CLEARWATER — As is my usual routine, I got to Bright House Field for today’s Phillies-Braves game at 8AM, which is when the home team’s clubhouse is usually open for media. Except today the Phillies’ clubhouse isn’t open.
This happens sometimes. Lots of reasons, be it meetings, guest speakers from the league or the MLBPA or what have you. It was my bad for not checking ahead of time. I didn’t ask for the specific reason it was closed. But this being the Phillies, I assume it was a canasta tournament, seniors yoga or a “Matlock” marathon. No. “Murder, She Wrote.”
This much is 100% true: when I got here, former Reds and Astros catcher Ed Taubensee was waiting in the lobby area and was given the OK to go in the clubhouse. Taubensee last played in the bigs in 2001, so I assume he’s here so that Ruben Amaro can give him a three-year, $39 million contract with a vesting option.
OK, I’ll stop now. I promised myself I’d give up trolling Phillies fans for Lent. I won’t because I’m not Catholic, but the spirit of sacrifice is good for the soul, so I’ll try to make an effort.
Updates from Clearwater later this morning.
It’s been just over a week since Giants’ left-hander Madison Bumgarner got a serious scare after a nasty dirt bike accident. He escaped with bruised ribs and a Grade 2 strain of his left shoulder AC joint, but there was some speculation that the injuries would cause a significant, if not permanent, setback in the southpaw’s career. Thankfully, things aren’t looking quite so bleak today. Not only will Bumgarner not require surgery, but he could return as soon as the week following the All-Star break, the Giants said Friday.
Of course, that timeline is wholly dependent on how smoothly the recovery process goes, so nothing is set in stone yet. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic estimates 2-3 months of rest and rehab, including “two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he’s big league-ready.” It’s a long and laborious schedule, but still looks much better than any surgical alternative.
Prior to the accident, Bumgarner was working on a solid start to the 2017 season. He maintained a 3.00 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 through 27 innings with the club, though his average 1.75 runs of support per start fed into an 0-3 record.
You’ve seen Carlos Gomez’s 461-foot home run. You’ve seen Joey Gallo’s 462-foot blast. You’ve seen Corey Seager’s 462-footer, too. During Friday’s series opener against the Yankees, Manny Machado delivered the tie-breaker we were all hoping for, launching a 470-foot moonshot over the center field wall to pad the Orioles’ 5-0 lead in the fifth:
It was Machado’s fourth homer of the season, and quite a doozy, according to Statcast. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says that it’s currently the longest home run recorded at Yankee Stadium, dating back through Statcast’s inception in 2015.
Through eight innings, the Yankees and Orioles combined for five home runs and two grand slams, though none reached quite as far as Machado’s record-setting blast. Aaron Judge went deep twice, hitting the 417-foot mark in the fifth inning and the 435-mark in the sixth, while Mark Trumbo executed a 459-foot grand slam in the sixth inning, followed by a 420-foot slam from Jacoby Ellsbury in the seventh. The Orioles currently lead the Yankees 11-8 in the ninth inning.