Not only did Gomez bat just .242/.288/.383 over 41 games for Houston, but he started just one of the team’s final 20 games because of a strained left intercostal muscle. However, the plan is for Gomez to be in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s Wild Card Game against the Yankees. Just ask him.
“Yeah, definitely I’ll be ready in New York,” Gomez said Sunday. “You know because, that game means a lot for us. No matter what, I’m going to be ready. That’s what we planned, the whole last five days made me feel better so I can be more 100 percent to do my best in New York.”
Gomez went through a workout at Yankee Stadium on Monday and afterward reiterated his intention of playing Tuesday.
"The plan is to play tomorrow,” Gomez said. “I'm ready to start."
Gomez was having a down season offensively even before arriving in Houston, having finished with a .255/.314/.409 batting line over 115 contests between the Brewers and Astros. That said, the Astros no doubt would love to have his plus defense and power/speed potential in center field on Tuesday and hopefully beyond even if he’s not 100 percent.
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Cards Optimistic About Yadi
Like the Astros, the Cardinals have been without one of their best players down the stretch. Also like the ‘Stros, it’s looking good for the Cards to get their star back.
Yadier Molina had his ailing left thumb examined by a hand specialist on Monday, and afterward general manger John Mozeliak said the club is “still optimistic that Yadier will be on our postseason roster.”
The strained ligament in Molina’s thumb is not yet healed, but he’s feeling better and the plan is to fit the catcher with a splint that will allow him to catch and hit even though he’s not yet 100 percent. Molina will begin baseball activities this week while wearing the splint in order to test things out.
Molina’s backup, Tony Cruz, has fared well at the plate while filling in, batting .289/.317/.553 with one home run over 12 games. However, he’s a career .220/.262/.310 hitter and obviously isn’t nearly the asset Molina is defensively, so getting Yadi back even in a damaged state would be a big boon for the Cardinals.
St. Louis will host either the Cubs or Pirates in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday.
Nats Move on from Williams
The writing had been on the wall for a while. On Monday the Nationals made it official, firing manager Matt Williams.
It’s highly unusual for a reigning Manager of the Year to lose his job, but it can be argued how much Williams had to do with the Nationals’ success in 2014 and certainly how much he contributed to their disappointing showing in 2015.
Coming off a 96-66 record last season, the Nats entered the current campaign as the odds-on favorite to win the World Series. However, they stumbled to a mediocre 83-79 record which left them seven games behind the Mets in the National League East. Williams drew wide criticism for his in-game decision-making and also how he handled the clubhouse, which led to the ouster of him and his entire coaching staff.
"These are the first of the decisions that we felt we needed to make as we meticulously evaluate why the 2015 season didn't go the way we had hoped," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "This entire season was a disappointment, not only for myself, but ownership, to the fan base of Washington. It wasn't our best year, it wasn't Matt's best year. It wasn't my best year, as an organization, it wasn't our best year."
The rumors have begun regarding Williams’ potential replacement. First Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.’s name popped up, which made sense in one respect because he interviewed for the job when Williams got it and maintains a relationship with Rizzo. That said, it’s hard to see the Nats going with another guy with little-to-no managerial experience.
Former Padres manager Bud Black is also reportedly being considered by the Nationals. Black’s tenure with San Diego ended with a whimper, but he’s a former Manager of the Year who has plenty of respect in the game. Even if Black isn’t the choice, Washington does seem likely to go with a veteran skipper.
Quick Hits: CC Sabathia is checking himself into an alcohol rehab facility and will not be available for the postseason ... Angel Pagan will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee within the next few days ... Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette reiterated Sunday that re-signing impending free agent slugger Chris Davis is his top offseason priority ... Drew Pomeranz is expected to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left AC joint ... Giants general manager Bobby Evans said Monday that he's spoken with Mike Leake and there is "mutual interest" in the righty returning to San Francisco ... The Giants are undecided on whether they will pick up Nori Aoki’s $5.5 million option for 2016 ... The Marlins will reportedly consider trading Marcell Ozuna over the offseason ... Giants general manager Bobby Evans said Monday that Chris Heston isn't guaranteed a spot in the rotation next season ... Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) threw a simulated game Monday and is expected to be available as a reliever for the ALDS should the Yankees advance ... Robinson Chirinos (biceps) will be ready for the ALDS ... Koene Kela (elbow) is expected to be ready for the ALDS ... A's vice president Billy Beane said Monday that Josh Reddick is a candidate for a contract extension ... Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart said Monday that he has spoken to A.J. Pollock about a long-term deal ... The Angels officially hired Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday ... The Padres announced Sunday that interim manager Pat Murphy will not be retained ...