Tag:Josh Thole
Posted on: February 28, 2012 9:43 pm
 

Spring primer: New York Mets

Terry Collins

By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Marlins made headlines with their offseason spending spree, the Phillies still have the game's most intimidating rotation, the Nationals have some of the game's biggest young talents and the Braves are a sleeper team that shouldn't be written off because of last season's late collapse. And then there's the Mets. Last season the team finished fourth in the division and went 77-85, and then they lost their best player. To say there's a lack of buzz surrounding the Mets would be an understatement.

Major additions: CF Andres Torres, CL Frank Francisco
Major departures: SS Jose Reyes, RH Chris Capuano

Probable lineup
1. Andres Torres CF
2. Daniel Murphy 2B
3. David Wright 3B
4. Ike Davis 1B
5. Lucas Duda RF
6. Jason Bay LF
7. Josh Thole C
8. Ruben Tejada SS

Probable rotation
1. Johan Santana
2. R.A. Dickey
3. Jonathon Niese
4. Mike Pelfrey
5. Dillon Gee

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Frank Francisco
Set-up: Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Bobby Parnell

Important bench players
OF Scott Hairston, IF Justin Turner

Prospect to watch
The team's top prospect is right-hander Zack Wheeler, acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade, but if he sees Citi Field this season, it'll likely be near the end of the year when the team's fate has already been decided. Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis could contribute immediately. The 24-year-old missed the second half of the 2011 season with a torn labrum in his non-throwing (left) shoulder, but has been swinging the bat at full strength since last month. Before his injury, he was hitting .298/.403/.505 with six homers in 221 plate appearances for Triple-A Buffalo. A solid all-around player, Nieuwenhuis can play any of the three outfield sports, but center field may be where he could make his mark. The Mets have the 34-year-old Torres as the its starter in center and the 31-year-old Hairston backing him up, so it's not much of a stretch to see Nieuwenhuis get a chance sometime this season.

Fantasy sleeper: Lucas Duda
"From July 15 (about the time he took over for a departed Carlos Beltran) to the end of the season, Duda hit .322 with 10 homers and a .957 OPS -- numbers that jive with his minor-league track record. And that was at old Citi Field, complete with its big gaps, tall fences and ability to crush David Wright's spirit." -- Scott White [Full Mets fantasy team preview]

Fantasy bust: David Wright
"Over the last three seasons, he has a .284 batting average and .828 OPS, which are solid numbers but less than elite even for a third baseman. True, his struggles began the same year the Mets moved to spacious Citi Field, but that doesn't explain why his numbers have lagged on the road during that time. Thus, you can't assume the team's decision to move in the fences this year will be Wright's miracle cure. It'll help, but it won't eliminate the injuries, the perpetually rising strikeout rate and the curious home-road splits." -- Scott White [Full Mets fantasy team preview]

Optimistic outlook
Santana returns to Cy Young form and Niese takes a step forward, as the Mets pitching staff rounds into form. The new dimensions of Citi Field make a huge difference for the team's offense, with Wright and Bay returning to form, while Duda becomes a star. Even in this perfect world, the Mets could have trouble leapfrogging the Phillies, Marlins and Braves. But Bud Selig could always add another eight playoff spots, giving them a spot in the postseason.

Pessimistic outlook
Santana's injuries continue to haunt him and nobody steps up to take over at the top of the rotation. Davis isn't the same player that he was before his injury and Duda suffers from a sophomore slump, as the offense struggles overall. And then there's the chance that the problems on the field pale in comparison to the ownership problems. The worst-case scenario (well, for 2012, it's may be the best-case scenario for the long term) has a repeat of the Dodger fiasco.

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Homegrown Team: New York Mets



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule of this feature, click here.

Another day, another entry in our series. For this one, we'll stop over in Queens and meet the Mets. We know about Wright and Reyes, but what else is there? For one, a guy who just tied the postseason home run record. Knowing that the Mets traded him for Jorge Velandia has to be a bit painful for Mets fans (don't feel too bad, though, because the A's and Brewers gave up on Cruz, too). Anyway, let's dive in.

