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Tag:AL East
Posted on: March 25, 2011 9:06 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/25: Beachy brings it



By Matt Snyder


3 UP

Brandon Beachy, Braves. Fresh off being named the Braves' No. 5 starter to open the season -- over the favorite, Mike Minor -- Beachy went out and dominated the Tigers. He threw six innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while strking out six. He took his spring ERA all the way down to 1.13. That is two earned runs in 16 innings, to go nicely with 16 strikeouts. His WHIP is a minuscule 0.63. If he carries this over into the season, the Braves will have an even more formidable rotation.

Drew Storen, Nationals. It's been a rough spring for Storen, who was initially expected to be the Nats' closer but has since been tabbed as part of a committee in the back-end of the bullpen. Friday, though, he was plugged in for the ninth inning with a one-run lead and made it stand. He threw a perfect inning, striking out two batters.

Adam Jones, Orioles. Breakout season on the horizon? He's got the goods. Friday he showed it, too. Jones went 3-4 with his fifth bomb of the spring, this one a two-run job off Scott Baker.

3 DOWN

Brandon McCarthy, A's. The former big-time prospect was having a really solid spring in his quest to earn the A's final starting spot, but he was roughed up Friday. He allowed 10 hits and six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He even walked his first batter of the spring. Of course, he did strike out six, so the 20:1 K:BB rate should be enough for him to grab that last spot. He's looking to hold off Tyson Ross and Rich Harden -- if he's ever healthy. Ross is only 23, but he's sporting a 0.59 ERA in 15 1/3 spring innings.

Mitch Talbot, Indians. The Tribe's No. 4 starter was crushed by the Brewers Friday. He gave up 14 hits and seven earned runs in six innings. He even gave up a grand slam to Carlos Gomez. Yes, that same Carlos Gomez who only has 17 career home runs in 1,308 career at-bats. Of course, he does have three this spring, so maybe he's looking to muscle up this year.

Edinson Volquez, Reds. He's here because the outing was termed as "solid" and he said afterward that he "felt great." (MLB.com ) Really? If you're the Reds and this is your ace -- especially considering Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto are on the shelf and Bronson Arroyo is getting tested for valley fever -- it's gotta be a bit troubling, no? I see five innings pitched, nine hits, three earned runs and four walks. So that's 13 baserunners (a gawdawful 2.60 WHIP), including four extra base hits, and a 5.40 ERA from an ace in his last outing before the regular season. Spring stats don't mean anything and it's possible he's going to flip a switch before the real games start. I'm just saying it's pretty surprising this was considered such a good outing by Volquez and the Reds.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Yankees roundup: Garcia, Molina, more

By Matt Snyder

Some short Yankees notes as we watch spring wind down (Hat-tip to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com for some info):

- There hasn't been a final decision yet on the fifth rotation spot, but it's very likely that both Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon make the team. The best bet is Garcia lands the starting job with Colon going to the bullpen as a long reliever.

- With Francisco Cervelli injured and Jesus Montero having a dreadful defensive spring, Gustavo Molina (pictured right) is the odds-on favorite to win the backup catcher job out of camp. Remember, Jorge Posada is slated as the designated hitter going into the season and Russell Martin is now the starter behind the dish. Montero and Austin Romine will be sent to the minors to begin the season.

- Kevin Millwood will initially head to Triple-A, but he's out on May 1 if not on the big-league roster. He's basically insurance against Ivan Nova (the No. 4 starter) or Garcia not working out. And, of course, there could be injuries.

