The New England Patriots’ Julian Edelman is the NFL’s lone two-way player, having filled in admirably at cornerback in addition to his wide receiver duties last season. Apparently, that only scratches the surface of his versatility, though.
“He worked out for us at shortstop and took ground balls and fly balls, and he took batting practice with Group Four, and he just wowed us,” Blue Jays third base coach and infield instructor Brian Butterfield told WEEI.com. “He worked unbelievably hard, and was just soaked by the end of batting practice.”
Edelman hooked up with the Blue Jays through friend J.P. Arencibia. Working out with the team on Sunday, he hit five homers during batting practice, including two “absolute bombs” into the middle deck at Rogers Centre.
Butterfield lauded Edelman’s great footwork around the infield and said that of all the non-baseball players to work out with the Jays, he was “far and away the best I’ve seen by a pretty wide margin. He is a really good player.”
Of course, Edelman isn’t really going to try the two-sport thing. He’s not through with baseball just yet, though, as he is hoping to work out with the Red Sox someday soon.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.