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Tag:Cameron Maybin
Posted on: August 24, 2011 10:30 am
 

Pepper: Quade's excusing of Castro a mistake

Castro

By Evan Brunell

Lighten up: Much has been made of Starlin Castro missing a pitch in Sunday's game, with his back to the plate while playing in the field. Understandably, many people -- including ESPN announcer Bobby Valentine -- were outraged, with Valentine excoriating Castro on air.

Also unsurprisingly, Cubs players are rushing to Castro's defense, with Aramis Ramirez the latest to tell everyone to back off. And Ramirez has a pretty good idea what it may be like to be Castro, who is 21 years old. Ramirez made his big-league debut at age 19.

"People need to realize that he's only 21 -- he's going to make mistakes," Ramirez told MLB.com. "He's going to make mental mistakes. ... I made it to the big leagues when I was 19, and I made a lot of mistakes. That's part of [the game]."

Ramirez added that Castro has apologized to the team and everyone's moved on.

"I think [such a big deal was made] because it was an ESPN game, a nationally televised game," Ramirez said. "[But] that stuff shouldn't happen. Starlin would be the first one to tell you that shouldn't happen. Even when you're a veteran, you make mistakes."

Here's the problem, though: Mike Quade had something to say, and it was the wrong thing. Castro was benched Monday in a pretty clear response to his not paying attention to the pitch, but Quade passed it off as a mental day, missing an opportunity to show everyone -- including owner Tom Ricketts, who may fire Quade after the year -- that he's the boss. He missed another opportunity by excusing Castro's behavior for the limelight of being a Cubs player.

"I may agree that too much was being made of it but this is the world we're in and this is the spotlight we're under," Quade said. "You can think what you want, but when you're playing in a market like this at a level like this, you can expect this kind of attention, and you can expect to be under a microscope like this."

Since when did a player's uniform affect attention span? Not paying attention during the game is not paying attention, period.

Back at it
: The next outing for Stephen Strasburg will come on Saturday, which will be his fifth rehab start since returning from Tommy John surgery. It's also the first one that will be at a higher level than Single-A, with Strasburg heading to Triple-A, which should allow Strasburg to lock in and focus on executing pitches against advanced competition as he prepares for an early September return to Washington. (Washington Times)

Will Wandy go? Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle says that how the Astros handle the Wandy Rodriguez waiver claim situation will go a long way in determining how new owner Jim Crane will handle things. " Is he really about trying try to build things the right way for sustainable success, or is the endgame nothing more than to dump salary for dumping salary’s sake?" Campbell writes. "If the Astros do nothing more than a salary dump, however, then fans have reason to be afraid — very afraid — for the future. Houston is too big and too good of a market to become the National League’s Kansas City of the South — perpetually turning over the roster with young, cheap players without committing the resources necessary to build a winner."

Best scooper: Eric Hosmer wasn't called up to the majors until May 6, but his 27 scoops at first base (yes, this really is measured) is just one behind Adam Lind for most in the AL, while Carlos Pena leads baseball with 52. Three additional AL players have 27 scoops. “What I had to learn when I got here,” Hosmer told the Kansas City Star, “was, when you pick it, you’ve got to stay through it (with a sweeping motion). You have an imaginary line on where you think the ball is going to bounce. Before, I was just working up and down. Then I learned to go through the ball.”

Capping the draft: There were plenty of big paydays to high school and college players once the dust settled last week on the signing deadline for drafted players. The money is so exorbitant, that it's only deepened commissioner Bud Selig's resolve to introduce a hard-slotting system. But is that good for baseball? (Kansas City Star)

Moneyball: Before long, the blockbuster movie centered around the book that made so many waves in baseball will premiere, with Brad Pitt as A's GM Billy Beane. New York Magazine has a great story out about the movie and how it had to jump through hoops to get made... and what, exactly, Hollywood is taking away from Moneyball.

Game changed: But Billy Beane says the game is different these days, and the gap between the big- and low-money teams is even more pronounced, with the window for small markets to compete that much smaller than just a decade ago, as Oakland has been reduced to taking fliers on players as their only options.  “Sometimes, you’re relegated to buying that lottery ticket,” Beane told the New York Times. “Anybody will tell you that the lottery is not a great way to invest your money. But sometimes, you don’t have a lot of options.”

