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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


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Thursday, March 01, 2018


Date: TBA
Time: TBA
Field: TBA
Post-game meetup: TBA

I will update the above as we get more details. I don’t know who is booking the field, nor when we’ll know. But let’s start talking softball.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Who’s in Command Here?!?

If you tell me you expected to see Javier Vasquez among these names, you’re either a wizard or a liar.

Shohei Ohtani, Angels undaunted by rocky spring | USA Today

Ohtani will be on the Angels’ opening-day roster, two high-ranking Angels executives told USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity since no roster decisions need to be revealed until March 29. He’s tentatively scheduled to pitch their third game of the season, March 31, against the Athletics at Oakland Coliseum. He also is scheduled to be in their opening-day lineup as their starting DH.

Ohtani’s roster spot will come in spite of his unsightly 16.20 ERA in two spring-training games, an exhibition against the Tijuana Toros and one minor-league game - yielding 15 earned runs and 18 hits in 8 1/3 innings. He has been worse at the plate, hitting .111 with three singles in 28 at-bats, snapping a 0-for-14 skid on Tuesday with a single to left field.

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 21, 2018 at 03:55 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, shohei ohtani

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-21-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, March 21, 1918:

The ability to heave hand grenades has been oft mentioned as a point in favor of the ball player as a war prospect. Outfielders have been declared especially adapted for the peculiar heave required to effectively shoot the hot ones into the ranks of the foe. That there is a more important feature to the grenade business still is indicated by late reports which pronounce catching grenades of more importance than heaving them. The thing, it seems, is to handle chances cleanly and return the pellets into the enemy’s ranks, there to do a boomerang stunt.

My immediate reaction is that I wouldn’t want to be the guy catching the grenade and throwing it back, but I guess it sure beats having it land near you and explode.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 21, 2018 at 12:27 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Joe Musgrove gives up six runs in second Grapefruit League start | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Musgrove *looks* like he has the stuff to be effective.

“My ball just didn’t have anything on it,” Musgrove said. “I had a hard time breaking 92 [mph] out there. But I feel good. I don’t feel like I’m hanging it all right now. I feel like I had another inning in me, or two.”

Manager Clint Hurdle agreed with Musgrove’s assessment.

“The two-seamer, when it was down, was really good,” Hurdle said. “The fastball command overall was probably inconsistent. I thought he used his cutter very well today. Pitches were elevated at times.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 21, 2018 at 10:19 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: joe musgrove, pirates

Free agent Alex Cobb, Orioles have 4-year deal

It’s official. Is it enough to make the O’s contenders?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 21, 2018 at 07:12 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cobb, free agents, orioles

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mets may finally have a Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey, Matz, Wheeler rotation

A turn in the Mets rotation made up of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler has never happened. Not in any order. Any time the guys have been up in the majors, at least one of them has been injured.

In 2015, when the Mets had the best chance of this rotation order working with four of these pieces rolling, Wheeler was sidelined after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

His recovery carried into 2016, and in 2017, it was Harvey, Matz, and Syndergaard’s turns to miss some time.

This spring though, everyone is still surprisingly healthy and looking better than in years past.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson doesn’t really care about this small fact and has been focused solely on winning, regardless of who’s out there.

Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 20, 2018 at 09:42 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

NY Post: It was a mistake for Bob Uecker to ignore this spider bite

The spider thought it was biting the great Whitey Ford. (So he lied.)

The 84-year-old — getting ready for his 48th season calling games for his hometown Brewers — told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the poisonous venom of a brown recluse spider nearly stopped him from returning to the game that he loves after he got bit in October in the backyard of his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“I had a pair of shorts on,” Uecker told the newspaper. “I got bit by a spider but I didn’t know it. I didn’t feel it bite me. The next day, I had a red mark on my leg, and it kept getting bigger. I kept trying to take care of it by myself but it kept getting worse.”

The spider bit Uecker on his left leg as he was replacing a light bulb. Four days later, he visited a doctor for scheduled blood work and was told he needed to get to a hospital immediately. Uecker said the doctor recognized the wound right away.


The Luckiest Pitching Staff in History

If you find yourself caught in a lightning storm, you’ll want to huddle with these guys.

gehrig97 Posted: March 20, 2018 at 05:02 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony young, christy mathewson, jack coombs, lefty gomez, pitching

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-20-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, March 20, 1918:

There is much gloom and sadness in St. Pete these days, because one of the best little plans that ever split the plate has been wrecked beyond repair. Al Lang, the hustling Mayor, is wearing a grouch and other members of the welcome-to-our-city club are disconsolate. They have been foiled, and the worst part of it is that no one can be blamed, not even themselves.

