Tag:Indians
Posted on: August 31, 2011 10:00 am
 

Pepper: Concussion continues to haunt Morneau

Justin Morneau

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Justin Morneau said the concussion symptoms that will keep him out until at least Friday are "nothing like" what he went through last year, and I'm sure that's true.

But the fact that Morenau began experiencing those symptoms (a headache and fogginess) on Monday and still had the remnants of the symptoms on Tuesday are scary. There's so little we know about concussions, there's little understanding of how our brains react to being move inside its casing and how long it can affect a human.

Morneau has had plenty of other problems this season, but until this week concussions hadn't been part of his problem -- or at least that we know. That's the thing with concussions, there's so much we don't know and we may never know. Science is a wonderful thing, but it takes time. 

What is impressive is how the Twins have handled this -- they didn't rush Morneau back last season when they could have used him and they're taking all precautions this season. I hope this doesn't last the rest of Morneau's career, but I think it'd hardly be a surprise if it did.

There was a lot of attention to concussions last year in the NFL season, but this isn't just a football problem or even just a sports problem, it's a medical problem that we should all take a lot of interest in and make sure we understand as much as possible. Those who say it's just "ringing a bell" and players need to be "tougher" are just ignorant and it's a mindset that must be changed. [Star Tribune]

Game-changer: Technology isn't just great for fans -- the players are using technology in many ways to improve their games. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark takes an in-depth look at the way baseball is using technology, from iPads to using stats to predict pitching patterns. It's well worth the read.

Elite company: Marlins right-hander Javier Vazquez became the 30th pitch in major-league history to record 2,500 strikeouts in Tuesday's game victory over the Mets. [Miami Herald]

Rehab updates: Grady Sizemore will start his rehab assignment on Wednesday [MLB.com], while Boston's Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew started their rehab assignments on Tuesday -- Drew went 3 for 3 and Youkilis went 1 for 4 with a walk and reached on an error. [Dan Hoard]

Price of success: Remember Pirate Fever earlier this summer? Well, Pittsburgh fans are going to pay for it as the team is raising its prices for 2012. That said, the increase is modest from an average of $15.30 to $16.11 per ticket. The Pirates had the lowest average ticket price in baseball (in one of the best settings) for 2011 and will still be close, if not at, the bottom next season. The Pirates hadn't raised prices in a decade. The Pirates said most tickets would stay the same, decrease or increase by $3 or less. The dugout box seats will be raised by $5 -- but only $2 more than they were in 2002. [Pittsburgh Tribube-Review]

Favorite things: The Tigers wives put together auction gift baskets filled with players' favorite things every year, and you can learn a lot about some of baseball's best -- like Justin Verlander likes crappy food and crappy movies, Ryan Raburn loves killin' stuff, why Daniel Schlereth smells funny and that Phil Coke uses "liquid titanium massage lotion." [H/T MLive.com]

R and RBI: Curtis Granderson is leading the big leagues in both runs and RBI -- a feat that has been done just 19 times before, six times by Babe Ruth. [Baseball-Reference.com]

Wakefield pushed back: Tim Wakefield's seemingly never-ending search for his 200th win will be delayed a bit, as Red Sox manager Terry Francona told the knuckleballer that he's skipping his turn in the rotation for a turn. Andrew Miller will start Friday against Texas instead of Wakefield. Wakefield is 0-3 with a 4.97 ERA in seven starts since his winning No. 199. [Boston Globe]

Call ups: The clubhouse at Great American Ball Park could get pretty crowded. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said "quite a few" players will get called up when the rosters expand. The most heralded is catcher Devin Mesoraco, who Evan wrote about Tuesday. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

In-flight entertainment: You may be able to watch baseball games live on your phone on a flight. [Los Angeles Times]

Father-son show: Former Met Howard Johnson, 50, will play alongside his son, Glen, for the independent Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League on Sunday and Monday. [New York Daily News]

Cool card: Check out these awesome baseball cards fans got when they went to a My Morning Jacket concert in Philadelphia last week. Very, very cool. [UniWatch Blog]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 28, 2011 2:15 am
 

Verlander's win total depends on number of starts

Justin VerlanderBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Justin Verlander's most impressive stat on Sunday was his 20th victory, a mark no other pitcher has reached this season and just three pitchers reached a season ago.

