Bill Baer

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Andrew Bailey #38 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 26, 2016 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Phillies call up Andrew Bailey, designate James Russell for assignment


The Phillies announced that reliever Andrew Bailey has been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and lefty James Russell has been designated for assignment.

Russell, 30, allowed nine runs on nine hits and five walks with four strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings to begin the season. He was part of Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Mets, yielding a two-run home run to Curtis Granderson.

Bailey, 31, didn’t make the Phillies’ Opening Day roster, but has pitched well in the minors to begin the season. He has allowed just one run on four hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts in five innings.

The Phillies’ bullpen has been an issue thus far, as their aggregate 6.14 ERA is the worst in baseball, a shade ahead of the Rockies’ dismal 6.00 bullpen ERA.

Confusion over a balk call eventually led to Mark McGwire managing the Padres

San Diego Padres manager Andy Green leans over the dugout rail in the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (11:37 PM EST): There was more controversy in the top of the fourth when catcher Derek Norris appeared to tag Gregory Polanco on the leg on a play at the plate, but Carlson called him safe. McGwire challenged the ruling and the play was overturned upon review.


Petco Park was home to some craziness over a balk call. Here’s what happened:

In the top of the third inning, home plate umpire Mark Carlson called a balk on Padres starter Colin Rea, allowing Andrew McCutchen to score. The umpires then got together and conferred and said there was no balk. That caused Pirates manager Clint Hurdle to come out for clarification. Initially, the umpires wouldn’t budge on overturning the call and Hurdle returned to the dugout. But as the Pirates’ broadcasters noted, their videographer told Hurdle he was right, and he came back out. The umpires — after some more conversation — overturned their overturning of the balk call, upholding the initial balk call. Padres manager Andy Green came out, got angry, and got ejected. As a result, Padres bench coach Mark McGwire became the acting manager.

Here’s the video.

Play of the Day: Juan Lagares flags down a Maikel Franco rocket


I had written up a post hailing a great Francisco Lindor defensive play as the “play of the day,” but then Mets center fielder Juan Lagares went and did this:

As the Mets were leading quite comfortably, Lagares pinch-hit for Michael Conforto in the seventh inning and stayed in to play center field. He’s played sparingly to begin the season and had only racked up a .500 OPS over 12 plate appearances entering the night.

Video: Bryce Harper hit another grand slam

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper (34) follows through on a sacrifice fly against the Miami Marlins during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 18, 2016, in Miami. Washington Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor (3) scored on the sacrifice fly. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Bryce Harper joined the 100-homer club in style last Thursday, cranking out a grand slam against the Braves. Up until that at-bat against Julio Teheran, Harper hadn’t logged a grand slam.

Now it feels like he’s making up for lost time. He hit another grand slam on Tuesday night off of Marlins pitcher Chris Narveson, giving the Nationals their third, fourth, fifth, and sixth runs in a seven-run seventh inning.

Harper now has seven home runs, leaving him one shy of major league leader Trevor Story. Harper’s 20 RBI is best in baseball, and he has a cool .333 batting average to go along with it. Oh, and Harper has struck out only six times in 56 plate appearances. The 23-year-old reigning NL MVP is pretty good at baseball.

The Rockies allowed five stolen bases to the Reds in the second inning

Cincinnati Reds' Jay Bruce hits a single to load the bases in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Cincinnati. The Reds won 3-2. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The Rockies set a new club record for ineptitude on Tuesday, allowing the Reds to steal five bases in the second inning against starter Jorge De La Rosa and catcher Tony Wolters.

Things started when Jay Bruce knocked in a run with a fielder’s choice ground out when he came up with runners on the corners. Bruce then stole second base while Tyler Holt was batting. Holt ended up getting hit by a pitch to give the Reds runners on first and second with one out in a 1-1 game. With pitcher Robert Stephenson up, both Bruce and Holt succeeded on a double-steal attempt.

Stephenson ended up striking out, but Billy Hamilton brought home both runners on a double. Given his reputation, it was not shocking when Hamilton broke for third base and slid in safely while Zack Cozart was at the plate. Stolen base number four on the inning for the Reds. Cozart singled to bring home Hamilton. Eugenio Suarez kept the inning alive with a single, and he promptly stole second base for the fifth swipe of the inning. It went for naught as Joey Votto struck out to end the inning.

Citing Elias Sports, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post notes that five stolen bases allowed in one inning marks a new club record for the Rockies. The Reds official Twitter, also citing Elias, notes it’s the first time the Reds stole five bases in an inning since at least the 1920’s.