Retired right-hander Eric Gagne was on the mound in front of Dodgers executives on Sunday. It’s been nearly seven years since Gagne entered retirement, though he’s scheduled to pitch for Team Canada during the World Baseball Classic later this spring.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick noted that while Dodgers’ president Andrew Friedman and GM Farhan Zaidi were in attendance on Sunday, along with “much of the front office,” the bullpen session wasn’t part of Gagne’s comeback attempt. It won’t be the only bullpen session he tosses this spring, however, as the veteran righty intends to sharpen his skills while also serving as a guest pitching instructor for the Dodgers’ staff.
The 41-year-old announced his retirement in 2010, but hasn’t set foot on a big league stage since his one-year stint with the Brewers in 2008. Over a 10-year career, most of which took place in Dodger Stadium, the right-hander delivered a 3.47 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 10.0 SO/9 for the Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox and Brewers. He earned three All-Star nominations from 2002-2004 and took home his first and only NL Cy Young Award in 2003.
Gagne attempted a few rounds with various clubs in the Canadian-American Association in 2009, 2015 and 2016, though he hasn’t pitched more than 10 innings total in the last seven years. Now, he claims to have regained the velocity and pitch repertoire that fueled his success in the majors.
“I feel great,” he told Gurnick. “It’s almost scary.”
At the end of January, the Nationals signed relievers Joe Nathan and Matt Albers. Today the Nationals have released Joe Nathan and Matt Albers.
Nathan, 42, pitched in just ten games last year, totaling only six and a third innings, between the Giants and the Cubs. He missed the entire 2015 season except for one third of an inning on Opening Day. Albers pitched in 58 games for the White Sox last year, posting an unsightly 6.31 ERA He pitched wonderfully in 30 games in 2015 however.
This spring Nathan and Albers pitched in more games than any other Nats relievers. Twelve for Nathan, ten for Albers. And they pitched well, with Nathan giving up five earned runs and Albers none. Apparently, however, there just isn’t room on the roster for those two.
This could be the end of the line for Nathan, a 16-year veteran with 377 career saves.
The substance of the report is not shocking. Francisco Lindor is one of baseball’s brightest young stars and the Cleveland Indians would, no doubt, wish to lock him up for an extended period of time. The surprising part is the guy who reported that, yes, the Indians are working to get Lindor a seven-year extension.
That guy: six-year-old Brody Chernoff, son of Indians general manager Mike Chernoff. Brody was invited into the team’s broadcast booth during the ninth inning of their game against the Chicago White Sox. Indians announcer Tom Hamilton asked, no doubt jokingly, if his working on anything interesting. Brody:
“He’s trying to get, um, Lindor to play for seven more years,”
Again, not shocking. It would’ve been way worse if Brody had said “Dad’s working on a three-way deal that’ll send Naquin to an NL team in order to affect a three-way trade that’ll land us Verlander without having to deal directly with a divisional rival.” But I imagine Dad still would’ve preferred he not mention that.