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Tag:Tommy Hunter
Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:59 am
 

Spring position battles: American League East



By Matt Snyder


Here we are for the fifth of six installments of spring positional battles. This one is the mighty AL East, the most polarizing and probably best division in the majors.

Previous spring position battles: AL West | NL West | AL Central | NL Central

New York Yankees
Designated Hitter: Andruw Jones vs. Russell Branyan vs. Free Agent vs. Revolving Door

I still feel like the Yankees will sign either Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez or Hideki Matsui -- any of whom likely nails down this job full-time. But it's undecided as of right now, and wide open. Will Andruw Jones or Russell Branyan hit well enough to justify being the full-time DH? Maybe, or maybe they platoon -- as Jones hits from the right side while Branyan is a lefty. Or maybe the Yankees use bench players like Eduardo Nunez, Bill Hall and Chris Dickerson in the field while using starters like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher at DH a few times a week in order to keep guys healthy and in tip-top shape.

Tampa Bay Rays
No. 4-5 starters: Jeff Niemann vs. Wade Davis vs. Matt Moore vs. Six-man rotation

Talk about a nice "problem" to have. The Rays obviously have David Price, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson as the top three in the rotation. While there isn't a big problem with either Niemann or Davis, it's time to find a place in the rotation for Moore and I'm certain they will. The 22-year-old left-hander was awesome in his limited time in the majors last year, including a stellar outing against the Rangers in Texas for Game 1 of the ALDS. Moore's already received the type of team-friendly contract Evan Longoria got when he was a rookie -- as Moore is signed through 2016 with club options running all the way through 2019. So the question is, do the Rays demote either Niemann or Davis to the bullpen or trade one of them? Niemann would be the trade candidate, as Davis also has a team-friendly contract with club options that take him through 2017. And I doubt this happens, but the Rays could always go with a six-man rotation. Seeing how this plays out will a big spring storyline.

Boston Red Sox
Shortstop: Nick Punto vs. Mike Aviles vs. Jose Iglesias

After trading both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie this offseason, the Red Sox are left with what appears to be Mike Aviles against Nick Punto at short. Punto had a good offensive campaign by his standards last season, when he hit .278 with a .388 on-base percentage. He only had six starts at shortstop, though, and his career numbers don't indicate he's worthy of an everyday gig at shortstop. Aviles also only started six games at short last season, and he only hit .255/.289/.409. He did hit well for the Red Sox, but it was a small 107 plate appearance sample. So the choice between Punto and Aviles is dubious defensively and neither is a good offensive option. Enter Iglesias, the dazzling defensive prospect. He's a dreadful hitter -- his line in Triple-A was .235/.285/.269 last season -- but it's not like Aviles or Punto are going to be confused with Troy Tulowitzki or anything. Maybe the Red Sox just plant Iglesias in the nine-hole and enjoy the exceptional defense?

Corner Outfield spots: Cody Ross vs. Ryan Sweeney vs. Carl Crawford and his health

Crawford is said to be questionable for the start of the season after undergoing minor wrist surgery a few weeks ago. If he's healthy, he starts in left easily while Sweeney and Ross battle it out for the right field job. If Crawford can't start the season, Ross and Sweeney are the corner outfielders, yet still fighting for the right field job for when Crawford returns. At some point, Ryan Kalish will return from offseason shoulder surgery and could eventually fight for playing time in right field as well.

Toronto Blue Jays
Outfield logjam: Colby Rasmus vs. Eric Thames vs. Rajai Davis vs. Travis Snider

We know who mans right field, but these four guys are competing for the other two spots. Thames in left field and Rasmus in center seem the most likely, but Davis will get a shot at either spot and Snider is in the mix for left.

