Posted on: August 24, 2011 1:13 am

A's Allen hits two tape-measure homers

Brandon AllenBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Brandon Allen hadn't hit a homer since being traded from the Diamondbacks to the A's at the trade deadline, but he made up for that with two at Yankee Stadium in Tuesday's 6-5 victory over New York.

But it wasn't just that Allen hit two homers -- it is where he hit them. His first homer, off starter Bartolo Colon in the second inning was just the second hit into the third deck at new Yankee Stadium. Russell Branyan hit one there last Aug. 21. Allen's second homer -- off of Hector Noesi in the eighth inning -- "just" went into the second deck. 

"Both had the same sound," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters (via MLB.com). "One just had a little more topspin on it. That first one, I can't imagine too many other home runs hit farther in this building than that one."

Watch both homers here.

In his 10 games as an Athletic, Allen's hit .394/.432/.758 and at least put himself into consideration for the starting spot at first base for Oakland in 2012. He doesn't have the strongest competition, as Daric Barton was the incumbent and struggled mightily before being demoted to Triple-A in June. Prospect Chris Carter has as much power as anyone, but has yet to show he can hit in the big leagues.

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 9:51 pm

Earthquake shakes MLB

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Orioles are in Minnesota, so they only heard about today's earthquake -- but the Maryland Stadium Authority isn't taking any chances with Camden Yards, inspecting the Orioles' home after Tuesday afternoon's earthquake, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority told the paper that he and a structural engineer were checking both Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL's Ravens, on Tuesday. The Ravens have a preseason game against the Redskins on Thursday while the Orioles return home Friday to start a series against the Yankees.

"This is certainly a precautionary measure, but it seems appropriate given the magnitude of the earthquake," Michael Frenz told the newspaper. "There is no reason [to believe] it's not safe, but we have a lot of people coming in, so we want to make sure we're protecting public safety and the real estate asset."

The Nationals delayed Tuesday's game by 20 minutes because of the earthquake, also delaying the opening of the gates while Nationals Park was inspected. Nationals manager Davey Johnson was at the ballpark when the earthquake hit.

"I had my feet up on my desk and I was watching highlights of yesterday's games," Johnson told the Associated Press. "I looked down and my arms started shaking. I said, 'Am I having a tremor here?' And then the table next to me started shaking and I said, 'Oh, earthquake.'"

He was in better shape than the Diamondbacks. Arizona's team bus got stuck in traffic after the earthquake, delaying some players' arrival at the park for hours.

In Philadelphia, Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence tweeted about the earthquake right after it happened:


The earthquake could be felt in New York, but most of the A's players said they didn't feel it.

"it's like a state of panic here," Conor Jackson, a native of Southern California, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. "They're such rookies."

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 4:57 pm

Kouzmanoff sent to Rockies in deal

KouzmanoffBy Evan Brunell

Kevin Kouzmanoff has been traded to the Rockies along with cash for a player to be named later or cash considerations, MLB announced.

Playing for the Athletics earlier this year before being banished to the minors, Kouzmanoff hasn't been in the majors since early June, when he was demoted after hitting .221/.262/.353 in 149 plate appearances. The 30-year-old was a major disappointment in Oakland after coming over from San Diego following the 2009 season. For San Diego, the third baseman hit .263/.309/.436 playing half his games in Petco Park. That lent optimism that Kouzmanoff could at least replicate that in Oakland, or at least match what he put up with San Diego.

Instead, the cavernous park in Oakland proved harder for Kouzmanoff to handle, and in his one-plus years with the A's major-league squad, hit just  .242/.279/.411. Still, he has pop in his bat and could succeed in Colorado, but will report to Triple-A first before likely receiving a September callup. This deal appears to be about stacking depth for Colorado, who could deal third baseman Ian Stewart this winter. Stewart is a former top prospect that just hasn't put it together for the Rockies and appears on his way out, but the Rockies have no acceptable replacements. While they will certainly pursue better alternatives this offseason, having Kouzmanoff under team control through arbitration is an acceptable fallback.

Down on the farm for Oakland, Kouzmanoff is hitting .302/.341/.550 in 279 PA with 13 homers, so the potential for Kouzmanoff to re-emerge as a viable starter is possible. Meanwhile, he had no future in Oakland as he had played himself out of town there and would have been non-tendered after the season.

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Posted on: August 20, 2011 4:28 pm

Yankees, other teams scouting Rich Harden

HardenBy Evan Brunell

On Friday night, Rich Harden showed flashes of the dominance that has given him chance after chance to pitch in the majors despite being one of the most brittle baseball players to play the game.

