A couple of weeks ago Pedro Gomez passed along some word he was hearing that it was “highly unlikely” that the Rangers would activate Nelson Cruz for the postseason, choosing instead to exile him, Melky Cabrera-style. In his notes column today Ken Rosenthal reports that, no, that’s not the plan:
Suspended Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz recently spent three days working out at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic. Club officials are trying to put together a plan for him to work out briefly with the major league club before he heads to the club’s spring training facility in Surprise, Ariz.
As Rosenthal writes, Cruz would be nothing but a plus for the Rangers if they make the playoffs and it would be hard to accept that they’ve decided not to use him once he becomes eligible.
I figure that Gomez talked to some people who were still stinging about the suspension and were talking big about not bringing Cruz back. It sounds like now, however, reason is overtaking emotion.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.