Ted Lilly refuses Minor League assignment

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Ted Lilly, recovering from surgery on his left shoulder, has refused a Minor League assignment from the Dodgers. Lilly was thought to be the replacement in the rotation for the injured Zack Greinke, but the Dodgers opted to use Chris Capuano instead, feeling that Lilly wasn’t yet ready.

MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers have four options: activate Lilly, designate him for assignment, release him, or trade him.

Manager Don Mattingly spoke on the matter:

“We laid out a plan and Teddy doesn’t want to be part of the plan. It’s out of my hands. We didn’t feel he was ready to pitch at the Major League level. For me, it’s a baseball decision. It’s nothing personal in any way, shape or form. We’re giving him our baseball thoughts, what we think is best for him and the team.”

Lilly, now 37 years old, posted a 3.14 ERA in eight starts last year before landing on the disabled list. He is owed $12 million in the last year of his contract.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.