Lineup

1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Nelson Cruz, RF
5. Ike Davis, 1B
6. Mike Carp, LF
7. Angel Pagan, CF
8. Josh Thole, C

Starting Rotation

1. Dillon Gee
2. Jonathon Niese
3. Philip Humber
4. Mike Pelfrey
5. A.J. Burnett

Bullpen

Closer - Heath Bell
Set up - Octavio Dotel, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Lindstrom, Bobby Parnell, Joe Smith, Guillermo Mota
Long - Aaron Heilman

Notable Bench Players

Drew Butera, Josh Satin, Ruben Tejada, Ty Wigginton, Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez, Carlos Gomez and the imcomparable Wily Mo Pena. Also, Scott Kazmir is on this team. If he never left, would it have been possible that he was an upper-tier starter for years? We'll never know.

What's Good?

I like the bullpen. The bench is good, too. As a whole, one thing that stuck out to me is there aren't any really glaring holes. And assuming everyone is healthy, that's a pretty stout top four to five in the batting order. Reyes setting up for Wright and Cruz would be scary for opposing pitchers.

What's Not?

The starting rotation is a bunch of threes and fours. There's potential to better sure -- like if Burnett gets locked in for stretches -- but if we're looking at just the present, the lack of an ace would hurt as the season progressed, especially in terms of stopping modest losing streaks. The catcher and center field spots could be better as well, but, as I mentioned above, it's not like those are glaring holes. On the whole, while there aren't any real glaring holes, there's nothing that stands out as spectacular other than a healthy Reyes while Wright, Cruz and Bell are very good.

Comparison to real 2011

The real-life Mets were 77-85, and I think this bunch is a bit better than that. It's a team that would put up a winning record and maybe contend for a wild card. It's definitely not great, as the lack of an ace shows, but the weaknesses here are all pretty minor. I'm thinking mid-80s in wins with a ceiling of 90 and floor of high-70s? That sounds about right.

Next: Cincinnati Reds

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 10:43 am
 

Pepper: Assessing chances of a K-Rod trade



By Evan Brunell

K-ROD TRADEABLE? For a while now, Francisco Rodriguez's $17.5 million vesting option has been seen as a major roadblock to any trade.

Rodriguez is a fine closer, but a $17.5 million figure for a closer is rather exorbitant, especially in recent years as the market for closers has appeared to plateau. K-Rod needs to finish at least 55 games for that option to vest, and he's at 18 through almost two full months. That puts him on pace to clear the threshold by the end of the year for New York, unless the Mets trade him first.

While Rodriguez could be traded to a setup role which would take care of that pesky games-finished requirement, reporter Andy Martino writes that his value as a closer may not be half-bad after all. He cites Rodriguez's dominant on-field play with his new personality off it, with Rodriguez demonstrating remorse for previous actions. It could be a good move for a team comfortable with trading for K-Rod to head up the ninth. It also helps that Rodriguez has expressed a willingness to tear up his current option and renegotiate a new deal.

Lost in this article is the bottom line: Rodriguez won't negotiate away his vesting option unless he stands to benefit by getting an extended contract from the team dealing for him. Helping matters is that K-Rod is willing to consider any team, even one of the 10 teams that are currently blocked thanks to a no-trade clause. But the bottom line remains: there's no reason for Rodriguez to tear up his 2012 option if he doesn't get something out of it. That kind of money over one season is well worth it to Rodriguez, who could then go get another big-money deal after 2012.

