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.”
Newly acquired third baseman Todd Frazier spent his first five games with the Yankees on the road, playing once in Minnesota and four games in Seattle. He was set to take his first at-bat as a Yankee at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night against the Reds. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go how he likely expected them.
The Yankees quickly loaded the bases on consecutive singles from Matt Holliday, Didi Gregorius, and Chase Headley to lead off the bottom of the second inning. That brought up Frazier in his first at-bat at Yankee Stadium. He got ahead in the count 3-1 against Luis Castillo before hitting a sharp grounder to shortstop Jose Peraza. Gregorius went back to second base because he thought the ball had a chance to be caught on a line. Peraza stepped on the second base bag, then fired to first base for the double play. Votto then threw across the diamond to Eugenio Suarez at third base, catching Gregorius out in no man’s land. Holliday scored in the meantime, breaking a 0-0 tie, but Gregorius was eventually called out for running out of the base line in a run down.
Frazier entered the evening with just two hits (both singles) and one walk in 18 plate appearances as a Yankee.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Brewers have agreed to a deal with the White Sox for reliever Anthony Swarzak. The White Sox will receive 3B/OF Ryan Cordell in return.
It’s no secret that the 53-48 first-place Brewers are on the hunt for relief help. While closer Corey Knebel has been great, the Brewers have been shaky leading up to the ninth inning as Carlos Torres owns a 4.65 ERA and Oliver Drake 5.05.
Swarzak, 31, has posted a 2.23 ERA with a 52/13 K/BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings this season. He can become a free agent after the season.
Cordell, 25, hit .284/.349/.506 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI in 292 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs. He’s the Brewers’ No. 17 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.