SEATTLE – As C.J. Cron sat on the team’s flight Thursday, part of Jake Odorizzi’s meal kept dropping into his lap. And so began what Cron figures will be years of ridicule.
“Odo was flipping me food on the plane,” Cron said with a shrug, “to make sure I was seeing him OK.”
It’s a funny line, and Cron takes it well. He has to, because the video has now gone viral: Shohei Ohtani hit a bouncer up the middle in the third inning of Wednesday’s game that Odorizzi jumped up, caught, and jogged toward first base to get an easy out and end the inning. Except that Cron’s eyes, as he reached the base, were on second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who was pretending to catch the ball and throw to first.
Odorizzi’s underhand flip caught Cron by surprise, and the ball rolled toward the dugout behind him. Ohtani reached second base. Cron was charged with an error — but was it really his fault?
“Of course, it was. I need to know who has the ball. I mean, I don’t know how that got past me. But Odo caught the ball, and I wasn’t ready to catch it,” Cron said resolutely.
Doesn’t Schoop deserve some of the blame for confusing him with his absent-minded pantomime?
“No, it’s not his fault, it’s my fault,” Cron said. “And hopefully we can just move on.”
Oh, that’s not likely. Even as Cron was saying his mea culpas in the hallway just outside the Twins’ clubhouse, he was receiving good-natured abuse. Two players walked past and shouted insults — “Brutal!” hollered Jason Castro — while he answered questions.
“I’m used to it. I kind of embrace that on the team. Kind of keep the clubhouse loose,” Cron said. “I’m sure people are going to keep making fun of me for the rest of my days.”
That appears to be the plan.
“We will not probably forget to remind C.J. of what happened,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “C.J. is a funny guy, and he’s self-deprecating and he’s OK having fun with it. Therefore we will have fun with it.”
“That was one of the most unique plays I’ve ever seen. I was yelling at him as I was throwing the ball, but it was too late,” Odorizzi said. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing that a lot on not-good reels.”
And if they do, it should be noted: Odorizzi retired Andrelton Simmons two pitches later, ending the inning. No harm done, except to Cron’s self-esteem.
“I still haven’t seen the video, but I’ve been told numerous times what happened,” Baldelli said. “It’s funny because we won.”
From raking to majors
A week before Opening Day 2018, Austin Adams was standing on the mound at SunTrust Park, home of the Braves. He was carrying a rake, not a glove.
“Yeah, it was a little weird,” the 32-year-old righthander said.
Adams was out of baseball and a new employee of a ballpark-maintenance business started by his former college coach, a firm that had contracts to work on dozens of stadiums, from the major leagues to high school. But Adams, who appeared in 53 games for the Indians from 2014-16, wasn’t ready to trade the bullpen for the grounds crew. He eventually signed with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League, got noticed by Twins scouts, and signed a minor league contract.
And on Wednesday night, he was informed that he’s a big-leaguer again. Austin D. Adams — no relation to Austin L. Adams who coincidentally joined the Mariners’ bullpen Monday — was summoned by the Twins after Trevor Hildenberger was optioned to Class AAA Rochester.
“It’s an incredible feeling, almost better than my debut,” Adams said. “At this time last year, I was working. … Rakes and dirt and building mounds.”
Adams has a fastball that has been clocked at 98 mph this year, and used to hit triple digits, plus a hard slider. He used those pitches to strike out 28 batters in 18 innings for Rochester this year, convincing the Twins to give him another chance in the big leagues.
“He played through some injuries, battled back, and it’s a credit to him. He’s continued to pitch and put himself in a good spot,” said Derek Falvey, the Twins’ chief baseball officer. “He’s attacked the strike zone. We know he still has velocity and he’s been able to use his secondary pitches very well, and he’s just another good fit for this club now.”
Cruz sits again
Nelson Cruz is eager to play this weekend in front of the Mariners fans who appreciated him during his five seasons here, but his left wrist is still sore and he was out of the lineup again Thursday. Baldelli said he expects Cruz will play during the series, however, especially with three lefthanders starting for Seattle beginning Friday.