Indians manager Terry Francona let pitcher Blake Wood know that he had officially made the team’s 25-man roster in a unique way on Monday. Joe Reedy of FOX Sports Ohio has the details:
It was during a pitching change in the seventh inning of Monday’s spring training game against the Reds that the 28-year-old right-hander found out he earned a spot.
“When I went to take him out, (catcher Luke) Carlin was coming and I told him to stay back there a little bit,” manager Terry Francona said. “I went out there and asked (Wood) if he ever made the team on the mound? He was like no. I go ‘well, you just did.’ After that we came and talked to him the dugout but you could tell he was pretty excited.”
Francona and general manager Chris Antonetti were planning on telling Wood that he made the roster the next morning but bullpen coach Kevin Cash told him that there was some anxiety from Wood and a couple others. Francona, who rarely takes his cell phone to the field but did in this case because there were a lot of moving parts to the roster, called Antonetti, who was watching the minor-league games, and asked if it was OK to tell Wood that he made it.
Wood has been in the Majors before — in 2010-11 with the Royals, and last season briefly with the Indians. But he was on the cusp of starting the season back in Triple-A again, so it was a fun way for Francona to deliver the good news.
In 120 2/3 innings in the big leagues, Wood has a 4.25 ERA with 94 strikeouts and 45 unintentional walks.
The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.
Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball. Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”
Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.
Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.
Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:
”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”
After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).