Tag:Luis Cruz
Posted on: April 14, 2011 10:34 am
 

Pepper: McGwire only one to dodge steroid fallout

McGwire

By Evan Brunell

DODGING THE BULLET: The steroid era continues to haunt baseball, as Barry Bonds' obstruction of justice charge is far from the end of the saga.

While Bonds is the posterboy for the whole mess, the former face of baseball has somehow survived a Congressional inquiry, years of self-imposed exile, a much-awaited admission and apology and returned to the game as a coach.

No one could have guessed this when Mark McGwire was stumbling over ways to avoid the past in front of Congress, but he's the only star to avoid any lasting damage, unless one counts his failed bids to make the Hall of Fame. It does really seem as if his lawyers gave him the right information all the way back in 2003 as he avoided lying to Congress and then hid away until it benefited him to come clean to avoid prosecution and get back into the game.

Look, there's no defending McGwire, both for his actions juicing up and for waiting until it behooved him best to admit using steroids, but in his second season as Cardinals hitting coach, there is no paparazzi stalking him and no controversy. At this point, McGwire is just another coach with a long history in the game. That's an impressive feat to pull off. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

BASEBALL TODAY: Can Cliff Lee get back on track tonight? Will Phil Hughes lower his ERA? Matt Snyder joins Lauren Shehadi to answer those questions and more.

STRASBURG BEHIND: Stephen Strasburg has yet to throw off a mound in his return from Tommy John surgery. That places him behind Jordan Zimmermann's own schedule last season, but the Nationals have cautioned everyone rehabs at their own pace and there is no rush. Strasburg has a shot to pitch in September for Washington, but given he has yet to step on a mound, that shot has suddenly become a long one. (Washington Post)

MANNY WHO? The Rays have already found a solution for replacing Manny Ramirez's bobblehead night on May 29. In his place, the club will give away a cape dedicated to Sam Fuld, who was a one-man wrecking crew in the abbreviated two-game series against the Red Sox. Click the link to check out the cape, which is pretty cool. (Tampa Tribune)

GOING CRAZY: Well, that didn't take long. Skipper Terry Collins reportedly went "ballistic" after Wednesday's stinker. A player said Collins didn't single anyone out, but made it clear he wasn't happy with how New York was responding to its recent slide, having lost six of seven. (New York Post)

PANIC ALERT: At the outset of the 2011 season, one keeps hearing how it's too early to draw any conclusions from the play of teams or players. But for one certain writer, it's never too early as he encourages you to go right ahead and panic. Something about how it's healthy and fun to panic. Me? I'd prefer to stay even-keeled, thanks. (Sports Illustrated)

SHORTSTOP PAINS: The Brewers are incredibly thin at shortstop, both at the major-league and minor-league level. Luiz Cruz left the organization to sign with the Rangers despite Milwaukee telling him he would be the first option up to the majors if needed. Then, Triple-A third baseman/shortstop Zelous Wheeler got injured, leaving journeyman Anderson Machado as the first line of defense at short. And if your first line of defense is Machado, you've got serious problems. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

TILLMAN BOMBED: Chris Tillman was smacked around by the Yankees on Wednesday, and manager Buck Showalter made it clear after the game that it was unacceptable. "You just can’t let them get away from you and keep the team in the game," he said, also declining to confirm Tillman would make his next start Monday. (Baltimore Sun)

UBALDO RETURNING: Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez had a strong rehab outing Wednesday and should make his return to the majors on Monday. (MLB.com)

BACK TO THE ROTATION? Jeff Samardzija has shuttled back and forth between the rotation and bullpen in his fledgling career and may be settling into a niche as a reliever. However, when the team needs a fifth starter again next week, manager Mike Quade says he'll be forced to consider Samardzija along with a host of other options. (Chicago Sun-Times)

MEETING THE PRESIDENT: A select number of Houston Astros coaches and players had lunch with former president George H.W. Bush, an invitation that occurs once a year. "I was a little star-struck when I saw him," third baseman Chris Johnson said. "You see athletes all the time. That’s totally different. It’s totally on another level." (Houston Chronicle)

HAPPY 70, CHARLIE HUSTLE: Pete Rose turns 70 on Thursday, an unthinkable thought to those who grew up idolozing Rose and the Big Red Machine. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

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Posted on: March 22, 2011 6:36 pm
 

Gamel could be Brewers' backup plan at first

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mat GamelThe Brewers may have found their replacement for Prince Fielder after the season, and he's not coming from outside.

Former highly-touted third base prospect Mat Gamel was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday to learn how to play first base. With Casey McGehee seemingly entrenched at third for the Brewers and Gamel struggling defensively, it seems like a natural fit. Or at least a pretty good contingency plan. Fielder is a free agent after this season and not many expect him to return to Milwaukee.

Gamel has suffered from injuries, but also found his way to the majors blocked by McGehee, Corey Hart in right and Ryan Braun in left. Before the 2009 season, Baseball America ranked him the No. 34 prospect in all of baseball. In the minors, he's certainly hit, putting up a .302/.376.489 line in six seasons, along with 77 home runs.

Last season he played at three levels, hitting .309/.387/.511 with 13 homers in 82 games at Nashville. 

"I told Mat that playing first base is not like sticking a Little Leaguer in right," general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Michael Hunt. "It's a tough position. A lot goes into it."

Melvin also said the team doesn't want Gamel playing right field for the Sounds. There has been speculation that the team could move Hart to first and Gamel replace him in right.

Gamel, serving mostly as a designated hitter this spring, hit .375/.444/.375 with three hits in eight at-bats this spring. A rib cage injury has limited his at-bats this spring.

In 167 career big league plate appearances, Gamel's hit .241/.335/.414 with five homers and 21 RBI. The bulk of his big league experience, 61 of 75 games, came in 2009. He's also played left field and served as the team's designated hitter and a pinch hitter. He played in 12 games last season.

The team is leaning toward keeping Erick Almonte or Luis Cruz to fill the backup infielder spot, Hunt writes.

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Posted on: November 5, 2010 12:11 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 1:19 pm
 

Brewer calls ex-manager Macha 'racist'

Luis Cruz
Brewers infielder Luis Cruz told a reporter in Mexico that former manager Ken Macha was "a bit racist" and hinted that his being Latino was the reason he "wasn't given the opportunity" in Milwaukee last season.

“The truth is that he [Macha] is very dry, very lethargic, a bit racist…but that’s all passed,” Cruz told an editor for Puro Beisbol, according to the blog Baseball Mexico.

I don't know whether Macha is racist or not, but it certainly doesn't look like Cruz, whom the Brewers picked up off waivers from the Pirates last winter, was held back as some sort of discriminatory conspiracy. He spent most of the year at Triple-A, batting .281, and got a September call-up. He played in seven games, starting three, and batted .235.

Cruz's primary position is shortstop, where the Brewers' starter is Venezuelan Alcides Escobar and the backup is 15-year veteran Craig Counsell. He also plays second base, where the Brewers start African American Rickie Weeks.

Cruz has a .221 career average in three brief major-league stints, and at best he's a middling utility prospect. I'm not sure what he thinks Macha was supposed to have done for him, but if he just has a beef over playing time, calling the man a racist is a pretty serious charge.

-- David Andriesen

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