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Tag:Vin Mazzaro
Posted on: September 15, 2011 7:50 pm
 

Royals shut down Hochevar, Francis next

Luke HochevarBy C. Trent Rosecrans

After throwing a career-high 198 innings, the Royals are shutting down starter Luke Hochevar. The former top overall pick of the draft went 11-11 with a  4.68 ERA in 2011, the most innings he's thrown in his professional career.

Last year he threw 108 innings -- 103 for the Royals -- after throwing 191 innings in 2009 between the Royals (143) and Triple-A Omaha (48).

Hochevar picked up his 11th victory of the season on Wednesday, throwing six innings in his 31st start of the season. The 28-year-old went 6-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 12 starts after the All-Star break.

"Could he finish the year? Yeah. He wants to," manager Ned Yost told reporters (via the Kansas City Star). "But for me, it just doesn't make any sense to continue to push his innings when he's in a good spot. It gives us an opportunity to look at somebody else."

Hochevar would have made two more starts, on Tuesday and on Sept. 25. The Star's Bob Dutton speculates right-hander Luis Mendoza could take Hochevar's spot if the Triple-A Storm Chasers finish out the Pacific Coast League playoffs in a timely fashion. Omaha currently leads Sacramento 2-0 in the best-of-five championship series. Omaha plays at Sacramento on Friday with heralded left-hander Mike Montgomery scheduled to pitch in what could be the clinching game. Mendoza isn't on the team's 40-man roster, but the Royals currently have an open spot. Right-handers Vin Mazzaro and Sean O'Sullivan are on the 40-man and could also get the call, with at least one of them likely to make a start for Kansas City before the end of the season, if not both.

Kansas City has already shut down lefty Danny Duffy. Duffy went 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA in 20 starts this season. Left-hander Jeff Francis will also be shut down after his start on Thursday against the White Sox. Francis entered the night 5-16 with a  4.88 ERA.

Felipe Paulino, Everett Teaford and Bruce Chen are left in the rotation to finish out the season.

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Posted on: June 12, 2011 11:34 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:32 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Prince leads Brewers into first

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Prince Fielder, Brewers -- Fielder's two-run homer capped a four-run sixth inning, giving the Brewers a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals and putting Milwaukee atop the National League Central. Fielder was 2 for 3 with a walk and leads the National League with 58 RBI. His homer was his eighth in the last 10 games -- a period that has seen the team go 8-2. The Brewers are 25-9 at home, the best mark in baseball.

Tommy Hanson, Braves -- The Braves right-hander struck out a career-high 14 batters in seven innings in a 4-1 victory over the Astros. Hanson gave up one run on three hits, walking two. Hanson's now 8-4 with a 2.48 ERA on the season and 3-0 with a 0.97 ERA in five career starts against Houston.

Vin Mazzaro, Royals -- Mazzaro entered Sunday's game with a 17.47 ERA, giving up six runs in five innings against Toronto last week. On Sunday, he didn't give up a single run in seven innings against the Angels, allowing just five hits. It wasn't easy, the Angels put their leadoff hitter on base in five of the first six innings, but the Royals turned five double plays to help him out. Mazzaro walked five and didn't strike out any batters, while just 53 of his 102 pitches went for strikes. Mazzaro not only picked up his first win of the season, but also saw his ERA drop by nearly seven runs to 10.80.


Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies -- Jimenez gave up 11 hits and seven runs (although just two earned) while striking out two and walking one in 5 1/3 innings of a 10-8 loss to the Dodgers on Sunday. Jimenez is 0-5 with a 7.05 ERA at Coors Field this season. All seven of the homers he's allowed this season -- including three against the Dodgers -- have come at home. Opponents are hitting .333 against him at home and .127 on the road.

Scott Sizemore, Athletics -- Sizemore was on the other side of this list just two days ago, but his error Sunday helped lead to the A's ninth loss in their last 10 games. Sizemore tied the game in the seventh with a solo homer, but in bottom half of the inning he threw wide to second on a double-play attempt with one out, allowing a run to score and leading to another. It was the 51st error of the season by the A's, second only to Texas for the most in the American League.

