Tag:AL West
Posted on: March 9, 2011 9:20 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:46 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/9: Holland emerges for Rangers

HarangBy Evan Brunell

3 UP

1. LF Alex Gordon, KC: 3 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 2 RBI. Gordon really needed this game, as a 3-for-3 night lifted his average to just .263. Already termed a bust, Gordon is likely on his final shot to contribute to the Royals. Heck, K.C. would take simply being an average contributor. In the same game, Lance Zawadski went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and one run scored. He's a Triple-A player who got a cup of coffee with the Padres last season. Why is this mentioned? Because Zawadski was my double-play partner in high school. Rubbing shoulders with greatness, I am.

2. SP Javier Vazquez, FLA: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. Vazquez is looking to reclaim his status as one of the better pitchers in the game after his second turn as a Yankee was just as bad as his first. It's too early to speculate on his velocity, but the early results have to be promising for the Marlins who could be a sleeper in the NL East.

3. SP Derek Holland, TEX: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. Holland certainly vaulted himself into being a favorite to win the No. 4 rotation spot in Texas with this outing. Reports had Holland looking electric, and he may be ready to fulfill his top prospect billing.

3 DOWN

1. SP Aaron Harang, SD: 3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. Yuck. Harang (pictured) got blasted against his former team who dressed just one projected starter in Brandon Phillips, making this outing all the more worse. Harang felt he was simply too nervous. "You kind of want to go out there and do well against your old team," Harang told the Associated Press. "I guess I look at it that it's better to get it out of the way down here than having it happen the first time throwing against them during the season." At least, Harang hopes that's the reason. The Padres, too.

2. SP Scott Kazmir, LAA: 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 1 K. "What's Kaz doing here if he didn't give up any earned runs?" you ask. Did you happen to notice he coughed up nine baserunners in three innings? Kazmir also contributed an error when attempting a pickoff. The Angels will be very impatient with Kazmir after being nothing but a bust since the trade with Tampa Bay. The lefty says he's close to a breakthrough after simplifying his delivery. For his sake, we hope so.

3. 1B Miguel Cabrera, DET: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 2 K. Cabrera was in the news Wednesday for all the wrong reasons as details emerged about the night of Feb. 16, when it was exposed to the world that Miggy still had a drinking problem. It's been three weeks since the incident and Cabrera is apparently in the best shape of his life, but he's still hitting .174 on the spring. But remember: spring statistics aren't worth the pixels on the computer screen.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


More MLB coverage
Posted on: March 9, 2011 9:20 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:46 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/9: Holland emerges for Rangers

HarangBy Evan Brunell

3 UP

1. LF Alex Gordon, KC: 3 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 2 RBI. Gordon really needed this game, as a 3-for-3 night lifted his average to just .263. Already termed a bust, Gordon is likely on his final shot to contribute to the Royals. Heck, K.C. would take simply being an average contributor. In the same game, Lance Zawadski went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and one run scored. He's a Triple-A player who got a cup of coffee with the Padres last season. Why is this mentioned? Because Zawadski was my double-play partner in high school. Rubbing shoulders with greatness, I am.

2. SP Javier Vazquez, FLA: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. Vazquez is looking to reclaim his status as one of the better pitchers in the game after his second turn as a Yankee was just as bad as his first. It's too early to speculate on his velocity, but the early results have to be promising for the Marlins who could be a sleeper in the NL East.

3. SP Derek Holland, TEX: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. Holland certainly vaulted himself into being a favorite to win the No. 4 rotation spot in Texas with this outing. Reports had Holland looking electric, and he may be ready to fulfill his top prospect billing.

3 DOWN

1. SP Aaron Harang, SD: 3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. Yuck. Harang (pictured) got blasted against his former team who dressed just one projected starter in Brandon Phillips, making this outing all the more worse. Harang felt he was simply too nervous. "You kind of want to go out there and do well against your old team," Harang told the Associated Press. "I guess I look at it that it's better to get it out of the way down here than having it happen the first time throwing against them during the season." At least, Harang hopes that's the reason. The Padres, too.

2. SP Scott Kazmir, LAA: 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 1 K. "What's Kaz doing here if he didn't give up any earned runs?" you ask. Did you happen to notice he coughed up nine baserunners in three innings? Kazmir also contributed an error when attempting a pickoff. The Angels will be very impatient with Kazmir after being nothing but a bust since the trade with Tampa Bay. The lefty says he's close to a breakthrough after simplifying his delivery. For his sake, we hope so.

