Texas Rangers DH/OF Shin-Soo Choo is pitching in with some supplemental help, however, and is going to give each of the 190 players in the Texas Rangers minor league system a check for $1,000. That’s according to South Korean news service Naver Sports. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News has confirmed the report.
The Red Sox are doing their part in order to help their employees while the Major League Baseball season is on hold. Boston on Friday announced a plan to expand its funding to $1.5 million to help pay Aramark workers for as long as the season is suspended, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. Red Sox…
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