Tag:AL West
Posted on: March 8, 2012 8:25 pm
 

Injury roundup: Price, Manny, Harper and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

David Robertson may not even have the oddest injury of the spring for any pitcher named David in the American League East.

Rays left-hander David Price Thursday's game after two innings with what the team called a "minor neck spasm." How does one suffer a minor neck spasm? Well, apparently by toweling off the beck of his head just a bit too hard.

Really.

Don't believe me? Ask Price.



If you didn't click on the video, Price said it's happened to him before and he shouldn't miss any time. [Tampa Bay Times]

PROJECTED LINEUPS AND ROTATIONS

• Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter may not make his scheduled start on Monday because of neck stiffness that has halted his training.

Carpenter canceled his throwing session on Wednesday and said Thursday he's been bothered by the neck stiffness. He was scheduled to throw Friday, but that may not happen, either. He said there's no timetable for his return. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

• Manny Ramirez may return from a sore back on Saturday against the Reds. Ramirez has played two games this spring and was scratched on Wednesday. [MLB.com]

• Nationals prospect Bryce Harper was a late scratch from Thursday's exhibition game because of a tightness in his left calf. He's listed as day-to-day, but expects to play either Friday or Saturday.

Harper said he didn't feel the tightness when hitting, but did feel it when he was in the outfield. [Washington Times]

• Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche played in a minor-league intrasquad game on Thursday, but he's still limited on his injured foot. He hit a home run during the game, but he wasn't able to get a real feel how his foot felt. He said he may be able to play in a big-league exhibition by Saturday. [MASNSports.com]

• Two days after his first start of the year, Mets left-hander Johan Santana said he felt good and is looking forward to his next start, Sunday against the Marlins. [New York Daily News]

• Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis will make his spring debut on March 14. Markakis had abdominal surgery in the offseason. He'll DH at first. [Baltimore Sun]

• Reds left-hander Bill Bray had been shut down for two weeks with a groin injury and then stopped his scheduled bullpen session short on Wednesday. Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters that could lead to Aroldis Chapman moving back to the bullpen.

The Reds have tried stretching Chapman out and using him as a starter this spring, but he could be back in the bullpen with Bray's injury. Chapman is starting Friday in a split-squad game against the Giants. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

• The Rangers' Brad Hawpe was scratched from a B game against the White Sox because of a setback with his right hamstring. Hawpe was supposed to lead off every inning in his first action of the spring, but instead "overdid it" getting ready on Wednesday.

Hawpe said he expects to be ready by Friday. [MLB.com]

• Marlins right-hander Anibal Sanchez hasn't thrown in a spring training game yet, and there's no telling when he will return from the tightness in his throwing shoulder. He's expected to throw for the team in Jupiter on Friday. [Miami Herald]

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Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:23 am
 

Giants respond to A's press release



By Matt Snyder


The quasi-public fight between the A's and Giants has been advanced, this time from the Giants. Wednesday, we passed along a press release from the A's, where they seemed to be pleading for a shot in San Jose without outwardly saying as much.

The Giants have issued a statement in response, and they didn't pull any punches (especially when seeming to mock that the A's were bought for "just" $172 million). Here is the statement in full:
“The Commissioner has asked us to refrain from discussing the territorial rights issue publicly. Out of respect for his request, we will limit our response to setting the record straight on the history of territorial rights.

The Giants territorial rights were not granted “subject to” moving to Santa Clara County. Indeed, the A’s fail to mention that MLB’s 1990 territorial rights designation has been explicitly re-affirmed by Major League Baseball on four separate occasions. Most significantly in 1994, Major League Baseball conducted a comprehensive review and re-definition of each club’s territories. These designations explicitly provide that the Giants territory include Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Marin Counties and the A’s territory included Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

The MLB owners unanimously approved those designated territories and memorialized them in the MLB Constitution. Since then, the MLB Constitution has been re-affirmed by the MLB owners – including by the A’s – on three different occasions (2000, 2005 and 2008), long after the Giants won approval to build AT&T Park. Mr. Wolff and Mr. Fisher agreed to these territorial designations and were fully aware of our territorial rights when they purchased the A’s for just $172 million in 2005.

