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Mound Visits: Young prospects and old grudges

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Plus James Paxton’s bobblehead, rock-paper-scissors baseball, and anything else you might have missed this week.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Welcome to Mound Visits, your weekly recap of the best things you might have missed in baseball every week. This week brings us the best bobblehead ever, former Yankees sniping at each other through the media, and STILL NO VLAD in the majors.

James “Eagle” Paxton has a bobblehead

James Paxton (AKA Big Maple) had an eagle land on him, then threw a no-hitter a few weeks later. Now he has his very own bobblehead night (completely the “random MLB even trifecta) and it’s a very good bobblehead. The eagle is present and accounted for and the base is a maple leaf. Great job, Mariners.

Can you guys take this to the group chat please?

Last week, Robinson Cano was suspended 80 games for violating MLB’s PED policy. This week, former Yankees teammates are having a snipe fest in the media that is either going to get really good in the next few days or fizzle out. You know which one I’m rooting for.

If you’ve missed anything, it started when Mark Teixeira went on The Michael Kay Show and said of Cano’s suspension,

“Let’s just use this situation here. Robbie Cano’s assistant was on the list for Biogenesis. Now, of course, [he] had an assistant, you know, buy stuff for him. Alex Rodriguez got popped by Biogenesis, and [former Yankees outfielder] Melky [Cabrera] got popped. They were best friends. When someone gets lumped into that group, it’s because there’s evidence. There’s a paper trail. There’s a smoke trail. Yeah, I don’t really want to get into too much detail. I love Robbie. I’m just not surprised. I don’t really want to go too much further, but I think a lot of people are kind of saying the same thing.”

“I don’t want to get into too much detail but also here’s a bunch of detail you can read into” is one of the oldest tricks in the book. You could say that Tex was just doing his job as an ESPN analyst, but Rodriguez is also a media member now and he gave a soundbite that was much less touchy.

CC Sabathia responded on The Tiki and Tierney Show with,

“I don’t want to get into what Tex said, but I’ll just put it like this: I’m not surprised he said that, coming from him.”

My God, there’s so much weight in that coming from him and I want to know so much more. Tex’s response back was more even-keeled, which is fair since he knows better than to stoke the flames and end up looking worse. But there’s a grudge here.

While I’ll never turn down drama between current or former teammates, they have to have some sort of text chain where all of this back and forth can happen in private right? If one more player hops in on this it’s officially a situation where people need to fight in the group chat with one person (probably Mariano Rivera, if we’re guessing) popping in the next day after hours of carnage to innocently ask whether anyone has good recommendations for a new personal trainer in the Westchester area because he just moved to California and he feels kind of out of shape [smiley face].

Someone get Nick Swisher on a hot mic after he’s had a beer or three. Let’s keep this thing rolling.

Rafael Palmeiro isn’t dead yet

Rafael Palmeiro is 53 years old, and recently signed with the Independent American Association’s Cleburne Railroaders so he could play baseball with his son Patrick. Patrick has hit one home run this season with Cleburne, and now so has his dad.

That’s got to feel ... weird. Let’s just say weird, instead of “the same way it feels when you’re nine years old and you tell your dad you just want to have a sleepover with your friends but he sets up a basketball tournament in the driveway that he dominates and no one gets to watch Space Jam.”

Youth, there it is

Two young prospects got called up this week, highly anticipated by Baseball Twitter devotees everywhere. Both Juan Soto and Willy Adames hit home runs in their first major league games, the former’s coming in his first at bat and the latter’s coming in his second against Chris Sale. Soto is only 19 years old and is now the youngest player in the majors.

One prospect who did not get called up this week was Vlad Guerrero, Jr. It has been over a week since I asked the Jays to please give us Guerrero and they have not obliged. I repeat: GIVE US VLAD.

Denard Span, Tampa Bay Lightning defensman

While attempting to field a fly ball in left field on Thursday night, Rays’ outfielder Denard Span gave a fan who was also reaching for the ball more than he was asking for. Namely, getting hip checked into oblivion by Span as they all ended up tangled in a mess of chairs and food. Neither of them was able to make a play on the ball, but everyone was OK in the end. Which means it’s OK to laugh at the video as many times as you want.

Rock, paper ... tournament win?

This result didn’t end up counting — although the same team won when they played actual baseball the next day — but two Connecticut baseball teams “decided” a high school tournament game by playing rock-paper-scissors. That’s probably the most exciting thing that happened in Connecticut this month.

When you lay in bed all day avoiding your responsibilities but do the most important thing on your to-do list at 10 p.m, in GIF form

Aaron Hicks has a very specific set of skills

Aaron Hicks is going to be one of those players who casual fans can’t pick out of a lineup three years after he’s out of the league. Heck, if you’re not a New York fan and can do that right now you deserve a healthy amount of facial recognition props.

He has a .233 career batting average with 48 home runs in five-plus seasons. But, apparently, Hicks is an inside-the-park home run savant, seeing as he’s had two this year alone. He’s the Liam Neeson of hustling around bases.

We’d like to use this space to thank Hicks for contributing to the Year of the Inside-the-Park Home Run cause.

Have a favorite moment from this week? Tweet them at me and I’ll include them in next week’s Mound Visits.