Harden struck out 11 batters, including striking out the side on nine pitches in the first after loading the bases on an error and two walks. He walked a total of four batters and allowed just two hits in a near-unhittable performance over seven innings, downing the Blue Jays. It was a great game for scouts to watch, as the San Francisco Chronicle notes that scouts from several teams in contention have been keeping tabs on Harden, including the Yankees, who took in Harden's previous two starts.

Any sour taste left in New York's mouth after seeing Harden give up four runs in four innings to the Rangers on Aug. 14 was certainly erased by this past outing, and it's easy to see Harden being moved before Aug. 31. After all, it's not as if he's untouchable -- Oakland had agreed to ship Harden to the Red Sox at the trade deadline for prospect Lars Anderson and a player to be named later. When the Red Sox didn't like Harden's medicals, they balked on the PTBNL, and the A's scrapped the deal entirely. Boston acquired Erik Bedard instead, and now it's entirely possible that Harden will be pitching against Boston down the stretch, donning pinstripes.

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 1:03 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Kershaw fires gem, Trumbo walks off


By Evan Brunell

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: All of a sudden, Clayton Kershaw is making the NL Cy Young Award race one to watch, as Roy Halladay may not have as firm a grip on the award as might have otherwise been thought. After pumping six strikeouts past the Brewers in eight innings, the lefty lowered his ERA to 2.60 after yet another scoreless outing. Those six strikeouts inched him to one shy of 200 whiffs on the season. Let's compare Kershaw to Halladay, starting with the youngster first: 15-5 in 183 2/3 IP, 2.60 ERA, 199 K, 46 BB. Halladay has a 15-5 record in 184 2/3 IP with a 2.53 ERA, 177 K and 23 BB. I'd still take Halladay, but it's close enough that this is a race.

Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays: The ex-Cardinal didn't get his tenure in Toronto off to a fast start, but if Thursday is any indication of what he can put together on a regular bases, the Blue Jays will be quite pleased. Rasmus went 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBI, chipping in three runs as Toronto downed Oakland. It was the center fielder's fifth multi-hit game with Toronto, and his first with three hits. His bat must be heating up in the power department, because it's the second straight game he's driven a home run, sending his total from 13 to 15 in two days, and he's totaled eight RBI in his last three games.

Mark Trumbo, Angels: And just like that, the Angels snapped their five-game losing streak, stopped Texas from winning seven straight and closed the AL West deficit to a still-imposing six games. How did that happen? At the hands of Mark Trumbo, who delivered a two-run walk-off home run off of Mike Adams in the bottom of the ninth to turn a dispiriting 1-0 loss into a wild 4-0 victory. This was a game L.A. desperately needed, especially given that the Rangers run had come off of the bat of Mike Napoli with a homer. Trumbo had one other hit in the game, but his OBP is still under .300 for the year.

Phil Humber, White Sox: Phil Humber received a nasty scare on Thursday when a Kosuke Fukudome liner found the area just above his right eye, sending Humber sprawling on the mound. He was able to get up right away, though, and lobbied to stay in the game. The ChiSox weren't having any of it, so the righty left the game having pitched just 1 1/3 innings, giving up three hits, no walks or runs and punching out three. "I told them I was good, I felt like I could still pitch and wanted to be out there," Humber told the Chicago Tribune. "But at the same time, they got a job to do and take every precaution that there wasn’t anything serious going on.”

Travis Hafner, Indians:  After a three-hit game against the Red Sox on Aug. 4, Hafner was enjoying a .300/.386/.491 season. That was a step below his .347/.428/.567 line on July 7, but it was inevitable for Hafner to come back to earth. Well, that three-hit day didn't stave off the decline. While Hafner's still stayed reasonably productive, that line continues to drop, and now after striking out three times in five plate appearances on Thursday when he went hitless with an intentional walk, Hafner is at .288/.368/.461. He also struck out to end the sixth with the bases loaded and two runs already in. The Indians still won the game 4-2, but Hafner could have broke it open.

Trevor Cahill, Athletics: Last season, Trevor Cahill was an All-Star and received Cy Young Award votes. He wasn't named to the All-Star team this season, although that wasn't indicative of a bad season, as his 3.92 ERA was still solid. Well, it was. A seven-run outburst by tje Blue Jays knocked Cahill out of the game after 5 1/3 innings, sending his ERA skittering up to 4.17. Cahill allowed nine hits and two walks, while striking out two. Cahill has been a Jekyll-and-Hyde (mostly Jekyll) pitcher since the beginning of June, with a 5.83 ERA to show for it.

