Tag:Brandon Allen
Posted on: September 30, 2011 5:18 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 6:32 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Oakland Athletics

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Oakland Athletics
Record: 74-88, 22 games back in AL West
Manager: Bob Melvin
Best hitter: Josh Willingham -- .246/.322/.477, 29 HR, 98 RBI, 69 R, 26 2B
Best pitcher: Gio Gonzalez -- 16-12, 3.12 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 197 K, 202 IP

With injuries to the pitching staff, more lack of offense, the most exciting thing happening for the A's this season came at the box office, not the ballpark. But hey, I rather enjoyed "Moneyball" -- I'd only advise going to the movie with the understanding that Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez were completely ignored. If you know that going it, it's enjoyable.

2011 SEASON RECAP

They started off losing four of their first five, but didn't give up by any stretch. In fact, the A's were 22-20 and tied for first place in the AL West on May 17. Then a seven-game losing streak sunk them and a week later they began a season-killing 10-game losing streak that cost Bob Geren his job. Bob Melvin took over and went 47-52 the rest of the way. Considering how bad the offense was and that both Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson were lost for the season, that's pretty fine work and general manager Billy Beane agreed -- giving Melvin a three-year deal.

The A's finished 12th in the AL in runs scored. They don't even get on base anymore, as the .311 OBP was also good for 12th in the AL. Meanwhile the staff ERA was the third best in the AL. So it's the same old story in Oakland. They can pitch, but not hit.

2012 AUDIT

If Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden come back strong from injuries, the A's have a very solid 1-5 rotation. Trevor Cahill will need a bounce-back season, but Gonzalez and McCarthy figure to be similar to this season. Full seasons out of Joey Devine and Andrew Bailey will make the bullpen better as well. But they were already good at pitching, as the numbers show. And they're still young enough to count on the staff being good for the next several years. So, just as it has the past several seasons, everything is going to boil down to what the A's can muster on offense. Young Jemile Weeks showed he's ready to take over at second base, but many other young players still haven't shown they can be consistent offensive threats at the big-league level. There's promise with the Chris Carter/Brandon Allen/Michael Taylor group and some prospects are getting closer to joining the fray. The 2012 season will not be a complete rebuild as much as it will be preparing for 2013.

FREE AGENTS

David DeJesus, OF
Josh Willingham, OF
Coco Crisp, OF
Hideki Matsui, DH
Rich Harden, SP
Brandon McCarthy, SP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The A's have to focus entirely on the offense and should probably make an effort to get younger instead of throwing out a group of veteran cast-offs. Sure, the "Moneyball" movie had the "island of misfit toys" line, but remember, they ignored the strong foundation of youth in place. We can't do that in real life.
  • Let Harden walk and spend the money on offense. Guillermo Moscoso and the five starters mentioned in the Audit section above give the A's enough rotation depth, not to mention if Tyson Ross can return healthy. Really, let's include the bullpen here. The pitching is fine. Bring back McCarthy and otherwise there's no reason for players outside the organization to even be considered.
  • Carter has been awful against major-league pitching, but it's only been in small samples with no consistent at-bats. At some point they need to leave him in the lineup for an extended stretch to find out if he's a "quadruple-A" player or not. Likewise, they might as well stick with Allen and Taylor, too, and just go with a youth movement offensively. Between first base, right field and DH, at least two of these three should be in the lineup everyday, in different combinations. 
  • Shortstop prospect Grant Green is going to be ready for a look soon. He hit .291/.343/.408 in Double-A. Cliff Pennington will hold down the fort in the meantime.
  • With Hideki Matsui likely to be retained, there is very little reason for the A's to bother with David DeJesus. They need to see what Taylor and Carter can do. When Matsui needs the occasional off day, you have all three young sluggers in there. 
  • I would bring Willingham back. He and Matsui can provide veteran stability to the middle of the order so that there isn't any extra pressure put on the younger guys. 
  • If anyone from outside the organization is brought in, it needs to be an on-base guy. They tried to go with patchwork quasi-power hitters and didn't work. You can't score runs if you aren't getting on base, so it's time Beane's A's go back to their roots.
  • How long until Michael Choice is ready? The A's 2010 first rounder was in High-A this season, but he hit 30 home runs with a .918 OPS. Better yet, he's a center fielder, which they'll need soon. Maybe bring back Crisp for one more season to bridge the gap?
If everything breaks right, the A's could be a serious AL West contender in 2013. The pitching staff is young and good. The offense could very well be respectable again with proper development from Weeks, Taylor, Choice, Green, Allen and Carter to go with Kurt Suzuki as a future nucleus. Plugging in veterans would only hinder the youngsters.

