Two of Pascual Perez’s greatest hits

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Still bummed over the news of the death of Pascual Perez.  When I first started thinking about him I, and probably a ton of other people, immediately first thought of him being lost on I-285, desperately looking for the ballpark and ultimately missing his start because of it. A ballpark that was not, it should be noted, situated on or anywhere near I-285.

But there were a couple of other memorable Pascual Perez moments. Two that come to mind were rather ugly, but time and, sadly, uglier things, make us look a bit more fondly on them.

First was a brawl. Not the one you’re thinking of. That one is below. The one I’m thinking of took place on August 25, 1981 when Perez’s Pittsburgh Pirates faced the Los Angels Dodgers. Chris Jaffe wrote a full rundown last year.  The upshot: Perez plunked a couple of Dodgers. Reggie Smith took umbrage and made motions toward the Pirates dugout.  Nothing happened until …

After ending the inning, Perez motioned to Smith he’d meet him under the stands—pronto. Smith and Perez both raced through their clubhouses and into the tunnels, meeting up behind home plate under the stands. Both dugouts emptied following them. Players came, coaches came, even managers Chuck Tanner and Tommy Lasorda came.

The fight, like most fights, wasn’t much of a fight. Some stadium officials said there was some shoving, but no punches thrown. By the time the umpires tracked everyone down, the incident was already over. There were no ejections, and Perez pitched one more inning.

That’s pro wrestling stuff right there. Other than when Prince Fielder rushed the Dodgers clubhouse a few years ago, I can’t recall such a thing happening.

The second one is that famous brawl. A brawl the likes of which you never ever see in the majors anymore. Guys make too much money and know too many other players for things to escalate like this, I reckon.  But back in 1984 it was a different story.  It started when Pascual Perez hit Alan Wiggins. Which led to retaliation by Ed Whitson against Perez when he came to bat, which led to a huge fight. A fight which, if you watch the video below, you note that Perez just strolled away from without having a punch thrown at him:

In all, there were brawls in the second, fifth, eighth and ninth innings of this ONE game. One of them involved Champ Summers — who just passed away himself in recent weeks — with a Leeroy Jenkins rush of the Braves dugout. Though we’d all be horrified at such a thing happening in a game today, with nearly 30 years of distance, the whole affair was almost glorious in a perverse way.

Both the 1981 Dodgers and the 1984 Padres went to the World Series, so maybe Perez was a galvanizing force.

RIP Perimeter Perez.

The Twins didn’t listen to CC Sabathia’s wishes concerning bunting

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Earlier this month, Yankees starter CC Sabathia jawed at the Red Sox after Eduardo Nunez laid down a bunt. Sabathia fielded it fine, but threw the ball away for an error. After the game, he called Nunez’s bunt “weak” and said the Red Sox should “swing the bat.” Sabathia, of course, is not that limber these days. Along with being 37 years old, the lefty has also battled knee and hamstring issues this season.

The Twins apparently didn’t hear what Sabathia had to say about bunting. After Brian Dozier singled off of Sabathia to lead off the top of the first inning on Tuesday, Joe Mauer laid down a bunt on the third base side and reached safely. Jorge Polanco then laid down a bunt of his own, also on the third base side, and was initially ruled out, but after replay review was ruled safe to load the bases with no outs.

Fortunately for Sabathia, he was able to limit the damage, getting Eduardo Escobar to ground into a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and inducing an inning-ending ground out from Byron Buxton. It’ll be interesting, though, to see if the Twins continue to bunt against Sabathia throughout the night.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.