* Nick Steiner of The Hardball Times broke down Jason Schmidt’s return to the mound last night and concluded that “he looks close to done as a major-league pitcher” because the combination of a straight 87-mph fastball and low-80s changeup “won’t fool very many hitters.” Agreed.
* Matt Bush has been sentenced to 120 days in residential rehab, 240 hours of community service, three years of probation, and $2,000 in fines following the former No. 1 overall pick’s latest alcohol-fueled incident. Bush, who revealed that he’s been sober for three weeks, called his behavior “a disgrace” and explained: “When I drink alcohol, I become another person I do not like.”
* Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote yesterday that the Indians “love the OPS, which is on-base percentage plus slugging percentage. They believe it gives a true picture of an hitter because it combines reaching base with power.” After reading that, I had to check the date to make sure it was in fact still 2009.
Pluto is an award-winning columnist, but anyone who thinks that the Indians’ front office relies upon OPS for anything meaningful is woefully out of touch with the current state of baseball analysis. Cleveland and most other teams moved past OPS about a decade ago and even schmoes like me are beyond OPS. On the other hand, Dayton Moore and the Royals figure to discover the value of OPS within the next five seasons.
* Yunel Escobar announced yesterday that he’ll be making an effort to be more media friendly, but the language barrier remains a big stumbling block.