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Posted on: August 24, 2011 1:13 am
 

A's Allen hits two tape-measure homers

Brandon AllenBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Brandon Allen hadn't hit a homer since being traded from the Diamondbacks to the A's at the trade deadline, but he made up for that with two at Yankee Stadium in Tuesday's 6-5 victory over New York.

But it wasn't just that Allen hit two homers -- it is where he hit them. His first homer, off starter Bartolo Colon in the second inning was just the second hit into the third deck at new Yankee Stadium. Russell Branyan hit one there last Aug. 21. Allen's second homer -- off of Hector Noesi in the eighth inning -- "just" went into the second deck. 

"Both had the same sound," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters (via MLB.com). "One just had a little more topspin on it. That first one, I can't imagine too many other home runs hit farther in this building than that one."

Watch both homers here.

In his 10 games as an Athletic, Allen's hit .394/.432/.758 and at least put himself into consideration for the starting spot at first base for Oakland in 2012. He doesn't have the strongest competition, as Daric Barton was the incumbent and struggled mightily before being demoted to Triple-A in June. Prospect Chris Carter has as much power as anyone, but has yet to show he can hit in the big leagues.

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 12:19 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Wilson loses despite stellar game

Walden

By Evan Brunell


C.J. Wilson, Rangers: Wilson made history on Thursday, and not the good kind. He's in 3 Up because of the excellent performance he put forth: Wilson pitched an eight-inning complete game but lost due to an unearned run scoring thanks to an error. He limited the Angels to just two hits, one walk and eight strikeouts. Normally, that's enough to pull out a win with ease. But Wilson was going up against Jered Weaver, who blanked the Rangers through seven to drop his ERA to 1.81. Wilson is the first pitcher to lose a two-hit complete game with no earned runs since the Yankees' Kenny Rogers on May 28, 1996, as ESPN Stats and Info tweets. That's not all. On the MLB Network scrolling newsbar, it was noted that the last time Texas lost while limiting the opposition to two hits or fewer was August 15, 1989. So yeah, he made some bad history, but twirled quite a game.

Jordan Walden, Angels: Walden lands here not just because of what he did Thursday, but what he also did on Wednesday. The Angels dropped the first game of the series to Texas, running the Rangers' winning streak to 12. But Los Angeles eked out one-run wins each of the next two nights, and it was Walden who closed out both games with 100-mph heat. That's some sizzle coming from the rookie, who now has 23 saves on the season, striking out 43 in 41 innings. Other players (such as Jeremy Hellickson) will get more attention in Rookie of the Year voting, but don't forget about Walden.

Jhonny Peralta, Tigers: Peralta went boom in a very big way, launching a home run into the second deck of left field in the 8th inning to emphatically defeat the Twins 6-2 -- but not before Detroit's new third baseman in Wilson Betemit made a comical throw in the ninth that allowed a run to come in. Peralta had three hits and three RBI and is up to .317/.364/.533, numbers he hasn't seen since 2005, his first full season in the bigs.



Logan Morrison, Marlins: LoMo is struggling lately, with his latest 0-for-4 dropping his batting average to .147 since the All-Star break. But that's symptomatic of a larger trend, as Morrison is slashing .212/.274/.394 since the beginning of June, which does not include his Thursday ofer. Somehow, he's collected 30 RBI so is still doing OK in that department, but the power hitter is really struggling right now. He saw a potential two-run home run stolen away by Cameron Maybin in the first inning. Morrison later wrote something on a baseball and tossed it to Maybin, tweeting after that he had written "'U can take my HR but u cannot take my freedom' #Braveheart." It's nice to see Morrison still has his humor.

Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies: Chacin walked a career high seven batters in this outing and it's the third time he's walked at least six in the last six outings. That does sound pretty bad, but in his defense, had issued just one free pass in each of his two most recent outings before this stinker against the Braves in which he gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings. Chacin is on pace to throw 208 2/3 innings on the year. This from a 23-year-old topped out at 137 1/3 innings last season in his first full year of the majors. Colorado may want to scale back.

Brandon Allen, Diamondbacks: Allen has a chance here to grab onto the starting job at first base and not let go. Arizona cleared the team of Russell Branyan quite some time ago and now has optioned Juan Miranda to Triple-A. Allen was given the call over Paul Goldschmidt, so he has some competition in the minors waiting for him. He got off to a good start yesterday by slugging a home run but today contributed an all too common 0-for-3 night with two strikeouts. Allen's power is awesome, but his issue in past big-league stints has been his strikeouts dragging him down. The D-Backs, after losing shortstop Stephen Drew for the season, may not have a ton of patience, as they need to keep contending.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 1:13 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:34 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Betancourt smacks two homers

Betancourt

By Evan Brunell

BetancourtYuniesky Betancourt, Brewers: Yes, really. Betancourt tops our list of 3 Up thanks to his two-homer explosion in Arizona, adding on a single for a 3-for-5 night. In a 11-3 victory, Betancourt stuffed the box score with three runs scored and four RBI. No stolen base, but who needs one? That pushes Betancourt's slash stats to .245/.262/.367, which is still super-bad and won't stop Milwaukee from trying to trade for someone better, but at least Betancourt got a bit of limelight.

Jason Isringhausen, Mets
: So, apparently Jason Isringhausen is the new closer in town as he grabbed the save opportunity tonight and ran with it, racking up his first save since August 2008. In the 4-2 defeat of the Cards, Izzy punched out a batter and allowed no baserunners, which takes him to a career 294 games saved and just six away from 600. It's quite a comeback story for Isringhausen, who likely will lose the Comeback Player of the Year Award to Ryan Vogelsong, but Isringhausen deserves to be considered as well.

Brandon Allen, Diamondbacks: I had the pleasure of attending the All-Star Game at Chase Field this past week, so seeing Brandon Allen's monstrous home run in the fifth inning left me stunned -- and Justin Upton, too. Upton helpfully pointed out to another stupefied teammate that Allen's solo homer landed "right on top" of a scoreboard way in deep right. That's 455 feet away, the team reports. It's easy to read that and go "oh, cool" and move on. But it's something else when you have that park visualized so clearly in your mind and appreciate the sheer, awesome power behind that homer. Oh, and the Diamondbacks TV announcers were incredulous as to the 455-foot claim, saying the blast traveled 480 feet or more.



BrazobanYhency Brazoban, Diamondbacks: Brazoban came in to try and stave off disaster for Arizona, which was down 6-3 at the time to the Brewers. He came in with the bases loaded thanks to Zach Duke giving up a walk and two infield singles. Unfortunately, Brazoban, who has electric stuff and often no idea where it's going, allowed all three runners to score by doing it in only a way the right-hander can. In his sixth game of the season after last appearing in the majors in 2008, Brazoban got 0-2 on Corey Hart then walked him by issuing three straight balls to end the at-bat. The next pitch out of his hand hit Nyjer Morgan, then he issued yet another walk to Carlos Gomez of all people. That ended Brazoban's night -- but Micah Owings did what Brazoban couldn't by getting out of the bases-loaded jam immediately by inducing a double-play grounder by Prince Fielder and then a meek grounder off the bat off Rickie Weeks. So Brazoban doesn't get charged a single run and his ERA doesn't rise.

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
: Lohse's regression to the mean in in full force, his ERA rising to 3.45 after ending May 23 with a 2.06 ERA and June 28 with a 2.78 mark. In the three starts since, he's coughed up 15 earned runs in 17 2/3 innings. This debacle came against the Mets, allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out just one.

Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals: It was an off day for Zimmermann, who was bombed for six runs over five innings, despite whiffing five and walking none. The seven hits did Zimmermann in, three of which went for extra bases. That brings his ERA all the way up to 3.00, so he's still having quite a season. The five innings pitched give him 120 for the year. The Nationals plan on shutting him down at 160 innings pitched regardless of when that happens. That gives Zimmerman 40 innings left, so he may not even last to September.

