Albert Pujols OUT, Jack McKeon IN

Major League Baseball’s silver slugger the past three years has been ruled out for 4-6 weeks with a non displaced fracture in his left forearm after colliding with journeyman Wilson Betemit at first base. This is nothing but another loop in Albert’s roller coaster of a season as The Machine hit a dismal .245 through April and had just two home runs in May before recently bouncing back in the month of June: The nine-time All-Star has hit .317 with eight home runs – almost doubling his season total — and 14 runs batted in. Pujols, the only player in major league history to hit .300 with at least 30 home runs and 100 R.B.I. his first 10 seasons, is hitting .279 with 17 home runs and 45 R.B.I. Along with his batting average, both his on-base and slugging percentages, .355 and .500 respectively, are significantly lower than his career averages of .423 and .619. As an owner of Pujols in multiple leagues, I cringed as I watched the collision knowing that Cliff Floyd and Derek Lee suffered similar injuries and were never the same offensively.

On the home front, the Florida Marlins are the worst team in baseball and their manager up and quit. In replacing Edwin Rodriguez, who resigned Sunday, 80 year old Jack McKeon will inherit a team that has lost 10 straight – one shy of the franchise record for consecutive losses – and sits in last place in the National League East, eight games under .500. Cigar Jack, who will be managing in his fifth decade at the major-league level, has remained with the Marlins as a special assistant in an advisory role to owner Jeffrey Loria ever since stepping down as the team’s manager after the 2005 season. Jack stressed that he’s not a miracle worker last time he was hired as the Fish’s manager yet led them to a title in 2003 and now faces an even greater challenge as ace Josh Johnson will remain on the DL until at least mid-July and All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been stuck in a season-long hitting slump that has left his average at .201 – fourth-lowest average in the majors. This all just seems like déjà vu to us South Floridians but a glint of hope still remains for our struggling organization. (I mean c’mon we’re getting a dome)

 


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