Window closing? Since the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006, they have yet to win another postseason game. With Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols and others only getting older and reaching free agency, is it possible St. Louis' window of competition has closed? It seems like it, but how did the window get missed in the first place with strong teams over the last four years? (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Brave injuries
: Tommy Hanson, one of Atlanta's best pitchers, keeps experiencing setbacks while sensation Jose Constanza is hobbled by a right-ankle sprain. Constanza is day-to-day and could be back as early as Wednesday, but Hanson is a different story. He threw a nine-pitch throwing session on Monday, the first time throwing from the mound since Aug. 6, but the report was sobering enough that his Tuesday bullpen session was canceled. Hanson will now wait for his condition to improve. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Say-Hey Kid: Cameron Maybin received an honor by spending time at the home of baseball great Willie Mays, and Maybin was understandably bowled over by the meeting. Mays has been impressed with Maybin this season and invited him over when San Diego was in San Francisco before Tuesday's game. The Giants said while Mays has been known to go out to dinner with young players, they can't recall an invitation to go to Mays' home ever being extended to a player. “I took him my jersey, signed it for him,” Maybin told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Think of that. My jersey’s in Willie Mays’ house.”

Starting Greinke: The Brewers considered delaying Zack Greinke's next start so he could face the Cardinals, but manager Ron Roenicke may not go that route. Roenicke believes that Milwaukee should focus on winning every game, while Greinke isn't keen on starting a game on eight days rest. Nothing is decided yet, but the outcome appears obvious. (MLB.com)

Web Gems: Last season, Sam Miller of the Orange County Register found an East Coast bias in Web Gems, which may have been in part due to fan voting. This season, though, with tweaked rules, there is no such bias. The top five teams with the most Web Gems in 2011 are the Indians, Rangers, Rays, Brewers and Royals.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 9, 2011 6:52 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2011 8:29 pm
 

Padres lose no-hitter, game after 8.2 innings

Luke GregersonOh, so close for the Padres ... sort of.

San Diego entered Saturday as one of two major-league teams without a no-hitter in franchise history (Other club mentioned below).

And it's going to stay that way, thanks to the Dodgers' Juan Uribe doubling in the bottom of the ninth with two outs ... on a two-strike pitch.  

Who was the San Diego pitcher?

It was a combined effort. Reliever Luke Gregerson (pictured), who yielded Uribe's double, entered in the ninth. Aaron Harang started, pitching six innings (six K's, three walks), Josh Spence fanned the only batter he faced in the seventh, Chad Qualls closed the seventh and Mike Adams tossed the eighth.

However, had Gregerson retired Uribe, it would not have been an official no-hitter since the game was scoreless.

But that ended an at-bat later when Dioner Navarro plated Uribe with a walk-off single for a Dodgers 1-0 victory. 

But get this: The Dodgers held the Padres offense to just one hit, a Cameron Maybin fifth-inning single.

Rubby De La Rosa started for L.A., fanning eight with four walks and Maybin's hit over six frames. Matt Guerrier worked the seventh, Mike MacDougal the eighth and winning pitcher Blake Hawksworth the ninth.

As for the other major-league ballclub without a no-no, it's the New York Mets.

Click here for: Last no-hitters by Franchise


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Posted on: June 10, 2011 9:35 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 2:57 pm
 

Pepper: Bautista's 'slump'


By Matt Snyder


BASEBALL TODAY: What does the managerial change in Oakland mean? What can you expect from Carlos Zambrano tonight? Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss those topics and even the NBA Finals on Baseball Today. Click on the video above to check it out.

WORRY ABOUT BAUTISTA? Talk about something I didn't expect to read. Jose Bautista's in a slump. He hasn't hit a home run in -- gasp! -- 11 games. He's 12 for his last 38 (.316). I guess that counts as a slump, considering what he was doing to the baseball before the homer drought.