- It's still a possibility that Curtis Granderson will open the season on the disabled list, but no certainty. If he does, expect newly-acquired Chris Dickerson to be in the center-field mix. The Yankees could shift Brett Gardner to center and use Andruw Jones in left, or plug Dickerson into center.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 3:50 pm
 

Bergesen struck in arm by line drive

By Matt Snyder

We have another pitcher struck with a line drive. Friday's victim was Orioles starting pitcher Brad Bergesen. Denard Span hit was has been called a "hot smash," "liner" and "screaming line drive" on Twitter by those in attendance. Fortunately the shot didn't hit Bergesen in the head, but it did nail his right (pitching) arm. One writer pointed out, however, that the blow was reminiscent of one in July of 2009 that ended Bergesen's season. On the bright side, the injury this time around is reportedly a deep bruise. He has gone for X-Rays, though. (Baltimore Sun via Twitter)

UPDATE: The X-Rays have come back negative. It's a bruise. Even better news is that Bergesen at least kept his sense of humor after the ordeal, as he said his outing was a no-hitter. (School of Roch )

Bergesen is battling for the fourth starter spot with Chris Tillman. He was 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 2009, but had a rough 2010 season, as the ERA rose all the way to 4.98. He allowed 193 hits in 170 innings. Bergesen was having a rough spring, too, sporting a 5.94 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting .373 against him.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 10:01 am
 

Pepper: Young, Daniels clear the air

Michael Young

By C. Trent Rosecrans

With no games to play, sometimes some stories get a little too overexposed. From the Cliff Lee sweepstakes to Chase Utley's day-to-day health and the Jon Daniels-Michael Young feud, we're all pretty much tired of them by now.

The story won't be closed until Young is no longer in a Rangers uniform, then he'll have a press conference, have his say and it'll all be over. For now, he's still a Ranger and back on speaking terms with his general manager. The two met Wednesday and Thursday, and Young said neither minced words.

"I laid out in detail what I was feeling, what my concerns were and gave him the opportunity to do the same," Young told the media on Thursday, including the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. "Anytime you're going to sit down with somebody where there's a problem or an issue and air things out face-to-face, it's always productive."

Young would not say if he still wants to be traded, but Daniels said it's "unlikely" to happen before the season begins -- and Young understands that.

"It created a situation where fans, media and other people in the organization were almost taking sides," Daniels said (again, from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram). "It should have never been that way. We both want the same thing, for the Rangers to win. Through that process, I think Michael took a lot of shots from the media and fan base that from my persecutive weren't necessary."

That last statement is interesting to me -- it's Daniels standing up for Young. He may have thought or said in private some of the same things the fans or media have said, but he's not going to do that in public. It's a wise move, one that  Young -- no matter what he's said in the past -- has to at least see as a move in the right direction.

Maybe Young plays out his days as a Ranger, maybe he doesn't. But either way, hopefully we can end this chapter.

READ THIS TODAY -- The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger writes a great column on former Royal Willie Mays Aikens and his faith. Aikens is dealing with family tragedy even after everything in his life was looking up. After 14 years in jail, Aikens had been hired by the Royals this offseason. I'll let Mellinger tell the rest of the story.

BLAME THE MESSENGER -- Well, once someone says something interesting, we all know they'll come back and claim it's "taken out of context." That's what Buck Showalter did on Thursday, backing away from his comments in the April issue of Men's Journal about the Yankees and Red Sox. [Boston Globe]

GALARRAGA TO BULLPEN -- The Diamondbacks are expected to move Armando Galarraga to the bullpen, with Aaron Heilman taking the fifth spot in the team's rotation. Galarraga has an 8.44 ERA in 16 innings this spring. Galarraga said he still wants to be a starter. [Arizona Republic]

NATS PICK FIFTH STARTER -- Tom Gorzelanny will fill out the Nationals' rotation, manager Jim Riggleman said on Thursday. Livan Hernandez will open the season for the Nationals, followed by Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan and Jason Marquis. [MASNSports.com]

AND SO DO THE Rockies -- Colorado's fifth starter will be right-hander Esmil Rogers. Rogers will follow Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel. [Denver Post]

