Jake Brentz used his time at the Alternate Site to develop a changeup, he tells David Laurila of FanGraphs:
“I never had a changeup in the minor leagues. I was fastball slider/breaking ball, but I always mixed around my breaking ball. I didn’t really find a breaking ball that worked for me until probably a year and a half, two years ago — not until I got to Triple-A.
“Paul Gibson is our pitching coordinator here with the Royals, and last year at the alternate site he told me, ‘Hey, I would like you to develop a changeup; I think it would be a very valuable pitch for you.’ So I really focused on developing one, throwing it as many times as I could during an outing. We were just playing each other — nothing really mattered — so it was just developing and whatnot. I’d throw it back to back to back, and messed around with grips. I found one that really worked for me, and then worked on it more over the offseason. In spring training I wasn’t throwing it a lot at first, but Mike [Matheny] came to me said, ‘I think your changeup can be a devastating pitch, so we’re going to throw that a lot.’ Over time, I’ve continuing to throw it.
A trio of writers at The Athletic compiled some anecdotes about Ichiro Suzuki from a slew of former teammates, including this from Mike Sweeney:
Mike Sweeney, Royals first baseman and Mariners teammate: In 2000, I was part of the MLB All-Star team that went to Japan to play in the Goodwill Series against the Japanese all-stars. Ichiro didn’t play because he was preparing to sign with Seattle. Everyone knew about Ichiro. While we were in Japan, every time an American player got a base hit, you’d hear the term, “Nice batting,” in a Japanese accent over the speaker system. It would say on the jumbotron: “Nice batting.” I thought, “Wow, that’s a kind common gesture.” So in 2001, it’s the first few weeks of the season, and we’re playing against the Mariners. So, of course, he hits a line drive over the shortstop’s head for a single. With total respect, I didn’t know if he knew any English. So I looked over, and, in my imitation of what I heard in Japan, I said, “Ichiro, nice batting.” And he looks at me and goes, “Mike Sweeney, nice ass.”
Omaha also won on a walkoff last night!
Dee Strange-Gordon opted out of his deal with the Cubs.
The Rays are expected to call up propect Vidal Bruján as the 27th man for a doubleheader, but evidently he will stay on after that initial call as well.
Remember when sports coverage seemed to always seek out a new “bad boy of [sport],” especially in Olympic years? Do people still frame things that way? If so, I guess this GQ profile of Olympic fencer Curtis McDowald might be one of those.
Jessica Springsteen, daughter of Bruce, will compete in the Olympics in show jumping (horses!).
Heads up if you use the banking app Chime: ProPublica reports that that app is closing people’s accounts, often with money still in them, with no warning.
Today’s fun question we will borrow from Reddit: Think of the smartest person you know, what is the dumbest thing they’ve ever done?
SOTD: Roy Orbison - You Got It