Charlie Manuel, snake-fighting playboy

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This has nothing to do with anything, but it’s a slow news day so far and I’ve been having a lot of fun checking out Baseball-Reference.com’s new Japanese League player pages.

Sadaharu Oh’s career numbers are incredible to look at and Tuffy Rhodes’ page is pretty great too, but my favorite is definitely Charlie Manuel’s stats.

Manuel, who apparently went by “Chuck Manuel” while playing in Japan from 1976-1981, had some monster seasons there in his mid-30s. From 1977-1980 he hit .320 with an average of 42 homers per season, including .325 with 48 homers and 129 RBIs as a 36-year-old in 1980.

And then there’s this, from Baseball-Reference.com’s “bullpen” page about Manuel:

The media fed off of Chuck’s playboy lifestyle, where “[h]is escapades allegedly started early in the evening and concluded right up to the pre-game warm-ups.” Chuck even was pictured in Japanese comic books, using his bat to fight giant snakes.

Chuck Manuel, snake-fighting playboy.

(Complicated handshake to the great Grant Brisbee for alerting me to Manuel’s page.)

Braves ace Mike Soroka out for year with torn Achilles

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Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won’t be back on the mound until 2021.

“It’s a freak thing that happened,” manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. “I’m sorry it did.”

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

“Somebody else is going to get an opportunity,” Snitker said. “Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We’re going to be fine.”

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won’t get a chance to make up for it this season.