Silverado Strong

UPDATE: MLB and Chevrolet pull the “Silverado Strong” promotion

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UPDATE: Wiser heads have prevailed: the “Silverado Strong” promotion has been cancelled.

Michael Albano, Chevrolet Spokesperson issued the following statement:

“Earlier this year Chevrolet launched the all-new 2014 Silverado. The launch is supported by the campaign, “Strong”,  which celebrates the strength of hardworking, honest and dependable men and women. Chevy has carried this theme throughout the 2013 MLB Playoffs and the World Series. Chevrolet had planned to continue the campaign tonight through an interactive in-stadium promotion.  However, following today’s rehearsal we realized there was the possibility that we may offend some of the very fans we were trying to honor, for that reason Chevrolet and MLB decided to cancel the promotion.”

Well, whether Chevy had a campaign going beforehand isn’t the point. They can do whatever they want with the campaign. It’s the intersection of the “Silverado Strong” and “Boston Strong” in dueling on-field World Series promotions which was the problem.

Either way: that’s a smart call. Of course, how no one considered that this was tacky until just before game time is beyond me.

ST. LOUIS — When I got to the ballpark today I noticed a bunch of little pieces of cardboard on the lower level seats. Some down by the left and right field lines are clearly the MLB logo.  From where I’m sitting I can see the third base line and can clearly see the word “Strong.”  “Hmm, ‘Boston Strong,'” I thought? A nice gesture, but it seems a bit out of place in St. Louis.

But no, it’s not a tribute to Boston and its post-Marathon bombing recovery. It’s about trucks that are second to none. This pic via Reddit:

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From MLB.com, explaining it:

Leading into the top of the 3rd, Ozzie Smith will recognize Chevrolet’s commitment to growing youth baseball in a video played on the scoreboard. He will prompt fans in attendance to hold up placards in front of them, which will unveil an image of the words “Silverado Strong,” Chevrolet’s theme for the launch of the all-new 2014 Silverado, with the Chevrolet and MLB silhouetted batter logos on either side. The Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2013 World Series will receive a youth baseball field makeover in a U.S. location of their choice and a 2014 Silverado High Country. This is a continuation of Chevrolet’s year-long SILVERADO STRONG campaign. For more information, fans can visit ChevyBaseball.com.

Commitment to youth baseball is admirable. But the slogan and placards seem to be just as much if not more of a commitment to advertising Chevy trucks.  And while the city of Boston doesn’t have a trademark on the word “strong,” they did have the words displayed on their field first, and for purposes that don’t mix the good cause with the commerce:

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Wondering how the folks in Boston will take this. Wondering whether anyone at MLB or Chevy realized that, maybe, this wasn’t the greatest idea when it comes to large, on-field sloganeering.

Evan Gattis undergoes surgery for hernia; recovery is 4-6 weeks

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news

One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.

Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.

Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.

Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.

Seung-Hwan Oh finally receives his work visa, will be on time for Cardinals camp

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At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

But that is now officially a non-story.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.

Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”

Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

John Lamb had back surgery in December, will likely get off to late start in 2016

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John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.

Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.

It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.

This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.