Buster Olney has a good column up today about Adrian Gonzalez’s focus and hard work as he rehabs his shoulder this winter and prepares for the big expectations facing him in Boston this season. But this stuck out at me:
Gonzalez, a left-handed hitter who throws with his left hand, hurt his right shoulder last year, and he could have tried to go into the 2011 season without surgery. But he hated how the injury restricted what he could do on defense last season, how it prevented him from diving for balls to his right. So he had the surgery after the season, and three days a week this offseason, he has been going to Petco Park to work with Rick Stauffer, the team’s physical therapist, and trainer Todd Hutcheson.
Shortly after Gonzalez was traded — a move that was viewed as inevitable within the Padres’ organization — Gonzalez arrived at Petco Park for his next rehab session, and there was some talk about the deal. But not much. Stauffer just went about his work with Gonzalez, driving his thumbs into the right shoulder to manipulate the tissue, stretching, strengthening.
Do players who get traded typically still use their old team’s trainers and facilities? I mean, yes, the Padres were his team when he had the surgery so it makes sense that they’d oversee his rehab too. And of course, Gonzalez lives in San Diego. But it seems strange to me that the Padres would use their resources on another team’s player and that another team would leave their starting first baseman’s rehab to another team.
Not criticizing the move necessarily — it seems pretty efficient, actually, and I imagine that if it were unusual Olney would make some mention of it — but I was rather surprised by it.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.