Runzler reportedly goes for tests on shoulder


Runzler reportedly goes for tests on shoulder

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dan Runzler's stated goals this spring were to smooth out the kinks in his delivery, throw plenty of strikes and boost his odds of winning a chair in the Giants bullpen.

The unstated goal: Stay healthy.

Runzler ran into a bump that could be significant. According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, the power left-hander is going for tests after experiencing shoulder discomfort in his last bullpen session.

Runzler had been in the final stages of rehabbing a strained lat muscle in his side, which he strained in the regular-season finale last year. He had made changes to his herky-jerky delivery in an effort to find a motion he could repeat to throw more strikes.

The Giants received a day off on Friday, the eve of their Cactus League opener. It's expected they will have more information on Runzler's condition on Saturday.

The club is mostly set in the bullpen: closer Brian Wilson, right-hander Sergio Romo, right-hander Santiago Casilla, left-hander Jeremy Affeldt and left-hander Javier Lopez are guaranteed spots. Right-hander Guillermo Mota is expected to be on the team and right-hander Clay Hensley was considered the frontrunner over Runzler for the final spot.

But Runzler was expected to be a valuable piece, especially after he pitched well last September. There was more on that in the feature on Runzler that I wrote a few days ago.

Bagwell, Raines, Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame


Bagwell, Raines, Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK -- Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez have been elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America but received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in future votes.

Bagwell drew 86.2 percent and Raines got 86 percent. Rodriguez had 76 percent - he received four more votes than the necessary 332 of 442 (75 percent).

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Bonds makes significant leap, but not part of 2017 Hall of Fame Class

Bonds makes significant leap, but not part of 2017 Hall of Fame Class

Editor's Note: The above video is from 2014.

SAN FRANCISCO — No hitter controlled a game like Barry Bonds, but the longtime Giant has had to sit by in recent years and watch Hall of Fame voting mostly leave him behind. On Wednesday, Bonds finally gained some traction.

Bonds was not elected as part of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017, but he made a significant leap, opening the door for selection in one of his five remaining years on the ballot. Bonds ended up on 53.8 percent of ballots, well short of the needed 75 percent, but well ahead of his previous pace. He had been listed on just 44.3 percent of ballots a year ago, a modest leap from 36.8 in 2015.

Bonds has benefited from several changes to the voting process and the makeup of the Hall in recent years. Most notably, he appears to have received a significant boost from Bud Selig’s election in December by a 16-person committee. Selig was the commissioner during the steroid era, and when he was elected, many in the Baseball Writers Association of America made it clear that Selig’s inclusion would have an impact. Susan Slusser, who covers the A’s for the San Francisco Chronicle, summed it up neatly in a tweet: “Senseless to keep steroid guys out when the enablers are in Hall of Fame. I now will hold my nose and vote for players I believe cheated.”

Per Ryan Thibodaux’s invaluable ballot tracker, Bonds received 23 votes from BBWAA members who did not put a check next to his name a year ago (among public ballots). Roger Clemens, who has been similarly held back by a PED cloud, gained 24 votes. 

Both Bonds and Clemens have also benefited from a change in the electorate. A writer must hold a BBWAA card for 10 years to receive a vote, but last year the rules were changed to eliminate writers who have not actively covered baseball in the past 10 years. The purging of older voters has benefited players from the steroid era, as has the addition of new voters who grew up watching a game dominated by Bonds, Clemens, Mark McGwire and others who were later connected to PEDs. According to Thibodaux’s tracker, Bonds and Clemens were both selected by 13 of 14 first-time voters.

Bonds and Clemens still have a long way to go, but they can take solace in the fact that two of this year’s selections made similar leaps to cross the three-quarters threshold. Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez make up this year’s class. Raines, in his final go-around on the ballot, jumped from 69.8 percent to 86 percent. Bagwell, in his seventh year, went from 71.6 to 86.2 percent. Rodriguez never was disciplined for PED use but he has been hounded by rumors for years. He received 76 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot.

Another big jump would put Bonds, the all-time home run leader and a seven-time MVP, on the edge of Cooperstown. He will not get a “Selig bump” next year, but another wrinkle could help his cause. Starting in 2018, all ballots will be made public.