Big League Stew
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
Veteran outfielder Juan Pierre has officially announced his retirement after 14 seasons in Major League Baseball, confirming a report from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
Thanks for all the tweets keep them coming it's true today I'm officially retiring today.Blessed and grateful to have played the game I love
The announcement comes as a mere formality, rather than a major surprise. The writing was on the wall for Pierre following a difficult year in 2013, which saw him hit just .247/.284/.305 across the board in 330 plate appearances. In fact, he seemed to be resigned to his fate in baseball following that season, understanding there wasn't much demand for aging outfielders with limited offensive upside.
"They can come and take away my jersey right now, and I'll be fine. I'll be OK with it either way."
Without a major league offer in hand, Pierre ended up sitting out the entire 2014 season. He didn't appear on anybody's radar this past winter either, so at 37 he's officially ending his journey after appearing in 1,994 MLB games and winning one World Series championship with the then Florida Marlins in 2003.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew6 hrs ago
The New York Yankees still aren't sure what to expect from Alex Rodriguez this season, but it would appear they're going to exhaust all options to find playing time just in case he proves capable of contributing.
Well, that, or maybe they're just putting him through the wringer and trying to exhaust him outright. Either way, Rodriguez was spotted taking infield practice at first base on Friday, which would be an entirely new position for the 20-year veteran.
In fact, A-Rod wasn't even equipped with a first baseman's glove when he walked on the practice field at Steinbrenner Field, but Girardi still had him taking grounders and practicing fielding bunts from the position that's opposite his regular spot at third base.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew9 hrs ago
New name, same disappointment. Melvin Upton — the Atlanta Braves outfielderformerly known as B.J. Upton — got some unbossman-like news Friday. He's very likely to miss the rest of spring training and opening day because of a foot injury.
Upton, 30, has hit .196 in two seasons since signing a five-year, $72.25 million contract with the Braves. Anybody hoping that 2015 might bring a role reversal for Upton has to be disappointed that his season is starting on the wrong foot. (Pun absolutely intended).
Mark Bowman, the Braves' beat witer for MLB.com, has specifics:
The #Braves announced Upton will be sidelined throughout Spring Training. He will be in a cast for 2 weeks and a walking boot for 4-6 wks
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
The horrors brought upon the world by the man known as "Jihadi John" are much larger than baseball.
But Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates found themselves tangled up in headlines with the notorious masked ISIS executioner who is responsible for beheading a number of hostages on video.
"Jihadi John" has been identified by multiple news agencies as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwait-born man who moved to London when he was 6. On Friday, British TV station Sky News shared an unmasked picture of him, as a 26-year-old wearing a Pirates cap.
JUST IN: Adult photo of "Jihadi John" Mohammed Emwazi revealed pic.twitter.com/LjPGV9LZDl
Not that anybody had accused the Pirates of supporting "Jihadi John" or condoning his vicious acts, but the team's PR department had the PR savvy (or maybe obligation) to quickly release a statement denouncing the whole situation. The team said:
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew12 hrs ago
We're still waiting for MLB to hand down a penalty regarding Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton's reported drug relapse. The two sides met in New York on Wednesday for what's been described on the record as a "disciplinary issue."
Something is coming, we just don't know what form that punishment will take or when it will go public.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosidove into the complicated issue of Hamilton's place on the drug-punishment timeline and MLB's next step. While nothing is official, the Fox Sports story makes a suspension sound almost certain, though it says MLB will possibly be lenient with Hamilton. From Rosenthal and Morosi:
- Israel Fehr at Big League Stew1 day ago
Matt Kemp has never lacked confidence. Now in San Diego as part of the Padres' major roster overhaul, his charm and bluster have certainly not gone anywhere.
Preparing to play in an outfield next to fellow offseason additions Justin Upton and Wil Myers, Kemp think his group deserves to be in the conversation for MLB's best outfields. In fact,according toMLB.com's Lyle Spencer, Kemp is putting himself, Upton, and Myers right at the top of the list:
"Who," [Kemp] said, "do you think has the best outfield in the game now?"
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 day ago
When you were once as good as Johan Santana was, it's a good bet some team will be there, waiting to offer you another chance. For 2015, that team is the Toronto Blue Jays.
Santana has agreed to join the Blue Jays on a minor-league deal with an invite to major-league spring training. It's the first step in either a feel-good comeback story or another stalled attempt by Santana to reclaim his MLB glory.
Santana, 35, didn't pitch in the big leagues in 2013 and 2014, but not for lack of trying. Shoulder surgery prevented him from taking the field in 2013 with the New York Mets. He signed a one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles last year, but tore his Achilles tendon in June when the O's assigned him to extended spring training. Santana also missed the 2011 season because of shoulder surgery. He returned to pitch with the Mets in 2012, throwing a no-hitter but posting a 4.85 ERA in 29 starts.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 day ago
There are still many unknowns in the Josh Hamilton story. Reports say he relapsed and started using cocaine again. We don't know for certain that's true, nor do we know what action MLB will take against Hamilton, though it has been confirmed that he met with league officials Wednesday in New York City.
If the reports are true, then Roy Silver, a longtime friend of Hamilton's, says the Los Angeles Angels outfielder should just retire from baseball. Life is more important than baseball, as we'd all agree, and as Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown eloquently emphasizedin his latest column.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 day ago
You can't blame Giancarlo Stanton for going the extra step to protect his face with a one-of-a-kind helmet he plans to wear for the 2015 season. And not because he recently signed a $325 million contractor because he's getting the model treatment from Sports Illustrated.
In a scene that's still hard to shake, Stanton's 2014 season endedwhen he was hit in the face with a pitch. He sustained facial fractures, dental damage and was carted off the field. It was both gruesome and unfortunate, considering he was having an MVP-like season for the Miami Marlins.
So this year, Stanton will wear a new custom helmet that will prevent a sequel. Check it out:
- Ian Denomme at Big League Stew1 day ago
DUNEDIN, Fla. – Six weeks before the new baseball season even begins, the Toronto Blue Jays are dealing with a familiar issue: injuries to their outfielders.
New left fielder Michael Saunders is expected to be out until the All-Star break with a torn meniscus, suffered Wednesday at the team’s spring training complex when he tripped in a sprinkler hole while shagging fly balls in the outfield. The freak accident means Saunders, acquired in the offseason from the Seattle Mariners, will need surgery. Manager John Gibbons said the team will no longer use that particular field.
It’s a big loss for the Blue Jays and big blow personally to Saunders, a Victoria, B.C., native, who was looking forward to playing for Canada’s only big-league team.
“I’ve described this to a lot of people as nobody is more excited to be here than me," Saunders, standing with the help of crutches, told a group of reporters. "For me, I think the biggest thing I’m going to have to overcome is mentally rather than physically. I know I’m going to be in good hands. I know I’m going to be OK.
"My goal is to be back by the All-Star break,” he added. “I don’t see why there should be any hiccups in my rehab.”