Major League Baseball and many teams are currently celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, but Hispanic identity is a complex topic for the many US-born players of Latin descent, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post writes in an interesting look at the highly variable backgrounds of MLB players. “If I talk to a Latin ballplayer, I’m Cuban. And if I talk to an American guy, I’m American. No matter what,” says Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez, who is of Cuban heritage but who was born in the Miami area. “You’re never going to win in that argument. It’s never a win-win situation.” Nats reliever Rafael Martin, meanwhile, was born in the Los Angeles area but spent much of his childhood in Mexico. He had never met Latinos who weren’t Mexican before becoming a pro baseball player. “At first, it’s interesting,” says Martin. “Weird sometimes. Especially like [how] other countries use different words in Spanish. I find it very interesting, the way people come up in different countries, different styles.” Here’s more from the NL.
- September roster expansion has led to some exhausting games between the Mets and Phillies this weekend, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. On Thursday, the Mets used 27 players and the Phillies 22 in an 11-inning game that lasted well over four hours. On Friday, the two teams combined to use 38 players in a game that lasted 3:40. Mets starter Gabriel Ynoa pitched just two innings and allowed two runs before departing, leading to a conga line of relievers and pinch-hitters. “It’s getting a little out of hand, but I think everybody would do the same thing,” said Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson. “You’ve got 15 guys down there, why not use them all? And it worked.” Rules regarding September roster expansion could be on the docket during CBA talks this offseason, Gelb notes. One possibility would allow teams to expand rosters to 40 as they currently do, but require them to submit a 25-man active roster before each game. That would limit the amount of specialization that’s currently so prevalent in September games.
- Veteran lefty Phil Coke has spent the 2016 season traveling around the state of Pennsylvania, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. After being released by the Braves near the end of Spring Training, Coke joined the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League. He eventually signed with the Yankees and headed to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, about two and a half hours away. Coke was in Scranton following the end of the minor league season when Yankees GM Brian Cashman called him earlier this week to ask if he wanted to join the Pirates’ bullpen. “OK, that’s not far away,” Coke said. “I’m in.” He officially headed to the Pittsburgh organization on Thursday in a minor trade.