Tag:AL West
Posted on: March 25, 2011 9:06 pm

3 up, 3 down for 3/25: Beachy brings it

By Matt Snyder

3 UP

Brandon Beachy, Braves. Fresh off being named the Braves' No. 5 starter to open the season -- over the favorite, Mike Minor -- Beachy went out and dominated the Tigers. He threw six innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while strking out six. He took his spring ERA all the way down to 1.13. That is two earned runs in 16 innings, to go nicely with 16 strikeouts. His WHIP is a minuscule 0.63. If he carries this over into the season, the Braves will have an even more formidable rotation.

Drew Storen, Nationals. It's been a rough spring for Storen, who was initially expected to be the Nats' closer but has since been tabbed as part of a committee in the back-end of the bullpen. Friday, though, he was plugged in for the ninth inning with a one-run lead and made it stand. He threw a perfect inning, striking out two batters.

Adam Jones, Orioles. Breakout season on the horizon? He's got the goods. Friday he showed it, too. Jones went 3-4 with his fifth bomb of the spring, this one a two-run job off Scott Baker.


Brandon McCarthy, A's. The former big-time prospect was having a really solid spring in his quest to earn the A's final starting spot, but he was roughed up Friday. He allowed 10 hits and six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He even walked his first batter of the spring. Of course, he did strike out six, so the 20:1 K:BB rate should be enough for him to grab that last spot. He's looking to hold off Tyson Ross and Rich Harden -- if he's ever healthy. Ross is only 23, but he's sporting a 0.59 ERA in 15 1/3 spring innings.

Mitch Talbot, Indians. The Tribe's No. 4 starter was crushed by the Brewers Friday. He gave up 14 hits and seven earned runs in six innings. He even gave up a grand slam to Carlos Gomez. Yes, that same Carlos Gomez who only has 17 career home runs in 1,308 career at-bats. Of course, he does have three this spring, so maybe he's looking to muscle up this year.

Edinson Volquez, Reds. He's here because the outing was termed as "solid" and he said afterward that he "felt great." (MLB.com ) Really? If you're the Reds and this is your ace -- especially considering Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto are on the shelf and Bronson Arroyo is getting tested for valley fever -- it's gotta be a bit troubling, no? I see five innings pitched, nine hits, three earned runs and four walks. So that's 13 baserunners (a gawdawful 2.60 WHIP), including four extra base hits, and a 5.40 ERA from an ace in his last outing before the regular season. Spring stats don't mean anything and it's possible he's going to flip a switch before the real games start. I'm just saying it's pretty surprising this was considered such a good outing by Volquez and the Reds.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 4:58 pm

Hunter could be out 6 weeks

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Tommy HunterThe day after being naming Tommy Hunter to the Rangers' starting rotation and answering the great Neftali Feliz closer/starter argument, Texas says Hunter could miss as much as six weeks with a right groin strain.

Hunter will return to Texas for blood-platelet injection, Jeff Wilson of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram tweets. Hunter left Thursday's game against Cincinnati in the third inning with the groin injury.

Even with Hunter out, the Rangers won't change their plans for Feliz to anchor the bullpen. Instead, Michael Kirkman and Dave Bush are the candidates to replace Hunter.

Kirkman, 24, has made one start this spring and appeared in four games, going 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in 11 1/3 innings. He's struck out nine and walked three, while allowing 13 runs (seven earned) on 15 hits.

Bush, like Kirkman, has started one game and appeared in four this spring. Bush has struck out six and walked four in 13 innings. He's given up 13 hits and eight runs (seven earned). The 31-year-old Bush was 8-13 with a 4.54 ERA for the Brewers last season in 31 starts.

Bush singed a minor-league contract and has an out in his contract if he's not on the team's 40-man roster by Sunday. That could be enough to give him the edge over Kirkman for the final spot in the Rangers' rotation.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 3:39 pm

Kazmir in Angels' rotation, dog house

By Matt Snyder

Scott Kazmir has a spot in the Angels' starting rotation to open the season. Just don't say he earned the job.

