Tag:Scott Cousins
Posted on: March 1, 2012 10:33 pm
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Spring primer: Miami Marlins



By Matt Snyder


All of a sudden, in just one offseason, the Miami Marlins have undergone a complete makeover. They have a new name, logo and stadium. New, more colorful uniforms are part of the deal as well. Still, that's all window-dressing if the on-field product resembles the 72-90 one from 2011. And it doesn't. Not only did the Marlins bring in three highly-coveted and high-priced free agents, but they traded for fiery Carlos Zambrano and brought in one of the most outspoken -- and, at times, effective -- managers in baseball. How Ozzie Guillen's new-look troops fare in the 2012 season remains to be seen, but two things are certain: More people will be in attendance to find out and it's not going to be boring.

Major additions: SS Jose Reyes, LHP Mark Buehrle, RHP Carlos Zambrano, RHP Heath Bell, LHP Wade LeBlanc
Major departures: RHP Javier Vazquez, C John Baker, RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Chris Volstad

Probable lineup
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
3. Hanley Ramirez, 3B
4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF (a.k.a. Mike Stanton)
5. Logan Morrison, LF
6. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
7. John Buck, C
8. Omar Infante, 2B

Probable rotation
1. Josh Johnson
2. Mark Buehrle
3. Anibal Sanchez
4. Ricky Nolasco
5. Carlos Zambrano

Wade LeBlanc is the injury replacement.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Heath Bell
Set-up: Edward Mujica, Mike Dunn

Important bench players

C Brett Hayes, IF Greg Dobbs, OF Scott Cousins, OF Bryan Petersen

Prospect to watch
For this year, there really aren't many guys on the radar ready to jump in and immediately help. Third base prospect Matt Dominguez is in Triple-A, but he's now blocked by one of the team leaders in Hanley Ramirez. All the other highly-ranked Marlins prospects are in the lower-levels of the minors. So we'll go with Dominguez here for this reason: Should he have a big first three months in Triple-A while the Marlins are in the thick of the pennant race, he makes for good trade bait at the deadline. Maybe they could use him to upgrade the bridge to Heath Bell or even as part of a package to landing a really good center fielder.

Fantasy breakout: Logan Morrison
"Morrison's track record suggests both his walk rate and BABIP should rebound, and in fact, his .268 BABIP from a year ago looks like the result of some horrendously bad luck. He is a strong bet to improve on his OBP and, at worst, maintain the home run power he displayed in 2011. Add in some improvement and subtract out his minor league demotion and DL time from last season, and Morrison suddenly profiles as a No. 3 mixed league OF." - Al Melchior [Full Marlins team fantasy preview]

Fantasy bounce-back: Hanley Ramirez
"Ramirez had a miserable first half last season, and just when he started to get untracked, he suffered a shoulder injury that led to season-ending surgery. As the season progressed, Ramirez adjusted and started hitting more line drives and flyballs, and his batting average and power numbers rose accordingly. Even though his overall stats were pale compared to his norms, a good sign for Ramirez was that his home run per flyball rate was not much lower than usual." - Al Melchior [Full Marlins team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Everyone behaves, Ramirez and Johnson stay healthy and have big seasons while the youngsters (Stanton, Morrison) develop into stars. Especially now that there are two wild cards, the Marlins have a great shot at the playoffs with this group. And once you get there, anything can happen, so I'd say an optimistic outlook has them winning the third World Series in franchise history. If you look at the upside in the offense and rotation in particular, it's hard to argue against a best-case scenario being a championship. Then again ...

