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Tag:Joey Votto
Posted on: July 5, 2010 8:07 pm
 

All-Star managers urged to take utility player

Omar Infante

National League All-Star manager Charlie Manuel said he was instructed to include a utility player, which is why Atlanta's Omar Infante is an All-Star and Joey Votto is not.

"We were told you had to have a utility player on your team," Manuel told reporters, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution 's Carroll Rogers . "We went over a bunch of names, and I thought [Infante] was the best one on there. He can play all the infield positions and he can play all the outfield positions. And he's hitting .300 or so."

Infante and the Braves are in Philadelphia for the start of a three-game series against Manuel's Phillies. So far this season, Infante is 6 for 17 against the Phillies.

Votto, who homered in his first at-bat on Monday, will get his chance to show Manuel what he thought of the decision when the Reds go to Philadelphia for a four-game series leading up to the break.

Baltimore's Ty Wigginton has played first, second and third this season and played the outfield last season. In his career, he's played every position except catcher, center field and pitcher.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 5, 2010 4:56 pm
 

Votto, Swisher leading Final Vote

Joey Votto Perhaps the fans have a better handle on who should be on the National League All-Star roster than Charlie Manuel.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto is leading National League portion of the All-Star Final Vote after 24 hours, Major League Baseball announced in a release on Monday. The Yankees' Nick Swisher leads the American League voting.

More than 10 million votes came in the first 24 hours, with Swisher leading Boston's Kevin Youkilis slightly, followed by Michael Young, Paul Konerko and Delmon Young.

In the National League, it's Votto, followed by Ryan Zimmerman, Billy Wagner, Carlos Gonzalez and Heath Bell.

Votto was the most obvious All-Star snub, in part because Manuel took his own player, Ryan Howard, over the more deserving Votto. The fans selected Albert Pujols at first and Adrian Gonzalez was another deserving selection at first.

But Howard, who is having a great season, was picked by Manuel over Votto, who is having a great season.

Votto leads the league in OPS (.984), is third in on-base percentage (.412), fifth in batting average (.312), third in slugging (.572), fourth in runs (53), tied for second in home runs (19), fifth in RBI (57) and fifth in walks (46).

Howard's only in the top 10 in one of those categories, runs (53), and even that trails Votto. And it's not as if it's Howard's glove that got him to Anaheim.

In the American League, Youkilis is clearly more deserving than his Yankee brethren. Youkilis is fourth in OPS (1.000), third in OBP (.416), first in runs (65), seventh in home runs (17) and second in walks (50). Swisher is not in the top 10 in any important category other than pinstripes.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.



Posted on: July 4, 2010 1:05 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2010 1:29 pm
 

All-Star Rosters for 2010 game announced

All-Star Game The All-Star teams have been announced, and the rosters are ...

Starters
American League

C Joe Mauer - MIN: Led all players in fan voting and notched third-most votes all-time (Ken Griffey Jr., 1994 and Albert Pujols, 2009).
1B Justin Morneau - MIN: First starting gig in All-Star Game.
2B Robinson Cano - NYY: Second trip.
SS Derek Jeter - NYY: 11th trip, sixth time elected to start.
3B Evan Longoria - TB: Has been an All-Star in each of his first three seasons.
OF Josh Hamilton - TEX: Most votes for an AL outfielder.
OF Ichiro Suzuki - SEA: Ninth time starting for the AL.
OF Carl Crawford - TB: Edged Nelson Cruz by roughly 200,000 votes
DH Vladimir Guerrero: Ninth berth.

National League
C Yadier Molina - STL: 2.25 million votes.
1B Albert Pujols - STL: Top NL vote-getter.
2B Chase Utley - PHI: Fifth straight fan election.
SS Hanley Ramirez - FLA: Starts at short for third straight year, longest streak since Ozzie Smith from 1983-1992.
3B David Wright - NYM: Edged Placido Polanco in final voting.
OF Ryan Braun - MIL: Led all major league OF in voting for third straight year.
OF Andre Ethier - LAD: First Dodger outfielder to start since Darryl Strawberry in 1991.
OF Jason Heyward - ATL: 20 years old rookie named to team.

