Tag:White Sox
Posted on: August 29, 2011 9:29 am
 

Pepper: Ethier-Dodgers saga takes another turn



By Matt Snyder


Sunday, we passed along the report that Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier was playing through an knee injury that would need offseason surgery -- a report in which he seemed to insinuate the Dodgers were forcing him to play. Also contained therein, general manager Ned Colletti seemed to say he believed Ethier was faking an injury.

One day later, manager Don Mattingly was upset.

"I'd rather lose my job and us not win than put a guy out there that has a chance of hurting himself and doing something that would affect his career in a long-term way in any shape or form, especially if he says, 'Hey, I can't go,'" Mattingly said (LATimes.com).

Meanwhile, Ethier kind of backed off his sentiment, though he never denied making any of the statements to the Los Angeles Times reporter.

"It's always been my choice to keep playing and keep going," Ethier said (LATimes.com). "They've never said, 'We don't think you can or you can't play.' It's always been they've said, 'Hey, you've obviously put up with this and it's at your discretion.'"

Remember, earlier this season Ethier publicly complained about the Dodgers' ownership situation and reports indicated he was jealous of his friend Dustin Pedroia getting to play in Boston. Is Ethier just angling to leave Los Angeles when he's a free agent after 2012? Or is he a bit of a drama queen? Or did he back off his Saturday statements due to meeting with Mattingly and Colletti Sunday after the duo read the Sunday Los Angeles Times story?

Hard to figure. Whatever it is, it's another mess for the Dodgers. As if they didn't have enough stuff to worry about.

For like of the game: Dirk Hayhurst is a minor-league pitcher in the Rays' system and also a published author. He's been in the bigs before, but not since 2009 with the Blue Jays. He's also very active on Twitter and has his own blog. In his latest entry, Hayhurst explains why he hates hearing the phrase "for love of the game," and instead prefers "like." It's a great read and I highly recommend clicking through with an open mind.

Dunn the realist: It's no secret how awful Adam Dunn has been this season, his first with the White Sox. When asked about a rather drastic production in playing time moving forward, Dunn was fully accountable: “I’m a realist," said Dunn, who wasn't in the lineup Sunday and is batting .163 with 156 strikeouts (ChicagoTribune.com). "I’m not like an idiot. We’re right in the middle of things. What do you do? What do you say?”

Royals ready to 'go for it:' Royals general manager Dayton Moore is sitting on mountains of prospects, several of which have begun to filter into Kansas City this season. Now, it sounds like he's done biding his time, because he plans on pursuing a deal this offseason in which the Royals cough up prospects to get a proven starter -- and The Kansas City Star article mentions one like the Indians getting Ubaldo Jimenez.

Relationships to keep Friedman in Tampa Bay? Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman has been the subject of rampant rumors in the Chicago area, now that the Cubs have a vacancy at general manager. Speculation by many is that Friedman would jump at the chance to be freed from the mighty AL East and get to throw some money around instead of pinching pennies. A TampaBay.com article says that won't matter, because of Friedman's strong relationship with owner Stu Sternberg, president Matt Silverman and manager Joe Maddon.

Crane in danger? Prospective new Astros owner Jim Crane has yet to be approved by Major League Baseball, even though two weeks ago Drayton McLane said a deal would be approved in two weeks. Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle believes Crane may not be approved by commissioner Bud Selig. "If Commissioner Bud Selig is comfortable with Jim Crane owning the Astros, then Jim Crane will own the Astros. You can read the delay in the approval process any way you like, but as someone who has known Selig for almost 30 years, it’s not insignificant." Justice does point out that a deal is still obviously possible, but it just seems fishy.

Rockies after arms: The Rockies top priority this offseason will be to upgrade starting pitching. That might sound a little weird after they just dealt Ubaldo Jimenez, but they actually traded for two guys who could end up being frontline starters in Alex White and Drew Pomeranz. But they might not be ready to lead a team to the playoffs just yet, so a trade for a proven veteran might be coming in the winter months ahead (Denver Post).

