Posted on: February 18, 2011 9:53 am
Some things are more important than baseball. Miguel Cabrera's life is one of those things.
For the second time in his career, Cabrera's alcohol abuse has become a public issue. The first was at the end of a season, this time it's at the beginning.
Cabrera underwent counseling after the 2009 season and his incident with his wife at their home. He rebounded with the greatest season of his young career in 2010, but then came Wednesday's arrest for DUI in Florida.
Now is the time for the Tigers to worry about Cabrera, not the 2011 season. Cabrera needs professional help right now, and if he needs to miss all of spring training or even part of the regular season, so be it.
The team is apparently doing due diligence in Cabrera's fate, which is not only the right thing to do for the person, it's also the best thing to do as a business. Cabrera is 27 and has the prime years of his career ahead of him. He's also signed through 2015 (at $20 million or more per season from now throughout he end of the contract), so his problem is the Tigers' problem.
It's a sad tale, and hopefully has a happy ending. That ending doesn't necessarily have to do with baseball, but Cabrera's well-being and the rest of his life.
WORST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE?: Even thought he cliches about "best shape of his life" spring training stories have become cliche, but no need to wear that meme out with Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
Alvarez "clearly looks bulkier," the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 's Rob Biertempfel writes . Clint Hurdle says he's just "big-boned."
MEET THE BENCH: Cubs manager Mike Quade said he'll consider pulling left fielder Alfonso Soriano late in games. (Chicago Tribune )
SAFETY FIRST: Carlos Santana will play some first base this spring, hoping to keep his bat in the lineup and give his legs a break from catching.
Santana said he played third and the outfield in the Dodgers system and expects the move to be relatively easy.
The Indians did the same thing with Victor Martinez before they traded him to Bosoton. (Cleveland Plain Dealer )
ROSTER MOVE: In one of the more striking roster moves of the season, the Orioles have placed Alfredo Simon on the restricted list to make room on their roster for Vladimir Guerrero, whose signing became official today.
Simon is in jail in the Dominican Republic as the prime suspect in a fatal shooting. (Baltimore Sun )
ARBITRATION DATE: Astros outfielder Hunter Pence is headed to an arbitration hearing today in Phoenix.
Pence will make either $6.9 million if he wins his case, $5.15 million if he loses it. I wouldn't mind losing like that.
OPENING A'S: Oakland manager Bob Geren won't make a decision about his opening-day starter until later in spring training. It's likely between Trevor Cahill, Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson. (San Francisco Chronicle )
LEAGUE LEADERS: The Mariners may not lead the league in much, but their bullpen could lead the league in tattoos.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times talks to relievers Brandon League and Justin Miller about their tattoos.
Baker also has a story about the ol' days when players had to have off-season jobs.
MUST READ: Sean Kirst of the Syracuse Post-Standard writes about Jacob Francis the first African-American umpire. Francis umpired an exhibition game between the Syracuse Stars and the Proivdence Grays in 1885. He may have also been a neighbor of Moses Fleetwood Walker.
TODAY IN HISTORY: Feb. 18, 1944, the Reds signed 15-year old Joe Nuxhall to a major-league contract. Nuxhall was in uniform on opening day, but didn't appear in a game until June 10, 1944. Eight years later, he'd start his big-league career in earnest, pitching until 1966.
TODAY'S TIMEWASTER: Seamheads.com has this amazing ballpark database. Go there only if you don't have plans for the next hour.
BROWSER SWITCH?: I tried out Google's Chrome browser, but didn't have much luck with it, so I stuck with Firefox. However, the newest feature may get me to switch -- a personal blacklist can remove sites from Google search results .
BAD NEWS: Giordano's filed for bankruptcy .
GOOD NEWS: Radiohead's releasing the digital version of its new album a day early , so if, like me, you've already ordered it, you should get it today.