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 2:35 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 2:36 pm
 

Report: Diamondbacks call for Allen

AllenBy Evan Brunell

The Diamondbacks are slated to call up first-base prospect Brandon Allen, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.

Allen has been stuck in Triple-A despite arguably deserving extended playing time for a few seasons. He did collect 116 plate appearances in 2009 as a 23-year-old, plus an additional 56 last season, but that's hardly enough time to fully evaluate a player who could crush 40 home runs in Chase Field. So far in the majors, his line rests at .221/.320/.389 with five home runs and an incredible 60 strikeouts.

Allen has always struck out a lot, but in the minors he's been able to balance that out with solid contact rates and homers, as his .306/.427/.579 line in Triple-A this season indicates, raking 18 homers in 377 plate appearances. Compared to last season, his average is way up but his power and plate discipline are fairly similar, so this is someone ready for the majors.

Allen's arrival couldn't come at a better time with the Diamondbacks just three games out of first place despite an aggregate .239/.309/.382 mark from first baseman, comprised mostly of Juan Miranda, Xavier Nady and the since-departed Russell Branyan.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 28, 2011 10:37 am
Edited on: March 28, 2011 10:38 am
 

Pepper: Learning curve for Dominicans

Dominican Republic

By Evan Brunell

Imagine being thrust in a new country where you don't know the language and are expected to perform at the top of your game in the job assigned to you. Should you fail, embarrassment awaits you back home.

Such is the life of teenaged Dominicans who make the leap to full-season ball in the United States. The Giants' Gabriel Cornier is no exception, but he's receiving a lot more assistance these days than ex-Giants manager Felipe Alou did when he went to the United States to pursue baseball. While Alou would eventually be called up in 1958, and enjoy a productive career both on and off the field, the early going was not easy.

Back then, Spanish was barely known, and Alou didn't know English at all. So when his manager told his team certain information one day, Alou pretended to understand.

"I come to the park with nothing but the clothes I was wearing, and I saw other players bring suitcases and I thought, 'What's going on here?' " Alou reminisced. "There was a bus parked outside and I see all the players get inside the bus, so I get in the bus. I had nothing.

"We went on a nine-day road trip. Nine days. I don't say anything because you don't want to sound stupid, but the guys figured it out and bought me another pair of pants and another shirt."

While Cornier has more support around him, with Spanish-speaking coaches and an English trainer on hand, even in the U.S. and received basic English training in the Dominican. However, it is still difficult for players, who are terrified of being released.

"You come over here, you leave your family there, they're putting all of their future on you making it," Alou said. :Every time their name is called, they think it's to be released. How do you tackle that? You cannot tell the kid, 'We're not going to release you' because maybe you do next week.

"If the Latinos go back home, what do they have there? Baseball is the only thing they have." (San Francisco Chronicle)

CINDERELLA STORY: Tom Wilhelmsen is 27 years old, has never pitched above Class A and was out of baseball from 2004-08 before pitching in indy ball in 2010. That leaves just 2003 and 2010 as seasons of experience with a major-league team, but the righty is one of eight candidates left for seven relief spots. (MLB.com)

LABOR PEACE: Worried that the labor negotiations for baseball could end up as contentious as the NBA and NFL negotiations? Don't worry -- an agreement could possibly be reached by season's end, and even the player's union is willing to talk about changes in revenue-sharing formulas. Even the mild hint of a work stoppage would be a shocker. (Boston Globe)

RIGHTY, LEFTY: The Yankees appear poised to move forward with a lineup that will have Brett Gardner leading off against right-handers. Derek Jeter will lead off against lefties as the team takes advantage of platoon splits. Also, coming Monday will be a majority of the final roster decisions for the Yankees. (The Journal News)

STADIUM ISSUES: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim can opt out of their stadium lease in 2016, but that's unlikely to happen given the process of building a new stadium would have to start by 2012 at the absolute latest. Angels owner Arte Moreno for his part believes the current 45-year-old stadium is viable, simply requiring structural upgrades. One potential issue is the city refusing to assist in renovations due to the team's name change that embarrassed the city. (Los Angeles Times)

