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Tag:Athletics
Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:45 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 12:05 am
 

Thursday night trade rumors roundup

By Matt Snyder

We're less than three days away to the non-waiver trade deadline in Major League Baseball. As we inch closer, it seems that more players are becoming available, so there are bound to be some fireworks this weekend. Let's check out what happened Thursday night.

CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that the Braves and Phillies -- losers in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes -- are interested in White Sox right fielder Carlos Quentin. Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Braves are front-runners on Quentin.

MLB Trade Deadline
CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reiterates the Braves' desire for an outfield bat and throws the name of Padres' outfielder Ryan Ludwick into the discussion. Mark Bowman of MLB.com also reports the Braves are after Ludwick.

Knobler reports that, though the Blue Jays are believed to be done making moves after the Colby Rasmus trade, they still could deal relievers Frank Francisco and/or Jon Rauch.

• Some of the biggest movement of the day happened in terms of Hunter Pence's status. It had been reported for all the early part of this week the Astros were holding onto their All-Star right fielder tightly, but things may have changed. Knobler noted that interest has picked up with Beltran off the market, though some rival GMs still don't think Houston will deal Pence. Fox Sports reports the Braves are in on Pence but the Phillies are the most serious suitor. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports added that the Indians are also in the mix and the chances of Pence being traded are better than 50-50. ESPN's Jayson Stark says the interest in Pence is "exploding" and the Braves, Phillies, Red Sox and Reds are in on him. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said as many as eight teams are after Pence. In a contradiction to some of the above reports, however, is that Jon Heyman of SI.com earlier in the day reported the Phillies have given up on Pence and the Braves are the only team left with a shot.

Ubaldo Jimenez's name continues to bounce around, but the status is pretty much the same as before: The Yankees have the best shot, but it's not even close to being a sure thing and the Rockies may keep him.

Per Rosenthal, both the Yankees and Red Sox scouted A's starter Rich Harden during his outing against Tampa Bay Thursday.

• The Tigers are interested in Jason Marquis, reports Bill Ladsden of MLB.com.

• The Braves have had discussions about A's outfielder Coco Crisp, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. Rosenthal reports the Braves also have interest in A's outfielder Josh Willingham.

• Though Hiroki Kuroda's a hot name in the weak starting pitching market, as Knobler pointed out earlier Thursday, Newsday's Ken Davidoff reports that the Dodgers are not taking offers for him. Sherman reports the Yankees are in regular contact with the Dodgers about Kuroda, though.

• The Red Sox have the following starting pitchers on their radar, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe: Rich Harden, Erik Bedard, Hiroki Kuroda, Jeremy Guthrie, Aaron Harang, and Ubaldo Jimenez.

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

Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:57 pm
 

Braves looking for bat, talk Ludwick with SD

By Scott Miller

Looking for an outfield bat, the Braves are engaging the Padres in trade discussions regarding Ryan Ludwick, multiple sources have told CBSSports.com.

Ludwick is not the only outfielder with whom the Braves are exploring a trade, but they are described as having significant interest in the 33-year-old. The Braves also have talked about Oakland's Josh Willingham, the White Sox's Carlos Quentin, Houston's Hunter Pence and Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton.

The difference is that Ludwick and Willingham will cost less than Pence, Quentin and Upton.

Ludwick was held out of San Diego's lineup Thursday afternoon against Arizona, though manager Bud Black brushed off any suggestion that it was because a trade was imminent. The Padres acquired Ludwick from St. Louis at last year's trade deadline during a surprising season in which they won 90 games.

However, Ludwick was a bitter disappointment down the stretch in 2010 (.211, six homers, 26 RBIs in 239 plate appearances). While he's been better in 2011 (.238, 11, 62 in 412 plate appearances), he clearly is not in San Diego's future plans. A free agent this winter, it is believed that Ludwick will seek something in the neighborhood of a three-year deal. With his game not translating well in Petco Park, the Padres are not interested.

Willingham is hitting .240 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs for an Oakland team that long ago fell out of the race this summer.

There are two problems with the White Sox's Quentin, whom the Braves really like and have serious interest in:

One, he's more expensive than Ludwick or Willingham, according to sources. And, two, the Tigers apparently refuse to allow the White Sox to become full-blown sellers. Detroit lost again on Thursday, this time to the Angels, allowing idle Chicago to pull to within three games of the AL Central lead despite a 51-52 record. The White Sox are only two games behind Detroit in the loss column.

