Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy was a part-owner of the Orioles

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You probably already heard the news that author Tom Clancy died Tuesday. For his sake, I hope that he had gotten to see Montana.

I wasn’t a huge Clancy fan. I read exactly one book of his mostly because I don’t go in for military/espionage/thriller stuff, generally speaking.  But any HBT reader who has been around for a while knows that I love the living heck out of the movie version of “The Hunt for Red October.” I don’t have any idea how faithful the movie is to the book, but I don’t care. The movie is awesome and it doesn’t exist if not for Clancy, so my hat will always be off to the guy. So give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only, please, in his honor.

But Clancy had a baseball connection too. He was a minority owner of the Orioles. He came in to the group back when Peter Angelos purchased the team in 1993. And it wasn’t some symbolic share. Before his divorce he was a 24 percent stakeholder. He also held the title of Orioles’ vice chairman of community projects and public affairs. The team issued a statement on his passing earlier today:

For decades, Tom Clancy entertained millions with his novels and enjoyed producing no fewer than seventeen best-sellers. He was an extraordinary storyteller who had an ability to keep readers on the edge of their seats. His passion for the military was evident in his efforts to ensure that the men and women who serve our country were properly recognized for their service and commitment.

While he achieved international acclaim as a celebrated author, Tom, a proud Baltimorean, was a devoted Marylander, a treasured friend, and a valued partner and advisor in the Orioles ownership group. He was a regular presence at Oriole Park and enjoyed talking about baseball, the ballclub and its operations.

We are deeply saddened by Tom’s passing. He will be missed but long remembered.

On behalf of the Orioles, we extend our sympathies to his family.

Same here. On a day Clancy sails into history.

[singing]

Masahiro Tanaka throws off mound for first time since October elbow surgery

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According to the Associated Press — via Chad Jennings of The Journal News — Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October.

The throwing session took place in New York, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild later told the media in Tampa that all of the reports he heard were good.

Tanaka might be behind some of the Yankees’ other pitchers when spring training officially begins, but he should be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season.

The 27-year-old native of Japan posted a 3.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season for New York. He owns a 3.16 ERA (123 ERA+) in 290 1/3 innings since becoming a major leaguer in 2014.

Tanaka is still pitching with a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow that could eventually require Tommy John reconstructive surgery. His surgery last October was of the arthroscopic variety and simply removed bone spurs.

Bud Selig to teach a class at Arizona State law school

Bud Selig
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Before Bud Selig ultimately retired, he had a couple of false start retirement announcements only to have the owners beg him to sign on for one more term. In one of those false starts he talked about how the University of Wisconsin had set up an office for him in the history department and that he’d be doing some research and teaching a class now and again. And he has, in fact, taught some one-off seminars at Wisconsin’s law school and the like.

Now something a little more permanent along those lines is in the works for The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History. The Arizona Republic reports that Selig will join the Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s law school where he will teach and advise as well as start up a speakers series in which he will bring in high-powered guests. No word on how many speakers will talk about big, important historical sports law cases like, say collusion in baseball, which was orchestrated by an ownership class in the mid-to-late 80s, of which Bud Selig was far and away the most influential member. That could get sort of awkward, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a good way to keep busy. I mean, that’s what it has to be as he’s not hurting for cash, what with the obscene $6 million severance package the owners gave him to, I dunno, not give interviews about bad stuff that happened back in the day like Fay Vincent does all the time. Stuff like collusion. Maybe he gets the $6 million for some other purpose. Who can say, really? It’s never made any sort of sense otherwise.

Anyway, good luck in Tempe, Bud. Maybe I’ll stop by your office at ASU when I’m there next month — I always stay in Tempe — and we can chew the fat or climb that butte with the big A on it or something. First round at Four Peaks afterward is on me.

White Sox sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa

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First baseman Travis Ishikawa has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ishikawa was previously reported to have a minor-league deal with the Mariners last month, but the signing was never finalized. Now he joins the White Sox, who have Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche ahead of him on the first base/designated hitter depth chart.

Ishikawa had some big moments for the Giants in the 2014 playoffs, but he’s a 32-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .255 batting average and .712 OPS in 488 games as a big leaguer.

It’s possible the White Sox could keep him around as a bench bat and backup first baseman/left fielder, but Ishikawa seems more likely to begin the season at Triple-A.

Mariners sign reliever Joel Peralta

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Right-hander Joel Peralta has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.

Peralta spent last season with the Dodgers and was limited to 29 innings by neck and back problems, posting a 4.34 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio. Los Angeles declined his $2.5 million option, making him a free agent.

He was one of the most underrated relievers in baseball from 2010-2014, logging a total of 318 innings with a 3.34 ERA and 342 strikeouts, but at age 40 he’s shown signs of decline. Still, for a minor-league deal and no real commitment Peralta has a chance to be a nice pickup for Seattle’s bullpen.