No. 5 starter: Dustin McGowan vs. Kyle Drabek

This may bleed up into the No. 4 starter as well, but I'll give Brett Cecil the nod for now, since he is left-handed. The top three are Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez. So, for now, I'll guess the last spot comes down to McGowan and Drabek. McGowan was once a very promising young arm. He went 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 169 2/3 innings back in 2007, when he was 25. He then made 19 starts before falling injured in 2008 and finally just resurfaced late last season -- two shoulder surgeries and one knee surgery later. Does he have anything left? He was good in 12 minor-league starts in 2011, but had a 6.43 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in the small sample of 21 innings pitched for the Blue Jays. Drabek was a top 30 prospect each of the past two years, according to Baseball America, but he fell flat last season for the Jays. He had a 6.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and more walks than strikeouts for the big-league club. Even worse, he was knocked around for Triple-A Las Vegas, to the tune of a 7.44 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in 75 innings. Walks, again, were an issue with Drabek issuing 41 compared to 45 strikeouts. Prospects Deck McGuire and Drew Hutchison could also figure in the mix eventually, but this feels like Drabek vs. McGowan heading into March.

Baltimore Orioles
The entire pitching staff: Johnny Wholestaff vs. Joe Allstaff

So let's see ... the following pitchers might have a chance at the starting rotation: Zach Britton (very safe bet), Jason Hammel (safe bet), Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Dana Eveland, Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Alfredo Simon and Tommy Hunter. That's quite a mix of pitchers to sift through, but the job isn't overwith yet, because we have to look at the bullpen.

Three pitchers -- Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom and Kevin Gregg -- will compete for the closer job, with Troy Patton, Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day also being part of the bullpen mix. Of course, guys like Simon, Hunter and Bergesen will get a shot in the bullpen if they miss out on the rotation, too. There are more (Willie Eyre, Armando Galarraga, etc.), but I already named 17 pitchers vying for 12 spots.

We could probably move Simon and Hunter to the bullpen while eliminating Eveland from the starting mix, but that still leaves eight guys in competition. In the bullpen, Johnson seems the best bet to win the closer gig, with Lindstrom and Gregg setting up. Add Strop, Patton, Simon and Hunter and you have your seven. But, again, we've thrown out Eveland and there would still be three extra starters along with O'Day, Eyre et al on the outside looking in.

I'll say one thing: Orioles manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair won't be bored this spring. Maybe frustrated, but definitely not bored.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:35 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 6:13 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Texas Rangers

Mark Teixeira

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.

The Rangers are in an interesting position in the franchise's history -- no longer a middle-of-the-road team, the Rangers have turned themselves into one of the game's biggest players. The team has reached the last two World Series with a mixture of homegrown players (Ian Kinsler, C.J. Wilson, Alexi Ogando), savvy trades (sending Mark Teixeira to Atlanta for a haul that included Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz, plus the deal with the Reds getting Josh Hamilton) and big-ticket free-agents (Adrian Beltre). It's tough to argue with the results, as the Rangers have positioned themselves into becoming one of the top teams in baseball and don't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Lineup

1. Ian Kinsler, SS
2. Craig Gentry, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 3B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Edwin Encarnacion, 2B
7. Laynce Nix, RF
8. John Mayberry, LF
9. Taylor Teagarden, C

Starting Rotation

1. C.J. Wilson
2. John Danks
3. Derek Holland
4. Colby Lewis
5. Ryan Dempster

Bullpen

Closer - Joaquin Benoit
Set up - Darren Oliver, Nick Masset, Scott Feldman, Jesse Chavez, Yoshinori Tateyama
Long - Tommy Hunter

Notable Bench Players

Ivan Rodriguez will be in discussion for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, but he's now a backup catcher and could be a good one. You have a pair of first baseen in Justin Smoak and Mitch Moreland who aren't going to strike fear into too many pitchers, as well as two outfielders probably better defensively or as pinch runners in Jason Bourgeois and Scott Podsednik.

What's Good?

The rotation is deep -- in addition to the five listed, you could also throw in R.A. Dickey, Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez. And while there's no real shut-down closer, there are some very good bullpen arms, and the list above doesn't include Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Danny Herrera.

What's Not?