Adam Jones, Orioles -- Jones misplayed a liner by Evan Longoria in the eighth inning that then rolled to the wall and allowed Longoria to circle the bases for a two-run inside-the-park home run. "I missed the ball," Jones told MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko. "I had a shot at it. I just missed the ball." It wasn't a crucial pair of runs for the Rays, but it was an embarrassing moment for a former Gold Glove winner in a sloppy loss for the Orioles. 

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Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: May 17, 2011 11:05 am
 

Pepper: Galarraga rotation spot in danger



By Evan Brunell


BLOWUP: Think Armando Galarraga is nervous about doing his job? Check out this meltdown against a reporter...

Reporter: Do you worry about your spot in the rotation?
Galarraga: No, why would I be worried? Is there something I have to worry about?
Reporter: Well, after tonight's performance, possibly...
Galarraga: You think? Why don't we talk about it at the end of the season? I don't count five starts.
Reporter: Aren't you disappointed?
Galarraga: I'm disappointed for this start. I'm not disappointed for the rest of the season. What are you talking about? What are you talking about, "When I next start"? Huh? Who you say I'm gonna be worried about my next start? Huh? (Unintelligible) ... my next start, or are you saying I'm gonna lose my job. Are you trying to say that?

Galarraga has made eight starts on the year so far and has a 5.91 ERA to show for it. He was already in danger of losing his job prior to Monday and then gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings to the Padres, walking two and whiffing one.

Hey, it's not easy to be someone like Galarraga -- a fringe major-league player who won't ever haul in millions of dollars unless something changes fast. He's got minimal job security, is on his third team in his career and clearly sees the writing on the walk. Just chalk this one up to a bad day. Athletes are asked a lot to stand before a microphone day in, day out on both good and bad days -- and woe to those who aren't in the right frame of mind and run out of patience. Everyone's allowed one of these days. (AZ Snakepit)

APT COMPARISON?
What to do when a diminutive white player gains a cult following, the appreciation of a manager and minimal impact on offense? Easy -- compare him to David Eckstein, which Rays skipper Joe Maddon did to Sam Fuld. (St. Petersburg Times)

GOODBYE: Tyler Colvin was optioned to Triple-A to get more at-bats, as he's been buried behind the hot play of the outfielders. But GM Jim Hendry wasn't forgiving in his evaluation of Colvin. "He had a really good year for us and since the first days of spring training he never played up to that level. We're in the production business. It wasn't that he wasn't given enough at-bats. He didn't earn enough at-bats. The other guys here outplayed him, too." (Chicago Tribune)

A STEP FORWARD: Danny Espinosa has been slumping lately and especially hideous from the left side. So naturally, when the Pirates brought in a right-handed reliever to flip Espinosa, a switch-hitter, to the left side of the plate, he cracked a two-run homer to send the Nats to victory. (MASN Sports)

It's all injuries, all the time today at Pepper...

TUESDAY TEST: Chipper Jones will test his injured right knee Tuesday after receiving two cortisone injections. If all goes well, he could be back in the lineup Tuesday night. But if his torn meniscus doesn't respond, he may need arthroscopic surgery, which will force him to miss two  to three weeks of action. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

SORIANO OUT:
Rafael Soriano will likely be put on the disabled list if the latest report is any indication. Soriano told reporters that he will probably miss another week or two unless his examination Tuesday goes splendidly. He hasn't pitched in the last seven games and threw his team under the bus (again) by saying he didn't think he would have affected the outcome of these games and the poor offense is responsible for the futility. (New York Times)

GUTIERREZ EN ROUTE:
Franklin Gutierrez has been sidelined all year with a mysterious stomach ailment, but is progressing so well he could debut this week. He DHed at Triple-A Monday and will play a full nine in the field on Tuesday before going to Seattle for a status report. (Seattle Times)

