Carl Crawford was the primary left fielder for the Dodgers prior to suffering a torn oblique in late April. Andre Ethier has returned to form during his absence, hitting .275 with nine home runs and an .840 OPS over 65 games coming into Monday’s action. It’s been enough for him to have the advantage in playing time upon Crawford’s return:
Crawford was batting .245/.260/.408 in 50 plate appearances prior to the injury. Mattingly told Plunkett tonight that the 33-year-old is probably 10 days away from playing in games. He’s expected to require a lengthy minor league rehab assignment after missing two months, so a return will likely happen after the All-Star break.
Phil Coke’s brief stint with the Blue Jays is over, as Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that the veteran reliever declined an optional assignment to Triple-A Buffalo and has opted for free agency instead.
Coke began this season with the Cubs after making the team out of spring training, but he was cut loose about a month ago after posting a 6.30 ERA over 16 appearances. The southpaw signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays a few days later and made three appearances at the Triple-A level before joining the major league bullpen last weekend. He allowed one run over 2 2/3 innings in two appearances with the club.
Coke doesn’t turn 33 until July and has enjoyed success against left-handed batters in his career, so it shouldn’t be long before he finds a new opportunity.
News surfaced Friday afternoon that the Angels’ rookie league team — the Orem Owlz — had scheduled a promotion called “Caucasian Heritage Night.” It didn’t take long for the event to be canceled, albeit in a strange apology from the team.
In the wake of the controversy, it was reported that Joey Zanaboni had resigned as director of media and communications, which also included play-by-play duties for the team. With such an embarrassing situation, Zanaboni has since spoken out in an effort to clear his name. According to Joe Holleman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Zanaboni just started his job on June 6 and tried to get the promotion canceled:
“At first, honestly, I thought it was a joke, that they were pranking me,” Zanaboni said. “But then they sent me an actual printed schedule of promotions, and it was included.” The night was set for Aug. 10, he said.
“Not only did it offend me, but it was something I was sure would end up reflecting negatively on the team,” he said. “I talked to front-office people and even sent emails in an attempt to get them to reconsider.”
That obviously didn’t happen. In addition, Zanaboni said the release about canceling the event was made without his knowledge and he was told by the team to not make any further comment on the matter. This is when he made the decision to resign.
You can read his full statement here. Hopefully Zanaboni gets another opportunity somewhere soon.
According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is back in Monday’s lineup against the Angels after missing four games with a right hamstring injury.
Altuve initially tweaked his hamstring on June 12. He missed three games before returning last Tuesday, but had a setback one day later and hasn’t played since. The Astros were optimistic after watching him go through drills on Sunday and apparently he’s shown enough progress to return. They’ll have to hope that no more setbacks are in his future.
After a monster 2014, Altuve is batting .287/.328/.390 with five home runs, 28 RBI, and 17 steals over 63 games this season.
Update #3 (6:27 PM EST): It seemed like a foregone conclusion with the way Scherzer had been pitching through six innings. Scherzer was one strike away from a perfect game against the Pirates. In the ninth inning, he got Gregory Polanco to foul out to the third base side on a nice play by Anthony Rendon, Jordy Mercer to fly out to center field, then hit pinch-hitter Jose Tabata with a pitch to end his bid for a perfect game. He salvaged the no-hitter, getting Josh Harrison to fly out to end the game, completing the no-hitter.
Scherzer threw 105 pitches, 80 for strikes. He recorded 10 strikeouts in the outing, his sixth double-digit strikeout start of the season. Scherzer joins Chris Heston as pitchers to have thrown no-hitters this season. Jordan Zimmermann was the last National to throw a no-hitter, who accomplished the feat on the final day of the regular season last year.
Update #2 (6:11 PM EST): Scherzer remains perfect through eight innings. He got Jung Ho Kang to pop out, struck out Francisco Cervelli, and got Pedro Alvarez to ground into the shift, with second baseman Danny Espinosa making a very nice play to get the out with inches to spare. Scherzer has 10 strikeouts on the afternoon. He one more inning left to complete baseball’s 24th perfect game.
Update (5:55 PM EST): He’s perfect through seven innings. Scherzer carved through the top of the Pirates’ batting order, getting Josh Harrison to fly out weakly, then striking out Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen. Stay tuned for the final two innings as Scherzer attempts to polish off his perfect game.
We could have some history in the making this afternoon at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., as Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer is perfect through six innings against the Pirates.
Scherzer has struck out seven batters thus far while throwing 50 out of 67 pitches for strikes. He has only had two three-ball counts out of the 18 batters he has faced. He’s cruising.
The Nationals currently lead 1-0 on a solo home run from Bryce Harper. Stay tuned to see if Scherzer can finish it off.