Ribbing the rook: Mariners rookie Trayvon Robinson gave a high-five to a fan and heard about it from his teammates in a playful way (MLB.com).

Sanchez may be done: Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez -- who seemed to be having a contest with Barry Zito to see who could get kicked out of the rotation for good -- might miss the rest of the season with his ankle injury. Meanwhile, Zito is feeling much better (Extra Baggs). If the offense doesn't drastically improve, however, none of this will be relevant. 

Only triples: Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson got four at-bats in interleague play and tripled for his only hit. Baseball-Reference's blog found 20 players in big-league history with only triples among their hits in a season.

Branyan the barber: Did anyone notice Sunday night that Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos is now bald? Yeah, that's because he entrusted veteran slugger Russell Branyan with cutting his hair. And Branyan purposely took a little more off than was asked. "He pulled a nice little prank on me," Bourjos said good-naturedly (LATimes.com). "I keep scaring myself when I look in the mirror."

Let's play two ... with one extra player: Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks teams should be able to expand rosters by one on days when they're playing a doubleheader (MLB.com).

Happy Anniversary: On this day back in 1977, Duane Kiper hit his only major-league home run. In 3,754 plate appearances. Current White Sox color commentator Steve Stone was on the mound. Funny note: Stone's future broadcast partner (for Cubs' games) Harry Caray had the call that day. (Hardball Times)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 28, 2011 11:35 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: White Sox youth movement



By Matt Snyder


Dayan Viciedo/Tyler Flowers, White Sox. The White Sox moved one game over .500 and to within six of the AL Central-leading Tigers with a 9-3 win over the Mariners Sunday, and the young guys were front and center. White Sox fans have clamored for Viciedo's promotion from the minors all summer and he finally made it to the show Sunday. In his first start of the 2011 season, Viciedo hit a three-run home run to give the Sox a 3-0 lead. Later, 25-year-old catcher Flowers must have felt a bit left out, because he clubbed a grand slam in the sixth inning, as part of a six-run rally that would put the game away.

Zack Greinke, Brewers. Greinke worked 7 2/3 innings, allowing just four hits and one run while striking out seven in the Brewers 3-2 win over the Cubs, but that's not why he's here. No, Greinke's getting the nod as an "up" for stealing a base. It was a straight steal, too. Meanwhile, the Brewers are actually only five games behind the Phillies for the best record in baseball. It's been quite the amazing run (27-5 in last 32 games).

Zach Britton, Orioles. Britton has shown flashes of brilliance this year as a rookie, giving the Orioles hope their future ace is soon to emerge, and Sunday he put forth one of his strongest efforts of the season. The young left-hander threw seven shutout innings against the powerful Yankees, allowing only four hits and a walk in a 2-0 Orioles victory. It marked the sixth straight win for the Orioles, though that streak would stop with the nightcap. Still, a very solid effort for Britton.



Jered Weaver, Angels. The Angels went all in during a three-game visit to Texas this weekend, as they brought Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver to the hill on short rest. Santana fared well enough to get the Angels a win Saturday -- along with some offensive help -- but Sunday Weaver did not. The Rangers' offense pegged him for eight hits and seven earned runs in six-plus innings. Weaver even walked four guys, so his command may have been affected by the short rest. Also, a lot of damage was done in the seventh, when Weaver was pulled before recording an out and was charged with his last three earned runs. So it's possible his stamina was also affected by the short rest. Whatever the reason, the Angels lost 9-5 and fell to three games out in the AL West.

Brad Penny, Tigers.
Maybe all the cussing is getting him off his game? Penny was roughed up by a Twins lineup that was missing Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer. Plus, they just traded Jim Thome. Still, in five innings Penny gave up eight hits and seven runs en route to an 11-4 loss.

