ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Friday that the Padres signed outfielder Tyson Gillies to a minor league deal. Gillies had been outrighted by the Phillies in June last year.
Gillies, 26, was a former top prospect in the Mariners’ system who went to the Phillies in the Cliff Lee trade in December 2009. Gillies struggled with his new team, failing to live up to lofty expectations, suffering numerous injuries, and being involved in two off-the-field incidents. One, in which he was arrested for possession of cocaine, was eventually dropped. The other resulted in a team-issued indefinite suspension in 2012 as Gillies verbally berated the Double-A Reading Phillies’ bus driver. It was one of several reported incidents in which he was unable to control his emotions. In 414 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, Gillies has a .582 OPS.
Gillies, as a member of Canada’s World Baseball Classic team, was also memorably involved in a benches-clearing brawl against Mexico in March 2013. He threw pitcher Alfredo Aceves to the ground before jumping back in the middle of the fracas. Perhaps the Padres feel Gillies moving to a new location could help him turn his career around.
Larry Walker said he “saw Satan” in Alfredo Aceves’ eyes during Saturday’s brawl between Canada and Mexico. So what did Aceves see while being punched by Tyson Gillies and tackled by a half-dozen other Canadians?
Here’s what he told Alex Speier of WEEI.com:
That was the first time I saw him there. Like I said, it’s part of the game. He was trying to defend his team. If it were me, I’d try to do the same thing. What can I say? It didn’t surprise me when he threw me to the floor. I reacted to it, because I didn’t do nothing to him. I was just calming down. The fighting was with the pitcher and the hitter. So I was saying, “Calm down, man, calm down, come on, man.”
And he just grabbed me and threw me on the floor. So I was like, “I’m going to throw you on the floor, man.” Then when I jumped in to this guy, I had seven guys against me. … You’re locked in. You’re just trying to defend and knock them out. That’s it. We were trying to defense ourselves. We didn’t do nothing to him. He just threw me.
Aceves’ inner-monologue sounds amazing.
Below are the starting lineups for this evening’s World Baseball Classic game between Team USA and Team Canada. First pitch is scheduled for just after 4:00 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast on MLB Network.
TEAM USA TEAM CANADA
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS 1. Tyson Gillies, CF
2. Brandon Phillips, 2B 2. Taylor Green, 3B
3. Ryan Braun, DH 3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Joe Mauer, C 4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. David Wright, 3B 5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Ben Zobrist, RF 6. Chris Robinson, C
7. Adam Jones, CF 7. Adam Loewen, LF
8. Eric Hosmer, 1B 8. Pete Orr, 2B
9. Shane Victorino, LF 9. Cale Iorg, SS
SP Derek Holland, LH SP Jameson Taillon, RH
Team USA manager Joe Torre is sitting Giancarlo Stanton, who doesn’t have a hit yet in the 2013 WBC but is obviously one of the premier sluggers in the sport. Zobrist will start in right field in Stanton’s place.
Team Canada is using the same lineup that nailed down a 10-3 win over Mexico on Saturday afternoon.
The winning country will advance out of Pool D along with Team Italy. The loser goes … back to camp.