Yasiel Puig made an early exit from the Dodgers’ second of two games in Australia with an apparent back injury. The situation did not sit well with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who told Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com that Puig “grabs something every time he takes a swing and misses.”
But some positive news came down the pike on Tuesday as the Dodgers settled back into camp.
As first reported by beat writer Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, an MRI showed no major damage — only inflammation — in Puig’s back. He’s considered day-to-day for now and should be ready for the Dodgers’ March 30 game in San Diego.
Puig went 3-for-10 with a double and two RBI in that two-game season-opening series against the Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The 23-year-old Cuban outfielder batted .319/.391/.534 with 19 home runs and 11 stolen bases in his first 104 major league games last season.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.