Besides Kinsler and Teixeira, the lineup is suspect. And the defense is worse. The outfield is kind of a hodgepodge, while the infield is a disaster with only Carlos Pena playing in his usual position. While Teixeira hasn't played third base since his rookie year in 2003, Kinsler has never played shortstop, nor has Encarnacion ever played second base -- but there just wasn't a whole lot of options. The outfield doesn't have the likes of Hamilton or Nelson Cruz to help out, either.

Comparison to real 2011

Would this team wind up in World Series? Not bloody likely. The pitching is fine and even maybe an slight upgrade to the team that won the American League pennant again in 2011, but that lineup is demonstratively worse. The Rangers were third in baseball in runs and second in OPS, and without Hamilton, Cruz, Mike Napoli, Michael Young and Beltre, this squad isn't going to do anything close to that. Teixeira is a good player -- and Pena could put up big homer numbers in that ballpark -- but those losses from the real squad are just too much to overcome. This team is maybe a .500 squad, at best, and that's only because of the depth in the pitching staff.

Next: St. Louis Cardinals

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Posted on: September 21, 2011 11:41 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 11:43 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Baltimore Orioles

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Baltimore Orioles
Record: 64-90, 29.5 games back in AL East
Manager: Buck Showalter
Best hitter: Adam Jones -- .283/.324/.466, 23 HR, 80 RBI, 63 R, 25 2B, 11 SB
Best pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie -- 9-17, 4.28 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 128 K, 202 IP

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Orioles haven't been in playoff contention since 1997. Following that season, they finished fourth nine times and third once. They're now headed for their fourth consecutive last-place finish.

2011 SEASON RECAP

Things appeared to be looking up early in the season for the Orioles. They started off 6-1, and this wasn't against pushovers. They swept the Rays, took two of three from the Tigers and then beat the Rangers. Of course, it was too good to be true. They proceeded to lose eight straight. They did battle back to .500 twice and lingered close to .500 until being buried by an awful stretch, when they went 6-23 from June 11-July 15. That would end any hope of breaking through, as the Orioles wouldn't be closer than 20 games in the AL East after July 22.

The Orioles did get younger in trading Derrek Lee, Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez, and there were some positive signs. They now have a decent offensive core of catcher Matt Wieters, third baseman Mark Reynolds, shortstop J.J. Hardy and outfielders Nick Markakis and Adam Jones (any of the four could have been picked as the "best hitter" above). None of those players are older than 28. Of course, none are younger than 25, nor do any appear to be superstar material. On the mound, the Orioles saw enough from rookie Zach Britton to believe he's one of the pieces of the future, but Brian Matusz had a disaster of a season. Jim Johnson is showing himself the answer at closer and Pedro Strop -- who was acquired from the Rangers in the Gonzalez deal -- is throwing the ball very well in front of him.

2012 AUDIT

The outlook would be a lot more sunny in a different division. The fact of the matter is that the Orioles are set up to improve their on-field product, but probably not be drastic enough to translate into more wins next season -- because the AL East is so good. The Yankees, Red Sox or Rays don't appear to be getting much worse any time soon and the Blue Jays are pretty well set up to take some significant steps forward. That means that even if the Orioles get better, they're still behind the 8-ball, so to speak.

One area where they can improve is from simple progression from all the young players. Matusz can't possibly be worse, so long as he stays mentally balanced, healthy and works hard in the offseason. Tommy Hunter has good enough stuff to be a part of the rotation, too, just as Jake Arrieta does. Chris Tillman is still too young to give up on. Shifting to the position players: Brian Roberts will still only be 34 and should be healthy, so there's hope he comes back with a productive season. Luke Scott and Nolan Reimold are fine pieces of a supporting cast and we already mentioned the offensive core. Also of note: Wieters is becoming a great defensive catcher. That matters.

