Tag:Josh Lueke
Posted on: July 3, 2011 10:42 am
Edited on: July 3, 2011 11:14 am

On Deck: Cliff Lee looks for 4th straight shutout

By C. Trent Rosecrans 

Cliff LeeTHE AMAZING Cliff Lee: Things aren't looking good for the Blue Jays in their rematch of the 1993 World Series, Toronto dropped the first two games and now face Cliff Lee. Lee enters Sunday's game riding streaks of three consecutive shutouts and 32 consecutive scoreless innings. The Phillies' lefty allowed just one run in five June starts, sporting an amazing 0.21 ERA in the month, lowering his season mark to 2.66. Lee is 2-3 with a 3.81 ERA in five career starts at Rogers Centre. Jo-Jo Reyes, no stranger to streaks, is on the hill for the Blue Jays. Phillies at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Every year the Indians and Reds play for the Ohio Cup, an actual three-foot high trophy, awarded to the winning team of the season series. Since the actual trophy debuted, it had belonged to the Reds, but with Cleveland's win on Friday, coupled with a sweep at Progressive Field in May, the Indians clinched their first Ohio Cup and today will go for the first sweep in series history. Right-hander Mike Leake (7-4, 3.89 ERA) is making his first start against the in-state rivals, while Mitch Talbot allowed just one run in seven innings in his lone start against the Reds, last season at Great American Ball Park. Indians at Reds, 1:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

BIG DEBUT: Nearly a year after last year's big trade that sent Lee from Seattle to Texas, one of the key pieces of the trade will make his big-league debut. Right-hander Blake Beavan, a 2007 first-round pick by the Rangers, starts today against San Diego's Mat Latos. Beavan was acquired along with first baseman Justin Smoak, reliever Josh Lueke and second baseman Matt Lawson. Beavan was 5-3 with a 4.45 ERA at Triple-A Tacoma, with 64 strikeouts and 20 walks in 93 innings. Of the four players acquired by the Mariners in the trade, Beavan is the third member of the group to appear in the big leagues. Smoak is hitting .242/.344/.446 with 12 home runs for the Mariners, while Lueke pitched in eight games -- allowing 12 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings -- before being sent down to Triple-A and the Mariners traded Lawson to Cleveland for lefty Aaron Laffey. Lawson is still at Double-A. Padres at Mariners, 4:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: April 24, 2011 12:18 am

3 up, 3 down: The new 'Daily Double' in Wrigley

By Matt Snyder


Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney, Cubs. One of my first memories as a baseball fan is the 1984 season -- in which I watched games on WGN and the Cubs had a 1-2 punch atop the order of Bob Dernier and Ryne Sandberg. They, together, were nicknamed the "Daily Double." In the decade ahead, it's entirely possible the 21-year-old Castro and 25-year-old Barney can form one of the most formidable 1-2 punches in baseball. They were on full display Saturday in the Cubs' come-from-behind 10-8 victory. Castro went 4-5 (even though one hit was the product of Jerry Sands losing a fly ball in left) with two runs and three RBI while Barney was 3-5 with two runs and three RBI. On the season, the two are completely locked in. Castro is hitting .393 with a .947 OPS. Barney is hitting .323 with a .772 OPS. Each has driven home 10 runs, which ties them for second on the team behind Alfonso Soriano. And I have to report the hits aren't cheap -- both players hit the ball hard nearly every at-bat. While the pitching staff struggles, the offense is producing well beyond expectations -- and it's mostly due to the duo atop the order.

Brad Penny, Tigers. Look, the White Sox are struggling, specifically on offense. Regardless of that, it can't be denied they have lots of really talented hitters. And Penny took a no-hitter into the sixth. He ended up going seven innings for the Tigers, allowing only that one hit -- a questionable one at that -- two walks and a hit-by-pitch in a 9-0 win.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox. He's kidding, right? Two straight stellar outings? What is this, the World Baseball Classic? I might have to quit snarkily referring to him as "Dice-BB." Matsuzaka was masterful Saturday night, working eight shutout innings, striking out nine and only giving up a single hit. He did walk three, but that's not awful for eight innings. He retired 20 of the last 22 batters he faced. Don't look now, but the Red Sox are 9-11 after a 2-10 start. If Dice-K keeps throwing like this, they're going to be in pretty great shape.