"I didn't expect to continue to be doing what I was doing the whole season. That would have been pretty hard. I'm working on getting back to where I was." (Sportsnet.ca)

He was amazing and is still compiling an amazing season. He still leads the majors in runs, home runs, walks, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. He's still on pace for 51 home runs. I think I'd need a stretch worse than 12 for 38 before I started to worry.

HITTING STREAK ALERT: I guess it's about time to start paying attention, because Hunter Pence of the Astros has a 20-game hitting streak.

EXTRA EXTRAS: Having to stay up and make sure every game is over before going to bed, I thought maybe it only seemed like a ton of extra-inning games this season and I just never noticed before. I was wrong. There have now been 111 extra-inning games so far this season, which is the most ever at this point in the season. At this pace, the 2011 season will shatter the record. (Bob Nightengale via Twitter) I guess it's another sign of league-wide parity, but I feel like the low-scoring games helps, too.

BAY'S DAYS OFF: Mets outfielder Jason Bay is getting two days off to work on his swing. (MLB.com) It's hard to blame manager Terry Collins, because the Mets should be trying just about anything at this point. Bay hasn't had a hit in 23 at-bats. He's hitting .207 with a dreadful .279 slugging percentage in 164 plate appearances.

"It's a very difficult thing to do," Collins said. "He's proud. He's a pro. He's a star player. And when you're struggling, it's difficult."

Bay is in the second year of a four-year, $66 million contract, so he's not tradeable and the Mets are stuck with him for two seasons after this one. That's why they'll continue to try anything to get him going. In 2009, before the Mets signed him, Bay hit 36 home runs and had 119 RBI for the Red Sox.

In a possibly related tidbit, Adam Dunn sat out two games this week for the White Sox and then homered in his return to the lineup Thursday night.

MAGIC OPERATION: Joba Chamberlain's Dad believes that Tommy John surgery will restore Joba to dominance. “Pitching as well as he has with the ailment, I can only, from a positive perspective, look at it being repaired — and you’re talking about ’07 again,” Harlan Chamberlain said (NYTimes.com). I guess if Joba's been hurt the whole time since then and mishandled along the way -- with the switching between starting and relieving -- it's possible. He wasn't all bad this season before the injury (2.83 ERA, 1.05 WHIP). But that '07 season, man, was he lights out. He threw 24 innings and allowed just 12 hits and one earned run against 34 strikeouts.

MAYBIN BACK MONDAY: Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin is on the disabled list with an inflamed knee, but will go on a rehab assignment this weekend with Triple-A Tuscon. If everything goes well, he'll be back in the Padres' lineup at Colorado Monday. (Follow The Padres)

LOPEZ TO FISH: Talk about a fall from grace. Former All-Star Jose Lopez has been signed to join the New Orleans Zephyrs in Triple-A (Zephyrs Twitter) -- the Marlins' affiliate -- at age 27. He was recently cut by the Rockies after hitting .208 with two home runs and a .233 on-base percentage in 129 plate appearances. Feels like a low-risk signing in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle. In a best-case scenario, Lopez starts hitting like it's 2009, and provides an offensive upgrade at second (and maybe even third, if Greg Dobbs starts hitting like he did in '09-'10). At least until prospect Matt Dominguez is ready.

RENTERIA'S RING: Edgar Renteria finally got his World Series ring Thursday evening, as he returned to AT&T Park as a member of the visiting Reds. He was reportedly emotional and said his Game 5 home run "is still with [him] every day." I'm guessing it's with Giants fans, too, and will be forever. (Extra Baggs)

ROUGH DEBUT: Dodgers prospect Jerry Sands was demoted to Triple-A last night after his first stint in the majors. It didn't go very well, as Sands hit .200 with two home runs, 17 RBI, 10 doubles and a .622 OPS. The good news is he's still only 23. There's plenty of time to get things figured out in the minors, regain confidence and come back to hit the ball well. His promotion may have been a bit quick, as he'd only logged 10 Triple-A games.

WHITHER FIGGY: Chone Figgins has completely fallen apart since joining the Mariners as a free agent after the 2009 season. Fangraphs takes a look at some similar declines in recent years.