The Tigers' right-hander now has his first 20-win season in his career, after finishing with 19 in 2009, tied for the most in baseball. As Danny Knobler pointed out, he's the first to reach the 20-win barrier before August since Curt Schilling did it in 2002. Schilling finished that season with 23 wins -- one behind teammate Randy Johnson for the most in baseball that year.

How wins will Verlander have when the 2011 season is done?

At this point -- when he's won 16 of his last 18 starts and eight straight -- it seems like he'll win either 25 or 26 games, depending on how many more starts he makes. The Tigers have 30 more games and two days off in the regular season, so they have the option of giving him either five or six more starts in the season. 

Verlander will get an extra day of rest this week, pitching Friday against the White Sox instead of in five days in a makeup game against the Royals on Thursday. He will then start at Cleveland in the day game on Sept. 7. After that, the Tigers have options because of their first off day of the month, Sept. 8. 

If the Tigers go with pitching Verlander every five days from there, he would make six starts in the last month, his final start in the next-to-last day of the season, Sept. 27 against the Indians. But that option would mean Verlander wouldn't be ready to pitch in the playoffs until Game 3 of the ALDS on Oct. 3 with an extra day's rest because of the off day on Oct. 2. The team could move him up to pitch on short rest in Game 2 on Oct. 1, but it's not something he's ever done.

What makes more sense is keeping the rotation intact through the first off day, pitching Verlander on Sept. 13 at the White Sox and Sept. 18 at Oakland, before the team's second off day on Sept. 19. From there, they would be able to take stock of the AL Central race and whether they would want Verlander to make one more start or two more starts. After Verlander's victory and the Indians' victory over the Royals and Chicago's win in Seattle, the Tigers led the Indians by 6 1/2 games and the White Sox by 7.

If on the 19th the Tigers think the race will be close, they can pitch Verlander on five days rest and get him a start Sept. 23 against the Orioles and then the last day of the season, on Sept. 28 against Cleveland. If the team does go that route, they will have until the last day to decide if Verlander is needed. If he isn't, he can rest on the last day of the season and let Verlander start Game 1 of the ALDS. If he pitches on Sept. 28, he would be ready for Game 3. That's similar to what the Tigers did in 2009, when they lost three games in a row leading into the last day of the season, needing a Verlander victory to advance to a tie-breaker game with the Twins for the final playoff spot. Verlander got that win, but the Tigers lost the play-in game to Minnesota.

However, if on the 19th it appears the Tigers have it wrapped up, they can keep the rotation intact and have him pitch Sept. 24 against the Orioles and then start Game 1 with an extra day of rest, which is probably the scenario that everyone in Detroit would prefer, even if it means Verlander wins just 25 games instead of 26.

Whatever the choice is, he'll face the same teams -- the White Sox, Indians, A's and Orioles, the difference is if he faces the Indians once or twice. Against those four teams, Verlander is 6-2 with a 3.36 ERA. The White Sox have done most of the damage to him, scoring 13 earned runs in 29 innings over four starts, although Verlander was 3-1 against Chicago. The A's beat Verlander on April 16, getting four runs (three earned) on eight hits in six innings in Oakland. He is 2-0 against the Indians in two starts this season and also defeatd the Orioles in his lone start against Baltimore.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 1:08 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 5:56 pm
 

Indians place claim on Thome

By Matt Snyder and Evan Brunell

The Cleveland Indians were been awarded a waiver claim for Twins designated hitter Jim Thome, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler learned, and the Elyira Chronicle-Telegram says Thome will indeed become an Indian as early as Friday.

