Normally the release of a thirty-year-old minor leaguer wouldn’t rate a mention here, but it does when it’s Dirk Hayhurst. He announced that the Rays released him yesterday and writes about it over at his blog this morning. As is befitting the guy who, just yesterday, explained his relationship with baseball in a pretty nuanced fashion, his take on the release was pretty damn balanced and reasonable.
I’d certainly like to see Hayhurst catch on elsewhere because the game needs smart individuals, even if they’re so rarely rewarded for their brains and individuality (often the contrary, I think).
But if he doesn’t, I don’t worry too much about the guy. There is always a place in the world for people who walk through it with their eyes open, their minds functioning and their spirits unbroken.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.