Jose Canseco is still playing baseball. At least as long as someone pays him an appearance fee to show up. The latest someone: the Texas Winter League, where Canseco went 3-for-20 in six games in three days down in Harlingen, Texas over the weekend.
Adam Lawson of the Valley Morning Star spent a day in the dugout with Canseco and captured the essence of this Lion in Winter. It’s, predictably, not the prettiest sight.
But you know what? It’s at least real. What’s not real these days: Canseco’s once so-bad-it’s-good Twitter account. It used to quite clearly be Canseco writing things that were at turns funny, at turns sad. Now, much of the time, it is pretty clearly given over to writers who are either being paid to make Canseco a “character” or else they’re doing it for him pro bono. Which, frankly, is sadder than his old real stuff about wanting to play baseball again.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.