When starter Ubaldo Jimenez joined the Orioles on a four-year, $50 million contract on February 19, he decided he wanted Kevin Gausman’s number 31. Gausman has gone through a handful of number changes, which CSN Baltimore’s Keely Diven explains:
Gausman wore No. 75 in spring training of last year, then switched to No. 37 for his first season in the big leagues. The Orioles’ new pitching coach Dave Wallace wanted No. 37 when he arrived, so Gausman switched to No. 31 in the first week of camp rather than turn down his new coach. That would have been the end of the number saga had the Orioles not signed Ubaldo Jimenez soon after. Jimenez wanted Gausman’s number, and as usual, he obliged and asked for nothing in return. Now, Wallace wears No. 37, Jimenez wears No. 31 and Gausman wears No. 39.
Jimenez didn’t let the good deed go unrewarded. Fellow starter Bud Norris snapped and then tweeted a picture of the two starters after Jimenez gave Gausman a Rolex watch as a thank-you for giving up the number.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.