Eli Whiteside, Giants. How much do the Giants continue to miss Buster Posey? The offense has been an issue all season, as the Giants rank dead last in the NL in runs scored. Sunday, catcher Whiteside went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. To make matters worse, Whiteside could have made it to first base on a wild pitch on his fourth strikeout but didn't run (Extra Baggs). When you lose 4-3 in extra innings to the hapless Astros, that's a tough pill to swallow.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 28, 2011 2:15 am
 

Verlander's win total depends on number of starts

Justin VerlanderBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Justin Verlander's most impressive stat on Sunday was his 20th victory, a mark no other pitcher has reached this season and just three pitchers reached a season ago.

The Tigers' right-hander now has his first 20-win season in his career, after finishing with 19 in 2009, tied for the most in baseball. As Danny Knobler pointed out, he's the first to reach the 20-win barrier before August since Curt Schilling did it in 2002. Schilling finished that season with 23 wins -- one behind teammate Randy Johnson for the most in baseball that year.

How wins will Verlander have when the 2011 season is done?

At this point -- when he's won 16 of his last 18 starts and eight straight -- it seems like he'll win either 25 or 26 games, depending on how many more starts he makes. The Tigers have 30 more games and two days off in the regular season, so they have the option of giving him either five or six more starts in the season. 

Verlander will get an extra day of rest this week, pitching Friday against the White Sox instead of in five days in a makeup game against the Royals on Thursday. He will then start at Cleveland in the day game on Sept. 7. After that, the Tigers have options because of their first off day of the month, Sept. 8. 

If the Tigers go with pitching Verlander every five days from there, he would make six starts in the last month, his final start in the next-to-last day of the season, Sept. 27 against the Indians. But that option would mean Verlander wouldn't be ready to pitch in the playoffs until Game 3 of the ALDS on Oct. 3 with an extra day's rest because of the off day on Oct. 2. The team could move him up to pitch on short rest in Game 2 on Oct. 1, but it's not something he's ever done.

What makes more sense is keeping the rotation intact through the first off day, pitching Verlander on Sept. 13 at the White Sox and Sept. 18 at Oakland, before the team's second off day on Sept. 19. From there, they would be able to take stock of the AL Central race and whether they would want Verlander to make one more start or two more starts. After Verlander's victory and the Indians' victory over the Royals and Chicago's win in Seattle, the Tigers led the Indians by 6 1/2 games and the White Sox by 7.

If on the 19th the Tigers think the race will be close, they can pitch Verlander on five days rest and get him a start Sept. 23 against the Orioles and then the last day of the season, on Sept. 28 against Cleveland. If the team does go that route, they will have until the last day to decide if Verlander is needed. If he isn't, he can rest on the last day of the season and let Verlander start Game 1 of the ALDS. If he pitches on Sept. 28, he would be ready for Game 3. That's similar to what the Tigers did in 2009, when they lost three games in a row leading into the last day of the season, needing a Verlander victory to advance to a tie-breaker game with the Twins for the final playoff spot. Verlander got that win, but the Tigers lost the play-in game to Minnesota.

However, if on the 19th it appears the Tigers have it wrapped up, they can keep the rotation intact and have him pitch Sept. 24 against the Orioles and then start Game 1 with an extra day of rest, which is probably the scenario that everyone in Detroit would prefer, even if it means Verlander wins just 25 games instead of 26.

Whatever the choice is, he'll face the same teams -- the White Sox, Indians, A's and Orioles, the difference is if he faces the Indians once or twice. Against those four teams, Verlander is 6-2 with a 3.36 ERA. The White Sox have done most of the damage to him, scoring 13 earned runs in 29 innings over four starts, although Verlander was 3-1 against Chicago. The A's beat Verlander on April 16, getting four runs (three earned) on eight hits in six innings in Oakland. He is 2-0 against the Indians in two starts this season and also defeatd the Orioles in his lone start against Baltimore.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 26, 2011 9:02 pm
 

White Sox to disable Quentin, call for Viciedo

QuentinBy Evan Brunell

The White Sox are placing Carlos Quentin on the 15-day disabled list, the Chicago Sun-Times tweets, as the outfielder was unable to avoid the DL after sitting out the last three games with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder (pictured, leaving the game last Saturday). Quentin's shoulder didn't respond on Friday to some swings, leading to being placed on the DL.