But working in favor of the Mets is Rodriguez's $3.5 million buyout. If New York agrees to fund the buyout -- which it must pay regardless of the option vesting -- other teams may change their perception of Rodriguez's value. Instead of digging into their pockets in free agency to sign the likes of Heath Bell and Jonathan Papebon, a team could address the K-Rod issue by having the Mets pick up $3.5 million at the trade deadline, giving the acquiring team one-and-a-half years of Rodriguez at a 2012 price of $14 million. Still hefty, but not outlandish and worth the price of doing business on a short deal. And as we've learned, short deals for closers is a smart route to go. (New York Daily News)

BOBBLEHEAD CURSE
: Sure, Omar Minaya was a pretty bad GM in New York and now Fred Wilpon is on a media blitz designed to tell his side of the story but is only complicating things more. And yet, what might be to blame are bobbleheads, part of a yearly giveaway. Previous bobblehead players have ended up injured or ineffective after garnering the honor. This year's recipient? Ike Davis, currently on the DL. (New York Times)

NO TROUT
: How tired do you think manager Mike Scioscia is of answering questions about 19-year-old prodigy Mike Trout? He continued to deflect any speculation that Trout would be called to the majors despite tearing up the minors and seeing L.A. limp along in left field with Alexi Amarista and Reggie Willits, although he did crack the door open for a promotion in a month. "I think that's a huge risk to take with a player with his upside," Scioscia said. "We see the growth in Mike. He's made an incredible amount of progress from last year to now. He's bridging that gap. Maybe in a month, this would be a different conversation, but right now, there's some growth he needs to be ready for that challenge of the major leagues." (Los Angeles Times)

WELLS ON MEND
: Angels left fielder Vernon Wells made progress in his return from a groin strain. He's not ahead of schedule, but underwent light agility drills and came away without complaint. (Los Angeles Times)

MY TURN: Mike Fontenot knows what groin strains feel like -- he just suffered one Thursday night that will probably get him on the 15-day DL. That's bad news for S.F., which already had a tattered left side of the infield. (San Francisco Chronicle)

RUNNER'S LUCK: The Giants also saw Darren Ford hobbled by a lateral sprain on his left ankle that will likely see the pinch-runner hit the DL. Bruce Bochy said there it would be "a longshot" for Brandon Belt to replace Ford on the roster. More likely is Ryan Rohlinger or Travis Ishikawa. (San Jose Mercury News)

STANTON'S BOMBS: Florida Marlins sluggger Mike Stanton is an attraction during batting practice these days. In San Francisco he drew applause from Giants fans as he launched home runs, including a standing ovation for a batting practice moonshot that went more than 500 feet. The applause quickly dissipated when he carried his home-run swing over into the game. (Palm Beach Post)

CASH IN THE BULLPEN
: When Andrew Cashner returns from his injury, bet on him moving into the bullpen. "When you miss a few months with an arm injury you cannot just go right back to pitching six innings or more when you return so I would think that he would be in the pen when he does come back this season," Cubs manager Jim Hendry said. If true, the Cubs are going to have to find another starting pitcher somewhere. They're so close in getting Casey Coleman out of the rotation, but still have Doug Davis to contend with, with only Coleman as depth. (CSNChicago.com)

SIZEMORE NEAR: Grady Sizemore has come through his rehab work so nicely that he may actually be activated the first game he is eligible for, which is Friday. His replacement on the major-league roster, Ezequiel Carrera, was seen shaking hands with teammates. Sizemore ran the bases prior to Wednesday's game and came through with no issues, putting him on track to be activated for the weekend series. (MLB.com)

BAD STEW: Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart pulled his hamstring in a game in Triple-A on Wednesday, so it looks like he will be out of action for a couple of weeks. Just another bad day in a line of bad days for Stewart this season. (Denver Post)

NO. 2: With the Mariners a surprising game under .500 and a weekend series with the Yankees coming up, Seattle needs to find a way to boost its offense if they hope to come away with a series win. How about batting Brendan Ryan, in the midst of a hot month, second in the order? (Seattle Times)

THOLE DIVE: In this day and age, if you mess up, you can bet everyone will soon be giggling at a .GIF of it. Josh Thole is no exception. (SB Nation)

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Posted on: May 23, 2011 11:24 am
Edited on: May 23, 2011 5:24 pm
 

Catcher Josh Thole loses grip on starting job

Thole

By Evan Brunell


Josh Thole kicked off the season with a nice start, collecting seven hits in 19 at-bats after finally winnng the Mets' full-time catching job at age 24.

