Carlos Zambrano is pitching for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic and tossed two scoreless innings in his first appearance yesterday against his team last year, the Marlins.
It was just a pre-tournament tuneup game for Venezuela, but could have been a more important game for Zambrano because at this point in his career he needs to impress someone to get back to the big leagues.
“I have a couple of offers, but they’re not the kind of offers that I want,” Zambrano said, via Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “I think this is a good moment, the WBC, to show or prove something.”
Based on reports last month those “couple of offers” Zambrano doesn’t want may be from Japan and Taiwan. Obviously he’d have to settle for a minor-league deal from an MLB team, but so far at least it’s not even clear he can secure one of those. And the amazing thing is that despite seemingly being around forever Zambrano is still just 31 years old.
The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.
Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:
Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.