Andrelton Simmons

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 7, Reds 4: The Braves weren’t going to be able to maintain any sort of momentum if the offense was all Justin Upton — who can’t do it alone — and Evan Gattis — who is, after all, a rookie. Last night they had help from Andrelton Simmons who hit two bombs and drove in four.

White Sox 2, Royals 1: James Shields was brilliant for eight innings. Ned Yost didn’t let him come out for the ninth, though, going with his closer with a 1-0 lead. His closer blew it and eventually the Royals lost the game. Yost’s explanation for why he didn’t send Shields out to finish his shutout:

“Everybody has their job to do and Shields had done his,” Yost said. “He threw eight shutout innings. It was a one-run game. The runs make all the difference. If it was a two-run or a three-run lead, yeah. But in a one-run game, (if) you send him out he’s either going to win it or lose it. You let the closer go out and try to do his job.”

It’d be one thing to simply sit back and second guess Yost. If it had worked, great. But that explanation would be brain dead even if Greg Holland had struck out the side and gotten the save. Yost is clearly saying here that he’s letting bullpen roles dictate his moves. He has a closer, dadgummit, and he’s going to let him close. It’d be one thing if Shields was tired. Or if the guys coming up had historic success against Shields and he didn’t want to press his luck. But no, Yost’s thinking is “you use this guy in the ninth inning and it is the ninth inning, so …” Which is just enraging.

Cubs 9, Rangers 2: Scott Feldman threw seven scoreless against his old teammates. He came out though due to a cramp in his hand. Not because Ned Yost called Dale Sveum and told him he should go with this eighth inning guy.

Indians 7, Athletics 3: Man, Mark Reynolds hit that one a long, long way. It was his 10th homer. He’s now hitting .296/.363/.622.

Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 2: I wonder if, on a mutual off day, Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia go boat shopping together. Trevor Cahill allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. Also had a two-run triple.

Red Sox 6, Twins 5: Minnesota had a 3-0 lead at one point but the Sox chipped away, scoring one run in every inning between the fourth and the eighth. Then Stephen Drew, who had four hits on the night, hit a walkoff double with two outs in the 11th. Clay Buchholz gave up four runs on seven hits in four innings and his forearm wasn’t glistening nearly as much in this game. Hurm.

Padres 5, Marlins 0: I guess the 14 runs the Marlins scored on Sunday were meant to last them for the week. Andrew Cashner shut ’em out into the eighth inning for his longest start of his career.

Blue Jays 8, Rays 7: Toronto was down 7-0 after three and had pulled to within two by the ninth. Then came a two-run, two-out homer from J.P. Arencibia off Fernando Rodney, who was trying for a five-out save. Maybe someone should have called Ned Yost and talked about what the closer’s job description was. Colby Rasmus and Mark DeRosa also hit two-run homers.

Phillies 6, Giants 2: Cliff Lee was solid for eight innings, Michael Young had three hits and drove in two and this, dadgummit, is how it was supposed to look for Philly. The Giants’ win streak ends at six.

Reds prospect Juan Duran suspended 80 games

Banned
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Juan Duran, a minor-league outfielder in the Reds’ farm system, has been suspended 80 games following positive tests for the performance-enhancing drugs Drostanolone, Stanozolol, and Nandrolone.

Duran is 6-foot-7 with big-time power, averaging 23 homers per 150 games since 2011, but he also strikes out a ton and struggles to control the strike zone. He spent last season at Double-A, missing a lot of time with injuries and hitting .256 with six homers and a .728 OPS in 59 games as a 23-year-old.

Duran is on the 40-man roster and is considered a quasi-prospect, but he’ll be ineligible to play until July and figures to head back to Double-A once reinstated.

The Blue Jays will talk long term deals with Jose Bautistia and Edwin Encarnacion

Jose Bautista Blue Jays
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Ever since Alex Anthopoulos resigned as Blue Jays’ GM and Mark Shapiro took over as team president, a distinct air of frugality has set in over Rogers Centre. The go-for-broke attitude that fueled Toronto’s fantastic second half last year was repudiated and long-term, sustainable building has seemed to be the order of the day.

But the Jays aren’t going to go crazy with that: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Blue Jays plan to have long-term extension talks with the agents of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion during spring training. This, combined with the still-remaining possibility that they can avoid arbitration with MVP Josh Donaldson and hammer out a long-term deal could mean some serious spending by the Jays before Opening Day.

Or this could just be talk from the front office designed to buoy the spirits of fans. Locking up all three of them to long-term deals may be hella expensive and may not be possible. It’s also the case that, given their ages — Bautista is 35 and Encarnacion is 33 — it may not be advisable to lock the both up. As always, it depends on the terms and how generous Rogers Communications plans on being with the Jays’ budget.

But the chatter is now out there and expectations are poised to be set.

The Rays are REALLY ready to get to work on that new ballpark

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Last month St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Rays reached an agreement that would allow the Rays to seek a new ballpark outside of the St. Pete city limits, anywhere in the Bay Area. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports today that the Rays have submitted a required report to that end which “describes how they plan to evaluate potential ballpark sites across the Tampa Bay area” and serves as a rough outline of the sort of facility they’re looking to build.

They submitted it 39 days before deadline. Ya think they’re eager to get moving?

As for the specifics, it sounds like they’re shooting for a Braves or Cardinals style destination place with surrounding entertainment, retail and the like. The Braves are achieving that by basically building the park at a mall and plan to surround it with other mall/entertainment district-type development. The Cardinals built a downtown park, but have developed Ballpark Village after the fact. This is to be contrasted with downtown parks which either counted on existing city businesses or spurred separate development.

All of which makes sense given that there isn’t one dominant location in Tampa which all but demands development there. Tampa has a few different areas that might make sense and the place is generally more spread out than older cities. It also makes sense for the Rays’ owners who are likely well aware that being in the real estate business is just as good for them as being in the baseball business.

Will anyone EVER break that record that was broken nine years ago?

Hank Aaron
Associated Press
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In 2007, Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run. He would go on to hit six more, finishing his career with 762. That was nine years ago and, at present, the active home run leader is nearly 80 homers behind him and no sure bet to come close. The next closest guy is over 200 homers back and clearly entering a period of decline.

All of which raises the question: will anyone EVER pass the home run total of Hank Aaron, who is in second place on that list?

Maybe you think that’s not really a pertinent question. We tend not to ask whether people who do not, by any objective measure, hold a record will have their records surpassed. But you’d be wrong. Why, just today, on Hank Aaron’s 82nd birthday, at least two journalists speculated whether anyone would ever become the all-time second place home run king:

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That’s from Cliff Corcoran at Sports Illustrated. As always, it’s excellent work from Cliff. Right up there with his seminal “will anyone ever catch Lou Brock in stolen bases?” and “who can catch Trevor Hoffman in career saves?” pieces.

Then there’s Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who approves of the question posed and has his own response:

You can imagine how those tweets were received by those parts of Twitter who are all about PED apologia, math, objective standards, noting that Aaron admitted that he took a PED that would have him banned today too and stuff like that. As always, these things get ugly.

Not that they have to be. It’s almost as if, if one were to try, one could celebrate the amazing inner-circle Hall of Fame career of Hank Aaron, full as it is with nearly unsurpassed accomplishment, without applying a revisionist gloss to the one accomplishment that, according to all objective measures and the accounting of Major League Baseball, has been surpassed. That one could talk about Aaron without slagging on Bonds.