Posted on: September 19, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: September 19, 2011 10:32 am

Pepper: Crawford apologizes to Red Sox fans

By Matt Snyder

With the Rays climbing to within two games of the Red Sox in the AL wild-card race, it's going to be a fun final two weeks for baseball fans. Some interesting perspective on the drama comes from current Red Sox and former Rays' left fielder Carl Crawford.

Crawford played nine seasons and 1,253 regular-season games for the Rays. He's easily the best player in the history of the young franchise at this point, but he walked this past offseason for a seven-year, $142 million deal and signed with the Red Sox. And he's now having the worst season of his career, from an individual standpoint.

In a diary entry for ESPN.com, Crawford notes that hears the boos from "haters" when the Red Sox visit Tampa Bay and that those fans need to realize he's going to be coming back for six more years. Two more entries of note:

"If Tampa makes a miracle comeback and takes the wild card from us, I will be devastated. I definitely wouldn't want to lose to those guys and watch them get into the playoffs while we go home. That would just be devastating to me."

And ...

"I want to end the diary saying something to the fans of Boston. I just want to say I'm sorry for the year I've had. You guys have been really supportive and I appreciate that. Hopefully when we get into these playoffs, I can be the real Carl Crawford that I know I am. We'll see."

I love seeing that kind of accountability from someone who could easily just blow everyone off and count his millions.

Ironman: Speaking of the Rays, Johnny Damon has now tied Pete Rose and Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Hank Aaron with an impressive streak. Damon has now played in at least 140 games in 16 different seasons, making it a four-way tie atop the all-time record book (TampaBay.com). Does anyone doubt Damon can do it again next year and set the record? I sure don't.

More from Damon: This is funny, and true. Damon points out that Red Sox fans have to root for the Yankees now. “They’re going to have to root for them if they want a chance at the postseason,” Damon said (BostonHerald.com). “They couldn’t root for me when I played in New York. Now they have to root for the whole team.” Man, how much are Yankees fans relishing this?

Happy Birthday: Hall of Famer Joe Morgan turns 68 Monday (Hardball Times). The two-time MVP is widely considered the best second baseman to ever play the game (and was also a broadcaster for years, but we'll leave that alone, being his birthday and all ... )

While we're here: Speaking of Joe, he just led the world's largest chicken dance. Check it out (via Big League Stew):

Sigh: Tigers manager Jim Leyland says he isn't an "on-base percentage guy." (MLB.com) Look, Leyland knows a lot more about baseball than I do, which is quite an obvious fact. But that doesn't mean he can't be wrong about certain things. I just don't understand what it is with the so-called "old-school mentality" that prevents people from grasping that OBP is the percentage of times batters don't make an out. I don't get how you can not be an OBP guy. You go to the plate with a bat. The main object is to not make an out. It's very, very simple. Leyland, thankfully, doesn't say he likes batting average, but instead slugging. Slugging percentage is much more important than average, but OBP is much more important. Think about it. Even if you're just churning out singles and walks over and over, you're still scoring runs. Slugging is very important, too, which is why OPS has gotten more and more run in recent years.

Humbled Ozzie: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen recently made a trip to the Negro Baseball League Museum in Kansas City and came away with a renewed appreciation for everything he has. "It’s so different, and sometimes you shake your head at what these guys went through all this stuff for baseball to be better now than then," he said (Chicago Tribune).

Shoot him up: Phillies slugging first baseman Ryan Howard has bursitis in his left ankle, and he'll have a cortisone shot to help him deal with the issue the rest of the season. (MLB.com)

Johan 'felt good:' Mets ace Johan Santana threw a three-inning simulated game Sunday and he "felt good." (ESPN New York)

Johnson wants Wang back: Chien-Ming Wang has been a bit inconsistent in his return to the hill this season, but he's shown flashes of being solid -- like in his quality-start win Sunday. It will be tough to squeeze into the Nationals' rotation next season, especially if they land a free agent like C.J. Wilson, but current Nats manager Davey Johnson says he'd bring Wang back. "As far as I'm concerned, he's a keeper," Johnson said (MASN Sports).

