Following the Joakim Soria trade with the Pirates, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus will “probably” use right-hander Alex Wilson as the closer, Chris Iott of MLive.com reports. Ausmus added he’d “maybe” use Blaine Hardy “if there are lefties”.
Wilson, 28, has had a terrific season, compiling a 1.79 ERA with a 33/8 K/BB ratio in 55 1/3 innings. He earned his first save on July 30 against the Orioles. He doesn’t have the swing-and-miss stuff that most closers have, but Brad Ziegler — who also doesn’t miss many bats — has been doing just fine with the Diamondbacks.
Hardy, 28, has a 2.54 ERA with a 38/16 K/BB ratio in 46 innings. He has a severe platoon split over his career, however, as right-handed hitters have posted a .710 OPS against him compared to the .517 of lefties.
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.”