Thursday, November 27, 2008
The former Los Angeles Angels closer has curtailed negotiations with the Mets and other teams until Major League baseball winter meetings commence Dec. 15, according to a recent report by KFI Radio 1070 in Los Angeles. Though K-Rod still desires a five-year deal, the radio report indicated his bottom line now appears closer to $50 million -- a $30 million discount compared with earlier expectations.
Though Rodriguez saved 62 games with 77 strikeouts in 68.3 innings last year for the Angels, the team is expected to replace him with rising hurler Jose Arredondo, who permitted only 65 baserunners in 61 innings.
In addition to the Mets, the Indians and Tigers are expected to compete for Rodriguez's services once the meetings begin.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
But not an avid fantasy baseball player. Why? Here's his answer:
I'll tell you one thing -- I'll never play on-line myself because I don't really feel like being outsmarted and embarrassed. I say this with total candor and honesty. Particularly with Major League Baseball, if you look at the type of people who are running clubs now and then you go to the fantasy leagues and on-line gaming, they're really starting to blend into two. I've had many people say, "Hey, why don't you join my fantasy league baseball league with me?" And, quite frankly, I'm not really willing to expose myself to that arena because there are some really bright people out there.
Snap! Oh no he didn't!
Yes he did: Billy Beane just compared his fellow GMs unfavorably to ... you! And even worse, to ... me!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Barry Bonds is one.
Adam Dunn is the other.
That the Reds decided it was Dunn who was the problem with the team tells you all you need to know about the intelligence of the people running that team.
Of course, this is the same team that gives 300 at-bats to Corey Patterson and thinks Brandon Phillips is a cleanup hitter.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
"Don't call them anymore," Gammons quoted Sabathia as telling his representatives at Legend Sports Group. "I want to win."
And win he has, striking out 11 in seven innings in a 4-2 victory over the Pirates, bringing the Brewers into a tie with the Mets for a wild card berth with just four games left to play.
The Brewers will start Sabathia on three days rest again on Sunday to avoid having to pitch other struggling starters.
Sabathia's most recent outing was his second in a week, a pace that has prompted concern among his representatives that he may injure his arm and undermine his attempt to enter the free agent market to gain an unprecedented, six-year contract exceeding $15 million a year.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Yes, and the dog ate his homework.
Without intending to trivialize the genuine sadness of Zambrano's loss of a loved one, other reasons than a death in the family must be considered in order to get the full picture of
Zambrano's potential for leading the Cubs to the World Series.
True, Zambrano returned from the funeral in his native Venezuela suffering from lack of rest, a skewed biological clock and weakness in his lower extremities. That's certainly plausible.
And though he pitched a no-hitter in his previous outing, the fact remains that the 27-year-old, six-five, 250-pound fireballer has been been putting a great deal of stress on his multi-million-dollar right arm, and thus has been given anti-inflammatory medicines to ease discomfort in his shoulder. The medication suggests he has torn muscle fibers that potentially may continue to diminish his strength and durability between now and the end of this long, long season.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella subsequently has added two more starters to his rotation, the idea being to rest his regular starters in preparation for the post-season. Prudent? Yes. A red flag? Maybe.
One of the more telling statistics about Zambrano is his 7.43 ERA in August, after which the team noticed Zambrano throwing abnormally because of stress and fatigue. Though Zambrano continues to hold the league to less than a .250 batting average, with a 14-6 record and a 3.77 overall ERA, he has been giving up nearly a hit an inning in addition to a walk every other inning.
Averaging six inning per start in his 29 appearances, his overall performance must be considered superior, the question remains as to just exactly how much he has left between now and the end of October.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
And now fans are expected to believe that Crosby will be dealt in the off-season to make way for untested 2005 first round pick Cliff Pennington? Why? In the first place, no one wants Crosby, and in the second place, Pennington is even worse, with "bust" written all over him.
But even if Pennington should find himself over the winter -- a very big if -- who would want Crosby, who at 28 has been unable to stay healthy for even a single season since his rookie campaign. His series of injuries even include a broken back.
Just how bad is he? Consider that Dodgers scouts studied Crosby when star shortstop Rafael Furcal went down to an injury in the midst of this year's critical pennant race, and passed in favor of Royals minor league veteran Angel Berroa, the one-time top rookie who hit just .234 in his last major league season two years ago.
