Mark Townsend

  • Yu Darvish stuns Reds with history-making home run

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 hr ago

    In one of the most shocking moments this season, Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish did something that no other Japanese-born pitcher had ever done while wearing the uniform of an American League team.

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    In his second plate appearance of the game, which was only the 14th of his MLB career, the 30-year-old hurler launched his first career home run.

    #Rangers Yu Darvish is the first ever Japanese-born pitcher to homer for an American League team.

    — Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) August 25, 2016

    That alone is pretty cool.

    There’s also this tidbit.

    #Rangers Yu Darvish is the first pitcher born in the eastern hemisphere to homer for an AL team since Moe Drabowsky on Aug 14, 1963.

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  • Gentleman Bryce Harper assists Katie Ledecky with Olympic medals

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 hrs ago

     

    Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky proved she’s more than a one-sport star on Wednesday night at Nationals Park. Ledecky, who won four gold medals and one silver at the Rio Olympics, fired a perfect strike for the ceremonial first pitch before Washington’s game against the rival Baltimore Orioles.

    The Bethesda, Mary. native was also joined by Nationals superstar Bryce Harper, who accompanied her on the field and proudly held her Olympic medals while she brought the heat.

    Hilarious moment as Katie Ledecky throws out ceremonial 1st pitch. Removes all her medals 1st and hands them 1 at a time to Bryce Harper.

    — Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) August 24, 2016

    Katie Ledecky asked Bryce Harper to hold her medals, then threw a strike. Multi-sport athlete. pic.twitter.com/ocB1nXKlsd

    — Alex Putterman (@AlexPutterman) August 24, 2016

    I love this picture so much. pic.twitter.com/Spz1obC5NZ

    We dare say they were even a little starstruck.

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  • Billy Butler regrets role in clubhouse scuffle that gave him concussion

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 hrs ago

    A weird month for the Oakland A’s got even weirder last Friday in Chicago when Billy Butler and Danny Valencia were involved in a clubhouse scuffle over the latter’s cleat endorsement deal. The physical altercation resulted in Billy Butler sustaining a concussion, which landed him on MLB’s seven-day concussion list earlier this week.

    Speaking for the first time since the incident on Wednesday, Butler said he’s progressing well and hopes to return as soon as he possibly can. He also apologized for his role in the incident, stating that he regrets his actions and takes equal blame for escalating the situation.

    From the San Francisco Chronicle:

    “It was one of those things, we both had equal fault in this,” Butler said. “I definitely said some things you shouldn’t, I definitely stepped in an area you shouldn’t. That wasn’t my business.”

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  • Brett Gardner joins catch-of-the-year conversation with balancing act

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    Once a stalwart in the New York Yankees outfield, Brett Gardner may not have much of a future there with a youth movement underway. Don’t throw dirt on him either though. He’s not going to give his spot away that easily, which was evidenced by his sensational catch-of-the-year candidate on Saturday night.

    Gardner went above and beyond to rob Angels’ slugger C.J. Cron of a two-run homer, and then nearly crashed into the stands on his way down. Fortunately for him, he was able to balance his body atop the wall before falling forward back on to the field.

    Yes, this play actually happened. If you didn’t believe it the first time, perhaps you will the second time.

    #WOW moment of the night. ???????????? https://t.co/F84EMmIEMo pic.twitter.com/r0JjxDaw02

    — MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) August 21, 2016

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  • Blue Jays have good reason for sending Cy Young candidate to minors

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    The Toronto Blue Jays turned a few heads Sunday morning when they elected to option Aaron Sanchez to the minor leagues. The 24-year-old right-hander has pitched like the team’s ace all season, posting a 12-2 mark with a 2.99 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 156 1/3 innings. He even earned an All-Star nod and is in the thick of a wide open Cy Young debate in the American League.

    So what gives?

    Two simple words: Workload and logistics.

