It was on this day in 1975 that the Oakland A’s released Herb Washington, ending Washington’s unique Major League career after 105 regular season appearances and five postseason games. Signed by the A’s prior to the 1974 season, Washington served exclusively as a pinch-runner — he never made a single appearance at the plate, in the field, or on the mound. A distinguished track star at Michigan State, Washington tied and set world records in the 50-yard and 60-yard dashes, respectively. Athletics owner Charlie Finley, never one to shy away from an unusual idea, signed Washington as the sport’s first “designated runner,” putting Washington on Oakland’s 25-man roster despite his lack of anything beyond high school baseball experience. Washington ended up scoring 33 runs and stealing 31 bases (out of 48 attempts) during his regular season career, though he was caught stealing twice in the ALCS and picked off first base in Game Two of the 1974 World Series. The A’s still won the Series, giving Washington a championship ring to show for his brief stint in professional baseball.
Here’s the latest from around the majors, including an item on the modern-day A’s…
- Blake Treinen “came in feeling quite a bit better” on Sunday after suffering from elbow discomfort the day prior, Athletics manager Bob Melvin told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and other media. Treinen said Saturday that he believed was suffering from elbow tendinitis, though he and the team will have more information when the closer is examined by doctors on Monday. In the wake of his outstanding 2018 campaign, Treinen has a 3.00 ERA and 10.8 K/9 through 15 innings for Oakland this season, though with a troubling 6.6 BB/9.
- Ronald Guzman (hamstring) is set to return from an IL stint on Thursday, leaving the Rangers with a 25-man roster question, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. Veterans Danny Santana and Logan Forsythe have been two of the team’s better hitters, and designating either for assignment would create the risk of a claim from another team, plus Santana and Forsythe both have the right to reject an assignment to Triple-A. Perhaps the likelier option is that Texas demotes a reliever, as the Rangers are already working with an eight-man bullpen, or Delino DeShields is sent to Triple-A and Santana takes over in center field. One option that isn’t on the table is a Triple-A stint for the struggling Rougned Odor, as manager Chris Woodward expressed confidence that the second baseman would get on track. Even after a two-hit performance today against the Blue Jays, Odor is hitting only .141/.221/.244 through 86 PA this season.
- The Angels are planning to activate Cody Allen from the IL on Tuesday, manager Brad Ausmus told Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group and other media. Allen was sidelined on April 26 with a lumbar spine strain, though he’ll return after missing just over the minimum 10 days. Thus far, Allen hasn’t found any success in an Angels uniform, with a 6.00 ERA, 10 walks, and 11 strikeouts over nine innings this season. After excelling as Cleveland’s closer from 2014-17, Allen had a rough 2018 and had to settle for a one-year deal (worth $8.5MM guaranteed) in free agency.