“Benching” baseball players isn’t a new practice, but it seems to be gaining popularity this season, as we’re seeing managers bench their players for a number of largely behavioral reasons. No hustle on the basepaths? Get benched. Boneheaded lack of attention paid during the game? Get to the bench, buddy.
And this week we saw a new one: talented Rays’ shortstop Wander Franco was benched by his manager Kevin Cash for two games because of how he displays his frustration when he’s not doing well.
BREAKING: #Rays Cash says Franco not in lineup tonight and at least Friday stemming from way he handles his frustrations and not being a better teammate. Cash also stressed Franco “is a good kid” and they will work with him to improve.— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) June 22, 2023
What’s interesting is how the technique does seem to work. Earlier this season Javier Báez was benched in Detroit, and afterwards it was evident he was paying more attention and being more head-in-game. So perhaps this move, while surprising, is a good one. Time will tell.
Now on to the rest of today’s links!
- If the Rays are winning, it might be despite their bullpen. Kyle Kishimoto looks at how poorly the Rays' bullpen is doing this season.
- Ben Clemens shares how beloved Jordan Romano is becoming with Jays fans.
- Rocco Baldelli’s daughter is ready for the big leagues, she already knows the most important rule: keep your eye on the ball. Story by Do-Hyoung Park.
- Mike Trout talks about his World Baseball Classic at-bat against teammate Shohei Ohtani. Story by Nick Selbe.
- Josh Naylor joyously reacts to his brother Bo’s first big league hit. Story by Dan Gartland.
- Ken Rosenthal looks at Chase Utley’s new role as a baseball ambassador to Europe. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Those Oakland A’s “SELL” tees are heading to the Hall of Fame.
Some news this afternoon:— Alex Simon (@AlexSimonSports) June 21, 2023
The "SELL" shirt created by Oakland A's fans (@oakland68s) is headed to Cooperstown.@mercnews/@EastBayTimes story on why the shirt is an important artifact to have for the Baseball Hall of Fame's collection: https://t.co/G5HNW0uVBt
- Dan Szymborski details how Luis Arraez really could hit .400 this season.
- Kaitlyn McGrath explains the importance of Matt Chapman both on and off-field for the Blue Jays. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Byron Buxton makes Statcast history with his home run. Story by Do-Hyoung Park.
- Here are the All-Star Game finalists, all of whom will appear in the game. (MLB)
- Tom Verducci focuses on the Kansas City Royals, who have been one of the worst teams in baseball this season.
- Nationals’ manager Dave Martinez quite literally kicked dirt in his recent ejection. (AP)
- In “too little too late” news, Rob Manfred says he wishes he hadn’t given the Astros a free pass in their cheating scandal. Story by Evan Drellich. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- The Pirates unveiled their City Connect jerseys.
No matter how much we’ve evolved, what’s in our blood has always been true.— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) June 22, 2023
In this city, we bleed Black and Gold. pic.twitter.com/RBEVd72fOM
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.