Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy underwent an MRI yesterday and a CT scan today due to back spasms that have been troubling him since late January, Hardy himself told reporters (via Peter Schmuck and Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun). Hardy has had back spasms in the past but doesn’t seem overly concerned by the injury, stating that they feel “similar to everything I’ve had in the past.” At this juncture, there doesn’t sound to be cause for significant concern, but the situation is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
A few more notes out of the game’s eastern divisions …
- Spring Training is off to a rocky start for Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart, as Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports. Though it’s obviously still early, Swihart has struggled badly with getting the ball back to the pitcher. As Drellich explains, that’s perhaps of particular concern here: Swihart is reacclimating to life behind the dish after a stint in the outfield (and then on the DL) in 2016 and has always faced questions about his defensive abilities.
- The Rays have some interest in newly knuckleballing righty Brian Wilson, according to Marc Topkin and Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times. Once a power late-inning reliever, Wilson has battled injuries and hasn’t pitched competitively since 2014. Tampa Bay has dedicated resources to finding and developing knucklers, and trying out the soon-to-be-35-year-old would at least represent a fun-to-follow experiment.
- Speaking of former closers, Jim Johnson will enter camp with a firm hold on the 9th inning for the Braves, as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Atlanta extended the 33-year-old after his strong finish to the 2016 season, which included a run as the Braves’ closer. Johnson finished the year with 64 2/3 innings of 3.06 ERA ball on his ledger, supported by a surprising 9.5 K/9. A repeat of that strikeout rate seems unlikely, as Johnson’s 7.7% swinging-strike rate fell below the league average and right at his career mark, but he continues to induce plenty of groundballs.
- After telling reporters yesterday that he was still experiencing symptoms from his broken right ring finger, Nationals righty Max Scherzer took part in a seemingly productive long toss session today, as Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post was among those to tweet. While it still seems likely that he’ll be delayed, and may not quite be ready to take the ball on Opening Day, it’s encouraging that Scherzer is not being held back entirely from throwing. The reigning National League Cy Young winner had been expected to participate in the World Baseball Classic, but those plans were already iced when the news emerged that he had been diagnosed with the fractured digit.
I love Hardy. I can’t imagine an Os team without him and I hate to say that his best days are behind him.
Ya he’s one of the few Orioles that I like but he hasn’t had an above average year at the plate since 2011. His glove makes him serviceable but if this back issue is serious he’s gonna be toast.
One of the few Orioles you like?! It’s one of the most likable teams around!! The list of truly enjoyable players to watch is immense. Lot of personality, camaraderie and talent.
Meh as a Jay’s fan some rattle me the same way Jose rattles them. Davis, oday, Jones all decided they need to be public enemy number 1 in Canada. And I like machado but when he was younger he was pretty bush league too.
None of those players are anything like Bautista. There are many teams and players that dislike Bautista, as you can tell from his FA market. None of those players you listed as “public enemy number 1 in Canada” have had issues with any player in MLB other than Bautista. Also Machado is still young and does still need to mature a little i agree. But to say Jones, Davis, and ODay are the same as Bautista is ridiculous. All 3’s reputations are far better then Bautista.
I was just looking up the O’s 2016 team. Everybody knows they don’t steal bases – just 19 all year with a horrible success rate – but how is it possible that they hit just 6 triples all year? Even slow guys hit a ball into the gap occasionally, and the O’s have a few guys who run well. Maybe the market inefficiency they’re exploring is being incredibly cautious on the basepaths.
Looks to me like a team that doesn’t hustle. Being the problem is so widespread throughout the entire team, it must stem from poor coaching. Time to clean house and remove the whole coaching staff, starting with Buck.
Bautista’s only had an issue with one other team, and it was because of a situation where the other teams fragile feelings got hurt.
And Baltimore is definitely more in the wrong in this rivalry in my biased eyes as a Jay’s fan. O’day and Garcia both had it coming. If you don’t wanna get burned by Jose, don’t throw at him. Jones should’ve just ate it and let water go under the bridge and let his pitcher take the L. Davis is still trying to make a story out of it for some reason this offseason. Just my two cents lol
Well having beer bottles thrown at you and racial slurs yelled at you, makes us all know who public enemy number 1 is…… it’s the jays and their S**t fans
1. There was never a beer bottle thrown. 2. Although it’s unacceptable that happens everywhere.
Therealryan, that’s one of the most ignorant comments I have ever seen on this website. You want to know what problem is widespread throughout the team? SLOWNESS. You want to know something else? Camden Yards has been the worst park for triples in MLB since the day it opened. You have no idea what you are talking about. None. At. All.
