With the World Baseball Classic qualifying round coming up in less than two months American-born Reds Hall of Famer Barry Larkin has been hired to manage the Brazilian team.
Larkin was in Brazil earlier this year as part of an MLB camp for young players and according to the Associated Press his daughter “recently recorded a single in Brazil” called “Bring On The Nite” and “the song is one of the themes of the country’s top soap opera.” She performs under the name CymcoLe.
Larkin has his hands full, because Brazil doesn’t have much in the way of baseball history and is currently ranked 26th by the international baseball federation. This season Yan Gomes of the Blue Jays became the first Brazilian-born major leaguer.
Chris Young joined the Phillies as their assistant pitching coach last offseason. This offseason he’s getting a promotion: the Phillies just named as their main (um, top? lead? alpha?) pitching coach for the 2019 season. He replaces Rick Kranitz.
Ken Rosenthal, who reported the promotion, says that the Phillies didn’t necessarily want to shake up their pitching coach situation, but that since several clubs wanted to hire Young away, it was either promote him to the top job or lose him. That’s bad news for Kranitz, but he remains under contract for 2019 and will, in the meantime, be allowed to interview elsewhere.
The Phillies pitching staff ranked 11th in runs allowed in the National League in 2018. They were tenth the year before that, but some early season uncertainty and mismanagement by Gabe Kapler and a late season collapse served to hide what was, for most of the season, a bit of a better staff than the year before. The Phillies obviously credit Young for that and want to keep him in the fold.