Hawk Harrelson goes after another ump but doesn’t get in trouble for it

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In late May, White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson was called on the carpet by Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and by Bud Selig himself after Harrelson exploded on the air at umpire Mark Wegner, calling one of his calls “absolutely brutal,” “unbelievable” and accusing Wegner of not knowing anything about the game of baseball.

Getting called on the carpet usually implies a promise not to do whatever bad thing you did again. But Harrelson did it again on Saturday, ranting about umpire Lance Barrett in the Mariners-Sox game. Among his choice cuts, via ESPN Chicago:

• “I’ll tell you this is absolutely ridiculous. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

• “Lance Barrett has been absolutely brutal. Brutal.”

• “Lance Barrett has just stunk the joint up is all he’s done. That’s all he’s done.”

• “He’s terrible.”

• “This is one of those games where the film is going back to the American League office to show how bad he is.”

• “Everything that (Mariners pitcher) Blake Beavan has thrown up there that (catcher Miguel) Olivo has caught has been a strike. If he caught it, it was a strike. He’s got two different strike zones. He’s got a two-foot for Beavan, and he’s got a 10-inch for the White Sox. What does that tell you?”

• “This might be as bad as a two innings as I’ve ever seen from a guy behind the plate or 2 1/3 (innings.) So he’s bad, so he throws out our catcher and our manager because he’s brutal.”

If anything I think these comments were worse, at least in volume if not vitriol, than the stuff he said about Wegner. But Hawk is lucky. According to Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago, neither the White Sox nor Major League Baseball are going to do anything about it. Which is fine. I have a bit of a problem with teams or the league going after announcers for the things they say because that’s kind of chilling in my view.

But really, if you’re gonna make a point to act like you’re disciplining someone over something in one case, don’t you sorta need to keep that up in order to maintain credibility? Or did baseball maybe realize that it overstepped its bounds in the first instance?

Kolten Wong lashes out after losing his starting role with the Cardinals

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Kolten Wong is no longer the only second baseman being considered for a starting role on the Cardinals’ roster, and he’s not happy about it. On Saturday, GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny hinted that Wong could lose playing time to Jedd Gyorko or Greg Garcia in 2017 — in other words, an infielder who brings a little more pop at the plate. Prior to the Cardinals’ game against the Marlins on Sunday, Wong gave his heated response to the media. Via Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

I don’t think you give somebody a contract for no reason,” Wong said. “When you are given a contract, you are expected to get a chance to work through some things and figure yourself out. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, all these guys never figured their stuff out until later on down the road. It’s the big leagues. It’s tough, man. For me, the biggest thing is I just need people to have my back. When that comes, it will be good. But, I think right now, it’s just staying with my play, understanding I’m working toward getting myself more consistent, understanding what kind of player I can be. If that’s going to be with another team, so be it.

When pressed, Wong said that he would rather be traded away from St. Louis than step into a limited role with the team. “I don’t want to be here wasting my time,” he told the press. “I know what kind of player I am. If I don’t have the belief here, then I’ll go somewhere else.” The 26-year-old was inked to a five-year, $25.5 million extension prior to the 2016 season, complete with a $12.5 million option and $1 million buyout.

Part of Wong’s frustration stems from the Cardinals’ backtracking on their stated commitment to him as their starting second baseman last winter. Mozeliak admitted that while Wong had the defensive tools necessary to hold down the position, he failed to impress at the plate. It’s an argument that Wong hasn’t been able to rebut this spring, going 8-for-44 with two extra bases and 10 strikeouts in camp. He hasn’t looked much better in the regular season, sustaining a career .248/.309/.370 batting line with a .678 OPS and 5.1 fWAR over four years with the organization.

Still, the second baseman feels that he should have been given some heads up that he was playing to keep his starting role this spring, admitting that he entered camp with the mentality of someone who had a guaranteed spot on the Cardinals’ roster and not someone whose job security was dependent on his day-to-day results. “I need the time to consistently figure out how to be me and succeed at this level,” said Wong. “Everybody goes through it. Not everybody is Mike Trout.”

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.