"Earned?" Scioscia said. "Define 'earned.' He will start the season in the rotation." (Los Angeles Times )

OK then. Tell us how you really feel, Mike.

It's tough to blame Scioscia for coming at Kazmir harshly. He was lit up like a proverbial Christmas tree Thursday and now has a 7.79 ERA in five spring starts. He's given up 23 hits and 12 walks in 17 1/3 innings (good for a dreadful 2.02 WHIP). The former All-Star was 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA and 1.58 WHIP last season in 28 starts. At 27, he's still plenty young -- if it feels like he's been around for ages, it's because he was promoted at age 20 -- at some point he has to start showing glimpses of his old self.

In fairness to Kazmir, his manager did want to point out it's not about his effort.

"Kaz has not pitched at a level we feel he can pitch to," Scioscia told the Times. "There's some disappointment in that, but we think the upside is still there to where we want to see where this goes in a regular-season game. Nobody is trying harder than Kaz. Though he's made strides, he's not where he can be and where we need him to be."

Keep in mind the contract. Kazmir is owed $12 million this season and has a $13.5 million club option for 2012. If that doesn't get picked up, and it's hard to see that happening, the Angels can buy him out for $2.5 million.

Basically, it seems like the Angels are pretty unhappy with Kazmir, but are giving him a shot in the rotation due to how much money he makes and their lack of alternative options. No wonder Scioscia was frustrated enough to let loose with the "define earned" remark.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 3:21 pm

Gutierrez to play this weekend or go on DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Franklin GutierrezMariners general manager Jack Zduriencik says Franklin Gutierrez will have to play this weekend or he'll begin the season on the disabled list.

"If he can't get in a game this weekend, we'll probably have to start looking at alternatives," Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.

Gutierrez was scheduled to have another test on his stomach this morning. Gutierrez has been saddled with a stomach ailment since last season. Earlier this spring the Mariners thought they had a diagnosis nailed down, but Gutierrez's stomach started acting up again.

Gutierrez has played in just nine games this spring. If he goes on the disabled list, Baker speculates that the team will likely keep Michael Saunders to split times with Ryan Langerhans in center.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 10:01 am

Pepper: Young, Daniels clear the air

Michael Young

By C. Trent Rosecrans

With no games to play, sometimes some stories get a little too overexposed. From the Cliff Lee sweepstakes to Chase Utley's day-to-day health and the Jon Daniels-Michael Young feud, we're all pretty much tired of them by now.

The story won't be closed until Young is no longer in a Rangers uniform, then he'll have a press conference, have his say and it'll all be over. For now, he's still a Ranger and back on speaking terms with his general manager. The two met Wednesday and Thursday, and Young said neither minced words.

"I laid out in detail what I was feeling, what my concerns were and gave him the opportunity to do the same," Young told the media on Thursday, including the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. "Anytime you're going to sit down with somebody where there's a problem or an issue and air things out face-to-face, it's always productive."

Young would not say if he still wants to be traded, but Daniels said it's "unlikely" to happen before the season begins -- and Young understands that.

"It created a situation where fans, media and other people in the organization were almost taking sides," Daniels said (again, from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram). "It should have never been that way. We both want the same thing, for the Rangers to win. Through that process, I think Michael took a lot of shots from the media and fan base that from my persecutive weren't necessary."

That last statement is interesting to me -- it's Daniels standing up for Young. He may have thought or said in private some of the same things the fans or media have said, but he's not going to do that in public. It's a wise move, one that  Young -- no matter what he's said in the past -- has to at least see as a move in the right direction.

Maybe Young plays out his days as a Ranger, maybe he doesn't. But either way, hopefully we can end this chapter.

READ THIS TODAY -- The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger writes a great column on former Royal Willie Mays Aikens and his faith. Aikens is dealing with family tragedy even after everything in his life was looking up. After 14 years in jail, Aikens had been hired by the Royals this offseason. I'll let Mellinger tell the rest of the story.

BLAME THE MESSENGER -- Well, once someone says something interesting, we all know they'll come back and claim it's "taken out of context." That's what Buck Showalter did on Thursday, backing away from his comments in the April issue of Men's Journal about the Yankees and Red Sox. [Boston Globe]

GALARRAGA TO BULLPEN -- The Diamondbacks are expected to move Armando Galarraga to the bullpen, with Aaron Heilman taking the fifth spot in the team's rotation. Galarraga has an 8.44 ERA in 16 innings this spring. Galarraga said he still wants to be a starter. [Arizona Republic]

NATS PICK FIFTH STARTER -- Tom Gorzelanny will fill out the Nationals' rotation, manager Jim Riggleman said on Thursday. Livan Hernandez will open the season for the Nationals, followed by Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan and Jason Marquis. [MASNSports.com]

AND SO DO THE Rockies -- Colorado's fifth starter will be right-hander Esmil Rogers. Rogers will follow Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel. [Denver Post]

LAWRIE SENT DOWN -- After saying he was done with the minor leagues this offseason, Brett Lawrie discovered he's not the one in charge of that decision. The 21-year-old third baseman said he was disappointed, but understood his demotion. The Blue Jays acquired Lawrie this offseason by sending Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee in exchange for the former first-rounder. [MLB.com]

ORDONEZ READY -- Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez said he'll be ready for opening day. Ordonez returned to action for the first time since last week on Thursday night. Ordonez went 1 for 4 on Thursday with a double. [MLB.com]

BELTRAN IMPROVING -- Carlos Beltran reported no pain in his knees after a workout on Thursday and Mets manager Terry Collins was so impressed with the way he looked that he wouldn't count out Beltran for opening day. [New York Times]

MORALES IMPROVING -- Orthotic inserts have helped ease the soreness in the left foot of Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales. Morales still won't be available for opening day, but he has gotten the OK by the team's trainers to start "baseball activities." [MLB.com]

DAVIS DRAWING INTEREST -- Doug Davis, the 35-year-old left-hander, threw for as many as eight teams in Tempe, Arizona, on Thursday. Davis made just eight starts last season for the Brewers due to a heart problem and elbow surgery. Among the eight teams to watch him were the Rangers, Rockies, Orioles, Mets and Angels. [MLB.com]

WORK OF ART -- Pedro Martinez will be on hand at the Smithsonian on Friday for the unveiling of his portrait at the National Portrait Gallery. A painting of Martine done by Susan Miller-Havens has been donated to the gallery by MLB.com's Peter Gammons and his wife.  [Smithsonian]

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER -- The man the late Buck O'Neil handpicked to run the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City following the legend's death, is finally getting the job. Bob Kendrick was passed over as the head of the museum two years ago and on the brink of collapse, Kendrick has been tabbed to takeover.

Few people were as upset at the snub as former Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski, who has kissed and made up with the museum on his blog. [Kansas City Star]

FAN-DESIGNED UNIFORM -- I didn't know until yesterday that the White Sox uniforms of the the 80s were the product of a contest run by the team to design a new uniform. Richard Launius, then of Dayton, Ohio, designed the White Sox's pullover Sox uniforms with numbers on the pants.  [ESPN.com]

FOOD NETWORK INVADES YOUR PARK -- The Food Network is offering steak sandwiches at eight ballparks this summer. If you're in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, San Diego, St. Louis or Texas, you can go visit Paula Deen working her cart at your park. What, you don't think she's going to be there? Maybe Morimoto? We can hope. [Sportsandfood.com]

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Posted on: March 24, 2011 8:45 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 9:53 pm

3 up, 3 down for 3/24: Slugging Stanton

By Matt Snyder

3 UP

Mike Stanton, Marlins. Florida's big bopper hadn't yet appeared in a spring game this season due to a quad injury. He made up for lost time Thursday in a stunning performance of his slugging prowess. He went 3-4 with two runs scored. Oh yeah, he also hit 3-run home runs in back-to-back at-bats, ending the day with seven RBI. His power is immense. Stanton hit 22 home runs last year in 359 at-bats and he was only 20. He was killing the ball in Triple-A before his call, as he had 21 bombs in just 192 at-bats. There's 40-homer potential in that bat for years to come.

Brad Emaus, Mets. The Mets' bats went nuts, scoring 16 runs on 23 hits, but the day was most significant for Emaus, as he zeroes in on the second base job vacated by Luis Castillo's dismissal. He went 4-4 with a double, home run, three runs and an RBI.

Darwin Barney, Cubs. The 25 year old is doing all he can to make Mike Quade forget about leaving Barney on the bench. He's already made the opening day roster, but is slated as a backup utility infielder with Jeff Baker all set to start at second base. Barney went 2-4 with a triple and two RBI Thursday. He also seems comfortable defensively with shortstop Starlin Castro. It would appear this is the double-play combo of the future in Wrigley, but how far in the future remains to be seen.


Clay Buchholz, Red Sox. Of the 11 runs Buchholz allowed, only six were earned, but everything was troubling about the outing. He gave up 11 hits, including a whopping four home runs, in four innings. He threw too many balls, falling behind to many hitters. The silver lining here is that the wind was blowing out to center.

Jaime Garcia, Cardinals. Garcia also coughed up double digits worth of runs (10), though only four were earned, as a Skip Schumaker error opened the door for some extra runs. Still, Garcia was knocked around the yard for 14 hits in four innings, including two longballs. He even balked. The spring ERA of 7.94 doesn't look promising for a club looking for guys to step up in the absence of Adam Wainwright.

Scott Kazmir, Angels. He didn't want Buchholz and Garcia to be the only guys in double figures, so Kazmir joined the party with 10 runs, eight hits and three walks. He also had some unearned runs, but only two, so the eight earned were the highest of the trio. Kazmir did last five innings, but coughing up 10 runs to these "Brewers" -- without Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks or Corey Hart in the lineup -- was pretty terrible. His spring ERA is up to 7.79.

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Posted on: March 24, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 5:32 pm

Hunter strains groin, possible rotation shake up

By Matt Snyder

Just a few hours after the Rangers officially named their starting rotation -- and announced Neftali Feliz will remain the team's closer -- Tommy Hunter strained his right groin. (Evan Grant via Twitter )

Considering how a groin factors into a pitcher's delivery, a trip to the disabled list is a near-certainty.

That means that the Rangers are right back where they were at the beginning of the day -- without a full rotation.

The most likely candidate to take the vacated spot is Michael Kirkman. The 24-year-old prospect was the PCL (Triple-A) pitcher of the year in 2010, as he went 13-3 with a 3.09 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 131 innings. After getting the call to join the big club in late August, Kirkman became a weapon out of the bullpen for the eventual AL champs, finishing with a 1.65 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 16 1/3 innings. He struck out 16, but the 10 walks were a bit troubling. He has struggled a bit this spring, but the coaching staff has still raved about him in interviews.

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Posted on: March 24, 2011 2:44 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 5:29 pm

Feliz to close, Rangers round out rotation

By Matt Snyder

One of the spring's more talked-about storylines has reportedly come to a conclusion. The 2010 Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz will remain the team's closer, while Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Tommy Hunter will fill the final three rotation spots behind C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis. (MLB.com via Twitter )

With Feliz out of the picture, the three choices aren't very surprising. The only other pitcher who could legitimately claim to have better stuff would be Michael Kirkman, but he could benefit from some more time in the minors before getting the call. It's a nice luxury for the Rangers to have so many viable options.

The majority of the discussion when it came to the last couple slots was whether Feliz should remain the closer or become a starting pitcher. Many project him as having the ability of a front-line ace. If that's going to happen, why not now? Those supporting a move to the rotation would tell you it's much more valuable for a team to get 150-200 innings out of its best pitcher than 70-80. On the flip-side, the Rangers don't have any other viable options at closer, but did have plenty of capable starting pitchers -- though not as good as Feliz.

Ultimately, Ron Washington and his staff must have felt it was best to leave the lock-down guy at the end of the line and see what they can get out of the young arms.

Hunter is only 24 and went 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA and 1.24 WHIP last season. Holland is also only 24. He hasn't had success at the major-league level yet, but dominated the minors. Harrison would seem the biggest question mark of the three, but has had a good spring.

UPDATE: Right on cue, Hunter went down with a strained groin . So the Rangers still don't have a set rotation.

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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