Heading back to Cleveland would be a full circle move for Thome. The man who became the eighth in baseball history to hit 600 career home runs earlier this season began his career with the Indians.

It's unclear if this is a trade or Minnesota will let Thome go to the team on waivers. If Minnesota or Thome changes its mind on the deal, the Twins could decide to pull Thome back and not let the Indians have him. The most likely avenue seems like a trade, but Thome has a no-trade clause and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports Thome wanted to go to the Phillies, although the Indians would be a reasonable alternative. The window in which Thome can be traded closes 48 hours after the claim is awarded.

The Indians do have an obvious need at DH, with Travis Hafner sitting on the disabled list and no guarantee he can stay healthy upon return. The Indians are six games out, though, so you could make an argument they are falling out of contention. And that matters.

At age 40, Thome has been to four League Championship Series and two World Series, but he's never won it all. Thus, his desire to not only return to a place he's beloved -- Philadelphia -- but to the team with the best record in baseball makes sense. If Thome wants a ring bad enough, he could make an interesting play to get to the Phillies. If he rejects a trade to the Indians and the Twins let him walk, Thome could then invoke his no-trade with every other team but the Phillies. Doing so would make him forfeit about $500,000 in remaining salary for this season and possibly tarnish his "good guy" image, but it might get him to Philly and ultimately grab him a ring. That seems like an awful lot of star aligning, though, doesn't it?

It was previously reported by a Chicago outlet that the White Sox would claim Thome -- blocking him from the Indians, who have a better record -- but instead the White Sox were awarded a claim on Jason Kubel.

Thome is hitting .248/.357/.485 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI in 238 plate appearances this season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 2:53 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Burroughs hits 1st homer since '05

Sean Burroughs

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sean Burroughs, Diamondbacks: Burroughs' first home run since April 30, 2005, accounted for the only two runs of Tuesday's 2-0 victory over the Nationals, snapping Arizona's six-game losing streak. Ian Kennedy pitched seven shutout innings, but it was Burroughs' shot with one on and one out in the seventh off of Jordan Zimmermann that was the story of the game. Burroughs, 30, hadn't been in the big leagues since 2006 before being called up earlier this year after a disappointing start to his career. Before signing with the Diamondbacks this past offseason, he was battling substance abuse.

Shin-Soo Choo, Indians: Choo celebrated the birth of his third child Monday and then had a big day Tuesday, going 4 for 8 in a doubleheader against the Mariners, including a walk-off three-run homer in the first game that delivered the Indians a 7-5 victory and snapped a four-game losing streak for Cleveland. The Indians lost the second game, but Choo added another homer, as well as a triple in the nightcap. Choo finished the day with five RBI and even hit a double during Tuesday's earthquake. Indians manager Manny Acta called Choo earlier on Tuesday to make sure his outfielder was available to play -- luckily for the Indians, he was available.

Yonder Alonso, Reds: Dusty Baker gave Joey Votto a rare day off Tuesday, letting the rookie Alonso get the start in South Florida, where he grew up and played college ball at Miami. Not only did Alonso homer on the first pitch he saw on the night, but he also broke a tie with a two-out, two-run double in the ninth inning in front of his friends and family for a 8-6 Reds victory


Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays: The Blue Jays' right-hander has some of the best stuff in the big leagues, but the 27-year-old has never found any kind of consistency. In his last start before Tuesday, Morrow struck out a dozen Mariners in six innings. Tuesday he gave up nearly that many hits in just 4 2/3 innings against the Royals. Kansas City had two doubles, a triple and two home runs among their 11 hits in the 25 batters Morrow faced in a 6-4 Toronto loss.

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals: Coming into the game, Lohse had allowed just three earned runs over his last 13 1/3 innings -- he gave up that many before he retired a batter on Tuesday on a three-run homer by Matt Kemp. Lohse allowed four more runs in the second inning and then a solo homer to Rod Barajas in the fourth inning. Lohse was lifted after three innings in St. Louis' 13-2 loss to the Dodgers.

