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Hall of Famer Willie McCovey dies at 80 after battling ongoing health issues

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The Giants sadly announced on Wednesday that Giants Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey has died at the age of 80 after a battle with ongoing health issues. According to Steve Kroner and John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, McCovey battled a serious infection that nearly killed him four years ago and recently developed another one which hospitalized him last week.

McCovey played 22 seasons in the majors, 19 of which were with the Giants. He spent another two and a half with the Padres and had a brief stint with the Athletics. He retired batting .270/.374/.515 with 521 home runs and 1,555 RBI in 2,588 games. Currently, he is tied for 20th place on the all-time home run leaderboard with Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.

Along with being a Hall of Famer, McCovey won the 1959 NL Rookie of the Year Award, made the All-Star team six times and won the All-Star MVP award in 1969, and won the NL MVP Award in ’69 as well.

The Giants never won a World Series during McCovey’s career, but he helped bring them close in 1962 when the Giants lost the World Series in seven games to the Yankees. McCovey’s No. 44 was retired by the Giants and they unofficially named the area beyond the right field wall at AT&T Park “McCovey Cove.” McCovey also has a statue at China Basin Park, which is on the other side of the cove.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
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On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.