Amazingly, that pop-up machine was not Jimmy Rollins!
Miami Marlins first baseman Casey Kotchman has received four stitches to close a cut on his left ring finger after running into a pop-up machine during infield drills … he manager says Kotchman was injured when he “tried to get around the machine and grabbed onto it and I guess cut his finger somehow.”
They then moved the pop-up machine. Worst part: Jeff Loria just told that pop-up machine that it should buy a house in that part of the infield two days ago.
In other, somewhat pathetic news, I actually looked up last year’s leaders in infield pop-ups to make the Rollins joke. Before I looked it up I had Dan Uggla listed there. Was happy to see that he was actually 5th in the category, which means my perception of him as weakly popping up every time he didn’t strike out last season was not just me being a pessimist.
Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.
On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.
It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.
While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.