Pessimistic outlook
Utter disaster. The club doesn't respond to Guillen, Johnson injures his arm again, Zambrano melts down, Morrison quibbles with management over Twitter, Ramirez starts slow and demands a trade due to wanting to play shortstop again ... you get it. I can't think of another club with such high-peak and low-valley potential entering the 2012 season. This group of personalities could be the new Bronx Zoo champion or a catastrophic mix on the field that finishes last. Almost literally, anything could happen. As I said in the intro, it certainly won't be boring. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:11 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 1:39 pm
 

A unique perspective on Posey-Cousins collision



By Matt Snyder


Last May 25, Marlins bench player Scott Cousins bowled over star Giants catcher Buster Posey. The immediate result was a run scored that led to an extra-innings victory for the Marlins. In the process, however, Posey was injured and it turned out to be season-ending. He broke his fibula and tore three ligaments in his ankle.

The aftermath brought lots of backlash in Cousins' direction. At first, Posey wouldn't return his phone calls. Giants fans all over Twitter and message boards called the play dirty and threw taunts and insults Cousins' way. Those will all surely be rekindled when the Giants and Marlins face each other this season, too.

But new Giants reliever Clay Hensley has a unique perspective. He was on the Marlins when the play happened and is now playing for the Giants, so there's no worry of bias in standing up for a teammate. He was Cousins' teammate and now he's Posey's. Andrew Baggerly of CSNBayArea.com collected some really good quotes on the situation from Hensley.

On Cousins' perspective: “Awful,” Hensley said (CSNBayArea). “You’ve got a player, Scott Cousins, who plays hard and he’s a good guy and a good kid. He just wanted to make a play to help win a game. He’s in his home town, trying to cut a groove for himself with the ballclub. He personally felt he had no room (to slide). Nobody can say one way or the other besides him ... It was tough to watch. I know for his part of things, nobody felt worse than he did. You play the game hard, but you don’t want to hurt anybody.”

On the Marlins' locker room after the win: “It was quiet. Nobody was celebrating,” Hensley said (CSNBayArea). “I can guarantee you there wasn’t any, `Yeah, we got his ass!’ Nothing like that. Everybody was trying to figure out how bad it was. At the same time, Cousins was pretty distraught – wrecked, really – by it as well ... You’re playing to win every time you take the field, but baseball is like one big family. You don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

On Cousins' mindset the rest of the season: “(The collision) is something that affected him for a long time,” Hensley said (CSNBayArea). “We’d try. We'd say things. I remember I told him, `Hey, all you can do is keep your head up, keep working hard.’ That’s easy to say. I mean, this happened to him in his home city. Now we get home (to Miami) and he’s getting hate mail. It was really, really tough for him. He was definitely, really upset about the whole situation.”

Obviously Posey had a worse time last season than Cousins did, as the catcher had to rehab from a broken leg. I don't think Hensley is suggesting otherwise. But the hate in Cousins' direction is definitely unfair. Home-plate collisions are part of baseball. Just because Posey was injured on the play doesn't make it dirty. Hopefully by now all Giants fans have turned the page.

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Voting for the 2011 MLB Bloggies, Part I



By Matt Snyder


With just a few days left until 2012 brings us a whole new year, it's only fitting to look back at the year that was. Sure, there's an actual baseball season, including spring training, the regular season and the postseason, but things happen nearly every day throughout the entire calendar year. So we're going to create a fake award and call it a Bloggie.

We'll set the table with some nominations and let you, our readers, vote for the winners. This is just Part I. Tuesday, we bring you Part II. Friday, we'll post the winners and our staff picks. Without further ado ...

Best Moment(s) of 2011
No-Hitters: Justin Verlander, Ervin Santana and Francisco Liriano all tossed a no-hitter during the 2011 season, with Verlander doing so for the second time in his career.
10-year anniversary of 9/11: The Cubs and the Mets played the Sunday Night Game on September 11 in New York's Citi Field, with the game itself taking a backseat to the pre-game memorial for the victims and the honoring of service men and women. 
September 28th: Rarely -- if ever -- has the final day of the regular season provided so much drama, as the Cardinals and Rays completed epic comebacks to steal the respective wild cards. Evan Longoria put the cherry on top of an all-around amazing night of baseball with his walk-off home run.
Cooper Stone throws out first pitch: Months after losing his father, Shannon Stone, to a tragic fall, young Cooper Stone threw out the ceremonial first pitch of ALDS Game 1. The catcher? His favorite player, Josh Hamilton, who then embraced Stone just in front of the pitcher's mound.
Game 6: Eleven innings. Nineteen runs. Fifteen pitchers. Beltre and Cruz go deep back-to-back. Freese's triple. Hamilton's homer. Berkman's clutch single. And Freese's walk-off. This was one for the ages in one of the best World Series in recent memory.



