<span class="vcard">Craig Calcaterra</span>

Miguel Cabrera AP

Miguel Cabrera reports no soreness after a hitting session

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So far so good on Miguel Cabrera’s rehab from surgery to remove bone spurs and to repair a stress fracture in his foot. He has taken is first hacks in the cage and is feeling fine.

He’s not in camp yet — he’s reporting today — but Brad Ausmus says that he took some batting practice and texted him about it afterward, reporting no pain.

Cabrera hit .313/.371/.524 with 25 home runs and 109 RBI over 159 games last season and a lot of those games were played while battling injury. Given that Victor Martinez will begin the season late due to knee surgery, having a healthy and productive Cabrera in the lineup is going to be critical to the Tigers’ early season success.

Darren Daulton says he’s cancer free

Darren Daulton Getty
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In 2013 former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. At various public appearances since then, the effects of Daulton’s illness and/or treatment have been noticeable. But on Thursday he tweeted some welcome news, saying he was “incredibly blessed to have a clean scan. Thank u to all of u for the continued support. I’m doing well and feeling great.”

The Philly Inquirer quotes him here saying that he’s “doing great.”

Good news for Dutch, the Phillies family and for everyone else who cares about this interesting dude and often underrated player.

 

Jeff Samardzija: not a big fan of analytics

Jeff Samardzija
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White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija had this to say about analytics yesterday:

“Sabermetrics, nyeh. Sounds like a lot of hot air . . . I think there are definitely positive aspects to it. I think there is some information you can take from it that’s important. But ultimately from a player’s point of view, you want a coach that can relate to you. Can help you with adjustments mid-game.

“I think preparation with numbers and stats and all that’s great, but when the bullets are flying, you need a guy that knows your personality, can relate to you and get you to change or fix what’s going wrong. If you don’t respect the guy that’s telling you that information, you’re not going to listen to him . . . (Metrics enable) a lot of people to have jobs in baseball, I think. But is it necessary? Yes and no.”

The article in which those quotes are delivered anticipates some blowback for Samardzija and, I presume, someone somewhere on the Internet will provide that blowback. But really, I see absolutely nothing controversial about what he’s saying here. Not a single thing.

While front offices and, to some degree, managers and coaches, need to pay attention to advanced analytics, players don’t. They really don’t. They need to play baseball and they need to be comfortable doing so. Knowledge of analytics is not at all critical let alone essential to that mission.

What Samardzija is saying here about having someone who knows your personality who can tell you information is all about coaches who can convey the lessons gleaned from analytics — and scouting and everything else — to the players in a language they understand and in way which can best put them in a position to practically apply those lessons in a manner consistent with what the team wants from the player. Which has been the entire point of coaching since the first baseball game was ever played.

It can be cool if a player knows stuff about analytics. A nice bonus for a guy who may be more comfortable thinking about baseball in those terms than other players may be. But it is by no means necessary. And, if what every player tells you about keeping things simple and keeping one’s mind clear, it could very easily cause a player to overthink or lose focus.

If I own a team, I want a front office who knows everything they can possibly know that is relevant to winning baseball games, and that includes analytics. I also want coaches who can carry out game plans which reflect the insights gained by my front office, can adapt those insights to the roster which they are given as best as possible and who can communicate with the players in ways that the players best understand.

From my players, though, I basically want them thinking “HULK SMASH.” Everything else is gravy.

Ron Washington wants back in baseball

Texas Rangers v Cleveland Indians
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Last September, Ron Washington abruptly resigned as Rangers manager, citing a need to work on his marriage as a result of an extramarital affair. Now he tells the New Orleans Advocate that he wants back in the game. It’s not going well, however:

He has had a difficult time getting major league teams to care. He’s reached out to a few teams, he said, but hasn’t gotten a response. Washington, who built his reputation as an infield instructor, developing Gold Glove players with the Oakland Athletics such as six-time winner Eric Chavez and shortstop Miguel Tejada, said he would just like to get back in the game.

“My whole presence is just to help, and I have a passion for baseball,” he said. “So, if that’s managing, certainly. If that’s as a third base coach, certainly. If it’s a roving instructor, wherever the game has to offer, I have something to offer the game.”

Washington’s resignation was sudden, unexpected and, given that he had already weathered the revelation of his cocaine use several years prior, somewhat surprising. Having won two pennants and clearly having the trust of the Rangers’ organization suggests that, if Washington needed time to sort things out, the club would’ve allowed him to do so short of his resignation.

But somewhat less surprising is the trouble Washington is having getting back in the game. Baseball gives a lot of second (and third and fourth and . . .) chances, but it seems particularly difficult for managers who quit their jobs, whatever the reason. I’m put in mind of Mike Hargrove, who quit his job as the Mariners manager in the middle of the 2007 season citing stress. Or Jim Riggleman who quit his job as Nationals manager in 2011 in the middle of a contract dispute. Hargrove has had some invites to spring training and various minor baeseball titles. Riggleman has managed in the minors since. Neither has had a chance to manager in the bigs again.

Washington is well-liked in the game and, in the linked articles, says he’s not hung up on managing but, rather, would be a roving instructor, base coach or the like. One hopes that, assuming his personal issues are behind him, someone would be willing to give a job to a guy who has always had success in what he’s done and who is well-liked in and around the game.

Mat Latos hates the new pace-of-play rules, properly-cooked hamburgers

grilling
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This raises more questions than it does answers:

As everyone knows, the proper way to cook a burger is over super high and direct heat and to cook that sucker as fast as possible. You want to rush that burger, Mat! And my God, you do not want it “completely done.” I don’t care if you win 25 games this year: if I show up at your house for a cookout and you give me a well-done burger, I’m gonna withhold my Cy Young vote for you on general principle.

Oh, who am I kidding. I don’t have a Cy Young vote. :-(

Anyway: