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Tag:Kevin Kouzmanoff
Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:55 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Cleveland Indians

Victor Martinez

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional?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/past entries of this feature, click here.

In the 90s, the Indians welcomed a new ballpark with a cast of homegrown talent and twice used that to go all the way to the World Series, losing to the Braves in 1995 and the Marlins in 1997. A core of Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Charles Nagy, Paul Shuey, Jaret Wright, Julian Tavarez and more helped that Cleveland team become a power in the middle part of the decade before the pieces moved on. Thome went to Philadelphia, Ramirez to Boston and others dispersed or saw their skills diminish as the window of opportunity passed. The current Indians saw the start of a new influx of talent in 2011 with the likes of Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, but more talent needs to come out of the system for the Indians to continue the promise of the first half of the 2011 season. The franchise has shown smart drafting and good development can get them to October baseball, and that it's the best way for a team of their means to get there -- and return.

Lineup

1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Marco Scutaro, SS
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, 1B
6. Luke Scott, LF
7. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
8. Ben Francisco, RF
9. Jose Constanza, CF

Starting Rotation

1. CC Sabathia
2. Fausto Carmona
3. Jeremy Guthrie
4. Bartolo Colon
5. Josh Tomlin

Bullpen

Closer - Vinnie Pestano
Set up - Tony Sipp, Aaron Laffey, Danys Baez, Edward Mujica, Rafael Perez, Brian Tallet

Notable Bench Players

There are some bit pieces, but not too much overwhelming talent coming off the bench. The best pieces are Maicer Izturis, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Russell Branyan.

What's Good?

This team could put up some runs, with a heart of the order featuring Martinez, Thome, Peralta and Scott, that's for sure. You've also got Sabathia leading the staff, and as the Yankees showed this past season, that can be enough to win the toughest division in baseball. Carmona is inconsistent, but still has a live arm, while Guthrie could thrive in a new environment and Colon proved he still has a little something in the tank during his 2011 season in New York. 

What's Not?

Even if this Indians staff is a slight bump up from the Yankees' of 2011, the bullpen is a step down -- and the bullpen was one of the big reasons New York was able to win with a rotation featuring Sabathia and prayers for rain. The bench here is also thin.

Comparison to real 2011

The Indians were one of the feel-good stories for much of 2011, leading the American League Central for most of the first half of the season before fading and finishing the season 80-82. This hypothetical team has a better offense, better starting pitching and a worse bullpen. It's in no way a complete team, but it would have a chance at a winning record. The Tigers finished 95-67, well ahead of anyone else in the division. No, this Cleveland team wouldn't challenge the Tigers, but it would likely be better than the real 2011 Indians.

Next: Miami Marlins

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 28, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Free agent third base rankings: Aramis or bust



By Matt Snyder

If your favorite team is looking for a really good run producer to play third base next season and free agency is the route it's taking, there is only one choice. Otherwise, this free agency class is mostly backups or guys who will retire. It's a pretty embarrassing position in terms of how thin it is. How it affects Aramis Ramirez's ability to get a big deal remains to be seen, but it seems like he should have a lot of leverage, no? You need a third baseman? It's Wilson Betemit after me.

List of MLB free agents

1. Aramis Ramirez. He's only 33 and showed he can still swing the bat with authority in 2011, as he hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers and 93 RBI. He's also not the butcher many believe he is at third base -- though he's not exactly Adrian Beltre, either. Ramirez is unlikely to have his option picked up by the Cubs, so it seems like he'll have a new home for the first time since 2003, when he landed in Chicago on a July trade. As already stated, if someone wants to sign a good free agent third baseman, the buck stops here.
Potential teams: Marlins, Brewers, Tigers, Rockies, Angels, Orioles (mercifully making Mark Reynolds a DH) ... and the Cubs are still possible

2. Wilson Betemit. He hit .285/.343/.452 with 22 doubles and eight home runs this season in 97 games. He's a decent to slightly above-average hitter who can play several infield positions, but not really an everyday starter. The dearth of good free agent options at third base could very easily land Betemit a starting job, though. I'd just be weary of a multiple-year deal, as he hasn't played in more than 97 games since 2007.
Potential teams: Brewers, Tigers, Rockies, Marlins, Angels

3. Casey Blake. He only hit .252/.342/.371 and had serious neck issues, causing him to contemplate retirement. The Dodgers have declined Blake's option, so he's headed elsewhere. Retirement is possible, but Blake is seeking a one-year deal and probably willing to be a backup.
Potential teams: Yankees, Brewers, Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Marlins, Reds, retirement

