Colby Rasmus: “I still got a lot of stuff going on through my head from being in St. Louis”

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The eight-player trade that sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto back in late July was supposed to have a liberating effect for the young center fielder.

His relationship with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had reached a tipping point, and most assumed that the 25-year-old would begin to flourish in a new, less mentally-taxing environment.

So far, the results have not been promising — whether you want to focus on the on-field or off-field side of the trade and its early aftereffects.

Rasmus, who is batting just .187/.217/.341 through 129 plate appearances since joining the Blue Jays, held a brief pregame chat with reporters late last week in Toronto that John Lott of Canada’s National Post described as being filled with “curious angst and ambiguity.”

Below are some highlights from Lott’s article on the presser. It’s worth reading in full.

On the topic of working through offensive struggles:

His manager says Jays’ coaches are plugging away every day, trying to help Rasmus find his timing at the plate. Yet when asked about the focus of his daily drills, Rasmus replied: “I’m not working on anything right now.”

On the ugly way things ended with the Cardinals:

He said he is eager for the season to end, for the pressure of high expectations to fade, for a few months away from baseball to dissolve the bitter taste of his final days in St. Louis. “I still got a lot of stuff going on through my head from being over in St. Louis,” Rasmus said.

On comparing the atmospheres in the two cities he’s now called home:

On one hand, Rasmus said he likes the Jays’ “laid-back” atmosphere. On the other, he seemed to miss the big crowds in St. Louis.

“There’s a lot of different things. The games are a lot slower. In St. Louis it was a packed house every night. A little different here. The team’s a little more laid-back, the coaches are a little more laid-back over here. In St. Louis, it was pretty tight-knit.”

And finally, here’s Rasmus on the topic of being labeled a “five-tool” prospect:

“It’s like I always say: Everybody always tries to put these expectations on me. I don’t say anything, I just go out there and play the game.”

Maybe Rasmus will find his groove next season or in the years to come and meet the lofty goals many have set for him, but he sure doesn’t sound comfortable. And he’s certainly not playing like he’s comfortable.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.