Nate McLouth doesn’t miss Pittsburgh:
“Things here are a lot more positive and relaxed,” McLouth said.
“People aren’t so … uptight. Losing for so long, there’s so many
negative things said about the Pirates. It’s tough to read them; you
get defensive. The thing is, it’s true and it’s tough to deal with that
negativity every day. It was kind of nice to get here to an
organization that’s won for a long time.”
Oh, and he has new contact lenses which he said he’s probably needed for years. Why didn’t he get them before now?
The Pirates checked his vision each year during spring training, but never detected any problems. “A blind man could pass that test they do,” McLouth said, noting it basically consisted of reading an eye chart.
Ouch. Rob Neyer lately has been talking about how teams are often penny wise and pound foolish, spending all kinds of money and mental energy on big name players but spending scant dollars and almost zero mental energy on little things like player nutrition, conditioning and stuff.
If what McLouth is saying is true, put the Pirates’ eye test in that same category.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.