Overwork ’em and let ’em go. That what the Braves decided to do to reliever Cory Gearrin on Tuesday, releasing him seven months after he underwent Tommy John surgery.
Gearrin, 28, had a 4.28 ERA in 77 relief appearances for the Braves from 2013, striking out 68 in 69 1/3 innings.
In 2013, Gearrin made the Braves out of spring training for the first time and got off to a great start. Too great for his own good, in fact. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez used him eight times in a 10-day span in late April. By the end of May, he had appeared in 30 of Atlanta’s 54 games. He started struggling, got sent down and then finished the season on the shelf with shoulder tendinitis. He came down with the sore elbow last spring and had Tommy John surgery a week into the regular season.
Gearrin might not be the only rehabbing pitching the Braves cut loose this winter. Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy are similarly coming back from Tommy John surgery, only they’re arbitration eligible and are set to make a lot more money than Gearrin, who was earning the major league minimum. Medlen received $5.8 million last year, while Beachy earned $1.45 million. One or both could be non-tendered in December.
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.”