Morning MLB Links: Reliever Injuries, Bumgarner's Hometown and Strasmas
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Good morning! Here are some articles we think are worth reading as you settle in for your day.
• Why have we seen so many closers get hurt or struggle this season? Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci thinks this is an indictment of modern bullpen usage. Despite advances in training and medicine, more relievers are getting hurt than ever.
At this rate, it seems like closers will end up much like running backs in the NFL. Just as the 1,500-yard back is now a rarity or one-year flash in the pan, the 40-save closer who throws 70 innings for more than one season is becoming increasingly scarce.
• Yahoo! Sports' Eric Adelson visited Madison Bumgarner's hometown of Hickory, N.C., where the family of the new $35 million pitcher has a deep history. And here I thought Hickory was merely known for great furniture.
The most impressive part of the story might be that Bumgarner's father still works the night shift at a food distribution company. "The Giants haven't written me a check," said Kevin Bumgarner. "That's his money."
Last season's American League batting champion never went hitless for more than three games. With Prince Fielder now hitting behind Cabrera, ESPN.com's David Schoenfield wonders if this dispels the notion of lineup protection.
• The Washington Times' Amanda Comak looks at the 16,245 attendance figure for Monday night's game at Nationals Park and thinks declaring "the end of 'Strasmas'" might be taking things a bit too far.
Since the Nats' new ballpark opened, the first non-Opening Day Monday or Tuesday home game of the season has been a low draw. But Monday's 16,245 was the second-biggest crowd the Nats have drawn under those circumstances.
Maybe "Strasmas" still lives.
• The Seattle Mariners aren't for sale. There haven't been any rumblings to indicate otherwise. However, as Maury Brown lists for Baseball Prospectus, there are several factors that make this an ideal time for the Mariners' current ownership to put the team up for sale.
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