Yes, expect Bobby Crosby to hang around for the last year of his contract with the Athletics next season, not because he deserves to, but because there is no one to take his place, and worse, no one wants him.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
"Would you want to pay $15 million a year for a guy who doesn't pitch before the ninth inning (and) who has made the majority of his appearances with a lead of at least two runs in the ninth inning -- a comfort zone (in which) even average relievers will convert more than 90 percent?" asks Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci.
Verducci sees closers such as K-Rod as being not altogether exceptional, and certainly more commonplace than one might expect.
"Not once in his 68 appearances this year has he obtained more than three outs. He never has pitched with his team trailing, and only five times has he pitched with the game tied, and only seven times did he enter with a runner on," Verducci noted.
Dodgers porker Brad Penny, the guy who wears Hurley gear during post-game interviews (when he was good enough to warrant an interview) despite being from the number one hick state in the union (Oklahoma), made his much anticipated (by the Padres) return to the mound tonight.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Though a rising undertone throughout professional baseball has questioned the effectiveness of the five-man rotation, La Russa gave no indication that his innovation was anything other than a temporary measure to take advantage of schedule anomalies benefiting the team's best four starters: Adam Wainwright, Todd Wellemeyer, Braden Looper and Kyle Lohse.
But with La Russa having already instituted the revolutionary use of pitchers hitting in the No. 8 spot in the batting order, he might be as likely as any to try new ideas. It is the second time in three weeks that Duncan has trotted out the four-man schedule.
No. 5 starter Joel Piniero is the odd man out, with just one start in a month's time.
Speculation recently surfaced that Rangers President Nolan Ryan -- upon giving systemwide orders that all his pitchers attempt to pitch at least one inning deeper into games -- might be staging a return to the four-man scheme in use when Ryan and other starters commonly pitched 250-300 innings a season rather than the 200-inning limit targeted for today's hurlers.The 200-inning target was adopted to prevent arm troubles, but some observers have complained that the switch has resulted in more injuries, rather than fewer.
Duncan has been widely credited with engineering the successful comebacks by Lohse and Piniero, the return of Chris Carpenter from the disabled list, plus the conversion from relievers to starters by Wainwright, Wellemeyer and Looper. The team has opened contract negotiations to assure that Duncan returns next year.
Duncan has been with La Russa for 25 years.
Having given up five runs on four homers and six hits to the Cardinals before being knocked out in the fourth inning in his last outing, Johnson continued to feel worrisome shoulder discomfort when he threw on the side in Los Angeles Saturday morning.
Due to fatigue, he had been experiencing soreness for a week, a condition conspicuous to observers when they watched Johnson throw.
Because the team has elected to rest the 6-foot-10 lefty for one or two starts -- targeting him to pitch just four more games before the end of the season -- Johnson cannot be expected to return any sooner than when the Diamondbacks play the Reds next weekend. Therefore, he cannot possibly reach more than 298 regular season, career wins this season, and likely will have fewer.
Johnson -- who will observe his 45th birthday this week -- has 294 career victories.
Rookie Max Scherzer will take Johnson's spot in the rotation for now.
The good news is that the future Hall-of-Famer has been successfully recovering from far more serious trauma to his back and knee, chalking up 10 wins against nine losses with a 4.21 ERA so far this year, well exceeding the outlook many gave him last spring.
He had been experiencing pain for a week. Observers said Johnson's uneasiness was obvious when he threw.
Attributing the pain to fatigue, the team has elected to rest the 6-foot-10 lefty for one or two starts before targeting him to pitch four more games before the end of the season. Therefore, Johnson cannot be expected to return any sooner than when the Diamondbacks play the Reds next weekend.
Rookie Max Scherzer will take Johnson's spot in the rotation for now.
The good news is that the 44-year-old future Hall-of-Famer has been successfully recovering from far more serious trauma to his back and knee, chalking up 10 wins against nine losses with a 4.21 ERA so far this year.
He still has a shot at 30 starts by season's end, easily surpassing the outlook many gave him last spring, but now must wait until 2008 before before being able to reach the 300-win plateau. He has 294.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
"My thing is that you get tired of being away from home as much," the lifelong Tampa resident told The Detroit News in a recent question-answer session. "Being away for eight months is tough. At the end of the day, nobody knows if Tampa's going to win this year or win next year. But every player wants to play at home."
Sheffield -- who has clashed with close personal friend and manager Jim Leyland over being relegated to a designated hitter role instead of right field -- has been put on waivers but has found no takers with two more years left on his $14 million annual contract. Even if another team wants him, he is unsure he wants to play two more years, though he will come back for 2009, he said.