3. 1B Miguel Cabrera, DET: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 2 K. Cabrera was in the news Wednesday for all the wrong reasons as details emerged about the night of Feb. 16, when it was exposed to the world that Miggy still had a drinking problem. It's been three weeks since the incident and Cabrera is apparently in the best shape of his life, but he's still hitting .174 on the spring. But remember: spring statistics aren't worth the pixels on the computer screen.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


More MLB coverage
Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Don't call me 'Kendry' anymore

By Matt Snyder

Since you're visiting the Eye on Baseball blog, let's assume you're a baseball fan. In assuming as much, that means you've heard of Kendry Morales.

Only that's not really his name. At least not the correct spelling.

As told to the Los Angeles Times , it's actually Kendrys (pronounced KEN-dreez) Morales -- Kendrys Morales Rodriguez, to be specific. That's the name that appears on his birth certificate and all other personal documents except his major-league contract.

Back in 2004, when Morales defected from Cuba and signed with the Angels, the contract erroneously contained no "s" at the end of his given first name. He signed the contract and "never bothered to correct it."

Don't mistake that for his being OK with the name Kendry. According to the Times, he's "adamant" that his real first name is Kendrys.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 

More MLB coverage
Posted on: March 7, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Feliz tries to make Rangers' decision easier

By Matt Snyder

Reigning Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz would rather be a closer than a starter, if the choice was left up to him.
"I'm comfortable there and I've done it before at this level and I know what it takes," Feliz said with Julio Borbon acting as an interpreter. "What I went through last year made me feel more comfortable with the role. I experienced it at a very high level. But if I start, I'll get myself into a routine and get comfortable with it again. If I start, I'm not going to hold back or not go at it all the way. I'm going to do what I do."
(via Dallas Morning News )

He reportedly told Rangers president Nolan Ryan that sentiment Sunday.

The situation should make decisions easier for the Rangers in spring training, but creates a bit of a quandry.

First of all, many front office types would much rather have a stud pitcher with an arm like Feliz's in the rotation. Most sabermatricians agree. It's simple mathematics, since you're talking about getting 200-plus innings from a starter versus about 70 from a closer. So maybe the Rangers still want him in the rotation and will try to convince him a move is best for the team.

On the other hand, the Rangers have a logjam of starters competing for the rotation spots. I outlined the possible options and who could factor in last week, but a C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Brandon Webb, Michael Kirkman and Derek Holland rotation come August could actually be quite stout -- and that leaves Matt Harrison and Tommy Hunter in the cold. So you can easily argue Feliz at closer -- even if for the short-term -- does the most for the team.

Putting the innings-pitched argument aside, having a lock-down closer is quite the luxury for managers. Just ask Joe Torre, who never tried to move Mariano Rivera from the back-end of his 'pen to the rotation.

Feliz has the potential to be the best closer in baseball. He saved 40 games last season, racking up 71 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings with a 2.73 ERA and sparkling 0.88 WHIP. He can hit triple digits on the radar gun and is still only 22.

Considering all the circumstances at hand, the Rangers should probably just keep him in the bullpen for at least this season. I expect an announcement along those lines will be coming quite soon.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 

More MLB coverage
Category: MLB
Posted on: March 7, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 6:15 pm
 

Just in case you were wondering about King Felix

By Matt Snyder

Think Felix Hernandez is going to be traded any time soon? Think again.

Jon Heyman of SI.com tweeted probably the most definitive statement a general manager could possibly make. "He's not going anywhere," Jack Zduriencik said (via Twitter ). "We've got him. We'll keep him. We're not going to move him."

Any speculation about the Mariners possibly trading King Felix might stem from a midseason trade of Cliff Lee last season. But the situations couldn't be more apples and oranges. Lee was set to be a free agent at the end of 2010, so when the team fell out of the race, it only made sense to get something for him. Plus, Hernandez is only 24 years old. He's already been the best pitcher in the American League for the past two seasons -- and, no, that's not an arguable point -- and the Mariners have him locked up through 2014. Also, Seattle isn't exactly Kansas City in terms of market. The Mariners have a payroll of about $85 million for this season, which places them almost squarely in the middle (14th of 30) in the bigs.

In 2009, Hernandez went 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. He struck out 217 hitters in 238 2/3 innings and finished second in Cy Young voting. In 2010, he went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 232 strikeouts in a whopping 249 2/3 innings. He won the Cy Young award. If he keeps this up, he'll be in for a huge payday come 2015 free agency.

