Posted on: June 7, 2010 12:27 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:29 am

Sweeney latest bad news for M's points out that the Seattle Mariners have a lower team on-base percentage (.316) and slugging percentage (.350) than the average shortstop in the American League. Ouch.

The Mariners, a trendy preseason pick to win the American League West with Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee topping the rotation, knew they were going to rely on pitching and defense. But they didn't count on being as flat-out miserable at the plate as they are. Their OPS of .666 is worst in the league and at least 25 points worse than everyone except the hapless Orioles .

Now it's being reported that DH Mike Sweeney will go on the DL today because of lingering back problems, with first baseman Mike Carp being called up to take his spot. Sweeney hasn't exactly set the world on fire this season, but his .258 average is 13 points higher than the team average and 17 points higher than the league average for DH.

Today the Mariners embark on a 10-game road trip after being swept at home by the Angels over the weekend, a sweep that left them eight games back in the division. Oh yeah, and the most popular player in the history of the city walked away last week without so much as a tip of the cap.

Tough times for Mariners fans.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 7, 2010 11:42 am

Hamilton taps out

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is expected to be back in the lineup tonight against Seattle after sitting out Sunday following a cortisone injection to reduce pain in his sore left knee.

That's good news for Rangers fans and Hamilton fantasy owners, considering the way Hamilton has been swinging the bat lately. He went 10-for-22 with two homers in five games last week and had an OPS of 1.319.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says Hamilton has eliminated the "toe tap" from his swing, which could be a key to his turnaround from a rough start (Hamilton was batting .205 after the first 13 games of the season, and now is at .301).

The toe tap is that little step backward some players use to start their swing, used as a timing mechanism and as part of the weight shift. Some players find it helpful, but it lengthens the process of swinging and thus shortens a hitter's reaction window. Hamilton has gone back and forth on the toe tap several times in his career.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 7, 2010 10:46 am

Sherrill fires back

Dodgers reliever George Sherrill didn't appreciate a reprimand he got last week from Major League Baseball, and he's making sure everyone knows it.

Sherrill got a warning letter from Bob Watson, MLB vice president of on-field operations, saying he took 45 seconds too long to throw his eight warmup pitches when he came into a game against Arizona on April 14. As reported by , Sherrill taped the letter to his locker, visible to reporters, with this hand-written response: "With more strikes called, the game is faster."

"The thing is, you sit there and watch a game, and guys are throwing strikes on top of strikes, and (the umpires) are not calling them," Sherrill said. "That's why games are taking so long, not because a guy has a little extra time to warm up."

Should be interesting to see what the strike zone looks like the next time Sherrill takes the mound.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 7, 2010 9:31 am

Getting ready for draft day

Welcome to the MLB Facts and Rumors blog. Go ahead and bookmark us now, because this is going to be an indispensable stop for any baseball fan.

Today is a light schedule on the scoreboard – nine games on the docket – but it's one of the biggest days on the baseball calendar. The First-Year Player Draft, the culmination of a year's work for hundreds of scouts and executives, gets under way tonight in Secaucus, N.J.

For the second year, the draft will be televised live, in its entirety, on MLB Network . The preview show starts at 6, with the first pick set for about 7:15 p.m. EDT.

Also for the second consecutive year, the Washington Nationals will be picking first. On the eve of the highly anticipated debut of last year's No. 1, right-hander Stephen Strasburg , the Nationals are expected to make Bryce Harper the top pick in 2010. Harper is a left-handed catcher/outfielder with phenomenal power – he batted .443 with 31 home runs and 98 RBI in 66 games this season for the College of Southern Nevada. And he's just 17. Here's some background on Harper and the buzz surrounding him from Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.

Here is the complete draft order, and and have mock drafts up.

Even the best mock drafts usually bear little resemblance to what actually happens beyond the first few picks. And even after the picks are made, it's usually years before a draft can be assessed.

Sometimes you take Steve Chilcott No.1 when you could have had Reggie Jackson . Sometimes you get Albert Pujols in the 19th round. For all the work that goes into it, baseball's draft is ultimately an uncertain enterprise. Don't get too excited about the supposed sure thing your team drafts in the first round today, and have fun learning about their other picks and perhaps identifying a Mike Piazza (round 62 in 1988) in the rough.

Category: MLB
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