Craig Calcaterra

A radar gun registers 85 mph on a pitch by Miami Marlins' Henderson Alvarez, top, as he throws in the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the New York Mets, Monday, March 17, 2014, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Mariners hire the first female scout in 50 years


This happened weeks ago and was first reported during the Winter Meetings and we somehow missed it. It was formally announced yesterday and is now ricocheting through the wire services and stuff, however, and it’s certainly worth noting: the Seattle Mariners have hired Amanda Hopkins as an area scout. The Mariners believe she is the first woman hired as a full time scout by a major league club since the 1950s.

Hopkins, 22, will cover Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. She spent the past three seasons working as an intern in Seattle’s amateur scouting department and is a recent graduate of the Major League Baseball developmental program. She’s a former softball player for Central Washington University. Her father, Ron Hopkins, was a long time major league scout and scouting director.

While Hopkins may be the first female scout in decades, she has some forbearers. Most notably Edith Houghton, who scouted from 1946 until the early 1950s.

Tom McNamara, the M’s scouting director, had this to say two weeks ago when the news was first reported by

“We didn’t make a big deal out of it, and the reason we didn’t was because she fits right in. I look at her as a scout. Everybody here is excited. We’re excited because we feel we’ve hired a good scout.”

It not being a big deal to anyone is probably the best part about this.

Finally! The Red Sox will retire Wade Boggs’ number next year

OAKLAND -  AUGUST 1988:  Wade Boggs of the Boston Red Sox warms up before a Major League Baseball game against the Oakland A's in August 1988 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
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The Boston Red Sox announced this afternoon that they are retiring Wade Boggs’ number 26 in a ceremony at Fenway Park on May 26, 2016.

It’s kind of crazy that this is only happening now. Boggs’ decade in Boston saw him post some of the best numbers any hitter has posted in baseball history. While there he collected 2,098 hits and posted a line of .338/.428/.462. Which, we should remember, came in a low-offense era, meaning that his .890 OPS worked out to a 142 OPS+. The term “pure hitter” has almost lost meaning — it usually means “hitter who doesn’t hit a lot of homers” — but it’s hard to argue against the idea that Boggs was the the best one of ’em in baseball while he wore 26 in Boston. It’s where his Hall of Fame case was built, even if he didn’t finish his career there.

Why the Sox didn’t retire his number before this is open for debate. There were rumors that, when he played in Tampa Bay, the Devil Rays included a “wear a Tampa Bay cap on your Hall of Fame plaque” provision in his contract. Boggs denied it, but the Hall of Fame felt it necessary to change its rules afterward to take away the choice on the matter from the players. He’s wearing a Boston “B” on his plaque in Cooperstown. Also didn’t help that Boggs rode that horse in the Yankees World Series celebration in 1996. It’s been a good while since the Red Sox, as an organization, have seemed terribly provincial about rivalry matters, but maybe the Yankees associations hurt his number-retirement cause in Boston. It’s worth noting, of course, that no one has wore Roger Clemens’ 21 in Boston since he left despite his Yankees (and steroids) associations, so maybe that’s not it.

But now Boggs is getting his due. Brock Holt, the current wearer of 26, will switch numbers. And all of the guys who wore 26 since Boggs left town can make a joke to their families and coworkers about how their number is being retired next year. Holt, Scott Podsednik, Ramiro Mendoza, Freddy Sanchez, Lou Merloni, Sean Berry, Rob Stanifer, Orlando Merced, Chris Snopek, Aaron Sele, Alejandro Pena, Lee Tinsley, and Wes Chamberlain: you can have that one for free.

But congratulations are really in order for Mr. Boggs.

Freddy Sanchez retires

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 13:  Freddy Sanchez #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands ready at bat during the Opening Day game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on April 13, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that Freddy Sanchez filed his retirement papers today. In other news, Freddy Sanchez didn’t do this, like, three or four years ago. Who knew?

Sanchez dislocated his shoulder in mid-2011. It was an injury from which he never returned. Sadly that wasn’t the only injury he suffered during his ten-year big league career and it was those injuries which kept us from seeing Sanchez at his best more than we did. He won a batting title in 2006, hitting .344 and leading the league with 53 doubles but his body wasn’t at 100% enough to replicate or to even really come close to that level of production very often. He finished his career with a line of .297/.335/.413 in 904 games. He was a three-time All-Star.

Short career or not, Sanchez will always have a place in the heart of Pirates fans as he was one of the few bright lights in Pittsburgh during some very dark times for the franchise.