As for Pence, his market has exploded since San Francisco traded for Carlos Beltran. My colleague Danny Knobler writes that the Braves, Phillies and several other clubs checked in with the Astros on Thursday.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 28, 2011 4:49 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 5:23 pm
 

5 under-the-radar trade targets to watch

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sure, Carlos Beltran has been traded and there are still waves about Ubaldo Jimenez and other big names, but often it's the role players that are important in a pennant race. Here's guys that won't exactly stop the press, but could make a new team very happy they made a deal:

Josh Willingham1. Josh Willingham, Athletics: While not quite as sexy an acquisition as Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence, B.J. Upton or even Ryan Ludwick, Willingham is certainly in demand.

Willingham is currently hitting .240/.327/.428 -- turning in his lowest OPS since becoming a regular big-leaguer. Playing in pitcher-friendly Oakland certainly doesn't help, but he does have 13 home runs in 324 plate appearances and a career .363 on-base percentage. Willingham has 116 career homers and could supply some pop to a team that needs a right-handed bat, and there are plenty of those. Both the Braves and Red Sox are in need of a right-handed bat in the outfield.

Willingham is a free agent after the season and currently projects as a Type A free agent, so it's possible the A's keep him if nobody meets their asking price.

Jamey Carroll2. Jamey Carroll, Dodgers: Carroll was a guy that was getting interest from Milwaukee before Rickie Weeks suffered a severely sprained ankle on Wednesday, and now he makes even more sense.

Not a bopper by any stretch of the imagination (he has just 12 career homers in 3,273 career plate appearances -- that's one homer every 272.75 plate appearances, and none since 2009), but he's a solid, steady bat hitting .291/.362/.356, a line that's pretty consistent with his .277/.356/.349 career slash line.

The 37-year-old can play around the infield and would step in at second for the Brewers -- and even be part of a mini-youth movement in Milwaukee where he'd take over the spot of 40-year-old Craig Counsell

The Indians are also interested in Carroll, who played in Cleveland in 2008 and 2009. There he would be used to back up rookies Jason Kipnis at second and Lonnie Chisenall at third base.

Coco Crisp3. Coco Crisp, Athletics: Crisp isn't having his best season, but the veteran center fielder could still help plenty of teams looking to shore up an outfield rotation or add a fourth outfielder.

Hitting .266/.317/.384 for Oakland this season, the 31-year-old has seen his stats drop from last season, and his .317 on-base percentage is his lowest since 2006. He does have 27 stolen bases, just five from his career-best.

CBSSports.com colleague Scott Miller made an interesting observation about Crisp, saying he's similar to Dave Roberts in 2004. Red Sox fans don't have to be reminded about Roberts' impact on Boston's title chase. 

The Indians and Reds have shown interest in Crisp, who could also help out the Pirates.

Koji Uehara4. Koji Uehara, Orioles: He's not exactly a household name, but the 36-year-old Japanese right-hander has been one of the game’s best relievers the last couple of years. 

Uehara has a 1.80 ERA this season in 45 innings, striking out 59 and walking eight. His WHIP is down to 0.689, but he has given up six homer so far this season, but that's about the only chink in his armor. In his career he's struck out 6.48 hitters for every walk.

Last season he closed some for the Orioles and converted 13 of 15 chances, so he could even fill that role if needed.

The Rangers, Pirates, Tigers and Twins have shown interest in him. He would upgrade any bullpen he joins.

Clint Barmes5. Clint Barmes, Astros: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. And in the NL Central, Clint Barmes is a legitimate shortstop.

The Astros traded for the player better known as the guy before Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado or the guy who fell down the stairs carrying deer meat, but he's had a decent season in Houston. He's hitting .254/.320/.402 with seven homers for the Astros. Better yet, he's a good defensive shortstop -- and Ozzie Smith compared to the likes of Yuniesky Betancourt, Edgar Renteria and Ryan Theriot.

CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler wrote the Brewers are interested in Barmes. The Brewers added Felipe Lopez on Thursday, but Lopez is not a legitimate shortstop (of course, neither is Betancourt) and will report to Triple-A.

Another team to watch may be the Diamondbacks, who lost Stephen Drew to a broken ankle. 

Barmes is a free agent after the season.

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

Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:46 am
 

Could MLB return to Montreal?

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The former French-language broadcaster for the Montreal Expos said he's been approached by a business group trying to bring baseball back to Montreal. That news comes off the heels of a report by the Conference Board of Canada that said Montreal could still support Major League Baseball.

