The Nationals must have received the group discount.
Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com passes along word that Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Adam LaRoche all underwent surgery in recent days. Fortunately for the Nationals, all of them appear to be minor.
Strasburg had surgery yesterday to remove bone chips from his right elbow. The 25-year-old is expected to resume throwing in 4-6 weeks, so assuming no setbacks, he should be fine for the start of spring training. He posted a 3.00 ERA and 191/56 K/BB ratio over a career-high 183 innings this season and managed to finish out the year despite a bout of forearm tightness in early September. This is the second elbow surgery of his career, as he required Tommy John surgery during his rookie season in 2010.
Harper underwent surgery Wednesday to debride and repair the bursa sac in his left knee, which he injured crashing into the right field wall at Dodger Stadium on May 13. He’ll also require 4-6 weeks of recovery time, so it shouldn’t have an impact on his readiness for 2014. The 21-year-old outfielder batted .274/.368/.486 with 20 home runs, 58 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in 118 games this year.
LaRoche had surgery on Wednesday to remove loose bodies from his left elbow. Like Strasburg and Harper, he’ll need 4-6 weeks of recovery time. The 33-year-old first baseman hit .237 with 20 home runs and a career-low .735 OPS in 152 games this season and will enter 2014 in the final year of a two-year, $24 million contract.
When he’s not throwing baseballs, Twins pitcher Trevor May is an active gamer. He streams on Twitch, a very popular video game streaming site, fairly regularly and now he’s officially on an eSports team. Luminosity Gaming announced the organization added May last Friday. It appears he’ll be streaming and commentating on Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter made by Blizzard Entertainment.
May is the only current athlete to be an active member of an eSports team. Former NBA player Rick Fox owns Echo Fox, an eSports team that sports players in games including League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Mortal Kombat X. Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is also a known advocate of eSports.
The NBA in particular has been very active on the eSports front. Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov launched NRG eSports in November 2015. Shortly thereafter, Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in the Immortals eSports team. Almost a year later, the 76ers acquired controlling stakes in Team Dignitas and Team Apex. The same month, the Wizards’ and Warriors’ owners launched a group called Axiomatic, which purchased a controlling stake in Team Liquid, a long-time Starcraft: Brood War website which has since branched out into other games. And also in September 2016, Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko bought team Renegades, moving them to a group house in Detroit. In December 2016, the Bucks submitted a deal to Riot Games in order to purchase Cloud9’s Challenger league spot for $2.5 million. The Rockets that month hired someone specifically for eSports development, focusing on strategy and investment. Last month, the Heat acquired a controlling stake in team Misfits.
Once an afterthought, eSports has grown considerably in recent years and now it should be considered a competitor to traditional sports. League of Legends, in particular, is quite popular, reaching nearly 15 million concurrent viewers at its peak in the most recent League of Legends World Championship. That championship featured a prize purse of $6.7 million with $2 million of it being split among winner SK Telecom T1’s members.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.