Shortstop Brian Dozier got the bad news after riding the pine for the second straight game Tuesday; the Twins sent him down and called up Pedro Florimon following the loss to the Tigers.
The timing is decidedly odd. There was plenty of reason to send Dozier down a month and a half ago — I even wrote an entry calling for it — but his play had improved a bit since. He was hitting .225/.249/.306 and had committed 11 errors in 45 games as of my writing. In 39 games since, he hit .245/.297/.364 with six errors.
Obviously, that’s still not the kind of performance the Twins were hoping for, but since it’s mid-August and rosters expand in 16 days anyway, it’s hard to tell what Minnesota’s motivation was here, unless maybe there was an off-the-field situation that factored into the thinking.
The switch certainly has nothing to do with Florimon’s performance. He’s hit .231/.274/.295 in 78 at-bats since the All-Star break for Triple-A Rochester, which is even worse than his overall .251/.308/.345 line in 307 at-bats for the season. He’ll be an upgrade defensively over Dozier, but he’s never going to hit. Odds are that he’ll serve as the backup to Jamey Carroll at shortstop.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.