Most Historic Milestone
Jeter's 3,000th: On July 9, Derek Jeter hit a home run for hit number 3,000, becoming the 28th player in baseball history to join the elite group.
Thome's 600th: On August 15, Jim Thome went deep twice, the second home run being the 600th of his illustrious career. Only seven other players in big-league history have reached that plateau.
Rivera's 602nd: On September 19, Mariano Rivera locked down the save with ease. It was the 602nd of his career, making him the all-time leader.
Triple Crowned: Verlander led the American League in wins, strikeouts and ERA. Clayton Kershaw pulled off the same feat in the National League. The last time each league had a pitcher take the triple crown was 1924.
Most Valuable: Verlander won both the Cy Young and the AL MVP awards, marking the first time a starting pitcher won the MVP since 1986 and the 10th time in history a player won both the Cy Young and MVP.



Biggest Surprise
The Cardinals: Not only were the eventual World Series champions virtually left for dead in late August, but they went all season without their ace, as Adam Wainwright suffered a season-ending injury in spring training.
The D-Backs: The Arizona Diamondbacks were predicted to finish last in the NL West by nearly everyone. They had finished last the past two seasons, too. But these Snakes came out and won the West by a whopping eight games and took the Brewers to the limit in the NLDS.
The Rays: Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays had won the AL East two of the previous three seasons, but they also lost several key pieces and the payroll was $30 million less than it was in 2010. And the Rays still took the AL wild card from the mighty Red Sox on the final day of the regular season.
Pujols to L.A.: Albert Pujols was a St. Louis Cardinals icon. While he appeared to be flirting with other teams, it only seemed like a ploy to get the Cardinals to pay him more. He wouldn't really leave, would he? Well, he did, signing with the Angels on the final morning of the Winter Meetings.
Marlins' spending spree: For years we've watched the Florida Marlins deal potential high-salary players and be one of the most notoriously frugal clubs around. And then, in less than a week, the newly-named Miami Marlins inked three big-name free agents -- Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle.



Biggest Disappointment -- Individual section
Dunn is done: Adam Dunn has one of the most historically awful offensive seasons ever, and he's a DH. And it was only the first year of a four-year, $56 million contract.
No mo fro? Coco Crisp let his dreads out twice to reveal an incredibly awesome afro. But he didn't stick with it. And, yes, we realize this is a disappointment on a different level, but the Bloggies don't necessarily have to be serious.
Fractured: Marlins bench player Scott Cousins leveled star Giants catcher at home plate, a play in which Posey suffered a season-ending broken leg.
Juiced? NL MVP Ryan Braun failed a drug test and is facing a 50-game suspension, if his appeal is not upheld.



Biggest Disappointment -- Team
Red Sox: You may have heard of a collapse ...
Braves: You may have heard of a collapse ...
Twins: Lots of injuries and underperformance left the two-time defending AL Central champs with 99 losses.
Giants: The defending World Series champs finished eight games back in the NL West and four out in the wild card, sporting one of the worst offenses in baseball.



