John Kruk once famously told a woman he was not an athlete, he was a ballplayer. Albert Pujols, in contrast, embraces the label of athlete.
We know this because He’s making a guest appearance on Sesame Street on Thursday, explaining to Grover what the word “athlete” means. And it’s fantastic:
- I’m going to start calling Grover “Mike Trout” because, like Trout, he flat carries Pujols here. But that’s not a shock. Grover is an 80-Muppet. He is so much better than just about every other Muppet there is. In a just world he’s making Elmo money. He’s that good;
- Watch Pujols look away at the cue card as he identifies himself by name. Seriously.
- “Yes. I train to play baseball. And I am good at baseball.” That’s quote of the year material there.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.