Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Todd Coffey retires

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Todd Coffey has not pitched in a major league game for over five years, but he never retired.

He pitched in the minors. He pitched in the independent leagues. He pitched for the Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League. He signed multiple minor league deals with big league clubs for spring training tryouts, but his last pitch in the bigs came for the Dodgers on July 2, 2012 in a loss to the Reds. After that it was Tommy John surgery, rehab and a whole lot of fighting to come back, but it was never retirement.

Until now. Coffey gave his formal statement retiring to Jeff Passan of Yahoo, for whom he served as an invaluable source for and character in his 2016 book about Tommy John surgery, “The Arm.” Coffey’s statement:

Coffey pitched in the bigs for eight seasons, compiling a record of 25-18, a 4.10 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 329/138 in 438.2 innings across 461 games, all in relief. He played for the Reds, Brewers, Nats and Dodgers. He’s a big dude but he sprinted in from the bullpen every time he got the call. On days he pitched well it was part of an inspiring display. On days he didn’t, well, god love him for being enthusiastic:

Happy trails, Todd. Even if it’s been a while since we’ve seen ya.

Tim Tebow was hit in the head by a pitch but stayed in the game

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St. Lucie Mets left fielder Tim Tebow — who is famous for some other stuff too — was hit in the head by a pitch late in Saturday night’s game in Tampa.  The hurler was Tampa Yankees left-hander Trevor Lane.

Tebow was staggered and the ball knocked his helmet off, but he stayed in the game. He would come around to score from first on a double, suggesting that he was feeling just fine.

Tebow, who began his sting in high-A ball pretty well, has been slumping of late. He’s hitting .238/.305/.391 with five homers and 25 RBI in 45 games. In his A-ball stint in Columbia earlier this year he hit .220/.311/.336 with three homers and 23 RBI in 64 games.

Here’s the beaning:

In the wake of Bryce Harper’s injury, Scott Boras wants MLB to wipe down the bases more often

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Bryce Harper’s injury over the weekend could’ve been much worse than it was. When it happened it reminded me of Tim Krumrie’s injury in Super Bowl XXIII or when Jason Kendall broke his ankle back in 1999. If you’re unaware of those you’re free to Google them on your own, because I get nauseous even thinking about them. Suffice it to say: legs aren’t supposed to bend that way, and that Harper escaped with only a bone bruise, even a severe one, is a minor miracle.

Not that there aren’t people still upset about it. Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, believes the injury never should’ve happened. He thinks that damp bases, like the one Harper slipped on Saturday night, should be on Major League Baseball’s radar. Here’s Boras from an interview with ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:

“We go to great lengths with the soil to make sure it’s not wet and there are drying agents on the ground. I don’t know what technology we apply or the studies that have been done on the composition of having a wet base. That’s certainly something we need to look into. This injury was directly related to inclement weather and a player putting his cleat on the bag and it slipping across because the surface was slick . . . In the NBA, when a player hits the floor and there’s perspiration on the floor, they clean it up immediately so the surface isn’t slick. In baseball, we have no one cleaning the bags between innings during inclement weather.”

It’s a worthy observation, but the falling rain is not as easily tackled as a fallen player. The whistle usually blows soon after a basketball player hits the boards, but play does not stop in baseball simply because of some raindrops — the sort of rain in Washington on Saturday is the kind through which games are routinely played — and the raindrops do not schedule their falling between innings. There are going to be times when a base is damp. It’s pretty much unavoidable.

Will Major League Baseball do anything about it? I doubt directly, because there isn’t much to do. Maybe, over time, they’ll look at altering the surface of the bag somewhat to make it more tacky, but they’d be doing it as a result of what I think we can safely call a freak accident as opposed to the words of Boras. And of course, some may argue that a tackier base could lead to different sorts of injuries.

I think the bigger fallout of Harper’s injury will be for managers to be less likely to play star players when there’s even a little rain, if they can at all justify it. In this case Harper was playing on a wet track in a delayed game against a last place team while his club held a 14.5-game lead in the standings. It’s hindsight, but some have likely argued that he could’ve been held out. Whether or not that’s reasonable, I expect to see more superstars held out in conditions like that going forward.