Don't rush: Rockies starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa underwent Tommy John surgery June 3, but he's looking to be back by opening day of next season. That wouldn't be unheard of, but it would be just 10 months after a procedure which typically has a 10-14 month recovery period. So it would certainly be a quick recovery. Jim Tracy, his manager, wants De La Rosa to be patient. “I told him (De La Rosa) about Dr. Jobe and the importance of following the program and don’t try to deviate,’’ said Tracy (DenverPost.com). “Don’t try to speed it up. If you do that and you follow the program and you don’t try to speed it up, you’ll feel like you have a bionic arm. Because it will completely heal and you’ll basically have a brand new elbow.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:13 am
Edited on: September 17, 2011 10:15 am

On Deck: Lester gets another shot at Rays


By C. Trent Rosecrans

Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

Jon LesterJeff NiemannWild card showdown, part 3: Have you heard the Rays are pressing the Red Sox for the American League wild card? And they're playing each other right now? Oh, maybe you have. Yeah, it's been covered to death, it seems, but it's still as big of a series as there is right now. Boston's win on Friday means the Rays won't leave town any closer than two games behind the Red Sox. Lefty Jon Lester takes the mound for the Red Sox, and with another victory, Boston could exhale -- at least a little. Lester was roughed up by the Rays in his last outing, as Tampa Bay recorded eight hits and four runs against him in just four innings of work. That broke a streak of five starts of allowing just one earned run or less. He's 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA in three starts against the Rays this season. Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann's only faced the Red Sox once this season, allowing just two hits in eight shutout innings while striking out 10 on July 17. However, the Red Sox won that game, 1-0. Rays at Red Sox, 4:10 p.m. ET

Division title in sight: Both the Cardinals and the Phillies are still alive in the playoff hunt, but while the Cardinals need a lot of help, the Phillies have already clinched a playoff berth and with a win would clinch the National League East title. Of course, with a magic number of one, the Phillies could clinch the division before Roy Oswalt makes a pitch if the Braves lose their 4:10 pm. game against R.A. Dickey and the Mets at Turner Field. The Cards would welcome that as St. Louis trails Atlanta by just 3.5 games in the National League wild card race. Cardinals at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

Stephen StrasburgStrasmas time again: With a combined 138-160 record, there would normally be very little reason to take notice of a September game between the Marlins and Nationals. But this isn't just any game, it's a Strasmas outing, as Stephen Strasburg makes his third start of the season. In eight total innings this season, Strasburg has allowed one run and struck out eight, allowing five hits. He has not walked a batter yet. Strasburg's last start went just three innings after throwing 31 pitches. With an extra day of rest, hopefully we'll get to see him go a little longer this time. He's scheduled to make at least one more start -- Sept. 23 against Atlanta -- and could pitch in the Nationals' last game of the season, Sept. 28 at Florida. Marlins at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 13, 2011 9:14 pm

Is there east-coast bias in baseball coverage?

Cervelli, Saltalamacchia

By Evan Brunell

A common refrain
Breakdown per team
Key: East Central West
No. Team %
1 NYY 6.70%
2 BOS 5.51%
3 TEX 4.99%
4 WAS 4.28%
5 PHI 4.11%
6 CHC 3.95%
7 NYM 3.89%
8 SF 3.81%
9 CIN 3.76%
10 STL 3.69%
11 CHW 3.65%
12 LAD 3.50%
13 TB 3.48%
14 ATL 3.33%
15 MIL 2.95%
16 FLA 2.93%
17 SEA 2.85%
18 DET 2.81%
19 MIN 2.80%
20 TOR 2.73%
21 LAA 2.71%
22 PIT 2.67%
23 BAL 2.64%
24 SD 2.61%
25 ARI 2.47%
26 COL 2.41%
27 CLE 2.36%
28 KC 2.29%
29 OAK 2.19%
30 HOU 1.94%
 about sports coverage is the existence of an "east-coast bias." That is, the majority of coverage comes from teams based on America's east coast, instead of equally spreading the wealth.

Well, it's true. At least, it appears true at Eye on Baseball, with the Yankees and Red Sox dominating all baseball coverage here with a combined 12.21 percent of coverage at Eye on Baseball, determined by amount of articles per team category as of nighttime Sept. 12 (chart, right). To take it a step further, five of the seven most-written-about teams hail from the east, and only three eastern teams -- Florida, Toronto, Baltimore -- rank in the bottom half of all teams since Eye on Baseball began business in early June, 2010.

The West Coast is actually the least covered, with only three teams in the top 15 although the Rangers rank third and the Giants eighth, with the Cubs the only Central team in the top eight, coming in at No. 6. But Nos. 9 through 11 all belong to the Central before the Dodgers check in for the final top 15 spot at No. 12. Both the west and central share space pretty equally in the bottom 15.

But to circle back to the top, the Yankees rule the roost with a whopping 6.70 percent of articles, 1.2 percent more than the Red Sox, which is the largest disparity between two teams on the list. The disparity between the Sox and Rangers is 0.51 percent, good for third -most behind the drop from Texas to Washington. So yeah, the Yankees and Red Sox are written about a lot, but that's due to the massive markets both teams play in increasing interest for these teams. (It doesn't hurt that they are perennial World Series contenders, too.)

More interesting is the inclusion of the Rangers and Nationals next on the list, ahead of the Phillies. While four of the top five most-covered teams on Eye on Baseball are in an eastern division, the Nationals are fourth on the list because of their luck in finishing last in both 2008 and 2009, enabling them to pluck Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in the draft. Since these are two of the most heralded prospects ever, it's no surprise the Nats rank so high on the list.

The Rangers, meanwhile, are third on the strength of a competitive team that went to the World Series, the bankruptcy auction held last season to find a new owner, and the introduction of Texas as a big market to be contended with in light of their massive new TV deal.

As one goes down the list, the placement of teams really isn't surprising. The Astros finish dead last -- what do you expect from a team that's been an afterthought the last two years, though? (Also, the drop-off of 25 percent from No. 29 in Oakland to Houston is the fifth-biggest dropoff. The fourth is 38 percent between Atlanta and Milwaukee) The NL Central dominates the top 10, with three representatives, the most of any division. That's thanks to the Cubs' large following, plus the Cardinals and Reds being prominent contenders the last two seasons, plus Albert Pujols' impending free agency.

You'll notice the Braves are bolded at No. 14. If there was no bias of any sort -- whether geographically, competitively or any other means -- you would expect all teams to be written about 3.33 percent of the time, exactly as often as Atlanta is written about. Thus, any team higher than Atlanta has gotten more than its share of publication, while those below are lacking.

So is there east-coast bias? The data would seem to support it, but really, what this chart shows is that there's a bias toward news. The Yankees aren't being written about because Eye on Baseball is a Yankees haven, but because of the sheer volume of interest and material focused on the team. Relevancy is huge too -- if the Yankees hadn't made the playoffs in a decade, they'd rank far lower on this list despite playing in a massive market. That's why the Rangers and Nationals rank so high on the list; those two teams would have been mere bips from 2008-09, but instead have the good fortune of becoming relevant just as Eye on Baseball opened its doors.

Below you can view a graphic of the US map and all major-league teams, with corresponding dots for team coverage. The Yankees have the largest dot, being written about the most times while Houston's dot looks positively tiny in comparison.


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

Posted on: September 13, 2011 8:17 pm

Zimmerman revamps throwing mechanics


By Evan Brunell

Ryan Zimmerman did something unusual earlier this season -- he changed his throwing mechanics on the fly.

Throwing more over-the-top than sidearm, the new motion has allowed Zimmerman to reduce the stress on his core, transferring it to his legs. Given that Zimmerman had ab surgery earlier this season, which knocked him out for just over two months, any change that reduces stress on the core is good news. And Zimmerman feels he's a better player for it, too.