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    The Blue Jays have been hinting all season at limiting Sanchez’s workload to keep from wearing him down this season and beyond. It’s a long-term thought process not unlike what the Washington Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg in 2012 despite being World Series contenders. Strasburg, of course, was coming off Tommy John surgery, but even then many questioned the decision.

    We wouldn’t exactly call it a vacation. But in no way is it a demotion.

  • Watch Live: Blue Jays and Indians meet in Free Game of the Day

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    With ten days left in August, we’ve officially reached the point where checking the baseball standings has become a daily routine. Even if your team has no shot — which right now is a relatively small number of teams — it’s still worthwhile just to see where things stand.

    With that in mind, it’s also not a bad time to start checking the stats to get a better feel for which players should be in contention for the notable individual awards. Some candidates are always obvious just based on the hype and the highlights you see every day. That’s particularly true in the respective MVP races. However, the Cy Young races in both leagues seem to be pretty wide open right now, which means the hottest contending pitcher from this point forward may have the inside track.

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  • David Ortiz takes selfie break before hitting notable home run

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    David Ortiz is a man of the people. That much we’ve always known. However, during Saturday’s game in Detroit, he took his ability to balance having fun with the fans to taking care of business to an entirely new level.

    Prior to his at-bat in the top of the fifth inning, Ortiz paid a visit to some Red Sox fans seated near the first-base dugout. That part is not unusual. Nor is the fact that Ortiz didn’t come empty-handed, as he handed out some gum to the handful of kids who gathered around. Before turning his focus back to baseball, Ortiz even posed for a selfie with one of the young fans.

    Typically, the selfie would be the coolest part of the story. After all, it’s David Ortiz, the same guy who posed for a selfie with President Obama at the White House.

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  • Alex Bregman hitting stride and more reinforcements coming for Astros

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we’ll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about.

    Remember when Houston Astros rookie Alex Bregman started his season 1-for-32?

    Good. Now forget about it. Because Bregman sure has.

    In 16 games since, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft is hitting .333. That includes his 3-for-6 outing inSaturday’s 12-2 win against Baltimore. Bregman connected for his third home run and drove in three to lead Houston’s red-hot offense.

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    If that trend continues, the Astros will be overjoyed.

    Make no mistake though, they won’t be short-handed.

    TOP PERFORMERS

    MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT

    That was a historic home run for David Ortiz and pretty significant one for the Red Sox.

  • Dwight Gooden insists he's OK, calls Darryl Strawberry's concern 'unreal'

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    Don’t worry about Dwight “Doc” Gooden. The 51-year-old former major league pitcher says he’s not in trouble health wise or otherwise after former New York Mets teammate Darryl Strawberry expressed concern when Gooden no-showed a scheduled interview on Thursday.

    “I am fine, just finishing up some minor health issues,” Gooden told the New York Daily News in a text on Saturday.

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    Knowing that Gooden had battled drug addictions much like himself, Strawberry said he feared for Gooden’s life after he pulled out of Thursday’s event at the last minute. Of course, there was no indication from Gooden’s representatives that he was in trouble, but the reason for his absence was also kept hushed.

    “Yes, I see,” Gooden texted. “Unreal.”

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  • Little Leaguer provides memorable moment during mom's cancer battle

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    The Little League World Series is in full swing this weekend and there have already been some very memorable moments.

    None have been greater though than the scene that played out during Friday’s U.S. bracket battle between the kids from Johnston, Iowa and Chula Vista, Calif.

    As always, the tournament is receiving national coverage from ESPN. That means the players and the families of the players are given a unique opportunity to share their stories, which are often inspiring on a entirely different level than the game itself.

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    Among those stories this is Jen Garcia. She’s the mother of Iowa star player JT Garcia, and we learned on Friday that she’s currently battling pancreatic cancer. That hasn’t stopped her from following her son and his teammates to Williamsport as they chased their Little League World Series dream. That alone is very inspiring and worthy of acknowledgment.

    You will not see a greater moment than that.

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