Bench
American League
C John Buck - TOR: Replacing C Victor Martinez from Boston
1B Miguel Cabrera - DET
2B Ian Kinsler - TEX: Replacing 2B Dustin Pedroia from Boston
2B Ty Wigginton - BAL
3B Adrian Beltre - BOS
3B Alex Rodriguez - NYY
SS Elvis Andrus - TEX
CF Torii Hunter - LAA
CF Vernon Wells - TOR
RF Jose Bautista - TOR
DH David Ortiz - BOS

National League
C Brian McCann - ATL
1B Adrian Gonzalez - SD
1B Ryan Howard - PHI
2B Brandon Phillips - CIN
2B Martin Prado - ATL
3B Scott Rolen - CIN
SS Jose Reyes - NYM: Replacing SS Troy Tulowitzki from Colorado
IF Omar Infante - ATL
CF Marlon Byrd - CHC
RF Corey Hart -MIL
LF Matt Holliday - STL
CF Michael Bourn - HOU
CF Chris Young - ARI

Pitching

American League
SP Clay Buchholz - BOS
SP Trevor Cahill - OAK
SP Fausto Carmona - CLE
SP Phil Hughes - NYY
SP Cliff Lee- SEA
SP Jon Lester- BOS
SP David Price - TB
SP CC Sabathia - NYY

MR Matt Thornton - CHW
MR Jose Valverde - DET
CL Mariano Rivera - NYY
CL Joakim Soria - KC
CL Neftali Feliz - TEX

National League
SP Chris Carpenter - STL
SP Yovani Gallardo - MIL
SP Roy Halladay - PHI
SP Tim Hudson - ATL
SP Ubaldo Jimenez - COL
SP Josh Johnson - FLA
SP Tim Lincecum - SF
SP Adam Wainwright - STL
RP Evan Meek - PIT
RP Arthur Rhodes - CIN
CL Jonathan Broxton - LAD
CL Matt Capps - WAS
CL Brian Wilson - SF

Final Vote candidates (vote here )
American League
1B Paul Konerko
OF Nick Swisher
OF Delmon Young
3B Michael Young
1B Kevin Youkilis

National League
CL Heath Bell
OF Carlos Gonzalez
1B Joey Votto
CL Billy Wagner
3B Ryan Zimmerman

Unfortunately for Jason Heyward, Jose Reyes and Chase Utley, they will need replacing on the roster. Heyward may be ready to be activated from the disabled list for Atlanta, but he has already said he is not comfortable playing in the game if he cannot play for the Braves. Reyes is an injury replacement but may need replacing himself if Reyes' right oblique does not cooperate, as it is not doing currently.

Utley is unquestionably out for the All-Star game as he underwent surgery for a broken right thumb. He will likely be replaced by Martin Prado, so Manuel will have to name a replacement for Prado on the bench. The AL may have to replace Clay Buchholz, as the starter may be headed for the disabled list.

The biggest surprise? Probably Atlanta's Omar Infante, who is a bench player. That said, he's having an impressive year and has been immensely valuable to the Braves. It's an inspired choice, but in place of the biggest snub? Nah.

The biggest snub probably has to be Cincinnati's Joey Votto. The first baseman leads the NL in OPS and is near the top in home runs, runs and RBI. Perhaps he can make his way on the roster as an injury replacement. A similar snub is Kevin Youkilis, who is fourth in the AL in OPS behind Morneau, Cabrera and Hamilton. Forthnately, Votto and Youkilis are candidates for the Final Vote.

The biggest story is Stephen Strasburg, who was left off the roster. Charlie Manuel appeared on TBS to discuss why and noted that he feels that pitchers who have played the duration of the season should be considered over a pitcher who has just five (now six) starts on the year.

Didn't MLB have a perfect way to get Strasburg on the team and put the decision in the hands of the fans by putting him on the Final Vote? Votto and Zimmermann belong on the team and it's good that one of them will get the call, but sheesh -- there was a golden ticket there for baseball.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 3, 2010 1:19 am
Edited on: July 3, 2010 2:37 am
 

Hart deserving of votes in NL All-Star race

Corey Hart Now that the reaction to the latest voting of AL All-Stars is complete, we turn to the NL ...

It's hard to disagree with Albert Pujols at the top of the first base rankings. He's second in the NL in OPS, but not all that far behind Votto and has both the name recognition and defense working for him. But that Votto ranks fifth in voting indicates that not many may be fully appreciating Votto's season. After all, Troy Glaus and his .260/.364/.458 line ranks third.

