Anthony Rendon’s first attempt at a minor league rehab assignment was halted about a month ago due to an oblique strain, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that he returned to game action last night with Double-A Harrisburg.
Rendon, who has been sidelined since early on in spring training with a sprained MCL in his left knee, went 1-for-4 with a single and three strikeouts and played seven innings at second base. The Nationals figure to play it safe with him after his previous setback, but there’s optimism that he could finally be ready to make his season debut at some point next week.
Rendon was the Nationals’ most valuable player last season, batting .287/.351/.473 with 21 home runs, 83 RBI, and 17 steals while splitting his time between second base and third base. He’s expected to play both positions during his rehab assignment, but it looks like he’ll play second base upon his return while Yunel Escobar will remain at third.
UPDATE: According to Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said that X-rays came back negative. Abreu is out of the lineup today and it’s unclear when he’ll be ready to return.
12:01 p.m. ET: White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu was forced to exit last night’s game against the Astros due to irritation in his right index finger. According to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com, Abreu initially injured the finger two weeks ago during batting practice and is still dealing with swelling.
Abreu was sent for X-rays last night and is expected to miss at least Saturday’s game.
“That situation was getting worse and today I couldn’t continue playing,” Abreu said through an interpreter, describing the finger as swollen. “I was talking to (Herm Schneider) and I said I can’t play any more. And that was the right choice not just for me, but the team.”
After winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2014, Abreu is batting .282/.340/.481 with eight home runs and 29 RBI across his first 46 games this season.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and catcher A.J. Ellis were ejected from last night’s game against the Cardinals for arguing about the strike zone with home plate umpire Mike Winters. According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Ellis said he was set off after Winters criticized his ability to frame pitches:
“Their job is to call balls and strikes,” Ellis said. “It’s not their job to be a catching coach behind the plate. It’s not their job to be critical of what I’m doing. It shouldn’t even matter if there’s a catcher there or not. The ball comes through a zone and they need to take a look at that.
“People on blogs and websites can critique my framing but I’m not going to take it from an umpire because it’s not their job to do that. It’s their job to call balls and strikes based on what comes through a strike zone.”
As Harry Pavlidis wrote at ESPN.com earlier this week, Ellis rates very highly as a game-caller, but advanced metrics have him among the lowest as far as pitch framing. Winters may or may not have known that, but his comments clearly struck a nerve with Ellis. Who knows if this sort of exchange between a catcher and an umpire is unusual or not, but it’s interesting to hear an umpire being so open about how framing influences his strike zone. The numbers show it, but you never hear much from umpires about it. Probably for good reason. Then again, maybe Winters was just making excuses for an inconsistent strike zone and knew that criticizing Ellis for his framing would get under his skin.
Winters declined to respond to Ellis’ comments through a pool reporter, but said through a Cardinals official that the issue was balls and strikes and “the rest of it stays private.”
Sad news to pass along this morning, as the New York Times reports that Jerry Dior, the designer of MLB’s iconic logo, passed away earlier this month due to cancer. He was 82 years old.
Born in Brooklyn, Dior designed the “silhouetted batter” logo in 1968 while working for Sandgren & Murtha, a marketing company in New York City. It was adopted by MLB for the 1969 season, but Dior didn’t receive any royalties or public credit. In fact, he wasn’t officially recognized for the design until 40 years later in 2009. Of course, it still looks just as fresh today as it did in 1969. It’s hard to imagine baseball without it.
Here’s a quote from Dior in an interview with ESPN.com in 2008:
“It holds up today as well as it did back then,” he said. “I truly feel it’s part of baseball. So I added a little something to the game, and I’m very proud of that.”
Thank you, Jerry Dior. Our condolences to Dior’s family and friends.
Padres catcher Derek Norris struck out in his first four at-bats last night against the Pirates before coming up to bat with the bases loaded and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth inning. Then he did this…
Well, that’s one way to redeem yourself.
As Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune points out, we don’t see this sort of thing very often. Or ever: