Shin-Soo Choo is on a record-breaking hit by pitch pace

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While not in Carlos Quentin territory Shin-Soo Choo has always been hit by a lot of pitches, averaging 12 per 150 games for his nine-year career.

He (or at least the pitchers plunking him) have taken that to another level this season, as the Reds leadoff man has already been hit by nine pitches in 18 games. Obviously that leads baseball, but it also puts Choo on a record-shattering pace.

Choo sat out one game, so the Reds have actually played 19 times this year. Here are the all-time leaders in times hit by a pitch through 19 team games:

Shin-Soo Choo      2013     9
Chase Utley        2007     7
Prince Fielder     2010     7
Fernando Vina      2001     6
David Eckstein     2008     6
Craig Biggio       1995     6
Eddie Yost         1955     6
Nick Johnson       2002     6
Ron Hunt           1968     6
Bill Freehan       1967     6
Richard Hidalgo    2000     6

It would probably be impossible to keep up that pace without winding up on the disabled list, but so far it has helped Choo post a league-leading .523 on-base percentage. Hughie Jennings holds the singe-season hit by pitch record with 51 in 1896 and Ron Hunt got plunked 50 times in 1971, so Choo still has a long way to go. No player has been hit by 30 or more pitches since Craig Wilson in 2004.

Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games

Gregorius will wear a mask
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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.