Lefty Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game against the Rays on Mother’s Day — May 9, 2010. He finished the year with a 3.50 ERA in 192.2 innings, ranking as a solid #3 option in the Athletics’ rotation behind Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill. Following surgery on the anterior capsule in his left shoulder in 2011, and surgery to mend a partial tear of his rotator cuff in 2012, Braden hasn’t tossed a pitch in professional ball since April 16, 2011.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Braden plans to hold a showcase for interested parties in January in the hopes of attempting a comeback. We have seen pitchers come back in strong form even after spending a year or more out of pro baseball. Scott Kazmir bounced back with the Indians last season after a year in the independent league, and Ryan Vogelsong had a rebirth with the Giants after a three-year gap in his professional career.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.