Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner and Rays first baseman Rickie Weeks, Jr. both left Wednesday afternoon’s game after both were involved in an ugly collision on a play at first base in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With runners on the corner and one out in a 3-3 ballgame, Brett Gardner chopped a grounder back to reliever Xavier Cedeno. Cedeno thought about going towards second, but decided to whip the ball to first for the sure out. His throw was low and a bit off the mark, taking Weeks into the first base line. Weeks could not corral the one-hopper and appeared to move towards foul territory in an attempt to chase the ball, but Gardner crashed into him hard, sending both players to the ground.
Both players were very visibly shaken up. Gardner left immediately, being replaced by pinch-runner Ronald Torreyes. Weeks also left the game, replaced by Logan Morrison.
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The Yankees and Rays should provide status updates on Gardner and Weeks, respectively, after the game.
We welcomed “Mason Saunders” into our lives on Sunday, thanks to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan. Mason Saunders is the alias of Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner when he competes in rodeos, something he’s done as recently as December (when he was still a free agent).
Given that one of Bumgarner’s other extracurricular activities, riding dirt bikes, resulted in a serious injury, many have been wondering how the Diamondbacks would react to the news that the lefty they inked to a five-year contract two months ago is roping steers in his spare time. It seems like the Diamondbacks just accept that that’s who Bumgarner is.
On Tuesday, Baggarly and Buchanan answered some frequently asked questions about the whole Bumgarner-rodeo thing. They mentioned that former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, in a radio interview on KNBR, slipped in that Bumgarner also hunts bears in his off-time. Bochy said, “You think, ‘Madison, you’re looking at signing your biggest contract ever to set yourself up for life and you’re going to risk it on the rodeo?’ But he’s got confidence. I mean there’s some stories I do know that he probably wouldn’t want me to share, with him bear hunting, and the tight situations he’s gotten himself into.”
As Baggarly and Buchanan explained, when Bumgarner — I mean, Saunders — is roping steers, he’s not taking much of a risk. They wrote, “The header and heeler don’t chase the steer around the ring. Each trial is more or less a one-shot deal and it’s over in less than 10 seconds. If the header or heeler misses on the first attempt, then no time is recorded.” Bumgarner has also said he ropes with his non-pitching hand. Hunting bears is an entirely different level of risk, one would imagine. That being said, no one seemed to be surprised that Bumgarner moonlights as a serious rodeo competitor. That’s likely also the case that he, as Bochy puts it, goes “mano a mano” against bears.