UPDATE: It looks like Andy Martino had this story first, and in greater detail. His is a better account, so be sure to check it out.
This is something you don’t hear every day: two Mets prospects — Zack Wheeler and Aderlin Rodriguez — got into a kerfuffle during a couple of intrasquad games in Port St. Luice recently.
Adam Rubin reports that Rodriguez hot dogged his way around the bases after hitting a home run off Wheeler in one game and then, in a subsequent game, Wheeler drilled Rodriguez in the hand, which Rodriguez had feared was broken. Rodriguez then threatened Wheeler. They have since been called on the carpet and things are allegedly OK now.
All that said: Wheeler has a ticket to the big leagues in the near future. Rodriguez is a third baseman on the one team in baseball who has the least need for a minor league third baseman any time in the next several years. So it would not be at all surprising to see Wheeler and Rodriguez renew their special friendship for different teams one day.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.