Ryan Franklin, Cardinals. The disaster of a season continues for the former star closer. He was booed more loudly than Brandon Phillips by the St. Louis fans and gave up the go-ahead two-RBI single to Miguel Cairo. He wasn't exactly put in a great situation by Tony La Russa with the bases loaded -- seriously, if you remove a guy from closing duties, shouldn't he get some low-pressure outings to build confidence? -- but still coughed up the big blow of the game. Again.

Fausto Carmona, Indians. He was carved up by a Twins offense that has been rather punchless in the early going. Sure, they did have Justin Morneau, but still no Joe Mauer or Delmon Young. And Carmona allowed seven hits and six earned runs in five innings. Worse yet was his four walks and one strikeout illustrate the lack of stuff he had. If the Indians are to prove this start is not fluky, Carmona has to pitch better than he did Saturday. Fortunately for the Tribe, it's only one game.

Jason Vargas and Josh Lueke, Mariners. The A's had been held scoreless for 18 straight innings heading into Saturday night's game with Seattle. Yet by the end of the sixth inning Saturday, they had scored nine times on Vargas and Lueke. Vargas needed 100 pitches to get through five innings, coughing up six hits, three walks and six earned runs. Lueke must have felt bad for Vargas, because he went out and gave up four hits, a walk and three runs in just one frame. Kevin Kouzmanoff, Cliff Pennington and Coco Crisp -- good guys and all, but hardly murderer's row -- did most of the damage for the A's.

BONUS UP and DOWN: Brandon Lyon, Astros. Lyon entered the game in the ninth inning with the task of holding onto a one-run Astros lead. He didn't. A Prince Fielder RBI double tied the game and Lyon had blown a save. He was left in the game, however, into extra innings and even took an at-bat -- one in which he doubled himself. He then closed the door in the 10th and earned the back-door victory. Not a bad night, but blowing saves isn't exactly good. Definitely interesting.

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Posted on: February 13, 2011 8:08 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 3:13 pm

Veterans likely to fill in for Aardsma as closer

As noted earlier, Mariners closer David Aardsma is out until at least late April and probably later, creating an opportunity for someone else to close for the Mariners in the first month or so of the season.

Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that he hasn't decided who that person will be, but it's unlikely it will be one of the team's younger pitchers, such as Dan Cortes or Josh Lueke.

Brandon League "You can't rule out a younger guy that we have with the staff," Willis said. "But I don't think it's fair to be pushing an inexperienced guy into that role right away."

The most likely candidates are Brandon League (pictured), Manny Delcarmen and Chris Ray, Willis told Baker.

League filled in for Aardsma at the end of last season, picking up six saves during the season and is likely the favorite.

Ray served as the Orioles' closer in 2006 and 2007, has 51 career saves, but underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007 and hasn't regained his form.

Last season, he played for the Rangers and Giants, going to San Francisco in the trade that sent Bengie Molina to the Rangers. He was not on the postseason roster.

Delcarmen has three career saves, one in 2007 and two in 2008.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 27, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 7:36 pm

M's Adam Kennedy arrested for DUI

Adam Kennedy There's an old joke that pornography is the only place where you have to just show up in one movie and you're automatically a "star." Well, according to TMZ.com , baseball may fit in that same group. The gossip site calls Adam Kennedy -- the former Angel and current holder of a minor-league contract with an invite to big league camp for the Seattle Mariners -- a star.

Oh, and Kennedy was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence on Thursday, TMZ.com reported. This isn't to try to make light of the charge -- a serious one that is all too common in our society -- but it's just what jumped out to me. Kennedy was stopped by the California Highway Patrol (cue the music) around 9 p.m. on the freeway near Newport Beach, arrested, booked and released several hours later.

It's the second arrest of the offseason for the Mariners. Milton Bradley was arrested on a felony charge of making a threat against a woman earlier this month. But this is the team that traded for Josh Lueke, so there's that.

Kennedy hit .249/.327/.327 in 135 games for the Nationals last season.

UPDATE: The Seattle Times ' Larry Stone has confirmed the report and spoken to general manager Jack Zduriencik, who gave a no comment: "I don't have any details,'' he said. "Until I get some information, I'm going to refrain from commenting.''

UPDATE: Kennedy's at least saying the right things right now. Stone talked to him and he was contrite .

