Mark Townsend

  • Fan unknowingly catches foul ball in jacket pouch

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    The San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies had a long day at the ballpark on Saturday. The division rivals met up for a day/night doubleheader that was scheduled to begin at 2:10 and 7:10 pm respectively in Denver, but ended up way behind schedule thanks to extensive weather delays before both games.

    It was a taxing day for the players, and in many ways it was both a taxing and confusing day for the fans as the game times were changed. In fact, at one point the gates were actually opening for the night game while the afternoon game was still ongoing.

    Mother Nature can be cruel sometimes, especially in the Rocky Mountain area. However, for one fan who braved the elements and stuck around for the second game, the wait was worth it.

    His moment of glory happened In the fourth inning when Colorado's Ben Paulsen pulled a foul ball into the scarce gathering along the right field line. Our fan was in the perfect spot to make a play on the ball, but couldn't make the clean catch because he was wearing winter gloves instead of a baseball glove.

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  • MLB Network looks at the remarkable story of Navy graduate Mitch Harris

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Your browser does not support iframes. When Memorial Day arrives on Monday, it will take on an extra-special meaning for St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Mitch Harris.

    When the Cardinals line up to face the Arizona Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Harris will proudly wear the uniform of the first and only professional baseball team he's represented, while reflecting on his time in another cherished uniform representing the United States Naval Academy.

    After being drafted by St. Louis in 13th round of the 2008 draft, Harris had to put those baseball dreams on hold until 2013 as he fulfilled his five-year term after graduating from Navy. But all the while Harris knew he had a commitment to himself to continue working hard to keep the baseball door open. To stay sharp he'd play catch on the flight deck with one of the ship's cooks during his downtime.

    It wasn't the same as throwing a bullpen session in college or the minor leagues, but it allowed him to work on his mechanics and take off with some momentum and comfort when he returned to the Cardinals.

    He also made history that night, becoming the first Navy graduate to appear in MLB since Nemo Gaines in 1921.

  • Astros turn 5-4-3 triple play in win against Tigers

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    The Houston Astros entered play on Saturday with the third highest winning percentage in MLB. Third!

    Needless to say, they've been the biggest and/or most pleasant surprise in the entire league, and they've done it by doing everything well. That includes hitting a league-leading 62 home runs, a pitching staff that ranks top 10 in ERA (3.50) and of course, playing excellent defense.

    In Saturday's 3-2 win against the Detroit Tigers, it was the latter two that shined the most. Rookie Lance McCullers allowed just two runs on six hits over six sharp innings in his second career start, but it wouldn't have been possible without one nifty defensive play in the fifth inning that resulted in three quick outs.

    That's right, the Astros turned a triple play. The franchise's first since 2004.

    Detroit actually plated a temporary go-ahead run in the inning after James McCann led off with a double and then came around to score after Jose Iglesias' infield single and a throwing error that allowed Anthony Gose to reach. Obviously they were poised to do much more damage and potentially blow the game open when Ian Kinsler stepped in.

  • Norge Luis Ruiz, Cuba's top pitching prospect, is headed to America

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    The influx of talent from Cuba has been increasing rapidly in recent months and that continues with a player who many scouts believe was the best pitching prospect remaining on the island. 

    Norge Luis Ruiz, a 21-year-old right-hander, is headed to America according to's Jesse Sanchez with the intention of signing a big league contract.

    Sources tell me top Cuban RHP prospect Norge Luis Ruiz, 21, has left the island and will be seeking a Major League contract. #Cuba

    In a subscription-only post less than one month ago, Baseball America's Ben Badler rated Ruiz the top pitcher in Cuba and its eighth best prospect overall. The early belief is Ruiz's stuff could translate to a mid-rotation pitcher in MLB, though obviously at 21 there's still room for development and improvement. 

    [Woah, The Stew has a podcast now?! Yep, you should listen.]

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  • Dodgers pitching faces the minimum in shutout against Padres

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

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    Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

    How's this for a pitching performance? Los Angeles Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger allowed a leadoff single to San Diego's Yangervis Solarte in the first inning, and that was it for the evening.

    Bolsinger, who's been thrust into action following injuries to Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, recovered to induce a ground ball double play from Cory Spangenberg and strike out Matt Kemp to end the first inning. From there, he retired the next 21 batters in succession until being lifted following the eighth inning.

    Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth and continued the roll, setting down all three batters he faced to wrap up the 2-0 victory.

    As for the Padres, it's the eighth time their revamped offense has been shutout this season and the sixth time in their past 18 games.