FREE AGENTS

Cesar Izturis, SS
Vladimir Guerrero, DH

OFFSEASON FOCUS

They need to quit trying to make a patchwork lineup (Lee, Guerrero) for the short-term and instead use some money looking long-term. You aren't competing in the AL East by filling holes with washed-up vets. Here are five big things I'd do to improve the Orioles with the eyes on the future.
  • Sign Prince Fielder. Whatever it takes. I mentioned above the offensive core is good, but lacking a centerpiece. Prince ties it all together. The top seven in the lineup would go something like: Roberts, Markakis, Fielder, Jones, Hardy, Reynolds, Wieters. That looks pretty good, no? Fielder might not want to head to the worst team in the AL East, but money talks. Blow him away. Worried about his durability due to weight? He's only 27 and hasn't played less than 157 games in a season until this year (and he's at 155 and primed to surpass that mark again). He just doesn't miss games. After the big splash signing, try to keep everything else in-house and see what other holes definitely need to be filled after '12.
  • Move Mark Reynolds to DH permanently. He's an absolute butcher at third, but his power and on-base abilities are helpful to the offense.
  • Let Josh Bell and Chris Davis compete for the third base job. Both players have upside, so the Orioles could strike gold here and make the lineup even stronger.
  • Trade Jeremy Guthrie. He's going to be 33 next season and -- as long as you can ignore the high-loss totals his Orioles have saddled him with -- isn't a bad pitcher. He could give a contender 200 decent innings as their fifth starter. Thus, he'll get something like a mid-level prospect back, but the main reason is the Orioles need to see what they have by giving extended looks to the young pitchers who have already seen time in the bigs. Go into the season with a rotation of Britton, Matusz, Hunter, Arrieta and Tillman and give it an extended look. By midseason, if one or two aren't working out, it's time to dip into the minors for others. If three or four aren't working out, more drastic measures will have to be taken in the offseason.
  • Stick with the Strop-Johnson duo at the end of games. There's no reason to go out and grab another retread like Kevin Gregg again. Trade Gregg if they could, but it's doubtful much comes back. Whatever, let him pitch in non-save situations.
This wouldn't make them a contender in 2012, but they'd be better and would have the chance to evaluate where everything stands with the young players after the 2012 season. You have to take babysteps to get back to respectability after finishing fifth four straight times.

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Posted on: September 17, 2011 1:16 am
 

Playoff race: Angels can't gain ground



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Former Ranger starter Tommy Hunter helped out his old mates, throwing seven shutout innings in an 8-3 Orioles victory over the Angels, keeping the status quo in the American League West as the Rangers fell 4-0 to the Mariners in Seattle. The Rangers still lead the division by you games.

While Hunter was silencing the Angels' bats, Texas native Blake Beavan shut down the Rangers, throwing eight shutout innings on just four hits, striking out three with no walks. Beavan was the Rangers' first-round pick in 2007, but was traded to Seattle as part of the deal that sent Cliff Lee to Texas last season. The Mariners scored three unearned runs off of Texas starter C.J. Wilson in the third inning before Casper Wells homered in the seventh inning for Seattle.

In Baltimore, the Angels' Dan Haren struggled, allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in five innings, with Mark Reynolds taking him deep in the fifth inning. Haren is now 6-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 18 starts on the road this season and 9-3 with a 2.45 ERA in Anaheim.

Texas Rangers
86-65
Remaining schedule: 2 @ SEA, 3 @ OAK, 3 vs. SEA, 3 @ LAA
Coolstandings.com expectancy of division title: 91.3 percent

Los Angeles Angels
82-68, 3.5 GB
Remaining schedule: 2 @ BAL, 4 @ TOR, 3 v. OAK, 3 v. TEX
Coolstandings.com expectancy of division title: 8.7 percent

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 5:43 pm
 

Rangers acquire Uehara for Davis, Hunter

By Matt Snyder

The Rangers have been looking far and wide for a relief pitcher and it appears they have landed one -- just not Heath Bell or Mike Adams. Right-hander Koji Uehara of the Orioles have reportedly been traded to the Rangers in exchange for corner infielder Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter (Baltimore Sun via Twitter).

It will be interesting to see if this move takes the Rangers out of the running for the services of Bell and/or Adams -- if so, several teams would be quite pleased.

Uehara, 36, is pretty underrated -- likely due to playing for the non-contending Orioles. He has a 1.72 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 47 innings this season. He'll fit quite nicely in Texas as an eighth-inning bridge to Neftali Feliz.