Since then, Thole has entered a slump of staggering proportions, hitting .172/.245/.204 after the nice start. Thole isn't known for his power, but he still has registered just one extra-base hit in his last 17 games. Even Ronny Cedeno can do better than that. It's shocking that it's taken this long for New York to make a change, but finally, word comes that Thole is no longer the starting catcher, according to MLB.com.

He'll still have plenty of starts as the Mets will go to a platoon role with Ronny Paulino, who was already gathering plenty of at-bats against left-handers. Paulino will now receive a string of consecutive starts, allowing Thole time to clear his head and work on getting back on track.

"Josh is still going to play," manager Terry Collins said of the change. "He's still going to get a number of at-bats. I just want to make sure we try to keep them both as sharp as possible."

Paulino has already been increasingly taking time away from Thole, hitting against lefties and catching Mike Pelfrey's starts. But now, Paulino will catch at least the series opening up Tuesday against the Cubs.

Thole still is consdiered as as the Mets' long-term catcher  -- someone who can hit .300 perennially. He delivered a .321 batting average in 17 games back in 2009, and was raking at a .303 clip over his first 55 games last season before falling to .277 at the season's conclusion. At this point, the book is pretty solid on Thole, so he's got to find away to adjust to the pitcher's adjustments.

"The one thing we have to do is be patient because this guy can hit," Collins said. "And he's going to hit. Right now, I just want to give him a chance to work on some things. We've got another guy we think is going to hit, too."

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Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:23 am
Edited on: May 19, 2011 6:24 pm
 

Pepper: Duel in Fenway


By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: There's no more tasty matchup than Josh Beckett and Justin Verlander squaring off in Fenway Park as the Tigers take on the red hot Red Sox. Also, how will CC Sabathia, Jair Jurrjens and Madison Bumgarner fare? I discuss all of these items in CBSSports.com's Baseball Today. See above.

MOST MARKETABLE: Three baseball players check in as members of the top 50 most marketable athletes in the world. Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt is at the top with LeBron James second. The MLB guys are Albert Pujols (25), Joe Mauer (31) and Brian Wilson (34). (SportsMedia.com) Great, so now everyone is going to grow out a beard like that?

MORE ON PHILLIPS' VISIT: Remember the story about Brandon Phillips going to watch a 14-and-under All-Star game being played by one of his Twitter followers? Well, the Dayton Daily News has the full story. Not only did Phillips show up, but he stayed for six innings. Here's what the parents of the young Twitter follower, named Connor, had to say about Phillips: "[He was] bombarded by people. He must have signed a hundred autographs. Connor kind of wanted to invite him into the dugout to give him some relief, but it seemed like Brandon was enjoying himself. And whenever Connor got up to hit, he’d always stop and watch him." Connor ended up gathering two singles and a double in front of Phillips, as his team won 12-4. As for Phillips' comments? “I had a good time. The parents were really into the game. Everybody had a lot of fun, and it reminded me again of why I play and why I do what I do on the field ... and off. It’s about love. I just love the game.”

ACKLEY KID: Michael Pineda's done a decent job (understatement alert) in his rookie campaign, so what about the Mariners promoting their top hitting prospect, Dustin Ackley? Once Stephen Strasburg was off the board, you may have quit paying attention, but Ackley was the second overall pick in that draft. Ackley plays second base and is swinging a good bat in Triple-A -- .280 average with six home runs, 21 RBI, 27 runs, nine doubles, six stolen bases and an .844 OPS in 40 games. Thus, it's rather obvious why Mariners fans would be pining for the 23 year old. The always-thoughtful Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times discusses why Ackley hasn't gotten the call yet and when he might get it (hint: sometime in June).

