Big League Stew

  • Trea Turner had a very good excuse for being late to workout

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 7 hrs ago

    There are only a handful of acceptable excuses for being late to or missing a spring training workout.

    Fortunately for Trea Turner, he had one of those excuses on Wednesday.

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    According to MASN Sports, the runner-up for the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year award was late to the Washington Nationals morning workout because he was performing a civic duty. As in, Turner was summoned to jury duty at a courthouse close to the Nationals facility.

    It’s a truly rare occurrence. Players are typically far enough away from home during spring training or the season to avoid serving, but Turner’s residence in nearby Lake Worth, Fla. made it impossible for him to be excused.

    Fortunately, Turner was not required to stick around long. In fact, he was back at camp in time to take batting practice with his teammates.

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  • Spring Training 2017: Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis says he's cancer-free

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    Welcome to The Stew’s Spring Headlines, our daily look at the biggest MLB stories and news items from around spring training. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

    BEST NEWS OF THE DAY: Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis officially announced that he’s cancer-free. The 27-year-old rotation hopeful was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November and immediately underwent surgery. He’s since returned to baseball activities, but Wednesday’s news was a big deal.

    “Today was a big day for me; it was a clean bill of health,” Bettis said. “I got the blood work back from the doctor, met with him today, and he said my tumor markers are not detectable.”

    Bettis posted a 4.79 ERA in 32 starts for Colorado last season. He’s facing a challenge to hold his spot with Colorado’s starting pitching getting deeper, but for now everyone’s just happy to hear he’s healthy and ready to compete. [MLB.com]

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  • Homer Simpson is getting 'inducted' into the Baseball Hall of Fame

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 11 hrs ago

    Twenty-five years after “Homer at the Bat” first aired, the iconic episode of “The Simpsons” and its star, Homer Simpson, are set to join baseball immortality.

    Earlier this week, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced they will be paying tribute to that memorable episode, which features Homer suiting up for the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team, as well as the show’s impact on baseball and American culture during a special ceremony on May 27.

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    But that’s not all. In a fun twist, Homer Simpson himself will be ceremoniously inducted into the Hall of Fame, where he’ll join co-stars from the episode such as Ken Griffey Jr., Ozzie Smith and Wade Boggs.

    From the Hall of Fame’s release: 

    That’s pretty darn cool. Especially hearing that Smith and Boggs will be on hand to discuss their memorable roles in the episode.

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  • Cubs have no interest in Sammy Sosa reunion after strange interview

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 12 hrs ago

    Don’t expect to see Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa at Wrigley Field any time soon. While the outfielder has expressed a desire to return to the franchise after a nasty divorce following the 2004 season, the team has no interest in a reunion.

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    While that stance is in line with how the organization has operated regarding Sosa the past few years, things apparently got worse after Sosa gave an interview to former media relations employee Chuck Wasserstrom, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.

    Members of the front office deemed that interview so bizarre that they have closed the door on a possible reunion with the slugger.

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  • Mets pitchers prepared for season by capturing a shark

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 13 hrs ago

    There are several methods players can use to prepare for the season.

    We’re guessing the New York Mets would prefer it if pitchers Steven Matz and Sean Gilmartin ditched this one.

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    On Tuesday, Matz and Gilmartin were on the waters attempting to catch some big game. They had some success too, as evidenced by this photo of the duo pulling a shark from the water.

    Fishing with @BlacktipH was no joke. They got me and @GilmartinSean hooked up with some sharks! pic.twitter.com/ci8RYFcJ8i

    — Steven Matz (@Smatz88) February 21, 2017

    No trick photography here. That’s a real shark. Just like the ones Ian Ziering and Tara Reid have protected us from during the recent outbreak of Sharknados.

    Still … sharks!

    “Did he bite him?” Collins said of the shark.

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  • World Baseball Classic 2017: Team China is just looking for a win

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 14 hrs ago

    From now until the World Baseball Classic begins on March 6, we’ll be helping you get to know each team involved in baseball’s global tournament. Today’s entry: China

    As the 2017 World Baseball Classic is set to begin, Team China is keeping expectations low. “We come in here with the thought that we need to win a game,” manager John McLaren told MLB.com in January.

    That sounds depressing, but it’s realistic. After going winless during the first WBC, China has won exactly one game in each of the past two, and they seem just fine with that result.

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    The truth is, there’s just not a lot of talent on the roster. Former Kansas City Royals pitcher Bruce Chen is the only player with major-league experience. There are some players on the roster who have minor-league experience, but none of them have a future in the majors.

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  • Leonys Martin feared for his life after being threatened by smugglers

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 15 hrs ago

    Seattle Mariners outfielder Leonys Martin feared for his life after he was threatened by smugglers while trying to enter the United States. Martin told a Miami grand jury that he entered the U.S. without valid papers because his “life was in danger,” according to the Seattle Times.

    That testimony came during the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada. Both men are charged with conspiracy and alien smuggling after allegedly bringing Martin, and other baseball players, into the United States.

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    While in Cancun, Martin was threatened by men who broke into his apartment with crowbars, according to the Times.

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  • Twins reliever's pre-appearance ritual will make you queasy

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 17 hrs ago

    Performing any task in front of a large audience can be nerve-wracking. Even the most mundane tasks can become daunting. Failure could lead to massive embarrassment.

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    In baseball, that’s supposed to come with the job. By the time most players reach the majors, they should be used to performing in front of thousands of people. That’s why you rarely see players react strongly to every single play. They learn how to keep their nerves under control.

    Well, most of them do. For Minnesota Twins reliever Ryan O’Rourke, pitching in front of a huge crowd can be unsettling. In order to make sure he is able to keep his composure on the mound, O’Rourke participates in a pretty gross pre-appearance ritual. Before nearly every one of his 54 appearances in the majors, O’Rourke … um … expels the contents of his stomach, according to the Pioneer Press.

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  • Spring Training 2017: Dealing with the Matt Wieters fallout

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Welcome to The Stew’s Spring Headlines, our daily look at the biggest MLB stories and news items from around spring training. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

    BIGGEST NEWS OF THE DAY: The Washington Nationals have agreed to sign free-agent catcher Matt Wieters to a two-year, $21 million deal. The 30-year-old Wieters hit .243/.302/.409, with 17 home runs, over 464 plate appearances with the Baltimore Orioles last season. Wieters’ deal contains an opt-out after just one year, so he could leave Washington following 2017 if he has a strong season. [The Stew]

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  • Sammy Sosa would gladly return to Cubs, but he won't beg

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The Chicago Cubs’ World Series run saw a number of franchise icons return to the limelight. One name, however, remained conspicuously absent from the festivities as the team inched toward a championship. Slugging outfielder Sammy Sosa has not returned to Wrigley Field after the two sides experienced a nasty divorce following the 2004 season.

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    In an interview with former team media relations employee Chuck Wasserstrom, Sosa made it clear that he’s willing to reunite with the Cubs, but he’s not going to beg them to take him back.

    Sosa expressed some regret over how that situation played out, telling Wasserstrom he never wanted to leave Chicago.

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