Craig Calcaterra

yu darvish getty

Yu Darvish bets Rangers minor leaguers $1,000 they can’t hit a batting practice home run off of him

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Yu Darvish will be back with the Rangers eventually, but for now he’s still ramping up in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Part of that recovery is throwing batting practice.

Yesterday, Gerry Fraley reports, Darvish was throwing BP to Rangers minor-league hitters Joe Jackson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. And he made it interesting: Darvish offered a $1,000 if either of them hit a BP homer off of him. Neither hitter did.

Darvish stacked the deck, though, saying “I didn’t give them a strike.” Which I feel is something the Rangers major leaguers should take up at their next kangaroo court session, assuming ballclubs still do that. At the very least I feel like Jackson and Kiner-Falefa are entitled to a steak dinner over this.

 

Happy Jackie Robinson Day

FILE - In this April 11, 1947 file photo, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers poses at Ebbets Field in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Robinson's widow said Major League Baseball has yet to fully honor her husband's legacy. "There is a lot more that needs to be done and that can be done in terms of the hiring, the promotion" of minorities in the sport, Rachel Robinson said Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 during a Q&A session with TV critics about "Jackie Robinson," a two-part PBS documentary airing in April.  (AP Photo/John Rooney, File)
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As we note every April 15, today is Jackie Robinson Day.

Baseball celebrates a lot of anniversaries, but none more important. One cannot overstate the significance of the fact that sixty-nine years ago today Robinson became the first black man to play major league baseball in the modern era. It’s not ancient history. Really, many of your parents were alive at a time when only white men were allowed to play baseball.

As has become tradition, players will wear 42 on their jerseys today. All games tonight will feature pregame commemorations and special on-field, pre-game ceremonies. There will be Jackie Robinson Day “jeweled bases and lineup cards.” MLB Network is televising tonight’s San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers game as well, where there will be all sorts of things happening and, I presume, an appearances from Rachel and Sharon Robinson, the wife and daughter of JackieRobinson.

Beyond that, though you know the general parameters of it all, you should take some extra time to reacquaint yourself with Robinson’s story once again. You should go check out Jackie’s Baseball-Reference.com page too, as we sometimes spend so much time talking about his historical significance that we forget he was a hell of a baseball player regardless. It’s also worth remembering that Robinson’s post-playing career, which includes a lot of important work in the civil rights movement, was also significant.

Video: Alcides Escobar made a fantastic play last night

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The Royals were beating the Astros 6-0 in the bottom of the sixth last night, on their way to yet another victory. The defense could’ve been excused if, at times, it made safe plays and conservative plays instead of going all-out. It’s a long season and it behooves a baseball player to pace himself and know that, at some times, it’s OK to give a little less than 110% in the interests of the greater good.

No one told that to Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar, who ranged back on a Texas Leaguer and made one of the best defensive plays we’ve seen so far this year: