Spring training’s loss is WBC’s gain as viewership jumps Turner’s grand slam lifts US over Venezuela, into WBC semis
SCOTTDALE, Arizona. Many of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars such as Mike Trout, Mookie Betts And Shohei Otaniare not playing at spring training. They are in the World Baseball Classic.
Some baseball fans, especially New York Mets fans, aren’t sure this is a good thing.
But one thing seems certain: people are watching.
The WBC Tournament 5 drew just over 1 million fans in the first round, according to data released Friday by MLB. This is up from 500,000 in 2017. This is partly due to the fact that there are more games as the tournament has been expanded to 20 teams from 16.
But this year’s average attendance of 25,275 is well above the 2017 average of 20,402.
Several individual games were among the highlights. Mexico beat the United States 11–5 in front of 47,534 fans at Chase Field in Phoenix, setting a WBC attendance record for a first round game.
Games at the Tokyo Dome in Japan averaged 36,198 per game, a record for any site in the first or second round.
Also of note:
Of course, not everything went well in the first round. Mets closer Edwin Diaz suffered a torn patellar tendon and is expected to miss the entire season with a right knee injury while celebrating Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic.
Historically, many MLB players have been left out of the WBC due to the risk of injury. Diaz’s unusual injury adds fuel to this argument. Los Angeles Dodgers Star Freddy Freeman suffered a hamstring injury while playing for Canada, but it does not appear to be serious.
Diaz, who turns 29 next week, ended his career in the ninth inning after a 5-2 win on Wednesday night that took Puerto Rico to the quarter-finals. As Diaz and his teammates jumped together in the infield, the right-hander collapsed and reached for his right leg.
CLEVINGER GROWS UP
New Chicago White Sox right-hander Mike Clevinger made his second start of the spring against the Cubs. He threw 65 passes, giving up three runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Clevinger, 32, signed a $12 million one-year contract with the White Sox in December to join the starting rotation, including Lance Lynn And Dylan Stop.
“I made some mechanical adjustments and moved on to the 3rd base rubber. I’m more comfortable with the arm angle I had in 2019 and 2020,” said Clevinger, who won 13 games for Cleveland in 2018 and 2019.
Clevinger underwent Tommy John surgery in late 2020 and missed all of 2021. He played last season with the San Diego Padres and had a 4.33 ERA in 114 1/3 innings.
Clevinger started spring training late due to allegations of domestic violence. On March 5, MLB stated that Clevinger would not be punished.
The commissioner’s office said in a statement that its investigation included interviewing more than 15 people, including Clevinger and a woman who said she was the mother of Clevinger’s child, as well as thousands of emails and other documents.
When he showed up for spring training, Clevinger apologized for the distraction and told reporters that he was sure he would be exonerated.
GONSOLIN TO MISS OPENING DAY
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters on Friday that the right-hander Tony Gonsolin will not be ready to open due to a sprained ankle.
The 28-year-old had his best season yet in 2022, earning his first All-Star nod, and finished 16-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 130 1/3 innings, missing just 79 hits.
The Dodgers have several options to take Gonsolin’s place. The most likely candidates are Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove and Andre Jackson.
MOORE IN SEATTLE WOUNDED
Seattle Mariners will be without a useful infielder Dylan Moore by the start of the regular season due to oblique deformation.
The team reported that Moore had an MRI that revealed a grade 1 deformity of his left oblique muscle. Moore is expected to be closed for at least a few weeks before resuming baseball operations.
Moore was scheduled to make his spring training debut on Thursday but withdrew from the lineup after straining his obliques during the morning swing. Moore has been slowly picking up during spring training since undergoing major muscle surgery during the off-season.
Moore was expected to play a larger role with Seattle this season, serving as a regular understudy. Kolten Wong at second base and JP Crawford when short-stopping, especially against the serve with the left hand.
Last season, he hit .224 with six homers and 24 RBIs while playing in seven different positions.
ROYALS SIGN BRENTZ
The royals signed lefty Jake Brentz to a two-year deal on Friday that includes $850,000 this season, when the reliever is expected to mostly recover from Tommy John surgery, and $1.05 million next season.
Kansas City nominated Brenz for assignment in November, and he chose to become a free agent. His signing fills their roster of 40, although he is expected to be on the injured list 60 days before opening day.
The 28-year-old was 5-2 with a 3.66 ERA in 72 games for Kansas City in 2001. But he only appeared in eight games last season before landing in Illinois and eventually undergoing surgery on Tommy John in July.
METS SANTANA CLAIM
New York Mets pick up right-handed pitcher Dennis Santana from waivers from the Minnesota Twins.
The 26-year-old appeared in 63 games with the Texas Rangers last season, finishing with a 3-8 record and a 5.22 ERA.
MIAMI (AP) Three Turner won the eighth-inning grand slam that lifted the United States 9-7 over Venezuela on Saturday night to advance to the World Baseball Classic semi-finals.
On Sunday night, the reigning champion team USA will play Cuba for a place in the WBC championship.
Venezuelan second baseman and Houston Astros star Jose Altuve left the game in fifth with a right hand injury after being hit by a pitch from Daniel Bard. The Astros said there would be an update on his status on Sunday.
Trailing 7-5, the United States loaded the bases in eighth place on a walk, single and hit by a pitch against a losing pitcher. Jose Quijada. Silvino Bracho relieved, and then Turner, the ninth batter on the U.S. side, sent his 0-2 shift 407 feet deep into left field, the third Grand Slam in Team U.S. history.
David Bednarthe fifth American pitcher to win. Ryan Pressly got three outs to save.
Luis Arraeswhile playing in the stadium he would soon call home with the Miami Marlins, hit two home runs for Venezuela.
Team USA boasts a roster of big names that many have chosen to repeat as WBC champions.
All nine hitters on Team USA are all-stars, including right fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mookie BettsLos Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Troutfirst baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals Paul Goldschmidt and third baseman of the Cardinals Nolan Arenado.
The United States is in the top six in the tournament in batting average (.296), RBI (34) and hits (48), and every American starter had a hit on Saturday night.
Venezuela took a 6-5 lead in the fifth round with four runs after Ronald Acuña Jr. sacrificed himself to midfield.
Salvador Perez rode in a tie with a line-driven double who crept straight to the foul line in left field.
Arráez hit two runs to the right in the first, his first home run on his new home park, and added another in the seventh to give Venezuela a two-point lead. Arraes, the reigning AL champion, was traded to the WBC host Miami Marlins this offseason after four seasons in Minnesota.
Bard replaced starter American starter Lance Lynn with a three-time lead in the fifth and loaded the bases with two walks, an infield hit, and an outfield hit that injured Altuve.
The bard was pulled after Gleyber Torres scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-3. Venezuela added their last three rounds against Jason Adamwho managed to get out of the half in 10 innings.
Team USA scored five consecutive singles to start the game. Betts led first with a single infield, then the speedster rushed from first to third on Trout’s single, resulting in a goal by Acuña due to a shooting error.
Kyle Tucker also hit homer for USA
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