Ahh, what this week should have been. This Thursday was supposed to be Opening Day, a time for all fans and all teams to rejoice that spring is in the air and baseball is back.
Instead, we are left with uncertainty as to when, or if, baseball will be played again this year. Still, while the sport is left on pause, there have been some news headlines from around the league over the last week.
Let’s take a look at some of those stories.
Stanton Benefiting From Extended Break
While no one is excited about baseball not starting on time, there are certainly some that are benefiting from it. One such player is the Yankees’ outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton had been dealing with a calf injury early on in spring training, but Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone updated Yes Network by saying that if games were going tomorrow, he would be ready to play.
The fact that he should be ready to go whenever baseball resumes is certainly a blessing, but Yankees fans still probably worry about their slugger. It was not a good sign that he was injured so early in spring training after he played in just 18 games last season.
Still, at 30, Stanton has the tools to be a superstar. In his last full season in 2018, he hit .266/.343/.509 with 38 home runs, 100 runs batted in and 102 runs scored. If they can get anywhere near that production, it will make an already solid lineup that much more intimidating.
The extended break may also help the Yankees’ James Paxton (surgery on his spine) and Aaron Judge (fractured rib that caused a partially collapsed lung). The more time that goes by, the more time they have to heal.
Sale Gets Tommy John Surgery
While the Yankees’ stars may benefit, one player who will not see the field this year, no matter when baseball starts, is the Boston Red Sox hurler Chris Sale. After having been diagnosed with a flexor strain, some were hopeful when he tried to resume a throwing program earlier this week.
Sadly, the results were not what they hoped, and he and the team have decided to shut it down and get the Tommy John surgery done immediately.
Tommy John surgery usually results in at least a year for recovery time, meaning that Sale will be hoping to pitch early to mid-season in 2021.
Regardless, that is a big blow for the Red Sox, a team that has already had a tough offseason and could have more bad news coming their way (the results of their cheating scandal seem to be coming closer to the surface every day).
Mariners Release Reliever
The Seattle Mariners made a bit of a surprising move as they released reliever Sam Tuivailala this week. The righty reliever was solid for them in 2019, throwing 23 innings and going 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and striking out 27 over that span.
With that in mind, Tuivailala was having some issues with a shoulder impingement in spring training that had prevented him from being able to throw to this point. Still, it is likely that someone will take a flyer on the reliever as, when healthy, he can certainly help bolster someone’s bullpen.
Astros Release Hughes
Given the right in his minor league deal, Jared Hughes, a righty reliever, has asked and been granted his release from the Houston Astros. Since he wasn’t put on the 40-man roster, Hughes chose to try to find an opportunity elsewhere.
Last season, between time with the Reds and the Phillies, Hughes went 5-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 71.1 innings pitched. In that time, he also had 54 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP. While he may not be a big strikeout pitcher, he does do a nice job letting his defense work as he is solid at inducing groundballs.
For now, though, it is another reliever who will have a chance to sign on somewhere else.