The population of Santa Clara County alone represents 43% of our territory. Upon purchasing the team 20 years ago, our plan to revive the franchise relied heavily on targeting and solidifying our fan base in the largest and fastest growing county within our territory. Based on these Constitutionally-recognized territorial rights, the Giants invested hundreds of millions of dollars to save and stabilize the team for the Bay Area, built AT&T Park privately and has operated the franchise so that it can compete at the highest levels.”
This isn't going away any time soon. The A's need their stadium situation resolved and seem to desperately want San Jose. But the Giants hold territorial rights and aren't relenting. MLB has reportedly sided with the Giants thus far, but also seems to want to keep things under wraps. So the dance will continue.

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Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:43 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:30 am
 

Injury roundup: Wright, Posey, Trout and more

By Dayn Perry

David WrightInjury news and notes from Wednesday's camps ... 

  • Pirates second baseman Neil Walker missed Wednesday's contest with back tightness. As a precautionary measure, he's likely to sit out the next two to three games. [CBS Pittsburgh]

  • While Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is able to take part in some low-level baseball activities, he still has no idea when he'll return to game action or even face live pitching after suffering multiple concussions.

    "It's still a progression," he said. "We have steps that we're taking, and it's a pretty systematic approach so I don't just go do everything I want every day. My doctor lays out a plan every day, and we kind of go by that. I'm definitely better than I was four months ago, so that's good. It's never as fast as you want, but we're getting there." [Baltimore Sun

  • Boston lefty Andrew Miller, who's in the mix for a spot in the rotation, won't be traveling with the team on Thursday because of slight stiffness in his throwing elbow. [WEEI]

PROJECTED LINEUPS AND ROTATIONS


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Posted on: March 7, 2012 6:34 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 6:41 pm
 

The Darvish has landed

Yu Darvish

By Dayn Perry

Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish, whose first named will be punned a million humorless times in the coming years, made his U.S. major-league debut on Wednesday. In two scoreless frames, Darvish whiffed three Padres and surrendered two hits, including a one-out double to Orlando Hudson

On the day, Darvish logged 36 pitches -- 26 for strikes -- and mixed in five different offerings, thus flashing the deep repertoire that made him so coveted this offseason. Varied location, horizontal and vertical movement -- it was all there. And this velocity graph from Brooks Baseball shows that Darvish is familiar with the old pitching chestnut about "changing speeds":

Darvish Velocity Chart

In Japan, Darvish crafted a career ERA of 1.99, and, counting the posting fee, the Rangers have invested more than $110 million in the 25-year-old. Considering the free-agent loss of outgoing ace C.J. Wilson (to the division-rival Angels), Darvish will have little time for an adjustment curve if Texas is to win the pennant a third-straight season.

While it's foolish to draw any lasting conclusions from two Cactus League innings, Darvish did nothing to disappoint on Wednesday. ​

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:01 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 1:03 pm
 

A's release statement about relocation talks



By Matt Snyder


Earlier this week, some talk surfaced that the A's would not be able to move to San Jose due to a territorial rights issue. The reports were summed up quite nicely by my new colleague Dayn Perry in this blog entry.

Wednesday, the Oakland Athletics released the following statement:
“Recent articles claiming that Major League Baseball has decided that the A’s cannot share the two-team Bay Area market were denied by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig last weekend.

Currently the Giants and A's share the two-team Bay Area market in terms of television, radio, sponsors and fans. Last year, the Giants opened a specialty store in the middle of the A's market (Walnut Creek). At the time, Lew Wolff commented that he was ‘fine with the Giants store and wished there was an A's store in San Francisco.’

Of the four two-team markets in MLB, only the Giants and A's do not share the exact same geographic boundaries. MLB-recorded minutes clearly indicate that the Giants were granted Santa Clara, subject to relocating to the city of Santa Clara. The granting of Santa Clara to the Giants was by agreement with the A’s late owner Walter Haas, who approved the request without compensation. The Giants were unable to obtain a vote to move and the return of Santa Clara to its original status was not formally accomplished.

We are not seeking a move that seeks to alter or in any manner disturb MLB territorial rights. We simply seek an approval to create a new venue that our organization and MLB fully recognizes is needed to eliminate our dependence on revenue sharing, to offer our fans and players a modern ballpark, to move over 35 miles further away from the Giants’ great venue and to establish an exciting competition between the Giants and A's.