That's a long way away, though, and the Mariners might even be able to afford it. Just get used to seeing him in Mariner garb.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 

More MLB coverage

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 7, 2011 1:31 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 1:37 pm
 

Olivo's status still uncertain

Miguel OlivoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Mariners updated the status of catcher Miguel Olivo, and well, it's pretty much no update.

The MRI revealed no tear of his strained groin muscle and the team said it would "proceed cautiously," the Seattle Times reports.

Olivo will continue to throw, but won't catch or hit.

As we talked about earlier today when discussing the Astros' search for a replacement for Jason Castro, there's not a whole lot of catchers out there. While the Astros would like another catcher, the Mariners will need one if Olivo isn't ready for the start of the season.

Besides Olivo, the team has just one other catcher on the 40-man roster and that's Adam Moore. Moore was scratched from Monday's lineup, so that's not good either. The team has Josh Bard, Chris Giminez and Steve Baron in Major League camp as non-roster invitees.

Olivo told reporters yesterday he would be fine for opening day, but players can afford to be more optimistic than front offices. Bard is the most experienced of the three remaining catchers in camp, playing in 39 games for the Mariners last season, while compiling 1,894 plate appearances in the big leagues over nine seasons. He's a career .256/.323/.387 and will be 33 by opening day.

In a quiet offseason for the Mariners, Olivo was the team's big splash, giving him a two-year, $7 million deal.

 For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
More MLB coverage
Posted on: March 7, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Pepper: Raise a glass


By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Orioles are a trendy pick to be better in 2011, and they should be. But no matter how the Orioles do on the field, things will be better this season in Baltimore because Natty Boh is back.

Before the take-over of the beer industry by the big brewing companies, regional beers were king -- be it National Bohemian (known as Natty Boh in Baltimore) in the mid-Atlantic, Hudepohl in Cincinnati or Hamm's in Minnesota.

These were different than the great microbrews of today, they were the macrobrews of yesterday. It's what you remember your grandpa dinking, whether it was an Olympia in Washington or an Old Style in Chicago. These were American, working-class beers. And they belonged with baseball, at the ballpark and at home, listening along to the local nine on the radio.

Well, one of these greats, National Bohemian, is back where it belongs, at the ballpark at Camden Yards. And for that, America and baseball are better than they were before. (Baltimore Sun)

For more fun, check out this video of old Natty Boh commercials (with an added bonus of Maryland history):

GARDNER MAY PUSH JETER FROM LEADOFF: The Yankees front office wants Brett Gardner, not Derek Jeter, leading off, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes.

Jeter has batted first or second for most of his career, but it seems natural to put the speedy Gardner atop the lineup. Gardner had a .383 on-base percentage last season, along with 47 stolen bases. He also saw an MLB-best 4.6 pitchers per plate appearance, giving him a good case to bat first for the Yankees.

HOLD 'EM OR FOLD 'EM: Boston's Mike Cameron had his name thrown around a bit this weekend after Philadelphia lost Domonic Brown to a hand injury, but with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury roaming the outfield, is it wise for the Red Sox to get rid of any outfielder?

Although Cameron is making $7.5 million this season, that would hamper many other teams, but not the Red Sox. Cameron is also a rarity in the Red Sox clubhouse, a right-handed hitter. (Boston Globe)

HART SIDELINED: Brewers right fielder Corey Hart missed the last week after straining a muscle in his side. He was expected to miss two weeks, but after a setback during a throwing exercise on Saturday, Hart said he doesn't expect to be back in the original timeframe.

However, manager Ron Roenicke said he expects Hart to be ready for opening day. (MLB.com)

MOM KNOWS BEST: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he was feeling sorry for himself after suffering a broken bone in his left foot, until his mother set him straight.

"I woke up positive and [said] 'Let's do it,'" Cervelli told the New York Daily News. "That's it. Start the work, the therapy and get better. A lot of people in the world don't have legs or arms; I'm healthy. I just have something in my foot, but it's going to be OK."

MONTERO MAY BACKUP: Cervelli's injury may have opened the door for Yankees top prospect, Jesus Montero.

Many thought the Yankees would want him to play every day and not have him break camp just to back up Russell Martin. One who doesn't buy that theory, apparently, is Brian Cashman.

"There is a lot of knowledge that a catcher has to absorb that you just won't get at Triple-A," Cashman told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. "If it's the second week of April and he has only pinch-hit or started one game, I won't consider it a lost week. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that he has never experienced before.