4. Eric Chavez. He hit .263 with two homers and 26 RBI in his first non-Oakland season, but he still couldn't avoid an extended trip to the disabled list. According to various reports, Chavez isn't sure if he wants to play again in 2012 or retire. If he decides to play, he'll likely get the Yankees' backup third base job again. If he doesn't, he'll be free from the aggravation of constantly being injured. My guess is he retires and the Yankees grab Blake.
Potential teams: Yankees, retirement

5. Greg Dobbs. Dobbs enjoyed lots of playing time in 2011, gathering the most plate appearances of his career. He hit .275 with 23 doubles and eight homers while showing versatility on defense. He's not a great option to start every day, but a really good player to have off the bench. The Marlins reportedly want him back, but a dry free agency crop might land him a decent contract and starting job elsewhere.
Potential teams: Marlins, Brewers, Rockies, Phillies

6. Kevin Kouzmanoff.
Once a decent prospect with power potential -- he did hit 23 home runs while playing half his games in Petco Park in 2008 -- Kouzmanoff's stock has plummeted. He hit .255 with three homers in 27 games after joining Colorado, and the Rockies reportedly haven't ruled out bringing him back. It's possible he has a good full season in a hitter's park, if he stays there (he'd only previously played extended stretches in pitcher's ballparks).
Potential teams: Rockies, Brewers, Cubs, Marlins, Reds, Tigers

7. Omar Vizquel. The 44 year old just keeps hanging on. Is he trying to get to 3,000 hits? He currently has 2,841, but only collected 42 in 2011. So it doesn't really seem to be happening any time soon. Vizquel might just love the game so much he refuses to go until someone won't sign him. And someone will this offseason. He'll be playing again in 2012, bet on it.
Potential teams: White Sox, after that it's a complete guessing game. Any team looking for a veteran backup infielder would have interest, and that could be anyone.

8. Bill Hall. At age 26, Hall hit 35 homers for the Brewers. At age 31, he finished the season in the minors after hitting just .158/.220/.211 for 16 games with the Giants. He might get a shot with the Yankees if neither Blake nor Chavez are there, or someone could use him as a pinch-hitter off the bench. Regardless, don't expect there to be tons of interest. He hasn't been a good player for five years.
Potential teams: Orioles, Nationals, Yankees, retirement

9. Jorge Cantu. The 29 year old was once a run producer, but Cantu had a dreadful 2011 season, hitting .194/.232/.285 in 155 plate appearances for the Padres. He was decent after signing with the Rockies ... in Triple-A.
Potential teams: Rockies, Marlins, Brewers -- but this would be a desperation move to start him. He's basically going to be a backup or retire.

10. Andy LaRoche. Once a top-20 prospect -- for two straight seasons -- LaRoche's career has been a monumental disappointment. The only season he approached being a decent player was 2009 for the Pirates, but last season LaRoche was designated for assignment by the lackluster A's. So that should tell you where his stock stands. It's possible a team strapped for cash attempts to catch lightning in a bottle, as LaRoche is still only 28.
Potential teams: Reds, Marlins, Brewers, Cubs, Orioles, Mariners, Red Sox, Indians, many more.

11. Alex Cora. Cora's on-field value has dwindled all the way to zero, but he's reportedly a great clubhouse guy and baseball mind. Several reporters, fellow players and coaches have noted in the recent past that Cora will make a great manager someday. Cora has said he wants to keep playing in 2012, but it might behoove him to get a start on his next career quite soon.
Potential teams: Nationals, retirement

Other free agents who could play third: Jamey Carroll, Edwin Encarnacion, Jerry Hairston, Ramon Santiago, Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Miles, Ronny Cedeno, Jack Wilson, Mark DeRosa, Nick Punto, Willie Harris, Craig Counsell, Jose Lopez, Orlando Cabrera

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

Posted on: September 25, 2011 11:45 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Rockies raze Astros, Matusz bombs

Ianetta and Co.
By Evan Brunell

3 UpRockies hitters: Colorado exploded for 19 runs, led by Kevin Kouzmanoff who scorched the ball for two homers, driving in five. But there were plenty of other contributors, with seven of nine players getting at least two hits, six of them with three or more. And even Kevin Millwood got in on the fun with a home run, the second of the season. He now has a .474 slugging percentage with a .180 career mark. Ty Wigginton, Thomas Field and Jordan Pachecho each had four hits, while Chris Iannetta tied Kouz with five RBI and a three-run blast. Only the first and ninth marked scoreless innings for the Rox.

Gavin Floyd, White Sox: It was a good year for Floyd, who posted a career-low 4.37 ERA this season. The cap to his successful year came with an eight-inning, three-hit performance against the Royals. He allowed only two walks and punched out 10 over 121 pitches. The White Sox considered moving him earlier this year and if he hits the market this offseason, there should be quite a bit of interest, especially given the weak free-agent market. He ended up losing because minor-league lifer Luis Mendoza out-dueled him, but Floyd gets the up for not just the game, but his season overall.

Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox: The outcome of the game isn't why Papelbon's here. In his longest outing since May 2010 (and before that, 2006), Papelbon dominated the Yankees by throwing just 29 pitches over 2 1/3 innings, striking out four. The stumbling Red Sox seem to have everything going wrong for them, but Papelbon is the one thing going right. Get Papelbon a lead this year and he will hold it. Until giving up a run in his last relief appearance on Sept. 20, Papelbon hadn't given up a run since July 16.



3 DownAstros pitchers: The Rockies did most of their damage against the bullpen, knocking Lucas Harrell out of the game after just three innings and five runs (two unearned). Then began a procession of four pitchers, each of whom gave up at least four runs before Juan Abreu stopped the bleeding in the ninth. Rule 5 selection Aneury Rodriguez was lit up for four runs in two innings and Lance Pendleton surrendered five in his own two innings of work. Xavier Cedeno gave up five runs in the eighth after two one-out appearances marked the start of his career. Cedeno's ERA is now 27.00.

Brian Matusz, Orioles: The left-hander's season is finally over. Coming off a strong 2011, the youngster was primed to take the next step toward becoming an ace... and instead now ends 2011 with a 10.69 ERA that was actually lowered Sunday when he coughed up six runs over five innings to the Tigers, with a three-spot in the fifth as Matusz's last taste. That ERA will set a record for a pitcher with at least 40 innings, STATS LLC reports -- but he's in good company, as the previous record of 10.64 was held by Roy Halladay (2000).
"I'm going to have a lot of motivation going into this winter, because I'm never going to forget what this has felt like," Matusz told the Associated Press. "I've got a lot of mistakes to learn from." I'd say so.

Ricky Nolasco, Marlins:
Wrapping up this edition of horrible pitching performances is Nolasco, who lasted just two innings and gave up six earned runs (plus another unearned). He was ripped apart for nine hits, spiking his ERA to 4.67. Nolasco has long been a pitcher whose peripherals have portended future success, but he simply can't put it all together, and it's time to stop expecting him to. He's a fine middle-of-the-rotation starter, but that's really all he can aspire to be at this point.

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

Colorado Rockies' Chris Iannetta (20) is congratulated by teammate Ty Wigginton (21) and Jordan Pacheco (58) after all three scored on his home run as Houston Astros catcher J.R. Towles (46) watches during the eighth inning of a baseball game on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in Houston. The Rockies defeated the Astros 19-3. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Posted on: September 23, 2011 1:14 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Moore drops jaws against Yankees

Moore

By Evan Brunell

Matt Moore, Rays:  A month ago, Matt Moore wasn't even in the majors. Thursday, he stopped a potential Yankees sweep by punching out 11 pinstripers in five innings, allowing just four hits and showing the world just why he's a top prospect and why the Rays aren't going anywhere any time soon. In his first start, Moore set a record for strikeouts in a debut, with teammate Wade Davis punching out nine in 2009.

Jemile Weeks, Athletics: It was a beautiful day for Weeks, who rapped out a 3-for-3 night while slugging -- used in the weakest terms possible -- his first home run of the year. Weeks isn't known for power, but is hitting .303 with 21 stolen bases on the season. Weeks has been pretty bad defensively and earned Eye on Baseball's tin glove award but has sewn up a starting spot next season.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, Rockies: When the Rockies picked up Kouzmanoff at the trade deadline, there was a bit of a muted rumbling as people wondered if the failed third baseman could succeed in Colorado. You see, Kouzmanoff had a few solid years in San Diego, flashing power and solid defense. However, he played in a pitcher's park, and Oakland was no better when he was dealt in 2010. Despite hitting 23 homers in 2008, Kouz has sank to .218/.277/.317 this year before Thursday's game where he bashed a homer and collected three hits. It's a blip on the screen for Kouzmanoff, who has failed to impress in Colorado and now looks like he might be washing out entirely.



