Last week Padres CEO Tom Garfinkel ruffled more than a few feathers when a recording of him comparing Zack Greinke to “Rain Man” surfaced. It showed insensitivity to both those with social anxiety disorder, like Greinke. It also showed insensitivity to those with and those caring for people with autism, who have to deal with “Rain Man” stereotyping pretty constantly.
Garfinkel had apologized even before the furor began. But as Maury Brown notes, Garfinkel has gone the extra mile here, showing genuine remorse for his comments and being a pretty darn standup guy about it all. Maury, by the way, has a special interest in this — and was among the harshest critics of Garfinkel last week — as he has a child on the autism spectrum. Even knowing him a little bit and/or following him on Twitter, you get a pretty good idea of how challenging raising an autistic child can be, so you can understand why he was particularly irked among baseball writers.
Everyone makes mistakes. These days everyone apologizes for them. Rare it is, however, that you see apologies in human terms which evince genuine regret over those mistakes. Good on Garfinkel for doing so.
The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.
Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.
With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.
Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.
Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.
Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.