As the White Sox have scuffled all season long but remain in shooting distance of the division title, Quentin has been one of the team's most reliable players. The right fielder has cranked 24 homers on the year, posting a .255/.341/.501 mark with 77 RBI. It's definitely a significant blow to the team, especially as Quentin will now miss the crucial three-game series beginning on Sept. 2 against the first-place Tigers.

Luckily for the White Sox, they may have someone ready to step in. Dayan Viciedo is being recalled from Triple-A, as the Sun-Times says, and will share time in the outfield replacing Quentin, as well as possibly some first-base time. Viciedo has been pounding on the door to the majors for some time now, but has been blocked by a full outfield that hasn't been particularly productive all season with Juan Pierre and Alex Rios stumbling. However, Pierre got hot right around the breaking point for his slump, while Rios has been placed with center fielder Alejandro De Aza, a position Viciedo can't play anyways.

Viciedo, who flashed power but a poor eye in a 31-game stint with the White Sox last season, has stroked 20 homers for Triple-A at age 22, slashing .297/.365/.492 in 504 plate appearances. That's a line that can help the White Sox -- but he'll have to convince skipper Ozzie Guillen to play him.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 1:08 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 5:56 pm
 

Indians place claim on Thome

By Matt Snyder and Evan Brunell

The Cleveland Indians were been awarded a waiver claim for Twins designated hitter Jim Thome, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler learned, and the Elyira Chronicle-Telegram says Thome will indeed become an Indian as early as Friday.

Heading back to Cleveland would be a full circle move for Thome. The man who became the eighth in baseball history to hit 600 career home runs earlier this season began his career with the Indians.

It's unclear if this is a trade or Minnesota will let Thome go to the team on waivers. If Minnesota or Thome changes its mind on the deal, the Twins could decide to pull Thome back and not let the Indians have him. The most likely avenue seems like a trade, but Thome has a no-trade clause and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports Thome wanted to go to the Phillies, although the Indians would be a reasonable alternative. The window in which Thome can be traded closes 48 hours after the claim is awarded.

The Indians do have an obvious need at DH, with Travis Hafner sitting on the disabled list and no guarantee he can stay healthy upon return. The Indians are six games out, though, so you could make an argument they are falling out of contention. And that matters.

At age 40, Thome has been to four League Championship Series and two World Series, but he's never won it all. Thus, his desire to not only return to a place he's beloved -- Philadelphia -- but to the team with the best record in baseball makes sense. If Thome wants a ring bad enough, he could make an interesting play to get to the Phillies. If he rejects a trade to the Indians and the Twins let him walk, Thome could then invoke his no-trade with every other team but the Phillies. Doing so would make him forfeit about $500,000 in remaining salary for this season and possibly tarnish his "good guy" image, but it might get him to Philly and ultimately grab him a ring. That seems like an awful lot of star aligning, though, doesn't it?

It was previously reported by a Chicago outlet that the White Sox would claim Thome -- blocking him from the Indians, who have a better record -- but instead the White Sox were awarded a claim on Jason Kubel.

Thome is hitting .248/.357/.485 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI in 238 plate appearances this season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:39 am
 

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search



By Matt Snyder


Friday will mark exactly one week since the Cubs announced they had fired general manager Jim Hendry. Cubs' chairman Tom Ricketts asserted he wants to find a GM with a strong track record, an analytical background and with an emphasis on player development. The latter two criteria would seem to point to someone opposite of Hendry -- who had a recent history of big contracts and trading prospects for veterans. The former criterion points to an experienced general manager, not a first-timer.

