Posted on: February 23, 2012 2:19 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:07 pm
 

Oswalt pulls a Clemens, prepares for half-season



By Matt Snyder


Free agent starting pitcher Roy Oswalt has told major-league teams that he's aiming to join a club at some point during the season.

"After much thought and careful consideration, Roy has decided to continue to evaluate his options," said Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber in a statement. "He is great health and will continue to stay in shape, while throwing regularly off the mound. Roy has every intention of pitching for a contending club at some point this season.''

Spring Training Coverage
You might recall Roger Clemens did the midseason thing twice last decade. In May of 2006, he signed with the Astros and went 7-6 with a 2.30 ERA that season. In May of 2007, Clemens signed with the Yankees, going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA. He made a postseason start, too, but was chased after just 2 1/3 innings.

Oswalt, 34, wasn't lacking for attention this offseason, as he turned down a one-year, $10 million from the Tigers and also declined to discuss terms with the Red Sox. Oswalt is said to want to be as close as possible to his home in Mississippi, specifically targeting the Cardinals and Rangers -- neither of whom were interested or met Oswalt's asking price. As CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler noted on Twitter, Garber didn't specify which "contending club" Oswalt wished to join, and it's believed he still only wants to pitch for the Rangers or Cardinals. So he's basically waiting on an injury or underperformance to open up a rotation spot on either team.

He was once one of the more durable pitchers in baseball. From 2002-2010, he only failed to make 30 starts one season while throwing at least 208 innings in seven of those nine campaigns. Last season, however, Oswalt was hampered by a back injury and made just 23 starts. He was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 139 innings. In his one postseason start, he took the loss, allowing six hits and five runs in six innings against the Cardinals.

Oswalt is 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 1,759 strikeouts in his career. He's a three-time All-Star and finished in the top six of Cy Young voting six times, but never better than third. He's pitched in the playoffs four different seasons, two with the Astros and two with the Phillies, once making the World Series (2005 Astros) but never winning it.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 12:17 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:22 pm
 

MLB Network to go live with in-game player audio

By Matt Snyder

At times in the past, I've accused Major League Baseball of being archaic in several facets of the game, so it's only fair I give credit where it's due. This is one of those times. Major League Baseball has announced that they're going to broadcast a spring training game -- between the Indians and Diamondbacks on March 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET on MLB Network -- with live audio from players and coaches.

Up to six players on each team in addition to the coaching staff and each base will have microphones, for an unprecedented level of in-game audio available on broadcast. There will be a slight delay, for obvious (cough, cough) reasons.

“One of the missions of MLB Network is to promote the game of baseball and act as a platform to advance the presentation of the game,” said MLB Network President and CEO Tony Petitti in a statement. “The goal of this production is to bring fans closer to the game and experience it as a player would on the field. Not only are we trying to capture the player reactions and interactions, we want to present the natural sounds of the game, including the crack of the bat, the pop of a glove and the slide into a base like viewers have never heard before.”

It's not a big deal in and of itself that this is being done during a spring training game, which is basically meaningless. But let's look big picture. Obviously the league is working toward this being perfected, at which point they'll start doing it with regular season games. It's pretty cool to envision watching postseason games with this level of access on TV.

Though it didn't air last season, MLB Network did some testing with the technology, and here's a highlight package from the footage, via MLB.com video:



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Posted on: February 23, 2012 11:17 am
 

Report: Pirates president charged with DUI

By Matt Snyder

Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly has been charged with four counts related to a DUI back on December 22, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Coonelly, 51, was reportedly driving the wrong way and had a blood alcohol content of over 0.16, which means he was more than twice the legal limit. This is Coonelly's first offense. He's currently with the Pirates for spring training in Bradenton, Fla. and has released the following statement, via Pittsburghlive.com:
"My actions that evening were irresponsible and wrong."

"I take full and sole responsibility for them. There is no excuse for ever driving under the influence of alcohol."

"My wife and I have preached to our children about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol, not only for themselves but for the innocent drivers, passengers and pedestrians on the road," Coonelly said. "I am embarrassed that I failed to follow this advice myself on this occasion and extremely grateful no one was injured or adversely affected by this serious lapse of judgment."

"I have apologized to my wife and children, to Bob Nutting and to all of those at the Pirates organization who work so tirelessly for the club. I would also like to apologize to all of the fans and friends of the Pittsburgh Pirates. My conduct that night was uncharacteristic to my personally held values and not who I am. I will learn from this serious lapse of judgment."
Coonelly has a wife and four children. Prior to taking over as the Pirates' president in September of 2007, he was Major League Baseball's general counsel, where he advised on arbitration hearings, draft bonuses and the like. Before that, he was a lawyer in private practice in the Washington D.C. area.

His arraignment is scheduled for March 20.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:56 am
 

Miami Marlins being inexplicably sued

By Matt Snyder

Hey everybody, it's frivolous lawsuit time!

Apparently, back in February of 2008, there was some sort of awards banquet with an auction in Miami. Marlins president David Samson -- who doesn't own the team, mind you -- said the first item up for bid was the Marlins and he'd sell them for $10 million, seemingly as a joke. And a man said he'd bid the $10 million, which was surely seen by everyone in attendance as furthering the joke.

Instead, Omeranz and Landsma Corporation in Florida is now suing the Marlins, believing it bought the Marlins for $10 million and that the Marlins have breached contract. Seriously, here's the court filing PDF, via Sportinlaw.com.