"He can watch, see how [Martin] goes through it -- pre-game, advance scouting meetings, all those things. When he gets in there in the future, he'll be fully prepared, rather than just sink or swim."

The Yankees know Montero's bat can play right away, but many question his ability to stick behind the plate.

TRADE STUNG SAUNDERS: Former first-rounder Joe Saunders said he was upset last season when the Angels traded him to Arizona.

"I was pissed off. I'm not going to lie to you," Saunders told the Orange County Register.

Saunders said it was weird heading into the visitor's clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Angels' spring training home.

MULLET MANIA: Travis Schlichting has the greatest mullet in baseball history, and Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan has the story.

AUTHOR-PITCHER: Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst -- better known as the author of The Bullpen Gospels than anything he's done on the field -- said he's walked a fine line between being truthful and writing a tell-all.

Hayhurst's often hilarious characters in the book (really, it's worth checking out, a fun, quick read), are real, but he doesn't name names. He's also working on a second book and has a contract for a third, but those will also be done in his particular style, where the only specific player you get dirt on is Hayhurst himself.

The Rays seem like a perfect fit, if only for the fact that when asked about Hayhurst, manager Joe Maddon used the word "ameliorated" in his response. (St. Petersburg Times)

OLIVO CONFIDENT: Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo had a scare on Saturday when he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and had to be helped off the field. Olivo will have an MRI today, but he told reporters on Sunday that he's confident he'll be ready for opening day. (Seattle Times)

BOOF REMAINS A MYSTERY: Even Boof Bonser doesn't know how his name came about, even though he's legally changed it. (Star-Ledger)

FORTUITOUS CUT: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is pretty happy he cut reliever Cristhian Martinez last year when both were with the Marlins. Martinez was optioned to Triple-A at the end of spring training last season and then designated him for assignment on April 3. The Braves signed him and now he's competing for the final bullpen spot.

Martinez struck out five in two innings against the Nationals on Sunday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MAYBIN MAY RETURN: San Diego's Cameron Maybin may return to action today after suffering concussion symptoms when he hit his head on a post during Wednesday's practice.

Maybin, the team's newly acquired center fielder, took batting practice on Sunday and said he felt good afterwards. (MLB.com)

D-LEE STILL OUT: Derrek Lee won't make his debut with the Orioles in the Grapefruit League until Wednesday at the earliest. (Baltimore Sun)

PEAVY TO MAKE SECOND START: White Sox starter Jake Peavy said he's sore from Saturday's start, but he's good enough to start on Wednesday. (Chicago Tribune)

FIRST BASE BATTLE: Here's something you don't hear very often -- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said defensive will be a key component to the team's search for a regular first baseman.

Russell Branyan, Brandon Allen and Juan Miranda are the other leading candidates for that job. (Arizona Republic)

ZAUN TO RETIRE: Veteran catcher Gregg Zaun is set to retire after 16 seasons in the big leagues.

Zaun, 39, was in the Padres camp. He's a career .252/.344/.388 hitter, but better known for his defense, spending most of his time as a backup catcher.

His retirement gives Rob Johnson the inside track at the Padres' backup job. (Sportsnet.ca)


For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
More MLB coverage
Posted on: March 6, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: March 6, 2011 11:35 am
 

Pepper: Phillie concern

Domonic Brown

By C. Trent Rosecrans

After nothing but (deserved) rave reviews this offseason, reality is hitting the Philadelphia Phillies.

Still the favorite in the National League East, the same problem that kept them in a division race last season is popping up again -- injuries.

Chase Utley is already getting cortisone shots and, as our own Danny Knobler wrote it perfectly, if the Phillies are concerned -- and they're saying they're concerned -- it's not a good sign.

And now Domonic Brown is out with a broken hamate bone in his hand. Although Brown was struggling this spring -- hitless in 15 at-bats -- and was likely headed to Triple-A, he was still part of the team's plans for 2011.

The hamate injury is a tricky one -- he'll likely be able to play this season, but he won't be the same. Last year when I was around the Reds a bit, I talked to two players who were in different stages of the same injury. One, Yonder Alonso, suffered the injury in 2009, the other, Chris Dickerson, had the surgery during last season.

Dickerson was able to return and even played with the Reds and Brewers after the surgery. Alonso had the surgery in June of 2009 and was back that season, as well. However, the injury saps power. Alonso told me several times that the ball just didn't jump off his bat the same, what would be a double in the past wasn't getting past outfielders, and what was a homer in the past just died in the outfield. As doctors told him, about a year fate the surgery, his power was back. 

