Casey Blake talked about possibly retiring following September neck surgery, but instead signed a non-guaranteed one-year deal with the Rockies and entered spring training atop the third base depth chart.
Today the Rockies released Blake after the 37-year-old went just 3-for-20 with seven strikeouts while showing signs of not being fully healthy.
This may be the end of the line for Blake, who went from career minor leaguer to quality regular for the Indians and Dodgers despite not getting an extended chance in the majors until age 29. He hit just .252 with a .713 OPS in 63 games in between disabled list stints last season and had similarly mediocre production in 2010.
Blake would have earned $2 million for making the Opening Day roster, but instead Colorado will go with rookies Jordan Pacheco and Chris Nelson at third base until 21-year-old stud prospect Nolan Arenado is ready.
Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games this year. That’s what the Phillies infielder tells the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“We are trying to go through the guidelines and trying to do everything we can do to stay safe, so, that’s why people see me walking around with a mask on and stuff. I am keeping myself safe, wearing a mask everywhere I go. So, I have to keep it on me all the time.”
Gregorius will wear a mask both while batting and out in the field, he said.
A big reason for it is that he has a chronic kidney condition which makes him “high risk” under Major League Baseball’s safety protocols. He could opt out if he wanted to but Gregorius, who signed a $14 million deal with the Phillies last winter, is a free agent again this coming offseason. He is coming off of a down year in 2019, having hit .238/.276/.441 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI across 344 plate appearances. Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018 and didn’t make his 2019 season debut until June 7. A big reason he took a one-year deal was to reestablish his value for next season’s go-around on the free agent market and he doesn’t want the long layoff going into what could be his last significant payday.
Major League Baseball is not requiring players or umpires to wear masks on the field during games or practices, though it is reportedly looking into clear face shields for home plate umpires to wear under their usual protective masks.
Gregorius will wear a mask to keep himself safe, he said, but he also notes in the article that “I think it adds safety for everybody, for me and people around me.” Here’s hoping, given his vulnerability, everyone around him is being as safe as he is.