Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:16 am
By Evan Brunell
Aramis Ramirez, Cubs -- Ramirez blasted two home runs, with Carlos Pena joining in on the fun too. But Ramirez gets the props here for a 3-for-4 showing, scoring three runs and driving in three while adding a double as the Cubs raked Jhoulys Chacin over the coals. Ramirez hasn't been the same the last couple of seasons but is still a quality hitter who was in sore need of a power display such as this, as his slugging percentage prior to the game was at .417. It's up to .446 now.
Brandon Phillips, Reds -- Phillips hadn't been performing up to expectations on offense this season but has turned things around since with his 4-for-5 evening pushing his batting average to .299 after collecting hits in half of his last 32 at-bats. Despite boasting the best run differential in the NL Central, the Reds have scuffled lately. Phillips' hot streak has allowed the Reds to more or less keep pace and are now a half-game behind the Cardinals for first place. The Brewers lead by three games over St. Louis.
Trent Oeltjen, Dodgers -- The 28-year-old Oeltjen, all due respect to him, is nothing more than an average backup outfielder. But Monday he was so much more, ripping four hits in four trips to the plate and making a case to get some more playing time. The Dodgers, who have struggled to find someone to fill left field with any measure of aplomb, will be all too happy to oblige. Despite hitting .350/.440/.650 in 20 at-bats, Oeltjen's career line only increased to .229/.286/.404 in 109 career at-bats.
Nick Blackburn, Twins -- Blackburn, just like most other Twins pitchers, got raked over the coals Monday, dropping Minnesota's sixth straight game. The right-hander coughed up eight runs, seven earned, in a game the Dodgers would eventually go on to win 15-0. Blackburn got through 4 1/3 innings before he was yanked having given up 13 hits, walking and whiffing one apiece. Of the five Twins pitchers, only one -- Matt Capps -- was unscored upon, while the rest gave up at least two.
Michael Brantley, Indians -- The Indians haven't gotten much for their CC Sabathia trade. Matt La Porta only just claimed the full-time position at first base, but he's sidelined with injury currently and isn't quite a centerpiece. Brantley, meanwhile, hasn't delivered on his leadoff potential, striking out three times in five hitless at-bats against the Diamondbacks to drop his overall line to .272/.335/.392. For a punchless outfielder to start, he has to register a high OBP, which the 24-year-old certainly is not doing. Cleveland absolutely needs to continue playing Brantley, but he doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
Sean Burnett, Nationals -- Burnett couldn't give Davey Johnson a win -- or even a tie -- in his return to managing. The Nationals knotted the game at 3-all in the top of the ninth on a Danny Espinosa home run, but Maicer Izturis singled in a run in the bottom 10th to end the game. Burnett, who opened the year as closer and has been demoted to middle relief since, opened the frame by inducing an out, but quickly gave up a single and ground-rule double. Johnson ordered an intentional walk of light-hitting Bobby Wilson to set up a force at every base, but Izturis rendered that moot with a grounder that barely eluded Espinosa at second.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 4, 2011 9:53 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:29 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Cardinals came out of the offseason sacrificing defense for offense, but that offense may have a hard time even getting on the field.
Lance Berkman, inked in as the team's right fielder going into the spring, was scratched from the team's lineup on Thursday because of a sore left calf. Berkman had already been limited to designated hitter work because of a bad left elbow.
It's just the first week of games, and Berkman has been limited to play in the field. On Thursday, Berkman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he was "perfectly fine" and would still go to Kissimmee, Fla., on Friday to face his old team, the Astros.
Friday morning, Berkman wasn't on the bus, missing another game.
Prospect Zack Cox filled in for Berkman at DH on Thursday and knocked in a run, but he's not ready to fill in full-time for Berkman in the field and the National League doesn't have the DH.
Sure, it's early, and several players are battling bumps and bruises, but not all of them are 35, coming off a down season, moving to a more demanding physical position, blocked at their old position and being counted on to remedy a team's offense. That's a lot on the shoulders of the Big Puma, and it's looking less like he can shoulder that load.
WAKE-UP: As if stepping into the box against a guy who can sling the ball 105 mph wasn't enough to get your attention, the first pitch ending up somewhere near the bull certainly got Dodger Trent Oeltjen's attention. Thursday night, the first pitch of Chapman's inning of work went over the catcher's mitt and over the umpire's head. His next three pitches to Oeltjen were strikes, including strike three looking.