So many names have been tossed around for what is absolutely an attractive job. Now, this is where the Cubs haters all jump up and down and start screaming about how bad the Cubs "suck." No one in his right mind can deny nearly any general manager would want this job, though. As the Cubs' general manager, one would have the capability to work with a payroll that dwarfs any other in the NL Central. One would have a rabid fan base that is absolutely desperate for a World Series, so residing over one would be the ultimate sports accomplishment. Also, in the present, the Cubs have more than $50 million falling off the payroll next season, so there's a chance to basically start over. No ballclub can compare to the resources the Yankees have, but there's no reason the Cubs can't eventually be the Red Sox of the National League -- and there is no Yankees in the NL.

With this in mind, you'd have to figure almost every name is initially in the mix with few exceptions. And it sounds like that's true. Let's sum up the recent rumors:

ESPN's Buster Olney said earlier this week that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein "could" be a name for the Cubs to consider. What Epstein did under John Henry's ownership group is something similar to what the Cubs want under the Ricketts family, so it makes sense. Of course, Epstein also has very strong Boston roots and is currently in a better situation than what he'd be taking over with the Cubs. Unless he wants a fresh, new challenge or is simply tired of competing with the Yankees, it doesn't seem like he'd have any incentive to leave. For what it's worth, Henry emailed Red Sox reporters about the speculation:

“This kind of speculation happens from time to time to successful GMs and managers,” Henry wrote (BostonHerald.com). “The Cubs have one of the best presidents in baseball. I think this shows how highly regarded Theo is by the media and baseball in general.”

• Speaking of AL East powers, a "long-odds" option is Ricketts calling Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and trying to convince him to head to Chicago as a package deal with manager Joe Girardi. Cashman's contract does expire at the end of the season. (SunTimes.com) This is total speculation on my part, but there's not much more Cashman could accomplish with the Yankees and he could very well be tired of ownership forcing his hand (a la the Rafael Soriano contract this past offseason that he didn't want to give). Also, keep in mind Girardi had two different stints with the Cubs as a player and was born and raised in Peoria, Ill. This scenario makes sense, if Ricketts could convince the two to leave New York. But, again, this was reported as a long shot.

• More AL East: Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman has been named by pretty much every reporter in the business as a possibility. Friedman should be incredibly attractive because of what he's helped do with the Rays. He now has experience building a farm system basically from the ground up and in Chicago he'd be able to sign and keep higher-priced players. He also wouldn't have to worry about attendance or moving. ESPN's Olney wrote about Friedman's tough decision this coming offseason.

• Another small-market guy who might enjoy getting to have a few extra payroll dollars for once is A's general manager Billy Beane. According to Susan Slusser of SFGate.com, Beane "might consider an offer" if the Cubs came after him. Slusser also reports the Cubs are "expected" to talk to Beane. Another reason Beane might want to bail on Oakland is how long it's taking to get the A's stadium situation resolved. Beane is signed through 2014, but the report indicated owner Lew Wolff would let Beane out of the deal if he wanted.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is an option, despite that he's a bit more old-school than Ricketts seemed to say he preferred. In the case of Colletti, one reported benefit would be that he'd bring Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg back to the organization as the Cubs' manager, the job which Sandberg didn't get last season. (SunTimes.com)

• On the flip-side of much of the above notes, SI.com's Jon Heyman reported that the big names -- Cashman, Beane, Epstein, Friedman -- are not likely to take the job. Heyman instead reports it's going to come down to Rick Hahn and Josh Byrnes. Hahn is the vice president and assistant general manager of the White Sox and is considered a true up-and-comer by several in the business. In fact, several outlets have ranked him as the top GM candidate in baseball (excluding current GMs). The issue, of course, is he doesn't have experience as the top dog. Byrnes is the vice president of baseball operations for the Padres and has previously been the GM of the Diamondbacks. He had a hand in putting together the 2007 playoff team, but when things fell apart afterward, he was fired in 2010.

