The Cincinnati Reds signed Jair Jurrjens to a minor league deal this morning, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Jurrjens was an All Star back in 2011 with the Atlanta Braves before a series of knee and groin issues derailed his once promising career, but he's still just 28 and has reportedly hit 90 mph in several workouts. He's never been much of a strikeout pitcher (career K/9 of 6.0) and has never been one to keep many runners off the bases (career WHIP of 1.32), but as a 1 for 1 replacement in the system for Jeff Francis (who was claimed on waivers by the Oakland Athletics), he's exactly the kind of bounce-back guy the Reds should have targeted. The best part? Nobody on the 25-man or 40-man rosters wears number 24, so there's a chance he gets called up and we can all refer to him as jaich24 for old times' sake.
As Jeff Seidel notes in his Sheldonesque notebook at Reds.com, Joey Votto's quad status is still a bit in flux. The Reds have been playing a man short on their roster while waiting to see if Votto can return quicker than the 15 days he'd be required to sit on the DL, and so far there's been no real update to his status. Considering the 15 inning game against the Washington Nationals last night depleted an already depleted bullpen, there's been some speculation that there could be a roster move today to get another arm up short-term, but who the heck really knows? My guess is that we'll get some more concrete knowledge of the situation when the locker room doors open a few hours before game time tonight. Maybe. Maybe not. Get well soon, Joey Votto's quad.
I'm not one to normally write about baseball writers writing about other baseball writers. However, there was a bit of a tiffy dust-up in the sports writing world yesterday stemming from an article written by Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe that, to paraphrase, called into question how much the average fan really cares about the advanced statistical analysis prevalent in the game today. Ryan even went so far as to say "I wonder if the New Breed Stat Guys ever actually enjoy a game" which, well, I suppose he is entitled to rhetorically ask, but it certainly came across as a blanket statement regarding a group of individuals that is probably more diverse than the credit he gives. I'm sure there are statisticians that break down baseball numbers because it's an ever-growing sample of mass amounts of numbers, and I'm sure some of them don't really care what game they're watching. I'm also sure that the players playing the game can be every bit as dissimilar as the people analyzing it (ever seen Major League, Bob?). I know you can go to a baseball game, sit in the stands, and be surrounded by guy there just to drink, person decked out head-to-toe in a team's gear who asks you what that very team's pitcher's name is, a five-person group there solely to look at baseball players in baseball pants, and an 80 year old couple who hasn't missed a game in four decades. Which one of those is the average fan, Bob? It seems to me he's talking about the average fan who is a fan of the "numbers" of baseball but is too stubborn to acknowledge that there are more than 3 numbers in baseball. It also sounds like that's the kind of fan Bob Ryan actually is. For what it's worth, Dave Cameron gave a pretty open, honest, snark-free rebuttal to Ryan's column at FanGraphs.
For a good read about a feat as rare as most any in baseball history, check out Frank Jackson's latest piece for The Hardball Times. He witnessed a college game where a pitcher took a no-hitter into the 7th inning, yet the pitcher had record nary a strikeout. That prompted Jackson into some serious Grahamophone-Shinkle level old-timey baseball research, and it's a pretty cool chronicle of one of the more odd occurrences in the game we love and follow.
Finally, Grant Brisbee Grant Brisbee'd his way through the most recent position players to pitch for each team in baseball, and it's hilarious as usual. There are rumors he decided to pen the piece after repeatedly receiving emails about the topic from someone signing their name as "B. Fan," but we can't get him to substantiate that. Coincidentally, or not, Paul Janish is the most recent Red to take the mound as a notapitcher, and that happened on July 6, 2009. As fearless leader BK noted to me earlier today, that came in a game started by current best pitcher on the planet Johnny Cueto, and Cueto allowed 9 ER in just 0.2 innings pitched that day. Given how close we may have been to seeing Skip Shoemaker cobble together a relief performance last night, this seemed relevant.