Rangers reliever Koji Uehara wants to be back with Orioles

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Koji Uehara struggled following a midseason trade to the Rangers and was left off the World Series roster, and now Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that the reliever wants to return to the Orioles next year:

I continue to believe that Koji Uehara will find a way back to the Orioles. … It’s hard to not feel for the guy, particularly because I remember him blinking back tears when he was traded while the team was in New York. … Uehara still owns a home in the area and has talked with people close to him about wanting to return.

Uehara was brilliant in Baltimore and the Orioles would no doubt be open to him returning, but the problem is that he’s under contract for $4 million in 2012 and the Rangers traded for him in part because they wanted the bullpen help for next season. And even while serving up homers in bunches for the Rangers he posted an excellent 24/3 K/BB ratio in 19 innings, so he could have a big role in Texas if given an extended opportunity.

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.