Brown can return this season, but don't expect him to be the same player he has shown to be in the minor leagues and that he'll be in the future.

The Phillies are counting on Ben Francisco and Ross Gload to fill in for Jayson Werth until Brown is ready. Now they'll be counting on those two longer.

Pitching won't be a problem for Philadelphia, and it wasn't the problem last year. When the team got in trouble, it was injuries and offense. With uncertainly to the health of Utley and then general uncertainty with Jimmy Rollins, there's cause for concern in Philly.

That said, they're still the favorites, but maybe not quite the prohibitive favorites they were before.

STAYING PAT: The Yankees appear to be happy with the starters they have in camp -- CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova.

Brian Cashman tells the Boston Globe the team is unlikely to trade for a starter before opening day.

"Can't rule it out, but it's highly unlikely," Cashman said. "Normally anything of quality doesn't become available until after the June draft. That's why you try and get as much as you can get accomplished in winter."

HOT DOG RUN: Apparently because the team mom forgot the orange slices, after his stint in Saturday's game, Boston's Dustin Pedroia ducked out of the Red Sox clubhouse to the concession stand for three hot dogs.

"They probably didn't think he was a player," Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters, including the Providence Journal. "Did you see that outfit he had on? He looks like he's going into second grade."

NATS OPTIMISM: A scout tells Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) that Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is "back." He's throwing 94-95 mph with a "superb" slider. Said the scout, "if they had [Stephen] Strasburg, they'd be dangerous."

The Nats don't, but Zimmermann offers hope for 2012, as he had Tommy John surgery in August of 2009, a year before Strasburg. 

AMBASSADOR GRIFFEY: Ken Griffey Jr.'s new job with the Mariners is to be an ambassador of sort, but before he does that, he served the same role for the U.S. State Department in the Philippines. 

Griffey just returned from working with coaches and youth players in the Philippines. 

USA Today's Paul White caught up with him last week before his trip. Griffey still refuses to talk about his exit from the game, but he'll likely be seen around the Mariners some this season. His new job requires about a month's worth of work with the team, doing a little bit of everything.

More importantly, he's being a dad. His daughter Taryn recently led Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School to the Florida girls basketball championship. Taryn Griffey, a freshman point guard, had 21 points in the championship game.

His son, Trey, is a junior safety and wide receiver who is being recruited, as well.

PIAZZA NOT BUYING Mets: Mike Piazza tells the New York Post he's interested in buying part of a baseball team "someday" but not now.

"I think everything is timing," Piazza said. "It's an interesting time in the game. There's a lot of change going on … but as far as anything on the forefront, there's nothing. Let's just say I talked to some people that are interested in getting into the game … It doesn't cost anything to talk. At least not yet."

NO PANIC FOR Braves: Atlanta's 23-year-old Craig Kimbrel has the inside track to replace Billy Wagner as the Braves' closer, but he's not been very good so far this spring. He's struggled with his command and has allowed four runs and six hits in three appearances this spring.

"If there is a trend like this later in the spring, then you start worrying about it," manager Fredi Gonzalez tells MLB.com. "But not right now."

CAIN FEELS BETTER: Giants pitcher Matt Cain played catch for about eight minutes on Saturday and felt no pain in his right elbow.

Cain was scratched from his last start and won't make his scheduled start on Tuesday, either. (MLB.com)

PIONEER LAID TO REST: About 500 people reportedly attended the funeral of Wally Yonamine in Hawaii on Saturday, according to Sanspo (via YakyuBaka.com). A memorial service will also be held in Tokyo later this month.

Yonamine, the first American to play professional baseball in Japan, died earlier this week at 85. The New York Times had a good obituary earlier this week, and a column in the Honolulu Star Advertiser shed light on how Yonamine dealt with death threats and other pressures when he started playing in Japan.

However, Yonamine became a star in Japan and was elected to the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. He was also the first Asian-American to play in the NFL.

NOT THAT IT'S GONNA HAPPEN: But contraction isn't going to happen.

Union chief Michael Weiner tells the St. Petersburg Times that the union will fight any attempt to contract teams.

"Having been in bargaining in baseball since the late 80s, anything is fathomable, so we don't either take anything for granted or rule anything out," Weiner said. "All I would says is if that changes, if contraction becomes a goal of the owners in this negotiation, the tenor of the talks would change quickly and dramatically."

Bud Selig tells the Los Angeles Times it's not a goal for the owners, and it's certainly not a fight they want to take up.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
More MLB coverage
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com