Red Sox designate Mike Cameron for assignment

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Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe is reporting that the Red Sox have designated outfielder Mike Cameron for assignment (UPDATE: those reports of an outright release have been walked back).

It’s been a rough season for Cameron. He’s hitting .149/.212/.266 in 105 plate appearances. This after an injury-shortened and disappointing 2010 season in Boston as well.  He has played in only 33 games this year and has lost playing time to Darnell McDonald and Josh Reddick lately.

Cameron is in the second year of a two-year $15.5 million deal.  If he ends up getting released following the DFA period — which seems likely, because who wants to pay Cameron millions? — he can be had for the veteran minimum.  Assuming he’s healthy, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him picked up given his versatility and the fact that, in 17 major league seasons, I don’t think anything has had anything but good stuff to say about his attitude and character and all of that. He could be a useful fourth outfielder.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.