Here’s a potentially big blow to the Indians’ already dwindling playoff hopes: Justin Masterson will miss at least one start with an oblique injury suffered during his abbreviated outing yesterday.
One start wouldn’t be so bad, but very few oblique injuries tend to be that minor and if anything it’s an injury type that lingers more than most. Plenty of players have missed a month or more with oblique strains, although obviously it depends on the severity in this case.
Either way, the Indians are looking at being without Masterson for a while after he posted a 3.52 ERA in 29 starts while racking up 188 strikeouts in 189 innings and holding opponents to a .224 batting average.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.