Most Bush League Moment
Weaver vs. Detroit: Magglio Ordonez watches a home run to see if it's fair or foul. Jered Weaver misinterprets it and thinks he's been shown up, so he has some words for the Tigers. Then Carlos Guillen hits a home run and basically stands still, staring down Weaver. Weaver then threw at Alex Avila and was tossed from the game while screaming at the entire Tigers dugout. You can place blame with Weaver, Guillen or both of them. However you slice it, though, at least one person was far out of line.
Big Z(ero): Carlos Zambrano gets knocked around by the Braves, throws at Chipper Jones -- getting himself ejected -- and then bails on his teammates. Some overheard him talking retirement, but he now is trying to work his way back.
Molina's "spittle:" Yadier Molina may not have intentionally spit on umpire Rob Drake back on August 2, but he did freak out far too much over a called strike and get himself suspended for five games during a pennant race.
Nyjer's mouth: Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan was a polarizing figure all season and that was solidified after the Brewers beat the D-Backs in the NLDS. Morgan was overheard screaming f-bombs right behind a field reporter. OK, maybe he didn't realize it was on live TV. But then when he was summoned for an interview on national TV, he made sure to say it loud and clear right into the microphone.



Worst Call
No pitching inside: Clayton Kershaw was ejected September 14 for (barely) hitting Gerardo Parra with a pitch on the elbow. Kershaw had been seen jawing with Parra the previous night, but he also had a one-hitter going and the pitch wasn't very far inside. It definitely seemed like an overreaction by home plate umpire Bill Welke.
Let's go home: An epic 19-inning game ended on a blown call at home plate by Jerry Meals, calling runner Julio Lugo safe at home and giving the Braves the victory over the Pirates on July 26.
Home run? On August 17, Royals DH Billy Butler hit what appeared to be a double in the gap. It bounced high off the outfield wall, hitting some fencing above padding on the wall. The umpires initially ruled a home run, but the play was put under video review. Replays pretty conclusively showed the ball staying in the park -- even the hometown Kansas City announcers were discussing that when the umpires emerged Butler would be ordered to head to second base. Butler was standing on the top step of the dugout with his helmet on when the umpires emerged and upheld the ruling.
Missed tag: In Game 3 of the World Series, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler made an errant throw that pulled first baseman Mike Napoli off the bag. Napoli made a swipe tag that very clearly got Cardinals baserunner Matt Holliday in time. First base umpire Ron Kulpa, however, blew the call, opening the door to a big inning for the Cardinals.



Biggest "Can't-Look-Away" Character
These don't really need an explanation, so we'll jump right to the poll ...



Coming Tuesday: Part II, including Boneheaded Moves of the Year, Weirdest Injury and Most Impressive Home Run
Coming Friday: Voting results and staff picks

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.



Posted on: August 12, 2011 9:46 am
 

Pepper: Giants, Marlins meet again

Buster Posey

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Just when we thought we'd heard the end of the Buster Posey injury, the Giants are headed to South Florida.

For the first time since May, the Marlins and Giants will meet. You may remember Scott Cousins ran over Posey and ended the season of the reigning Rookie of the Year. In May, the Giants talked about Cousins, retribution and the rest. Well, that's not going to be a problem.

"We've moved on," Bruce Bochy told reporters, including Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. "We have bigger things to be worried about. That's trying to win and get to the postseason. What happened is behind us."

After a 3-7 home stand, the Giants take to the road as the second-place team in the National League West, a half-game behind the Diamondbacks.

Also, Cousins won't be a target, because he's on the 60-day disabled list with a back injury.

The Giants say they've moved on, so maybe we all can as well. Or at least let's hope.

(Also, that's just an awesome picture from Jason O. Watson of US Presswire.) 

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs: Blue Jays fans had some fun with the report of Toronto stealing signs. The Star in Toronto has a good photo gallery of signs the fans brought to Thursday's game.

Fast company: Justin Verlander recorded his 100th win on Thursday in his 191st career start, making him the 13th fastest to the 100-win mark since 1919. [Baseball-Reference.com]

Holliday break:  St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday missed his second consecutive game with a back injury on Thursday, but may be ready to play Friday. Holliday is unlikely to go on the DL. [MLB.com]

Good Reed: The Cubs may be having another rough season, but outfielder Reed Johnson is having an outstanding year. He's hitting .349/.389/.566 with five homers in 75 games. In five starts since coming back from back stiffness, Johnson has gone 11 for 21 and is making himself part of next season's plans. However, he is a free agent after this season. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Vandy bound: Blue Jays first-rounder Tyler Beede will not sign with the Blue Jays, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports. Beede, a right-handed starter, told teams before the draft that he wasn't going to sign, but the Blue Jays took a chance on him. He will be eligible to be drafted again in 2014.