On Monday night it was decided to have a monster celebration to welcome the incoming Phillies when they stepped off the train. Mayor Lang had his speech of welcome all prepared, the Kilties Band was tuned up to sprinkle harmony all over the town in the triumphant march from the station to the hotel…Then the train came in…The passengers were scrutinized carefully as they stepped off the Pullmans, but there was no sign of the Phillies.

After the train steamed out of the station the Kilties’ Band put mufflers on their instruments, Mayor Lang took the key [to the city] home and the crowd dispersed. Gavvy Cravath was the only arrival, and now he is sore because they did not lead him to the hotel like a regular ball player.

Cue the Price is Right losing horn. There are more fun details of the story in the linked article. Definitely worth a read if you like 100-year-old fails.

Also in the news a century ago today, baseball clubs are trying to figure out whether or how the newly-enacted Daylight Saving Time law should affect start times.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 20, 2018 at 10:14 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Spending bill could quash Minor League Baseball players’ wage claims

Why doesn’t the MLBPA add minor leaguers to their union? Of course, we know why.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 20, 2018 at 07:01 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: minor league pay

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner suffers broken left wrist | ESPN

Justin Turner has a broken left wrist after being hit by a pitch during Los Angeles’ 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.

Turner was struck by a pitch from right-hander Kendall Graveman in the first inning.

“I was hoping obviously the X-rays would be negative, but there’s a small non-displaced fracture,’’ Turner said. “We’ll just play it by ear, see how it goes.’‘

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 20, 2018 at 01:15 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, injury, justin turner

Monday, March 19, 2018

Braves Ronald Acuna sent to Minors camp |

Acuna getting sent down to learn to walk on water.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 19, 2018 at 08:09 PM | 62 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, ronald acuna

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-19-2018

Toledo News-Bee, March 19, 1918:

Pitcher George Foster, star of the Red Sox hurling staff in the 1916 world’s series, announced today that he had quit the game. He will devote his future to raising hogs. The contract Boston offered Foster this season specified a cut of $2000 in salary. This is said to have prompted Foster to quit. Foster is building one of the biggest hog ranches in [Oklahoma].

I can see why he’d have been upset. Foster was still in his 20s and a good pitcher, had a career ERA+ of 116 in five seasons and would have been a prime candidate for MVP of the 1915 World Series if there had been such an award. (2-0, 2.00, 2 CG, 18 IP, 12 H, 13 K, 2 BB, and went 4-for-8 with a double as a hitter). And they offered him a multi-thousand dollar pay cut. Anyway, Foster did indeed walk away and didn’t play professional baseball again until 1922, when he resurfaced as a slugging second baseman in the Western Association. Rube spent 1923-1925 as a ho-hum pitcher in the PCL, finishing his career 9-15 with a 4.95 ERA for the ‘25 Oakland Oaks.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 19, 2018 at 09:50 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

OTP 2018 March 19: Spending bill could quash Minor League Baseball players’ wage claims

A massive government spending bill that Congress is expected to consider this week could include a provision exempting Minor League Baseball players from federal labor laws, according to three congressional officials familiar with the talks.

The exemption would represent the culmination of more than two years of lobbying by Major League Baseball, which has sought to preempt a spate of lawsuits that have been filed by minor leaguers alleging they have been illegally underpaid.

Inside Baseball MLB Notes | Where will Holland go? | FanRag Sports

Heyman’s latest.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 19, 2018 at 06:24 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: notes

Saturday, March 17, 2018

NY POST - KERNAN: It’s all coming together for ‘awesome’ Matt Harvey

PORT ST. LUCIE — What a change from a year ago. In more ways than one for Matt Harvey and the Mets.

Harvey has a feel for the baseball again, something he didn’t have last year because he was recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.

That change Thursday was obvious as Harvey struck out the last five Marlins he faced, the final two Ks coming off diving changeups in the Mets’ 7-6 loss at First Data Field.

One other important note: Harvey is digging the new “badass’’ beast-mode of pitching inside off the plate that pitching coach Dave Eiland is demanding of his pitchers.

“I like the way that’s been taught and told,’’ Harvey said, his eyes lighting up. “You look at all the great pitchers in the game in the past and present and they all go inside with authority and that’s going to be our motto. That opens up the whole outside corner for everything else, so it’s definitely nice. It’s fun.’’

