Mets ace Noah Syndergaard has a torn UCL and will likely undergo Tommy John surgery. The procedure will keep him out until at earliest April 2021 and likely into the summer months.
Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said moments ago that Syndergaard experienced the discomfort in his elbow before Spring Training was suspended and that he had, quietly, been getting examinations and second opinions. He also said that Syndergaard will have the surgery on Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Which is a bit odd given that elective surgeries are currently prohibited in New York under governor’s orders due to the pandemic, but I suppose whether this is “elective” is a matter of nuance. It would be for you or me, but maybe not for a professional athlete. Just throw that onto the pile of things about which we are uncertain in the current situation.
Syndergaard, who is under team control through 2021, had a down year in 2019, posting a 4.28 ERA, but his peripherals were still strong. There was speculation last season and heading into this past offseason that the team would trade him, but the club shot those rumors down and said they had no intention of dealing him.
Now, no matter their intentions, he is not an option available to them for any reason at all for over a year.
The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan reports that, in recent court filings pertaining to a lawsuit filed against the team, the Astros claim they sincerely apologized for their elaborate sign-stealing operation. It is the team’s first official response to the litigation.
Astros lawyers wrote, “The ‘sign-stealing’ controversy has been a source of great disappointment to Astros fans as well as to the Astros organization. On several occasions, members of the Astros organization – including individual players and its Owner, Jim Crane – have expressed their sincere apologies and remorse for the events described in the report by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.”
Crane didn’t really apologize. At a press conference last month, Crane said, “Our opinion is this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series and we’ll leave it at that.”
In extremely brief statements to the media, both Alex Bregman and José Altuve spoke in the passive voice in an attempt to shirk responsibility. As if the whole cheating scheme was something that just happened to occur as opposed to being a concerted effort by players that went unchecked by several levels of management.
The Astros have a history of not apologizing when caught with their pants around their ankles. When they have had their arm twisted into giving an apology, their apologies have been weak. Consider that it took the Astros nearly a week to rescind a statement in which it accused Sports Illustrated journalist Stephanie Apstein of a “misleading and completely irresponsible” report about then-assistant GM Brandon Taubman taunting female reporters about Roberto Osuna — arrested for domestic violence in 2018 — when the Astros defeated the Yankees in the ALCS. The report turned out to be entirely accurate and Taubman was fired not long thereafter.
An apology should be heartfelt, acknowledge the bad behavior as well as those negatively impacted by it, and state what corrected actions will be taken in the future. None of the Astros’ apologies — if you can call them that — for any of their nefarious behavior in recent years, has passed muster.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. After hearing Crane, Bregman, and Altuve last month, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryantsaid, “There’s no sincerity, there’s no genuineness when it comes to it.”
Alex Rodriguez, who was wrapped up in a cheating scandal of his own back in 2013-14, acknowledged on ESPN during a spring training telecast that he handled his situation poorly. He offered the Astros an opportunity to learn from his mistakes, saying, “People want to see remorse, they want a real, authentic apology, and they have not received that thus far.”
This is all mostly immaterial as the lawsuit is about whether or not the Astros owe season ticket holders recompense. That being said, the Astros wanting official credit for apologizing is to want credit for doing the absolute bare minimum. And they didn’t even do that well, if one can say they did it at all.
One week ago, it was business as usual for Magnolia High School graduate Adam Kloffenstein.
The right-handed pitcher was at spring training in Dunedin, Fla., along with other players in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. His second season — and first full one in the minor leagues — was less than a month away.
Then, along with the rest of the country, Kloffenstein’s situation began to change because of cancellations aimed to thwart the spread of COVID-19, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“Everything was business as normal (last) Thursday,” Kloffenstein said in a phone interview. “A little bit more caution around hand washing and all that, but as far as activity, Thursday was full-go. On Friday, they said to just come in at noon for a meeting.”
That meeting was a check-in of sorts. After another off-day Saturday, there was a scheduled workout Sunday and another meeting set for Monday. But those plans, like so many others around the country and world, also changed.
“By Saturday morning, they said, ‘Go home,’” Kloffenstein said.
Kloffenstein went 4-4 and had a 2.24 ERA last year with the Vancouver Canadians, the Blue Jays’ Class A short-season affiliate. It was a good year for the 2018 third-round pick.
“I started off a little shaky, just kind of getting my feet planted,” he said. “After that, I had some success and was able to execute my plans a lot better and was a lot more clear on how to get guys out. I was just kind of simplifying the game. We had a fun team. We didn’t do all that great as far as record goes, but in the minor leagues, they’re not really too worried about that. We had some good, young talent up there.”
Kloffenstein was working toward a big change during the offseason. Had this season been a full one, he would’ve been making a jump from about 72 games to 144.
“That’s a long time and a lot of ups and downs to have to go through as far as mechanics and performance goes,” he said. “The biggest thing I was working on this offseason was really just trying to simplify things and figure out what my weaknesses are so I could focus on that and make adjustments.”