PLAY THE MAN: The Diamondbacks have a power-hitting first baseman, but insist on not giving him an extended shot. Instead, Arizona will go with aging Russell Branyan and Yankees minor-leaguer Juan Miranda. That leaves Allen yet again on the outside looking in even as he brims with talent. It's time for Arizona to let Allen go to another organization to get his shot, Eric Seidman opines. (Fangraphs)

WANTED: LEFTY RELIEVER: The Mets are looking for a second left-handed reliever to help combat the potent lefty bats in the division. My suggestion? Take a look at lefty Ron Mahay, who was cut by the Dodgers Saturday. (Sports Illustrated via Twitter)

A TASTE OF CHICAGO: The Cubs have switched hot dog and pizza vendors, electing to remain with Chicago staples for each. Vienna Beef returns as the hot-dog supplier after last representing Chicago in Wrigley Field back in 1981 while D'Agostino's pizza replaces Connie's, which also lost out on acting as the White Sox's pizza provider, who will go with Nestle's DiGiorno's. The Cubs are emphasizing Chicago vendors to give fans -- of rough around 37 percent are from outside Illinois a year -- "an authentic Chicago experience." (Chicago Tribune)

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PHOTO: July 13, 2009; St. Louis, MO, USA; National League players Hanley Ramirez (second left), Albert Pujols (second left), Francisco Cordero (right), and Miguel Tejada (second right) pose with Dominican Republic minister of sports Felipe Payano during the 2009 All-Star workout day at Busch Stadium.

Posted on: March 7, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Pepper: Raise a glass


By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Orioles are a trendy pick to be better in 2011, and they should be. But no matter how the Orioles do on the field, things will be better this season in Baltimore because Natty Boh is back.

Before the take-over of the beer industry by the big brewing companies, regional beers were king -- be it National Bohemian (known as Natty Boh in Baltimore) in the mid-Atlantic, Hudepohl in Cincinnati or Hamm's in Minnesota.

These were different than the great microbrews of today, they were the macrobrews of yesterday. It's what you remember your grandpa dinking, whether it was an Olympia in Washington or an Old Style in Chicago. These were American, working-class beers. And they belonged with baseball, at the ballpark and at home, listening along to the local nine on the radio.

Well, one of these greats, National Bohemian, is back where it belongs, at the ballpark at Camden Yards. And for that, America and baseball are better than they were before. (Baltimore Sun)

For more fun, check out this video of old Natty Boh commercials (with an added bonus of Maryland history):

GARDNER MAY PUSH JETER FROM LEADOFF: The Yankees front office wants Brett Gardner, not Derek Jeter, leading off, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes.

Jeter has batted first or second for most of his career, but it seems natural to put the speedy Gardner atop the lineup. Gardner had a .383 on-base percentage last season, along with 47 stolen bases. He also saw an MLB-best 4.6 pitchers per plate appearance, giving him a good case to bat first for the Yankees.

HOLD 'EM OR FOLD 'EM: Boston's Mike Cameron had his name thrown around a bit this weekend after Philadelphia lost Domonic Brown to a hand injury, but with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury roaming the outfield, is it wise for the Red Sox to get rid of any outfielder?

Although Cameron is making $7.5 million this season, that would hamper many other teams, but not the Red Sox. Cameron is also a rarity in the Red Sox clubhouse, a right-handed hitter. (Boston Globe)

HART SIDELINED: Brewers right fielder Corey Hart missed the last week after straining a muscle in his side. He was expected to miss two weeks, but after a setback during a throwing exercise on Saturday, Hart said he doesn't expect to be back in the original timeframe.

However, manager Ron Roenicke said he expects Hart to be ready for opening day. (MLB.com)

MOM KNOWS BEST: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he was feeling sorry for himself after suffering a broken bone in his left foot, until his mother set him straight.

"I woke up positive and [said] 'Let's do it,'" Cervelli told the New York Daily News. "That's it. Start the work, the therapy and get better. A lot of people in the world don't have legs or arms; I'm healthy. I just have something in my foot, but it's going to be OK."

MONTERO MAY BACKUP: Cervelli's injury may have opened the door for Yankees top prospect, Jesus Montero.