The Expos moved to Washington D.C. after the 2004 season, but it certainly wouldn't be the first time a market lost a team and then got another. The Expos' move to D.C. was the third incarnation of MLB in the nation's capital. Kansas City, Seattle and Milwaukee all got second chances at MLB, and then there's the Mets who debuted after the Dodgers and Giants went west.

One huge hurdle would likely be a new ballpark, something the Expos couldn't get.

Still, Rodger Brulotte said there are business groups that have approached him and he's starting to take them seriously, even if he wouldn't name specific names.

"Before doing anything, I told the group to get their business plan together," Brulotte told the Montreal Gazette. "It has to include plans for a stadium, for radio and television rights, for everything, as though they already have the franchise."

It's unlikely baseball would expand anytime soon -- earlier this month in Phoenix commissioner Bud Selig said it's not in the plans -- but the Oakland A's are the team that would be most likely to move. The chances of that, though, are slim. Even with a stronger Canadian dollar, a return to Montreal seems even more unlikely -- much to the chagrin of traveling beat writers across the United States who fondly remember trips to Montreal, if not Olympic Stadium.

Author Jonah Keri, a Montreal native who is working on a book about the Expos, called the report a "non-story" and said there is a "zero percent" chance of baseball ever returning to Montreal. Unfortunately, he's probably correct. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 8:48 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:25 am
 

Holliday deal part of best trade deadline deals

By Evan Brunell

As the trade deadline kicks into gear, teams who consider themselves buyers -- much like the Cardinals in acquiring Edwin Jackson and relievers, but sending away young center fielder Colby Rasmus -- are hoping that years from now, those teams will land on articles detailing moves that worked out at the trade deadline.

This is one such article looking back at the three previous years and the deadline deals that occurred. Which of these deals ended up being fantastic ones for teams? Looking strictly at those who were "buyers" -- that is, they went after the best player in the deal or made a trade clearly geared toward winning, let's take a look at the top five in reverse order.

Sanchez5. FREDDY GOT FINGERED

July 29, 2009: Pirates trade 2B Freddy Sanchez to Giants for minor league RHP Tim Alderson.

The Giants were seven games out of first place, but leading the wild card when they added second baseman Freddy Sanchez from Pittsburgh. Sanchez was supposed help settle the Giants' offense en route to a playoff berth. "A kid that has distinguished himself as an All-Star three out of the last four years and a batting champ within that time frame," GM Brian Sabean told the Associated Press at the time of the trade. The timing's great."

Unfortunately for Sabean, Sanchez has neither been an All-Star or batting champion since, but this trade still comes away as a win. That's because Sanchez wasn't acquired with just 2009 in mind, as he limped to the finish line with his new team that season. Battling a leg injury, Sanchez appeared in only 25 games, hitting .284/.295/.324. But in 2010, Sanchez hit .292/.342/.397 as an important part of the team, which would eventually win the World Series that October.

This deal was actually considered a loss for San Francisco at the time, as they coughed up Tim Alderson, then ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Giants organization by Baseball America. But declining velocity took all the luster off of the lefty, who is 22 years old and attempting to reinvent himself as a reliever for Double-A and won't reach the majors unless something changes.

4. BACK TO ATLANTA

July 31, 2009: Red Sox trade 1B Adam LaRoche to Braves for 1B Casey Kotchman.

LaRocheMark Teixeira's replacement in Casey Kotchman wasn't bearing fruit, so the Braves gave up and shipped Kotchman north for Adam LaRoche, who came up with Atlanta and spent three years with the team before being dealt to Pittsburgh in the offseason prior to 2007. At just one game over .500, the Braves were looking for an offensive punch that could get them into the wild card and division mix.

It worked, as the Braves finished the season 10 games over .500, but they still fell short of the playoffs, despite LaRoche's patented second-half surge aiding the team with 12 home runs in 242 plate appearances, hitting .325/.401/.557. That's fantastic production with a cost in only Kotchman, who was traded after the season to Seattle for Bill Hall and hit .217/.280/.336 in full-time duty. Kotchman has rebounded this season in Tampa Bay with a .328 batting average as the club's starting first baseman, but Atlanta's happy with rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman.

3. IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA

July 29, 2009: Indians trade LHP Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco to Phillies for minor league RHP Jason Knapp, RHP Carlos Carrasco, SS Jason Donald and C Lou Marson.