NEW RIVALRY: A good discussion with the writers on StLtoday.com: Has the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry been surpassed by the Cardinals-Reds? I'll weigh in as our resident Cubs fan. I think there's a difference between historic fan rivalries and present on-field rivalries. I don't think the rivalry between Cubs and Cardinals fans would ever be surpassed by that of the Reds vs. Cardinals in terms of historic stature, but in 2011 as a stand-alone season, it's Reds-Cardinals and it's not even close. This is because those are the two best teams in the division and they seem to genuinely dislike each other. To use another midwest example, Indiana and Purdue are always top rivals in basketball, but with Indiana down the past few years, Purdue had much bigger games on the slate.

MORE ON THE CARDS-REDS: Meanwhile, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan calls remarks made by Reds announcer Marty Brennaman "classless." (StLtoday.com)

THE UNKNOWN: The first round of the MLB draft is June 6, and the Pirates are narrowing down the field for their first selection. It's interesting to say that because for the first time since 2008, it's not a foregone conclusion who the top pick is going to be. Both Strasburg and Bryce Harper were the obvious No. 1 picks in the past two drafts. On the flip-side, the Pirates are considering around five different players. Reportedly, the three favorites are UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen. (MLB.com)

POSTING CHANGE: NPB (that's Japan's professional league to those unaware) may change it's posting system for players looking to sign with Major League Baseball. The most famous posting issue is when the Red Sox ponied up just over $50 million just for the rights to exclusively negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka. By the time the Red Sox signed him to a contract, they'd paid over $100 million. There are lots of other cases, obviously, that's just the most notorious. Anyway, the proposed change would be to award negotiating rights to the top three bidders. This would probably help the players make more money and be more fair to the bidding MLB teams. (NPB Tracker)

DEROSA DOWN: Giants third baseman Mark DeRosa is out "for a long time" after re-injuring his surgically repaired wrist. This may speed up a move of Aubrey Huff across the diamond with Brandon Belt taking over at first base -- at least until Pablo Sandoval is ready to come back. (SFgate.com) While we're here, I'm going to stand up for DeRosa as a man to the Giants fans (it's a minority, so let's not paint the entire fan base with one brush) celebrating his injury just because he's underperformed on the field. DeRosa is a great guy and great teammate. It takes a special kind of (bad) person to wish chronic injuries on someone else, especially when those bad wishes are upon a good person. Oh, while we're here ...

WHY THOLE QUIT TWITTER: Mets catcher Josh Thole joined Twitter to interact with fans, and instead had to close his account because he was tired of everyone taking shots at him -- including one loser who said he didn't care if Thole died. (NYDailyNews.com) It's amazing how "tough" people get under the cloak of anonymity. Actually, amazing is the wrong word. It's pathetic. There are few places where I'll ever break out the sanctimony, but this is one of them. If you use the Internet to tell people you want them dead because of how they play baseball -- or anything comparable such as political views, religious views, favorite musicians or taste in TV shows -- you are dregs of society and seriously need to get a life.

RECOVERED RINGS: Kyle Kendrick had his 2008 World Series championship ring stolen from his home on March 30, but it has been recovered by police in an unrelated investigation. There were several other items recovered by police, including Kendrick's 2009 NLCS ring. (CSNPhilly.com)

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 10:06 pm
 

Thole calls Mirabelli on catching knuckler

By Evan Brunell

TholeJosh Thole has had such a difficult time corralling R.A. Dickey's knuckleballer that he's started losing playing time to Ronny Paulino.

That poses a problem for the Mets, as Paulino is best utilized against left-handed pitchers but can't maximize his value as long as he's tied to Dickey, who can't control the pitcher he goes up against.

Dickey wanted to do a favor for the 24-year-old catcher, so phoned fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who has given him pointers in the past, to see if his former personal catcher in Doug Mirabelli would be willing to speak to Thole. Mirabelli was a big part of Wakefield's career for a long time after joining the Red Sox midway through 2001 following Jason Varitek's season-ending injury. 'Belli stuck through the 2007 season with the team save for a one-month stint in San Diego back in 2006 when the Red Sox made a panic move to re-acquire the backstop after Josh Bard failed spectacularly in taking over.