"I want to let you know this is not the typical character of me,'' he said. "It's something I'm really ashamed of, and not proud to bring to the Seattle Mariners, especially not having put on the uniform. It's my first legal trouble -- something I'm definitely not looking to ever do again.''

Kennedy said he was at dinner with friends and pulled over for speeding. When he took a breathalyzer test, he came up "a little above the limit." However, he added that it was "not acceptable" to be driving in that condition.

He said he's already talked to Zduriencik and the message was clear from the front office that it was unacceptable. He said his lawyer would take care of the legal side.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 19, 2010 10:13 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2010 10:23 pm

Friday evening rumor roundup

Well, this week has kind of been the March of the Hot Stove League season, in like a lion, out like a lamb -- but there is still some action out there. So here's another roundup.

• The four teams on Justin Upston's no-trade list are the A's, Royals, Tigers and Indians. (FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, via Twitter )

• The Diamondbacks have made a two-year, $3 million offer for Japanese starter Hiro Kobayahsi. (NPB Tracker via Twitter )

• The Braves and Dan Uggla are both open to multiyear contract extension. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

• The Braves have made an offer to free agent Eric Hinske. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

• The Red Sox are "undecided" whether they will bid for Japanese infielders Tsuyoshi Nishioka. (WEEI.com )

• Larry Stone of the Seattle Times notes Bob Engle, the Mariners vice president for international operations, signed both Cy Young Award winners, Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay. He's also got 2005 Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter and 1996 Cy Young-winner Pat Hentgen on his resume.

• The Yankees released reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, who signed with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan. (Star-Ledger )

• There were plenty of 40-man moves on Friday, as teams set their rosters in the deadline for the Rule 5 draft. The most interesting moves belonged to the Pirates, who designated Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young for assignment. The only other name that really jumped out at me was that the Mariners put Josh Lueke on their 40-man roster. Lueke was part of the trade that sent Cliff Lee to Texas. In 2009, Lueke plead no contest to charges of false imprisonment with violence after an incident in 2008. Lueke will be a controversial figure if he gets called up to Seattle.

UPDATE: The Pirates tried to negotiate a contract with Duke, who is arbitration-eligible, and also explored a trade. (MLB.com )

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 13, 2010 10:46 am
Edited on: September 13, 2010 11:02 am

Report: M's exec ousted over controversial trade

A report out of Seattle says Mariners director of pro scouting Carmen Fusco will take the fall for the team's acquisition of pitcher Josh Lueke, who was charged with rape and pleaded no contest to a lesser charge last year.

There have been differing versions on who knew what and when regarding Lueke, who was part of the package Seattle received for Cliff Lee. The Mariners say they didn't know his background, but fired pitching coach Rick Adair told the Seattle Times that he told the team about Lueke's past. Team president Chuck Armstrong says he and general manager Jack Zduriencik asked the Rangers to substitute another player in the deal after learning of his legal trouble in the media, and the Rangers refused; Rangers GM Jon Daniels says he made a standing offer to reacquire Lueke.

Seattle TV station KING reports a source close to the team says Fusco, who has been the pro scouting director for the Mariners since November 2008, will not be back next year. The team would not confirm the report. The move would not affect the team's amateur scouting and development; Tom McNamara is the amateur scouting director.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 9, 2010 10:55 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 2:57 pm

M's anti-media memo sure to backfire

Howard Lincoln
You know what's NOT a good way to take media pressure off your organization? Sending out an email complaining about how the media is picking on you unfairly, and then for good measure calling them dumb.

Of course, Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln had no idea anyone in the company would leak the email titled  "Media Attacks" (next on Fox: "When Media Attacks!") that he sent to front office staff on August 27. I mean, nobody ever leaks juicy email, right?

The message went out less than three weeks after the team fired manager Don Wakamatsu and several coaches. That move brought on what has become a standard refrain among the Seattle media (and fans): "Yet again, the Mariners fire a manager (they're on their sixth in seven years), but Lincoln and president Chuck Armstrong remain at the top with no consequences."

The email was sent a few days after the Seattle Times interviewed Armstrong and general manager Jack Zduriencik about what they knew about the criminal background of Josh Lueke, a prospect they obtained in the Cliff Lee trade, but before the ensuing story was published.

