Alex Cobb
Getty Images

Alex Cobb could miss Opening Day start

2 Comments

Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb may miss yet another Opening Day assignment due to injury, this time a groin strain that flared up during his final Grapefruit League start against that Twins on Saturday.

Cobb breezed through the first inning, setting down the first three batters on three quick outs, but was promptly pulled before he threw a single pitch in the second. Following the game, he was diagnosed with a mild right groin strain, nothing so severe that it would compromise the right-hander’s 2019 campaign, but just serious enough that it may keep him off the mound during the team’s season opener against the Yankees on March 28.

The 31-year-old is coming off of a tough year in Baltimore, one in which he pitched to a disheartening 5-15 record in 28 starts with a 4.90 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, 6.0 SO/9, and 1.4 fWAR through 152 1/3 innings. This would have marked the first Opening Day assignment of his seven-year career in the majors. In the event that he’s unable to take it, it looks like the Orioles are prepping fellow righty Andrew Cashner in his place.

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
Bob Levey/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.