Stephen Strasburg: shagging fly balls, possibly batting

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Stephen Strasburg may not be pitching anymore, but it’s not like he’s dead. Indeed, Davey Johnson has an idea for him:

“I check on him,” Johnson said. “I told him yesterday, to give him something to think about, I said, ‘Keep taking batting practice. I might need your bat. If I can’t use your arm, I’ll use your bat’ … I’m serious, yeah.”

Well, he’s not nearly the liability at the plate that most pitchers are so I suppose there are worse ideas. Also:

Strasburg made his final start of the season five days ago, but already he has become antsy with no more starts to look forward to. During the Nationals’ series in New York, Strasburg has shagged batting practice in center field, mostly standing by himself.

Nothin’ can go wrong out there, of course.

Seriously, though, Nats fans had better hope that the baseball gods aren’t suffering from an irony deficit disorder these days, because the target, it is so big right now.

 

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.