Real fight: Usually baseball fights are millabouts with some shoving and little else. Not in the independent North American Baseball League. The league infamous for Jose Canseco and the Lake County Fielders, has another claim to shame -- the fight between former big leaguers Mike Marshall (the manager of the Chico Outlaws) and Tony Phillips. From the Los Angeles Times, here's the fight in which the 51-year-old Marshall suffered facial injuries.

Cop unhappy with Rays: The Cop from the Village People isn't happy with the Tampa Bay Rays. Victor Willis said he's planning on suing the Rays "within the next 30 days" for misappropriating his voice and image. The Village People performed after a Rays game last season and used video of the band performing YMCA in 1978 to promote the post-game concert. Problem is, Willis left the band in 1984 and he wasn't performing. Willis wrote the band's hits and doesn't need to perform to earn money, as he earns more than $1 million a year from royalties from YMCA alone, not to mention Macho Man, Go West and In the Navy. [St. Petersburg Times]

No pinch-hitter for Dunn: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he's not going to pinch-hit for Adam Dunn, even though he's thought about it. Guillen said he'll consider sitting Dunn against left-handed starters, but keep him in the games he starts. [Chicago Tribune]

Welcome back: Left-hander Brian Matusz is pitching well in Triple-A Norfolk and could be back on his way to Baltimore in short order, manager Buck Showalter told reporters. [MLB.com]

Progressive Ice: Cleveland's Progressive Field will host the Michigan-Ohio State hockey game this winter. The ballpark started Snow Days last year with a quarter-mile ice skiing track and a tubing hill. Both will be back, but they're also be a hockey rink. [New York Times]

Coming up short: Just about every game you'll hear a fan or radio announcer groan when an outfielder pulls up and lets a ball bounce in front of him. You know why he does that? Because he's not Alfonso Soriano. As soon as I saw the way Alfonso Soriano play Ian Desmond's leadoff double in the top of the eighth inning on Thursday, I thought, "that's why you pull up." Desmond turned Soirano's bad judgement into a double. It wasn't in MLB.com's highlights (or lowlights) but it's just another in the long list of Soriano's fielding mishaps.

Cactus bringing jack: A cactus statue signed by all of this year's All-Stars is being auctioned off on MLB.com with proceeds going to the cancer charities. [MLB.com]

Great news: Finally, a personal note. You may not know Dave Cameron, a writer for FanGraphs and USS Mariner, but Dave's recently been diagnosed with leukemia. Anyway, Dave's completed his first round of chemotherapy and there's no more leukemia in his body. He'll still have to go through more chemo and will be in the hospital for another week or so, but this is great news. [FanGraphs]

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: June 22, 2011 11:34 am
 

Pepper: No rule change needed at 1B

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: There may not be a more interesting division in baseball than the American League Central. While the surprising Indians lead the Tigers by a game, the White Sox and Twins linger. Can the Twins, now just 6 1/2 games out, continue to get themselves in contention? Will Jake Peavy be able to stay in the White Sox's rotation? NESN.com's Tony Lee joins our own Lauren Shehadi to discuss.

RULE CHANGE NEEDED?: And just yesterday, I was going to make a sarcastic joke that I was surprised I hadn't heard Giants fans complain about safety at first base after the Albert Pujols injury.

For weeks after Buster Posey's injury we heard long discussions about changing the rules for plays at the plate and how the catcher had to be protected. Scott Cousins was vilified and scapegoated. Well, Wilson Betemit was taken off the hook when Cardinals manager Tony La Russa put all the blame on the shoulders of rookie Pete Kozma, even though in both cases the injured player deserves much of the blame for being in a  poor position (and I'm not saying either deserved to be hurt, just that they put themselves in a bad spot and got hurt -- it happens).