RECKLESS TWEETING: The Nationals selected Zach Houchins in the 15th round of the draft this past week. Apparently they either didn't get a look at his Twitter account -- which has since been deleted -- or don't mind some of the bigoted remarks he made. For Love of the Nationals has a few screen grabs. I will never, ever understand how people can be so stupid with Twitter and Facebook. You've got to think things through before sending something that virtually anyone can see.

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Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:48 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 9:07 pm
 

MRI provides good news for Padres' Maybin

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cameron MaybinPadres outfielder Cameron Maybin got good news on Tuesday as an MRI on his right knee showed no structural damage, but there is still no decision on a course of action for his recovery.

"That was my biggest thing … that there was no structural damage," Maybin told MLB.com on Tuesday.

Maybin was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game on Tuesday with swelling in the bursa sac of his knee.

The Padres won't determine whether Maybin needs a trip to the disabled list until the team returns home on Thursday. 

Maybin has been hampered with a knee issue since the team's May 13-15 series in Colorado.

Rookie Blake Tekotte has replaced Maybin in center in each of the last four games.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:33 am
Edited on: May 14, 2011 1:34 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Hellickson dazzles; Twins flounder

Hellickson

By Evan Brunell

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays -- The rookie needed 120 pitches to put together a dominating performance, a career high, but what a performance it was. He blanked the Orioles in a complete game, allowing a paltry four hits and one walk while whiffing three and set another personal best by going longer than seven innings, also a career first. Hellickson has a pristine 2.98 ERA on the year, but is doing just fine in replacing Matt Garza. While he's likely got some adjustment troubles ahead of him as teams and hitters get a book on him, he's for real.

Ricky Romero, Blue Jays -- Romero came pretty close to matching Hellickson, but fell one out short but still took out the Twins on four hits, three walks and eight punchouts. Romero's ERA dropped to 3.35, which hides the fact that two of his last four starts had been anything but strong. He got rocked against the Tigers last time out, giving up six runs in 3 1/3 innings. Boston also forced him out of the game with one out in the fifth on April 18 with five runs, but ran his record to 3-4 with the outing. The 26-year-old has really developed into a nice pitcher.

Cameron Maybin, Padres -- Are we seeing a breakout? Maybin posted his second-straight four-hit effort, tacking on three runs and RBI apiece while also drilling two home runs; one in the fifth off Jorge De La Rosa and a two-run shot against Matt Belisle in the seventh. San Diego ended up losing the game 12-7 to the Rockies however, and dropped to 14-23. Maybin, who spent years tantalizing Florida with his potential, now has a .273/.348/.453 line on the year and is benefiting from a change of scenery (and consistent playing time). He struggles in Petco Park, but who doesn't?

Honorable mention -- Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the sixth, sparking dreams of matching Johnny Vander Meer as the only two pitchers to throw back-to-back hitters. Alas, Melky Cabrera had something to say about that.

Twins offense -- Romero is no slouch as a pitcher, but four hits? Really? Minnesota's pathetic effort dropped the team to 12-24, and the AL Central favorites are now all but dead and buried. The hits came from the Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 5 hitters and were all singles. It's tough to fathom, but the Twins have baseball's worst offense, easily behind the Mariners and Padres with 113 runs scored. San Diego is second to last with 127, so it's not particularly close. Yes, Joe Mauer is out and Justin Morneau isn't the same, but Minnesota really should have done a better job securing depth in all aspects of the roster.

Coco Crisp, Athletics -- A risk, and that's exactly what it was as it didn't work out. Crisp was caught stealing home in the eighth inning on a straight steal, and the White Sox eventualy edged the A's 4-3. "I sorta stutter-stepped instead of just going ahead and going through with it," Crisp told MLB.com after the game via Twitter. "That’s what made it close in his favor and not mine."  Overall, Crisp went 0-for-3 atop the lineup with a walk. It might be high time for skipper Bob Geren to hightail Crisp's .250/.273/.379 line out of the leadoff spot as the A's sink to 19-19, one game behind the Rangers and an additional half-game behind the Angels.