LeeThis ended up being a fantastic deal for the Phillies. While the players Philadelphia coughed up have either not yet started their major-league careers or have just started -- making full evaluation of the deal impossible -- we can try. Let's go in order, starting with Knapp. What made him so highly regarded is obvious when he steps on a mound, but that's not often. He briefly pitched for the Indians following the trade, then checked in with just 28 2/3 innings all of last season and has yet to pitch this year after undergoing his second major shoulder surgery since being acquired. He could still end up an ace, but it doesn't look good.

Carrasco has developed into a solid middle-rotation starter for Cleveland. That's all well and good but Philly doesn't lack for prospects and while Carrasco has value, he's not going to make the deal worth it all by himself. It'll be up to Donald and Marson. Donald hit .253/.312/.378 in 325 plate appearances for the Indians last season and is the man with the lone hit in Armando Galarraga's not-perfect game. He's toiling in the minors and isn't much more than a backup infielder, while Marson isn't much more than a backup catcher, hitting .208/.279/.296 in 424 PA over the last two seasons in that capacity.

So the Phillies benefit by giving up a package that, so far, isn't much for an ace like Lee. The left-hander would go on to post a 3.39 ERA in 79 1/2 innings for Philadelphia, giving the club an ace it desperately needed to defend their 2008 World Series title. Philly didn't do that against the Yankees (although Lee did win the only two games Philadelphia came away with in the series), but they did capture a second straight NL pennant and established Philadelphia as a big-market team that would be around for a while.

And of course, while Lee's stay in Philadelphia would be brief as he was moved to Seattle in the offseason to make way for Roy Halladay, Lee's time in Philly was so good that he returned to town as a free agent, taking less years to get back in the City of Brotherly Love. (And we haven't even mentioned Francisco, who has continued his fine career as a fourth outfielder in Philly, although he stumbled this season when handed more playing time.)

2. MANNYWOOD

RamirezJuly 31, 2008: Red Sox trade LF Manny Ramirez to Dodgers, with 3B Andy LaRoche and minor league RHP Bryan Morris going to the Pirates in a three-team trade.


Manny Ramirez wore his welcome out in Boston so badly, the Red Sox would have given anything to get rid of ManRam. They ended up walking away with Jason Bay in a three-team deal, sending Ramirez to Los Angeles. (The full details: Morris and LaRoche to the Pirates along with Boston's RHP Craig Hansen and OF Brandon Moss.) The Red Sox ended up pleased with their investment, giving up essentially nothing. But the Dodgers had the bigger coup, as LaRoche was a colossal bust in Pittsburgh and is now in the farm system of Oakland. Morris is now 24 and has an outside chance of making the majors.

But Manny was all the rage in Los Angeles for the rest of the year back in 2008, hitting an unconscionable .396/.489/.743 with 17 home runs in 53 games. Even Jose Bautista can only aspire to these levels. Ramirez took a .500 team to the division title and boasted a .520 batting average in October as the Dodgers fell to the Phillies, who would eventually win the World Series. He hit well enough in 2009 for Los Angeles at .290/.418/.531 in 431 PA, but was suspended 50 games for violating baseball's drug program. A year later, Ramirez was no longer the toast of town and quickly forced his way out to the White Sox. Still, Ramirez helped revive the Dodgers, if only for a brief period of time before Frank McCourt would do Manny one better in demoralizing Dodger fans.

1. A HOLLIDAY IN ST. LOUIS

HollidayJuly 24, 2009: Athletics trade LF Matt Holliday to Cardinals for minor league 3B Brett Wallace, OF Shane Patterson and RHP Clayton Mortensen.

This is the fourth 2009 deal on this list. It was certainly a good time to be a buyer back then, as the Cardinals well know. They picked up a slugger for ... well, nothing special. Holliday had been acquired from the Rockies in the offseason by Oakland, who offered up (gulp) Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith. They didn't get anywhere close the return for Holliday after he failed to produce in Oakland's cavernous stadium. Wallace was supposed to be a good hitting prospect -- his luster had yet to dim. But it did in the next two years, with Wallace being flipped to Toronto after the season, the Jays then immediately sending him to Houston. Opening the year as the starting first baseman for Houston, Wallace has hit .275/.352/.382 and just lost his starting spot.

Mortensen was a fleeting -- and failing -- pitcher in Oakland before being traded for next to nothing to Colorado and has been a solid swingman this season but is currently in Triple-A. Peterson was just promoted to Triple-A and has a shot to develop into ... well, something. But that's a very weak return for a man who has paired with Albert Pujols for a devastating 3-4 punch. He was so overjoyed to be back in the NL that he hit .352 the rest of the way, and is at .320/.400/.549 after inking a contract extension. That's even better than his Colorado numbers, so this was a masterstroke for St. Louis. Odd to say that on a day where the Cardinals did the opposite of a masterstroke by dealing Colby Rasmus to Toronto.