“It’s more consistent and it’s more efficient,” Zimmerman told the Washington Post. “It’s going to help the longevity – I plan on being a third baseman for a long time, and when I’m done, being one of the best third basemen who played for a long time. A lot of people have a couple good years. There’s nothing bad about that – it’s hard to have one good year. If you do little things to change your style through your career, and it’s going to help you be a better player for a longer time, that’s the goal. That definitely is one of the reasons I did it.”

Zimmerman struggled to control his throwing early on, making four throwing errors in a span of 10 games at once and looking awkward in delivering tosses. He's warmed up, though, and has committed just two throwing errors since the start of August.

“The first month or so was tough,” Zimmerman said. “Any time, learning anything new is tough. To do it in front of 30,000 people every night is a little bit more awkward. You know people are watching. That’s a thing I had to do, and I’m proud of the way I worked and get better at it. It’s not that I felt uncomfortable. But my level of comfort might not have been as high. But now, I think I’m more comfortable now that I was before.”

With a batting line of .294/.354/.462 on the year, it hasn't been one of Zimmerman's best seasons. It still ranks as great numbers out of the hot corner, especially when paired with his excellent defense that has only gotten better.

“I’m very happy with how far I’ve come this year,” Zimmerman said. “Now I can kind of carry this momentum and use it in the offseason to be even better next year. From where I was to where I am now, I’m very happy with the way it’s gone.”

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

Posted on: September 12, 2011 10:12 am

Pepper: Ortiz says it's time to panic

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Wild Cards were all sewn up -- or so we thought.

While it appeared the Braves and Red Sox would cruise to the Wild Card (or the AL East title for Boston), but in the last week, things have gotten interesting. St. Louis swept Atlanta to move just 4.5 games behind Atlanta and Tampa Bay is now just 3.5 games behind the Red Sox as Boston finished a 1-6 road trip, including being swept by the Rays.

Still, there's not a whole lot of baseball left, the two favorites are still favored by mathematicians to hold onto their leads. So it's not time to panic, right?

"Hell yeah, you've got to panic at this point, but you're not going to do anything panicking but playing better," Boston's David Ortiz told reporters (Boston Herald). "Of course you're freaked out, you go on this road trip, 1-6, it's not good. We've got these guys breathing down our next and we're not in first place, either."

Give him credit, Ortiz is always entertaining and this time he's right. The team should worry about the Rays and can't get too worked up about it because panic doesn't help a team play any better. It's an interesting balancing act, playing with urgency, but not panic. Baseball's a tough game that's even tougher when you press.

Cuddyer's homer helped save teammate: Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer hit two game-winning homers in a minor-league playoff series in 2001 to lead his team to a victory in the best-of-five series. If his team had lost the series, teammate Brad Thomas and his wife, Kylie, had already booked a flight home to Australia. The couple would have started its journey on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles on Sept. 11, 2001. With the win, Thomas and his wife had to stay for the next series.

"He credits me for saving his life," Cuddyer told MLB.com. "I mean, I don't know about that. It was just a twist of fate."

Thomas is currently on the Tigers' 60-day disabled list.

Cuddyer also wrote about the incident on FoxSports North.

Wainwright remembers: We all have our own personal stories about where we were on Sept. 11, 2001 -- I drove from Athens, Ga., to Washington, D.C., the day before to go to see PJ Harvey at the 9:30 Club on Sept. 10, 2001. I still have the ticket stub and a September 12, 2001, Washington Post to share with my kids some day. Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright was in New York for the Red Sox-Yankees game on Sept. 10, 2001, and then cancelled a morning meeting near the World Trade Center the next day in order to get on the road to Cooperstown with his brother. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Waiting on Theo: Matt touched on this yesterday, but word is Tom Ricketts is willing to wait for his dream GM, Boston's Theo Epstein. While MLB looks down on major offseason announcements before the end of the World Series, those decisions happen all the time and are usually uncovered before the official announcement. However, there is a real wait if one of those interviewed and hired is still working. That could be the case with Boston's Epstein, reportedly Ricketts' top pick. If Epstein is in the least bit interested, Ricketts will wait. [Chicago Tribune]

