Jemile Weeks entered last season as the Athletics’ starting second baseman, but a sophomore slump resulted in a demotion in August and being left off the postseason roster. But he’ll have a chance at redemption in 2013.
According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, Weeks and Scott Sizemore will be part of what Athletics manager Bob Melvin has called an “open competition” at second base.
“I think it’s going to be a nice competition over there,” Melvin said. “Just because someone starts there Opening Day doesn’t mean someone else might not be there the next day based on a matchup.”
Adam Rosales and prospect Grant Green will also get looks during spring training, but Weeks and Sizemore are considered the favorites for the gig. Sizemore is coming off a lost season of his own, as he missed all of 2012 following surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. He will also get playing time at third base during Cactus League play, but Josh Donaldson is expected to enter spring training with a job to lose.
After batting .303/.340/.421 with two homers, 22 stolen bases and a .761 OPS in 97 games as a rookie in 2011, Weeks delivered a disappointing .221/.305/.304 batting line in 118 games with the A’s last year. While the 26-year-old didn’t hit as many line drives last year, his .254 batting average on balls in play was incredibly low for someone with his speed. If he can make the proper adjustments and have some better luck, a rebound season could be in the cards.
Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.
Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.
Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.
Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.
Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.
As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.
You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.