Author: Craig Calcaterra

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The Rockies fire their pitching coach


The Rockies have announced that they have fired pitching coach Jim Wright and assistant pitching coach Bo McLaughlin.

Colorado had the worst ERA in baseball, with a 4.84. How much of that is the coaching and how much of that is a combination of (a) not having many good pitchers; and (b) playing in Coors Field is an open question, but you can’t fire a ballpark or, like, 10 pitchers at once.

Wright, the team’s former bullpen coach, took over for Bob Apodaca in 2012. Apodaca actually asked to be reassigned from the job at the time, sorta telling you how thankless and unenjoyable it is to be the pitching coach for the Colorado Rockies.

The Cubs’ battle with the rooftop owners may be coming to an end

Wrigley Rooftop

For years the owners of the buildings across Waveland and Sheffield Avenues from Wrigley Field — the buildings with the famous rooftop views into Wrigley — have battled the Cubs. And at times been business partners of the Cubs. In recent months, they have been potential litigation adversaries, as the Cubs’ plans to renovate Wrigley Field have included elements which would block the view of the rooftops, thereby undercutting the business of the folks who own those buildings.

But now, with the renovation underway, the rooftop owners appear to be giving up. Or, possibly, the Cubs’ ownership has sweetened its offers to them. Either way, as Dave Kaplan of reports, the battle may soon be over and the Cubs may actually end up buying the buildings.

My guess: five years from now you will be able to go to the Cubs-owned “Rooftops Club” and, rather than sit on the roofs and watch the game, you’ll be watching the game on big TVs, surrounded by posh furnishings. Which may or may not be an improvement on what you can do in those buildings now — it has been years since the rooftops thing was some simple, organic experience — but is certainly the way things have been heading in baseball for some time.

John Hart to be named Braves President of Baseball Operations

John Hart

Ken Rosenthal reports that Braves interim GM John Hart has accepted an offer to take the top job permanently, and will soon be named Braves President of Baseball Operations.

The title is interesting. John Schuerholz has been team president for some time, but his responsibilities extend beyond baseball ops. The top purely baseball guy in Atlanta has, traditionally, been the GM. With Hart taking the President of Baseball Operations job, it implies that the Braves will now adopt the two-headed management style we’ve seen in Chicago and will soon see in Los Angeles, with a general manager below Hart, who will handle the day-to-day but who will still answer to, and will possibly be vetoed by, Hart.

Could that GM be John Coppolella, the current assistant GM? If it isn’t, one would have to assume another organization would want to poach him. If it is, one would assume that there is a grooming process going on here where the young Coppolella will eventually take over for the 66-year-old Hart.

Chris Colabello tried to play through an injury. It didn’t work.

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Indians

Chris Colabello was a great story for about a month. The long-time independent leaguer and player for the Italian national team in the WBC had finally made it to the bigs and he broke out in a big way early, hitting  .346/.386/.577 with four home runs and 26 RBI through April 23. Then he fell off the table. The Twins sent him down to the minors but he never regained his stroke, finishing the year with a line of .229/.282/.380 in 59 games.

It seems that he was injured, however, and that he tried to play through the injury:

According to the Worchester Telegram, a “Twins physician told him he had suffered nerve damage and only rest would help.”

Asked in early June about injury as a possible explanation for Colabello’s struggles, which initially continued at Rochester, a Twins official rejected that notion and suggested it was purely a matter of timing and confidence.

Colabello, unwilling to sit out after making a long-awaited breakthrough in a 27-RBI April, tried to improvise. He glued a strip of cotton to his batting gloves and wore a thumb protector at the plate, but his opportunities quickly dried up when he was unable to pull himself out of the slump.

“I don’t like to make excuses,” Colabello told the Telegram. “I chose to play and I’ll deal with the consequences.”

This is not the first time a Twins player has played through injury when he probably shouldn’t have, making one wonder whether Ron Gardenhire or others on the Twins staff created a culture in which players did not feel comfortable sitting in such situations. Or, it’s possible that Colabello was just desperate to stay in the bigs after so many years in the sticks.

Either way, the Pioneer Press now reports that he may be shopped to a Korean team. The Twins considered that with him last year, but Colabelo rejected it. now it would seem that he has far less of a realistic choice.

There was a Tim Lincecum sighting last night! But then he went away again.

Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum hadn’t pitched in nearly a month. He was, without question, the forgotten man on the San Francisco Giants. But then, last night, he got his chance. Mop-up duty. And he did OK in that role. An inning and two-thirds. Struck out a couple of guys. Didn’t allow any base runners.

It ended on a down note, though, with the two-time Cy Young Award winner having to leave with back stiffness after a couple of wonky pitches, including one that came close to plunking Sal Perez. After the game he and Bruce Bochy said he’d probably be OK. It’s possible that Lincecum, if he is OK, could be the righty that Bochy calls on in situations where he might’ve called on Hunter Strickland before his meltdown last night.

Whatever the case, I’ll always be fascinated by the guy once known as The Freak. A rare, elite pitcher who suddenly lost it despite not, apparently, suffering any major injury. A guy who just became ordinary overnight.