Walking around practice fields for a week made me keenly aware of just how damn dangerous it can be out there. There are balls flying all over the place. It takes a few days to get over the impulse to duck and cover every time you see a ball flying out of the corner of your eye. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the fact that the guys throwing, catching and hitting them were experts in their field, it would be a freakin’ death trap during combined BP/fly-shagging practice.
And sadly, even with those experts out there, sometimes the ball has a mind of its own and leads to this kind of thing:
Padres bench coach Rick Renteria was taken to a hospital after being struck in the face by a line drive during Thursday morning’s practice. Manager Bud Black said a ball hit by outfielder Mike Baxter caromed off a protective screen and hit Renteria “square above the lips.”
It’s so bad that Renteria has to have reconstructive surgery because his teeth were [cringe] “pushed back in his mouth.” If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bury my head in a pillow and pretend that I never heard about this.
Rockies reliever Seunghwan Oh recently said to the Yonhap News Agency that he wanted to return to South Korea to finish out his career. He has one year and $2.5 million remaining. His 2019 club option became guaranteed when he reached 70 appearances in the 2018 regular season. It sounded like Oh didn’t want to pitch for the Rockies next season. Oh said, “I am a bit exhausted after spending five seasons in Japan and the United States. I feel like I want to return to the KBO while I still have the energy to help the team and pitch in front of home fans. I can’t make this decision alone. I’ll have to speak with my agency about the next season.”
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has a different sense of the situation, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Bridich said, “From what we have been told, it was much ado about nothing regarding Oh. His comments to the Korean media were not specifically about 2019. It was more about ending his career there. Our understanding is that he has every intention of honoring his current contract.”
Oh, 36, pitched 68 1/3 innings this past season between the Blue Jays (47 innings) and Rockies (21 1/3). In aggregate, he posted a 2.63 ERA with a 79/17 K/BB ratio in 68 1/3 innings. The Rockies have the bulk of their bullpen returning next year, save for Adam Ottavino who is a free agent.