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


Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:56 pm
 

Wednesday afternoon trade rumors

By C. Trent Rosecrans

We actually got the big trades on Wednesday with a three-way deal sending Colby Rasmus to Toronto and Edwin Jackson to St. Louis, as well as the biggest domino of the non-waiver trade deadline falling, as Carlos Beltran will join the Giants on Thursday. But that doesn't mean the rumors stopped, boy oh boy, are they still hot and heavy. Here's our roundup of the morning and early afternoon's rumors:

• One official for a contender told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that he believes the Rockies will move Ubaldo Jimenez. Apparently there's too much smoke for there not to be fire. The same official told Stark, "You don't do this with your best pitchers unless you're ready to trade him." 

• Even with the Cardinals rebuilding their bullpen in Wednesday's Rasmus deal, they're still talking to the Padres about Heath Bell and Mike Adams, CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller tweets.

• The Cubs are apparently interested in dumping two of their higher-priced players, Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweeted the Cubs are offering up much of the money left on their contracts. A rival front-office member told Heyman, "They'd have to pay 95 percent." Zambrano is making $17.875 million this season and $18 million next season. He has a $19.25 million vesting option for 2013 that takes effect if he is first or second in the 2011 Cy Young vote (not likely) or is in the top four of the 2012 Cy Young vote and is healthy. He has a full no-trade clause. Soriano is signed through 2014 at $18 million per season. The Cubs are hoping the Yankees bite, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.

• A's general manager Billy Beane tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he's not interested in giving away any of the available A's players on the cheap. He said the team isn't looking to dump payroll.

• After Beltran turned down the Indians (or his agent did), Cleveland has moved on and is trying to land Rasmus, B.J. Upton and Hiroki Kuroda, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweets. Of course, that was before Rasmus was off the table.

• The Astros say they want a "very top" pitching prospect in return for Hunter Pence, Heyman tweets. He notes with that price tag, most expect Hunter to stay in Houston.

• FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets the Braves are now the most interested in Pence, but are also interested in the Padres' Ryan Ludwick.

• The Phillies have done background work on White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin, Olney tweets. Philadelphia is searching for a bat that would basically replace what Jason Werth did for them last season.

• Rockies outfielder Ryan Spllborghs is a possibility for the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. He also adds the Twins are listening to offers for right-hander Kevin Slowey.

• The Yankees have asked about Florida's Ricky Nolasco, but was told the team would deal him, Heyman tweeted.

• The chances of the Dodgers trading Andre Ethier are "very slim" FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports. But there's a chance as Ethier will be a free agent after 2012.

• The Reds are telling teams catcher Devin Mesoraco and shortstop Billy Hamilton are "untouchable," Rosenthal writes. However, he also notes the Rockies wouldn't require either of those two. If a deal didn't include those, it would take some other big pieces, though. The Reds' system is deep enough to have those pieces, such as Yasmandi Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Travis Wood and Mike Leake.

• Even though the Rays have said James Shields is unavailable, Rosenthal tweets Cincinnati is targeting Sheilds over Ubaldo Jimenez.

• With Rasmus off the table, the Nationals are targeting the Twins' Denard Span and could move closer Drew Storen to get the outfielder, Rosenthal said on MLB Network.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: July 27, 2011 1:02 pm
 

Pepper: Is it Rasmus or La Russa in St. Louis?

Colby Rasmus

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Soap operas are being taken off network TV, but at least we still have baseball.

By the way he's portrayed, you'd expect St. Louis center fielder Colby Rasmus to be the guy with the badly dyed goatee and have ominous music every time he appears on screen. That's at least the way Cardinals manager Tony La Russa (speaking of bad dye jobs) keeps playing it.

The latest barb? Speaking to KSDK-TV in St. Louis, La Russa said Rasmus doesn't listen to the team's coaches.

"No, he doesn't listen to the Cardinal coaches much now, and that's why he gets in these funks, in my opinion," La Russa said, according to MLB.com. "If he would just stay with [basically] what they teach, he would have … but I actually feel concern for him, because he hears it from so many places, he's got to be confused."

That, of course, is a swipe at Rasmus' dad, who has been critical of La Russa publically. 

