Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star is one of baseball’s best beat reporters in part because he often passes along stories like this one, about the time Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez tricked then-Rangers teammates Joaquin Benoit and Vicente Padilla out of $600:
One day during spring training in 2005, Rangers officials informed him he needed to shave his dreadlocks to conform to their minor-league policy. Volquez sensed an opportunity.
Earlier in camp, veterans such as Vicente Padilla and Joaquin Benoit scolded him about his hair. So Volquez asked Padilla, who was unaware of the team’s edict, how much he would pay for Volquez’s haircut. Padilla offered $300. Volquez balked, only to see Benoit double the bid.
“I was like ‘$600? I can do it for $600!’ ” Volquez said Monday, a day before he would face his old club at this stadium, now christened Globe Life Park in Arlington. “And I did it. I took the money, and I got my hair cut.”
Did he pay them back? Volquez shook his head and cackled.
Ending a story with a cackle is always a great idea.
And since I looked this up: Their respective career earnings are $33 million for Volquez, $39 million for Benoit, and $51 million for Padilla.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.