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Red Sox first round pick cracks joke about Pablo Sandoval’s weight

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The Red Sox picked high school first baseman/pitcher Triston Casas with the 26th pick of the first round of the draft last night. Casas, 18, is from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida, which also produced Eric Hosmer. He looks like a good one too. He’s ranked anywhere from 20th to 33rd in the major amateur prospect rankings. He is said to have a lot of power and a good bit of plate patience for someone so young.

While that kind of player is special, especially in an organization that is a bit short of projectable minor league bats these days, his introduction to most folks is coming via a joke he cracked last night after being selected by the Sox.

The Red Sox introduced Casas as a third baseman, which reflects their view of his future in the organization. Worth a try, of course, as his bat would be way more valuable at the hot corner than at first. To that end, reporters asked Casas what he needs to do in order to stick at third base. Via Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Casas’ answer was this:

Obviously watch my weight. There was another third baseman in Boston called Sandoval who had some problems. Just stay agile, take a lot of ground balls and keep doing my thing.

I’m not going to come down too hard on the kid. It was the biggest night of his life, he had a lot of cameras and microphones pointed at him and it’s totally understandable that he’d try to take a stab at humor. To the extent it fell flat — and I think it did, in addition to being something of a less-than-graceful swipe at someone he doesn’t know — it can be chalked up to nerves and, well, to being 18.

I wish Casas nothing but the best and hope he has a long and productive baseball career. It might be worth it for him to remember, however, that there are a lot of first round picks who don’t have one-quarter of the career that Pablo Sandoval has had, even with his setbacks and missteps. Sitting here now, it’s impossible for Casas to know now whether he will be one of them.

I suspect it’s the sort of thing he’ll come to realize over time. We all realize stuff like that as we grow up.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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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.”