Many thought the Yankees would want him to play every day and not have him break camp just to back up Russell Martin. One who doesn't buy that theory, apparently, is Brian Cashman.

"There is a lot of knowledge that a catcher has to absorb that you just won't get at Triple-A," Cashman told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. "If it's the second week of April and he has only pinch-hit or started one game, I won't consider it a lost week. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that he has never experienced before.

"He can watch, see how [Martin] goes through it -- pre-game, advance scouting meetings, all those things. When he gets in there in the future, he'll be fully prepared, rather than just sink or swim."

The Yankees know Montero's bat can play right away, but many question his ability to stick behind the plate.

TRADE STUNG SAUNDERS: Former first-rounder Joe Saunders said he was upset last season when the Angels traded him to Arizona.

"I was pissed off. I'm not going to lie to you," Saunders told the Orange County Register.

Saunders said it was weird heading into the visitor's clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Angels' spring training home.

MULLET MANIA: Travis Schlichting has the greatest mullet in baseball history, and Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan has the story.

AUTHOR-PITCHER: Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst -- better known as the author of The Bullpen Gospels than anything he's done on the field -- said he's walked a fine line between being truthful and writing a tell-all.

Hayhurst's often hilarious characters in the book (really, it's worth checking out, a fun, quick read), are real, but he doesn't name names. He's also working on a second book and has a contract for a third, but those will also be done in his particular style, where the only specific player you get dirt on is Hayhurst himself.

The Rays seem like a perfect fit, if only for the fact that when asked about Hayhurst, manager Joe Maddon used the word "ameliorated" in his response. (St. Petersburg Times)

OLIVO CONFIDENT: Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo had a scare on Saturday when he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and had to be helped off the field. Olivo will have an MRI today, but he told reporters on Sunday that he's confident he'll be ready for opening day. (Seattle Times)

BOOF REMAINS A MYSTERY: Even Boof Bonser doesn't know how his name came about, even though he's legally changed it. (Star-Ledger)

FORTUITOUS CUT: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is pretty happy he cut reliever Cristhian Martinez last year when both were with the Marlins. Martinez was optioned to Triple-A at the end of spring training last season and then designated him for assignment on April 3. The Braves signed him and now he's competing for the final bullpen spot.

Martinez struck out five in two innings against the Nationals on Sunday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MAYBIN MAY RETURN: San Diego's Cameron Maybin may return to action today after suffering concussion symptoms when he hit his head on a post during Wednesday's practice.

Maybin, the team's newly acquired center fielder, took batting practice on Sunday and said he felt good afterwards. (MLB.com)

D-LEE STILL OUT: Derrek Lee won't make his debut with the Orioles in the Grapefruit League until Wednesday at the earliest. (Baltimore Sun)

PEAVY TO MAKE SECOND START: White Sox starter Jake Peavy said he's sore from Saturday's start, but he's good enough to start on Wednesday. (Chicago Tribune)

FIRST BASE BATTLE: Here's something you don't hear very often -- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said defensive will be a key component to the team's search for a regular first baseman.

Russell Branyan, Brandon Allen and Juan Miranda are the other leading candidates for that job. (Arizona Republic)

ZAUN TO RETIRE: Veteran catcher Gregg Zaun is set to retire after 16 seasons in the big leagues.

Zaun, 39, was in the Padres camp. He's a career .252/.344/.388 hitter, but better known for his defense, spending most of his time as a backup catcher.

His retirement gives Rob Johnson the inside track at the Padres' backup job. (Sportsnet.ca)


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Posted on: February 16, 2011 6:46 pm
 

D-Backs add Branyan

Russell Branyan
With Mark Reynolds and Adam LaRoche out the door, there was a need for power in Arizona, and the Diamondbacks on Wednesday addressed that by signing journeyman first baseman Russell Branyan. He gets a minor-league deal with an invitation to big-league camp, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com.

Branyan, 35, has averaged 28 homers the past two seasons in Cleveland and Seattle. While he doesn't really help Arizona's strikeout problem, he should find home run success in the confines of Chase Field. There also should be starts available at first base, with Juan Miranda and Brandon Allen currently listed at the spot.

-- David Andriesen

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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