AROUND THE BASES
Upon further view: Commissioner Bud Selig had to be convinced to approve instant replays just to determine boundary calls involving home runs. He was pretty adamant at the time that he would never want to see the use of technology expanded. That’s what made the following, buried at the end of a release sent out in the wake of Armando Galarraga’s perfect-game-that-wasn’t so significant. “While the human element has always been an integral part of baseball, it is vital that mistakes on the field be addressed. Given last night’s call and other recent events, I will examine our umpiring system, the expanded use of instant replay and all other related features,” he said. That’s big.
Junior’s legacy: Ken Griffey Jr., who abruptly announced his retirement Wednesday night, compiled numbers that will eventually land him in the Hall of Fame. He’s the rare player, however, whose influence extended beyond that. It’s widely believed that without his personal magnetism and skills that helped the Mariners make the playoffs in 1995, Safeco Field may never have been built and the franchise would have been forced to move.
Mets mess: A stalemate has emerged between lefthander Oliver Perez and the club. The front office would like him to go to Triple A Buffalo to try to work on his problems. Perez (0-3, 6.28) has declined the assignment, as is his right. A Mets official told the New York Daily News that the team is not considering releasing Perez, who is in the middle of a 3-year, $36 million contract, but added: “He’ll be the last pitcher out of the bullpen.”
Latest teen heartthrob: The Pirates, Yankees, Giants, Dodgers, Mariners, Rangers and Blue Jays are among the teams pursuing 15-year-old Mexican righthander Luis Heredia, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He’s 6-4 and is said to have four-plus pitches. Teams can begin signing international players on July 2.
Disaster in the desert: The Arizona Diamondbacks have lost 10 straight and owner Ken Kendrick said everything is on the table. “When the team is playing as badly as this team is. . . you really need to look very broadly at everything to try to aggressively determine what kind of changes you really want to make,” he said. Curiously, Kendrick exempted manager A.J. Hinch from his critique.
The last word: Orange County Register columnist Mark Whicker, on Angels first baseman Kendry Morales breaking his leg celebrating a walkoff grand slam: “This franchise can’t even jump for joy correctly.”
PHAIR and PHOUL
Up next: The first-place Padres are at Citizens Bank Park tonight to begin a four-game series. Surprising San Diego has the best record in the National League. So are they a fluke? Probably not. Going back to last season, they’re 69-46 (.600) in their last 115 games.
Add Padres: The bullpen is San Diego’s strength. The relievers have a 2.77 ERA and have allowed just 132 hits in 170<SC1,235> innings. Some say the unsung hero is bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who pitched for the Phillies in 1990 and 1991. He is a favorite of all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, and Bud Black believes he’d make a terrific pitching coach. “His day will come,” the Padres manager says.
Broadcast news: A tip of the cap to Comcast SportsNet. Instead of going to a commercial break in the middle of the ninth inning Saturday night from Florida, the cameras stayed with the action as Roy Halladay prepared to try to get the final three outs of his perfect game. Good stuff.
Add broadcast news: The Phillies seemed to like Gary Matthews’ “Jump in the Cadillac!” home-run call so much that they even displayed the catchphrase on Phanavision at times last season. But Sarge has noticeably avoided his signature call this year. Wonder whether the fact that Toyota is a big sponsor has anything to do with that?
Sammy test: There are reports out of Baltimore that Orioles manager Dave Trembley will be fired today and replaced on an interim basis by popular former Phillies second baseman Juan Samuel, a member of the team’s Wall of Fame. Not sure whether congratulations or condolences are appropriate here. The O’s have the worst record in baseball. Then again, there’s nowhere to go but up.
All is forgiven: The Phillies announced yesterday that veteran outfielder Willy Taveras has been signed to a minor league contract. Taveras is a minor footnote in Phillies history. On Sept. 7, 2005, Billy Wagner came in to protect a 6-5 lead against the Astros at Veterans Stadium. He got two quick outs. Jose Vizcaino reached on an error. Then Taveras hit a grounder to shortstop that should have ended the game. Except that the speedy Taveras beat Jimmy Rollins’ throw by a step. Craig Biggio followed with a game-winning homer. That turned out to be a big loss. The Phillies ended up missing the playoffs, finishing just one game behind Houston.