a taste of Triple-A last year. So far this season, the right-hander has a 2.00 ERA with a 40/12 K/BB ratio in 45 innings spanning eight starts and a relief appearance.
Belicek, a 23-year-old left-hander, has spent most of the year with Single-A Rome, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 29/1 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings over 11 relief appearances.