MLB News & Moments You Should Know – 9/16/23

Ohtani's locker unexpectedly cleared out with no explanation.

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It was Roberto Clemente Day in the MLB on Friday. There were patches bearing the No. 21 of the late Pittsburgh Pirates great, who died on Dec. 31, 1972, while on a humanitarian mission to Nicaragua following a devastating earthquake. He was 38. Clemente, a native of Puerto Rico, ended his 18-year career with exactly 3,000 hits. Following his death, the mandatory five-year waiting period to be voted into the Hall of Fame was waived and a special election was held to get him to Cooperstown. He was the first Latin American player to be enshrined.

In addition to the patch, many players on Friday honored Clemente by wearing his No. 21 as their jersey number, much like what happens each April 15 when every player wears No. 42 to commemorate Jackie Robinson becoming the first Black player in MLB history. Players wore custom cleats and more to pay homage not only to Clemente but to the start of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Today’s Headlines


Ohtani’s Locker Cleared Out

The strange saga of what is likely the final chapter of two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani’s final days as a member of the Los Angeles Angels took what appears to be a final turn Friday when the locker of the hitting and pitching sensation was suddenly cleared out, with only a few random items left and a packed duffle bag sitting in front of his spot in the clubhouse for the last six seasons.

Ohtani hasn’t played since Sept. 3rd due to a right oblique injury and hasn’t pitched since tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow which will need surgery. The Angels offered no explanation but did say an announcement would be made Saturday about Ohtani’s status. Potentially, Ohtani has made a decision to end his season and have surgery. Ohtani is set to become a free agent following this season and is likely to land the largest deal in MLB history regardless of the elbow injury, which is likely to keep him from pitching all of the 2024 season.


No No-No, Yes To Bizarre Win

Pennant races bring the crazy and this was a prime example of what happens this time of year.

The Colorado Rockies, the worst team in the National League, took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants before J.D. Davis foiled the attempt at history in Coors Field with a leadoff double in a 1-1 game. Davis would score on a bases-loaded walk to Wilmer Flores. Giants closer Camilo Doval came in to protect the 2-1 edge. Charlie Blackmon hit a leadoff double, then Nolan Jones drew a walk off Doval. Next, came the sequence that could haunt the Giants all offseason. Elehuris Montero singled to left and Giants left fielder Mike Yastrzemski came up firing in an attempt to nail Blackmon at the plate. But the ball hit Blackmon and caromed to the backstop, allowing not only Blackmon to score the tying run, but Jones to come home all the way from first with the winning run a 3-2 triumph.

The loss dropped the Giants a full game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds, who are tied for the third and final NL wild-card spot, and a half-game behind the Miami Marlins. Despite being no-hit for eight innings, the Giants actually had a 1-0 lead thanks to two walks, a flyout and an RBI groundout in the second inning. The Rockies tied it in the bottom of the eighth. The Giants will have a quick turnaround in an attempt to wash the bitter taste out of their mouths with a split doubleheader beginning at 12:10 p.m. MT.

D’backs Put Heat On Cubs

After a rough four-game road series against the New York Mets, winning just once, the Arizona Diamondbacks returned home for a big series against the Chicago Cubs. The two teams met last weekend at Wrigley Field, with the D’backs winning three of four, tightening the NL wild-card standings. Thanks to three-run homers by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Alek Thomas off Cubs ace Justin Steele, the D’backs won 6-4. It not only gave the D’backs the tiebreaker over the Cubs but pulled Arizona and the Cincinnati Reds within one and a half games of Chicago. The Cubs hold the second wild-card spot with the Marlins a half-game behind the D’backs and Reds. The D’backs do not hold the tiebreaker vs. the Reds and Marlins, making these games that much more important.

Rays Tie Orioles Atop AL East

The Tampa Bay Rays made headlines with a 13-0 start to the season, but now need a hot finish in order to win the American League East title and a first-round bye. The Rays flashed that early-season form as Zach Eflin took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, Brandon Lowe and Harold Ramírez homered and Manuel Margot and Randy Arozarena each had three hits in a 7-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. The win, coupled with a 4-3 triumph in Thursday’s opener of a four-game series, allowed the Rays to tie the Orioles for first place in the East. Technically, the Orioles have a slight percentage lead but also must play two more games in the final two weeks.

Stroman Back, To Pitch Out Of Cubs’ Bullpen

The Cubs got a big arm back when they activated right-handed starter Marcus Stroman from the 10-day injured list. Stroman has been out since the end of July, first with right hip inflammation, then with a rib cartilage fracture. While Stroman has been going threw a throwing program, he did not go on a rehab assignment. With time of the essence, Stroman will return as a reliever as he builds up his pitch count.


Rendon Finally Talks About Injury

After ducking interviews with beat writers for weeks, Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon finally broke his silence and it was very revealing. Most notably, Rendon, who has been out since July 4th since fouling a ball off his left leg, told reporters that he was diagnosed last month with a fractured left tibia. Originally, the Angels said Rendon had a bone bruise and never updated his condition. Rendon notified the team last month of his new diagnosis.

Rendon, the Angels’ highest-paid played at $38.5 million, has appeared in just 43 games this season, slashing .236/.361/.318. Meanwhile, Angels manager Phil Nevin said infielder Luis Rengifo had surgery to repair a torn left biceps that he injured last week. Rengifo is expected to be ready for spring training.


Best Moments From Yesterday


Stacks On Stacks On Stacks

Sometimes, the guys in the bullpen get bored and decide to do something a little offbeat.


Nothing But Goodness

Padres outfielder José Azocar had 268 at-bats without a home run when he stepped to the plate in the ninth inning. That man known as “Sugar,” facing Oakland A’s pitcher Devin Sweet, produced a delicious result.


Injuries and Other Moves


New York Yankees reliever Anthony Misiewicz was struck on the head by a line drive off the bat of the Pirates’ Ji Hwan Bae in the sixth inning. The Yankees said Misiewicz was “alert and oriented,” and was taken to a hospital for further testing.

Atlanta right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr., one of the top candidates for NL MVP, exited in the eighth inning with right calf tightness. The team called it a precautionary move. He was injured on a swing.

First baseman Ji Man Choi (strained ribcage) was activated from the 10-day IL by the San Diego Padres, who placed first baseman Matt Carpenter (right elbow inflammation) on the 10-day IL.


Articles You Should Read


Questions abound regarding chemistry as Padres’ season spirals — Kevin Acee, San Diego Union-Tribune

Which teams’ rookie classes had the biggest impact in 2023 — Jim Bowden, The Athletic

Momentum matters in the AL East and the Rays’ bullpen has it — Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic


Fantasy Baseball Coverage


Starting Pitcher Roundup

Hitter Performances

Reliever Ranks

Starting Pitcher Streamers

Steve Drumwright

Steve Drumwright is a lifelong baseball fan who retired as a player before he had the chance to be cut from the freshman team in high school. He recovered to become a sportswriter and have a successful journalism career at newspapers in Wisconsin and California. Follow him on Twitter and Threads @DrummerWrites.

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