Craig Calcaterra

Philadelphia Phillies' Charlie Morton, center, is helped off the field after injuring his leg during the second inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Saturday, April 23, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
Associated Press

Charlie Morton needs hamstring surgery, out for the rest of the year


Bad news for the Phillies and Charlie Morton: the 32-year-old starter needs surgery for a torn hamstring and is done for the remainder of the season.

Morton had a 4.15 ERA in four starts, but he tore his left hamstring Saturday while trying to beat out a bunt. Viva the pitcher batting, I guess. Adam Morgan is expected to take his spot in the starting rotation, at least at first. The Phillies will use a lot of pitchers this year, no doubt.

It’s not like Morton was the key to the Phillies 2016 season or anything, and it’s unlikely that he’d even still be on the team the next time they’re contenders. But a player like Morton is a valuable cog on a young team like the Phillies, taking the innings someone has to take, doing his best to save the bullpen so it can be used with younger, less-experienced pitchers and being a role model and mentor to the guys who will, one day, play for the next good Phillies team. For those reasons, and simply for his own well-being, of course, this rather sucks.

How to circumvent international signing bonus pools

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This is more of a must-click link thing, because Ben Badler is the expert here and over at Baseball America he explains how teams have, since the dawn of the international bonus caps in 2011, circumvented the rules.

Not surprisingly, the way rules are circumvented enrich some — trainers; owners who are paying less for international talent — and cost poor, young players. Nor surprisingly Major League Baseball doesn’t really enforce its own rules that much. It would if bonus expenditures were dramatically enhanced, but breaking the rules here and there to get around restrictions appears to be less than a petty misdemeanor in the eyes of the league.

Like anything else: when you make rules which restrict what people would be doing anyway (i.e. spending money to get the best talent) people are going to find a way to do what they wanted to do anyway. And when that happens, it’s probably a good idea to look at the rules and ask what the heck the point of them was in the first place.

Attention Chris Sale: always be alert

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale delivers during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 20, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often, actually. There are like 250 throwbacks to a pitcher a game, minimum, games are long, guys get tired and there’s a lot of stuff to look at in a major league ballpark. Sometimes the routine stuff slips through the cracks.

Oh well. It didn’t seem to affect Chris Sale much as he dominated the Blue Jays. Maybe it even woke him up a little and gave him an extra bit of adrenaline?

Victor Martinez on the Tigers game last night: “We were horses**t”

Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez loses control of his bat during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Associated Press

Most of society uses bull excrement to refer to things which are suboptimal or less-than-genuine. Baseball players, however, have a long and rich history of using horse excrement as their epithet of choice. I’m not sure why. I know a lot of people in the military use it — my dad is a big “horses**t” advocate — but it’s huge in baseball. Probably bigger there now than anywhere else. At least since the military moved on to F.U.B.A.R. a couple of decades back.

Jim Leyland is perhaps the most recent Grand Master of “horses**t.” He used to drop it all the time, even when he wasn’t mad about anything. And of course he used to manage the Tigers, so it’s understandable why Victor Martinez would go there to describe the Tigers’ subpar performance last night. From Katie Strang at ESPN:

Martinez, 37, gave credit where credit was due, tipping his cap to a phenomenal performance from Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Rich Hill, but he indicted his own team’s meager display in a 5-1 loss.

“Bottom line: The guy threw good,” he said. “We were horses— as an offense.”

And it wasn’t just last night. As Strang notes, the Tigers offense, which is supposed to be a strength of this team, has been terrible lately.

Meanwhile, a Tigers fan friend of mine just asked rhetorically why Martinez is saying this about his and his teammates’ performance instead of Brad Ausmus. Good question! I mused in the recaps this morning that Ausmus is probably on thin ice, but when the players are voicing frustration like this and the manager isn’t throwing a bunch of bats into the shower and giving the “lollygaggers” speech, it’s usually not a good look.

Jim Leyland is going to manage the WBC team next year. He’s rested. He’s ready. Maybe he wants a warmup. The old man comes back as an interim manager? Who says no?!

The Braves are not happy with their replay process

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) reacts after being called out in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Monday, April 27, 2015, in Atlanta. Freeman was ejected shortly afterwards. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Associated Press

On Monday night the Braves lost 1-0 to the Red Sox. Early in the game, Freddie Freeman was called out at second base. Replays appeared to show Freeman beating the play at second, but the Braves didn’t challenge the call, per the advice of team video coordinator Rob Smith to manager Fredi Gonzalez. After the game Freeman, as well as several anonymous team officials, grumbled about the decision not to challenge.

As Mark Bowman of reports today, that no-challenge has motivated the Braves to reexamine how they approach replay. Others have speculated that that decision will be used as an overall basis for making wholesale changes, including the possible firing of Fredi Gonzalez. A scapegoating move to be sure given how bad this team is, but “things just aren’t working and our processes are breaking down” is a better story to tell than “we put a crap roster together on the super cheap because we don’t care about 2016,” at least if you’re in the front office.

Whatever that means for the Braves, this puts me in mind of that story from last week about how the Yankees’ replay guy is considered so good and gives them an advantage. And makes me wonder once again why we’ve decided to make a game out of replay — one challenge and if you’re wrong you lose it! — rather than simply making it another tool in the umpire’s toolbox.