Braden, Rodriguez spice up the day in Oakland

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braden on mound.JPGA’s starter Dallas Braden and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez exchanged words (well, yells) in the sixth inning of Thursday’s 4-2 Oakland victory.  It wasn’t immediately clear what the two were jawing about, but MLB.com’s Jane Lee got to the bottom of the story during a round of post-game interviews.

It turns out Braden was upset that A-Rod crossed the Oakland Coliseum’s pitching mound while running off the field, an apparent no-no in the baseball world.

“He should probably take a note from his captain over there and realize
you don’t cross the pitcher’s mound in between an inning or during the
game,” said Braden. “I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind —
being someone of such status. … The guy was tasting himself too long to apologize.  It’s a shame.”

While we’re not exaclty sure what “tasting himself” means, it sure does sound cool.  And, well, it’s probably fitting too.  Braden is off to a 3-0 start this year with a 2.77 ERA and 0.85 WHIP through four starts.  Rodriguez, meanwhile, is batting .304/.448/.587 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 46 at-bats.  Let’s hope the two meet again soon.

Phillies to induct Bobby Abreu to Wall of Fame

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The Phillies announced on Wednesday that former outfielder Bobby Abreu will be inducted into the team’s Wall of Fame this summer. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 3 as part of the club’s alumni weekend festivities.

Abreu, 45, went to the Phillies in a November 18, 1997 trade with the then-Devil Rays that sent shortstop Kevin Stocker to Tampa. Abreu somehow only made two All-Star teams while in Philly. Overall, he hit .303/.416/.513 with 195 homers, 814 RBI, 891 runs scored, and 254 stolen bases in 1,353 games with the Phillies. Abreu ranks sixth all-time among Phillies in career Wins Above Replacement (47.2), fourth in on-base percentage (.416), seventh in slugging percentage (.513), second in OPS (.928), 10th in runs scored (891), fourth in doubles (348), second in walks (947), and seventh in stolen bases.

Perhaps Abreu’s most noteworthy accomplishment as a Phillie was winning the 2005 Home Run Derby at Comerica Park in Detroit. Abreu hit 24 home runs in the first round and finished with 41 total, both records at the time. That is his most noteworthy accomplishment as, through no fault of his own, the Phillies never made playoffs during his tenure from 1998-06.

Abreu’s tenure came to an end on July 30, 2006, when the club packaged him with pitcher Cory Lidle and sent them to the Yankees in exchange for Matt Smith, Carlos Monasterios, C.J. Henry, and Jesús Sánchez. Obviously, not a trade that worked out well for the Phillies. Abreu played through his age-40 season, spending time with the Angels, Dodgers, and Mets along with the Yankees. He retired with 60 career WAR, per baseball Reference, as well as a .291/.395/.475 batting line, 288 home runs, 1,363 RBI, 1,453 runs scored, and 400 stolen bases.

Phillies fans have always criminally underrated Abreu. He was viewed as lazy and uncaring, in part due to racism and in part due to a perceived aversion to outfield walls. Abreu’s induction into the Phillies’ Wall of Fame is a long time coming, but it will also likely spur a lot of debate on sports talk radio in the months leading up to it.