VAN LENNON: A Jump-Imagine mashup for your enjoyment.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Tags: ALfonso Soriano, Alfredo Simon, Astros, Athletics, Bob Geren, Brandon League, Brett Anderson, Carlos Santana, Cubs, Dallas Braden, David Lee Roth, Hunter Pence, Indians, Joe Nuxhall, John Lennon, Justin Miller, Mariners, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Quade, Morning Pepper, Orioles, Pedro Alvarez, Pirates, Radiohead, Reds, Tigers, Trevor Cahill, Victor Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero
Posted on: February 17, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: February 17, 2011 2:06 pm
There's a lot left to be said about the Albert Pujols negotiations, but the question I've had is what exactly is the fan reaction going to be to him this season? Could the great Pujols actually be booed at home?
Now, if it were any other city other than St. Louis, I don't think I'd wonder this -- I'd expect this. However, St. Louis is America's great baseball city. Not only does the town pride itself on its baseball knowledge, but also the way it treats the Cardinals as a whole and as individuals. Go to Busch Stadium and you'll observe a baseball crowd that loves baseball. And Albert was their king.
Now, though, could it get nasty that he's had a chance to prove his undying love and devotion and decided instead to possibly shop around?
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked fans if Pujols would still be a Cardinal in 2012 , AS of 8:30 a.m., 35 percent said he would be, 32 percent said no, and 33 percent answered "I know [sic] longer care]." To no longer care about Albert Pujols in Cardinal red in St. Louis is akin to being an atheist at Vatican City.
Here are some of the comments from the newspaper's website:
There are also less dignified responses (from a comment section of a website? I know, shocking) calling Pujols out because of his background and also his outspoken Christianity, as well as those making the apple-oranges comments about our current economic state and a baseball player's salary (if you haven't noticed, they're not connected.) In fairness, there were also messages in support of Pujols and the Cardinals and some reasoned debate, but in a crowd of 43,975, that's not always who is heard.
So, when opening day rolls around in St. Louis on March 31 against the Padres and the third Cardinal batter comes to the plate, what will the reaction be? Could a St. Louis icon be booed in St. Louis? We'll see (or hear).
MUST READ: Former Phillies manager Dallas Green talked to reporters yesterday about the loss of his granddaughter, Christina Taylor Green. Here's the report from the Seattle Times ' Larry Stone .
If this didn't get you, you have no heart -- "John called her princess, and I did, too. She was our angel."
NOW ABOUT THOSE OTHER FOUR SPOTS: Wednesday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly named Clayton Kershaw his opening-day starter. Vicente Padilla started Los Angels' opener last season. Kershaw will face Tim Lincecum in the opener -- not a bad matchup. (Los Angeles Times )
YEAH, HOW COULD THAT GO WRONG?: Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd is standing by his decision to work with BALCO found Victor Conte.
"Instead of me being dumb and just keep trying different things, I went to reach out to somebody so I didn't test positive," Byrd told reporters, including the Chicago Sun-Times .
Yeah. Good idea.
NO, A REALLY GOOD IDEA: If you have an iPad, check out this awesome-looking iPad app called Pennant . Seriously, while watching the video, I grabbed my iPad and plunked down my $4.99. If you're the type who can get lost in retrosheet.org, this looks great.
TRIBUTE TO TANNER: The Pirates will find ways to honor former manager Chuck Tanner, but they haven't exactly figured it out yet, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review . The team will honor him on opening day and the team is likely to wear a patch. The Reds and Tigers will wear a patch honoring former manager Sparky Anderson this season.
UNCLE ORLANDO: Orlando Cabrera, one of the most entertaining interviews in baseball, officially joined the Indians on Wednesday. The long-time shortstop looks to be the everyday second baseman, joining with "nephew" Asdrubal Cabrera in Cleveland. (MLB.com )
THE MORE YOU KNOW: Baseball America 's always-entertaining minor league transactions .
PLEASE NO: One of my favorite people I've ever met in baseball was the late Ernie Harwell. I was lucky enough to interview him once and will always treasure that.
However, I don't think it's an easy way to make a buck -- Mitch Albom, sportswriter-turned-sap producer, is going forward with a play based on Harwell's life . I'll keep my own memories of Harwell, thanks.
