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.
Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times has an outstanding profile of former Rays prospect Brandon Martin, who is currently in jail for allegedly murdering three men nearly two years ago.
Fenno describes Martin’s erratic personality as he became a highly-touted baseball prospect who then descends into drug use. Friends described Martin has having completely changed into an unrecognizable person. Martin had repeated conflicts with friends and family such that police reports became common and he was placed in a psychiatric facility. Sadly, the facility only held him for less than 48 hours. He would allegedly murder three people upon returning home: his father, his brother-in-law, and a home security system contractor. Martin fled from police, who eventually caught up to him and subdued him with the help of a police dog.
Fenno’s profile is really worth a read, so click here to check it out.
Martin, 23, was selected by the Rays in the first round (38th overall) of the 2011 draft. He spent three years in the Rays’ system, reaching as high as Single-A Bowling Green.
On Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado‘s head. It was revenge for a slide of Machado’s which ended up injuring Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Barnes was suspended four games.
Hall of Famer and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez said that if he were in Barnes’ shoes, he would have also thrown at Machado, although not necessarily at his head. Via ESPN’s Scott Lauber:
If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him. The only thing I would’ve done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower.
Martinez added that Machado “did not intend to hurt Pedroia. And I know that because I know Machado.” And he doesn’t think Barnes meant to throw at Machado’s head.
Martinez, of course, was certainly a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to batters and even hit a few of them when he felt he or his teammates had been wronged. This is an unfortunate part of baseball’s culture and the fact that it continues means that it will eventually result in someone being seriously hurt. It’s disappointing that Martinez isn’t willing to be a better role model now that his playing days are over. Martinez could have set an example for today’s pitchers by saying what Barnes did crossed a line. Getting a Hall of Famer’s seal of approval will only embolden players now when they feel they must defend their teammates’ honor.
The “tradition” of beaning batters to defend one’s teammates is anachronistic in today’s game, especially when Major League Baseball has made strides in so many other ways recently to protect players’ safety.