"...If I do play, if it ain't here, it could possibly be there (in Florida) -- or somewhere else," Sheffield said. "Who knows? I'm not ruling anything out. And I might not even want to play (two years from now). I might just want to stay home, because I have a lot of things going on outside of baseball that I have to pay attention to."
Sheffield has battled shoulder trouble all season, and has been held to just 340 at-bats. He predicted he would hit the seven home runs he needs to reach the 500-plateau this month. He will observe his 40th birthday in November.
Gregg, 30, had kept quiet about a painful knee injury that prevented him from pitching effectively over the past two weeks, and now must take the blame for costing his team a playoff berth by blowing four critical saves in a row.
The Marlins have fallen seven games back, with little or no chance to catch the Mets or Phillies.
Gregg's most conspicuous failure came last week when he surrendered a game-winning grand slam to Carlos Beltran of the Mets. Altogether, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound righty had given up 12 runs in his last seven innings for a total of four losses in four outings, bringing his total to nine blown saves on the year.
Fans were furious with manager Fredi Gonzalez for continuing to hand Gregg the ball when he obviously was no longer effective. But how could Gonzalez have been expected not to pitch Gregg if Gregg refused to level with him?
"....Don't you think it would have been nice for Gregg to tell Gonzalez the knee was a trouble spot before taking the mound?" asked Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero. "Gonzalez sent Gregg out to the mound seven times since Aug. 15, usually with the game hanging in the balance, without having complete information about his pitcher's health.
"It's one thing if Gregg had said something...Then Gonzalez could have made a decision...knowing all the facts. But Gregg put Gonzalez in a difficult spot by saying -- well, nothing."
Friday, August 29, 2008
The 30-year-old cleanup hitter must be considered less than whole if for no other reason than his rustiness following a near two-month layoff for elbow surgery. He also will need an unspecified amount of rest, depending on how he feels.
Martinez now has been slated to share at-bats with backup catcher Kelly Shoppach, as Shoppach's play offensively and defensively has earned him a significant if not a majority of playing time behind the plate. Shoppach largely has been hitting between .260 and .270 with 17 homers.
Martinez -- who played first base and singled and walked before being lifted for a pinch runner in his first game back -- will see time as designated hitter, catcher and first baseman.
Martinez went down on June 11, undergoing surgery two days later to remove bone chips from his right elbow. It later developed that Martinez had been fighting mounting soreness in the elbow for some two years until it became unbearable.
With Martinez displaying little or no power when the season opened, the Indians blamed his struggles on a pulled hamstring. While possibly true, the claim certainly was an effective and convenient cover for the fact that Martinez was having trouble not only at the plate but with his throwing arm, a disclosure that would have led to an open season on stealing.
The hamstring story was suspicious because catchers' hamstrings are stretched more than any other professional athlete and rarely rupture or fray.
Though Martinez hit .300 with 25 homers in 2007, he had been a shadow of his former self as he struggled with elbow pain, having failed to hit a single homer in nearly 100 at-bats before going on the disabled list.
The hard-throwing lefty has been approaching the breaking point of his smallish, 5-foot-10, 37-year-old frame, with the only wonder that his excessively violent throwing motion has not caused him to reach this point sooner.
While the Mets watch as deadlines have lapsed for his anticipated return, Wagner is playing catch in addition to other rehabilitation exercises to reduce discomfort and swelling in the elbow of his throwing arm. The objective is to build up healthy tissue to, in effect, replace strength lost because of permanently ruptured or frayed strands of tendon.
Anti-inflammatory medicines help reduce discomfort and swelling, which have been tenacious.
Wagner -- with another year remaining on his $43 million contract -- remains invaluable to the Mets' divisional race. He was among the league leaders with 27 saves when he went down, though he has blown seven.
Expect him to make every effort to return by the end of September as long as there's a point to it.
Morrow -- being converted from a relief role -- will appear in his sixth game for the Triple A Tacoma Raniers on Sunday before being promoted to watch Carlos Silva pitch in what may be among the last of Silva's appearances as a starter this year.
Silva is finally healthy after coming off the disabled list.
As part of a conditioning program to enable him to pitch deeper into games, Morrow has been stretched out to some 70 pitches in previous Pacific Coast League appearances, and has been given a minimum target of 80 pitches for his final minor league tuneup, the team told MLBnewsonline.
So far, Morrow has been hammered at Tacoma, where he has failed to reach the fifth inning in five appearances while sporting a 6.75 ERA with two losses. His strikeouts have been consistent, however, and the team prefers to believe that his 1.47 ERA in 36 innings of relief with the Mariners more accurately reflects his ability.
