We got some clarity on recent Mariners minor league coaching news on Wednesday afternoon, and then the on-field baseball took center stage.
Details were released about the Mariners recent round of front office and coaching changes. You can find all of the information on the Mariners website, but here are the Rainiers-related takeaways:
- Tacoma manager Pat Listach has been offered the opportunity to return as Tacoma manager. Listach has a lot of experience as a major league coach, and he’s also been interviewed for MLB manager jobs on multiple occasions. There are many major league possibilities for him – potentially including with the Mariners – so he’ll see what develops before committing. Listach is currently managing in the Dominican Winter League.
- Minor league pitching coordinator Terry Clark and hitting coordinator Lee May Jr. were among the coaches who were not renewed by new GM Jerry Dipoto. Both visited Tacoma on many occasions and are class acts. Clark even served as the Rainiers pitching coach during the second half of the 2013 season.
- Dipoto is keeping key members of the scouting department, with Tom McNamara handling the amateur side, and Tom Allison heading up the pro side.
This news came down during one of the wildest playoff games you’ll ever see.
The seventh inning of yesterday’s Rangers-Blue Jays game was ridiculous and awesome. It included a play I had never seen before, and ex-Rainiers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was in the middle of it.
With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the seventh, Texas had Rougned Odor at third base with two outs. Choo was the batter.
On a 1-2 pitch, Choo took a high fastball for ball two. Catcher Russell Martin received the pitch, and threw the ball back to the pitcher just like normal… except his throw hit Choo’s bat. Choo was just standing there, still looking at the pitcher, when Martin’s throw glanced off his bat and rolled up the third base line. This was a live ball, and Odor raced home with the go-ahead run.
Things got really odd when home plate umpire Dale Scott signaled time out while Odor was about 75% of the way towards the plate. Scott initially ruled the ball was dead, but after conferring with the other umpires the call was overturned and the run was allowed to score. It was a mess, but they got the call right in the end.
I haven’t seen this play before, but here’s a similar one we see in Triple-A once every five years or so: runner on base, batter doesn’t swing at pitch, catcher’s throw back to the mound goes wild and zips past the pitcher, runner moves up a base. I had never seen a routine throw back to the mound hit any part of the batter or bat until yesterday.
At the time, the play in yesterday’s game looked like it might decide the game. But in the bottom of the inning the Rangers made a comedy (or tragedy depending on your rooting interests) of errors, and then Jose Bautista launched a three-run homer which included a bat flip that even the Korean Baseball Organization would approve of. The Blue Jays won, 6-3.
- Bob Dutton has some notes from the Arizona Fall League, where James Paxton and D.J. Peterson are off to strong starts. The story also has some tidbits from the other winter leagues, including a James Jones update.
- Robinson Cano had successful surgery for his core injuries and is expected to be full speed in about six weeks.
- Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star has an excellent column on the wild seventh inning of yesterday’s game.
- Jeff Sullivan also has a post about that inning, which includes videos of some key moments.
- Here’s a highlight reel of bat flips from the Korean league. It looks like fun!
We get one more Game Five this evening, and then the ALCS starts on Friday.