Quick Hits: Pirates, Braves, Angels, Rangers

Between Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, Super Bowl champ Russell Wilson and former NBA star Tracy McGrady, MLB has an excellent opportunity to generate more interest in baseball among young African-Americans, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Winston closes for Florida State University's baseball team, while Wilson will be in Rangers camp this week after being picked in the Rule Five draft in December. McGrady, of course, is trying to catch on with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters as a pitcher. MLB should handle the situation differently than it did Michael Jordan's foray into professional baseball two decades ago, which was viewed with hostility by many in the game at the time, Sherman says. Here are more late-night links from around the majors:

  • The Pirates' ability to "fix" Edinson Volquez is likely to have a big impact on their playoff hopes, David Golebiewski of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says.
  • Braves outfielder B.J. Upton sought help from no one during his lost 2013 season, The Associated Press reports.
  • Despite 2014 being a must-win season for Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes that the executive didn't set out this offseason to acquire veterans who could provide a short-term band-aid for the club. "That's not in my DNA," he said. "The best representation of the job you do over time is what you leave behind." Dipoto also feels that the club has "a lot of veteran players in that 29 to 31 zone. That is when you win."
  • Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria are competing for the Rangers' closer job, but the former hasn't impressed early in camp, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. "Feliz was not sharp in his intrasquad game and I’m told his mechanics are still kind of out of whack," Grant notes.

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9 Comments on "Quick Hits: Pirates, Braves, Angels, Rangers"

1 year 5 months ago

I don’t think that line about BJ does him justice. You have to read the article. You know what, it made me respect him more, and I wish it was longer and more in depth.

Michael Gardiner
1 year 5 months ago

Yeah. His line about trying to listen to all the voices of people giving advice was exactly right too. You hear people say that a lot.

1 year 5 months ago

Yeah, it really makes it sound like he was content with what he was doing/was too stubborn to try and change – the article makes it sound very different than that. I also remember reading at one point last year that Fredi Gonzalez said that Upton and Uggla were generally the first two at the ballpark last year while trying to break out of their funks.

1 year 5 months ago

I’m not at all surprised that Feliz isn’t cutting it as closer material. At best, he’s a setup guy.

Daniel Morairity
1 year 5 months ago

hey man feliz can make it as a closer he has done it before

Joshua Black
1 year 5 months ago

While Feliz has closed before, I think the consistency of Soria will be strongly considered as the Rangers make their decision. Soria has proven to be both dominant and reliable, a good combination for a closer.

Mike Query
1 year 5 months ago

Ya im sure his mechanics are out of whack because hes the closer, if he was setting up they would magically be better.

1 year 5 months ago

There is no qualification separating the so-called “closer” position from the setup position. If the 9th inning guy can’t cut it, it’s probably a fluky bad streak that just happened to fall on those outings, or just a mental barrier where a pitcher gives too much credit to the role as well as opposing hitters he’s facing. That mental block is also a 2-way street. The pitcher in the 9th can be thinking he must keep the opposing team from coming back. But at the same time, the opposing team is thinking they must keep the pitcher from shutting them down and must come back. The two off-set each other. And therefore, outside of immature/inexperienced heads, the 9th inning is really just another inning, for the pitcher and the opposing team. So it really won’t matter whether Feliz or Soria assumes that role. Unless Feliz has that mental block. And if that’s the case, I would then reconsider his presence in the bullpen all together. Koji Uehara is a great case study for this topic. The best example may be the bullpen of the 1990 Reds.

1 year 5 months ago

To bad none of those three will ever play in an MLB game…