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Scooter Gennett pitched. And called StatCast “fake news”

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Last night the Reds-Cubs game got out of hand, with Chicago leading 13-5 heading into the bottom half of the eighth. With the game a lost cause, Bryan Price called on Scooter Gennett — who had homered the half inning before — to close the game out.

Gennett had never pitched before — he’s a second baseman by trade — and it showed. His windup was actually sort of pleasing. A low-effort affair, reminding one of a guy at an old-timers game who once threw with violence but now doesn’t want to hurt anything because he has a tee time the next day. A study in efficiency. As for results, well, not great: he issued a leadoff walk to Jason Heyward and then allowed a two-run homer to Javier Baez. He also hit a dude. Not that any of us could do any better.

For my money, though, the best part of it was his postgame interview.

He started it off as expected, talking about how it’s never a good thing for a position player to pitch because it means the game was out of hand. Then he went into deadpan mode and talked about how “I’ve definitely had better outings . . . I got too much of the plate there on Baez’s homer, missed my spot.” A minute or so later he speculated that he was hitting 95-96 m.p.h. and a reporter corrected him “no, 68.” Gennett shot back: “yeah, I don’t believe that, I think the radar gun must be broke or something . . . . that StatCast, off-the-bat speed, all of that’s fake news . . . ”

It was some seriously good deadpan:

And here’s that form:

Watch:

Blue Jays shut down Steve Pearce for the rest of 2017

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The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.

Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.

With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.

Brewers’ Julio Mendez remains hospitalized after hit by pitch

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Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.

Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.

Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.