From the Department of Stuff I Never Ever Thought About and Even Now Have Trouble Believing, the New York Times had a story over the weekend about the baseballs used by NPB teams, and how — until this year — Japanese teams have all been able to use different suppliers for baseballs.
In addition to the stuff about the balls themselves, it’s a neat read for the background info on the way Japanese teams and the league interact. The teams have all of the power and the league didn’t want to interfere with the business deals each of them had with their ball suppliers. At least until now.
Oh, and the new ball? Deadsville. Very pitcher friendly, it seems, which may make the notion of an American team taking a gamble on a Japanese pitcher even more harrowing than it always has been.
Yu Darvish, anyone?
The loss of a close, well-pitched game is hard enough for any team to take, but when you lose two key players to injury in the process it’s gotta be damn nigh intolerable. That’s what happened to the Angels last night in their 3-1 loss to Minnesota, losing Andrelton Simmons and Shohei Ohtani. And it happened on consecutive plays in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Simmons is likely to be gone for an extended period after suffering a sprained ankle which was later deemed “severe”. Indeed, they weren’t sure it wasn’t broken until the X-rays came back negative. He sustained the injury running to first base, trying to beat out an infield hit. He came down on the ankle and it twisted in ugly fashion — there are Gifs of it on Twitter and stuff, but you don’t wanna see them — before tumbling over the bag to the ground. Simmons will have an MRI today to see how bad things really are.
Ohtani got off more easily, getting hit in the right ring finger with a pitch while striking out. His X-rays were also negative, but they will reassess him today.
Simmons is hitting .298/.323/.415 on the year while playing his usual spectacular defense. Ohtani, who just came back from Tommy John surgery as a hitter a couple of weeks ago, is hitting .250/.345/.375.