Add another item to baseball’s unwritten rulebook: don’t tag too hard. With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was on his way to third base after Adam Jones hit a ground ball. Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson fielded the ball and ran towards Machado before tagging him for the final out of the inning.
Machado stumbled back and fired his helmet to the ground in Donaldson’s direction, which of course got Donaldson’s attention. Apparently, Machado felt that he was tagged too harshly. The two jawed at each other and the benches emptied. There were no punches thrown and no ejections. You can watch the events as they unfolded here.
Machado got his revenge, hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth. In the top of the sixth, O’s starter Wei-Yin Chen brushed Donaldson back with a fastball, then came right back inside and hit him with another fastball. Chen was not ejected, and Donaldson didn’t do much in return other than flipping his arm guard. Stay tuned for more drama from Camden Yards.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.
The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.