Jason Motte, Cardinals: Jason Motte prevented the Cardinals from pulling to one game behind the Braves for the NL wild card. OK, it wasn't just Motte, but boy. He walked three of five batters, starting the ninth with a 6-2 edge. After three walks plus an error, a run had scored and then Mark Rzepcynski and Fernando Salas gave up back-to-back hits to tie the game up. An intentional walk and merciful strikeout later, Willie Harris delivered the capping blow with a two-run single. Motte is considered the favorite to close for the Cards next year but isn't helping his cause lately.

Phil Humber, White Sox: Humber was one of the first-half season surprises, but the second half has been about injuries and regression. Humber was torched for seven runs in six innings against the Indians and has now allowed four-plus runs in seven of his last nine starts. His ERA is still good at 3.86, but the White Sox would do well to only consider him a No. 4 starter.

Bartolo Colon, Yankees: Colon and his newfound arm got bombed by the Rays, giving up seven runs (five earned) in three innings.  Colon also gave up seven hits and walked one while striking out just one, and those are numbers that a Yankee fan won't care to see because not only dd Colon have a bad start, he deserved every part of it by giving up eight baserunners even as the Yankees wondered what the brown things on their hands were for, committing four errors in the game. At this point, does Colon even make a start in October?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 4:57 pm
 

Kouzmanoff sent to Rockies in deal

KouzmanoffBy Evan Brunell

Kevin Kouzmanoff has been traded to the Rockies along with cash for a player to be named later or cash considerations, MLB announced.

Playing for the Athletics earlier this year before being banished to the minors, Kouzmanoff hasn't been in the majors since early June, when he was demoted after hitting .221/.262/.353 in 149 plate appearances. The 30-year-old was a major disappointment in Oakland after coming over from San Diego following the 2009 season. For San Diego, the third baseman hit .263/.309/.436 playing half his games in Petco Park. That lent optimism that Kouzmanoff could at least replicate that in Oakland, or at least match what he put up with San Diego.

Instead, the cavernous park in Oakland proved harder for Kouzmanoff to handle, and in his one-plus years with the A's major-league squad, hit just  .242/.279/.411. Still, he has pop in his bat and could succeed in Colorado, but will report to Triple-A first before likely receiving a September callup. This deal appears to be about stacking depth for Colorado, who could deal third baseman Ian Stewart this winter. Stewart is a former top prospect that just hasn't put it together for the Rockies and appears on his way out, but the Rockies have no acceptable replacements. While they will certainly pursue better alternatives this offseason, having Kouzmanoff under team control through arbitration is an acceptable fallback.

Down on the farm for Oakland, Kouzmanoff is hitting .302/.341/.550 in 279 PA with 13 homers, so the potential for Kouzmanoff to re-emerge as a viable starter is possible. Meanwhile, he had no future in Oakland as he had played himself out of town there and would have been non-tendered after the season.

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Posted on: July 19, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 10:15 am
 

Pepper: Victorino rounds bases on foul ball



By Matt Snyder


Let's go the light-hearted route in leading off Pepper on this Tuesday morning. Phillies All-Star center fielder Shane Victorino had a moment in a rehab assignment Sunday that prompted him to say he was embarrassed. No, it wasn't an angry embarrassed caused by poor play. In fact, Victorino crushed a ball down the left-field line in his first at-bat. As he rounded first base, he heard a loud cheer from the crowd and assumed it was a home run. The umpires evidently signaled home run, but no one ever verbally told Victorino. He had his head down and was running hard, so he just keep on running, until manager Jeff Parent -- who was coaching third -- told Victorino.

“Parent stopped me at third and said, ‘It wasn’t a home run,’” Victorino said (NJ.com). “I said, ‘Well, I appreciate you letting me trot around the bases.’ No one stopped me. It was an embarrassing moment.”

Don't be so hard on yourself, Shane. Could've happened to anyone who was getting around the bases quickly.

There is a GIF of the play over at SB Nation.