LAWRIE SENT DOWN -- After saying he was done with the minor leagues this offseason, Brett Lawrie discovered he's not the one in charge of that decision. The 21-year-old third baseman said he was disappointed, but understood his demotion. The Blue Jays acquired Lawrie this offseason by sending Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee in exchange for the former first-rounder. [MLB.com]

ORDONEZ READY -- Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez said he'll be ready for opening day. Ordonez returned to action for the first time since last week on Thursday night. Ordonez went 1 for 4 on Thursday with a double. [MLB.com]

BELTRAN IMPROVING -- Carlos Beltran reported no pain in his knees after a workout on Thursday and Mets manager Terry Collins was so impressed with the way he looked that he wouldn't count out Beltran for opening day. [New York Times]

MORALES IMPROVING -- Orthotic inserts have helped ease the soreness in the left foot of Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales. Morales still won't be available for opening day, but he has gotten the OK by the team's trainers to start "baseball activities." [MLB.com]

DAVIS DRAWING INTEREST -- Doug Davis, the 35-year-old left-hander, threw for as many as eight teams in Tempe, Arizona, on Thursday. Davis made just eight starts last season for the Brewers due to a heart problem and elbow surgery. Among the eight teams to watch him were the Rangers, Rockies, Orioles, Mets and Angels. [MLB.com]

WORK OF ART -- Pedro Martinez will be on hand at the Smithsonian on Friday for the unveiling of his portrait at the National Portrait Gallery. A painting of Martine done by Susan Miller-Havens has been donated to the gallery by MLB.com's Peter Gammons and his wife.  [Smithsonian]

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER -- The man the late Buck O'Neil handpicked to run the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City following the legend's death, is finally getting the job. Bob Kendrick was passed over as the head of the museum two years ago and on the brink of collapse, Kendrick has been tabbed to takeover.

Few people were as upset at the snub as former Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski, who has kissed and made up with the museum on his blog. [Kansas City Star]

FAN-DESIGNED UNIFORM -- I didn't know until yesterday that the White Sox uniforms of the the 80s were the product of a contest run by the team to design a new uniform. Richard Launius, then of Dayton, Ohio, designed the White Sox's pullover Sox uniforms with numbers on the pants.  [ESPN.com]

FOOD NETWORK INVADES YOUR PARK -- The Food Network is offering steak sandwiches at eight ballparks this summer. If you're in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, San Diego, St. Louis or Texas, you can go visit Paula Deen working her cart at your park. What, you don't think she's going to be there? Maybe Morimoto? We can hope. [Sportsandfood.com]

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

 

Posted on: March 24, 2011 8:45 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 9:53 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/24: Slugging Stanton

By Matt Snyder

3 UP

Mike Stanton, Marlins. Florida's big bopper hadn't yet appeared in a spring game this season due to a quad injury. He made up for lost time Thursday in a stunning performance of his slugging prowess. He went 3-4 with two runs scored. Oh yeah, he also hit 3-run home runs in back-to-back at-bats, ending the day with seven RBI. His power is immense. Stanton hit 22 home runs last year in 359 at-bats and he was only 20. He was killing the ball in Triple-A before his call, as he had 21 bombs in just 192 at-bats. There's 40-homer potential in that bat for years to come.

Brad Emaus, Mets. The Mets' bats went nuts, scoring 16 runs on 23 hits, but the day was most significant for Emaus, as he zeroes in on the second base job vacated by Luis Castillo's dismissal. He went 4-4 with a double, home run, three runs and an RBI.

Darwin Barney, Cubs. The 25 year old is doing all he can to make Mike Quade forget about leaving Barney on the bench. He's already made the opening day roster, but is slated as a backup utility infielder with Jeff Baker all set to start at second base. Barney went 2-4 with a triple and two RBI Thursday. He also seems comfortable defensively with shortstop Starlin Castro. It would appear this is the double-play combo of the future in Wrigley, but how far in the future remains to be seen.