"If it was at my face, I wouldn't have had time to move," Oeltjen told the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez. "It woke me up. He sent a message he was throwing hard."
Said new manager Don Mattingly: "Jeez, huh? He was Randy Johnson-ish. It gets there quick, doesn't it?"
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Carlos Zambrano didn't fight anyone in his Thursday start for the Cubs -- not only that, he threw three scoreless innings. However, he did complain of arm fatigue after the start.
"I was just tired," Zambrano said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's normal. I wasn't feeling power in my arm, but I guarantee you I will work hard and feel good in my next start."
Zambrano note he typically feels a "dead-arm" at least once a spring.
JUST BAD NEWS: Yesterday the question was if Astros' catcher Jason Castro would miss the beginning of the season. Today, it's if he'll play at all this season.
Thursday night, Castro was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Castro was scheduled to have surgery this morning, and general manager Ed Wade said he could return "by mid-September." (Houston Chronicle)
WAIT FOR JUDGEMENT? Matt Cain said he hasn't thrown a ball since coming down with elbow inflammation on Sunday and will likely miss multiple starts this spring.
However, Cain's not too concerned, even after taking an MRI.
There is a history -- and this is something to watch -- of pitchers going to the postseason one season and having trouble the next because of the increased workload. While Cain's not worried, it'll be something to monitor with all of the Giants' pitching staff. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Matusz's wart is on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Still, he threw two scoreless innings on Wednesday even with the wart. He had it some last year, but pitched through it. He said it bothers him some on his breaking ball. (Baltimore Sun)
WAS THAT REALLY A CONSIDERATION? Oliver Perez has been the New York media's favorite target for a while, but is this really necessary? The New Your Daily News' "breaking news" from "a source" is that the Mets have internally decided Perez will not be a starter during the regular season.
The Daily News' Andy Martino wrote that the day after he wrote the team would cut Perez (and his $12 million salary) if he didn't perform well in his start on Thursday. Well, he threw two scoreless innings against the Cardinals, so Martino didn't get his wish. Instead, he had to find a new way to pile onto Perez.
Hey, it's not to say Perez doesn't stink. He does. Or that he's not overpaid -- he is. It's just, this breathless reporting seems almost like piling on. Sure, the Mets have said he's in contention for the rotation, but the Mets say a lot of things, and it's not like we believe those.
NOW HE COULD BE IN A ROTATION: Neftali Feliz wasn't too happy with his first start of spring. Still, he threw two scoreless innings, so it wasn't bad. He also threw three different pitches, but struggled with his command and rhythm.
The Feliz story may be one of the more interesting ones of spring, and certainly something to watch as the month goes along. He'll throw three innings next week. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
VISA TIME: Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati's opening-day starter, could pitch his first spring training start because of a visa problem, but he should be able to make his next start after a quick trip to his native Dominican Republic.
"Everything is set," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay. "They're just waiting for me to pitch it up."
He was unable to pitch in games at which admission is charged because he came to camp on a travel visa, not a work visa. His work visa was held up because of his failed drug test and suspension last season.
Isringhausen played in Triple-A last season, but says his bus-riding days are over. If he doesn't break camp with the Mets, he'll just go home and call it a career. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
SO WHO IS A-ROD? According to Wikileaks, a U.S. diplomatic cable on the 2009 Iranian election called President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the "George Steinbrenner of Iran" when talking about his influence over the national soccer team.
I'm guessing that wasn't a compliment. (Associated Press)
WHAT'S A WORLD SERIES WORTH? How much are World Series starts worth to a Hall of Fame discussion? Or, even more words about Jack Morris from Baseball Prospectus.
Honestly, I used to be a Morris for the Hall guy, I'm not anymore. I used to not be a Bert Blyleven guy, but I am now. But I'll certainly never change my feeling that I never want to hear another Morris-Blyleven debate.
A BETTER SCORECARD: An interview with Bethany Heck, the designer of a new, better, scorebook. Heck's 20-game scorebook is like "if Moleskine made a scorebook…" (Bugs & Cranks)
"Hopefully, we'll see some of the hard work we've done pay off," he told the Chicago Tribune.
QUARTERBACK SHOWDOWN: There's a Groundhog Day aspect to spring training, so Padres manager Bud Black found a way to break up the monotony -- a quarterback combine.
While Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert (seriously, could you draft a quarterback named "Blaine") did this in Indianapolis last week, Black had his former quarterbacks -- top prospect Casey Kelly, Cory Luebke, Orlando Hudson and Nick Hundley -- go through their own competition Thursday morning.
