This afternoon the Yankees declined to pull back Matt Thornton when he was claimed on waivers by the Nationals, giving away the 37-year-old left-hander. And now to replace him in the bullpen they’ve called up 34-year-old left-hander Rich Hill from Triple-A.
Thornton had a 2.55 ERA and 20/6 K/BB ratio in 25 innings, but struggled with inherited runners, never really gained the trust of manager Joe Girardi as more than a situational southpaw, and is owed $3.5 million for 2015.
Of course, Hill’s previous stint in the majors this season came with the Angels and he failed to retire any of the four batters he faced before being released. And last year he had a 6.28 ERA in 39 innings for the Indians.
So how did he convince the Yankees to call him up as Thornton’s replacement? Hill made four appearances at Triple-A, allowing zero runs and striking out 10 of the 16 batters he faced.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”