The Red Sox lost, 1 – 0, to Cleveland yesterday – the winning run scored on a suicide squeeze play in the eighth, and the Red Sox had the tying run on in the ninth, only to have him picked off. That means Boston hits today’s home opener against the rival New York Yankees at 0 – 6.
For my friend Amy Travis, here’s a link to a FoxSports article by Jon Paul Morosi saying that the Red Sox stink.
My other pick to make the playoffs from the AL East, the Tampa Rays, also lost to the White Sox and – like the Sox – are still winless and 0 – 6. After the game, veteran outfielder Johnny Damon told the team to stick together. [FoxSports/MESN/YardBarker]
Houston got it’s first win, finally, by sneaking one past the Reds – who finally lost a game.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, rookie infielder for the Twins and recent Japanese import, stood his ground near second base and took a hard slide from Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher. Because Nish had just planted his foot on a throw (slightly striding toward Swisher instead of hopping over him), the end result was nasty – Swisher accidentally breaking Nishioka’s left leg. Everyone is on record as saying that, while the slide was hard, it wasn’t dirty and there is plenty of remorse to go around.
Jerry White, a coach for the Twins with some Japanese experience, said that one of the differences between MLB and Japanese baseball is that you rarely, if ever, see a hard slide into a fielder to break up a double play – not that everyone does it here either. (Unless you were a Royals fan in the Hal McRae era, that is…) So, Nishioka would not have naturally felt the urgency to avoid the slide. [MLB]
Coming up from AAA Rochester is Luke Hughes, a seven-year minor league veteran in the Twins chain. An undrafted free agent in 2002, Hughes can play second or third, has a little pop in his bat, but really is just organizational depth and not a prospect. Matt Tolbert will likely get the bulk of the starts, though.
Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar will miss a week under the new MLB concussion policy after he was diagnosed with a mild concussion after sliding into third base and banging his head into the knee of Andy LaRoche. MLB has to clear Escobar to play at the end of the seven day period. [ESPN]
Phillies closer Brad Lidge’s shoulder problems should leave him not throwing until the all-star break. Lidge told reporters that his posterior rotator cuff strain requires him to not throw for up to six weeks, after which he can resume a rehabilitation process.
The Next Great Washington National…
Bryce Harper had two hits, including an RBI single in his first at bat, and a stolen base in his first professional game. The Hagerstown Suns beat the Rome Braves, 3 – 2, in the opening game of the South Atlantic League season. Apparently, MLB was there to capture a number of the artifacts (bases, balls, jerseys, bats, hot dog wrappers…) for use in auctions later in the season. [MLB]
First – which among us knew that Brad Penny was engaged to Dancing With the Stars dancer Karina Smirnoff? He is – just another reason for him to be among my favorite pitchers in baseball. Now comes word, straight from Hugh Hefner’s Twitter account, that Smirnoff will appear nude in the May Playboy. No WONDER Penny is off to such a rough start… [FoxSports]
Those celebrating with cake, cards, and remembrances include:
John Hiller (1943) – Tigers reliever
Jim (Catfish) Hunter (1946) – I miss that guy – dependable pitcher for a decade…
Carlos Santana (1986) – Indians backstop
Felix Hernandez (1986) – the King of Seattle
Jeremy Hellickson (1987) – Rays rookie starter