Votto is at .314/.416/.579 with 19 home runs -- tied with Pujols among NL first basemen -- and has Glaus beat in almost every counting category: triples, runs, RBI, stolen bases, strike outs. The two are tied in doubles with 13 apiece, and Votto is the second-best fielder at first according to UZR/150. Glaus? Dead last. We can't even point to a big market or popular player here, really, as Glaus is in his first season with the Braves after not playing much of 2009 and Votto's more exciting given he's 26 and Glaus is on the wrong side of 30. Interesting.

At second, Chase Utley led the voting which was no surprise, but since he's out for eight weeks with surgery on his thumb, he won't be starting. The logical replacement is in fact, second in the 2B rankings with Martin Prado garnering just over 1.5 million votes. Impressive for a relative unknown, but Prado absolutely deserves the nod -- he's leading the NL in batting average at .333.

Third base has another Phillie, Placido Polando, just barely edging out David Wright. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, Polanco is shelved until late July so Wright will toe the third-base line in the first inning. The voting is close, here though: Polanco leads everyone with just under 1.5 million votes while fifth place belongs to Casey McGehee at one million. It's anyone's game between Polanco, Wright, McGehee and Chipper Jones along with Scott Rolen.

Really, it's down to Wright and Rolen as the deserving candidates. Wright playing for New York will carry him to the finish line, but he's in a virtual dead heat with Rolen. Rolen has flashed more power than Wright on the year but only barely, and Wright holds the same slim edge in UZR/150 fielding.

At shortstop, Jimmy Rollins is less than 500,000 behind leader Hanley Ramirez despite barely playing at all through the voting period. Troy Tulowitzki was a strong choice to start and currently ranks in third place with his long-term injury hampering his progress. If he hadn't gotten hurt, it would have been an interesting race between HanRam and Tulo.

At catcher, Yadier Molina has done absolutely nothing with the bat but is truly gifted with the leather. He has 1.6 million votes, edging out Brian McCann -- who leads all qualified catchers in OPS -- with ageless Ivan Rodriguez nipping at McCann's heels with 1.3 million votes. Carlos Ruiz is also over the million barrier, but is injured. Rod Barajas rounds out the voting.

Really, at catcher, it comes down to what you think is the most important. Offense or defense. It's a debate that has skewed to defense in team structure lately, but that was coming off an offensive-infested era.

In the outfield, Ryan Braun, Jason Heyward and Andre Ethier each have over two million votes apiece, and all are deserving candidates. Also extremely deserving are Jayson Werth (4th in voting), Corey Hart (unranked), Josh Willingham (unranked) and Colby Rasmus (14th). Heyward will miss the game with an injury -- even if he comes off the disabled list in time, as he says -- so Werth will probably slide into Heyward's spot.

Rasmus leads all outfielders in OPS, but was neither a minor-league phenom or someone who made waves in his rookie year last year, so it makes sense that his name isn't quite well-known yet. But it will be.

It's true that many feel Corey Hart (pictured) is a flash in the pan, but is that really a reason not to vote for him? His production is in the bank and irrevocable, and he was one of the league's best hitters. To have him unranked is a disservice, and here's hoping he at least shows up in the final vote.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


Posted on: July 1, 2010 3:28 am
 

Phillips finds his spot at top of Reds' lineup

Brandon Phillips CINCINNATI -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is already thinking about spending time with his family when the All-Stars gather in Anaheim later this month.

It's not that he thinks he doesn't deserve to be an All-Star, he's thought he's deserved it the last couple of years and hasn't gotten the call, so he's not expecting it on Sunday, when the teams are announced.

"I feel like I should have been an All-Star years ago, so I'm not looking forward to it. I don't really care," Phillips said. "I'd like to have my four days off and be in Georgia and go do some things with my sister. That's it."

With Chase Utley on the disabled list, Phillips, 29, certainly deserves a spot on the squad, alongside Atlanta's Martin Prado. Still, with Dan Uggla also fighting for a spot, it wouldn't be a shock if Phillips were left off.

With a 30/30 season under his belt, Phillips is actually enjoying his best season in the big leagues. Phillips is hitting .313/.371/.481 with nine home runs, 25 RBI and 10 stolen bases.

