Link-O-Rama: Seattle relievers no longer gladiators

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* This is easily the greatest sentence I’ve read this week: “Prior to Tuesday night’s series opener against the Royals, the Mariners were told by Major League Baseball officials that the gladiator helmets the relievers have been toting around with them could no longer be taken onto the field, or be in the bullpen during games.”
* For the second time this season all 300 pounds of Bartolo Colon have gone missing from the White Sox and the “have you seen this man?” photo from the Chicago Sun-Times story is guaranteed to haunt your dreams. Seriously, you’ve been warned.
* My favorite mainstream newspaper sports columnist is now my favorite Sports Illustrated staffer who occasionally writes for a newspaper. Or something. Joe Posnanski has taken a senior writer position at SI and writing for the Kansas City Star will no longer be his primary gig, although he apparently plans to continue writing for the newspaper occasionally. Whatever the case, it’s a huge addition for SI and a huge loss for the people of Kansas City. Posnanski is one of his generation’s elite baseball writers.
* Bill James is one of the greatest, best selling, and most influential baseball writers of all time, with a 30-year catalog of amazing work, yet it’s 2009 and a high-profile columnist for one of country’s largest newspapers calls him “the stat geek who has made a fortune taking credit for having invented on-base percentage.” I’m not even sure where to begin with the wrongheadedness of that description, so I won’t even try, but wow are there some cranky, uninformed old dudes writing about sports.

Michael Pineda throws off mound for first time since Tommy John surgery

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According to MLB.com associate reporter Jarrid Denney, right-hander Michael Pineda threw off a mound Wednesday morning at Target Field for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Pineda was signed to a two-year, $10 million free agent contract this winter by the Twins, who are probably more focused on what he might be able to do in 2019 rather than 2018.

He had the reconstructive elbow surgery last July 18, so he won’t be an option for the Minnesota rotation until probably late August or September of this year. Still, that deal seems like a nice gamble given the price point and the possibility that he will regain his form as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. That he’s making steady progress in his rehab makes the situation all the more encouraging.

Pineda, 29, holds a 4.05 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 687 strikeouts in 680 career major league innings.