Beckett to throw: Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett will test his injured right ankle in a bullpen session Monday and could return to the rotation by the end of the week -- welcome news to the Red Sox. [Boston Herald]

Weeks to go slow: Rickie Weeks returned to the Brewers' lineup on Sunday, walking and being hit by a pitch in his only plate appearances and was taken out of the game after four innings. The team plans on taking it slow with him. The Brewers are off on Monday and manager Ron Roenicke said he would try to get Weeks back into the game on Tuesday and maybe increase his innings. Weeks missed six weeks after suffering a severe left ankle sprain. [Appleton Post-Crescent]

Cruz ready to return: The Rangers are in the closest playoff race in baseball, leading the Angels by 2.5 games and they get some good news on Tuesday when Nelson Cruz says he'll be ready to return from the disabled list. Cruz went on the DL on Aug. 30 with a strained left hamstring and ran in the outfield on Saturday. The Rangers don't have any minor-league affiliates still playing, so the team will activate Cruz without a rehab assignment. [MLB.com]

Zimmermann bored sitting out: Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann hasn't pitched in two weeks and won't pitch in the final two weeks of the season. The good news is that next season he won't have an innings limit. With Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals have the building blocks for a very good rotation. [Washington Post]

Prado struggling: An All-Star in 2010, Atlanta's Martin Prado his having a disappointing 2011. The 27-year-old super utility player is hitting .261/.307/.385 this season, well below the .307/.356/.454 line he put up in his first five seasons in the big leagues. The prolonged slump is costing him sleep, Prado told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Romine relishes chance: While Jesus Montero garnered headlines when he was called up, the Yankees have a better catching prospect, Austin Romine. With injuries to Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli, Romine made his big-league debut on Sunday. Romine had thought his season was over after Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre finished its season, but Joe Girardi needed a replacement and got in touch with Romine on Saturday. Girardi hadn't been able to get in touch with the catcher, so he had to go to the Angels' clubhouse to talk to Romine's brother, Andrew, an infielder with the Angles, to get a better number. Austin Romine replaced Montero in the ninth inning, catching Mariano Rivera, who recorded his 599th career save. [MLB.com]

ThunderBolts to White Sox: Just two years ago Dylan Axelrod was pitching for the Windy City ThunderBolts of the independent Frontier League. On Wednesday, he'll be throwing in the Windy City again, but for the White Sox in place of former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy. [Chicago Tribune]

Mo Coco: Reds closer Francisco Cordero is willing to re-negotiate his $12 million option for 2012 and general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that an extension is a "possibility." Cordero, a whipping boy in Cincinnati, has had an outstanding year, recording 32 saves with a 2.30 ERA with five blown saves. Since coming to the Reds in 2008, Cordero has 145 saves and 23 blown saves, converting 86 percent of his chances with a 2.94 ERA. The Reds don't have an obvious candidate to take over in the ninth inning if they decline his $12 million option. He was the team's highest-paid player in 2011 and his $12 million in 2012 would be the tied for the team's highest-paid player along with second baseman Brandon Phillips, who also has a $12 million option for 2012 that the team is expected to pick up.

Eat before you go: We see a report like this just about every year, but it's always a good reminder -- if you want your food handled properly before you eat it, you've got to make sure to do it yourself. [CBS Chicago]

Bourjos takes blame: We all have those people we know or work with that will never admit fault -- there's always some crazy excuse or reason something went wrong, and it's never their fault, it's some extenuating circumstance. The Angels' Peter Bourjos is not that guy. His error doomed the Angels on Sunday, and instead of complaining about the sun or anything, taking full responsibility for the play that killed his team. [Los Angeles Times]

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Posted on: September 11, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: September 11, 2011 7:19 pm

Nats rookies dress as 'smurfs' on way to New York

By Matt Snyder

This is smurfy smurftuation (forgive me, I had to sit through that movie in the theater with my kids).

