Major League Baseball umpire supervisor Steve Palermo passed away Sunday at the age of 67, the league announced. Palermo debuted as an American League umpire in 1976 and worked until 1991, when a gunshot wound to his spinal cord left him partially paralyzed. He suffered the injury bravely trying to assist two waitresses who were being mugged outside a Dallas restaurant. Thanks to arduous physical therapy, Palermo was able to defy the odds and walk again with the assistance of a cane.
“Steve Palermo was a great umpire, a gifted communicator and a widely respected baseball official, known in our sport for his leadership and courage,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “He had an exceptional impact on both his Major League Umpires and baseball fans, who benefited from his ability to explain the rules in our game. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Steve’s wife, Debbie, the World Umpires Association and his many friends and admirers throughout the game.”
MLBTR joins Manfred in sending its condolences to Palermo’s family and friends.
A few notes from both leagues:
- The Rays made the right decision in optioning southpaw Blake Snell to Triple-A Durham on Saturday, opines Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. While a significant decline in performance since last season is behind Snell’s demotion, there are also accountability issues with the 24-year-old, according to Topkin, who writes that Snell’s postgame comments “routinely drew eye rolls from others in uniform.” Snell apparently took the news in stride, though, with teammate Alex Cobb telling Craig Forde of MLB.com: “He seemed to have a good outlook. He seemed relieved to be able to go down, without the pressure, and work on what he knows he needs to work on. That’s a positive.” One problem Snell will work on in the minors is a lack of fastball command, suggested manager Kevin Cash, who assured reporters that the Rays still believe in the second-year hurler. “For us to be the kind of team we can be, Blake has got to be in our rotation,” Cash said.
- Left-hander Amir Garrett, whom the Reds optioned to Triple-A last Sunday, will rejoin the big league rotation during the upcoming week, manager Bryan Price said Sunday (Twitter link via C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer). Garrett has thrown two scoreless innings since the Reds sent him down to Louisville. Before that, the rookie impressed at the major league level with five quality starts in six opportunities. Aside from a dreadful April 24 showing against the Brewers, who teed off on Garrett for nine earned runs on eight hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings, the 25-year-old hasn’t lasted fewer than six frames or allowed more than two earned runs in any of his starts.
- The Giants are mulling a stint on the disabled list for right fielder Hunter Pence, relays Michael Wagaman of MLB.com. Pence, who has been on the shelf this weekend, underwent an MRI on Sunday that revealed a mild hamstring strain. The 34-year-old is among the many Giants who have started slowly this season, having hit just .243/.289/.338 in 149 plate appearances.