BROXTON TOSSES: For the first time since hitting the disabled list, Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton played a game of catch. Exciting, right? There is no timetable yet on Broxton, nor any (public, at least) word on the next step. (MLB.com)

NISHIOKA TURNS CORNER: The Twins can't wait to have Tsuyoshi Nishioka back and received good news to that effect as "he's starting to turn the corner," trainer Dave Preumer says. He underwent sprinting drills Monday. (MLB.com via Twitter)

TILLMAN INJURED: Despite only having two pitches to work with, Chris Tillman was handcuffing the Red Sox through five innings and 88 pitches. He left the game and saw his bullpen cough up the game. Why? Now we know it's because he left the game with back tightness that flared up during the fifth. It was the second injury removal of the game, as Derrek Lee left the game in the third with a strained oblique. (MASN Sports)

DAVIES TOO: Vin Mazzaro gave up 14 runs against the Indians and is the story nationwide, but that never would have happened if not for Kyle Davies. Davies left Monday's game after just 21 pitches with shoulder soreness. He underwent a MRI, and the team is currently waiting for the results. If Davies hits the DL, Mazzaro may have been a candidate to replace Davies in the rotation... but then that whole 14-run thing... (Kansas City Star)

Rangers ON COMEBACK TRAIL: Good news for the Rangers, as two-thirds of their expected starting outfield could be back in the fold before long. Josh Hamilton is expected to head on on a rehab assignment as early as Wednesday and should be back with the big-league club at some point in their six-game homestand that begins May 23. Meanwhile, Nelson Cruz doubled in his rehab start Monday and could rejoin Texas on Friday. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

TEAHEN UP IN AIR: Mark Teahen, sidelined by a strained oblique, will be evaluated on Tuesday before a decision is made on whether to DL him. It's too early to guess which direction this goes in, but if Teahen is on the DL, it will constrain third base candidates to Brent Morel and Omar Vizquel. Dayan Viciedo will receive the call from Triple-A if needed. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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Posted on: May 16, 2011 9:54 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 10:06 pm
 

Indians tag Mazzaro with 10-run inning

By Matt Snyder

Needless to say, Monday night was a rough one for Royals pitcher Vin Mazzaro. First of all, he wasn't even supposed to pitch. He was slated to start Tuesday, but an early injury to starter Kyle Davies forced Mazzaro into relief duty.

What followed was sheer catastrophe.

Eight hits. Two walks. Ten earned runs. All of this happened in the fourth inning.

The Cleveland Indians were the perpetrators. There wasn't just one big blow, there were actually three. Travis Hafner had a bases-loaded, three-RBI double to break the game wide open. A few batters later, Matt LaPorta doubled in two. Two batters later, Michael Brantley -- who had already walked and scored in the inning -- clubbed a three-run home run.

Here's the play-by-play: Single, fielder's choice, walk, single, fly out, walk, double, single, single, double, single, home run, strikeout.

Shin-Soo Choo was the only member of the Indians' lineup who failed to reach base -- and the eight others all also scored at least one run. Brantley and Jack Hannahan crossed home plate twice.

Mazzaro's final line was an even worse nightmare. He went 2 1/3 innings and allowed 14 earned runs, making him the third pitcher since 1947 to allow 14 earned runs since 1947 and the first since 1998. (via Joe Posnanski Twitter)

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Posted on: March 21, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 7:57 pm
 

Despite struggles, Hochevar named K.C. 'ace'

By Evan Brunell

HochevarThe Royals have announced their rotation, and it has Luke Hochevar at the top, slated for the opening day assignment as the Kansas City Star reveals. Following Hochevar is Jeff Francis, Kyle Davies, Bruce Chen and Vin Mazzaro, although Mazzaro will be held back as the club does not need a fifth starter until April 16. That will allow an extra relief pitcher to be carried and for K.C. to continue evaluating some bullpen pitchers on the bubble.