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 1:05 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Carmona steps up for Tribe

By Matt Snyder

Fausto Carmona, Indians. The offense deserves some credit for the four runs, too, because it was the first time White Sox starter Mark Buehrle allowed more than three earned runs in a game since April 22. But make no mistake about it, the burden was on Carmona here. The Indians had fallen to three games back of the Tigers and just a half-game in front of the White Sox. Also, the Indians were coming off a 14-inning loss where the starter only lasted 4 2/3 innings. The bullpen was taxed. Carmona went out Wednesday night and put the team on his back. He went 8 1/3 innings and allowed just four hits and one run in the victory. At one point he retired 11 straight White Sox hitters.

Kurt Suzuki, Athletics. The catcher got it done both with the bat and the glove. He hit two home runs in the A's one-run victory over the Orioles, and also made an impressive catch and tag at home plate on the would-be tying run to end the game.

The Texas Rangers. The Angels were apparently so terrified of falling seven games out in the AL West that Mike Scioscia tried to stretch Ervin Santana to nearly 130 pitches and it bit them. The game was tied at two as the Rangers scored twice against arguably the hottest pitcher in baseball while C.J. Wilson kept things in order from his end. Then Scioscia ran Santana back out there for the eighth and the Rangers loaded the bases ... and then Ian Kinsler singled home two. The Rangers are now 20 games over .500. They finished 18 games over .500 last year and went to the World Series.

Ricky Nolasco, Marlins. Coughing up 11 hits and 11 earned runs in a start is bad enough, but Nolasco did it in just three innings, as inconsistency remains his signature move. This was the third time this season Nolasco has given up at least eight earned runs and sixth time he's allowed five or more. Yet he's allowed one or less nine times. I'd have to imagine in seeing how good Nolasco can be, it only makes the awful outings that much more frustrating for the Marlins and their fans.

Jair Jurrjens, Braves. In his four starts between the All-Star break and the disabled list, Jurrjens had a 6.26 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. He returned to face an anemic Giants offense Wednesday night only to give up eight hits, two walks and five earned runs in his six innings of work. He only struck out one. The Braves probably don't need first-half Jurrjens to make the playoffs, but he'd sure help the chances at a World Series.

Jose Valverde/Wilson Betemit, Tigers. The Tigers went to their closer with a 4-4 tie in the top of the ninth Wednesday against the Twins and came out trailing by two. Both runs were unearned, but Valverde himself committed one of the errors, in addition to giving up the big two-run single to Justin Morneau. The Tigers' lead is now back to two over the Indians.

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Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:21 am

Pepper: Gordon wants to stay in Kansas City

By Evan Brunell

Alex Gordon's had a long, tough road in Kansas City. He arrived in town with expectations of being the next George Brett, and struggled to reach those expectations while adjusting to the major leagues. For a few years there, the third baseman was looking like a colossal bust, but he switched to left field and broke out this year at age 27 and has had a fantastic year leading off.

Gordon isn't a free agent until after 2013, but is already eager to sign a long-term extension to stay a Royal.

“Staying here?” Gordon told the Kansas City Star. “Heck, yeah. I love it here. I love the guys here. I love being close to home. I love the fans. I love everything about this place.”

Gordon noted that the team and GM Dayton Moore has already indicated they want to wait until after the season to discuss a long-term deal. Making just $1.4 million, that number is sure to rise, if not double, through arbitration. The Royals may want to wait another season to see if Gordon's newfound production is real, even if it's at the risk of a spiking salary through arbitration. There's no real rush here -- Kansas City's payroll started the year under $40 million after cracking $70 million the last few years. With that kind of flexibility at hand and no massive contracts due anytime soon, the Royals may want to exercise their flexibility to gauge Gordon for another season.

Working in Gordon's favor is that he's ready to help immediately and can be a linchpin of the team's transition to a young crop, which doesn't include a deep outfield. Lorenzo Cain appears ready to take over center field and Wil Myers is developing nicely in the outfield after transitioning from catcher and should be in the majors within a year or two, but that's about it. K.C. drafted outfielder Bubba Starling, who has yet to sign, but even if he does, his outlook is so far away it shouldn't have any impact on Gordon's possibilities to stick with Kansas City.