Dustin Moseley, Padres -- And that's why you don't believe in hot starts. Moseleay, who had a 1.63 ERA through six starts, has now turned in back-to-back duds. It's not fair to Moseley to consider him a bad pitcher, especially given he still has six strong starts, but he doesn't belong in the conversation with upper-echelon pitchers and his new 3.40 ERA -- while still a touch high -- is far more representative of his skills. He couldn't give Maybin and San Diego a win by drawing his fifth loss of the year (and that's why counting on win-loss records is ludicrous) by giving up six runs and nine hits over four innings, walking two and striking out three.

Dishonorable mention -- Brandon League blew his third straight save and now has an unenviable place in baseball history as his recent string of games have given him the worst streak a relief pitcher has put together in history.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: April 25, 2011 11:17 am
 

Pepper: Mets winning on and off the field

Wright

By Evan Brunell

AMAZING CALLS: The Mets have instituted a new program this season where Mets players will phone citzens for various reasons, including sad ones.

Such a call led to the arrival of John Falcone and family to Citi Field, mere months after John's son, also named John, was shot to death after saving a 3-year-old from the assailant in Poughskeepie, N.Y. The Falcones came to Citi Field Saturday to watch the Mets eventually defeat the Diamondbacks after David Wright told the family the club would do their best to win for them.

"More than anything, you just hope that for at least one afternoon, they can get their minds away from the tragedy," Wright said.

The Falcone family spoke to multiple Mets players and were allowed on the field prior to the game. They were given seats three rows behind first base and came away with signed baseballs. Needless to say, John and wife Margaret were "overwhelmed" by what the Mets had done for them.

"You have this deep emotional connection between fans and the team, and if you can bring some joy and momentary happiness, of course you want to do it whenever you can," Mets vice president Dave Howard said.

Credit the Mets -- and David Wright, the son of a police officer -- taking a great idea and helping to make a difference. (New York Post)

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Jason Bay's return catapult his team back into contention? Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about the Mets and the rest of the NL East.

CONSISTENCY: Being in the starting lineup every day and not having to worry about a demotion has worked wonders for new Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin, whose biggest question in his bat is coming around. (North County Times)

HOUSEKEEPING MEANS MASSAGING: To Lenny Dykstra, if you're hired to clean his house, you also need to give him a massage while the former major-league star is buck naked. That's what happened to a potential employee when she interviewed for the housekeeping position. Police are now investigating charges of lewd conduct. (TMZ)

DIETING: Athletics relief pitcher Brad Ziegler could be primed for a big year. The submarining reliever is receiving treatment for childhood asthma, which he believed he no longer suffered from, as well as starting a new diet as his body does not handle milk, eggs or gluten well. Ziegler can already notice a significant difference. (San Francisco Chronicle)

KEEP YOUR PANTS ON: Hanley Ramirez is running out of ways to snap out of the slump that's plagued him in the early going and is turning to superstition to help. He tried wearing high socks, then abandoned them, but no luck. What's next? "Maybe no pants," Ramirez suggested. Something tells me he won't go to that extreme. (Miami Herald)

REHAB TIME: Domonic Brown will begin a rehab assignment later this week in his return from a fractured hamate bone. While Ben Francisco has been equipping himself fine as the starting right fielder, you can bet the Phillies can't wait to see what Brown can do. (Philly.com)

HOLD IT: Can you imagine umpiring a 33-inning game? Take it from someone who's umpired Little League games -- even umpiring those games is no picnic, so imagine how tough Denny Cregg had it as home-plate umpire. But then ratchet it up a notch, as Cregg reveals on the 30-year anniversary of the game, and factor in not going to the bathroom even once during the whole affair. (MLB.com)

INSPIRATIONAL: Or something like it. Take a listen to Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard, who delivered an "inspirational" speech during a minor-league baseball game last season replete with monkeys riding dogs. You read that right. (Youtube)

BASEBALL FAMILY: Bernie Stowe has been part of the Reds' clubhouse for 65 years, and it's grown into a family affair as his two sons pilot the home and visitor's clubhouse. A nice profile on people with deep connections to baseball that you never hear about. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

Posted on: April 1, 2011 10:26 am
Edited on: April 1, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Pepper: Overreacting to overreactions

By Matt Snyder

Of the many great opening day pastimes in baseball, one of my favorite is the overreaction police.

