Johnny Damon goes 1-for-3 with walk, double play for Thailand in WBC qualifier

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Johnny Damon started at designated hitter and batted third for Thailand in Game 1 of the World Baseball Classic qualifier, going 1-for-3 with a single and a walk while grounding into a double play.

Thailand got blown out by the Philippines thanks largely to committing a WBC-record seven errors defensively, which makes Damon being their DH sort of amusing.

One team among Thailand, Chinese Taipei, New Zealand, and the Philippines will advance to participate in the 16-team WBC.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Tony La Russa part ways

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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.

La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.

I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.