Morrow pitches fluidly in the high '90s, his fastball occasionally touching triple digits. His fastball is deadly when matched to a changeup clocked in the low '80s, and has enabled the team to project him to eventually become half of a deadly one-two power punch when paired with fireballing ace Felix Hernandez.
The decision to promote Morrow effectively locks him into the expanded, 40-man roster, along with fellow Raniers teammates Jorge Sosa and Ryan Feierabend. Feierabend has already made the rotation.
Silva -- a Twins castoff -- had been signed with an anticipation that he could offer the team complete games, eating up 200 innings for the season. With an ERA topping 6.00, however, Silva frequently has seen an early hook and will be fortunate to tally even 150 innings for the season, a major disappointment.
Silva -- a sinker baller who has been brilliant when able to hit his spots -- likely will be given a few more shots to prove he is worthy of his rotation slot for the remainder of the season, with starters Miguel Batista and R.A. Dickey also potential candidates for demotion to the bullpen to make room for the debut of youngsters, depending on whether lefty Jerrod Washburn is traded.
Silva gave up nine earned runs in fewer than four innings in his last outing, then complained of right triceps tendinitis.
But that was more than 50 pounds ago.
In fact, over the past five years the 22-year-old South American has ballooned from 175 pounds to nearly 250, making him a formidable catcher -- his former and present secondary position -- but a defensively limited third baseman, shortstop and first baseman, all of which he can play in addition to backstop.
And also unlike Wade Boggs, Sandoval is ambidextrous and not only can switch-hit but can also throw left-handed if he chooses, giving him a distinct advantage making pickoff attempts from the plate to first base, depending on whether he wears a left-handed or right-handed glove.
Just exactly where he will fit in on the diamond remains to be seen. But in the meantime, the Giants will take full advantage of his bat, which during his limited introduction is producing at a .372 clip with a .535 slugging percentage, even though a number of his hits might have gone for doubles if only he could waddle around the basepaths a little faster.
Whether Sandoval remains at third base depends partly on whether he can bring his weight under control, and whether he can find a power stroke. Though power has never been a part of his game, he managed one homer in every 22 of his 175-bats at Double A Connecticut this season.
It's not difficult to project Wade Boggs type numbers for him over the remainder of his career, but unfortunately he will top 300 pounds by his 30th birthday if something isn't done soon.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Ryan -- who once threw some 240 pitches in a single game -- has sent word to minor league camps that he wants each prospect to increase their personal pitch count targets to last at least one more inning per outing, thus projecting them into the seventh and eighth innings of games, according to recent comments by acquaintance, broadcaster and former Rangers manager Kevin Kennedy.
The move has prompted unconfirmed speculation in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex that Ryan is eyeing a return to the familiar four-man rotation used during much of the 61-year-old strikeout king's career. Kennedy believes the switch to the five-year rotation and other more modern innovations are the result of "copy cat" strategists.
With the team continuing to hold its tenacious lead in the American League eastern division, attendance has climbed 33 percent and merchandise sales are up 75 percent, according to The St. Petersburg Times.
Though Baldelli recently hit his first home run and is batting .300 in his first 20 at-bats, he continues to feel fatigued, so much so that he holds himself out of practice to save energy for game action, he told The St. Petersburg Times.
"Playing two games in three days, playing in the field, was a little rough on my body," Baldelli said. "...It was difficult. I'm not going to say it was easy."
Baldelli has played the field but is being limited largely to pinch hitting and starting as designated hitter against lefties. He continues to feel tired not only because of his extended layoff, but because of medication he is taking to hold off the manifestations of his rare muscle affliction.
Baldelli went on the disabled list March 28 with a mitochondrial disorder that affects the chemical composition of the blood stream, thus slowing muscle recovery after activity.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
In a weekend outing at Allentown, Duncan was five four nine with two homers, two doubles, and seven RBI.
Though the Yankees’ chances for a playoff berth appear all but dead, the team has yet to officially run up the white flag and Duncan will be a handy playing piece should the team become hot and re-enter the race.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The most recent results of such evaluations occurred with the demotion of righty Luis Mendoza, who likely will join Scott Feldman, Matt Harrison and Tommy Hunter as candidates for the remaining No. 4 or No. 5 rotation spots next spring. All under 24, they have been prematurely pressed into action to fill voids left by injuries or performance failures, most notably that of No. 1 starter Kevin Millwood.
It was the second time Upton has been disciplined in as many weeks, most recently failing to play crisply in an attempt to turn a double play, and having dogged it running out a grounder on Aug. 6.