We are hopeful that the Commissioner, the committee appointed by the Commissioner, and a vote of the MLB ownership, will enable us to join the fine array of modern and fun baseball parks that are now commonplace in Major League Baseball.”
Without coming out and specifically mentioning San Jose, the A's seem to have come out guns blazing here. They even bolded the part where they talk about moving more than 35 miles further away from the Giants, compared to where they now play. It's the lawyer way of saying, "you seriously won't let me move further away from a team because of their territorial rights?"

The A's also make great points on some of the concessions they've granted the Giants over the years. The entire release seems to be an impassioned plea to let the club move to San Jose, without coming out and saying it specifically.

It will be interesting to see how this develops, because in matters like these, we can never be sure common sense will prevail.

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Posted on: March 7, 2012 12:19 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 4:27 pm
 

Spring primer: Los Angeles Angels

Angels
By Dayn Perry

Perhaps no team in 2012 will shoulder greater expectations than the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim). This offseason, new GM Jerry DiPoto and owner Arte Moreno shelled out more than $300 million in guaranteed monies to sign the luminous Albert Pujols and pluck C.J. Wilson from the division-rival Rangers. Add them to a team that won 86 games last season, and the Angels are certifiable pennant contenders. Anything less than a playoff berth -- especially now that there's a second wild-card berth in play -- will be a serious disappointment. 

Major additions: 1B Albert Pujols, LHP C.J. Wilson, C Chris Iannetta, RHP LaTroy Hawkins
Major departures: C Jeff Mathis, RHP Joel Pineiro

Probable lineup
1. Erick Aybar, SS
2. Howie Kendrick, 2B 
3. Albert Pujols, 1B 
4. Torii Hunter, RF 
5. Vernon Wells, LF 
6. Bobby Abreu, DH
7. Alberto Callaspo, 3B 
8. Chris Iannetta, C 
9. Peter Bourjos, CF 

Probable rotation
1. Jered Weaver
2. Dan Haren 
3. C.J. Wilson 
4. Ervin Santana 
5. Jerome Williams 

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Jordan Walden
Set-up: LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Downs, Jason Isringhausen

Important bench players
IF Maicer Izturis, 1B Kendrys Morales, 1B/OF Mark Trumbo, C Bobby Wilson

Prospect to watch: Mike Trout
To hear some analysts tell it, Trout edges out Bryce Harper and Matt Moore for the honor of top prospect in all of baseball. It's easy to understand why: Trout has more tools than a frat house. He's one of the fastest runners you'll ever see, he boasts Gold Glove-caliber skills in the outfield, and his smooth swing and pitch-recognition skills should yield high OBPs and plus  power at the​ highest level. It's no surprise, then, that Trout has thrived at almost every stop despite being much younger than his peer group. There's nothing he can't do on the diamond. 


Fantasy Sleeper: Kendrys Morales
"As if Morales' season-ending ankle fracture early in 2010 wasn't bad enough, the 28-year-old slugger then kept Fantasy owners on the hook right up until the end of spring training last year, burning some of the early drafting types for a second straight season. Needless to say, nobody is counting on Morales for much now, which means he's likely to go for next to nothing on Draft Day. So far, his work in batting practice has the Angels cautiously optimistic that he'll be ready for the start of the season. Of course, we were hearing reports just as favorable this time last year only to find out he needed a second surgery, but what are the chances of that happening again? A second surgery was surprising enough. A third would be grounds for a lawsuit. Granted, a healthy Morales would face the same playing time obstacles as Mark Trumbo, but considering Morales is the better all-around hitter, he's a better gamble in the late rounds than Trumbo is in the middle rounds." - Scott White [Full Angels team fantasy preview

Fantasy Bust: Mark Trumbo​
"It's not that Trumbo can't repeat last year's 29 homers. It's just that, given his lack of plate discipline, everything has to go just right for it to happen. And already things are going wrong. The biggest blow came when the Angels signedAlbert Pujols, leaving Trumbo without a position. He was supposed to learn third base this offseason as a creative way to keep his bat in the lineup, but a stress fracture in his foot kept him off the practice field. The Angels still might try to rotate him between DH, third base and possibly left field, but such instability often has an adverse effect on a player's batting average, which in Trumbo's case, could lead to an on-base percentage lower than any number of homers could justify. Besides, if Kendrys Morales is healthy, it's all moot anyway. Trumbo will get drafted in mixed leagues given his potential for 30-plus homers, but consdiering all the variables at work here, he could easily be a waste of a pick." - Scott White [Full Angels team fantasy preview]  

Optimistic outlook
The rotation turns out to be baseball's best. Albert Pujols rebounds from last year's "disappointing" campaign. Chris Iannetta constitutes a substantial upgrade over the mercifully departed Jeff Mathis. Mike Trout lives up to the press clippings, and what figures to be one of the top benches around helps push the Angels to the top of the AL West. Oh, and then they win the World Series. 

