When the Rockies acquired right-hander Wilton Lopez from the Astros two offseasons ago he was coming off three consecutive seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA, but he mostly struggled for Colorado last season and now he’s headed back to the minors.
Lopez began this year by allowing eight runs in six innings, including a nifty .514 opponents’ batting average, which convinced the Rockies to demote him to Triple-A at age 30. His last outing consisted of recorded two outs while coughing up six runs on three homers. For some context, Lopez has never allowed more than six home runs in any season before.
Lopez is making $2.2 million this season, so the Rockies are hoping he can get back on track against Pacific Coast League hitters and at least give them some decent middle relief work later in the year.
Ichiro Suzuki is now a Mariners employee and, as such, he’s not allowed to sit in the dugout during a game. That’s for coaches and players only.
He knows that, too. Indeed, on the day Ichiro announced his sorta-retirement, he talked about how it was going to be hard not to be down on the field with the other players. He even made a ridiculous joke about how, “[he] can’t say for certain that maybe [he] won’t put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout.”
In related news, this mysterious stranger was seen by an Associated Press photographer in the Mariners dugout during the first couple of innings of the M’s-Yankees game:
No beard, but I guess that joke was not very ridiculous after all. Either way, by the end of the second inning — poof — he was gone.
Obviously, when something interesting like this happens you mustache an expert for their opinion on the matter. To that end, the Associated Press reached Bobby Valentine, who famously did the same thing after an ejection way back in 1999, for comment:
“He was perfect. I never would have known it was him.”
Valentine was suspended for two games and fined $5,000. I’m assuming Ichiro won’t get hit quite as hard given that he wasn’t defying an umpire’s authority, but even if he does have to pay a fine, he’ll likely do so willingly.