Too many things annoy me about this. First of all, I understand it takes time to file lawsuits, but it's quite the coincidence that the lawsuit is filed now that the Marlins have their new home, a shiny new payroll -- with new free agents Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle -- a high-profile manager (Ozzie Guillen) and some solid young up-and-comers (Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison, etc.). Why wasn't this filed in 2010? It took more than two years to put together this case, when a nine-figure profit hangs in the balance (if the plaintiffs win the Marlins)?

It seems rather obvious the main intent is to get the Marlins to pay a lump sum settlement to make this go away as quickly as possible. Here's hoping Jeffrey Loria (the Marlins actual owner) refuses to do so and the court just throws this thing out. Not to get all preachy, but we don't need to start suing companies over jokes, especially when the person making the joke doesn't have the right to sell.

Hat-tip: Sun-Sentinel.com

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:26 am
Edited on: February 23, 2012 11:02 am
 

Report: Elijah Dukes arrested again

By Matt Snyder

Elijah Dukes was once a third round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Rays and at one point was considered one of the better prospects in baseball. Unfortunately, he's become an illustration that God-given talent doesn't guarantee success in life. Dukes, 27, has reportedly been arrested again.

According to RaysIndex.com, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office arrested Dukes at 1 a.m. Thursday on several charges, including possession of marijuana, driving with a suspended license and attempt to destroy evidence.

And with this being Dukes, it couldn't just be a boring, run-of-the-mill arrest. No, his "attempt to destroy evidence" was actually him trying to hurry and eat the bag of pot before the cops saw it (via TBO.com).

Dukes has now been arrested many times. A few of those have been for driving with a suspended license, while he's been charged with failure to pay child support and also for assaulting a pregnant girlfriend. Most notorious, though, was when he threatened to kill his wife and children, leaving his wife a voice mail that said, among other things, "you dead, dawg."

Dukes hasn't played in the majors since 2009. He played for the Newark Bears in Independent ball in 2010, hitting .366 in 28 games.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 23, 2012 9:52 am
 

Carter honored, service to be streamed live

By Matt Snyder

It's been nearly a week since Hall of Famer Gary Carter died at just 57 years old, but he hasn't left the consciousness from his many fans and admirers.

Gary Carter's death
Earlier this week, Montreal city council unanimously approved a motion that called for the city to find something to name after Carter. As things currently stand, it will be "a street or place to name in his honour." (MontrealGazette.com)

“Gary Carter was so associated with the Montreal Expos; his death was like the Expos were leaving for a second time,” Projet Montréal leader Richard Bergeron said (MontrealGazette.com).

The council majority leader, Marvin Rotrand, told MontrealGazette.com that finding the proper place to name after Carter will be done in consultation with the Carter family.

There will be a memorial service for family and friends of "The Kid" Friday at 7 p.m. in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. For those interested, it will be streamed live by Christ Fellowship Church on their website.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:59 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:06 pm
 

New Cubs manager Sveum puts together bunt tourney

By Matt Snyder

As the Cubs franchise strives to do a complete makeover, fundamentals have been reemphasized in camp this season. More attention is reportedly being paid to baserunning and pitchers' fielding, for example. Also: Bunting.

And in the spirit of the upcoming March Madness -- watch the NCAA basketball tournament on CBS! -- new manager Dale Sveum has devised a 64-man bunting tournament that will begin Thursday. With there only being 62 players in camp, Sveum threw himself in the bracket along with strength coach Tim Buss (via Chicago Tribune). Tribune beat writer Paul Sullivan has posted a picture of the entire bracket on his Facebook page.

Sveum made setup man Kerry Wood a No. 2 seed -- and if that's an accurate ranking, it's a good thing the Cubs are refocusing on bunting considering Wood hasn't had a big-league plate appearance since 2007 -- and put himself against Wood in Round 1 as a 15.

Sullivan reports the players' consensus is that starting pitchers Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells are the favorites, though speedy outfielder Tony Campana named himself the man to beat.

Having seen many Cubs games the past several seasons, I'd be shocked if anyone beats Dempster -- not that the winner really matters. And my reaction to seeing Alfonso Soriano as a 15-seed? How are there at least four worse bunters in camp?

Two things here do matter, though:

1. The focus on fundamentals.
2. Having fun. It's a long spring training and exercises like these help bring the team together. If you scoff at that notion, note that Joe Girardi had the 2009 Yankees compete in a billiards tournament in spring training as a team-building exercise. Obviously these Cubs don't have the same level of talent as the eventual '09 World Series champions, but the point remains that Sveum has his head in the right place.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 7:41 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 7:51 pm
 

Angels sign Jason Isringhausen

By Matt Snyder

Relief pitcher Jason Isringhausen has signed a minor-league deal with the Angels, the club announced Wednesday evening.

Isringhausen, 39, didn't pitch in the majors in 2010, but had a 4.05 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 46 2/3 innings last season for the Mets. He even gathered seven saves, which put him at exactly 300 in his career -- good for 22nd on the all-time list.

The Angels appear to be moving forward with youngster Jordan Walden as the team's closer, but they did land the veteran depth they seeked this offseason in LaTroy Hawkins and now Isringhausen. The latter two and Scott Downs will be the bridge to Walden, but any of the three could take over if the 24-year-old -- who had 10 blown saves last season -- falters.

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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