Bill Baer

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 07:  Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants walks off the field after making the final out in a 1-0 loss against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Hunter Pence is not a fan of pitch clocks

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Last week, commissioner Rob Manfred said he would like to see the major leagues adopt a pitch clock, something that’s already in place in the minor leagues. While fans and writers have been chiming in, we haven’t heard much from the players.

ESPN’s Eddie Matz caught up with Giants outfielder Hunter Pence and asked him a handful of questions — some related to baseball, some not. Matz asked Pence what rule he would change if he had the power. Here’s what Pence said:

I think it’s pretty good the way it is. I like the way they have it. I don’t want them to change the strike zone. I think they should keep the strike zone the way it is. I’m not so happy about all the clocks. It’s weird. They want to speed up the game, but then they want more offense. A lot of the drama is in the time in between, the thinking and the process and the chess match. So there’s a lot of that buildup that, if you’re rushing the game, you don’t get the magnificence. I understand the time in between innings, but between pitches and stuff, there’s a lot of process, especially in big moments. There’s something special about the time in between.

 

Pence makes a convincing and well-stated argument against pitch clocks. That being said, the clocks seem to have been implemented seamlessly in the minors and there haven’t been any complaints.

Freddy Galvis wants the Phillies to expand protective netting

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 11: New protective netting now protects lower deck fans from dugout to dugout at Citizens Bank Park before an opening day game between the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies on April 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
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Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis lined a foul ball into the stands on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park. Unfortunately, the ball struck a young girl, who was taken to Children’s Hospital for treatment. She will be OK, thankfully.

The Phillies were among the 19 teams that extended protective netting behind home plate and along the first and third base sides towards the dugouts, as Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, but only added about 10 feet.

Galvis is dumbfounded that the Phillies haven’t extended the protective netting further. He said, “What year is this? 2016? It’s 2016 and fans keep getting hit by foul balls when you’re supposed to have a net to protect the fans. The fans give you the money, so you should protect them, right? We’re worried about speeding up the game. Why don’t you put up a net and protect all the fans?”

Galvis continued, “They’re worried about stupid stuff. They should worry about the real stuff. That’s real stuff.” Referencing the girl he inadvertently struck with a foul ball, he said, “What if I broke all her teeth? What if I broke her nose? If I hit her in one eye and she loses that, what are they going to do? They’re going to forget in three days. It’s going to be a big deal for two, three days. Everybody in TV, media, whatever. But after three days what’s going to happen? They’re going to forget. But that family won’t forget that. Do you think the little baby will forget that? It’s true life. It’s something you have to put before everything. Safety first. Safety.”

Some vocal fans have protested the addition of protective netting, claiming — incorrectly — that it ruins their view of the game or prevents them from getting autographs before the game, but the players are all for the enhanced safety features. That Galvis is championing the cause is no surprise, as I’m sure it was tough for him to sleep thinking about hurting the young fan even if it was an accident.

Blue Jays option Aaron Sanchez to the minors to limit his innings

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 20: Aaron Sanchez #41 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Progressive Field on August 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
David Maxwell/Getty Images
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In an effort to limit his innings, the Blue Jays have optioned pitcher Aaron Sanchez to Single-A Dunedin, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports. Sanchez will be recalled to start on August 31 against the Orioles and the Jays will return to a six-man starting rotation.

Sanchez, 24, has had an outstanding year for the Jays. He’s 12-2 with a 2.99 ERA and a 132/46 K/BB ratio in 156 1/3 innings. Unsurprisingly, he made the American League All-Star roster last month. However, prior to this season, he had never thrown more than 133 1/3 combined innings in his professional career, so the club is understandably concerned with maintaining Sanchez’s durability.

Per Davidi, Jays GM Ross Atkins noted that Sanchez won’t lose service time with the demotion, but will lose a bit of money as he’ll make a minor league salary for his brief time at Single-A. Atkins, however, praised Sanchez’s unselfishness. Unbeknownst to many people, praise is just as acceptable as a form of currency as actual money.