Managers almost always come out to the mound to remove pitchers from the game, so when the pitching coach makes a mound visits it’s usually just to chat. And that was Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher’s plan Sunday when he came out to talk to Jered Weaver, but then Weaver surprised everyone involved by actually asking to be removed from the game in the seventh inning.
He’d thrown 6.1 innings of one-run ball on 102 pitches and the Angels were up 7-1, but Weaver wasn’t happy with how he was pitching and specifically told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that he “didn’t have any command of my fastball.”
And because he’s Jered Weaver, longtime excellent pitcher with a good reputation for such things, Butcher had plenty of praise for him, saying: “It takes a man to tell you he wants to come out of the game. Hats off to him.”
Weaver’s catcher, Hank Conger, said: “I was a little shocked. He always loves taking the ball.”
And the reliever who came in to replace him, Michael Kohn, said: “I was surprised. I was warming up, taking my time, and they said, ‘You’re in the game.'”
Sunday’s start may have been a batter or two shorter than manager Mike Scioscia planned, but it was Weaver’s fifth straight strong outing since beginning the season with three straight rough games. During that five-start stretch he’s 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 23/8 K/BB ratio in 32 innings and has allowed just one homer.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.