Omar Vizquel Jersey

If 11-time Gold Glove Award winner Omar Vizquel isn’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame, he showed Sunday that his hands at the very least should get a crack at it.

Vizquel was known as one of the best fielders in baseball during his 24-year career that spanned the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. He earned three All-Star selections while with Cleveland.

On Sunday, Vizquel helped coach the National League team during the MLB All-Star Futures Game. He was on the bench to support Dennis Martinez, who was the manager of the squad.

Vizquel was seen showing that he still has incredibly quick hands for a 52-year-old former infielder. The video, posted to Twitter by the YES Network, is mind-bending.

Vizquel made his debut with the Mariners when he was 22 and played his final game with the Blue Jays when he was 45. He was a career .272 hitter with 951 RBI and 404 stolen bases, but is best remembered by fans for his highlight-reel plays at shortstop.

He made his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2018, earning 37 percent of the vote. He earned 42.8 percent of the vote in 2018. A player needs 75 percent of the vote to get elected.

Brad Hand Jersey

Lefty Brad Hand is available to pitch for the Cleveland Indians as the Tribe opens a weekend series against Philadelphia, manager Terry Francona announced Friday. Hand missed more than two weeks recovering from a sore pitching arm and has not appeared in a game since Sept. 8

How Francona chooses to use Hand in a game situation, however, remains uncertain.

“The way I explained it to him was that if this was June, he’d probably face some hitters today,” Francona said. “It’s not June. We’ve got nine games left. So for this to work, I’ve got to be a little flexible, the training staff has to be a little flexible and Brad has to be a little flexible.”

Francona said if the situation presents itself early in a game, Hand might be called upon to face a Phillies left-handed hitter. Ultimately, the goal is to have Hand pitch the ninth inning in a save situation, but Francona would not commit to a specific role for the 29-year-old All-Star.

“I don’t know that it’s fair to do that the first game back after what he’s been through,” Francona said. “We’ll see how the game progresses.”

Hand has appeared in 59 games and logged 56 1/3 innings with 81 strikeouts and 18 walks. He earned his third straight All-Star selection by going 23-for-24 in save opportunities with a 2.17 ERA through early July, but struggled after the break with five blown saves and an ERA that ballooned to 5.16.

After narrowly escaping with a save against Minnesota on Sept. 8, the Indians sent Hand back to Cleveland in the middle of their road trip to Anaheim for an MRI on his sore left elbow. He missed the club’s critical three-game weekend series against the Twins at Progressive Field while beginning a rehab program during the club’s current nine-game homestand.

Carlos Gonzalez Jersey

Former Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez began his stay in Chicago with a blunt assessment of what happened in last October’s wild-card game at Wrigley Field.

“I noticed there was something about the (Cubs) team that I hadn’t seen in the past,” Gonzalez said Monday before his Cubs debut against the Angels. “We (the Rockies) took advantage of that. It was a really good game. We went in extras (13 innings) and we end up winning the game (2-1), and I think a lot of that is because they seemed like they were a little down because of their struggle at the end of the year.

“It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. You’ve got to believe in yourself every day and continue to fight, and a lot of great things happen after that.”

One thing the 2018 Cubs never admitted to is losing confidence. But Gonzalez said the Rockies could sense it in their faces and body language.

“As an opponent, you always notice that,” Gonzalez said. “We came in and we knew they were struggling, we knew they were limping (after losing the division in a tiebreaker game against the Brewers). It seemed like they were down. You never want to show that attitude to an opponent because that’s exactly what we did. We took advantage of it.”

The Cubs are glad to have Gonzalez on their side now, and he had a memorable debut Monday, going 1-for-3 with an eye-opening running catch in their 8-1 win over the Angels.

“Unbelievable man,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of games here over the years. I got 11 years in the National League and every time I come here there’s always this special energy.

“Just being on the home side now makes it even more special. The smallest thing they make it seem like it’s huge, any single or any plays. They just keep you in the game, and it makes you play hard.”

Gonzalez arrives as a low-risk solution to the Cubs’ recent hitting woes. The Indians released him after he hit .210 with two home runs in 30 games after signing a minor-league deal in spring training paying him $2 million in 2019 if he made the team.

Gonzalez said he always has been a slow starter, and “everything seemed like it was rushing” after he signed in mid-March.

A three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, Gonzalez has to prove he’s not a product of the Coors Field factor after spending almost his entire career with the Rockies. He’s a .328 hitter with a .993 OPS at Coors but has a .250 career average and .725 OPS in road games. The high altitude in Denver has increased the stats of many hitters over the years.

Gonzalez is only 33, though in modern baseball, 35 is the new 40. He has to show he has something left in the tank, and he knows there are doubters.

“I feel strong; physically, I feel good,” he said. “The past two years the numbers have not been the same as everybody was used to — the .300-plus (average), the 30-plus (home runs). That just shows baseball is a lot of ups and downs.

“But I’m positive there is a lot of baseball ahead of me. That’s where I want to be. I want to be able to help a club win ballgames, and this is a good opportunity for me.”

With the Angels starting a right-handed “opener” Monday in reliever Cam Bedrosian, Cubs manager Joe Maddon immediately inserted Gonzalez in the lineup in right field for the makeup game.

“He’s a still a young man,” Maddon said of Gonzalez. “I guess he had a good game for our Triple-A team. I’ll just get him out there and play him. He’s not as up-to-date in right field, but he’s going to play in right field right now and I just told him to go out there and not worry about mistakes and just be himself, like I tell everybody else.

“Hopefully he’ll create a little bit of buzz within the group.”

Maddon said he’ll typically go with matchups when determining Gonzalez’s playing time. Gonzalez has a .245 career average in 94 at-bats at Wrigley Field with nine home runs and 15 RBIs.

Gonzalez said he just wants to contribute, no matter what role he’s given.

“It’s exciting, a new chapter for my career,” he said. “This is a really good place to play baseball and has a lot of energy, so I’m really excited. … Over the years I’ve had some really big games in this ballpark, so hopefully it can translate the other way.”

Hanley Ramirez Jersey

Former Red Sox slugger Hanley Ramirez underwent right shoulder surgery last Monday in anticipation of making a comeback next season, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports. Ramirez hopes to be healthy and playing somewhere in 2020.

Ramirez had the surgery after “years of discomfort,” per Heyman, who adds the 35-year-old has undergone three surgeries on his left shoulder in the past.

Ramirez played 16 games for the Indians at the beginning of this season, hitting .184/.298/.327 with two homers before being cut in mid-April. He had previously sat out most of the 2018 season after being released by the Red Sox in May.

Ramirez signed a 4-year, $88 million deal with the Red Sox before the 2015 season and wound up hitting .260/.326/.450 with 78 homers and 255 RBIs in 429 games. He was designated for assignment in a surprising move last May and sat at home while the Sox paid the remainder of his contract.

Ramirez is a 15-year major-league veteran who has spent time with the Red Sox (2005, 2015-18), Marlins (2006-12), Dodgers (2012-14) and Indians (2019). He’s a three-time All-Star and won the N.L. Rookie of the Year award in 2007.