According to MLB.com's Corey Brock, the three went through several drills, including hitting a moving target. Luebke, a high school quarterback in Ohio, upset Kelly, who signed a letter of intent to play QB at Tennessee.
"We're here for six weeks," Black said. "… We try to do some things to keep the guys going."
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The Reds have announced the front-runner for the year's best bobblehead. On July 2 against the Indians, fans will receive the combination Dusty Baker bobblehead and toothpick holder. The bobblehead even has Dusty with a toothpick in his mouth (and, of course, sweatbands on his arms). So far, it's the best bobblehead I've seen on tap for this year, with the Reds also getting second place for their Jonny Gomes bobblehead and arm, mimicking the way Gomes tugs at his helmet before every at-bat.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, AL West, Aroldis Chapman, Astros, Athletics, Brian Matusz, Brian Wilson, Bud Black, Cardinals, Carlos Zambrano, Casey Kelly, Coco Crisp, Cory Luebke, Cubs, Dodgers, Don Mattingly, Dusty Baker, Edinson Volquez, George Steinbrenner, Giants, Giants, J.D. Drew, Jack Morris, Jake Peavy, Jason Castro, Jonny Gomes, Lance Berkman, Matt Cain, Mets, Neftali Feliz, Nick Hundley, NL Central, NL West, Oliver Perez, Orioles, Orlando Hudson, Padres, Randy Johnson, Rangers, Red Sox, Reds, Trent Oeltjen, White Sox, Yankees, Zack Cox
Posted on: December 3, 2010 12:28 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:37 am
The deadline to tender contracts was Thursday night at 11:59 p.m., and here's the players who were not tendered contracts and are now free agents:
A's: Edwin Encarnacion, Jack Cust, Travis Buck
Angels: Kevin Frandsen
Astros: Sammy Gervacio
Blue Jays: Jeremy Accardo, Fred Lewis
Braves: Matt Diaz
Brewers: Todd Coffey, Joe Inglett
Diamondbacks: Blaine Boyer, Ryan Church, Augie Ojeda, D.J. Carrasco
Dodgers: Russell Martin, George Sherrill, Trent Oeltjen
Giants: Eugenio Velez, Chris Ray
Mariners: Ryan Rowland-Smith
Marlins: Jose Veras, Ronny Paulino
Mets: Chris Carter, Sean Green, John Maine
Nationals: Wil Nieves, Joel Peralta, Chein-Ming Wang
Orioles: Matt Albers
Padres: Scott Hairston, Tony Gwynn Jr., Luis Perdomo, Matt Antonelli
Pirates: Lastings Milledge, Argenis Diaz, Donnie Veal, Brian Burres
Rangers: Dustin Nippert
Rays: Lance Cormier, Willy Aybar, Dioner Navarro, J.P. Howell
Red Sox: Hideki Okajima, Taylor Buchholz, Andrew Miller
Rockies: Manny Delcarmen
Royals: Josh Fields
Tigers: Zach Miner
White Sox: Bobby Jenks, Erick Threets
Yankees: Alfredo Aceves, Dustin Mosley
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2010 free agency, Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Miller, Angels, argenis Diaz, Astros, Athletics, Augie Ojeda, Blaine Boyer, Blue Jays, Bobby Jenks, Braves, Brewers, Brian Burres, Chein-Ming Wang, Chris Carter, Chris Ray, D.J. Carrasco, Diamondbacks, Dioner Navarro, Dodgers, Donnie Veal, Dustin Mosley, Dustin Nippert, Edwin Encarnacion, Erick Threets, Eugenio Velez, Fred Lewis, George Sherrill, Giants, Hideki Okajima, Hot Stove League, J.P. Howell, Jack Cust, Jeremy Accardo, Joe Inglett, Joel Peralta, John Maine, Jose Veras, Josh Fields, Kevin Frandsen, Lance Cormier, Lastings Milledge, Luis Perdomo, Manny Delcarmen, Mariners, Marlins, Matt Albers, Matt Antonelli, Matt Diaz, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Rockies, Ronny Paulino, Royals, Russell Martin, Ryan Church, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Sammy Gervacio, Scott Hairston, Sean Green, Taylor Buchholz, Todd Coffey, Tony Gwynn Jr., Travis Buck, Trent Oeltjen, White Sox, Wil Nieves, Willy Aybar, Yankees