• According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, Cashman is "very unlikely" and the Cubs might have to pay something like $10 million a year to pry Epstein away from Boston.

So there you have it. Several huge names, a hot-shot up-and-comer and lots of things we don't know. We need to keep in mind that initial interest in either side doesn't necessarily mean a job offer -- or acceptance of the job offer -- is coming. We also have to keep in mind that guys presently on the job, especially those in the middle of pennant races, will publicly deny interest no matter what.

Ricketts will likely want a new GM in place very quickly once this season ends, but until then -- about five weeks -- we'll continue to see the names swirl.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:55 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 10:06 am
 

Pepper: MVP arguments heat up



By Matt Snyder


It's that time of the baseball season. You know, we're nearing September, so in addition to watching the pennant races, it's the time when people start to pretty heavily argue about the MVP of each league. In addition to arguing which players have the best numbers, two fundamental criteria spark discussion as well.

1. Are pitchers eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be (see Evan Brunell's post on this).

2. Are players on teams not in contention eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be.

On No. 2, enter Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.

He leads the majors in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He's walked 21 more times than he's struck out. He has a cannon in right field, but can also play third if his team needs it. He's so scary to opposing ballclubs that he leads the AL with 18 intentional walks. And if you like this sort of thing, Bautista is dominating WAR (wins above replacement player), WPA (win probability added) and all other advanced value stats.

Basically, he's the most valuable player in baseball unless you discount him based upon his team.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous believes it shouldn't even be close.

“On and off the field you can’t find anybody more complete than him,” Anthopolous said (Slam Sports). “His work ethic, community work, character in the clubhouse, helping out teammates, they’re all first-rate. And his performance on the field has been as good as it gets ... defensively, offensively, changing positions in the middle of the season. I mean, check off all the boxes.”

It's going to be interesting to see how the votes fall, assuming things remain similar through the next five weeks of play. One thing that always makes me cringe is when people say something like "he plays for a losing team" or "how valuable can he be? They could finish fourth without him."

Look at the standings. The Blue Jays are three games over .500 and simply stuck in the wrong division. They'd only be four games out in the AL Central -- actually closer, though, because the schedule in the AL Central is worlds easier than the AL East. The Jays are most certainly not a "losing team."

And if you took Bautista off the Jays, they'd be far worse. It would be a much bigger hit to the team than if, say, the Red Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury.

Hustle is bush league now? Evidently the Tigers were yelling at Rays' infielder Sean Rodriguez for ... hustling? Tuesday, Tigers starter -- and reportedly "possibly some others" -- took exception with Rodriguez for running hard on an infield pop out. Rays manager Joe Maddon took exception to that. "For anybody to bark at another player for … hustling is absolutely insane, ludicrous,'' Maddon said (TampaBay.com).

Canseco's life: I'd rather forget about Jose Canseco, but many aren't of that mindset -- witness his 400,000-plus Twitter followers. So if you want to read a lengthly feature on Canseco's "surreal" life, click on through to TheStar.com. It's well written and covers tons of material.

LoMo still in the dark: It was a bit odd when Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison was demoted to the minors a few weeks ago. His batting average is a bit low, but his OPS is above average (115 OPS-plus) and he has 18 home runs and 61 RBI. Many believed he was being punished for being such an outspoken person Twitter and in other circles, though it hasn't been explicitly said. But he's back now and not worried about why. "I haven't talked to anybody. I don't really care. I'm just looking to move forward," he said (Sun-Sentinel.com).

'Cry-babies:' The Mets don't win more games because they are "cry-babies," according to former big-leaguer and current Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. "Tell them Sarge said it - the Mets are crybabies," Matthews said (NYDailyNews.com). "That's why they lose."

