Alex Rodriguez had a big night in a losing effort last night. He homered and drove in four. In the past week or so he’s raised his average over 50 points and may be finally shaking off the offseason rust. When you’re over 40 it takes you longer to do everything.
But even if it takes his reflexes some time to get up to speed, you can never take away the knowledge and experience of a savvy veteran with a high baseball I.Q. For example, whether he’s hitting or not, the man knows that it’s important to keep your bat dry on a rainy night:
In early April the Dodgers agreed to a minor league contract with pitcher Sean Burnett after he didn’t make the Washington Nationals’ roster out of spring training. He was assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. As is usually the case, veterans like him have an opt-out if they don’t make the big club after a certain amount of time, and Burnett has opt-ed out, realizing that he’s likely not in the Dodgers’ plans.
But he could be in the Braves’ plans. They stink on ice. Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that he’s signing with them and will report to Triple-A Gwinnett tomorrow.
Burnett, 33, hasn’t appeared in the majors since he pitched three games for the Angels in 2014 and hasn’t pitched regularly in the bigs since 2012. Tommy John surgery will do that to a guy. He did toss eight and two-thirds scoreless innings for the Nationals during spring training and has allowed only two earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings of relief work for Oklahoma City. There may still be something there. Innings will need to be eaten in Atlanta this year. Burnett may be able to eat them.
The Braves won yesterday but they still Braves’d it up to some extent. How? They played with only 24 guys. Why? Because the front office made a mistake in a transaction.
Yesterday the Braves announced that they had selected the contract of Emilio Bonifacio from Triple-A and optioned reliever Chris Withrow to the minors. Bonifacio was in Chicago in time to be ready for the game and everything so, as far as that all goes, it’s all good.
The problem: Bonafacio hadn’t been in the minors for 30 days since he was released and then re-signed by Atlanta on a minor league deal at the beginning of the season, which is required before being called back up. He’s not eligible to be on the big club until Saturday. So, with Withrow already on a plane down to Georgia and Bonafacio ineligible, Atlanta played with 24 guys. In a game that went extra innings, even. Lucky for Atlanta they got seven solid innings from their starter and won it in 10.
It’s been a long season already for the Braves, so I guess it’s understandable if beginning-of-the-season transactions feel like they were months and months ago, but their front office is still subject to the same calendar as everyone else.