One or 2 percent. That was it.
That was the chance that Ryan Madson gave himself of ever pitching again in the big leagues.
Once a dominant closer with the Philadelphia Phillies, a telltale twinge in the right elbow resulted in Tommy John surgery and ushered Madson toward a premature retirement. He was content with what he had accomplished in baseball, even if he was frustrated by the finish.
“I thought I would bounce right back. I did everything everybody wanted me to do,” Madson said this week. “I did everything under the sun trying to get back, and it took me getting released for the first time in my career, not being in the major leagues since being called up in 2003, to really feel that punch. And it knocked me down. It almost knocked me out.”
It didn’t do that. Not by a long shot.
After signing with the American League champion Kansas City Royals in the offseason, Madson arrived in spring training with no guarantees. Somehow, he earned a spot in their vaunted bullpen, and then validated his spring performances with a dynamic start to the regular season.
Madson has appeared in 17 games and has a 1.83 ERA, the best of the 34-year-old reliever’s 10-year career. He has struck out 20 with just four walks, every bit as dominant as he was in Philly.
Commish speaks on A-Rod, hirings
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he thinks the New York Yankees have grounds not to pay Alex Rodriguez a $6 million marketing bonus for tying Willie Mays for fourth place on the career home run list.
After Rodriguez hit No. 660 on May 1, New York refused to make the payment. The Yankees said making the payment was their right and not an obligation.
“The Yankees have a well-founded legal position,” Manfred said.
Manfred also said he understands why the Milwaukee Brewers and Miami Marlins did not interview any minority candidates when they hired new managers this month.
Then-Commissioner Bud Selig told teams in April 1999 they had to consider minorities when hiring a manager, GM, assistant GM, director of player development or director of scouting.
Manfred said the rule is difficult to apply to in-season changes “because time obviously is of the essence.”
Clearing the bases
Milwaukee RHP Will Smith was ejected for having rosin and sunscreen on his right forearm in the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves. … The Oakland Athletics announced that former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington is rejoining the team as a major league coach. … Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu underwent season-ending surgery for a tear in his left shoulder. … INF Erisbel Arruebarrena has been suspended by the Dodgers for the remainder of the season. The Dodgers said they disciplined the 25-year-old Cuban “for repeated failures to comply with his contract.” He signed a $25 million, five-year contract in February 2014.
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