A lot of people think — or want to think — the Dbacks caused Andrew McCutchen’s injury

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We’ve made note of the events over the weekend a few times: the Diamondbacks’ Randall Delgado, almost certainly acting on orders from his manager or on the throw-at-guys culture of Dbacks brass, tossed a 95 m.p.h. fastball into Andrew McCutchen’s back on Saturday for no good reason at all. The next day McCutchen left the game with what was initially called an oblique strain. Now it has been determined to be a rib fracture. More specifically, an an avulsion fracture, which happens when bone and cartilage are strained to a pretty extreme degree, pulled away from ligaments and tendons.

Most of us aren’t doctors and none of us have examined McCutchen, so none of us know how it happened. But there was certainly a lot of anger being aimed at the Diamondbacks anew yesterday, with many convinced that the bush league HBP on Saturday caused the injury. This, from the Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh, is a pretty decent encapsulation of the sentiment I’ve seen:

I’m no doctor — that should be very obvious — but I spoke with a highly qualified one Monday night.

Dr. Bryson Lesniak is a UPMC orthopedic surgeon who used to work for the Miami Marlins. He ruled out the possibility that Randall Delgado’s pitch — the one that hit McCutchen squarely in the spine — caused the avulsion fracture in McCutchen’s 11th rib. But nobody thought that, anyway.

Here’s the important point: Lesniak did not rule out the idea that McCutchen’s mechanics were compromised the next day because of the after-shock of getting drilled.

That possibility just makes sense. You hurt one thing, you might favor something else, even if subconsciously.

I have thought the same thing. It just seems intuitive. Of course, a lot of things seem intuitive that are totally false. We simply can’t know and, to be honest, no medical professional is likely to come out and say “yes, this was caused by Delgado’s pitch.” It likely will never be known definitively and will likely remain firmly in the fan-lore and fan-sentiment arenas, not the medical one.

But can we agree on something? Can we agree that it’s totally possible to think that the Dbacks and Delgado acted awfully in throwing at McCutchen on Saturday regardless of the effect that HBP actually had? Indeed, if it did no damage whatsoever, can we agree it was a stupid, reckless and cowardly act that has no place in baseball and that, if Joe Torre weren’t asleep on the switch on this one that Delgado and/or Kirk Gibson would have been suspended or fined by now?

I hope we can agree on that.

 

Victor Martinez played his final major league game on Saturday

Victor Martinez
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After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.

In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.

The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.

“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”

Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.359/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.