Anyway, the New York Times is the first (and only that I've seen) to start up the change-the-rules-at-first-base bandwagon. My response? In a word: no.

LUDWICK ON THE MOVE?: Ryan Ludwick was moved last July from one contender to another -- from St. Louis to San Diego (in a three-team trade that brought Jake Westbrook to St. Louis); he could be on the move again.

The Phillies, Marlins and Reds have all reportedly asked about Ludwick's availability. Ludwick is hitting .255/.322/.393 with a team-high nine home runs this season, but is hitting .279/.324/.419 away from Petco Park.

The Padres could also move some of their relievers, with the Phillies and Cardinals having already checked in on the availability of Chad Qualls and Heath Bell.[FoxSports.com]

SHIPPING HANLEY?: Are the Marlins better off without Hanley Ramirez? Ramirez is in the third year of a six-year, $70 million contract that pays him $46.5 million over the next three years and does not include a no-trade clause. [Palm Beach Post]

MADDON APOLOGIZES: Joe Maddon didn't intentionally pull the wool over the eyes of umpires Monday by not having Sam Fuld face a batter after warming up in the eighth inning, it's just that Bob Davidson was behind the plate, and he didn't know the rule any better than Maddon did. Maddon apologized to the umpires and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. [Tampa Tribune]

FAUSTO FLOUNDERING: One Ohio team has already demoted its opening-day starter to the minors, and the other team may soon be sending its opening-day starter to the bullpen if he doesn't get it together. Cleveland's Fausto Carmona is 4-9 with a 6.17 ERA in 16 starts this season and is 1-6 with a 9.73 ERA over his last seven starts. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

ESCOBAR IMPROVING: Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar has seen his batting average rise nearly 50 points in the last two weeks, and his glove was already playing at a high level. Is the one big-league player the Royals got from the Zack Greinke trade beginning to show why the Royals thought he could be part of their next wave of talent? [Kansas City Star]

HEADED HOME?: The Hanshin Tigers are scouting Hideki Matsui and Kosuke Fukudome if either Japanese player decides to return to Japan after the season. Fukudome would be a better fit for the Tigers, who play in Japan's Central League. Like in MLB, NPB has one league with the DH (the Pacific League) and one without (the Central League). [YakyuBaka.com]

GREEN LIGHT: The Rangers' Craig Gentry is pretty fast. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

RESPECT: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sometimes goes out of his way to tweak the Cubs and Cubs fans, but not when he's talking about the other Chicago team's shortstop, Starlin Castro. Guillen calls Castro "amazing." Guillen gave some encouraging words to Castro after Monday's game, and that meant a lot to the young Cub. [Chicago Sun-Times]

TURNING 20: Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez celebrated the 20th anniversary of his big-league debut Monday. The 39-year-old Rodriguez has 13 Gold Gloves and an MVP since he came up as a 19-year-old with the Rangers. [MLB.com]

NICE PICK: With the Yankees in town, the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with former Reds first-round pick Chad Mottola, who was taken with the pick before the Yankees took Derek Jeter. Mo Egger of ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati breaks down why Mottola wouldn't have played for the Reds even if they picked him. Hint, his name is Barry Larkin.

ARMS SALE: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times looks at what the Mariners could get for Jason Vargas or Doug Fister, two guys who are having pretty decent years.

COMPELLING CAMPANA: A great story in The Tennessean about Cubs outfielder Tony Campana. As a kid in Franklin, Tenn., Campana battled Hodgkin's disease and couldn't play baseball, but was still in the dugout with his teammates, cheering them on. His coaches at the time didn't think he'd survive, much less be in the big leagues.