Upton -- who will observe his 24th birthday on Wednesday -- is hitting a mediocre .264, but his more than .370 on-base percentage has enabled him to steal 36 bags.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Though the 37-year-old one-time Dodgers star had been released by the Nationals July 31 after hitting only .230 in 46 games, he had knocked out 11 hits 26 at- bats against Pacific Coast League pitching since agreeing to a minor league contract with Albuquerque. Lo Duca will complement Marlins starter Matt Treanor, who recently returned from the disabled list.
Lo Duca is best remembered for his career year with the 2001 Dodgers, when he hit .320 with 25 homers, benchmarks he has never approached since. With his defensive skills also in decline, his reputation in the twilight of his career has been somewhat mixed.
Struggling with elbow pain, the 42-year-old lefty was unable to achieve much more than 80-mph on his fastball, and he immediately returned to the disabled list to await a probable examination of his torn flexor tendon by famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
It could mean the end of his career.
"It's a little sore now," Glavine told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "(I'll) see how it feels tomorrow and the next day. It feels the same as it felt in my two rehab starts."
For the season, Glavine is 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA, and with this latest trouble is the third member of the big three in the Braves rotation to go down succession, John Smoltz and Tim Hudson having been disabled with season-ending surgery. Moreover, Mike Hampton remains a question mark, having surrendered five hits and six runs in four innings in his last outing against the Diamondbacks.
The Braves have called up Matt DeSalvo from Triple A Richmond to replace Glavine, but as a reliever he is no solution in the team's effort to fill out the rotation.
No sooner than being cut by the Nationals for lack of productivity, the one-time Dodgers star catcher arrived at Triple A Albuquerque with a flourish, knocking out 11 hits in his first 26 at-bats for a .423 average. If Lo Duca keeps it up, he should gain some attention from Marlins front office executives, who are carrying him as a deep reserve during the ongoing pennant race.
But not necessarily.
The Marlins have been content to let McPherson -- the former Angels third baseman of the future -- waste away in the minors all season; this despite his 40 homers, three triples, 17 doubles, 70 walks and 91 RBI in just 399 at-bats.
Run production in the Pacific Coast League must be somewhat discounted, as the desert air tends to inflate offensive numbers. Moreover, McPherson also has been held back because he is playing behind Jorge Cantu, who is in the midst of a career year playing third base with the parent club.
Playing in Albuquerque, McPherson labors under the terms of a minor league contract, a distinct discount from what he would be paid if called to the majors. The team, however, reportedly has denied that money is a consideration, despite the fact that McPherson might have come in handy from time to time throughout the year, most notably when a designated hitter was needed during interleague play.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Though his average for the season sits at .258, Milledge is hitting at a .306 clip since coming off the disabled list, with five homers and three triples in 75 at-bats.
For those needing a refresher course, the Mess traded Milledge for off-and-on injured outfielder Ryan Church, part-time catcher Brian Schneider, a Marv Thornberry rookie card and a half dozen slightly used Chesapeake Bay crab pots after Milledge appeared in a rap song by childhood friend Manny D in which the words "ho" and "niggah" were uttered.
That he was merely 21 when the song was recorded perhaps gives him a slight excuse for the offensive language, but no one shall ever forgive him for the unspeakable crime against nature of high-fiving fans along the third baseline rail after hitting a homer.
John Rocker could not be reached for comment.
Therefore, the team must find a place holder such as Jerrod Saltalamacchia of the Rangers or Mike Napoli of the Angels, according to Peter Gammons commenting during a Boston Globe question-and-answer session.
Either would be a bit of a comedown.
"Remember, the average production from the catching position per team as of this morning was a .251 ave. with 10 homers and 52 RBI. The 2005 Jason Varitek is not going to be out there," Gammons said.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Ironically both Huff and Winn have historically been strong second half performers. Where Winn might go is anyone's guess, but with the Rays needing a stopgap replacement for injured rookie third baseman Evan Longoria, would the team once again open the door for Huff's return to Tampa?
That gleam reflecting off the forward deck of that sinking Yankee clipper ship on the East River Waterfront is coming from the hardened steel sabre of Yankees Co-Chairman Hank Steinbrenner, who watched as Cashman failed to claim Indians hurler Paul Byrd off the waiver wire, thus allowing Byrd to fall to Boston.
How convenient for the Red Sox, whose precarious five-game wild-card lead over the Yankees had just been been seriously jeopardized by the loss of starter Tim Wakefield to his all-too-familiar shoulder problems.
What can Cashman be thinking?