You’re right. It was a beer CAN, not a bottle. And if you are going to defend fans yelling racial slurs by saying it happens everywhere, then you are part of the problem.
I’d be on board with the Rays bringing Brian Wilson in to camp and seeing what he’s got. The team obviously sees some potential in having a knuckleballer on the roster (as evidenced by Eddie Gamboa sticking on the 40-man roster as long as he did this offseason) and there really isn’t any risk involved with a minor league deal.
Part of me thinks Gamboa will be better than Garton(although he is still likely DFA). At the very least Wilson brings an experienced beard into ST.
He shaved his beard off.
Baseball Front Office personnel know that knuckleballers and domes are a perfect match.
Amazing the frigid weather teams would put fans thru when Wake would take the mound Seem to remember Toronto, maybe another retractracle dome was open also late in his career.. It didn’t matter time of year.. That dome would be open when he was on the mound and his mastery of the Rays? Without looking it up.. He was like 20-2.. Maybe 3 at one time against them. Without domed stadiums? His mediocre career numbers would have been far worse.
Why did dickey fall off in Toronto then?
As an O’s fan, I feel they need to move on from Hardy this upcoming offseason. It would save them a lot of money ($14M option or $2M buyout), he is going to be 35, his hitting isn’t very good anymore, and he is hurt every year. They can acquire another SS through a trade, sign one as a FA, bring up Mountcastle (who some people think could be close), or move Machado to SS and get a 3rd baseman. I’ve enjoyed watching Hardy play but I think his best days are behind him.
I think their best option would be moving machado to short. It seems to be the tougher position and he seems like he’d be able to handle it good with his strong arm. 3b would also probably be easier to fill rather than a staring SS
I was thinking the same thing. Looking at next years FA class, they could go after Moustakas since the Royals will probably let him walk. He would fit the team great with his above average defense and offense, plus he hits left and that’s something the O’s desperately need. If they can’t land him, possibly Frazier even though he wouldn’t be a great fit with his low average and below average defense.
Better get Swihart some playboys real fast, so he can… you know… read the articles 😉
That was my first reaction as well. I really didn’t know this was a real thing for a major-league player.
There’s plenty of examples of players having the “yips.” Obviously, we all know that Jon Lester has a mental block about throwing the ball to a base. In the 80s a catcher for the Mets, Mackey Sasser lost the ability to throw the ball back to the pitcher. Steve Sax, for a perioud, lost his ability to throw the ball from second to first, although he eventually recovered it. Famously, Chuck Knoblauch also lost the ability to make the throw from second to first and played out the rest of his career as a left-fielder/DH. And also, of course, you could throw in Steve Blass and Rick Ankiel, who completely lost the ability to throw strikes, although I think for Ankiel it was an injury issue.
Very good with all those names! After each one I read I thought to myself, oh yeah and what about this guy, and then u listed him next lol. Forgot about Steve sax though.
What about Jon Lester throwing to first base?
Yeah, Lester has a mental block about throwing to any base. It’s why the cubs surrounded him with Bryant and Rizzo to handle bunts. Both those guys are athletic and young and can handle them. As we saw in the WS, when Lester had to toss his entire glove, with the ball in it, underhand, to Rizzo. Lester isn’t the first pitcher with this issue, but he’s certainly the most high-profile.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out Mr Sweihart has options left and the catchers don’t… gee where do you think he will be on April 1st? Shame he is there best hitting catcher thou and will get his chance. And I’m always amazed how this kid got a bad rap on catching … a knuckle baller guys.. gee I think Mr Veritek had s similar issue didn’t he? Wake up and smell what your shoveling…
And that explains what now? That he can’t throw the ball back to the pitcher without triple clutching like Mickey Sassa? He’s not a catcher Red Sox nation. He has no real position. Try him out at first or dh him or deal him for whatever at this point and let him develop on a team like Milwaukee at a different position.
