David Ortiz unlikely to return this season

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We haven’t heard much about David Ortiz lately and there’s a pretty good reason for that, as there just isn’t much to report.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said this afternoon that Ortiz has made progress since receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection for his strained right Achilles tendon on August 27, but that he isn’t ready to resume running. With the Red Sox out of contention and only a few weeks left in the season, Valentine said he is prepared to play without him for the rest of the year.

“I’m not sure that that’s the official word yet,” Valentine said. “Just prepare just in case he’s not going to come back. It’s not really my call. I mean, if he’s healthy and he loves to play the game of baseball, he could always go out there and bat it around a little. I’d hate to jeopardize his career, that’s for sure.”

Ortiz has put together one of the most productive seasons of his career at the age of 36, batting .318/.415/.611 with 23 home runs, 60 RBI and a 1.026 OPS in 90 games played. It just doesn’t make much sense to rush back, especially since a major setback could cost him big-time in free agency this winter.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.

Hey kids: don’t swing a weighted bat in the on deck circle

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Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.

There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.

Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.