Look, we all know there are 162 games in a season and that yesterday's game for each of the 12 teams that played means as much as when they play a game August 17. The flip-side to that is we haven't seen a meaningful game in months, so of course it's fun to try and examine and analyze everything we saw.

No one thinks Albert Pujols is going to suck this year because he hit into three double plays in an 0-5 afternoon. No one believes each player who hit a home run yesterday is going to hit 162 bombs this year. In fact, those "pace" jokes are so overplayed it's insane -- "Ryan Braun is on pace for 162 home runs. Sincerely, Stat Dork." Hey guys, 1990 called and wants its joke back.

So let us take a look at some of the things we saw and make sure everyone takes a deep breath and realizes we saw six games yesterday. There are 2,430 in the regular season, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with talking about every single one of them.

CLOSING CONCERNS IN CENTRAL? Two NL Central teams sent their respective closers out for a save situation in the ninth inning Thursday, and both came away with losses. The outings were quite a bit different. Franklin was only stung by a home run. Blowing a game is never easy to swallow, but when a closer only gives up one crack of the bat, it's a whole different situation than what the Brewers' John Axford went through. Axford allowed a single and walk to start the inning. He had a three-run lead and two batters in the tying run was digging in with no outs. A bit of a fielding gaffe/unlucky play was followed by a sac-fly and then three-run walk-off bomb. You just can't let the first two runners on like that. It would be easy to start worrying about either closer, but blown saves happen. I do think Franklin is more of a concern because he's old (38) and his ERA already jumped a run and a half last year -- but Axford's outing Thursday was far more problematic.

If fans or fantasy owners of either pitcher want an example of an NL Central closer from recent years who made it through an opening day failure, I've got one. Kerry Wood allowed three runs on opening day in 2008. He actually ended up blowing four of his first 14 save chances. The rest of the season he closed down 24 of 26 games.

CLUTCH CAMERON: Cameron Maybin has been a disappointment thus far in his early career, but he's still only 23. He surely made a good impression on Padres fans Thursday, slugging the game-tying home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to dead center field. Then, in the 11th, Maybin followed a Chase Headley base hit with a knock of his own. Headley would score on the play due to a pretty embarrassing defensive lapse by John Jay and Ryan Theriot. Because of the error, Maybin didn't get an RBI, but he got the two biggest hits in the Padres' victory.

MAYBE PUT HIM ON NEXT YEAR?
Jason Heyward is now 2-2 with two home runs in his first at-bat of the season.

WICKED WEAVER: Jered Weaver seems to be one of the more underappreciated aces in the game. All he did Thursday was throw 6 1/3 shutout innings, striking out six. Sure, he was playing the Royals, but it still counts.

HEY, HOW ABOUT JOBA? The much-maligned Joba Chamberlain threw a perfect seventh for the Yankees, which was followed by Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera shutting down the Tigers. If Joba throws like he's capable, the Yankees' bullpen will be downright filthy.

NO LOVE LOST: It's no secret Dodgers and Giants fans generally don't particularly care for each other. One Giants fan even went far enough to hire a banner plane to fly by Dodgers Stadium with the sign "DODGERS STILL SUCK - FROM SF CHAMPS FAN." (Picture here , via Big League Stew). The fan was Henry Yu, who said he was sick of hearing all those years about how the San Francisco Giants had never won a championship from Dodgers fans. "This is for all the Giants fans like me," Yu said, "who've taken so much verbal abuse over the years." (Inside Bay Area )

DON'T TRUST STATS THIS WEEK:
Fangraphs warns against it, just as we did yesterday in the chat. Fangraphs crunches lots of numbers, that's what they do and why they're great, but I think we summed it up pretty succinctly in the chat yesterday: Chris Shelton. Tuffy Rhodes.

