Carlos Marmol went AWOL because he needed to “take a mental break”

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Carlos Marmol pitched three and two-thirds ineffective innings from the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate in Louisville and then was placed on the restricted list because, according to the Reds, he “left the club without permission.” His agent explained to Jon Heyman what happened:

“A lot has happened in the past year and he decided to go to the Dominican. We aren’t sure when or if he will return this year . . . he just wants to take a mental break. Physically he is fine. He was still throwing in the mid-90s.”

Marmol’s agent said that Marmol wasn’t really AWOL, but that the Reds “weren’t happy” and that he “understands them being upset.”

That makes one of us. If the current version of Carlos Marmol left the team I was trying to make win games and was trying to get fans to come and see I’d be pretty OK with it.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.