Baltimore Orioles teammates J.J. Hardy, Nick Johnson, Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis and Robert Andino celebrate after a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Pirates 8-6. Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
The latest from around The League...
- Baseball, like most sports, is full of stories. Some good, some bad. Mostly they are about the outcome of the games we watch, leaving half of us happy, and the other half sad. So it's nice to highlight those stories that can probably leave all of us happy: yesterday, Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts returned to big league action for the first time in 13 months. Roberts has been suffering from severe post-concussion syndrome, and it's been a long, hard road for him to return to baseball. True to good story form, Roberts had three hits last night.
- Bobby Valentine might be a manager this year, but he's still talking like a TV analyst. After a few run-ins with umpires over the last week, Valentine is openly saying it's time to looking to having computers and video play a more serious role in the umpiring of games. "I think they're very well trained, and I think they're very good at what they do," Valentine said of umpires. "I think it's almost impossible to do what they do, so why do we ask them to do the impossible? If in fact you can't see the ball the last five feet, and now pitchers are throwing pitches that are moving in that zone, cutting and splitting and moving in the zone, your eyes can't see what's happening. So if you can't see it, why are we asking them to call it? They can't see it. They're humans. We're asking humans to do a feat a human can't do .... I want a ball called a ball and a strike called a strike. That's what the game is. It's not [late umpire] Eric Gregg's strike zone. It's not what our game is. I don't care what anyone says. I could get fined for it every day of my life. It's my belief. Our game is not somebody else's strike zone. Our game is what the book says. That's how it should be played from Little League to Cooperstown, to make it fair, to make it right."
- Andre Ethier has signed a five-year, $85 million extension with the Dodgers (including a $17.5 million vesting option for 2018), further reducing the free agent market for 2013. Ethier, 30, says he's happy to be coming back to the Dodgers, because he knew that's where he wanted to be. He also says this is a sign of things to come with the new ownership group. "Today is one of the starting points to let you guys know that they are going to do their best over the course of the next couple of months and next year to make a championship a reality."
- The number two pick in the MLB Draft, high schooler Byron Buxton, has signed with the Twins for $6 million, which is slightly under the slot recommendation ($6.2 million), but is much higher than the number one pick, Carlos Correa, signed for ($4.8 million).
- The Blue Jays had to send pitcher Brandon Morrow to the DL with a strained oblique, which is the kind of injury that can linger. Still in the thick of the AL East race, the Blue Jays will have to figure out if they want to try and make an addition to the rotation, or just fill the spot internally for now, and hope Morrow recovers quickly.
- Also to the DL probably? A's starter Brandon McCarthy, for the second time this year with shoulder soreness. He'll have an MRI and the A's will figure out what to do, but, even if he avoids the DL, it's a bummer for McCarthy, who'll be a free agent after this season. Health is the big knock against him, and, right now, it's a fair one.