White Sox: Sloppy play all around hurt Chicago in a 5-4 loss to the Angels, starting with two first-inning errors and then a mental mistake in the ninth. Peter Bourjos reached in the first inning on a throwing error by Alexei Ramirez and then scored on a fielding error by Juan Pierre in the same inning. In the seventh inning, catcher Tyler Flowers avoided a double play by taking off before Brent Morel's grounder, but got greedy by trying to advance to third where he was thrown out by first baseman Mark Trumbo to end the inning. Then in the ninth, second baseman Gordon Beckham failed to cover second on Alberto Callaspo's single, allowing Callaspo to advance to second base, taking away the double play. After an intentional walk to Maircer Izturis, Bourjos singled in the game-ending run.

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Hafner could be done for year; Sizemore rehabbing

HafnerBy Evan Brunell

Fresh off a sweep at the hands of the Tigers, the Indians received sobering news on Travis Hafner, including the possibility that the DH could be out for the entire season.

As Jordan Bastain of MLB.com relays, Cleveland trainer Lonnie Soloff admitted that options were being weighed for Hafner, who hit the disabled list with a strained tendon in the bottom of his right foot. Currently in a walking boot, surgery might be necessary, which would finish Hafner's season and cap a season that started out as his most productive in years before a post-All Star break slump wound him down to a .281/.364/.448 mark in 319 plate appearances.

"We're in the process of seeking other medical opinions on the best course of treatment [for Hafner]," Soloff said.

If Hafner's season is truly done, the 34-year-old will have appeared in exactly half of a full season's worth of games, those 82 games representing the second-lowest in the last four seasons for the DH. But in 51 of these games, which came before the break, Hafner hit .325/.406/.528 and was a major reason for Cleveland's early surge to first place, just like his .220/.303/.339 line, along with a host of injuries to numerous Indians players, have helped sink the Indians into 5 1/2 games behind Detroit.

Fortunately, the loss of Hafner came after the return of outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who returned from injury himself and is back to manning right field, with Kosuke Fukudome and Michael Brantley occupying the other two outfield spots. It's not clear who the DH the rest of the way will be, although first baseman Matt LaPorta was the DH on Monday with Carlos Santana playing first and Lou Marson catching. While you can expect that alignment to happen again, partly to rest Santana behind the plate, it doesn't figure to become the permanent configuration.

That permanent configuration could come when Grady Sizemore returns. Sizemore was scorching hot for 11 games in late April once he was activated off the DL for the injury that robbed Sizemore of much of his 2010 season. However, Sizemore slumped in early May before returning to the DL, then didn't get into a groove through the entirety of June, a waste offensively through that time period. Just when he heated up in July, he hit the shelf once more with a sports hernia. Now, Soloff reports further progress in Sizemore's rehab. The center fielder is expected to run agility/sprint drills in Cleveland on Tuesday, before graduating to batting practice Wednesday. Sizemore told reporters that he hoped to be in rehab games by the end of next week, which is also the start of September.

"I trust [Sizemore's] self-evaluation, but that's not outlined as of yet," Soloff cautioned as far as a timetable for rehab games goes. "We have a lot of hurdles to get over."

One potential way for the Indians to get Sizemore back and keep him healthy would be to keep him out of center and let Fukudome roam it for the rest of the year. Hafner's season-ending injury -- if in fact, it is season-ending -- would clear the way for Sizemore to DH. For now, the Indians have to plan on Sizemore returning at full strength to take the field.

Soloff also updated reporters on starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco's injury. After being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right-elbow injury, Carrasco is working on increasing range of motion and will not return to the majors until after Sept. 1.

