Multiple media outlets report that the Red Sox are close to agreement on a one-year contract with reliever Hideki Okajima.
The Sox non-tendered Okajima earlier this offseason, making him a free agent. The team, however, indicated it might be interested in bringing back the 35-year-old left-hander for less than the 2.75 million he earned in 2010.
Okajima striggled in 2010, posting career highs in ERA (4.50), WHIP (1.717) and walks9 innings (3.9), and career lows in ERA-plus (97), strikeouts9 innings (6.5) and strikeoutwalk ratio (1.65). He pitched in a career-low 56 games, with a career-low 46 innings.
Okajima would be the fifth lefty fighting for what might prove to be one spot in the bullpen. The others are Lenny DiNardo, Felix Doubront, Rich Hill and Andrew Miller. Bullpen spots would seem to be assured to Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler, Scott Atchison and Tim Wakefield, all right-handers.
Boston is also rumored to still be interested in free agent left-hander Brian Fuentes, though his demands may be too rich for the role (left-handed setup manlefty specialist) the Sox would have him fill.
One White House tradition will have to wait, if it’s in fact maintained.
President Donald Trump is not going to throw out a ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Nationals this season, according to the Washington Post.
Post reporter Barry Svrugula wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that the White House declined an invitation from the Nats.
POLITICO reported early Tuesday morning that Trump was in talks to throw out the first pitch and that it was also possible he could spend an inning in the MASN booth.
President William Howard Taft began the custom of U.S. presidents throwing out a first pitch on April 14, 1910, at National Stadium in D.C.
According to The Week:
“Since Taft, every president not named Jimmy Carter has thrown out at least one Opening Day first pitch. The executive guests of honor followed in Taft's hefty footsteps, throwing the first ball from the stands, until the late 1980s when Ronald Reagan sauntered onto the mound and improved upon the tradition."
The most famous presidential pitch in recent memory is George W. Bush’s toss during the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium.
The Nats open their season on Monday at home in Washington D.C., in a 1:05 p.m. game against the Miami Marlins. A Nationals Magic 8 Ball is to be given away to the first 20,000 fans.
The Red Sox happen to play the Nats in a pair of exhibitions right before the season, on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game is at the Nats’ home park in D.C. Saturday’s game is to be played in Annapolis, Md., at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Evan Drellich talks with Toucher and Rich about who the starting catcher will be and should be for the Red Sox. Christian Vazquez appears to be all the way back from Tommy John surgery. Can he hit?