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A lot of people think — or want to think — the Dbacks caused Andrew McCutchen’s injury

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We’ve made note of the events over the weekend a few times: the Diamondbacks’ Randall Delgado, almost certainly acting on orders from his manager or on the throw-at-guys culture of Dbacks brass, tossed a 95 m.p.h. fastball into Andrew McCutchen’s back on Saturday for no good reason at all. The next day McCutchen left the game with what was initially called an oblique strain. Now it has been determined to be a rib fracture. More specifically, an an avulsion fracture, which happens when bone and cartilage are strained to a pretty extreme degree, pulled away from ligaments and tendons.

Most of us aren’t doctors and none of us have examined McCutchen, so none of us know how it happened. But there was certainly a lot of anger being aimed at the Diamondbacks anew yesterday, with many convinced that the bush league HBP on Saturday caused the injury. This, from the Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh, is a pretty decent encapsulation of the sentiment I’ve seen:

I’m no doctor — that should be very obvious — but I spoke with a highly qualified one Monday night.

Dr. Bryson Lesniak is a UPMC orthopedic surgeon who used to work for the Miami Marlins. He ruled out the possibility that Randall Delgado’s pitch — the one that hit McCutchen squarely in the spine — caused the avulsion fracture in McCutchen’s 11th rib. But nobody thought that, anyway.

Here’s the important point: Lesniak did not rule out the idea that McCutchen’s mechanics were compromised the next day because of the after-shock of getting drilled.

That possibility just makes sense. You hurt one thing, you might favor something else, even if subconsciously.

I have thought the same thing. It just seems intuitive. Of course, a lot of things seem intuitive that are totally false. We simply can’t know and, to be honest, no medical professional is likely to come out and say “yes, this was caused by Delgado’s pitch.” It likely will never be known definitively and will likely remain firmly in the fan-lore and fan-sentiment arenas, not the medical one.

But can we agree on something? Can we agree that it’s totally possible to think that the Dbacks and Delgado acted awfully in throwing at McCutchen on Saturday regardless of the effect that HBP actually had? Indeed, if it did no damage whatsoever, can we agree it was a stupid, reckless and cowardly act that has no place in baseball and that, if Joe Torre weren’t asleep on the switch on this one that Delgado and/or Kirk Gibson would have been suspended or fined by now?

I hope we can agree on that.

 

Shohei Otani may come to the United States after 2017

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Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?

Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.

It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.

Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.