We’ve had a rash of prospect callups recently. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Keston Hiura, Nick Senzel, Michael Chavis, Carter Kieboom, Corbin Martin, Griffin Canning, Nicky Lopez. Others. Add another one to the pile: late last night the Braves announced that the were calling up third baseman/outfielder Austin Riley.
The “outfielder” part is relatively new — Riley is a third baseman — but with Josh Donaldson in Atlanta for a year, the Braves have had him working in the outfield so he might have a path to the bigs this year. Ender Inciarte‘s massive struggles at the plate this year — he’s hitting just .218/.300/.323 — were in the process of creating that path, and his leaving last night’s game against the Cardinals with back tightness finished the job. In all likelihood Inciarte will hit the injured list, Ronald Acuña Jr. will slide over to center to replace him, and Riley will play in left.
Riley, 22, is hitting .299 and has 15 homers and 17 walks in 37 Triple-A games this year. He has massive power potential and, while he strikes out a good deal, he has lowered his K-rate in the early going so far this year. If he hits, the Braves will find a place for him even if Inciarte makes his way back relatively soon.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has been suspended and fined for his actions during Thursday’s doubleheader against the Rays. Boone was ejected from Game 1 after making contact with home plate umpire Brennan Miller and will not be available to manage the Yankees during their series opener against the Rockies on Friday.
The ejection was triggered by a missed strikeout call in the second inning of Game 1, prompting Boone to run out to home plate and deliver one of his lengthier and more bizarre rants of the season. Incensed by Miller’s shaky grasp of the strike zone, Boone repeatedly referred to his players as “f***ing savages” and told the umpire to “tighten this s**t up.”
Exactly when the illicit contact came into play remains unclear, but crew chief Gerry Davis later commented on the situation and said Boone had crossed some boundaries during his tirade. Per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch: “You’re not allowed to argue balls and strikes, so yeah. Yes he did [go too far]. That will all be in the report.”
In his own statements to the press, Boone defended his use of the word “savages,” claiming, “I always just want our guys all the time controlling the strike zone and making it hard on the pitchers. That’s something those guys take a lot of pride in as a lineup.” Several Yankees players, including Luke Voit and Aaron Judge, backed up the skipper’s decision to confront Miller as well, though Voit was the only player to explicitly support Boone’s use of the term.