Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that Derrek Lee underwent surgery Friday to repair a torn thumb ligament that limited him for the entire season.
Lee initially suffered the injury on Opening Day, yet played 148 games and was at his best following a mid-August trade to the Braves, hitting .287 with a .384 on-base percentage and .465 slugging percentage in 39 games down the stretch as Atlanta reached the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
Prior to the trade Lee hit just .251/.336/.416 for the Cubs and even with the strong stretch for the Braves he finished with an OPS below .800 for the first time since 1999. He’s expected to be fully recovered from the surgery by spring training, but as a 35-year-old coming off a career-worst season Lee may have to settle for a one-year contract as a free agent.
He’s hitting the open market after playing out a five-year, $65 million deal signed in April of 2006.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”