BOSTON BOOZE: Fenway Park is moving to expand the sale of mixed alcoholic drinks for Red Sox games this season. Representatives are meeting with the licensing board to gain approval, but they'll have to convince the board and local police they will sufficiently monitor sales. Don't stadiums generally make those stadium mixed drinks so weak that it's basically the same as drinking beer? If so, what's the problem? Just don't allow people to order "doubles." (Boston.com )

C'MON CURTIS: Rebecca Black's Friday is an Internet hit, and it's sufficiently awful. It's also apparently Curtis Granderson's personal at-bat music. (Yardbarker.com ) There is, of course, the possibility that it was a joke by someone in the organization. Let's hope so. What's next, is someone going to use a Justin Bieber song? This also relates to our opening day chat, as we had the discussion on what the best at-bat songs would be. I went with Stone Cold Steve Austin's theme, but I also think Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N' Roses would be solid. No matter what kind of music you prefer, I think we should all agree an early teenage girl telling you Friday comes after Thursday doesn't really fit with adult males playing sports. Right?

AT LEAST CURTIS GETS A CHOICE: I guess the old-schoolers win this one. The Cubs will use organ music for the players, not selected music intros. (Chicago Tribune )

POOR PETE: Legendary Reds player Pete Rose looked a bit, shall we say, odd Thursday. See for yourself . (With Leather)

JUST LIKE THE MOVIES! Two high school baseball players in Texas have been booted from their team for allegedly sacrificing a few live chickens in order to break out of slumps. We've heard about the live chicken curse from Bull Durham and Major League . The best part is some of the quotes. Check this one out from the police: "It appears that superstition relating to a slump in baseball performance could have played a part." Seriously, thanks for the heads up, officer. (Yardbarker )

ICHIRO INTO HIS FORTIES: Check out this article by John Hickey, and it sounds like Ichiro Suzuki really wants to play well into his forties. The Japanese star seems to already be safeguarding against age concerns, like saying: “Let’s say that I was 20 when I twisted or sprained an ankle. Three years from now when I’m 40 and I twist or sprain my ankle, people will say it’s because of age. It’s not second-guessing. It’s just human nature.’’ He also notes he wants to spend his entire career with the Mariners. That 3,000 hit (in America) plateau is getting pretty close to being a lock anymore. (Sportspress Northwest )

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Pepper: Raise a glass


By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Orioles are a trendy pick to be better in 2011, and they should be. But no matter how the Orioles do on the field, things will be better this season in Baltimore because Natty Boh is back.

Before the take-over of the beer industry by the big brewing companies, regional beers were king -- be it National Bohemian (known as Natty Boh in Baltimore) in the mid-Atlantic, Hudepohl in Cincinnati or Hamm's in Minnesota.

These were different than the great microbrews of today, they were the macrobrews of yesterday. It's what you remember your grandpa dinking, whether it was an Olympia in Washington or an Old Style in Chicago. These were American, working-class beers. And they belonged with baseball, at the ballpark and at home, listening along to the local nine on the radio.

Well, one of these greats, National Bohemian, is back where it belongs, at the ballpark at Camden Yards. And for that, America and baseball are better than they were before. (Baltimore Sun)

For more fun, check out this video of old Natty Boh commercials (with an added bonus of Maryland history):

GARDNER MAY PUSH JETER FROM LEADOFF: The Yankees front office wants Brett Gardner, not Derek Jeter, leading off, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes.

Jeter has batted first or second for most of his career, but it seems natural to put the speedy Gardner atop the lineup. Gardner had a .383 on-base percentage last season, along with 47 stolen bases. He also saw an MLB-best 4.6 pitchers per plate appearance, giving him a good case to bat first for the Yankees.

HOLD 'EM OR FOLD 'EM: Boston's Mike Cameron had his name thrown around a bit this weekend after Philadelphia lost Domonic Brown to a hand injury, but with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury roaming the outfield, is it wise for the Red Sox to get rid of any outfielder?

Although Cameron is making $7.5 million this season, that would hamper many other teams, but not the Red Sox. Cameron is also a rarity in the Red Sox clubhouse, a right-handed hitter. (Boston Globe)

HART SIDELINED: Brewers right fielder Corey Hart missed the last week after straining a muscle in his side. He was expected to miss two weeks, but after a setback during a throwing exercise on Saturday, Hart said he doesn't expect to be back in the original timeframe.

