Author: Aaron Gleeman

Jared Burton Getty

Twins decline $3.6 million option on Jared Burton

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Minnesota has declined right-hander Jared Burton’s option for 2015, choosing to pay the 33-year-old reliever a $200,000 buyout rather than a $3.6 million salary.

Not so long ago that option looked like it might be a bargain, as Burton went from scrap-heap pickup to one of the league’s best setup men, but he showed major signs of decline this season while throwing 64 innings with a 4.36 ERA.

His strikeout rate went from 8.2 per nine innings in 2012/2013 to 6.5 this season and his walk rate jumped to 3.5 per nine innings. He also struggled down the stretch last season and his velocity has dipped as well.

World Series, Game 2: Giants vs. Royals lineups

Yordano Ventura
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Here are the lineups for Game 2 of the World Series, in Kansas City:

Giants:
CF Gregor Blanco
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
DH Michael Morse
LF Travis Ishikawa
SS Brandon Crawford

SP Jake Peavy

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is sticking with his Game 1 lineup, which included first baseman Travis Ishikawa in left field and outfielder Michael Morse at designated hitter.

Royals:
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Norichika Aoki
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
2B Omar Infante
3B Mike Moustakas

SP Yordano Ventura

No changes for the Royals, who’ve used the exact same lineup for every postseason game.

CC Sabathia hasn’t thrown off a mound yet, but says he’s “pretty much back to 100 percent”

CC Sabathia
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CC Sabathia is a huge question mark for the Yankees thanks to two seasons of poor performances and chronic knee problems, but the former Cy Young winner says he’s feeling good three months after surgery.

Sabathia told Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record that he’s “pretty much back to 100 percent” and “I feel good enough to do all my workouts, to play catch and kind of have a normal offseason.”

For now he’s throwing twice a week off flat ground and doesn’t plan to throw off a mound until spring training, so it’ll be tough to gauge his overall readiness for a while.

Sabathia, who was shut down for the season in May, has a 4.87 ERA with 38 homers allowed in 40 starts since 2013. He’s owed $23 million in 2015, $25 million in 2016, and $25 million or a $5 million buyout for 2017.

Frank White joins the “back in my day …” chorus

frank white royals
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Breaking news: Long-retired athlete thinks things were better in his day.

This time, starring 64-year-old Royals great Frank White:

“No one ever complained” is not a particularly compelling argument against change, in baseball or in life.

As an example, for much of baseball history “no one ever complained” that non-white players weren’t allowed to play. In this case it’s basically “no one ever complained” about catchers suffering brain injuries. I’ll bet a few of them complained, in between the dizziness and nausea and sensitivity to light and memory loss.

Padres fire hitting coach Phil Plantier

phil plantier getty
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San Diego has fired hitting coach Phil Plantier after three seasons on the job, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.

This year the Padres scored the fewest runs in baseball, by far, as they totaled 535 runs and the second-to-last Braves scored 573.

Pitcher-friendly Petco Park plays a huge part in the Padres’ poor offensive totals each season and in some past years they’ve produced solid numbers on the road within bad overall numbers. However, this year they ranked 29th in road scoring while hitting .222 with a .621 OPS away from San Diego.

Since moving to Petco Park in 2004 the Padres have never scored an above-average number of runs and have ranked 12th or worse among NL teams in eight of 11 seasons. It’s possible that Plantier did a bad job and deserved to be let go, but so far no one has been able to get the Padres to score runs at their home ballpark.