Brett Cecil was available out of the Blue Jays’ bullpen last night against the Yankees after taking five days off to rest a groin injury, but the former All-Star setup man walked the first batter he faced and then allowed a bases-clearing triple to Brian McCann.
He was then removed from the game and immediately afterward told reporters that he’s headed to the disabled list, saying:
It stinks, but I said I was ready to go today, everything felt good, but I also said I don’t know how it’s going to hold up under the adrenaline of coming out of the bullpen, especially in Yankee Stadium, bases loaded. If I can’t deal with that, then I need to get it taken care of.
It’s a little odd that the Blue Jays would throw Cecil into such a difficult spot if his health status was still in any sort of question, but Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that he’d had problem-free bullpen sessions earlier this week.
Cecil hasn’t allowed a home run this season and his strikeout rate is a career-high 12.3 per nine innings compared to 10.4 per nine innings last season, but he’s walked 16 batters in 26 frames to be much less reliable than in his All-Star campaign.
Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump on Monday. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor to “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Babe Ruth was posthumously awarded the medal last year. Yogi Berra got it posthumously in 2015, and Willie Mays and Vin Scully were also awarded it the same year.
Trump and Rivera are close. Rivera, who is from Panama, has been criticized for his relationship with Trump. Defending that relationship, Rivera said on Fox & Friends in July, “Mr. President Trump to me, he was a friend of mine before he became president. So, because he’s president I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”
Rivera, 49, served on Trump’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission in 2017. In 2018, Rivera co-chaired Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Rivera also co-hosted a fundraiser dinner for the America First Action PAC, which supports Trump and was also hosted by Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle.
This past January, Rivera became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously. He is the all-time leader in saves with 652 as well as adjusted ERA (also known as ERA+) at 205. He retired with a 2.21 ERA and 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings, spanning 19 seasons with the Yankees.