Craig Calcaterra

David Ortiz

David Ortiz is out with “general soreness” through the weekend

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David Ortiz has had a slight achilles issue this spring and had a bout with dehydration last week. He’s going to miss some time this weekend too, it seems, as he’s dealing with “general soreness.”

Which, hey, dude is pushing 40, he’s the DH and it’s not like he’s not going to be able to answer the bell when the season starts. Given how most veterans start to feel about spring training at this point in March, I’m surprised more of them don’t either have general soreness now or say they do in order to take a break. Ortiz is no different.

I don’t delve too deeply into local Boston media, but I saw this John Tomase column at WEEI, which suggests that Ortiz has been catching flak from local sports yakkers over this (Tomase defends Ortiz). I can’t even imagine that at this point of his career that’s even possible, but I guess one should never underestimate the need for sports yakkers to be phony mad about some phony controversy.

Hyun-Jin Ryu to be shut down due to inflammation in his shoulder

hyun-jin ryu getty
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We’ve entered the portion of spring training where all that can really happen is dudes getting hurt. The latest: Hyun-Jin Ryu. Who the Dodgers just announced will be shut down with inflammation in his shoulder.

Ryu’s last outing was noticeable for his markedly decreased velocity, after which he experienced shoulder tightness. You’ll also recall that he was shut down for a spell in September last season due to similar issues. He was able to come back for the playoffs then. Here’s hoping he can do the same for the regular season now.

It’s not a great day, so let’s look at Brad Ausmus without his shirt on

Brad Ausmus
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I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and, since I woke up, I have read a half dozen news articles which more or less make me want to move to a remote mountain cabin and wait for death. Happy first day of spring.

One thing did make me laugh, though, and that was Tigers pitcher David Price tweeting and retweeting pictures of his manager Brad Ausmus without his shirt on.

They’re old pics — from some newspaper or magazine shoot Baseball’s Most Handsome manager did back in his playing days, but who cares. There’s sunshine in them and we need some sunshine today.

Maybe that’ll make some of you feel better. It certainly is better than thinking about the state of the world.

The Bridgeport Bluefish and Long Island Ducks are going to experiment with crazy rules

Bluefish
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Last August, author Paul Auster — also a big baseball fan — wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times with a radical idea about how to speed up baseball games:

Eliminate the two-strike foul ball as a neutral play (neither strike nor ball) and rule it a strike. To compensate for the advantage this would give the pitcher, allow the batter to go to first base after three balls instead of four.

Kind of crazy if you ask me, as it would dramatically increase the number of strikeouts and walks, decreasing the number of balls-in-play. And in my view the lack of balls in play is a bigger problem than the length of games. Doing this wouldn’t just speed up baseball, it would render it unrecognizable and, well, crappy.

But at least a couple of teams think it might be fun to see how this works. Thankfully they’re in the independent Atlantic League. It’s the Bridgeport Bluefish and the Long Island Ducks, and in August they’re going to experiment with these very rules.

Call it the “Game of Illusions” or something. I dunno. I do know that a particular Bluefish fan and friend of HardballTalk doesn’t much care for the idea. Of course this wouldn’t even be near the worst thing that ever happened in a Bluefish-Ducks game, so I’m not gonna get too worked up about it.

Dan Uggla has a World Series ring

uggla giants getty
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Players without a World Series ring include Ernie Banks, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas (sorry; 2005 was a blur for me)  Gaylord Perry and Ryne Sandberg. A player with a World Series ring? Dan Uggla, baby.

As Jon Heyman reports, the Giants are giving him one, as it is their policy to give all players who appeared on their roster during a championship season a ring. This despite the fact that Uggla’s time with the Giants lasted four games in which he went 0 for 11 with six strikeouts while making three errors. He was signed on July 21 and was released on August 7.

As Heyman notes, and as was reported earlier this offseason, Uggla and his doctors attribute his precipitous decline over the past few seasons to eye issues related to concussion-inducing beanballs. They think they have that figured out now, and he’s attempting to make the Washington Nationals. He’s 6 for 22 with a homer, a couple of doubles and four RBI this spring with only three strikeouts in 28 plate appearances. So maybe he’s on the comeback trail.

Even if he’s not, however, he will always have that World Series ring.