However, manager Ron Roenicke said he expects Hart to be ready for opening day. (MLB.com)

MOM KNOWS BEST: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he was feeling sorry for himself after suffering a broken bone in his left foot, until his mother set him straight.

"I woke up positive and [said] 'Let's do it,'" Cervelli told the New York Daily News. "That's it. Start the work, the therapy and get better. A lot of people in the world don't have legs or arms; I'm healthy. I just have something in my foot, but it's going to be OK."

MONTERO MAY BACKUP: Cervelli's injury may have opened the door for Yankees top prospect, Jesus Montero.

Many thought the Yankees would want him to play every day and not have him break camp just to back up Russell Martin. One who doesn't buy that theory, apparently, is Brian Cashman.

"There is a lot of knowledge that a catcher has to absorb that you just won't get at Triple-A," Cashman told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. "If it's the second week of April and he has only pinch-hit or started one game, I won't consider it a lost week. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that he has never experienced before.

"He can watch, see how [Martin] goes through it -- pre-game, advance scouting meetings, all those things. When he gets in there in the future, he'll be fully prepared, rather than just sink or swim."

The Yankees know Montero's bat can play right away, but many question his ability to stick behind the plate.

TRADE STUNG SAUNDERS: Former first-rounder Joe Saunders said he was upset last season when the Angels traded him to Arizona.

"I was pissed off. I'm not going to lie to you," Saunders told the Orange County Register.

Saunders said it was weird heading into the visitor's clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Angels' spring training home.

MULLET MANIA: Travis Schlichting has the greatest mullet in baseball history, and Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan has the story.

AUTHOR-PITCHER: Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst -- better known as the author of The Bullpen Gospels than anything he's done on the field -- said he's walked a fine line between being truthful and writing a tell-all.

Hayhurst's often hilarious characters in the book (really, it's worth checking out, a fun, quick read), are real, but he doesn't name names. He's also working on a second book and has a contract for a third, but those will also be done in his particular style, where the only specific player you get dirt on is Hayhurst himself.

The Rays seem like a perfect fit, if only for the fact that when asked about Hayhurst, manager Joe Maddon used the word "ameliorated" in his response. (St. Petersburg Times)

OLIVO CONFIDENT: Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo had a scare on Saturday when he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and had to be helped off the field. Olivo will have an MRI today, but he told reporters on Sunday that he's confident he'll be ready for opening day. (Seattle Times)

BOOF REMAINS A MYSTERY: Even Boof Bonser doesn't know how his name came about, even though he's legally changed it. (Star-Ledger)

FORTUITOUS CUT: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is pretty happy he cut reliever Cristhian Martinez last year when both were with the Marlins. Martinez was optioned to Triple-A at the end of spring training last season and then designated him for assignment on April 3. The Braves signed him and now he's competing for the final bullpen spot.

Martinez struck out five in two innings against the Nationals on Sunday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MAYBIN MAY RETURN: San Diego's Cameron Maybin may return to action today after suffering concussion symptoms when he hit his head on a post during Wednesday's practice.

Maybin, the team's newly acquired center fielder, took batting practice on Sunday and said he felt good afterwards. (MLB.com)

D-LEE STILL OUT: Derrek Lee won't make his debut with the Orioles in the Grapefruit League until Wednesday at the earliest. (Baltimore Sun)

PEAVY TO MAKE SECOND START: White Sox starter Jake Peavy said he's sore from Saturday's start, but he's good enough to start on Wednesday. (Chicago Tribune)

FIRST BASE BATTLE: Here's something you don't hear very often -- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said defensive will be a key component to the team's search for a regular first baseman.

Russell Branyan, Brandon Allen and Juan Miranda are the other leading candidates for that job. (Arizona Republic)

ZAUN TO RETIRE: Veteran catcher Gregg Zaun is set to retire after 16 seasons in the big leagues.

Zaun, 39, was in the Padres camp. He's a career .252/.344/.388 hitter, but better known for his defense, spending most of his time as a backup catcher.

His retirement gives Rob Johnson the inside track at the Padres' backup job. (Sportsnet.ca)


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