Bet you Eric Campbell didn’t see this in the minor leagues. In the top of the eighth inning of a 4-4 ballgame, the Phillies bullpen did what they do best and put two runners in scoring position with one out for 27-year-old rookie Eric Campbell, making his major league debut. With first base open, Carlos Ruiz stood towards the left-handed batter’s box and took the first of four pitches from reliever Mike Adams for the intentional walk, ostensibly to set up a potential inning-ending double play.
Then, for some reason, the Phillies changed their minds. Ruiz got back into his normal crouch behind the plate and Adams pitched to Campbell normally and ultimately struck him out looking.
Don’t believe me? The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb tweeted it:
Apparently Chase Utley had something to do with it:
The drama continued as Adams unintentionally walked Wilmer Flores to bring up former two-time Phillie Bobby Abreu. But Abreu grounded weakly back to Adams for the inning-ending put out at first base, leaving the game tied at 4-4 going into the top of the ninth inning.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.
Ken Rosenthal has an interesting story up about Sergio Romo as he begins spring training with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is some fun stuff about his family, all Dodgers fans from southern California, but the more notable stuff is about Romo himself, who has dealt with a lot more than has been reported over the past couple of seasons. The loss of three of his four grandparents is a big one, as it has thrust the mantle of head of the family on Romo in ways that he was not fully prepared for. There are also allusions to personal and psychological problems Romo has experienced — there is a vague suggestion of alcohol or maybe just late nights out and perhaps depression, but he is not specific about it — which he worked on with the help of friends and teammates on the Giants and which he now has overcome.
There’s always more going on the lives of baseball players than we as fans know.