3 DOWN

Clay Buchholz, Red Sox. Of the 11 runs Buchholz allowed, only six were earned, but everything was troubling about the outing. He gave up 11 hits, including a whopping four home runs, in four innings. He threw too many balls, falling behind to many hitters. The silver lining here is that the wind was blowing out to center.

Jaime Garcia, Cardinals. Garcia also coughed up double digits worth of runs (10), though only four were earned, as a Skip Schumaker error opened the door for some extra runs. Still, Garcia was knocked around the yard for 14 hits in four innings, including two longballs. He even balked. The spring ERA of 7.94 doesn't look promising for a club looking for guys to step up in the absence of Adam Wainwright.

Scott Kazmir, Angels. He didn't want Buchholz and Garcia to be the only guys in double figures, so Kazmir joined the party with 10 runs, eight hits and three walks. He also had some unearned runs, but only two, so the eight earned were the highest of the trio. Kazmir did last five innings, but coughing up 10 runs to these "Brewers" -- without Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks or Corey Hart in the lineup -- was pretty terrible. His spring ERA is up to 7.79.

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


Posted on: March 24, 2011 7:16 pm
 

Correia, Guthrie named opening day starters

By Matt Snyder

For the third time in the past four years, Jeremy Guthrie will be the opening day starter for the Baltimore Orioles April 1 at Tampa Bay. Manager Buck Showalter noted the O's will break camp with just four starters. Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta will also be in the rotation, with either Brad Bergesen or Chris Tillman being the fourth starter. (MLB.com )

Guthrie, 31, had a 3.83 ERA and 1.16 WHIP last season in 209 1/3 innings of work. His 11-14 record wasn't great, but it was more indicative of playing for a team that lost 96 games than a measure of how he pitched -- one of the many reasons I hate judging pitchers on record.

The Pittsburgh Pirates also named an opening day starter. Kevin Correia will get the nod for the Bucs against the Cubs in Wrigley Field. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette )

Correia has been knocked around the park for most of the spring, currently sitting with a 6.38 spring ERA, having allowed 27 hits in 18 1/3 innings. Last season, for the Padres in spacious Petco Park, he had a 5.40 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. He did get one start in Wrigley Field last year, getting the win with six shutout innings -- so it's possible that played into the decision, though manager Clint Hurdle didn't mention it.

The rest of the Pirates' rotation was also revealed, with Paul Maholm the No. 2 -- and starter for the home opener -- and Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton and James McDonald rounding things out.

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Posted on: March 24, 2011 2:05 pm
 

Francisco making progress, but will start on DL

By Matt Snyder

After meeting with the esteemed Dr. James Andrews, likely Blue Jays closer Frank Francisco was given a clean bill of health, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.

"It doesn't hurt," Francisco said.

Still, he will begin the season on the disabled list as he works his arm back into shape. If things progress are planned, Francisco will not miss much of the season.

Meanwhile, another closing option is Octavio Dotel, and he's dealing with hamstring issues. He will throw an inning in a minor-league game Thursday. In doing so, the Blue Jays would still have the option to put Dotel on the disabled list backdated to the last time he threw in major-league action.

The good news for the Jays if both pitchers are forced to start the season on the DL is that they have a third pitcher in the bullpen with recent closing experience in Jon Rauch. He saved 21 games last season. Dotel had 22 saves and Francisco is one year removed from a 25-save season for the Rangers.

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Posted on: March 24, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: March 24, 2011 11:52 am
 

Pepper: Lack of Mauer power not concerning

Mauer

By Evan Brunell

MAUER POWER: Joe Mauer dipped from 28 home runs in 2009 to just nine last season, one coming at the new home park of Target Field. That's partly due to struggling with injuries and partly thanks to Target Field being the hardest park to hit a home run in. Mauer struggled to adjust in the first half (.293/368/.424) but finished strong in the second half (.373/.447/.527) and isn't interested in struggling again this season.

