UPDATE: Major League Baseball has just released a statement, saying it has determined that the Tigers did not hit umpire Quinn Wolcott on purpose on Wednesday:
“MLB takes seriously the safety of on-field personnel — players, coaches and umpires alike — and has thoroughly reviewed the incident. Upon completion of that review, Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre has concluded that no Tigers player intended for the pitch to hit Umpire Wolcott, and therefor no discipline will be issued.”
10:36 AM: On Wednesday afternoon, during the Tigers-Indians game, home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott ejected Tigers catcher James McCann and then ejected manager Brad Ausmus over their arguing of balls and strikes. At one point the argument got a bit pointed, with Ausmus suggesting that Wolcott was caught up in the Indians winning streak and giving them preferable calls. That’s gonna earn you your ejection, obviously.
With McCann gone, backup catcher James Hicks came into the game. A few pitches later, a Buck Farmer pitch sailed on Hicks, he missed it entirely and it hit Wolcott, shaking him up. While a few people — including analyst Dallas Braden — speculated online that maybe Hicks let the ball get through in order to intentionally hit Wolcott, Ausmus dismissed that as “ridiculous.” For my part, it just seemed like a pitch with an unusual amount of action on it, missed by a catcher who was unexpectedly inserted into the game moments before. An accident.
The Associated Press is reporting this morning, however, that Major League Baseball is investigating the matter, in an effort to determine if it was, in fact, intentional. I suspect this is being done at the instigation of Wolcott or the umpire’s union because, as the AP reports, as he was being examined by a trainer, he said “They didn’t do it on purpose, did they?”
Judge for yourself here:
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.