Mariners right-hander Tony Zych made his Major League debut on Friday night and gained an unusual distinction in the process. Of the thousands of players who have appeared in an MLB game, Zych is now alphabetically last on the list, replacing past Dutch Zwilling (who last played in 1916). “Breaking a record is pretty cool. I really didn’t have to do much for that one,” Zych tells Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. As Dutton notes, the Mariners have also previously employed the first player alphabetically in baseball history (David Aardsma) and the first player with a hyphenated name (Ryan Rowland-Smith). Here’s more from around the AL West…
- Barry Zito has heard from the Athletics that he won’t be called up this month, the veteran southpaw tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Zito last pitched in the majors in 2013 and sat out 2014 before signing a minor league deal with the A’s last February. He’s posted a 3.48 ERA, 5.9 K/9 and 1.50 K/BB rate over 137 innings this season though he hasn’t pitched in over a month due to shoulder tendinitis. Zito will complete his recovery throwing program to give himself the option of continuing his career, though this could well be it for the former Cy Young Award winner.
- Also from Slusser, she notes that a number of scouts were in attendance to specifically watch A’s righty Jesse Chavez in his most recent start. Chavez is “coveted by many teams for his versatility” and is “unlikely to be in next year’s rotation,” Slusser writes. Chavez drew some trade buzz prior to this year’s deadline and eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, so it makes sense that the A’s could explore dealing him now with so much interest in his services.
- The Astros‘ run to the top of the AL West has produced only a modest increase in attendance, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. A number of factors are cited, perhaps chiefly that Houston fans may simply be a bit slow to jump back on the bandwagon since the Astros had been so terrible in recent seasons. Drellich also looks at some of the ways in which all MLB teams share marketing and ticketing strategies with the rest of the league.
- Astros closer Luke Gregerson finished his 45th game of the season today, earning him an extra $250K in salary for 2016, as noted by Drellich (Twitter link). Gregerson has pitched very well in the first year of his three-year, $18.5MM deal with Houston and with the bonus, his 2016 salary now jumps to $6.5MM. More bonus money is still available, as he’ll earn another $250K at each of the 50-, 55- and 57-finish thresholds.
- Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times breaks down the pros and cons of four candidates for the Mariners‘ GM job. Of the names listed, Divish thinks former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto could be the favorite, as Dipoto was a finalist for the Seattle job before Jack Zduriencik was hired.
- Shane Victorino has embraced his platoon role since joining the Angels in the name of helping the club, he tells MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. Still, the veteran outfielder says he hopes to return to full-time action next season and is planning to retrain himself to switch-hit after injuries forced him to become a full-time righty bat in 2013.