The Cardinals are actively shopping Rasmus, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler tweeted yesterday, and if they do deal him, it's got to be a sign that the 66-year-old La Russa will stick around a couple of more years in St. Louis. Dealing Rasmus doesn't make much sense (unless there's a huge return) in a baseball-sense, but it does placate La Russa. La Russa is signed to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2012. It may come down to a decision for general manager John Mozeliak whether he wants to tie his future to a talented 24-year-old or a manager who has managed more than 5,000 games. What happens before Sunday could tell us quite a bit about the future of the Cardinals.

No platoon: Sticking with the Cardinals and La Russa, Daniel Descalso has started at shortstop in five of the 11 games since the All-Star break, but La Russa denies there's a platoon with Descalso and Ryan Theriot. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Contentious in Chicago: Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd got into a shouting match with a fan before Tuesday's game in Milwaukee. The fan yelled "you guys suck," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Byrd responded, "We may suck, but you're pathetic." 

Chipper out again: Braves third baseman Chipper Jones returned to the Braves' lineup from a knee injury on Monday, but then miss Tuesday's game and will miss the next few with a right quad injury. The 39-year-old has played in 78 games this season. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

Conspiracy theory: Phillies fans got on Giants manager Bruce Bochy for how he used Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay in the All-Star Game. Several fans at the team's hotel heckled Bochy saying he tried to overuse both Philadelphia pitchers -- though Bochy notes he used both for fewer than 25 pitches. [San Jose Mercury News]

Throwing Trout back: The Angels are expected to send heralded prospect Mike Trout back to the minor leagues soon. [Orange County Register]

'Cool cat': That's how Giants reliever Sergio Romo described President Barak Obama after the Giants' visit to the White House. I'm sure plenty of people said that about Chester A. Arthur, too. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Reds return: Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com takes a closer look at the two minor league players the Reds received in return for Jonny Gomes.

Perfect in minors: Former Padre Justin Germano threw a perfect game for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers on Tuesday. It was just the fifth perfect game in the history of the International League. The Clippers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Indians. [Columbus Dispatch]

Barton hurt: There's nothing we here at Eye On Baseball like more than making fun of our fellow team member's bad calls -- like my call of Manny Ramirez as the AL Comeback Player of the Year -- so it never fails that any mention of Daric Barton gets Evan Brunell some good-nature ribbing. Brunell said he'd take Barton over Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira or Ryan Howard -- so yeah. (Of course, I had some questionable picks, too -- Rasmus No. 1 in center?) But the point other than making fun of Evan? Well, it's that Barton, now in Triple-A, has a tear in his labrum and will see a doctor today. [San Francisco Chronicle]

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 1:41 am
 

Astros latest team to fall victim to U2

U2By C. Trent Rosecrans

Count the Houston Astros among the growing number of teams none too thrilled with U2.

Following Monday's loss to the Cardinals, several Astros complained about the new grass surface at Busch Stadium. U2 held a concert at Busch Stadium on July 17 and the team stripped the outfield of grass and re-sodded it afterwards. With the high temperatures, it was difficult for the grass to take root in time for Monday's game, the first post-Bono game held at Busch Stadium, Derrek Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote.

The Edge and company helped the home team in the second inning, when Astros right fielder Hunter Pence slipped on the new sod, allowing St. Louis' Nick Punto to cruise to a triple and drive in a run. St. Louis added another with a one-out fielder's choice by starter Kyle McClellan.

"We knew there was a new sod and ground balls were going to be tougher," Pence told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. "We really didn't expect all the slipping to go down."

Center fielder Michael Bourn said he had trouble all game.

"If you try to plant good, you'll end up falling," Bourn told Levine.

He added, "You could tell it's very new out there. The cracks are still in the ground, which means the grass had just been planted. We just had to try to get used to it. It's real hard to keep your ground out there. It's real hard to keep your feet underneath you."

Manager Brad Mills said the team was "not thrilled" with the state of the field.

"You want the sure footing and so forth, but it wasn't there and it cost us a little bit," Mills said.

U2 has already given the Mariners an unfair advantage in its series with the Marlins, with three of Florida's "home games" being played at Safeco Field in Seattle. The Mariners won two of the three games.

A U2 concert at Angel Stadium in Anaheim forced the Angels to go on a 12-game road trip that covered more than 8,000 miles. The Angels went 8-4 on the trip and showed no ill-effects on their next homstand, winning 11 of 13 upon their return.

Oakland didn't have quite as long of a road trip as their AL West brethren, going on just a 10-game trip because of U2's concert in Oakland. However, they didn't handle it as well as the Angels, going 1-9 on the 10-game trip to facilitate the band, that like the A's peaked in the late 80s and early 90s.

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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