The Twilight Strike Zone

We have another afternoon FOX game today, which means a free night to get into all sorts of trouble.

Not me, of course, but everyone else.

Shortstop Manny Machado will speak to reporters via conference call today at 3 p.m. after signing his $5.25 million contract yesterday in Miami. He’ll be introduced to the Camden Yards crowd on Sept. 3 or 4. Make him feel at home.

Umpire Jeff Nelson was forced to skip breakfast today. The waitress brought his food, but he couldn’t work the plate.

JDB e-mailed me a chart from showing the strike zone plot during Nick Markakis’ sixth-inning at-bat against Rangers left-hander C.J. Wilson. Only one of the strikes - the second one - was borderline. The other two were outside the zone.

You be the judge whether they were even close.

Feel free to add your own finish to “Jeff Nelson’s strike zone was so big...” I already used the dugout roof last night. Another reader was clever enough to link it to Jim Johnson’s rehab appearance at Double-A Bowie.

Speaking of which...

You already know that Johnson threw a perfect inning last night with one strikeout. Here’s a quote from Johnson, courtesy of the Baysox’s game recap:

“The physical part has come back, but it’s more the feel part of pitching - thinking less on the mound. When you’re out there at game speed and you don’t have to think, you just think about, ‘I want to throw this pitch to a certain location.’ Right now I have to give myself some reminders, just basic stuff, but it comes with repetition.

“Today I didn’t feel all that good. I got away with a couple mistakes that I wasn’t really happy with, but I’m looking to do better tomorrow.”

Johnson will throw another inning tonight, work out for two days and pitch back-to-back games at Bowie on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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