Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:13 pm
 

Hanson suits up for first time since concussion

By Matt Snyder

Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson returned to the field Sunday in Florida, marking the first time he's suited up since suffering a concussion in a car accident Monday. Hanson ran and played catch (AJC.com), but what he did wasn't near as important as the next step.

Either Monday or Tuesday, Hanson will take an ImPact concussion test, and if he passes it, the Braves are targeting Thursday to get Hanson back on the mound. Hanson took the ImPact test Thursday, but his results reportedly weren't all the way back to normal, so he hasn't been able to get back on the hill yet.

The right-hander, who may very well be the Braves opening-day starter if he's ready, says he isn't worried about falling behind.

“After I start throwing for a couple of days, I think I’ll be back where I would have been last week," he said (AJC.com). "Most of the time at the end of spring training, that last week is kind of extra anyway. So I don’t think it’ll be a problem. I feel like I’ll be ready.”

Hanson, 25, was 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 142 strikeouts in 130 innings last season. A balky shoulder prevented him from making a start after August 6.

The Braves need Hanson to get well soon. With Tim Hudson set to miss about a month of the season, only Jair Jurrjens, Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor are completely healthy from the planned starting rotation. Kris Medlan along with prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado would be in the mix to pick up any slack needed.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Category: MLB
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:39 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 5:18 pm
 

Joel Zumaya has torn UCL, is out for season



By Matt Snyder


Saturday, oft-injured Twins relief pitcher Joel Zumaya had a bullpen session cut short when he felt something in his elbow. Unfortunately, it appears the news is as bad as it could be. An MRI revealed that Zumaya has torn the ulnar-collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed. For those unaware what this means, tearing the UCL means the pitcher will need Tommy John surgery in order to recover.

"He feels bad, I feel bad. Not the news I wanted to hear on Sunday morning," said Twins GM Terry Ryan (Dustin Morse on Twitter). "This is a 12 month thing."

So Zumaya's 2012 season is already over. In fact, one has to wonder how much more he can take before calling it a career. Since the 2007 season began, Zumaya has suffered a ruptured hand tendon, separated shoulder, a fracture in his elbow area and more. He only appeared in an average of 27 games from 2007-10 and missed all of 2011 after exploratory surgery in his elbow.

“He’s distraught, as you’d expect,” Ryan said (Associated Press). “He’s going to come in here in the next day or so and we’re going to talk about the immediate future for him.”

Zumaya stormed onto the scene as a rookie in 2006 for the Tigers when he was just 21 years old. He lit up the radar gun in triple-digit fashion with ease, even getting clocked up in the 104 miles per hour range. He had a 1.94 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings that season. He appeared ready to be one of the league's elite bullpen pitchers for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, he's never been able to stay healthy since.

The Twins signed Zumaya to a one-year, $850,000 contract this past offseason for bullpen depth. They will, however, only be on the hook for $400,000 since he won't be on the opening day roster. In a very short time, he already made a strong impression in the Twins' clubhouse.

“He looks like some monster out there pitching against you,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said (AP). “But you get him in your clubhouse and you realize there’s special people and he’s a special person and it’s a really sad day for him and his family and our baseball team, too, because we were all hoping this guy would be able to get back on this thing and make it through. Unfortunately it didn’t work out.”

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:54 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 5:17 pm
 

Astros 'leaning heavily' toward new uniforms



By Matt Snyder


The Houston Astros will move to the American League West in 2013, and they may have new uniforms in doing so. In fact, it sounds pretty likely.

“If the change is going to be made, certainly next year going to the American League is our transition and we’re leaning heavily that way," new owner Jim Crane said (via Ultimate Astros).

[Knobler: Crane off to a good start]

Any logo or uniform changes must be submitted to Major League Baseball by May 1, but the public won't see them until after the 2012 season. Of course, the Marlins changed up this past year and there were some leaks throughout the late part of the regular season.

Crane pondered changing the name from Astros earlier this offseason, but the outcry from fans was so overwhelming he backed off. It appears he will continue to keep fan feedback a priority.

“We’ll get some of the staff and some of the fans in on the next look, and hopefully we’ll make a decision on the deadline that they’re requiring if we’re going to make a decision,” Crane said (Ultimate Astros).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:28 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 12:59 pm
 

Chris Perez out 4-6 weeks with oblique strain

By Matt Snyder

Just a few days after we learned the Indians have lost Grady Sizemore for a few weeks due to injury, the Tribe has been dealt another blow. All-Star closer Chris Perez will miss four to six weeks of action with a left internal oblique strain, according to the club's official Twitter account.

Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said Perez's body "wasn't ready for the intensity of the bullpen session." (Per Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

Six weeks from today is April 7, otherwise known as the first weekend of the regular season. Even if Perez can come back in a month, he'll need to work himself into game shape, so there's a decent chance he'll be unable to open the season with the Indians. Perez told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com that the goal is to be back March 15 and that he is "confident" he'll be ready for opening day. The Indians haven't ruled him out for opening day and said he "should" appear in games "toward the end of spring."

Perez, 26, had 36 saves with a 3.32 ERA and 1.21 WHIP last season for the Indians. If he's out for any period of time, the likely fill-in candidate for save chances is Vinnie Pestano.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 9:24 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 4:11 pm
 

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals agree on extension



By Matt Snyder


The Washington Nationals have agreed to sign third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to a six-year, $100 million contract extension, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed. Zimmerman's current five-year, $45 million deal doesn't expire until after the 2013 season, so this extension takes him through the 2019 season, and there's a $24 million club option for the 2020 season. Zimmerman also agreed to have $10 million deferred as a personal services fee, meaning the amount won't count toward the Nationals payroll -- there is no salary cap, but there's a luxury tax. The contract also contains a full no-trade clause, the inclusion of which had previously been a sticking point for Zimmerman.

Nationals spring training
The deal is the second-largest in MLB history for a third baseman, after Alex Rodriguez's current contract (A-Rod's first megadeal came when he was a shortstop). Zimmerman is now one of just six players signed through 2019, joining Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp.

"All along, all I've wanted is to be able to stay with the Nationals, which I consider my hometown team, and help the franchise become a winner while also being compensated fairly," Zimmerman said Saturday night, before the extension was complete. "While nothing is finalized, I am confident that we can reach an agreement that will accompish all those things. I'm from Virginia, I was drafted by the Nationals and I've seen this organization make great progress since I signed here. I want to see it through to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series."

More from Zimmerman on being from the area: "That was the whole point of this thing from the beginning," he said (MASNSports.com). "I love playing here and I love the organization, but it's always been like this from day one when I started playing here - how I'm lucky to be in this position to be so close to my family, to kind of be in the area where I grew up, where I went to school. I enjoy playing here."

He also added that signing the extension was a "relief."

Zimmerman, 27, was the Nationals' first-round draft pick in 2005 -- the club's first year in Washington -- out of the University of Virginia and made his big-league debut late that season. He then finished second in the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year voting and has since been an All-Star while winning both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He hit .289/.355/.443 with 12 homers and 49 RBI in 101 games in 2011, as he was hampered by an abdominal injury. The previous season, he hit .307/.388/.510 with 25 homers and in 2009 he had 33 homers, 106 RBI and 110 runs scored.

The Nationals now have a young core of players locked up for several years, including Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Drew Storen, Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 11:31 pm
 

Video: Jamie Moyer, 49, attempts comeback

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The CBS Evening News took a look at Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer, who is attempting to make the opening-day roster at age 49.



For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: February 25, 2012 11:26 pm
 

Zimmerman, Nats inch closer to extension

Ryan Zimmerman

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Ryan Zimmerman's 10 a.m. deadline passed with a contract extension with the Nationals and it appears his Saturday deadline will, as well. But that doesn't mean the two sides won't get a deal done.

Saturday night, Zimmerman's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, said the two sides were close to a deal. Zimmerman is expected to sign an extension worth approximately $18 million per year -- but that was never the sticking point. Instead of money, Zimmerman wanted a no-trade clause that would keep the 27-year-old Virginia native in Washington.

"We have made significant progress on an extension for Ryan that would ensure he plays for the Nationals for a long time, which has always been Ryan's goal," Van Wagenen said. "We are working on a structure that will allow the team to continue to add talent and establish a winner, which is another goal of Ryan's.

"While there are still important aspects to work through, we bridged multiple important gaps on many major parts of a contract. Nothing is done until it is done, but both sides are optimistic than an agreement can be reached and Ryan can focus his energies on preparing with his teammates for the season."

Zimmerman has said he didn't want the extension -- which at one point this offseason Nats GM Mike Rizzo said was the team's top offseason priority -- to interfere with the team's preparation for the season. The team held its first full-squad workout on Saturday.