  • Brian Matusz ejected for having foreign substance on arm

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

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    Baltimore Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz was ejected in the 12th inning of Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Miami Marlins after umpires discovered a foreign substance on his non-throwing arm.

    Matusz was in his first inning of work and had already retired Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto when new Marlins manager Dan Jennings emerged from the dugout to request that Matusz's right arm be checked for the substance. Home plate umpire Jordan Baker and crew chief Paul Emmel complied and quickly discovered the substance. Matusz was immediately ejected.

    It's the exact scenario that played out with Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith on Thursday, which makes it all the more baffling that Matusz would carelessly leave the substance on his arm. Smith was levied an eight-game suspension, so it's safe to assume Matusz's impending punishment will follow suit.

    Glad to see the age of Performance Enhancing Sunscreen is upon us. Just make the stuff legal so we're spared the faux morality of it all.

  • It's official: Josh Hamilton will join Rangers on Monday

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    The Texas Rangers have set a time and a place for Josh Hamilton's return.

    Speaking on Saturday night, general manager Jon Daniels confirmed that Hamilton will be activated and available for duty when they meet the Cleveland Indians on Monday at Progressive Field. Hamilton is scheduled to fly into Cleveland on Sunday where his teammates will meet him following their Sunday night game against the New York Yankees.

    Hamilton was scheduled to play one final rehab game for the Triple-A Round Rock Express on Saturday night. That game was postponed by rain, but the Rangers elected to stick to their plan to activate Hamilton on Monday, citing that he'd proven himself to be ready physically.

    Jon Daniels on Hamilton: "Josh is physically and game ready to get started." Triple A Round Rock was rained out Saturday.

    Hamilton finishes his 12-game rehab stint with a .364/.391/.545 batting line between Round Rock and Double-A Frisco. He homered in his final game with Frisco on Wednesday and delivered five doubles in 44-at bats. He struck out 10 times.

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  • David Wright diagnosed with spinal stenosis, return date remains uncertain

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    As of Friday, New York Mets third baseman David Wright appeared to be nearing a rehab assignment as he worked his way back from a strained right hamstring suffered in April.

    However, as learned on Saturday, the concern has now shifted to his ailing back and a condition that could potentially threaten or at least shorten his career. 

    According to's Anthony DiComo, Wright has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which means he has a narrowing of the spinal column.

    The #Mets have diagnosed David Wright with stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column. They believe he will heal, but it will take time.

    The Mets are obviously approaching this with optimism, but one can't ignore the fact that spinal stenosis played a role in Lenny Dykstra's retirement from MLB in 1998 and also led to New York Giants running back David Wilson retiring during training camp in 2014. 

    Different times in history, different sports and perhaps different circumstances related to the injury, but still not a promising precedent for the Mets captain.

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  • Yankees losing streak reaches five after lopsided loss to Rangers

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

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    It might be premature to say the wheels have come off the New York Yankees, but the evidence during their current five-game losing streak certainly hasn't been encouraging.

    After dropping the series finale in Kansas City and being swept by the Nationals in a quick two-game series to begin the week, the Yankees returned home for a weekend series against the Texas Rangers and have promptly dropped the first two, including Saturday's lopsided 15-4 loss. 

    Looking back to Friday, if you look strictly at the 10-9 final, the takeaway might be that New York continued battling offensively and nearly pulled off a dramatic victory. While it's true the offense was resilient, it's their overall play and the circumstances that hover over their play that are most troubling.

    With Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova already out injured, Chase Whitley headed for Tommy John surgery and CC Sabathia struggling to find his footing, the starting rotation is a mixed and matched group with only one consistent source of production this season: Michael Pineda.

    Here's a scary assessment of the two-day damage in the third innings alone. 


  • Reds manager Bryan Price ejected before game against Indians

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    Apparently, Bryan Price had something better to do than stick around at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The Cincinnati Reds manager was actually ejected from Saturday's afternoon game against the Cleveland Indians before the first pitch was even thrown.

    Price was given the heave-ho by crew chief Jim Reynolds as the lineup cards were being exchanged at home plate. The two engaged in a heated exchange that continued even as the Indians players took the field. Growing tired of the confrontation, Reynolds threw out Price on the spot and the game began with Jay Bell serving as Cincinnati's skipper.

    It wasn't immediately clear what led Price to confront the umpires, though there's speculation that issues with Friday's home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez may have carried over. We'll know more once Price meets with the media following Saturday's game.

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    The ejection was Price's second of the season.

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