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Quick Hits: Howe, Johnson, Boras, Wright

After five days in hospital, Art Howe is back at home and continuing to recover from a COVID-19 diagnosis.  The longtime former manager and player told ESPN.com and other media outlets that he is “finally feeling a little bit better” following a harrowing week that included time in the intensive care unit.  While Howe is “still not able to eat real good, taste buds are giving me a hard time,” the 73-year-old said “it’s just nice to be back home and hopefully continue to progress.”  On behalf of the MLBTR staff, it’s great to see Howe on the mend, and we wish him all the best in his recovery.

More from around baseball…

  • Former Rockies right-hander DJ Johnson signed with the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball over the offseason, and Johnson tells the Denver Post’s Kyle Newman that he also received interest from Japanese teams in each of the previous two winters.  The decision to play ball overseas didn’t come lightly to Johnson, though “it came down to, I had realized my dream of making the major leagues after all those years of grinding and sacrifice.  Now, it’s time to start taking care of my family.”  Johnson will earn close to $1MM for the 2020 season, considerably more than he was slated to make even if he had spent the whole year on Colorado’s Major League roster (even before player salaries were reduced as part of the league shutdown).  Similar seven-figure paydays could also be in the offing for Johnson, as Hiroshima holds a club option on his services for the 2021 season and the two sides have a mutual option for 2022.  Johnson posted a 4.88 ERA over 35 games and 31 1/3 innings with the Rockies in 2018-19, which represents the extent of his MLB experience over a nine-year career.  It’s a pretty solid resume for a player who wasn’t even drafted coming out of Western Oregon University, and Johnson is now looking forward to “embracing the culture change” of playing in Japan and helping the Carp win some games.
  • While Scott Boras is a household name in the baseball world, many fans may not be familiar with Boras’ early days as a ballplayer.  Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein looks back at Boras’ time as a member of the Cardinals’ and Cubs’ farm systems, as the future agent played four seasons (1974-77) before recurring knee problems ended his playing career.  Boras made it as far as the Double-A level, and a look at his Baseball Reference page reveals some impressive averages and on-base numbers for the future agent.
  • The Mets drafted David Wright with the 38th pick of the 2001 draft, beginning the long association between the Amazins and their future captain.  More indirectly, however, the Mets got Wright because they….drafted Jon Matlack fourth overall in 1967?  MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo takes an entertaining deep dive through the transactional path that began with the Matlack pick and ended with Mike Hampton leaving the Mets to sign with the Rockies in the 2000-01 offseason, thus netting New York the compensatory pick that resulted in Wright’s selection.

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