According to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said earlier this evening that MLB is investigating a homophobic message sent from Derek Holland’s Twitter account to a heckler last night.
The tweet, which has since been deleted, was posted during the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Angels in which Holland allowed seven runs over 6 2/3 innings as part of an 8-7 win. MLB prohibits players from using social media 30 minutes before a game or during a game.
Holland told Keith Whitmire of FOXSportsSouthwest.com that his fiancee has access to his Twitter account, but claims that the offensive message was the result of a hacker.
“It’s obvious it was not me,” Holland said. “It was during the game, for one. And for two, I’m in the dugout cheering my teammates on. Why would I say that anyway to begin with?”
“It’s definitely a hacker,” Holland said. “Obviously my fiancée can get into it, but trust me, she’s not like that. She’s one of the nicest people in the world.”
It’s not clear when MLB’s investigation will be complete, but Daniels called it a “serious issue” and an “unacceptable term to use.” The tweet was posted less than two weeks after Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended three games for displaying a homophobic slur written in Spanish on his eye black.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.