Pessimistic outlook
As good as the Angels are, it's not hard to envision struggles. That could happen if Pujols declines further, and they struggle to find a reliable fifth starter. The other starters are then undermined by a potentially thin setup corps. Vernon Wells struggles, and the team refuses to treat him as a sunk cost, which leaves Trout languishing in Triple-A. What else could go wrong? Kendrys Morales can't get healthy, and Mark Trumbo fails to repeat his 2011 power performance, which means the aging, worsening Bobby Abreu is without a steady platoon partner at DH. Meanwhile, the Rangers cruise to a third-straight division title. 

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:28 pm
 

Carlos Guillen retires

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Former All-Star Carlos Guillen will retire, the Mariners announced on Twitter.

Guillen, 36, signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners in February after eight seasons in Detroit. He started his career in Seattle, but had his best years in Detroit. Guillen made three All-Star teams and finished 10th in MVP voting in 2006.

The infielder finishes his career with a .285/.355/.443 line in parts of 14 seasons in the big leagues, wracking up 1,331 hits.

Guillen hit just 124 homers in the big leagues, but it's his 123rd homer that may have been the most memorable. He hit a homer off of Angels starter Jered Weaver last July 31 and his celebration prompted Weaver to throw at the head of Alex Avila.

Watch the next-to-last homer of Guillen's career (and its aftermath) here:



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Posted on: March 5, 2012 8:57 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 9:24 pm
 

Injury roundup: Marcum, Longoria, Posey and more

By Matt Snyder

Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum still has a stiff shoulder. For more, check out Danny Knobler's blog on the subject, as he's on site.

As for the rest, here's Wednesday's injury wrap:

• A's first baseman Daric Barton has been shut down for three days after requiring a second cortisone shot in his surgically-repaired shoulder. Per MLB.com, the chances of Barton making the opening-day roster are "slimming by the day."

Mets ace Johan Santana is all set for his Tuesday start against the Cardinals (ESPN New York).

• Also in Mets news, third baseman David Wright missed Monday's game with his lingering ribcage stiffness. He previously said he'd be playing if these were regular-season games but was expected to suit up and give it a go Monday. Meanwhile, Ike Davis -- who the Mets believe has Valley Fever -- is scheduled to play both Monday and Tuesday for three innings (MLB.com).

Marlins ace Josh Johnson had a 41-pitch, "pain-free" start Monday. He's moving forward slowly, but the Marlins project him atop their rotation. (MLB.com)

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was hit in the hand with a pitch last week. He was fortunate to avoid any breaks, but is still suffering from the bruise and swelling. His batting practice session was cut short Monday and he'll wait a few more days before trying again (Rays Report).

• Just one week after dislocating his kneecap, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is going to be in the lineup for his club's spring game Tuesday (AJC.com via Twitter).

Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez "likely will play" in an exhibition game later this week, but here's the big news: Buster Posey "could join him." Getting Posey into game action this early in the spring as he looks to return from a broken leg would obviously be huge. He has already been cleared to hit in a game and will likely be used as a DH at first (same with Sanchez). "We don't need setbacks. We just don't want to risk anything," said manager Bruce Bochy.

Monday night's game is on TV, but Bochy still won't risk going with Posey. "I know they [fans] want to see him. We do, too, but it's not worth the risk."

Also in Giants news, Brian Wilson will face hitters Wednesday and is scheduled to pitch in a game March 11. They are also hoping Ryan Vogelsong can throw off a mound Thursday. (All info courtesy of Knobler, who was in camp)

• New Reds closer Ryan Madson has been shut down for a few days with irritation in his throwing elbow, but he'll resume throwing Tuesday. He called it a "normal" and said it's happened to him the "past couple of years." (MLB.com)

Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez was hit in the right hand with a pitch Monday. His X-rays were negative and -- like Longoria -- has a bruised hand. (MLB.com)

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