Bell has more on mind than possible trades: Padres closer Heath Bell has heard his name in trade talk for quite a while now, but that's not the foremost thing on his mind. Specifically, his Dad has been battled cancer for a few years and just underwent open-heart surgery Wednesday. “It’s kinda helped me get through all the trade and waiver stuff,” said Bell (signonSanDiego.com). “Everybody’s talking about that and I’m thinking, “Man, I’m just glad my dad’s doing well.’ ”

No relief yet: White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy has been pretty good in short doses this season, but he doesn't believe that means he's in need of a switch to the bullpen, as he's still technically recovering from a rare surgical procedure. "I've had people tell me, 'Oh, you look good in short stints, Have you thought about going to the bullpen?'" Peavy said (ChicagoTribune.com). "To me, that's not a thought process of mind, simply because I haven't got to where the doctors told me you're as good as you're going to get. They told me from a year to 18 months, you are where you are."

It's opposite day: Did you ever think you'd hear a player talking about feeling less pressure playing for the Yankees than the A's? Yeah, me neither. But Eric Chavez has extenuating circumstances. He went from being one of the best third basemen in baseball to never being able to stay healthy on a consistent basis, thereby creating pressure for himself when he did get on the field. He was also being paid a pretty penny. Now, as a Yankee, he's feeling fine.

“All of that [pressure] is completely gone,” he said (NJ.com). “It was so refreshing going into spring training. I don’t want to say I had to change myself as a ballplayer, but I am, I’m different now. And I’m okay with that because I don’t have that big contract on my shoulders. There’s tons of hitters in here that will produce and you just have to be part of the team.”

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 5:29 pm
 

On Deck: Playoff positioning on display

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


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

White SoxAngelsPLAYOFF CHASE: The White Sox are tied for second place at 6 1/2 games and can become alone in second with a six-game deficit Wednesday night, but only if they can take out the Angels. As mentioned above, Los Angeles has won five in a row to move to 3 1/2 games behind Texas. It  will send Jered Weaver and his 2.10 ERA to the mound to try to stretch that streak to six games. Weaver will be making his first start since signing a five-year, $85 million extension to stay with the Angels. The White Sox will counter with Zach Stewart, who was acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline and is in the rotation in lieu of the injured Phil Humber. He made two starts earlier in August prior to the injury, then made two relief appearances out of the bullpen and now returns to the rotation with a 3.74 ERA. White Sox vs. Angels, 10:00 p.m. ET

BeckettHarrisonBEST MATCHUP: Josh Beckett and Matt Harrison duel down south in the third game of a four-game series. Both teams have won a game apiece thus far, and Texas is hoping Harrison can down the Red Sox to keep pace with the streaking Angels, winners of five straight. The Red Sox, meanwhile, need Beckett to come out with a victory, as Boston is deadlocked atop the AL East with the Yankees. Hard to argue with the pitchers on either side, with Beckett putting together a resurgent season with a 2.46 ERA. Harrison has caught many by surprise with his fine season, but is checking in at 3.28. Oh, and Boston expects to have DH David Ortiz back in the lineup after a nine-game absence. Red Sox vs. Rangers, 7:00 p.m. ET

ArroyoWORST MATCHUP: On the flip side of things, Cincinnati and Florida will send hurlers with ERAs over 5 to the mound. Bronson Arroyo has the lower mark, 5.28, for the Reds in the second game of a double-header hastily thrown together to avoid the arrival of Hurricane Irene on Thursday. If Arroyo can eke out a win, it will be the first time Cincinnati has gotten back to .500 since July 6. If you had told the baseball world that the Reds would be under .500 as late as August 24, no one (except Cubs and Cardinals fans) would have believed you. And yet, here we are. Anyways, Arroyo had a brutal July, registering a 7.36 ERA that sent his ERA skyward. It's steadily come down in August, with a 3.81 ERA to show for it. The Marlins, meanwhile, offer up Chris Volstad and a 5.66 ERA. Reds vs. Marlins, 7:30 p.m. ET

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