“I called him and just chatted on the phone about different things,” Thole told ESPN New York. “I told him what I feel back there and then what I can do to correct it -- make my hands softer. After I called him, I caught R.A.’s bullpen. He sent me a text, ‘Hey, how did the bullpen go?’ I have plans to stay in touch with him and let him know if things are good, bad.

“R.A. had brought it to my attention and said, ‘Hey, if you want to call Doug, Doug would be more than happy to talk to you.’”

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Posted on: May 5, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: May 5, 2011 1:20 pm
 

Pepper: Doc the finisher



By Matt Snyder

FINISH HIM: Roy Halladay is an old-school pitcher in more ways than one, but we'll just concentrate on the complete games for today. He toes the slab each day expecting to finish the job he started. And he does it with rare frequency in this day and age of obsessive pitch counts and situational relievers. As I noted on Baseball Today -- which you should have already viewed above -- Halladay is such a complete game machine that he has more since 2003 than all but six major-league teams. Of course, the Blue Jays lead the majors in that span due to the 44 Halladay provided them (of 77 total) and the Phillies 56 in that span, just one more than Halladay -- who has provided the Phillies with 11 thus far. He's great in so many ways, but Halladay's ability to complete games unlike any other single pitcher this generation is what truly sets him apart. (MLB.com )

NAME THAT TEAM: The Reds have a new Double-A affiliate coming to Pensacola, Florida. The team name is being chosen through a voting process with the fans. They have narrowed the field to six finalists now: Aviators, Blue Wahoos, Loggerheads, Mullets, Redbones and Salty Dogs. Mullets? Really, Pensacola citizens? I like creative names, but making a joke won't be funny for much longer than a few days. I love the other five choices, actually. Which means Mullets will win. (PNJ.com )

HELTON TIES GEHRIG: Todd Helton ripped a double Wednesday night, which was No. 534 of his career. It tied him with the great Lou Gehrig for 31st on the all-time list.

"It's an honor to be mentioned at any level with a guy like that," Helton said. "That's a lot of doubles. I always considered myself a gap-to-gap hitter, and that's the way you get doubles. "More important, there were two guys on, and they turned out to be pretty big runs." (MLB.com )

GROUND RULES: Not one, but two games were affected by a batted ball being lodged between the outfield wall and the ground Wednesday night. In Tampa Bay, it was off the bat of Evan Longoria. Had Juan Rivera left the ball there and gotten a ground-rule double ruling, the Jays wouldn't have clipped Johnny Damon at home as he was trying to score from first. The Blue Jays ended up winning by one, too. On the other hand, in the same situation in Kansas City, Orioles' center fielder Adam Jones left a ball lodged in the base of the wall and let the umpire make the call while Mike Aviles raced around the bases for a would-be inside-the-park home run. The umpire called it a ground-rule double and Aviles was eventually stranded as the Orioles won by one run. Particularly disturbing was how easily Jones pulled the ball from the wall after the umpire made the call. It was stuck, only lodged. I don't want to make outfielders sift through obstructions in the outfield, but they shouldn't be able to gain an advantage for their team by refusing to touch a ball that slightly lodges in the wall. Please note, I'm not blaming Jones. It was smart because he knew what would be called. The rule is the issue. (MLB.com )

SIGN LANGUAGE: Mets catcher Josh Thole has a dog that was discovered to be deaf. Along with his wife, Thole has taught the dog to understand sign language and has since made many friends in the animal-care community. (New York Daily News )

SOON TO BE GATHERING DUST: Raise your hand if you're interested in reading John Rocker's "memoirs." Yeah, apparently his book, which he's shockingly having to self-publish, is due out in June. It's called "Scars and Strikes." It's reportedly a mixture of politics and sports. That's good. I always felt he needed to talk more about his political views, because it's paramount we learn what he thinks as soon as is humanly possible. I don't even know how we've survived the past few years without hearing much from him. (AJC.com )