Parts of the email, acquired by the Times:
"If it seems to you like the local media is going out of its way to trash the Mariners, well, you're right, they are! And you can expect this to continue as the season winds down. We're getting hit like never before -- or at least never before in recent memory! Indeed, if you read between the lines, you get the clear impression that at least one beat reporter would love nothing better than to step right in and run the Mariners. (Don't worry, that's not going to happen!) " The beat reporter in question is obviously the Times' Geoff Baker, who is often critical of the team on his well-read blog. And is it just me, or does something seem weird about a CEO using exclamation points in a memo?
I want you to know that Chuck, Jack and I have very thick skins and that nothing said by the folks in the media or, for that matter, the bloggers, is going to distract us from continuing to do our jobs to the best of our ability, with the goal of giving our fans a championship team.
If they have such thick skins, why the memo? Obviously the criticism is affecting them.

"I recently read a blog from Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in which he explained his reasons for attempting to acquire the Texas Rangers. He had something to say about the media that for me, really rang true. Here is what he said:

"What I have learned in 11 years in the sports business is that the dumbest guys in the room are always the media guys. Some do a decent job of reporting, most just spew opinions. And those opinions change more often than they brush their teeth. So what the media was saying [about his effort to acquire the Rangers] was of zero impact or influence on what I was doing. Listening to the media only increases your odds of failing at whatever you are doing. So I ignore them."

I hope each of you take Mark Cuban's remarks to heart.
Look, I have worked with the Mariners for many years, and for the most part the individual people in the Mariners front office are decent and well-intentioned (and for the record, I'd challenge Lincoln to find anyone in the legitimate Seattle media who has written otherwise). And it's natural for him to want to give his staff a pep talk amid all the negative publicity the team is getting.

But you say it in a staff meeting. You don't write it down in a memo that is bound to go public, and you certainly don't get personal and call people names (even second-hand). Even the dumbest guy in the room knows better than that.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 2, 2010 8:01 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2010 9:23 pm

M's, Rangers differ on trade story

Josh Lueke
If claims in Thursday's Seattle Times are true, "Oops, guess we should have Googled him first" isn't going to hold up as a good reason the Mariners wound up trading for a pitcher who had faced rape charges.

Josh Lueke, 25, arrived from the Texas organization in the trade for Cliff Lee and is pitching well at Triple-A, possibly well enough to earn a September call-up. But the Mariners might not want the attention right now in light of a claim, contrary to the team's stated position, they knew all about Lueke's legal troubles before trading for him.

The source of that claim is a coach who on August 9 was fired along with manager Don Wakamatsu. Former Seattle pitching coach Rick Adair was in the Texas system in 2008, when Lueke's case was settled, and says he told the Mariners about the incident when the pitcher's name came up.

"I told [general manager Jack Zduriencik] everything I knew about every prospect I was asked about, including Lueke, including any court case," Adair said. "Everything I knew to be accurate, I told them."

Lueke was charged with rape and sodomy after a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted while intoxicated at an apartment shared by Lueke and several Class A teammates in Bakersfield, Calif. He lied about having contact with the woman but was implicated by DNA results. He ultimately pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of false imprisonment with violence and was sentenced to time served.

A simple web search would have easily turned up details of the case, including this image from TV station KGET of Lueke in court. Mariners president Chuck Armstrong says he found out about the criminal case from media reports shortly after the trade and ordered Zduriencik to call the Rangers and demand a different player.

"We tried that on Friday night," Armstrong said. "But then, on Saturday morning, the Rangers said, 'No, we've already notified the players. The deal stands as is.' "

Except Rangers GM Jon Daniels says that never happened, and the Mariners could have returned Lueke that night or anytime since then.

"We offered several times to reacquire Lueke in a separate transaction — an offer originally made the same night the deal was announced," he said in an e-mail to the Times. "That offer stands."

Zduriencik said he asked Daniels why Lueke only pitched four games in 2009 and appeared on the suspended list, and Daniels told him there was an incident in a bar and that Lueke had been "acquitted."

So now you've got two teams accusing each other of lying -- about a trade after which a third team, the Yankees, accused the Mariners of being unethical by backing out of a deal. And the Mariners have a player who, perhaps appropriately for Seattle, will always be under a cloud.

"He's part of our organization, he understands our policies, he understands that there's a short leash ... and believe me, we do not take it lightly," Zduriencik said. "I think he understands that from us and here we are. We're moving forward and he's pitching for us."

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
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