CATCHING THE FEVER: As the Pirates moved into sole possession of first place Monday night, the popularity of the team has continued to rise. It's been 18 years since the Pirates have had a winning season, so the fans are taking everything in here in 2011. Merchandise sales are reportedly on a huge rise in the Pittsburgh area, with one store owner saying he had to pull some Penguins gear to make room for Pirates' merchandise. That's a great sign for a franchise that had for so long seemingly lost its fan base. (Pittsburgh Live)

MORE SUPPORT: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen isn't shy in speaking his mind, we know that. This time around, he's saying Major League Baseball should do more to support the Negro League Museum in Kansas City, which is having financial troubles. (Chicago Tribune)

ON-AIR RESIGNATION: A minor-league play-by-play announcer quit on the air. He went out in a blaze of glory, going with a near-four-minute speech on how people in the organization are treated unfairly and mentioning how he hasn't been paid in full. He had lots of good points and was quite measured and sane. Check it out over at Awful Announcing.

PARALYSIS ONLY A 'SETBACK?' Former San Jacinto pitcher Buddy Lamothe would have been drafted much higher than the 40th round, had he not suffered a swimming accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He was in Houston Monday to throw out the first pitch and called the accident "just a little setback," and said he hopes to be on the mound one day as an Astros pitcher. That would be amazing. (Ultimate Astros)

OH, TORII: Torii Hunter of the Angels occasionally throws out a tweet that is funny in a "did we really need to think about that," kinda way. On his 36th birthday, Monday, he did it again. He thanked everyone who had tweeted him birthday wishes and noted that, at the ripe old age of 36, he still doesn't need Viagra. Well, that's a relief. I'll sleep tonight. (Torii's tweet)

NEW MENTAL APPROACH: The Nationals have brought in a sports psychologist to work with some of the players, including the struggling Jayson Werth. The psychologist is one that has been previously used by the Braves -- back in the early 1990s. You might recall a lengthy streak of division title beginning around that time. Maybe this guy knows what he's going? (Big League Stew)

SAFETY FIRST: Big league ballparks are focusing more on safety after the tragic death at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington a few weeks ago. They're looking at everything from the railing to security guards to discussing with the players how to throw the ball into the crowd. This is all good, but we as fans need to keep the surroundings in mind also. The Texas thing was a freak accident where a man simply lost his balance, but I saw several people doing pretty stupid things at the Home Run Derby in Arizona just to catch a baseball. If you're stepping one leg over the rail, maybe some priorities need to be re-examined. (San Jose Mercury News)

ABOUT THAT BOOING: Remember how one of the dominant themes of the All-Star Game was how the Arizona fans were booing everyone? I certainly do. Giants closer Brian Wilson does, too, and he doesn't understand it. Wilson has basically the same point of view as I do, in that it's not anger, but it's not understanding the point of view. Why spend all that money to just be angry the entire time? (Big League Stew)

END OF AN ERA? It's possible we're seeing the last few months of Mark Buehrle's career. The veteran pitcher is only 32 and surely has several more season's worth of production in that left arm. But he has openly discussed retirement and is a free agent at the end of the season. He's also made it known there aren't many other places he'd want to play. So this could very well be it. If he's content with his earnings and career achievements, there's nothing wrong with retiring to spend time with his family. (Chicago Tribune)

BARTON AND KOUZMANOFF TOGETHER IN TRIPLE-A: Daric Barton and Kevin Kouzmanoff opened the season as the A's first and third basemen, respectively. They're still working opposite corners of the infield together, it's just in the minors. MLB.com has a lengthy update on the duo, including Barton taking full accountability for his futility at the plate and Kouzmanoff discussing how he was surprised by the demotion.

PITCHERS IN THE BOX: Here's an interesting stat. Seeing pitchers get a base hit occurs almost as frequently as position players triple. (WSJ.com blog)

STILL IN LIMBO: Brewers All-Star left fielder Ryan Braun is not going on the disabled list for the time being, at least that's the plan, despite Braun having missed 10 of the Brewers' last 13 games. He did pinch hit Sunday, so the Brewers are definitely taking a risk that a possible DL stint would go deeper into the season. (Journal-Sentinel)

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

Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:10 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:55 am
 

Pepper: Royals hope to shake Pujols curse



By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY -- CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller, with his belly full of Kansas City barbecue, joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about the Red Sox and Yankees, as well as Dan Haren, Ubaldo Jimenez and more.

HOMETOWN BOY STAYS -- One of the more interesting picks in the first round of the draft last night was the Royals taking Bubba Starling with the fifth pick overall. Conventional wisdom going into the draft was the team would take a college arm to help supplement its incoming wave of talent. However, the team went with Starling, the top athlete in the draft. 

