Happy birthday to David Price, who turns 30 today! He heads to the mound tonight to face Colby Lewis (Scott C.'s game preview is here) so this is one of the few times when I hope that a Blue Jay will lay down an early bunt if the Rangers decide to play a defensive shift. Price has never previously started on his birthday but a couple of other Blue Jays (Daniel Norris in April and Marco Estrada in July) have and both pitched rather well.
Apparently I don't pay enough attention to Sportsnet's interviews and bits because I didn't even notice that it has been months since Jose Bautista had last spoken with them. Brendan Kennedy investigated the story of why one of the biggest stars on the Blue Jays have simply stopped giving exclusive interviews to the team's broadcaster and discovered that Bautista had been quietly boycotting them supposedly because he believed that the network had been unfair to Devon Travis in an early-season segment.
In May, the rookie Travis was invited (or coerced, depending on how you see the story) to do a segment with Sportsnet's Hazel Mae about buying a suit for his first season in the big leagues. There is a legitimate human interest story here to show what it is like off the field for a rookie and also to introduce the Blue Jays' new second baseman to fans, but it was also clearly a promotional bit for the clothier they visited.
The name and the location of the store was named explicitly but the payor of the suit was not mentioned. I have never been offered a wardrobe makeover before so I don't know whether there should be an expectation that the network or the store would cover the costs of the wardrobe, but from Bautista's comments it seems like Travis certainly felt that it should not have been an out-of-pocket expense. Bautista himself appeared on the cover of a fashion magazine wearing the store's suits this season.
I am not qualified to discuss the journalistic ethics of this case so I'll leave that for others. I am also not ready to immediately laud Bautista or condemn Sportsnet for their respective parts in this case because neither Sportsnet nor the clothier nor Travis spoke with Kennedy on the story so there is a lot of unknowns over how the segment was pitched and who agreed to what with whom or whether Bautista had other reasons to not speak with Sportsnet.
I don't understand why this whole issue reached a point where Travis's teammate is boycotting the station on his behalf--what role, if any, did his agent play in this? And why has Sportsnet's executives let this issue reach a point where they are losing access to a star player in a season where the team they cover is contending this late in the season for the first time in two decades?
Travis' return to Blue Jays in doubt - TSN
In other Devon Travis news, Scott MacArthur reports that it is difficult to envision his return this season. Travis was told by his orthopedic doctor that his shoulder needed time to heal, but unfortunately time is not on his side as the regular seasons in the various minor leagues are wrapping up. Travis, according to John Gibbons, is "not making enough progress" and he likely would not have a chance to face live pitching in his rehab process. The triple-A Bisons play their last game on September 7 and the only affiliate ticketed to the playoffs are the single-A Lansing Lugnuts, who have at least two more postseason games to play in September in a best-of-three series from September 9-11.
It would be nice if Travis, and perhaps even Marcus Stroman (who is set to throw a 55-pitch simulated game on Friday according to Shi Davidi), can rehab with the Lugnuts during their playoff push and give them a hand. It's unfair for the Great Lake Loons but I'm sure we all remember when Andy Pettitte's rehab start led to the Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart's New Hampshire Fisher Cats being knocked out of the playoffs back in 2010.
But perhaps Major League Baseball cal work out a way to allow for players to rehab from injuries in September after the affiliated minor league seasons end. While players off the 40-man roster can be lent to teams in other leagues (recall Ricardo Nanita last season), players on major league rosters cannot be. I am sure that rule was put in to protect players from being unilaterally assigned to a non-major league club, but wouldn't it be helpful it that rule was modified to allow injured players and their club to consent to be temporarily sent to, say, an independent league for a couple of weeks?
Elias Says - ESPN
The Elias Sports Bureau reports to ESPN that the 22-year and 48-day age difference between the pitcher who recorded last night's win, LaTroy Hawkins, and the pitcher who got the save, Roberto Osuna, was the largest since 1987. Sportsnet reports that Hawkins also became the second oldest Blue Jay to record a win (Phil Niekro had no decisions in his brief tenure with Toronto):
LaTroy Hawkins becomes the second-oldest pitcher to earn a win in #BlueJays history (42 yrs, 247 days). Darren Oliver is the oldest.— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) August 26, 2015