Davis, 25, has shown signs in the past of being a prolific power hitter, but strikeout woes have plagued him. This season, however, he's hitting .250 with three home runs and six RBI in 72 at-bats. So it hasn't been a horrible effort since his recall. Of note here, the Orioles could immediately slip Davis in at first base and trade Derrek Lee. There have been reports that Lee is on the Pirates' radar.

Hunter, 24, is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in limited time this season for the Rangers.

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 8:44 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 8:50 pm
 

Rangers looking at Tommy Hunter in relief

By Evan Brunell

HunterThe Rangers are toying with the idea of making Tommy Hunter a reliever, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports. To that end, Hunter will pitch an inning out of the bullpen on Wednesday.

Hunter has been rehabbing from a groin injury that has knocked him out of the entire season. In fact, it was Hunter's injury in late spring training that opened the door for Alexi Ogando to start.

"It's to see if [Hunter] can do it, see how he recovers," manager Ron Washington said. "That's not in stone."

The Rangers need some help in long relief, as Dave Bush isn't quite working out in that role. The Rangers, as the Telegram notes, are always committed to the best 12-man staff on the roster, even if that forces starters to move to the bullpen.

While Hunter racked up a 3.73 ERA and 4.51 xFIP last season for the Rangers over 22 starts and one bullpen appearance, Texas does not need rotation help at the moment. By moving the righty, who has not relieved since college, into the bullpen, they can add some extra insurance for the rotation while perhaps getting Hunter back earlier than they may otherwise feel comfortable with should he continue starting games.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 11, 2011 10:01 am
 

Pepper: Lackey struggling for Red Sox



By Matt Snyder


'OUT OF REASONS': John Danks is 0-6 this season and he can't figure it out.

"I’m out of reasons. I don’t know. I’ve done the same thing I’ve done my whole career. I feel good. It’s just not working out. I don’t have any other way of putting it. But I’m back at it for my next start, whenever it is (May 17 against Texas). We’ll go from there.” (Chicago Tribune)

Could I make a suggestion? How about pitchers -- and the fans/media still clinging to the same notion -- quit acting like wins and losses are the defining individual pitching stat. Look at Danks' individual game logs. On opening day, he gave up two runs in six innings and lost. On April 13 he threw eight innings and allowed just one run and took a no-decision (there are guys with three or four wins who haven't had an outing this good). On April 19, he threw seven innings and gave up two runs, taking the loss. May 4, Danks worked eight innings and gave up three runs, taking the loss. Five of his eight starts have been quality starts. With better run support or bullpen help, he could easily be something like 4-3. Now, Tuesday night he was terrible, but that alone should be the discussion following the game, not how he's 0-6. That record alone suggests he's been terrible all season, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

FREE SPEECH? Pirates prospect Tony Sanchez is in trouble over a tweet he sent Monday night, where he complained about the umpiring -- even suggesting they decided "to blow a game." Obviously, Eastern League officials weren't too happy about the suggestion the umpires purposely changed an outcome. Sanchez ended up apologizing. (Hardball Talk) Much time has been spent discussing how athletes -- and, really, anyone -- should be careful when going to Twitter while emotional about anything. You're sending your thoughts to everyone who wants to see. That's not always a great idea. But what bothers me more than anything in these discussions is how few peolpe actually understand what "freedom of speech" means. The First Amendment begins, "Congress shall make no law." So you can't be punished by the legal system for speech. You most certainly can get fined, suspended or fired in any profession for something you say.

SPEAKING OF SOCIAL MEDIA: Jeff Sullivan over at SB Nation takes a look at the presence all major-league teams have on Facebook and Twitter. All use both outlets, but the numbers of fans vary and could correlate to how well the social media department of each franchise is run.

