Braves third baseman Chris Johnson was removed from last night’s game against the Rockies after he threw a tantrum in the tunnel leading to the clubhouse following a strikeout in the second inning.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes that pieces of a bat Johnson shattered hit both Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and Gerald Laird, who were standing near the dugout steps. Gonzalez had “a few choice words” for Johnson and immediately replaced him with Ramiro Pena at third base.
Johnson said after the game that he apologized to his teammates and understands that he needs to keep his emotions in check.
“I play with a lot of passion,” Johnson said. “Every single pitch and every single at-bat, I hold in high regard. When things don’t go well, that is kind of my downfall. That is one of the biggest parts of my game I need to work on. One of the worst things I could ever do is hurt a teammate or something like that.
“This has to be it for me. I think it will get a point where people won’t think I’m truly sorry for doing it. It just looks selfish.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Johnson has displayed reckless behavior around his teammates. He got into a confrontation with first base coach Terry Pendleton last September after he threw his helmet in frustration and hit Pendleton with it. Johnson was also benched for two games last month after went on a rampage in the dugout.
Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.
Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.
Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.
Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.
Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.
As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.
You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.