Spring training is right around the corner, but neither Drew Pomeranz nor Steven Wright will throw off a mound anytime soon. That’s the word from Red Sox’ GM John Farrell, who told reporters on Sunday that Wright has not fully recovered from a bout of bursitis in his right shoulder (via Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald). Pomeranz is still rehabbing his elbow after receiving a stem cell injection in October.
Mastrodonato points out that neither starter is expected to miss the start of the regular season, at least not for the time being. Both pitchers will undergo physicals on Monday that should give the team more information to go off of, though it makes sense to take things slow over the next month or so.
Wright, 32, enjoyed his first All-Star season with the Red Sox in 2016. He turned in a 3.33 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 156 2/3 innings before hitting the disabled list in August with shoulder issues. Previous reports from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo suggested that the knuckleballer would be ready to go by mid-February, but while he’s made progress throwing on flat ground, he still needs to build up his arm strength before taking the mound again.
Pomeranz, on the other hand, could risk losing his rotation spot if the rest of the spring doesn’t go according to plan. At least, that’s how Mastrodonato sees things, noting that the 28-year-old experienced issues beyond his health problems during the 2016 season. After putting up a 2.47 ERA, 10.1 SO/9 and 5.9 H/9 with the Padres through the first half of the year, Pomeranz had trouble adjusting to the confines of Fenway Park and delivered a 4.59 ERA, 9.3 SO/9 and 9.2 H/9 in 68 2/3 innings with the Red Sox. Should the left-hander find himself out of a starting role come April, however, the Sox will still have to count on Wright and fellow rehabbing starter Eduardo Rodriguez to flesh out the rotation.
The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.
This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.
Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.
Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.
“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”
The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.
Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.