Hochevar has a career 5.60 ERA, so he's hardly worthy of the billing. It just goes to show you how dire the rotation is as they await arrivals of pitchers like Mike Montgomery, John Lamb and Jake Odorizzi, among others. 

While Hochevar did improve greatly on his career ERA by posting a 4.81 mark in 2010, that came in just 103 innings as he struggled with injury and posted a 3.2 BB/9 and 6.6 K/9. His advanced pitching metrics, such as FIP, are far more kind to Hochevar, with FIP giving Hochevar a 3.93 mark. The issue that plagues Hochevar the most comes with stranding baserunners, as league average hovers around 71 percent each year. Given that strand rate is influenced by factors largely out of the pitcher's control, it's been argued that a poor (or good) strand rate shouldn't be used to evaluate a pitcher's effectiveness.

However, Hochevar's strand rate hasn't cracked 65 percent in the three years of extended playing time he's had in the majors. In fact, that 65 percent happened in 2010, also the year he's posted his best ERA, FIP and xFIP numbers. That speaks to something particularly damaging Hochevar's ERA, such as a porous bullpen that constantly gives up inherited baserunners. That can't be the entire cause of it, however. 

Other factors that could come into play is the defense. As a groundball pitcher, Hochevar induces a ton of grounders which is good from a BABIP perspective, but bad when you have a poor defense behind you. That was certainly the case in Kansas City the last few years, especially when the disastrous Yuniesky Betancourt played short.

Another reason could be that Hochevar simply doesn't function well with baserunners on, whether mentally or from the stretch. Hochevar's K/9 rate dips from 7.02 pitching with no one on to 6.15 with men on base. His walk rate also spikes to 4.37 from 2.34, so it appears Hochevar struggles to pitch from the stretch.

There doesn't appear to be one specific smoking gun for Hochevar's problems with stranded runners, although one should point to his struggles pitching out of the stretch as a primary cause. If he can somehow arrest that issue, Hochevar could evolve into a solid back of the rotation starter. As it is, however, Hochevar would struggle to crack the rotation in a lot of cities, but in K.C. he happens to be the ace.

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Posted on: January 11, 2011 10:49 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 10:49 am
 

Royals searching for starters

Much to his dismay, it appears Royals general manager Dayton Moore has remembered he must field a team in 2011 -- one with hitters and pitchers.

Bruce Chen So far the Royals rotation is Vin Mazzaro, Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies and Sean O'Sullivan. The team needs a fifth starter (or first or second or third or fourth, depending on how you look at it) for next season, but with an influx of talent due in Kansas City in 2012, Moore isn't looking to give out a multi-year deal to anyone.

Moore told MLB.com's Dick Kaegel that he's only looking at starting pitching at this point in the offseason. There's little on the free-agent market, but the team could bring back Bruce Chen.

"We're still open-minded with that," Moore told Kaegel. "He performed very well with us last year and showed us what he had, and we've got a comfort level there."

Chen, 33, went 12-7 with a 4.17 ERA in 23 starts for the Royals last season. Chen is a Scott Boras client and has apparently been eyeing a multi-year deal following his good 2010, but his status as a free agent shows that nobody is biting, even in a pitching-poor market.

Or Kansas City could look to trade, although it's unlikely the team would give up too much for a short-term solution.

"It's something that we'll continue to look at, and it might be Spring Training or early next year," Moore said. "You're always looking to get better, so it's not out of the question we might make some kind of move and pitching is one of those areas where you can never have enough depth. And we don't want to be in a position where we're force-feeding some of those kids, either."

Still, some of those kids -- Aaron Crow, John Lamb and Danny Duffy -- could get an extended look during spring training.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 10, 2010 8:44 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2010 8:57 pm
 

A's grab DeJesus for Mazzaro, Marks

DeJesus The Oakland Athletics struck to get a top outfielder in David DeJesus from the Royals on Wednesday, coughing up starting pitcher Vin Mazzaro and prospect Justin Marks.

