Hurricane Irma is a record-setting category 5 storm and has Florida in its sights. As was the case with Harvey, baseball is not a top priority when it comes to the potential havoc the hurricane will wreak, but it is something the league, the clubs and their players have to take into account. The Marlins and Rays are taking it into account right now.
While both teams will be on road trips when the storm is expected to reach Florida, their families are still at risk. The Marlins have turned their road trip into a family affair, allowing families of players and staff to travel with the team. Don Mattingly:
“Jeffrey [Loria] ultimately made the decision that all the families are going to get to go with us, travel the whole trip, kids and the whole thing, and really provide a service for our families, which is really very nice of the organization”
Good on Jeff Loria.
The Rays aren’t taking their families with them when they head to Boston for the weekend, but they are making a couple of changes to help them out. From the Tampa Bay Times:
- They pushed their departure back from postgame today until Thursday afternoon to allow more time for players and traveling staff to get their families situated or headed out of town.
- And they will pack for extra days in case they can’t fly back to Tampa as planned on Sunday night and/or if next week’s series against the Yankees needs to be relocated from the Trop.
The Rays are supposed to be back in town on Monday to play the Yankees. If there’s damage or devastation, they may explore relocating the series. The Marlins are not supposed to be back until September 15, so they have a bit more time to figure that out.
Good luck to anyone in the path of Irma. Stay safe.
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’ 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.