"A lot of times, I was hitting balls to left field that would be out of a lot of other parks, and they were caught for outs," Mauer said. "So you try to muscle it up a little bit more, and you become a little late [with each swing]. So yeah, it definitely does play with your mind."

While Mauer may try to load up on away home runs, he has the proper frame of mind for how to approach his new home.

"Just keep it simple, try to hit hard line drives, find those gaps and run a little bit."

That could lead to a ton of doubles for Mauer, who racked up 43 after just 30 in 2009. While anyone would prefer homers to doubles, the fact that Mauer can still drive the ball for doubles shows that his power is far from waning.

That hasn't stopped some from questioning the eight-year, $184 million pact that will keep Mauer in a Twins uniform. The deal, universally hailed at the time, has since come under question, but GM Bill Smith dismissed the concerns.

"The contract wasn't done in a one-year vacuum," Smith said. "It's the body of work that Joe had from 2005 through 2009. And we look forward to the coming years, hopefully the coming decade, with Joe Mauer as one of the cornerstone players in this franchise." (Minnesota Star Tribune)

THE EMERGENCE: Brandon McCarthy struggled in Texas to deliver on the promise that caused the team to trade John Danks. However, now with Oakland, McCarthy has moved away from power pitching and has focused on letting the movement on his pitches do the work. That's led to a sensational spring training, and McCarthy is now ready to go for the season. (San Francisco Chronicle)

CLOSING TIME: Now that Alexi Ogando is officially returning to the bullpen, he indicated he would enjoy closing. Ogando may get that shot if Neftali Feliz remains in the rotation, but that's unlikely to happen. "I feel I'm mentally strong and don't think it will affect me that much," Ogando said. (MLB.com)

WATCH YOUR MOUTH: After years of not training players to deal with the media, the Yankees changed their tune in 2007 to integrate a media-training program. That program has since escalated to mock interviews, role playing, guest speakers and more. Derek Jeter has also assisted in this, telling youngsters that they are still on the clock even when the uniform comes off. (Wall Street Journal)

HERE'S A TIP: Daniel Hudson had such a poor start Wednesday that he landed on the 3 up, 3 down list. The righty feels he may have been tipping his pitches, as he noticed hitters "spitting" his changeups while nailing fastballs. (MLB.com)

NO PAIN, BIG GAIN: Tim Stauffer came through his start with excellent results Wednesday after skipping a previous start due to a sore hip flexor. Stauffer put together perhaps the most impressive outing a Padres starter has had so far this spring and is ready for his first full season in the majors as a starter. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

BEER, FASTER: Ever wanted a way to get your beer at the ballpark faster? You're in luck as the Red Sox are adding two beer stands to Fenway Park this season that fills beers from the bottoms up. Yes, you read that right. A recyclable magnetic cap on the bottom of the beer cup flips open to allow beer to pour in before sealing itself shut. This will allow up to 44 beers to be filled per minute. (Boston Herald)

GETTIN' IN THE GROOVE: Brian Matusz didn't mince any words when asked what went wrong during his start Wednesday. "From the get-go, warming up, I couldn't find my rhythm tonight," he said. The good news? Matusz headed to the bullpen after his 1 1/3-inning outing and found his groove then. "It's going to be four hard days of work and then be ready to go on the fifth day," he added. "It was just one of those days where I didn't have it, I didn't get in my rhythm, I didn't do it. Now I know what went wrong and I know what to fix and I'll take it from there." (MASN)

MORE HOT DOGS, PLEASE: Get this: hot dogs may actually be healthier for you than rotisserie chicken, a new study reveals. While the skin of the chicken has more protein, it also packs more carcinogenic compounds, while hot dogs, along with pepperoni and deli meat, have very low amounts. (MSNBC)

FACELIFT: A year after heading to the World Series, the Rangers have spruced up the home ballpark by throwing up a video board that is virtually more than double the size of the old one, the sound system being completely reworked, an upgraded weight room and more. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

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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