Via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
Dallas Braden, the former A’s left-hander who pitched the 19th perfect game in major-league history, told me today that he is retiring after failing to come back from multiple shoulder surgeries.
“There is nothing left in there, it’s just a shredded mess,” Braden told Slusser by phone on Tuesday. “I left my arm on the mound at the Coliseum, and I’m OK with that. … [That perfect game] will always define the one solid day of work I had and the fact that I got to share it with my grandmother, only a few people appreciate the magnitude of that. That was living the dream. … You have to face your mortality one day.”
Braden mowed down 27 straight Rays batters on May 9, 2010, recording six strikeouts, seven groundball outs, 14 flyball outs and using 109 pitches. That moment produced these memorable images (via Getty):
Braden pitched only 18 major league innings after that 2010 campaign and will call it quits at age 30 having made just 94 total appearances in the bigs. He finishes with a 4.16 career ERA and 1.325 career WHIP.
The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon says C/OF Kyle Schwarber is the frontrunner to bat leadoff for the team this season, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Schwarber, 23, has hit out of the leadoff spot only eight times in his young career, but the move up the batting order mostly just means more opportunities for him to swing his potent bat. He hit .246/.355/.487 with 16 home runs and 43 RBI in 273 plate appearances in his rookie season in 2015.
Schwarber suffered serious injuries early in the 2016 season when he collided with teammate Dexter Fowler in the Arizona outfield. He tore the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments, which everyone thought ended his 2016 season entirely. However, Schwarber returned for the start of the World Series against the Indians. In 20 plate appearances over five games, Schwarber contributed six singles, a double, and three walks.