Physically, the 6-foot-5 pitcher was working on staying flexible and cutting a few pounds. It was all part of a plan to maintain health throughout a longer season.
It was looking like he’d be with the Lansing Lugnuts in Class A for the 2020 season, but the second-year pro hoped to work his way up to the Dunedin Blue Jays, the Class A Advanced squad in Florida.
Last Friday, when Minor League Baseball officially announced its season would not start on April 9 as originally scheduled, Kloffenstein was still a couple weeks from learning where he’d start.
Now, after a change of plans caused by the coronavirus, he hopes to stay sharp and gain an edge while he’s back at home in Texas with his parents for the foreseeable future.
“Obviously the first couple days, it was really weird, and it’s still kind of weird,” Kloffenstein said. “After the smoke clears here and things kind of get settled down, which for me, they have, you’ve got no other option other than to get better. My goal was to skip Lansing, and I view this as another chance to prove to them that I don’t need to go there. I think I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
As of Thursday, neither Major League nor Minor League Baseball had announced plans for a return to training or play. Whenever baseball does resume, Kloffenstein hopes to come back better.
“It’s four, six, eight, 10 weeks, however long it is, for me to get an edge on whoever,” he said. “I have no choice but to keep to myself, so I’m just going to hang out with my family a little bit here and there and keep myself in shape. Hopefully, I can hit the ground running whenever this is all said and done.”
With so much uncertainty around when Major League Baseball’s opening day will be, the Red Sox are trying to keep its players prepared to resume with spring training, (or maybe, summer training). In a conference call Thursday, interim manager Ron Roenicke gave insight on what the team has both pitchers and position players doing to…
With so much uncertainty around when Major League Baseball’s opening day will be, the Red Sox are trying to keep its players prepared to resume with spring training, (or maybe, summer training). In a conference call Thursday, interim manager Ron Roenicke gave insight on what the team has both pitchers and position players doing to stay prepared. According to him, the coaching staff has instructed their projected starters to simulate two innings during unofficial bullpen sessions. “So pretty good effort to throw the first inning, sit down for a little bit and then get back up and throw another 15 pitches or whatever it is,” Roenicke said, via MassLive’s Chris Smith. “And we feel like if we do that, whenever we come back depending on the time period they give us, (it will be enough). If they give us three weeks to get ready, those guys will have four starts. And if they give us four weeks to get ready, they’ll have five starts. And either one of them (three or four weeks), we feel like as long as they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing now and getting a couple innings in, that we can ramp up and get them really close to where they need to be.” Red Sox Roster Projection: How Chris Sale News Impacts Opening Day Plan Instructions for position players aren’t as intricate, however. Coaches simply asked that group to treat it like it’s January. And while the coaching staff has returned to its normal residences, many of the players have stuck around Fort Myers. “They are showing up in waves (at the JetBlue Park complex),” Roenicke said. “The pitchers are showing up first in the morning, the guys who are in the area. And then in the afternoon, the guys who are still there, the regulars, are showing up to hit in the batting cages and stay sharp that way. Some of the pitchers really didn’t feel like they had somewhere else to go to stay in shape, whether it was another country or whether it is up north where it’s harder to work out in the cold.” The MLB is hoping to squeeze in all 162 games, which seems more and more unlikely every day. Regardless, the Red Sox hope with this down time, they’ll be ready when Opening Day does come
Pat GrahamAP Mar 19, 2020 at 10:48p ETMajor League Baseball may consider scheduling doubleheaders as it attempts to play a full 162-game schedule in 2020. Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s play two? Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black would be down for doubleheaders.
Maybe even a couple a week.
That might be a necessity to make up games once a baseball season delayed by the new coronavirus gets under way.
“In theory, yeah, I think all of us would be up for some sort of doubleheader situation,” Black said during a conference call Thursday. “The thing that’s going to be in front of all of us is it’s going to be the same for everybody. It’s got to make sense for the clubs and the players.”
Opening Day has been pushed back from March 26 to mid-May at the earliest, and both sides are committed to playing as many games as possible.
Translation: Doubleheaders could be on the docket.
“I know that when we’re able to safely play, we’re going to have to think of creative ways to get in as many games as possible given all the time that’s going to be lost,” said Farhan Zaidi, the president of baseball operations for the San Francisco Giants. “I don’t really have any specific thoughts on that, but I know everybody’s going to be thinking through ways to do that.”
Two pitchers announced they are having Tommy John surgery and will miss the season whenever it starts: Boston ace left-hander Chris Sale and San Francisco right-hander Tyler Beede.
Major League Baseball announced minor league players shut out of spring training camps amid the novel coronavirus outbreak will receive allowances from teams through April 8, and a plan is underway to compensate those players during the postponed portion of the regular season. Minor leaguers will receive allowances of $400 per week from teams in a lump sum for the next three weeks — a significant bump from their usual spring per diems of $100-200 per week. Teams hope that will allow players to cover housing, food and other expenses through the previously scheduled end of spring training.
The Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks halted their voluntary workouts at their shared Salt River Fields complex in Arizona. This was after the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community decided to temporarily cease operations there in the wake of the pandemic.
Some of the Colorado players may travel to Denver with Coors Field open for workouts. The Mile High City sure looked a lot different than Scottsdale on Thursday as a snowstorm hit the area.
More than anything, Black wants his players to treat this time away like it’s December and the season is still in the distance.
Don’t ramp up.
Black said that when a timetable is known, the teams will be given approximately three weeks to get back in shape as part of a second spring training. That’s plenty of time for a starting pitcher to work his way into form.
“There’s no need to throw bullpens. We’re a ways away from that,” Black said.
Hit in a cage — if one’s available. Work out at their gym at home. Or play catch — with social distancing in mind.
“They get together and go to a local park, they go to a high school, they go somewhere where there’s a stretch of grass and they play catch,” Black said. “They’re not going to play closer than six feet together, right? You can play catch.
“Guys are on the down low. They’re probably not doing much baseball activity right now. There’s a sense this is going to be much longer than first anticipated by baseball.”
Seattle shuttered its facility in Peoria, Arizona. The Mariners had initially planned to keep the facility open and work with players in small, staggered groups of 10, but general manager Jerry Dipoto said most of the 40-man roster had gone home.
“As we got to the point yesterday where we pulled the plug there were about 10 or 12 guys that were actually coming down and taking advantage of the workout time,” Dipoto said. “And frankly, we were concerned with the idea of group gatherings of any sort, particularly after we got the news yesterday there was a positive test of a baseball staffer down here in Arizona with another club.”
On Wednesday, the Cincinnati Reds, whose training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona, said an employee who works year-round at the complex tested positive for COVID-19. All Reds employees who were in contact with the employee during spring training are being tested and have self-quarantined. Dipoto said no Mariners players or staff have reported showing any symptoms of coronavirus.
In Dallas, there are about five major leaguers working out at the Texas Rangers’ youth academy. It’s closed to public and has been sanitized.
At their facility in Bradenton, Florida, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a small contingent of players that work out on an informal basis, rotating in and out to make sure there’s not more than a handful at a time.
Opening Day would’ve been next week. That’s hard for Black fathom in light of what’s happening around the world.
“I miss the build-up to Opening Day. I miss what that’s all about. I love our sport. I love the people in it,” Black said. “I’m probably as practical as they come and a realist, and aware of what’s going on and that takes a precedence over our sport and our jobs.”
The Houston Astros announced this afternoon that ace Justin Verlander underwent surgery on his groin. His recovery timeline: six weeks. Which, hey, if you have to miss six weeks, now is the time to do it, right?
Verlander had a couple of different health problems this spring, dealing with that groin early on and then dealing with a hurt lat muscle, each causing him to push back or miss starts. It’s not hard to imagine that the lat injury was compensating for the sore groin. Either way, he’s on the shelf now, as is everyone else, with a lot more time to recover from this without missing games than he otherwise would’ve had.
A report by Ryan Recker for Pittsburgh Action News. For 25 years, Duane Rieder has been dedicated to accumulating and documenting mementos and memories of Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente. The extensive collection is permanently displayed at the Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville, where Rieder is the executive director and curator. Rieder is now in the […]
For 25 years, Duane Rieder has been dedicated to accumulating and documenting mementos and memories of Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente. The extensive collection is permanently displayed at the Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville, where Rieder is the executive director and curator.
Rieder is now in the process of packing up many of the museum’s prized items, shipping them to Clemente’s native home of San Juan and loaning them to the Sports Museum of Puerto Rico for a Roberto Clemente exhibit.
“Everybody can’t wait to see the stuff that we’re putting up, and all of these new images and things that they’ve never seen,” Rieder said. “Most people know that story that Roberto dies in a plane crash on his way to Nicaragua, body never found. That’s the part of the story everybody knows. Now we’re going to fill in the gaps of all the things people don’t know.”
On display will be a treasure of artifacts: hundreds of photos, game-used bats, one of Clemente’s 12 Gold Glove awards and the final jersey he ever wore while managing the San Juan Senators in 1972.
“It’s the last uniform he ever puts on,” Rieder said. “They play a couple of days before he gets on that plane and goes to Nicaragua, so it’s kind of going to be the theme and the star of our show down in Puerto Rico.”
“We’re going to do a whole Vera wing with her dresses — the dress that he bought her in Nicaragua. It’s the most beautiful dress you’ve ever seen,” Rieder said. “Roberto buys it in Nicaragua for her. It’s one of the last dresses she ever wears before he passes. They’re doing a fundraiser to load the plane, and she has the dress on. We’re going to have that dress and the photos that we’ve been working on for years in the exhibit now, so we’re going to do a nice little homage to Vera.”