WORTHY CAUSE: There's a petition online to have Vin Scully call one more World Series. Scully hasn't called a World Series on TV since 1988 and is still one of the best. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]

CUTTER CUT: The Jays have told recently demoted Kyle Drabek to shelve his cutter for now. The team wanted him concentrating more on his fastball, but he kept going back to the cutter more than the team liked. The Jays hope he gains confidence in his fastball and lessens his reliance on the cutter. [National Post]

NO CHANGE IN POSTING: The posting system for Japanese players coming to the United States won't change, NPB Tracker passes along (since I can't read the original Sanspo report).

GOLDEN GROOMING: You may have missed the Golden Groomer Award, a monthly award given to the baseball player with the best facial hair. The last winner was Reds minor league catcher Corky Miller. [OMGReds.com]

LOGO FUN: Check out this really cool graphic of all the team's cap insignias since 1950 (including batting practice). Hat tip to the fine folks at the UniWatchBlog, which had a cool thing worth reading about spotting baseball fields from the sky.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 16, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: June 16, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Pepper: Giants happy Marlins are losing?



By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: Can the Pirates finally have a winning season? I discuss this and the AL Central race, AL West race and the spiraling Cardinals with Scott Braun in Thursday's version of Baseball Today. Click on the video above to watch.

TURN THE PAGE, GUYS: On May 26, Scott Cousins bowled over Buster Posey of the Giants and knocked him out for the season. The Marlins completed a sweep of the Giants that night. Since then, the Marlins are 3-17, and Cousins is on the DL with a back injury. Via Extra Baggs, apparently this "hasn't gone unnoticed" for the Giants and they feel like -- off the record, of course -- "karma's a bitch." C'mon guys. You won a World Series last year and now your catcher suffered a freak injury that could have happened to anyone. This kind of petty nonsense has a place in junior high, but not the bigs -- and certainly not from a division leader with a World Series ring. Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen a season-ending injury cause so much upheaval -- locally or nationally. It's a shame it happened, but good Lord, he's still alive.

TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL: "The interleague thing is just awful," said Adam Dunn (Chicago Tribune). The White Sox DH, who is finally starting to awake from an extended early-season slumber, is speaking specifically about how the DH affects interleague play. People like David Ortiz will have to sit as they visit NL parks while utility players from NL teams end up DHing in AL parks. Of course, even if interleague play is eliminated, the World Series would still have this issue. And that's kind of an important series, no?

ALONG THOSE LINES: With Eric Hosmer now firmly entrenched at first base, the Royals have no place to put Billy Butler this weekend in St. Louis. Thus, one of their best hitters will be relegated to pinch-hitting duty. (KansasCity.com)

WHITHER COLON INVESTIGATION: Earlier in the season, news broke that Bartolo Colon had received a stem-cell procedure in the Dominican Republic that helped repair his shoulder and elbow. Immediately, Major League Baseball wanted to be sure no banned substances were used in the procedure and began an investigation. Since then, absolutely nothing has happened, and there's no sign of things progressing any time soon. (NYTimes.com blog)

QUIET, PLEASE. MAD SCIENTIST AT WORK: Albert Pujols hadn't started a game at third base since 2002 until this season. Wednesday night marked his third start this season at the hot corner -- as injuries and other circumstances have led manager Tony La Russa to move Pujols across the diamond. The two errors he committed were far from the only reason the Cardinals lost to the Nationals 10-0, but still were worth mentioning. Don't think they deterred La Russa from doing it again, though. "If we had the seventh game of the World Series and it was the same set of circumstances, I'd play him at third base hoping they'd hit 27 balls to him. That's how good a third baseman he is," La Russa said (StLtoday.com). Yeah, keep telling yourself that, Tony.

DAMON'S STOCK RISING: Johnny Damon is nearing his 500th double. When that happens, he'll join 10 other players as the only ones in MLB history to stockpile 2,500 hits, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 200 home runs (page/TB">Rays%29" target="_blank">TBO.com). That might sound like cherry-picking numbers -- because, well, it kind of is -- but the players he joins prove it means something: George Brett, Goose Goslin, Rogers Hornsby, Willie Mays, Paul Molitor, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Al Simmons and Robin Yount. All 10 are in the Hall of Fame.

