Matt Diaz has announced — on his own blog — that he’s retiring:
I’m moving on in my life from playing baseball. Notice, I didn’t say, I was done with baseball! How could anyone who loves the game ever “be done.” And certainly I love the game! I love the way it taught me to fail and get over it. I love the way it helped me become the man I am today. I love the way it’s provided for me and my family. There’s so much to love about this game. I just don’t love playing it anymore, and that’s how I know it’s time to not pursue a job playing this year.
Diaz hit .290/.338/.429 in 11 years with the Devil Rays, Royals, Braves, Pirates and Marlins. He was mostly a bench/platoon guy, though he happened to have his best season as a major leaguer in the year he got the most playing time. That came in 2009 when he hit .313./.390/.488 with 13 homers and 58 RBI in 425 plate appearances for the Braves.
Not a bad little career. One that, in five years time, should see him inducted into the Hall of Pretty Good Lefty Mashers.
Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.
Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.
Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.
Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.
Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.