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The Nats-Giants brawl likely ended Michael Morse’s career

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Giants’ infielder/outfielder Michael Morse is likely out for the remainder of the season, reports Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Morse sustained a concussion and bruised ribs following a collision with Jeff Samardzija during the infamous Hunter Strickland/Bryce Harper brawl back in May, and it appears that he has not yet made a full recovery. He’s expected to join the team on their road trip in Miami next week, but his chances of making a full comeback — in this season or any other — seem slim to none at this point.

Prior to the Memorial Day melee, Morse slashed an underwhelming .194/.250/.306 with one home run in 40 PA with San Francisco. Even before he inadvertently used his head to block Samardzija from sucker punching Harper, it looked like 2017 would be the final encore to a 13-year Major League career, one that had petered out after the 35-year-old took a six-game gig with the 2016 Pirates.

He was officially placed on the 10-day disabled list on June 8 but, as of August 11, has yet to take any kind of rehab assignment with the team. According to the Mercury News’ Andrew Baggarly, manager Bruce Bochy told reporters that he does not intend to reinstate Morse on the active roster come September, a decision that will likely bring Morse’s career to its unfortunate and unusual end. The rest of the Giants, meanwhile, are scheduled to take on the Nationals in their first meeting since that holiday weekend, and will kick off a three-game set in Washington on Friday at 7:05 ET.

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
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In a recent appearance on the 755 Is Real Podcast, hosted by The Athletic’s David O’Brien and former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty, catcher Evan Gattis confirmed he is “done playing” baseball. Gattis said back in October that he didn’t have any desire to continue playing the game, so this news comes as no surprise.

Gattis, 33, hit .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI for the Astros in 2018. The Astros did not extend him a qualifying offer, then $17.9 million. Though reporting on specific offers is scant, it is hard to imagine he received zero offers, or would have received zero offers if he were still interested in playing.

Gattis has one of the more interesting stories out there. He was a well-regarded college baseball prospect, but he battled anxiety and substance abuse. He checked into rehab and, temporarily, abandoned his baseball-related pursuits. Gattis eventually resumed playing college baseball but suffered an injury, prompting him to drop out of college. He went on to take on some not-so-glamorous jobs, including working in a pizza shop, as a parking valet, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. Gattis battled more mental health issues, suffering from insomnia and depression, resulting in suicidal ideation. He checked into an inpatient psychiatric ward for several days. Afterwards, Gattis roamed around the west coast, going from Colorado to New Mexico to California to Wyoming.

In 2010, Gattis returned to baseball, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He performed rather well, resulting in his being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round that year. He worked his way through the minors quickly, debuting in the majors in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Gattis retires with a career .248/.300/.476 batting line along with 139 home runs, 410 RBI, and 299 runs scored over 2,662 trips to the plate.

The story of Gattis is an important one because mental health in general was not taken seriously, especially among men. It still isn’t, to a large degree, but it’s better now than it was 10 years ago. Due to social taboos and gender norms, men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues. That Gattis — a burly avatar of testosterone — was willing to be vulnerable about his struggles with his mental health was important.