UPDATE: According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said this morning that Brentz shot himself in the leg. There’s a chance he could play in games by the end of spring training, but Abraham notes that Cherington was “clearly displeased” about the incident.
11:33 AM: According to Alex Speier of WEEI.com, Red Sox prospect outfielder Bryce Brentz will not be in big league camp this spring because of an injury he sustained due to an accidental discharge of a gun he was cleaning. Brentz declined to disclose the specific nature of the injury, but said it was “nothing serious” and that he should be ready for the season.
“Everything is fine,” Brentz said. “After the rookie program, I had an accident. Everything is fine, but I was cleaning my gun and it accidentally discharged on me and I sustained an injury. Nothing serious. That’s why I was out of big league camp, because at the time I’m not able to participate fully, but I am recovering very fast and should be OK for the season.
Brentz, 24, was a supplemental first-round pick of the Red Sox in 2010. He owns a .276/.335/.479 batting line over his first three seasons in pro ball and made his way to Triple-A Pawtucket at the end of 2012. Baseball America ranked him as the organization’s No. 8 prospect during the offseason. Now he’s getting attention for all the wrong reasons.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.