In what appears to be some good-natured hazing, the Nationals veterans have mandated that the rookies dress as Smurfs for their trip to New York. The photo above was posted on Twitter by Jesus Flores and Papa Smurf (the one with the beard and the red pants/hat combo, for those uninformed on the Smurfs) is none other than Stephen Strasburg, who started Sunday. I can't make out who Smurfette is, but he seems to be embracing the role.

So, yeah, if you are en route to New York and run into a band of Smurfs, it's the Washington Nationals' rookies.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 11, 2011 11:46 am
Edited on: September 11, 2011 11:52 am

On Deck: Strasmas, McGowan, AL Wild Card race


By Matt Snyder

It's September 11, 2011. Much smarter people than myself have written about today, but things other than baseball should certainly be somewhere in our minds. Ten years ago today was a rough one. Let's be happy for what we have and cherish life. When you do stumble back to baseball for entertainment -- and it's essential for maintaining sanity -- you can follow all the live action on CBSSports.com's scoreboard. For me, though, it feels like baseball takes a back seat to the 10-year anniversary of a day that was so horrible, yet brought us all together as one, big family.

Strasmas ... again: It's Strasmas in D.C. Phenom Stephen Strasburg (0-0, 0.00) will make his second start of the season Sunday for the Nationals, as they host the Astros. He worked five shutout innings Tuesday, allowing just two hits while striking out four. In his major-league career, Strasburg has a 2.71 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 73 innings. Expect him to work somewhere from four to six innings, depending upon how the pitch count falls. Henry Sosa (2-3, 4.11) takes the hill for the Astros, whose next loss will match a franchise-high 97 for the season. Astros at Nationals, 1:35 p.m. ET.

Dustin's Return: Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan hasn't started a game in the majors since July 8, 2008, but he'll give it a go Sunday against the Orioles. He's had several surgeries -- two to his shoulder and one to his knee -- and a long road of rehab back, so it's difficult to not root for him. He allowed three runs in four relief innings earlier this week, but it feels like a clean slate in his start Sunday. Tommy Hunter (3-3, 5.28) takes the hill for the Orioles. Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET.

Sunday's Big Game: If the Rays beat the Red Sox, it will only be a 3 1/2 game lead for the Sox in the AL Wild Card race. And the Rays visit the Red Sox for a four-game series on their upcoming road trip. As if the stakes weren't high enough, two All-Stars take the mound. James Shields (14-10, 2.77) squares off against Jon Lester (15-6, 2.93). Last time the two started in the same game, the result was a 3-1 Red Sox win -- in which Shields only allowed a three-run homer to Jacoby Ellsbury in one of his major-league leading 11 complete games. Rays at Red Sox, 1:40 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 7:23 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 7:30 pm

Nats reveal Strasburg's schedule

By Matt Snyder

Strasmas already happened once this September, as Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg dominated the Dodgers for five innings Tuesday. Now, the Nationals have mapped out his schedule for the rest of the season. It will include four starts at home before he's either shut down or makes one road start.

Strasburg will start Sunday against the Astros, and then the Nationals will give him an extra day of rest between each of his next two starts. That conveniently means Strasburg's first four starts will all be at home, and attendance will surely benefit the Nationals' financially.

More Strasburg Coverage
Of course, that's not why they're giving him an extra day.

“I can assure you it has nothing to do with home or road,” manager Davey Johnson said (Nationals Journal). Johnson added that he's using a similar schedule that the Nationals used with Jordan Zimmermann, who came back after having Tommy John surgery this season. It is the same procedure Strasburg had.

So Strasburg will start Sept. 17 against the Marlins and Sept. 23 against the Braves. From there, the Nationals will decide whether or not to bring Strasburg back on the last day of the season (Sept. 28) in a road game against the Marlins on traditional four-days' rest or to simply let the start against the Braves on the 23rd be the final outing of his second big-league season.

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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