Daniel “Doc” Jacobs already made history.
He was the first amputee to return to active duty in the Navy (see update below) going so after an IED explosion in Iraq took his lower left leg and led to 50 surgeries. Yesterday he did something else that was pretty impressive: he tried out for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It was an open tryout, and Jacobs participated after being encouraged to do so by Tommy Lasorda, who Jacobs met at a disabled veterans event last year. The result, reports the Long Beach Press-Telegram were not unlike anyone else’s at this sort of thing:
Unless you were looking closely at his left leg, Jacobs’ tryout was indistinguishable from most. He fielded a pair of ground balls cleanly but long-hopped both throws. A backhand was hit to his right side, but it went under his glove and rolled onto the outfield grass. Another backhand met Jacobs’ glove cleanly, but he short-hopped that throw.
Sadly, that’s not good enough for the big leagues, but since Jacobs said he was there for the experience, we can safely call this a success.
A photo montage of Jacobs’ tryouts can be seen here.
UPDATE: A reader corrects the story from the Press-Telegram, noting that Jacobs was not the first amputee to return to active duty in the Navy. That honor goes to Master Chief Carl Brashear:
In 1967, a year after an injury onboard the salvage ship Hoist cost him his left leg, Brashear became the first Navy diver to be restored to full active duty as an amputee.
The more you know.
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.