Mr yankee homer…
Every NE paper wrote about the same story yesterday.. He never had any issues throwing the ball back to the pitcher before, nor throwing to bases as can be easily seen by his high CS% throughout his short catching career. Also? If u read the story linked above (or any of the others), the problem can be possibly explained that he hasn’t caught anything from behind the plate, until yesterday in a year and had been making throws from the OF. This isn’t saltalamachia, who had this problem off and on recently and probably still does, but a 24yo kid who never caught until was drafted and didn’t catch at all last year…
and rick ankiel had no problem pitching until he couldn’t. Shat happens
Let him develop in a place like Milwaukee? And “at a different position” after you said he has no position? lol. Two points here. 1) Milwaukee is set at every field position for at least 4yrs (including Thames option) and that doesn’t even factor in their Top 100 prospects that will be arriving within the next 1-4yrs (Brinson, Phillips, Ray, Diaz, Erceg, Clark – Nottingham made a list last year too). Plus Dubon and Cordell. Susac is an ex-Top 100 and top prospect in the Giants system and was blocked by Posey so Swihart isn’t taking his opportunity either (and he can throw the ball back to the pitcher). Where in the world would Swihart develop in Milwaukee? 2) Why would Stearns ever think about trading for a guy that has already proved he can’t play anywhere but catcher while also proving he’s not good at catching? The NL doesn’t have a DH. if Thames doesn’t work at 1b they have Shaw to slide there or possibly use Santana or Cordell until Braun would be forced there in a couple years if he’s never traded. Stearns, who absolutely loves and cherishes versatility, isn’t giving up assets for a guy who’s only shot at this point looks like 1b or DH. That’s not versatility.
nothing to do with Yankees you red suck homer. don’t blame the Yankees because every reputable scouting report says he is not a catcher! I recall when red sox nation wanted the world for him in trades marketing him as a catcher.
Every reputable scouting report cmon reference one scouting report that actually says he can’t catch. I never read one that said that. What they said is that since he started catching very late he would take a little longer to develop. Catchers do tend to be older on average when they break through. Saying that every reputable scouting report is just not true and give me the link of even one you can find bet you can’t.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to spell Swihart, Varitek, and though, or know the proper usage of their and you’re either…gee, I think 3rd graders have similar issues, don’t they?
Well Large unit I really do not care about your grammar ideas and sure no one else does either… so please try to grow a pair somewhere else… real men do it face to face!
“No one else cares”? Well, I do. I like correct spelling, grammar, and clarity of expression. What’s wrong with that?
I don’t understand the anger at people who spell others’ names right. Is that a reason to question someone’s virility?
As to ‘real men”, how about this for a definition? Real men respected their teachers and want to learn.
I wouldn’t even have said anything at all, but the guy was on his high horse trying to make others seem incompetent, saying things such as “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist” / “gee” / “wake up” / etc, while simultaneously butchering the English language to the nth degree and now telling me to “grow a pair” and insinuating that I’m not a “real man” because I didn’t somehow seek him out to deliver my message “face to face”.
Grammar Ideas FTW
"Please try to grow a pair somewhere else* WTF? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
You're a beauty, lil fella!
I was only shoveling a sub plot to a mediocre sequel to a great movie
The Adrian Beltre
Jake Taylor: Rube, what’s going through your head just before you throw the ball back to the pitcher?
Rube Baker: I’m thinking, “Damn, I don’t want to screw this up.”
Jake Taylor: Well, what are you thinking when you throw a strike to nail the runner down at second base?
Rube Baker: Well, I, I’m not thinking nothing. I just throw it.
Jake Taylor: You see what I’m getting at?
Rube Baker: You want the pitcher to pitch from second base?
What did Swihart do all offseason? Didn’t he practice any defensive skills and throwing drills on his own? The article sounds like he’s surprised to be behind the plate and isn’t ready for it. Puzzling.
When the doubt creeps in it’s hard to get it out and Swihart wouldn’t be the first player to succumb to the yips.
Blake Swihart is not a major league catcher and his value to the team, playing a position other than catcher, is greatly reduced. Catching will be an issue for the Sox as all three candidates have vulnerable elements to their game. Swihart was overhyped from day one.
You anti Swihart guys crack me up. He was called up early because of injuries he was supposed to spend all of 2015 in the minors but was called up early and after a really poor start more then held his own offensively and defensively. Then we have 2016 and he lost the job after one week. That is not enough time and was a knee jerk reaction to slow start by a hyped Boston pitching staff. He was a scape goat after one week and now suddenly he will not be a catcher. You Swihart haters crack me up you are better then TV. The jury is still way to out on Swihart.