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 12:58 pm
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Posted on: August 23, 2011 1:57 am
Edited on: August 23, 2011 7:38 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Napoli, Wilson do in Red Sox

Mike Napoli

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mike Napoli and C.J. Wilson, Rangers: These two love to play against the Red Sox. Napoli has homered in each of his last four games against Boston, including a three-run shot in Monday's 4-0 victory over Boston. Wilson started for the Rangers, allowing just four hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out four with Koji Uehara, Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz not allowing a hit over the rest of the night to cement Wilson's 13 win of the season. Wilson is now 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA in five starts against the Red Sox.

Cliff Lee, Phillies: Lee improved to 4-0 in August with just two earned runs with 32 strikeouts in 31 innings this month, which is just his second-best month of the season after a 5-0 June, allowing just one inning. On Monday, he threw seven shutout innings, giving up three hits. His seven strikeouts gave him 191 for the season, setting a career-high in Ks with a month left to go in the season. Last season he struck out 185, his previous best.

Dan Uggla, Braves: Much has been made this season of Dan Uggla's struggles at the plate -- and it's true, his average stats are down -- he's hitting .232/.300/.461 -- each at least 25 points lower than his career numbers in those stats. However, he hit his 30th home run of the season, marking the fifth straight year he's accomplished the feat. No other second baseman in history has had more than three 30-homer seasons. Uggla seems to be on track to set a career-high in homers, his previous best was last season when he hit 33.  He has 184 home runs in his six years in the big leagues.


Mike Quade, Cubs: Quade did the right thing benching shortstop Starlin Castro for Monday's game after his mental lapse was caught on camera during Sunday's game against St. Louis. But Quade didn't come out and say he benched him for the incident, instead he went with the "mental day" excuse. With Quade's future as the Cubs' skipper in doubt, he could have sent a message -- and he inadvertently did, a message of weakness.

Tony La Russa, Cardinals: Classic La Russa overmanaging struck again on Monday -- as La Russa took out starter Chris Carpenter with 99 pitches after Carpenter opened the ninth inning by hitting Juan Rivera. La Russa brought in left-hander Arthur Rhodes to face Andre Ethier and Rhodes responded by striking him out. But then he took out Rhodes in favor of the right-handed Fernando Salas to face switch-hitting Aaron Miles, whose career stats are more or less even from each side of the plate. Miles tripled to tie the game and then scored on a fielder's choice in the infield, giving Los Angeles a 2-1 victory in St. Louis.

Chris Perez, Indians: We'll just let Perez speak for himself here:

The Indians closer took the loss, hitting the first two batters of the inning, picking up an error and walking another. He gave up the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Franklin Gutierrez. With Cleveland's loss and Detroit's win, the Indians are now tied with the White Sox for second in the AL Central, 5 1/2 games behind the Tigers.

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Posted on: August 22, 2011 4:28 pm
 

Hafner to DL, Thome rumors sure to ramp up

By Matt Snyder

Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner pulled up lame Sunday after a single and had to leave the game immediately after being tagged out. He was diagnosed with a strained right foot and Monday the Indians put him on the disabled list (Jordan Bastian via Twitter).

Hafner, 34, has continued to be plagued by injuries, as he hasn't played more than 120 games since 2007. He's hitting .281/.364/.448 in 82 games this season with 11 home runs.

The timing of this injury creates quite a bit of interest in the trade market. Former Indians DH Jim Thome hit waivers Monday, so teams have 48 hours to get their claims in. Considering Thome's name goes through the American League first, and in reverse order of record, the Indians have a very good shot at Thome, if they want him. The list of the teams possibly interested in Thome includes members of the NL or AL teams with a better record than the 62-61 Indians.

The Indians trail the Tigers by 4 1/2 games in the AL Central, after having been swept in Detroit this past weekend. Still, there's more than a month left in the season. Barring a trade, the Indians are left grabbing DH's from the group of bench players that includes: Jason Donald, Jack Hannahan, Shelley Duncan (if he returns to the team from his leave of absence) or a host of other uninspiring names.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com