Don't discount the Albert Pujols factor here. Since 2001, Royals fans and others have been asking how the Royals could have missed on Albert Pujols, who went to high school and junior college in Kansas City (don't mind the fact everyone missed on Pujols, who wasn't drafted until the 13th round of the 1999 draft.) With Starling coming out of nearby Gardner, Kan., the Royals won't have to hear that criticism if Starling lives up to his potential.

BRUIN BONANZA -- UCLA baseball coach John Savage said he knew from the day Gerrit Cole stepped on campus that he'd likely be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft. (UCLABruins.com)

Mets MAIN MAN -- Although he's best-known as the stat geek from Moneyball, the Mets' Paul DePodesta (who looks nothing like Jonah Hill), is the key to the Mets' scouting department. (Newark Star-Ledger)

SORIA'S BACK -- If you missed it, Joakim Soria is back as the Royals' closer, even though Aaron Crow never got a chance to close a game in his eight games as the team's designated closer. (CBSSports.com)

MINDREADER -- In addition to being a columnist, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times is also apparently a mind-reader. The omniscient Cowley says Carlos Zambrano is a liar and really wants out of Chicago (or at least the North side), because Zambrano said he wants to move on from his comments that the way the Cubs are playing is "embarrassing." Even though, to be fair, Zambrano said he wanted to move on before another "embarrassing" loss in Cincinnati.

BLAME GAME -- Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan took credit for Monday's loss, even though he probably doesn't deserve it. (Seattle Times)

MOVING ON UP -- The Indians have promoted former Yankees first baseman Nick Johnson -- to Triple-A. Johnson played two games at Double-A and had one hit in nine plate appearances (with three walks). He's not on Cleveland's 40-man roster, so manager Manny Acta said not to expect him in Cleveland anytime soon. (MLB.com)

A'S SHUFFLE -- A's third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, hitting just .221. was demoted to Triple-A on Monday. Utility man Adam Rosales was activiated from the 60-day disabled list. Kouzmanoff wasn't just struggling at the plate; he also had nine errors, the second-most in the American League. (MLB.com)

ZIMMERMAN UPDATE -- The Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman played seven innings at Class A Potomac on Monday, but manager Jim Riggleman said it's "unlikely" he will return before Sunday, when the team wraps up an 11-game road trip. (Washington Post)

PEAVY AVOIDS DL -- White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy will miss a start, but isn't expected to go on the disabled list after being diagnosed with a mild strain of his right groin. (Chicago Tribune)

FLASH GORDON -- Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon made his debut last night and his father, former pitcher Tom Gordon, was in the stands to see his son enter the game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning. Gordon scored the Dodgers' only run. While his father was nicknamed "Flash," the name may be more appropriate for the son, because it describes his blazing speed.

CARTER STARTS TREATMENT -- Hall of Famer Gary Carter began his chemotherapy treatment on Saturday and will begin radiation treatment today. (ESPNNewYork.com)

VENTURA RETURNS -- Former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura has returned to the organization as a special adviser to player development director Buddy Bell -- that's two pretty good defensive third basemen in the front office. (Chicago Sun-Times)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:10 pm
 

Pepper: Dangerous game for fans, too

Jose Salazar

By C. Trent Rosecrans


When I went to Class A game the other day, I sat in the front row just to film from that angle and I was shocked at just how close I was sitting -- and how little the fans around me were paying attention.

Of course, it's worse at the minor-league level and in spring training where the stadiums are smaller, but it's still dangerous at the big-league level. Last night in Los Angeles, a fan at the Dodgers game was hit by a foul ball from Matt Holliday and carried off on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. [Associated Press ]

This spring, of course, Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar was struck in the face by a foul ball and lost an eye.

On Friday, Salazar returned to manage the Lynchburg Hillcats.