After years of frustration it’s beginning to come back together again for Matt Harvey.


Lassus Posted: March 17, 2018 at 06:05 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Another rough day for Shohei Ohtani prompts more questions for Angels | OC Register

Scioscia said they aren’t yet sure when Ohtani’s next start would be. Assuming five or six days rest, the schedule he’s been on all spring, that would be either next Thursday or Friday.

It’s also possible he could pitch in a minor league game so they can ensure he gets up to the 90 pitches he needs to start the season. Ohtani threw only 50 pitches in Friday’s game, then went down to the bullpen for another three innings worth of work, Scioscia said.

Ohtani has now pitched in four games, the first three against mostly minor league hitters. All told, he’s recorded 25 outs in the games, allowing 18 hits and four homers. He has given up 17 runs (15 earned). He is also 2 for 20 in big league exhibitions as a hitter.

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 17, 2018 at 05:57 AM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, shohei ohtani

Friday, March 16, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-16-2018

Washington Times, March 16, 1918:

Wally Schang is playing third base for the Red Sox in their practice skirmishes [in Arkansas]. Manager Barrow will not admit that Schang will continue to hold down the hot corner, but he keeps the former Philadelphia catcher right out there facing sizzlers.

Babe Ruth at first, Johnny Evers at second, [Everett] Scott at short and Schang at third is the line-up of the infield right now.

Man, things are so bad in Boston that they’ve got a pitcher playing first base. They’ll never win anything in 1918.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 16, 2018 at 11:26 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Top 175 MLB Prospects for 2018 - Minor League Ball

It’s a little late this year but here is John Sickels Top 175 Prospect List.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 15, 2018 at 03:48 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

OT - March Madness 2018

I estimate that only STIGGLES is interested in college basketball. This thread will avoid detracting from what BBTF is truly about: the NBA and how many MLB teams are tanking.

Who will earn a soon-to-be vacated Final Four birth this year?

#1 Seeds are Kansas, Villanova, Virginia, and Xavier.

[Link goes to overview of Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball ratings]

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-15-2018

Toledo News-Bee, March 15, 2018:

Al Timme, president of the Milwaukee club, is probably the busiest man in the world today, answering communications from baseball men who want to manage the Brewers, now that it is clear Ned Egan, hired for that job, is out of the game for the year. Egan, who injured his spine in a skating accident, is in a bad way.

When I first saw this, I thought it was kind of amusing: An ice skating accident ending a manager’s season. But the more I read about it, the more awful it is. Another ice skater ran into Egan and knocked him over. Egan thought it was a minor injury, but it turned out that he broke two vertebrae. Eventually it became so bad that Egan was unable to walk. He shot and killed himself in May 1918.

There’s more on Ned Egan, who was known as the “Connie Mack of the Minors”, in an excellent post from 2014 at Baseball History Daily.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 15, 2018 at 10:09 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Minor League Pace-Of-Play Changes in 2018


At all levels of Minor League Baseball, extra innings will begin with a runner on second base. The runner at second base will be the player in the batting order position previous to the leadoff batter of the inning (or a substitute for that player). By way of example, if the number five hitter in the batting order is due to lead off the 10th inning, the number four player in the batting order (or a pinch-runner for such player) shall begin the inning on second base. Any runner or batter removed from the game for a substitute shall be ineligible to return to the game, as is the case in all circumstances under the Official Baseball Rules.

The lead-in for the above mentions that this particular rule is more about player safety - specifically the impact of extra-inning games on pitchers. But there are other rule changes on mound visits, pitch clocks, etc., in the article.

villageidiom Posted: March 14, 2018 at 04:56 PM | 273 comment(s)
  Beats: extra innings, minor leagues, minors, pace of play

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-14-2018

Toledo News-Bee, March 14, 1918:

The story of how Arthur Fletcher nearly lost a pair of fingers from his right hand reached [New York] on Thursday. The star Giant shortstop was trying to count the revolutions of the fans in his motor with the two fingers. He escaped with bruises.

Art Fletcher: A new candidate for Biggest Idiot Ever.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 14, 2018 at 09:44 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

David Wright Sidelined For Two Months

He was back in spring training with the hope of playing again. He wasn’t doing much, but the hope was there, pending further medical evaluations. Now those evaluations are in and, while not necessarily surprising, are not good.

djordan Posted: March 14, 2018 at 08:59 AM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: david wright

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