Rain delay in Minnesota cost Phil Hughes a $500,000 bonus

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Phil Hughes has had a fantastic season for the Twins, potentially setting the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio record, and entered his final start today needing to throw 8.1 innings to reach 210 for the year and trigger a $500,000 bonus in his contract.

Hughes has cruised through eight innings against the Diamondbacks, allowing just one run, but now it’s raining heavy in Minnesota and the tarp is on at Target Field.

Hughes needs one more out to get an extra $500,000.

Hopefully the Twins either give him a one-out relief appearance over the weekend and just hand him the $500,000 bonus either way. According to Fan Graphs he’s been worth more than $30 million to the team this season based on his performance.

UPDATE: After an hour-plus rain delay Hughes did not come back into the game, which means he’s officially one out short of reaching 210 innings for his $500,000 bonus.

UPDATE #2: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says Hughes won’t pitch again, so he’ll finish short of the 210-inning mark. Hughes says he was “very aware” of the bonus, but “some things aren’t meant to be.”

Astros greeted with boos in first spring training game

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The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.

Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.

There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.

That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.

The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.

One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.

Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.

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