All the Red Sox had to pay was a bag of balls, six cans of chowder and a David Clyde rookie card for Byrd, a playoff experienced, veteran starter with a 1.46 ERA and 4-0 record since the All-Star break. Though 37, Byrd already all season had been a perfectly serviceable option, but suddenly is even more valuable since discovering he can stop surrendering homers by not tipping his pitches.
This is Cashman's second dubious decision, since he, Gene Michael and Stump Merrill were believed to have ganged up on Steinbrenner to talk him out of signing free agent home run king Barry Bonds.
Cashman opted instead to trade for Xavier Nady of the Pirates. There's nothing particularly , wrong with Nady -- and Bonds comes with his share of baggage -- but Cashman had to give up prospect Jeff Karstens to acquire Nady, and all Karstens has done since leaving the Yankees is pitch 15 scoreless innings, including a two-hit complete game.
Bonds would have cost Cashman nothing more than a major league, season pro-rated minimum of $150,000, yet would have been an unmistakable force in the middle of the lineup, providing a desperately needed spark in the Yankees flat, demoralized lineup.
Hopefully Cashman has an explanation that will become evident in the next few days. It had better be good.
Monday, August 11, 2008
That's what gumshoe Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe has learned while awaiting for the Red Sox to face the Rangers this week, while unrelated reports have described the all-time strikeout king as being insufferably frustrated with his team's league worst 5.27 ERA.
If Sabathia and Sheets cannot be had, Ryan likely will trade with the Blue Jays for A.J. Burnett.
"It's a shame the Rangers have given away Justin Duchscherer, Chris Young, Armando Galarraga, and John Danks in various trades or they'd have a pretty good staff," Cafardo said.
It's also a shame that the Rangers play in perhaps the worst hitters' park in the league, with few marque pitchers likely to seriously consider playing there.
Cruz -- who failed to impress during earlier big-league opportunities -- has finally begun to figure out Pacific League pitching with a .344 average, 37 homers and 98 RBI in 366 at-bats with the RedHawks, swamping the productivity of such teammates as veteran Kevin Mench and former No. 19 overall pick John Mayberry Jr.
Boggs may be forced to the disabled list if pain in his shoulder continues to persist, hampering his ability to reach home plate, third base and cutoff men on throws from the outfield. A decision likely will come within days.
Boggs has been undergoing rehabilitative drills as the team prepares to face the Red Sox in a three-game tilt this week.
The minor-league pitcher, named now, is Dallas Buck. Dallas Buck? Who is this guy, a holdover from 1970s porn? Dallas Buck? Does he have a bushy mustache and a chestfull of thick black hair?
Who is Dallas Buck? He's a Single-A pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery last year. Oh, now I get it. Maybe the Reds just wanted to acquire the guy who's in the lead to star in the movie version of Magnum, P.I..
Dallas Buck. Kinda makes you wonder what the names are of the "two players to be named." If it was up to me they'd be named Dirk Stone and Ridge Thacker.
Reds fans just better hope they aren't name Moe and Larry.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
With veterans Aaron Rowand and Bengie Molina hitting behind him, Lewis theoretically will see a more predictable variety of pitches, especially a lot of fastballs in the zone. The idea is that this will help Lewis cut down his strikeouts, and realize his five-tool potential with 20-30 homers, 40-50 bags and an average in the .300 range.
The unfortunate sidelining of starter Orlando Hudson -- likely to miss much or all of the rest of the season after sustaining a wrist injury in a collision with Braves baserunner Brian McCann -- comes at an ideal time for Burke, as Burke is in the midst of a rare hot streak.
Once upon a time the fair-haired second baseman of the future for the Astros -- Burke has squandered most of his chances until now, barely keeping ahead of the "bust" label. But as it happens, the young is speedster hitting at a better than .300 clip in limited action over his last 10 games and maybe -- just maybe -- is finally beginning to figure things out.
See whether manager Bob Melvin has the daring to help Burke build on something while he has a chance, or succumbs to the seduction of reserve Augie Ojeda's leather, despite Ojeda's more limited upside.
Ironically, Hudson's injury came just as the team's decision makers determined that the team had enough depth to trade top middle infield prospect Emilio Bonifacio to the Nationals. Of course, who could blame them? Having missed most of the end of last season, Hudson wouldn't miss the end of the season for the second year in a row, now would he?
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Attempting to play with the pain of a sprained left ankle sustained in a base running mishap, Uggla's average for the season has fallen to .261 largely due to a production drought that saw him go 4-36 from June 28 to July 24. Though his discomfort has been severe enough that at one point he even sat out for 11 games, he has refused to go on the disabled list.