This weekend, it was a feel-good story to see Salazar back in uniform, but it was so close to being different. [Lynchburg News Advance ]

STRANGE BALK -- Take a minute to watch this -- last night Justin Verlander tried to pick off Daric Barton at first, but caught a cleat in the dirt, so instead of making a bad throw to first, he threw home and hit David DeJesus. Home plate umpire John Hirschbeck ruled it a balk, awarding Barton second base. DeJesus later walked. Verlander said afterward, even he laughed at how it looked. [MLB.com ]

BRADEN LEAVES EARLY -- A's starter Dallas Braden left Saturday's game with shoulder stiffness after five innings. There's no update yet, but it could be bad news for the A's. [San Francisco Chronicle ]

AFRICAN-AMERICAN PARTICIPATION DECLINES
-- As teams honored Jackie Robinson this weekend, the Mets' Willie Harris finds the lack of African-Americans in the game "sad." Only 9.1 percent of major leaguers on opening day 2010 were African-American, while 20 percent were in 1995. Harris said he doesn't think MLB markets its top African-American stars, such as Torii Hunter, Carl Crawford and CC Sabathia, well enough. [New York Daily News

Rockies STARTER FALLS - - For the first time this season, a Rockies starter picked up a loss in the game. Jason Hamel was the first Rockies starter to earn an L, falling 8-3 to the Cubs and ending the Rockies' seven-game winning streak. [Associated Press ]

AND THERE'S THAT
--The other day White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he has the league's best bullpen, despite his relievers blowing six saves and converting just one. On Saturday, he said he knows he has a good defensive team, despite its 15 errors this season, 13 in the last 10 games. [Chicago Tribune ]
 
SPEAKING OF -- The A's lead the majors with 17 errors, including one more on Saturday. First baseman Daric Barton -- widely viewed as one of the best defensive first basemen in the game -- is tied for the team-lead with three errors. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has three, as well. [MLB.com ]

EARNING HIS KEEP -- Could this be the year Alfonso Soriano lives up to his promise and salary? Soriano leads the Cubs with five home runs and 12 RBI. [Chicago Tribune ]

NO LEFTY -- The Dodgers don't have a left-handed reliever in their bullpen after Hong-Chih Kuo was place don the disabled list and replaced on the roster by right-hander Ramon Troncoso. [Los Angeles Times ]

ROYAL PEN -- One of the reasons the Royals are leading in the American League Central is their bullpen, well, almost all of their bullpen. In a reversal of expectations, only closer Joakim Soria, one of the best closers in baseball the last couple of years, has struggled. Manager Ned Yost said his closer is just "human" and should be fine. Still, the likes of Tim Collins, Jeremy Jeffress and Aaron Crow have impressed. [Kansas City Star ]

NEW PITCH -- Giants closer Brian Wilson is playing coy about a new pitch in his arsenal. Wilson, who will talk about most subjects, isn't discussing a new pitch he's throwing to right-handed batters. It may be a two-seam fastball, a cutter or even a screwball. [San Jose Mercury News ]

ATTENDANCE WOES -- This month six teams have set records for their lowest attendance since their current park opened -- the Braves, Indians, Mariners, Cardinals, Yankees and Twins. Overall attendance is down just two percent this year, which is less than I expected. [USA Today ]

HOW LOW CAN IT GO? -- Seattle is being hit particularly hard at the turnstiles. [Seattle Times ]

UBIQUITOUS OBLUQUE -- I missed this earlier this week, but heard Tim McCarver bring it up during yesterday's Mets-Braves games -- Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times wrote a great article about the oblique injury, noting 14 players had gone on the DL this year with an oblique injury. Also, before MRI technology improved to its current point, the injury had been called rib cage or abdominal injuries, the diagnosis is just better nowadays.

BIG DRAFT -- What if you had to pick from Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Justin Upton, Ricky Romero, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Mike Pelfrey, Wade Townsend, Chris Volstad, John Mayberry Jr., Jacoby Ellsbury, Colby Rasmus or Clay Buchholz? The 2005 draft offered those choices. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ]

WRIGLEY GRIDIRON -- The Cubs and Northwestern want to continue playing football games at Wrigley Field, despite the challenges they faced this season. In the end, money wins. [Chicago Tribune ]

TUCSON HOME -- Padres owner Jeff Moorad said Tucson will be the Triple-A home for the Padres for at least another year and could be an option if the team isn't able to get funding for a park in Escondido, Calif. [Arizona Daily Star ]

A DIFFERENT MANNY -- Manny Ramirez changed when he went to Boston. [Akron Beacon-Journal ]

HOT DOGGIN' -- A look at the best and craziest hot dogs at ballparks this season. I'm thinking about getting that Meat Lovers Dog at Great American Ball Park later today. I'll take pictures. In the name of "journalism" of course. I'm also curious about the Bahn Mi Dog at Nationals Stadium and [SeriousEats.com ]

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