2:43 PM: The news on A.J. Burnett seemed dire as of yesterday: the possibility of a torn UCL and, given his lack of a desire to have surgery, the likely end of his career.
Today things are slightly better. But only slightly.
It’s still not a given of course. Lots of guys miss whole seasons with flexor tendon issues and surgery is often an option to address it. Morosi suggests that Burnett could pitch through the pain of it, but of course there’s no guarantee that he can even be effective.
Better than a torn UCL I suppose, though still not fantastic news.
Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego reports that the Padres have signed pitcher Daniel McCutchen to a minor league deal.
McCutchen, 32, is now with his sixth organization. He spent 2014 with the Rangers and White Sox before becoming a free agent in November. He made one relief appearance in the majors for the Rangers in April, allowing three runs (two earned) in 2 1/3 innings.
The right-hander spent most of his season at Triple-A Round Rock (Rangers) and Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox), posting a combined 8.13 ERA with a 72/23 K/BB ratio in 86 1/3 innings.
Lin provided this interesting note on McCutchen on Twitter:
Sad news coming out of Ohio on Monday night: Wally Bell, who just finished working the Cardinals-Pirates NLDS series last week, has passed away of an apparent heart attack, according to the Youngtown Vindicator.
“One on my dearest friends,” fellow umpire John Hirschbeck told Youngstown’s WFMJ. “We worked together for 11 years. He was like to a son to me, my wife Denise, very dear friend. It’s devastating. Wally was one of the first to call me and congratulate me on working the World Series.”
Bell had spent 21 years as a major league ump, handling one World Series, four LCSs and seven LDSs. According to his MLB.com bio, his proudest moment as a major league ump was returning to the field following open heart surgery in 1999.
“All of us at Major League Baseball are in mourning tonight regarding the sudden passing of Wally Bell,” said commissioner Bud Selig in a statement. “I always enjoyed seeing Wally, who was a terrific umpire and such an impressive young man. On behalf of our 30 clubs, I extend my deepest condolences to Wally’s family, fellow umpires and his many friends throughout the game.”
Bell was behind the plate for Game 2 of last week’s NLDS game in St. Louis, a 6-1 win for the Pirates. He was never involved in any major controversies, which alone suggests he did his job pretty well.
According to Wikipedia, he leaves behind two children.
It’s the time of the year for people to fret about attendance at ballparks of contending clubs. People shaming fans for not purchasing tickets in ways that they’d never think about shaming customers who declined to by any other product. Outside of baseball it’s usually the company’s fault for not marketing or pricing their product in optimal ways. In sports it’s the customer’s fault. Weird.
Into that odd environment, Pirates starter A.J. Burnett tweeted this the other night following a loss to the Padres:
While he didn’t put the finest point on it in the world, the obvious subtext to the tweet is “you people should be showing up in greater numbers and it’s frustrating that you’re not.” As far as attendance-shaming goes it’s about as tame as it comes (who wouldn’t want more fans in the seats?) but it still it led to all kinds of people getting mad at Burnett and giving him an earful on Twitter.
Last night Burnett, with a nice save, tweeted this:
Probably worth noting that the attendance was 27,640 last night compared to 22,250 on the night he complained. An improvement, but not exactly a sellout or even a massive increase. Like that gift strike call after a manager gets ejected, this was a makeup call by Burnett.
In any event: Politics. Religion. Park attendance. Some things just shouldn’t be discussed in public.
He’s almost in midseason form:
Granted, this would be a lot funnier if he hadn’t just had a decent season.