While presenting himself as game-ready his abilities remain severely impaired as evidenced over the past 30 days, a period in which he has hit just .107 with 3 homers.
At this rate he may as well sit out anyway. It's puzzling why the Mariners--in the midst in a playoff fight--don't move Jorge Cantu to second base and bring up Dallas McPherson from Triple A Albuquerque to place third base at least until Uggla once again can return to being a potent force.
Friday, August 08, 2008
At the same time, former starter Miguel Batista has been demoted to the bullpen, leaving a total of three holes in the Mariners rotation with the loss of injured ace Erik Bedard. Look for Wood or Rowland-Smith to claim at least one of the spots, though Woods seems to be holding down a bullpen position for now.
The spate of personnel moves appear to set the stage for the trade of Washburn to the Yankees, or perhaps to another suitor as other teams may try to claim him.
Though the non-waiver trading deadline has passed, Washburn would ordinarily have a high probability of going unclaimed because he is owed one more year on his four-year $37.5 million contract, which initially had been worth more than $50 million with incentives.
But any number of teams might find room for him -- not only to block the Yankees -- but to take advantage of the veteran lefty's recent rounding into form, as Washburn has a 3.24 ERA over his last 10 starts, games in which even the underperforming Mariners have managed an impressive six wins.
Washburn's career mark stands at 98-97.
Morrow -- the former UCLA starter whose fastball occasionally tops out at 98 mph -- is a major puzzle piece in the team's effort to fill the vacuum to be left by Washburn, with Wood and Smith-Rowland also looking to advance from Tacoma as the 25-man roster revamped before expanding to 40 players Sept. 1.
The team anticipates Morrow will be ready to start for the parent club well before the end of next month, though he has yet to throw more than 50 pitches in any of his minor league appearances.
Bedard meanwhile is expected to miss time for at least another three weeks. Though the Mariners have maintained loyalty to rotation mainstay Carlos Silva, it would appear the team would have little to lose by sitting Silva in favor of offering youngsters more chances to pitch, leaving yet another opening in the rotation, even if just for a start or two.
Lefties are hitting .344 against Silva, righties .300, as he has failed to last more than six innings in two of his last three starts.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The screen capture above is from the Yahoo front page, and it touts the fact that Ozzie Guillen has revealed one of baseball's most closely held secrets: Pitchers sometimes intentionally throw at opposing batters! And, sometimes, managers order pitchers to do so! Shocking!
This incredible revelation got me to thinking: There must be other secrets hidden within major league baseball. What are they? Like any intrepid reporter, I hit the phones -- haranguing, hitting up, browbeating, pleading, cajoling and even bribing sources all thoughout baseball to give up other secrets.
And they did give up secrets. They gave up 10 of them.
Top 10 Other Secrets of Major League Baseball
10. Bud Selig sleeps in a coffin.
9. When players and managers talk about "the book," they're talking about Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.
8. Vin Scully died in 1998.
7. Lockerroom hot tubs are filled with tobacco juice.
6. Ted Williams' frozen head is kept in the freezer in the Red Sox lockerroom, behind the Popsicles.
5. George Brett puts pine tar on his hemorrhoids.
4. Ken Griffey Jr. misunderstood Barry Bonds' instructions, rubbed "the Clearasil" on his skin.
3. Players don't "adjust themselves" because their cup actually needs adjusting, but just because it feels good.
2. Don Zimmer and his brood live under the front porch at George Steinbrenner's house.
1. All the players have slept with Madonna.
Monday, August 04, 2008
In the test McCann was asked simple questions like: Who is president of the United States? What is the date or your birth? What is your address? What is your mother's maiden name?
McCann's ability to answer promptly and easily was then compared to an identical test he took at the beginning of the season. Because his responsiveness matched favorably, McCann will be cleared to return to the backstop after being limited to pinch hitting only.
Concussions otherwise known literally as brain bruises -- even relatively mild ones such as that experienced by McCann -- are not to be taken lightly, especially considering this season's experience with Mets outfielder Ryan Church. Church missed a number of games after suffering post-concussive dizziness, nausea, headaches and other manifestations, and had to return to the sidelines after several truncated attempts to return to action.
Fortunately for McCann, his symptoms were limited to little more than cranial discomfort, which has passed. But for others such as former Giants catcher Mike Matheny and Brewers outfielder Cory Koskie, post-concussive syndrome not only put an end to their careers, but continues to impact their lives.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
"He looked great to me," Jones told The Daily Oklahoman after Penny faced Jones' Red Hawks recently in a final tuneup before returning to action. "We got some hits off him, but it was a challenge.”