HUNTER UPDATE: Monday we passed along the news that Tommy Hunter of the Rangers had re-injured his groin. The good news now is that the strain is less severe and he'll only be set back about two to three weeks in his rehab. "I was more upset [Monday]," Hunter said. "It might just be scar tissue. It was just a little tweak. It's just a little setback." (Star-Telegram.com)

HUGHES UPDATE: Injured Yankees' starting pitcher Phil Hughes is expected to start a throwing program Thursday and could return in six to eight weeks. (MLB.com via Twitter) It will be interesting to track his progress, namely the great velocity question.

AN INNOCENT EMBRACE: If Albert Pujols does leave the Cardinals at the end of the year as a free agent, one major player for his services moving forward will most certainly be the Cubs. They lack power, will have an opening at first base and have about $50 million coming off the payroll before 2011. So, of course, when Cubs general manager and Pujols hugged before the Cubs-Cardinals game Tuesday night (look right for the evidence), it set off a media/social media firestorm. See, look, he's recruiting him already! Hendry, of course, said there was nothing to it.

"I can't win. I like Albert. We've always gotten along. He's a great, great player. I admire the heck out of him. He plays the game the right way every day," Hendry said, also noting he hugged former Cub Ryan Theriot, too. (CSN Chicago)

Pujols went out and had a 4-5 day as the Cardinals won.

BEST STUFF: What pitcher in baseball has the best pure stuff? Not who is the best or who has the best control, but the best arsenal of pitches that can baffle hitters. Fangraphs.com uses the criteria of "velocity, movement, intent and simply how hard it is for opposing hitters (of all types) to produce against what they're thrown" to determine Felix Hernandez has the best stuff. A healthy Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum and Justin Verlander round out the top five.

SLOW STARTER: Mat Latos was lights-out for a stretch last season. In fact, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. From May 7-Sept. 7, Latos was 13-2 with a 1.58 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 153 strikeouts in 136 1/3 innings. He did finish quite poorly and has started this season off poorly as well, so maybe that's why it's easy to forget last season he started out pretty poorly as well, as he took a 6.20 ERA into May. SignonSanDiego.com points out it's possible Latos is simply a slow starter and wore down late last season.

BEHIND THE DISH DEFENSE: There are lots of defensive metrics out there for defense in the field, such as range factor and zone rating. It's a bit tougher to judge catchers with stats, though, considering range doesn't factor in. They're parked behind the plate. Of course many have come up with methods over the years, and the thoughtful boys over at Beyond the Box Score have come up with their own methodology based upon tweaking parts of other metrics. So, in terms of saving runs for his team, the best defensive catcher so far in 2011 has been ... Matt Wieters. Of the 75 they ranked, Josh Thole was last. Interestingly, Yadier Molina -- who is hyped by many as a great defensive catcher -- checks in at No. 62, just ahead of Jake Fox and Ryan Doumit while trailing Mike Napoli. Small sample size? Maybe.

THE LEMONADE GUY: I had no idea who Kenny Geidel was before he passed away earlier this week, but apparently he was known to Pirates' fans as simply "the lemonade guy" and was pretty beloved. Big League Stew put together a tribute to the popular vendor.

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Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Hunter suffers setback in rehab outing

By Matt Snyder

Tommy Hunter was nearly ready to join the Rangers for the first time this season, and instead he's likely going to be unavailable for several more weeks.

The 24-year-old pitcher injured his right groin the day he was named a member of the Rangers' starting pitching rotation in spring training and was making his second rehab start Monday when he reaggravated the injury. He had thrown six innings and allowed no earned runs for Double-A Frisco before the issue. He will go to Arlington to have the injury examined by Rangers' team doctors. (Foul Territory )

Hunter was about to arrive on the scene with perfect timing for the Rangers. They've lost 10 of their last 14 games. Matt Harrison has fallen apart since a scorching start, though his last outing was a quality start. Alexi Ogando is throwing the ball really well, but he's battling blister issues -- which forced him to miss a scheduled start Sunday.

Had Hunter returned, he could have strengthened the rotation or bolstered a struggling bullpen still reeling from having lost Darren O'Day.

There's no telling just yet if Hunter severely injured his groin Monday or if it was a very slight setback.

Hunter was 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA and 1.24 WHIP last season.

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