Opposing teams are going to have to stop running on Ramón Laureano


Athletics outfielder Ramón Laureano was a human highlight reel in 2018. He showed off his ridiculous arm most famously when he turned this incredible double play on the Angels last year:

The Red Sox, apparently, did not get the memo about Laureano’s arm. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts tested him twice during this week’s four-game series in Oakland, getting nailed both times. Reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts was also victimized by Laureano’s cannon.

In the top of the second inning of the first game of the series, Bogaerts following a Mitch Moreland single to center field. Though Laureano couldn’t get his momentum carrying him towards home plate, Laureano’s throw still hit catcher Nick Hundley on the fly to get the out.

In the ninth inning of the second game, Bogaerts hit a fly ball to deep center field. The ball bounced high off the wall back towards the field. Laureano gave chase, picked up the ball and uncorked a perfect one-hop throw to Matt Chapman at first base for the second out of the inning. The score was 1-0, so Bogaerts could have represented the tying run on third base.

Even after two examples in front of their very own eyes, the Red Sox still did not learn their lesson. On Thursday, with the A’s leading 7-3 in the top of the ninth inning of the series finale, Mookie Betts stood on first base after a walk. Andrew Benintendi then blooped a single to shallow center field. Betts tried to go first-to-third on the play, which turned out to be a poor decision. Laureano corralled the ball and threw off-balance to nail Betts at third base. Chapman had a terrific scoop and tag to aid Laureano’s effort.

The A’s won, 7-3, taking three of four games in the series against the Red Sox. Laureano, by the way, homered twice and knocked in three runs in the series. He had been batting a miserable .150 with no extra-base hits in 20 at-bats prior to the series.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”