: A development on the waiver wire is that left-handed relievers are having a heck of a time clearing waivers, which is no big surprise when you consider that the big dogs of the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies and other contenders are on the hunt for such help. (Boston Globe)

REHABBING A-ROD: Alex Rodriguez participated in a simulated game on Thursday, taking 13 at-bats and playing three innings in the field. He's currently slated to return to the Yankees on Thursday. (New York Post)

PLAY OR SIT: Magglio Ordonez's time as a productive hitter is winding to an end, and he's mired in a deep slump thus far in August, dragging his batting average to .223. Manager Jim Leyland isn't ready to sit Ordonez entirely, but did admit that he will pick and choose which pitchers Ordonez will face. (Detroit Free Press)

: Carlos Pena may not be around to see it, but he knows what his club needs to do to move on -- adopt a new mindset, freeing the Cubs from the same old malaise. “It’s just viewing ourselves in a different light, wearing the uniform with pride, just all those personal things that (should be) ingrained in us,” Pena told CSNChicago.com.

BACK IN OAKLAND: Athletics manager Bob Melvin says if he returns to manage the team in 2012, he wants DH Hideki Matsui back. That's easy to say, when Matsui has been scorching hot since the All-Star break, but it's instructive to note that even with the hot streak, Matsui's overall line is .264/.338/.408. (San Francisco Chronicle)

CARD WARS: Topps and Leaf are embroiled in a legal battle over baseball cards, as Leaf is using Topps baseball cards to promote a new line of cards from Leaf. If you buy a "2011 Best of Baseball" set from Leaf, you receive one new, original Leaf card as well as a bonus card, which is turning out to be iconic Topps cards. (TMZ.com)

BAUER POWER? Jason Marquis is out for an extended period of time after fracturing his shin in Sunday's start. There's speculation that Trevor Bauer, who was drafted this past June, could potentially replace Marquis. (Arizona Republic)

CLEARED: Royals catcher Matt Treanor has passed the last hurdle in his recovery from a concussion and can now return to game action. A rehab stint in the minors is likely. (Kansas City Star)

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Posted on: August 14, 2011 1:38 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Posada produces in start

Jorge Posada

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jorge Posada, Yankees: For the first time since he'd been benched, Posada was in the Yankees' starting lineup on Saturday. He may have made manager Joe Girardi reconsider things, if only briefly. Posada was 3 for 5 with six RBI including a grand slam in the the fifth inning off of Rays reliever Brandon Gomes as part of the Yankees' 9-2 victory. It was Posada's fifth career six-RBI day and will be in the lineup as the DH again on Sunday.

Miguel Cairo, Reds: For the first time in his 16-year career, Cairo hit more than one homer in a game, blasting two homers against the Padres in the Reds' 13-1 victory. The 37-year-old now has a career-best seven homers on the season, besting his 2004 total of six with the Yankees. The Reds clubbed seven homers in all, with Cairo and Ryan Hanigan hitting two each. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier also homered. The first five homers of the game came off starter Tim Stauffer, who last just three innings, and Cairo's second homer was off reliever Anthony Bass and Hanigan hit his second off of Joe Thatcher

Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: Cabrera's third inning three-run homer was the Indians' only offense of the day, but it was enough for Cleveland's 3-1 victory over the Twins. It was Cabrera's 20th homer of the season, making him just the third Indians shortstop to hit that many home runs in a  season. Jhonny Peralta and Woodie Held each accomplished the feat three times, with Peralta's 24-homer season in 2005 setting the team mark for homers by a shortstop. While that doesn't sound like much, Cabrera entered the season with just 18 homers in his career. He also reached a career-high with 71 RBI.

Jered Weaver, Angels: In his first game back from a six-game suspension, the Blue Jays hit Weaver harder than Carlos Guillen.  The Angels' ace lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits. His eight runs were as many as he'd allowed in his previous seven starts and the three homers were as many as he'd allowed in his last 80 1/3 innings. Adam Lind's grand slam coped a five-run fifth, marking the first time Weaver had allowed mor ethan four runs in a start since Aug. 17, 2010. Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Teahen also homered off of Weaver, whose ERA jumped from 1.78 to 2.13.

Oakland Athletics: The A's committed four errors and had two wild pitches in a 7-1 loss to the Rangers, but A's manager Bob Melvin said, "Really, we played worse than that" (via the San Francisco Chronicle). Oakland starter Trevor Cahill took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Yorvit Torrealba broke it up with a one-out single. That same inning, Jemile Weeks committed two errors on one play, setting up Ian Kinsler's RBI double for the game's first run. Shortstop Eric Sogard had an error in the fifth and third baseman Scott Sizemore's eight-inning error led to an unearned run in the three-run Rangers' eighth. The A's lead the big leagues with 98 errors in 119 games.

Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles: With a 5-1 lead, Guthrie allowed six consecutive two-out hits and five runs in the sixth inning, leading to a 6-5 loss to the Tigers. In his first 5 2/3 innings, the right-hander had allowed just two hits and a run but then fell apart. Guthrie fell to 5-16 on the season and the Orioles have lost nine of 11.

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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