The Mets were considering skipping Johan Santana or at least pushing him back for a few days after he was knocked around for six runs over three innings last night against the Dodgers, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that they have decided to place him on the disabled list with a right ankle injury.
Santana twisted his ankle while covering first base in his final start before the All-Star break back on July 6 against the Cubs. He had his foot stepped on by Reed Johnson in the process. According to Kevin Burkhardt of SNY, Santana admitted he was throwing some pitches “all arm” because he wasn’t able to land on the ankle. The injury evidently doesn’t correlate to his workload from the no-hitter, but it’s still a dangerous combination for someone who is in their first season back from shoulder surgery. While the DL-stint comes at a tough time for the fading Mets, he’ll now get a couple weeks off to rest both the ankle and his arm.
Santana has allowed 19 runs over his last three starts, increasing his ERA from 2.76 to 3.98 on the year. Jeremy Hefner was called up from Triple-A Buffalo today and is a candidate to take his place in the starting rotation. Top prospect Matt Harvey, who was passed over in favor of Miguel Batista to start today against the Dodgers, is also a possibility.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.