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.
A brutal couple of updates on the night of Jose Fernandez’s death from Jeff Passan of Yahoo and from Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald.
Passan reports on the leadup to the fateful boat trip. About how a friend of one of the other men killed on the boat had pleaded with him not to go out in the dark. Then there’s this:
After Saturday’s game, Fernandez had asked a number of teammates to join him on the boat. One by one, they declined.
Marcell Ozuna was one of them. Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald reports:
Following Monday’s game, Ozuna said he turned down an invitation from Fernandez after Saturday night’s game to go out with him and join him for a spin on his boat . . . “That night I told him, ‘Don’t go out,’” Ozuna said. “Everybody knew he was crazy about that boat and loved being out on the water. I told him I couldn’t go out that night because I had the kids and my wife waiting for me.
Losing a friend and teammate under such circumstances is brutal enough. Adding on survivor’s guilt would be close to impossible to bear.
David Ortiz has used Derek Jeter’s Player’s Tribune as his personal podium all year as he says goodbye to the Major Leagues. He continues that today, on the eve of his final series against the Yankees.
In it Ortiz talks about what playing the Yankees meant to him over the course of his career. About how the fan hate was real but something he embraced. About how the series back in the days of Jeter and Pettitte and Mariano and Mussina were “wars.” He also talks about how the Yankees were basically everything when he was growing up in the Dominican Republic. The only caps and shirts you saw were Yankees shirts and how they were about the only team you could see on TV there. As such, coming to Boston and then playing against the Yankees was a big, big deal.
Ortiz says “[s]ome players are born to be Yankees, you know what I’m saying? I was born to play against the Yankees.”
And he’ll get to do it only three more times.