File this one away in the “statistically improbable” folder, next to the report of Phillies outfielder Richie Ashburn striking the same fan twice with a foul ball. On Saturday night, Astros minor leaguer Conrad Gregor belted his first Midwest League home run. After the ball cleared the fence, a man in a hat made a barehanded basket catch of the ball. That man? Gregor’s father, MiLB.com’s Josh Jackson reports.
According to the newspaper, Marty Gregor and Conrad’s mom came to Davenport, Iowa, for the Memorial Day weekend series, making the nearly five-hour drive from Carmel, Indiana. The 22-year-old first baseman made Saturday extra special by sparking a comeback win and sending his father a souvenir with one swing of the bat.
“He may have to watch every game from out there,” Gregor joked.
“It’s a little unbelievable, but I’m glad my parents were here to see it,” Gregor told the newspaper, “and when I got back to the dugout, I heard he made a pretty good catch.”
Watch Gregor’s blast:
Gregor, a 22-year-old first baseman, entered Sunday’s action slashing .307/.413/.425 in 184 plate appearances on the season with Single-A Quad Cities.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.