"All along, all I've wanted is to be able to stay with the Nationals, which I consider my hometown team, and help the franchise become a winner while also being compensated fairly," Zimmerman said. "While nothing is finalized, I am confident that we can reach an agreement that will accompish all those things. I'm from Virginia, I was drafted by the Nationals and I've seen this organization make great progress since I signed here. I want to see it through to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series."

Zimmerman was adamant that he receive a no-trade clause since he was willing to give the hometown discount. Jayson Werth received a no-trade clause in his monster deal last winter, while Mark Buehrle and Prince Fielder were reportedly offered no-trade clauses as part of the offers made to those free agents this winter.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 9:51 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 10:23 pm
 

Spring primer: Atlanta Braves

Chipper Jones

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Thanks to the Red Sox collapse, the Braves' September disappearing act seems to have been forgotten by everyone outside of Atlanta and St. Louis. Atlanta led the wild card race by as many as 8 1/2 games in September before conceding the final NL playoff spot to the Cardinals, going 9-18 over the last month of the season, losing their last five and 13 of their last 18. While there were rumors of big changes in the offseason, none of that materialized and the Braves head into 2012 with the same team that appeared to be headed to the playoffs before the final month of the season.

Danny Knobler's camp report: After epic collapse, inaction brings optimism | Likes, dislikes

Major additions: None
Major departures: RHP Derek Lowe, SS Alex Gonzalez, OF Nate McLouth, RHP Scott Linebrink, LHP George Sherrill

Probable lineup
1. Michael Bourn CF
2. Martin Prado LF
3. Chipper Jones 3B
4. Brian McCann C
5. Dan Uggla 2B
6. Freddie Freeman 1B
7. Jason Heyward RF
8. Tyler Pastornicky SS

Probable rotation
1. Tim Hudson
2. Tommy Hanson
3. Jair Jurrjens
4. Brandon Beachy
5. Mike Minor

Hudson's status for the beginning of the season is in doubt, which would make room for right-hander Randall Delgado

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Craig Kimbrel
Set-up: Jonny Venters, Eric O'Flaherty, Kris Medlen

Important bench players
OF Jose Constanza, 1B/OF Eric Hinske, OF Matt Diaz

Prospect to watch
In three starts and two relief appearances, Julio Teheran went 1-1 with a 5.03 ERA and only struck out 10 batters in 19 2/3 innings, while walking eight batters. But it should also be noted he was just 20. Teheran will likely start 2012 back in Triple-A, where he went 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA. The right-hander has four pitches, including a fastball in the mid-90s. He may not be an ace right away, but few pitchers in the minors have his potential.

Fantasy sleeper: Mike Minor
"His strikeout and walk rates showed he has the skills to become a top-of-the-rotation-type pitcher, and with Derek Lowe banished to Cleveland, he suddenly has a rotation spot to refine them. The Braves' decision to clear that spot for Minor this offseason should give the 24-year-old a renewed sense of purpose entering spring training. If his performance during his final nine starts last year, when he posted a 3.83 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning, was a sneak peak at what he can do with a defined role, he'll be a late-round find on Draft Day." -- Scott White [Full Braves team fantasy preview]

Fantasy bounce-back player: Jason Heyward
"He developed numbness in his shoulder in spring training and, in an effort to play through the injury, altered his mechanics. His popout rate was through the roof, which is a clear sign his swing wasn't right. With an offseason of rest and the fresh perspective of new hitting coach Greg Walker, Heyward should be in for a bounce-back season. Expecting other-worldly numbers from him would, of course, not be prudent, but even a return to his rookie form would make him a top-25 outfielder." -- Scott White [Full Braves team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Everything that went wrong last year -- Uggla's early-season struggles, Heyward's sophomore slump, manager Fredi Gonzalez's overuse of the bullpen -- goes right this year, while the young pitching studs are as advertised. If all that happens, the Braves could win the NL East. Then with their starters and relievers, the Braves would be a tough out in any series.

Pessimistic outlook
Uggla plays the entire season like he did last May (.160/.241/.260 with two home runs), Heyward's 2012 is a repeat of 2011 and Hudson, Hanson and Jurrjens have a large chunk of time on the disabled list with varying injuries. Meanwhile, the rookies the team is counting on to perform -- Pastornicky and Minor -- struggle and the veteran Jones can't hold up for an entire season at 40. There's plenty that can go wrong and with the improvements made by the Marlins, the growth of the Nationals and the Phillies' pitching, the Braves could battle with the Mets for the bottom of the division rather than searching to avenge 2011's collapse.

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