SORIANO'S TRAINING: The Onion on Alfonso Soriano:
EVEN IF ALBERT LEAVES: Buck up St. Louis, you'll always have beer .
And if that doesn't help, how about Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman ? I'd lie just to get lassoed for the truth.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: February 16, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: February 16, 2011 10:03 am
* Happy Albertageddon Day! The deadline for Pujols to sign an extension or report to spring training with extension talks tabled for the year is noon today. Sources tell CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller there's not much chance this thing gets done. The Cardinals may or may not have made Pujols an eight-year offer, depending on who you believe.
* There are only three arbitration-eligible players left: Jose Bautista, Rickie Weeks and Hunter Pence. The Twins and Delmon Young have settled on a one-year, $5.375 million deal, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. That was a little below the midpoint between the two sides' arbitration filings. Bautista and Weeks have been reported as being in serious talks about multi-year deals, with Bautista's arbitration hearing having been delayed.
* The Nationals have designated for assignment right-hander Luis Atilano, who started 16 games for them last season. They needed roster room after Adam LaRoche's contract was finally made official.
* Frank McCourt tells the Los Angeles Times that fans shouldn't worry about his financial troubles. So feel free to let that go and worry about other things. Like the bullpen.
* Also in the Times, the story of how Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal helped get his Dominican hometown its first firetruck.
* Jeff Wilpon tells reporters that selling controlling interest in the Mets is "not on the table."
* Right-hander John Maine still doesn't have a job, but could end up in Philly.
* A Mets beat writer pretty much cheated in fulfilling a promise to cover spring training in a Speedo if Cliff Lee ended up in Philadelphia.
-- David Andriesen
Posted on: February 15, 2011 10:05 am
Edited on: February 15, 2011 10:10 am
Welcome to Morning Pepper, a roudup of news and notes from around baseball.
* Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz tweeted this photo of the team's workout room at the newest spring training facility, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Man, that place needs a nickname immediately. Anyway, the facility isn't too shabby, as you can see in this video tour with the Denver Post.
* Albert Pujols went to high school and college in Kansas City and has ties there. You don't suppose ... no, not going to happen.
* A look at the tie Stan Musial will wear today when he receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom (it seems the Cardinals are missing a good chance to at the very least make some money by selling those ties -- I'd buy one)
* The great Joe Posnanski on the most interesting winners of Gold Gloves
* Daniel Bard, who bears a strong resemblance to one of the guys in Lady Antebellum, reflects on his "Grammy win" and whether he might have to give up baseball for music.
* Grady Sizemore still shooting for opening day.
* Don't expect a quick answer to the Yankees' rotation.
* Jim Leyland looks at Patrick Leyland as a player in camp, not a son.
* Kerry Wood: I started with the Cubs, I want to end here.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans and David Andriesen
Posted on: February 14, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:36 am
With spring training getting into full swing today, here's a look at notes from around baseball.
* CC Sabathia has always said in the past that he was absolutely, positively not going to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract after this season. Given the chance to rule it out again Monday morning, he "did some dancing around the issue and, for the first time, opened the door that he might deploy the opt-out," according to the New York Post.
Sabathia also came in noticeably lighter, saying he lost 25 pounds in the offseason because he wants to pitch another eight to 10 years. If he stays on his current deal, which runs through 2015, he'll be looking for a new contract at 36. If he opts out, he'll be trying to cash in on a long-term deal at 31. If nothing else, he can use the opt-out as leverage to get the Yankees to extend him past 2015.
* Jayson Werth showed up to Nationals camp sporting the mega-beard he had shaved off last year. The Washington Post noted that Ian Desmond told Werth, "Your beard is strong." Werth's response: "Strong to quite strong, actually."
* Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka tells WEEI.com he feels so good he thinks he can pitch more innings than his first season in 2007. Considering he threw 204 2/3 that year, that's saying something.
* Joe Girardi told reporters Derek Jeter will still lead off.
* The Pirates start camp one man down, as pitcher Jose Ascanio is having trouble getting out of Venezuela due to visa problems. Can't he just use his Amex?
-- David Andriesen