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.”
Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.
While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.
Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.
SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.
Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.
Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.
At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.
In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.