More than 8,000 fans turned out to see the 30-year-old Broken Arrow High School standout return to action with Triple A Las Vegas. By at least one count, Penny threw 67 pitches with 50 going for strikes, some topping out at 97-98 mph. He lost 4-3, but he struck out four in four innings in his first action against live batters since mid June.
"I'm glad I got to let a few go,” said Penny, who understandably was a bit tentative in trying to come back from an inflamed shoulder. "...I've got to work on my split. That was my first time against live hitting, and I hung a few splits and a couple of curve balls. But overall, I thought my curve ball was pretty good.”
Jones could not disagree.
"I thought he threw very well,” Jones said. "He hit his spots. He was throwing his breaking ball for strikes and locking our hitters up."
Las Vegas manager Lorenzo Bundy noted some late inning fatigue.
"He labored a little bit those last couple of innings, but he seems to turn it up a notch when he gets men on base,” Bundy said. "It's been a long time since he faced hitters. Overall, it was a pretty good outing. That's a good hitting ball club over there, so it was a nice test for him.”
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was quoted by The SportsXchange as describing Francis as having a good fastball and a lively changeup.
Francis went 1-0 in three minor league starts, surrendering just one run in little more than 14 innings. After going 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA last season, Francis has been a shadlow of his former self this season, going 3-7 with a 5.67 ERA in 17 starts before going on the disabled list with soreness.
Friday, August 01, 2008
It would seem that Wilson -- hitting .274 with 12 doubles in 241 at-bats after missing much of the season with injury -- likely will remain a Buc for a while yet.
The team was able to deal reliever Arthur Rhodes, but trading becomes more difficult now because players can be claimed by other teams before they can be dealt. Still, the Mariners remain motivated because of an abundance of expendable personnel, including but not limited to Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre, Jerrod Washburn, Raul Ibanez, J.J. Putz, Jose Vidro and Jeremy Reed.
Observers have advance the theory that Pelekoudas has been unsuccessful so far because he asks too steep a price.
"It's great news,'' Moss, 24, told The Providence Journal after learning he would go to Pittsburgh. "Obviously, I love this (Red Sox) organization. It's the only one I've known. I've basically grown up in it. I've been here for six years, since I was 18 years old. But at the same time I see how it is up there. Maybe it's an opportunity to get a little more time than I would have here. I think it all worked out.''
The Red Sox -- in the past known for suppressing opportunities for younger players -- has been advancing its prospects since Theo Epstein took over as general manager. But as an established team, opportunities for newcomers are generally fewer than with the constantly rebuilding Pirates.
Moss projects as a valuable prospect not only because of defensive skills but his pedigree at lower minor league levels, having hit .339 and .422 with 15 homers in two Single A stops four years ago for a batting title.
In addition to Moss, the deal included Manny Ramirez being dealt to the Dodgers, Jason Bay to Boston and Andy LaRoche to the Pirates.
Moss was practicing at McCoy Stadium in Providence when manager Ron Johnson told him he had been traded just as the trading deadline.
"I had no clue," Moss told The Journal. "I honestly didn't think I was going to be traded. It was weird. It was five o'clock...I knew something was up once he was calling me in.''.
Nightengale said the teams had agreed on Andy LaRoche, but that the Pirates were insisting on Bryan Morris or Chin-Lung Hu. Ultimately, McCourt made the decision to include Morris, and the deal got done. Ned Colletti can probably start looking for a new job (not as a GM).
The deal gives the Dodgers a big, mid-lineup slugger in Ramirez, 36, who becomes a free-agent at the end of the year with no options. Meanwhile Bay, 29, goes to the Red Sox and will remain under Boston's control until the end of next year.
The Pirates received from the Dodgers third baseman Andy LaRoche, 22, brother of first baseman Adam LaRoche, and pitching prospect Bryan Morris, 21. From the Red Sox the Pirates received prospects Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss, both 24.
Asked which of the three teams benefited the most, poll respondents said the Dodgers, 51 percent, the Red Sox, 26 percent and the Pirates 24 percent.
In addition to the personnel moves, the Red Sox also are paying $7 million of the $20 million still owed to Ramirez this year.
Though reaction has been mixed in Boston, many fans expressed gladness that Ramirez and his difficult personality had been purged, a reaction somewhat reminiscent of the reaction in Los Angeles when often overrated Dodgers outfielder J.D. Drew opted out of his contract to go to the Red Sox.