SETTLING IN: Alex Gordon was probably one of the last guys you'd envision to be a leadoff hitter entering the season, but since making the switch about a month ago, he's morphed into a nice leadoff man. He's raised his on-base percentage by taking a lot more pitches, a deliberate approach. “I definitely haven’t been perfect at it, but my main goal is just to try to get on and give these guys a chance to drive me in.” (KansasCity.com)

HOCKEY AT PROGRESSIVE: The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry will be on full display at Progressive Field in 2012, according to the AP. The two collegiate hockey teams will reportedly square off where the Cleveland Indians play, marking the first major outdoor hockey game in Ohio.

INGE ON TRACK: Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge has been sidelined for the past two weeks with mono, but he's set to start a rehab assignment Thursday night with Triple-A Toledo (Detroit Free Press). While he's been out, the Tigers have continued their surge all the way to the top of the AL Central.

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 3:35 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2011 7:20 pm
 

Posey hoping to move on from collision

By C. Trent Rosecrans

And here I thought I had my last Buster Posey update of the day -- the Giants catcher released a statement on Saturday and here it is:

"I appreciate the continued support of Giants fans and others as I begin the process of working my way back. But in no way do I condone threats of any kind against Scott Cousins or his family.

"As I said last week, I'm not out to vilify Scott. I appreciate that he made the effort to reach out to me on the night of the play, but I was in no physical condition to talk to anyone. I have not been back with the team since that night, so I haven't even been aware of any other messages he's left for me. We all need to move on, so it isn't necessary to have a conversation with him at this point.

My only focus right now is looking forward, getting healthy and returning to catching for the Giants."

Maybe the Giants should make sure they drop one of those releases off in the general manager's suite.

Finally, though, someone is making sense. For the most rational, mature and common-sense response to the entire ordeal, listen to Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt. Speaking to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Affeldt had plenty to say, including this:

"(Posey's) soing to be back. I talked to Buster. He's going to heal up. He's going to come back. It's not like he's never going to play again. It's not like Cousins killed him. It's a frustrating deal. It is. We're not going to act like this if Buster had Tommy John (surgery) and can't play for us. It would've been the same blow. We move on. We need to focus on supporting the team that we do have." 
Affeldt also had things to say about Brian Sabean, Cousins and Logran Morrison -- and it's all worth a read. Kudos to Affeldt for his level-headed response.

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Torre: Rule change on collisions unlikely

By C. Trent Rosecrans

So, I guess it's about time for the day's Buster Posey update -- I'll resist a "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead" joke -- and this one is from Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations.

Joe TorreTorre, a former catcher, says it's unlikely baseball will change any of its rules as a result of Posey's injury.

"I think it's safe to say that I don't anticipate any changes, but I'm willing to listen," Torre told MLB.com.

Torre said he's talked to Giants general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy about the play on May 25.

Torre said he didn't see anything dirty about the play and didn't believe Scott Cousins was trying to hurt Posey.

"I spoke to Brian Sabean [Friday] and Bochy [Thursday], and I told them I'd be willing to sit with them and whoever they want to invite to discuss it," Torre said. "I told them that I didn't see anything that had to be changed, but I certainly would be open to listening to them. I think they just what discussion."

Another former catcher spoke up on the play, as perhaps the best catcher ever, Johnny Bench, told the Tulsa World that Posey "put himself in such a bad position" on the play.

"I teach my kids to stay away from the plate when you don't have the ball so the runner actually sees home plate and his thought is, 'slide,'" Bench told the newspaper. "But Buster is laying in front of home plate, and it's like having a disabled car in the middle of a four-leaf highway. You're just going to get smacked. Show them the plate. You can always catch the ball and step, or step and catch the ball, as long as you've got the runner on the ground. And if you have the runner on the ground, there's less of a chance of any severe collision."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com