THERE'S A STAT FOR EVERYTHING: In case you don't believe me, cloudy skies benefit hitters while wide-open blue skies benefit pitchers. Seriously. "Brighter conditions may result in increased eye strain for a batter and a higher level of glare in a ballpark," a meteorological study found. (OC Register )

CENTURY MARK FOR STAIRS: Matt Stairs has been around long enough to collect 100 pinch hits. (Washington Post ) The longevity is probably more impressive, though. Stairs has played for 12 teams in 19 seasons. He's actually been a pretty good hitter for much of that journeyman career. His triple slash line (Average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage) is .263/.357/.480. That gives him an OPS-plus of 118.

THROWBACKS: The Dodgers and Cubs played a game in some really nice throwback uniforms Wednesday. Here is a post that tells you far too much about the uniforms. (Uniwatchblog.com )

TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE: It's no secret Mike Stanton has some serious power. Consider Mark McGwire impressed after having seen Stanton up close. "Power hitters are born. He's just a born home run hitter," McGwire said after noting that Stanton is so talented he can play for "the next 25 years if he likes." High praise from a former basher himself (and keep the snickers to a minimum, please). Oh, and this was all said before Wednesday night when Stanton's bomb buried the Cardinals. (Miami Herald )

WHITHER WORLEY: Vance Worley is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings through two starts for the Phillies. Of course, he's about to have no spot in the rotation once Joe Blanton returns from the disabled list. You can't exactly bump Halladay or Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels or Oswalt. Blanton is firmly entrenched as the fifth starter, too. Philly.com takes a look at why it's OK for Worley to be sent back the minors and where he might fit if the club is inclined to keep him up with the big boys. One thing they didn't mention that I'd like to add is that maybe the Phillies could deal Blanton for a bat at some point? Some team is sure to get desperate for pitching at the trade deadline and the Phillies are going to need offense more than pitching at that point. Worley could slide in as a fine five for now.

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 1:45 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Liriano's no-no

Francisco Liriano
By C. Trent Rosecrans

3UP

Francisco Liriano, Twins -- I'm making a new rule here, you throw a no-hitter, you get in 3 up, 3 down. I'm sure Francisco appreciates it. A tip of the cap to White Sox starter Edwin Jackson, who was pretty good, too. Jackson gave up one run on six hits in eight innings.

Daniel Descalso, Cardinals -- The infielder's first career homer, a three-run shot off of Clay Hensley in the seventh inning, gave the Cardinals the lead, and ultimately the 7-5 victory over the Marlins. Descalso was 2 for 3, playing second and third in the game.

Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- Ibanez snapped an 0-for-35 streak with a fourth-inning ground-rule double off of the Nationals' Livan Hernandez. He added another double in the seventh inning that scored a run in the Phillies' 4-1 victory. He's now hitting a robust .168.

3DOWN

Mike Leake, Reds -- After Tuesday night's performance, the Reds announce Leake would be headed to the bullpen to make room for Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey to return to the rotation. Leake allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings in a 10-4 loss to the Astros, but he did strike out five in that short time.

Rangers bullpen -- The Rangers' Pedro Strop gave up leads in the seventh and eighth inning as the Rangers lost in an opponent's final at-bat for the sixth time this season and second time in a row, also losing to the A's in the 10th inning on Monday. Darren Oliver allowed Hideki Matsui's walkoff on Monday, and gave up an RBI single to Jack Cust on Tuesday to score the winning run (even though it was charged to Strop). Neftali Feliz is scheduled to return soon, and it won't be too soon for the Rangers.

Josh Thole, Mets -- With bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning, the Mets catcher did the one thing his team couldn't afford him to do -- ground into a double play. The Mets then lost the game in the 10th on Aubrey Huff's homer off of Taylor Buchholz. Thole also had a throwing error in the fourth inning the helped lead to a Giants' run.

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