As expected, Oakland dealt away some starting pitching depth after winning the bid for Japanese left-hander Hisashi Iwakuma to import some offense. DeJesus isn't a middle-of-the-order hitter, but will impact the game both on offense and defense. He has $6 million due him in 2011 before he will hit free agency as a 31-year-old.

DeJesus hit .318/.384/.443 with 23 doubles and five home runs in 394 plate appearances, tearing a tendon in his right thumb just before the trading deadline where he was rumored to be headed to the Giants. That ended his season, and now we know it also ended his Royals career.

He finishes his Kansas City career with a .289/.360/.427 line, cranking 61 home runs and 187 doubles over 876 games. DeJesus was the man to replace Carlos Beltran in center field before shifting to left in 2008.

Now, he'll man left with Coco Crisp in center field and Ryan Sweeney in right, with Rajai Davis likely to be nontendered. It's hardly a murderer's row, but all are capable on offense and will allow Oakland to turn its focus towards bolstering its offense in the infield or at the DH spot.

The A's don't plan on dealing any other starters, specifically Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez or Dallas Braden, as Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse reports . The No. 5 starter will likely be filled via free agency, although Bobby Cramer may have something to say about that.

Fletcher also notes that DeJesus' salary represents one-third to the total money available for new players, Iwakuma not included. The team needs more power to be a legitimate contender for the division, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Beane intends to address the power void.

To acquire DeJesus, the A's had to give up Vin Mazzaro, a right-hander who made 18 starts in his sophomore season, coming out of the bullpen for six additional games. He posted a 4.27 ERA, but walked 50 against 79 strikeouts in 122 1/3 innings.

The 23-year-old profiles as a back-of-the-rotation candidate, potentially ascending to the No. 3 spot. It's possible Mazzaro could spend 2011 as K.C.'s best pitcher, especially if Zack Greinke is traded. That's damning of the quality of play the Royals will be at in 2011, but Mazzaro's true value will come as being part of a rotation that incorporates players from the Royals' flush farm system.

Marks, 22, was plucked in the third round of the 2009 draft and made 24 starts and one relief appearance across Class A and high-Class A, with 109 2/3 innings out of 129 1/3 total coming in Class A. He had a 4.87 ERA, but did whiff 136 batters with decent command with a 3.4 BB/9. A left-hander, Marks will have every chance to succeed and could eventually develop into a late-inning reliever given his strikeout ability.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: July 4, 2010 9:47 am
 

Yet another young pitcher shines for A's

Clayton Mortensen The Oakland Athletics boast one of the best young starting staffs in the AL, a large reason why its future is still bright even as the squad falls further behind the AL West-leading Rangers. Even their backup starters are quality, as Vin Mazzaro has stepped in impressively for an injured Brett Anderson.

Now, Clayton Mortensen has stepped in for Dallas Braden, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with elbow tightness. The 25-year-old fired six innings, whiffing seven, walking two and allowing three earned runs in his 2010 debut after posting a 7.81 ERA over six starts.

Those six starts came between the Cardinals and A's as Mortensen was dealt to Oakland along with Brett Wallace for outfielder Matt Holliday. Mortensen has been pitching in Triple-A where he posted a 3.58 ERA in 15 starts, although that doesn't tell the whole story. In his last six starts, he's twirled the ball for a sparkling 1.85 ERA. The groundballer figures to have a future in the rotation at some point -- whether for Oakland or elsewhere.

Ben Sheets is a free agent after the year, and with Mortensen and Mazzaro (4.25 ERA in nine starts) both pitching admirably, it's likely Oakland will let Sheets walk. Even though Mazzaro received the call ahead of Mortensen, his 24/20 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings may actually place him behind Mortensen for a 2011 starting gig. Despite being two years younger, he's already been lit up for seven home runs and has benefited greatly from Oakland's flyball-surpressing park and tight defense.

-- Evan Brunell

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