A user on Reddit (subreddit r/baseball) posted this picture of Russia’s malfunctioning Olympic rings, photoshopped into a sort of diagram of the current talent makeup in the American League West:
If we tried this for the other five divisions, which organization would be the broken ring?
AL East: Blue Jays
AL Central: Twins
NL East: Marlins
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Padres
AL Central and NL Central were tough calls. The White Sox finished last in 2013 and the Twins have elite prospects on the way in Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, and Miguel Sano. But if we’re basing it off the current MLB roster, Chicago is in a better place. It’s a similar situation in the NL, with the Cubs boasting a group of exciting youngsters (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant) but the Brewers looking more competitive for 2014.
You can watch a replay of the Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony malfunction at this link.
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.