Craig is away today, so we’re going with a “Settling the Score” in lieu of the usual “And That Happened.” Don’t worry, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming on Monday.
While plenty of attention was focused on the 2013 First-Year Player Draft last night, there were some baseball games going on. And Yasiel Puig stole the show once again, as the Cuban outfielder smacked a dramatic grand slam in a 5-0 victory over the Braves.
Zack Greinke gave up four hits over seven shutout frames and struck out seven for his third win of the season. The Dodgers held a slim 1-0 lead before Puig broke things open with an opposite-field blast off Cody Gearrin with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. And yes, he got another curtain call at Dodger Stadium. He’s already making a habit out of those.
Puig is now hitting .438 (7-for-16) with three home runs, one double and nine RBI over his first four games in the big leagues. For the moment, all that talk about him saving the Dodgers’ season doesn’t sound like hyperbole.
Your Thursday box scores:
Rays 2, Tigers 5
Diamondbacks 8, Cardinals 12
Orioles 3, Astros 1
Phillies 5, Brewers 1
Twins 3, Royals 7
Rangers 3, Red Sox 6
Athletics 5, White Sox 4 (10 innings)
Padres 6, Rockies 5 (12 innings)
Yankees 6, Mariners 1
Mets/Nationals – PPD
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.