He's also finally found his spot in the lineup. He'd been used as a cleanup hitter the last couple of years, a role he was miscast in, but still managed to rack up at least 75 RBI in each of the four seasons and 94 or more in two of the last three.

That's where he started this season, as well, but Dusty Baker moved him up in the order in May and let Scott Rolen bat cleanup.

"He's fit in in every spot we've put him in," Baker said. "He fit in at second, he did well in the cleanup spot, even though he was much-maligned, he still had 97 RBI. Now he's taken to this leadoff spot, he's taking pitches, he's a smart player. He's not hitting .313 because he can't play."

Still, Phillips said he's changed his approach dramatically since he's been moved up in the lineup, cutting down his swing and laying off pitches outside the strike zone.

"I'm not the same hitter I was when i hit fourth, the way I hit right now, I can't hit fourth doing it," Phillips said. "Hitting fourth, it's all about RBI, I proved to everybody I can hit fourth. I didn't hit for a high average, but I had the power numbers and I had the RBIs. I had 90-plus RBIs every year, but that's not me. I'm the type of guy who has gotten the team going. I'm trying to show everyone that I can do many things."

Too often, perhaps, he was trying to show others who he was instead of listening to himself.

"He hits the ball to the opposite field very well, I don't want to put words into his mouth, but I think with a man on first base he feels like he can hit that hole instead of swinging for a double or a home run," Rolen said. "For me, I'm not going to hit that hole, I'm not going to shoot a ball into the hole or bunt. I'm going to try to hit the ball in the middle of the field and hit the gaps. If I hit second, that's what I try to do. He's got a nice compact, right-field swing, but he can also hit the ball out of the ballpark. He sprays singles around and that's healthy."

Rolen has been something of a mentor to Phillips. It's not overt or like Rolen has put his arm around Phillips' shoulders and telling him the secrets of the game. That's not Rolen's style, but Phillips has been sure to keep an eye on the veteran and listen to everything he says.

"Scott Rolen told me, 'Brandon you don't know what type of player you are until you start winning.' I'm starting to see what he meant by that," Phillips said. "Scotty said he's seen so much potential in me and I have yet to see it. I'm starting to see it now. Coming from Scott Rolen, someone who has been at it a long time, to get a comment like that… I'm just going to run with it and do what I'm do."

What he's been able to do so far is spark the Reds offense at the top of the lineup. He has a career-high .371 on-base percentage. Last season he got on base at a .329 clip and has just a .318 career OBP.

"I like hitting leadoff, I jut have to change my role. Ever since they've moved me to first or second, my job is to get on base," Phillips said. "I'm not trying to hit for power or do what I was doing when I was hitting fourth. Right now, my main objective is to get on base for Joey Votto, Rolen and (Jonny) Gomes."

It's a sound strategy -- Phillips leads the National League with 60 runs, in part because he's on base for Votto, Rolen and Gomes, all three in the top 11 in RBI in the National League.

Phillips has just seven games in the leadoff spot, but the numbers aren't that much different than what he's been doing over the last month. As a leadoff guy, he's hitting .417/.447/.556 and in the last 30 games, .395/.424/.543, including a 2-for-5 performance against Roy Halladay in Wednesday's Reds victory.

The Reds have been searching for a leadoff man for the last couple of years, using the likes of Jerry Hairston Jr., Ryan Freel, Drew Stubbs, Cabrera, Willy Taveras and Corey Patterson. In the end, maybe the player they were searching for was right there under their nose, even if he wasn't ready for it. But, now, Phillips says, it's his time.

"I've got to be the Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins for this team. I'm just trying to get things started," Phillips said. "It's fun. Winning is really just turned me into a different player, it's made me stay on top of my game and made me stay focused."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 29, 2010 2:06 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 4:41 pm
 

Pujols leads voting, but should he?

Albert Pujols In what should be the most difficult decision among National League All-Star voters, the pick has more or less already been made.

Although online voting ends on Thursday, Albert Pujols' lead in first base voting makes it more or less impossible for him to be passed in the voting. Pujols leads Ryan Howard at first base by nearly 2 million votes in the latest numbers released by Major League Baseball . The teams will be announced on Sunday.

Chase Utley seemingly has second base wrapped up and the outfield of Ryan Braun, Jason Heyward and Andre Ethier also seems pretty much safe, as does shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

Third base is a little more interesting, as Placido Polanco leads David Wright by fewer than 23,000 votes in the tightest race and another example of Phillie ballot-box stuffing.

Yadier Molina leads Brian McCann in catcher voting by fewer than 200,000 votes.

As for Pujols, he's the easy choice at first base -- a choice most have made. He's probably the best player in the game, but he's not having the best year in the game -- or even among first basemen.

OK, this is splitting hairs, and it's by no means a mockery if he's the All-Star starter, but you can make a compelling case for two first basemen over Pujols: Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez. The three have pretty similar numbers, so any of the three is a solid choice, but the point is the gap shouldn't be so wide. It should be a tough decision. According to the voters, it's just not.

Here's a look at the first basemen in six categories: BA/OBP/SLG, HR, RBI and WAR (wins above replacement, an advance stat that takes defensive into consideration.

The King
Albert Pujols .305/.420/.542 16 52 2.6

The contenders
Adrian Gonzalez .306/.399/.544 16 50 3.3
Joey Votto .312/.415/.559 16 51 3.3

The usual suspects
Ryan Howard .296/.352/.517 15 50 1.4
Prince Fielder .256/.385/.463 15 44 1.8

Not that far behind
Troy Glaus .268/.373/.472 14 56 1.2
Adam Dunn .276/.366/.559 17 43 2.1
Aubrey Huff .296/.385/.512 12 42 2.3
James Loney .294/.346/.429 5 40 1.0
Ike Davis .264/.340/.442 9 37 0.9
Gaby Sanchez .302/.373/.474 8 39 1.9
Adam LaRoche .254/.342/.469 12 41 0.8
Garrett Jones .281/.352/.446 10 33 1.3

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.



Posted on: June 13, 2010 4:54 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2010 5:06 pm
 

Adjustment pays off for Greinke



CINCINNATI -- At least one scout was in Cincinnati Sunday to see just what was wrong with the Royals' Zack Greinke. Whatever it was, that scout didn't see it, nor did the Reds.

The Royals scored their first run for Greinke in 22 innings in the first and added six more for a 7-3 victory. Greinke allowed five hits and struck out 12 in the complete-game performance.

The difference between Greinke's four-game slide (0-4, 7.97 ERA in his last four outings) and Sunday's victory over the National League's top offensive club may have been as small as a tenth of a second, manager Ned Yost noted.

Following last Tuesday's six-run outing in Minnesota, Greinke spent Wednesday in the Target Field video room with Royals pitching coach Bob McClure studying video.

"What they found was he was a tenth of a second to a tenth-and-a-half of a second, whatever that computes to be, quicker in the windup," Yost said. "What that does, it doesn't give him enough time to get back and fully loaded and in turn, his arm starts to drag. They increased his load, got his hands in a better position and the results were obvious today."

In his last outing, Greinke noticed two Twins, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, took good swings on his curveball -- "and it doesn't seem like they ever take good swings on curveballs" -- so he went back to look at the video of what he was doing on those pitches. Greinke and McClure watched where his hands were for those pitches and his glove hand was down low sometimes and up high sometimes, no matter the pitch.

"We noticed my glove was moving differently on certain pitches," Greinke said. "It would be random, but the guys were seeing how the glove was different. [McClure] looked at last year; I was always up last year and this year I've been down and up."

Sunday, he kept his glove up and sent the Reds down. Greinke allowed two runs in the first -- including a solo homer to Joey Votto, but then retired the next 11 batters he faced and didn't allow another run until Votto's solo homer in the ninth.

The first homer, Greinke noted, wasn't as much a physical mistake as a mental one: "I didn't want to throw Votto changeups going in, I threw him one and he hit it well, it was being stupid," Greinke said. Even then, the homer was one that would likely be an out in most parks around the majors.

Greinke's 12 strikeouts were a season-high and he struck out National League RBI leader Jonny Gomes three times.

It also helped that the Royals scored, touching Reds rookie Sam LeCure for four runs in 6.2 innings and adding three more to the Reds' brutal bullpen. The Royals hadn't scored a single run with Greinke on the mound since May 18.

"He pitched great today, he had a lot more break on his slider today and he was locating the ball today," said Billy Butler, who had four hits and four RBI, including his sixth home run of the season. "He had that confidence that he had last year today and hopefully he can build on that and hopefully we keep putting up seven runs for him."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


 
 
 
 
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