Tag:Carlos Silva
Posted on: March 27, 2011 11:43 am
 

Pepper: Silva released, Cubs blunder ... or not

By Matt Snyder

The Cubs just issued a press release that Carlos Silva has been, uh, released. Good riddance. Now, about how it all went down ...

I like Big League Stew and David Brown, so I hope we don't get into a whole thing here, but I have to say I don't understand this column . Brown uses a lot of words to call out the Cubs for having a pitching coach notify Carlos Silva he wouldn't make the team instead of general manager Jim Hendry doing so. I would generally agree with that sentiment, but then I see this quote from the Chicago Tribune :

"I told Carlos Silva there was not a spot for him unless there's an injury between now and Opening Day," general manager Jim Hendry said. "We will explore trade opportunities with other clubs."

A little farther down in the same article, Silva mentions that the new pitching coach, Mark Riggins, was trying to talk him up and said, "Man, you've been throwing the ball good, you can pitch, all of that, blah, blah, blah. If you go out there to Triple-A and throw some games to continue building, to continue getting better ... "

If that looks like a weird quote, it's because it was Carlos Silva discussing the situation. It's an emotional Silva, too, who already isn't going to be mistaken for Derek Jeter in terms of eloquence, professionalism or, really, anything. From that, we're to gather that was how he found out he wasn't making the team. Sorry, I'm not ready to make that leap. And if I did believe every word Silva said -- I'm trying not to laugh -- the mistake would appear to be Riggins' for letting it slip. That above quote doesn't sound like Hendry sent Riggins in to break the news.

I don't want to come off like a Hendry apologist, because he's proven himself not a very good GM. When the Ricketts family pays Kosuke Fukudome eight figures this year or Alfonso Soriano $19 million in 2014 they might agree. I'm just saying this particular call-out was a big reach. Even if Silva was telling the truth, it was a minor slip-up -- in which a rookie coach accidentally let the cat out of the bag. It's much less a big deal than giving Milton Bradley a three-year contract -- which is the whole reason Silva's with the club anyway. In fact, the funny part of this whole thing is that Silva represents an actual good move by Hendry. He saved money in trading Bradley for Silva. Granted, it was his fault he had to deal Bradley, but he patched it up as best he could. That's about all you can ask from a middling-at-best GM.

MESSIN' WITH TEXAS: The Rangers are expected to make a decision on the fifth starter Sunday. Remember, they already did, but Tommy Hunter injured himself the day the announcement was made. What about Alexi Ogando? ESPN Dallas makes a case.

FIVE GUYS: MLB.com looks at five players who need to "get it together" this season. I actually think all five will.

DEBUT ... D'OH: Chris Dickerson was making a good impression on his new team Saturday. He joined the Yankees after a trade and promptely went 3-3 with a double. His encore was leaving the game with cramps. (MLB.com )

SMACKDOWN:
Earlier this week, crotchety curmudgeon Murray Chass wrote one of the more ridiculous things anyone has ever written. He used a second-hand story of a third-hand account of an event taken out of context to say Stan Musial was racist. The hilarious part is Chass likes to talk about how he's a respectable journalist and refuses to acknowledge that he's a blogger. Anyway, I'm not going to get into bashing him any further, because the great Joe Posnanski took him down better than I could ever hope to do. And you won't find a link to Chass' blog (yep, I said it, Murray) here or there. I refuse to give hits to that clown.

PATTERSON OK: Corey Patterson took a high-90s fastball to the head Friday. Fortunately it hit his helmet, but that's still an awfully big impact. The good news is that he appears to be just fine. "I seem to be doing OK," Patterson said. "I got checked out at the hospital last night and the doctor said everything looked fine. There weren't any concussion symptoms, but it doesn't mean that it can't evolve into that. Just have to keep an eye on it and make sure I'm in regular contact with our trainers." (MLB.com )

SILENT NIGHT: The A's may not have a radio broadcast on their flagship station this season. (Mercury News )

HOME SWEET HOME: Ryan Zimmerman wants to be with the Washington Nationals for a long time. It's just a matter of whether or not the Nats will pony up the kind of dough he'd command on the open market. (Washington Post ) The smart money is on them doing so. He's the centerpiece of the team and at 26, he's hardly too old to stay for a while. Plus, unless you've been listening to me scream about it for the past few weeks, you might not realize the Nationals have plenty of money.

Pirates LINEUP SET:
Andrew McCutchen has hit leadoff for 190 games in his early career. He's batted second 17 games and third 53. This season, he's going to man the three-hole for the Pirates, following Jose Tabata and Neil Walker. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette )

THE GRITTY GRINDERS! A clash between sabermatricians and old-school baseball writers has long been the contention that players like David Eckstein are either a) severely underrated because they do things you can't measure with stats; or b) severely overrated because the numbers show they don't help a team much. Well, the New York Times tries to bridge that gap by figuring team records with and without certain players. According to the metric, Ruben Tejada was the Mets' most valuable player while Alex Rodriguez is largely irrelevant to the Yankees ("they seemed to get along just fine without [him]"). There are several other oddities, such as six Reds having better winning percentages than league MVP Joey Votto. I'd be much more inclined to jump aboard here if baseball wasn't a team sport with so many factors to take into account in each and every game. For example, if a pitcher coughs up 10 runs with Votto at first base and then someone else throws a shutout on his scheduled off-day, how in God's name does that mean the team is better off without him? There are seemingly infinite examples at hand like this.

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Posted on: March 26, 2011 1:38 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 2:50 pm
 

Silva says 'no chance' he'll go to minors

By C. Trent Rosecrans

UPDATE (2:47 p.m. EST): Soon-to-be-former Cub Carlos Silva said there's "no chance" he'll go to Triple-A Iowa, as the Cubs have asked him to do if the team is unable to work out a trade.

"No chance," Silva told reporters (via MLB.com's Carrie Muskat). "That's not in my mind right now, not at all. I'm not an insurance player. My guess is that's what they want."

Silva also took a shot at new Cubs pitching coach Mark Riggins, saying Riggins was "not straight" with him about the team's plans. Silva said he had a workout on Friday with Riggins, who was positive about the results, and "an hour later" the pitching coach told him the team's plans.

"I'm like, if you have to say something, be straight," Silva said. "He has to learn he's in the big leagues now, know what I mean? There's no kids around here anymore. The way he laid it out, I don't know what he was trying to do."

Silva said Riggins told him they'd like him to throw in some minor league games, but when Silva said he was ready, Riggins told him the news that the team had decided to go with Andrew Cashner in the rotation and Marcos Mateo for the final bullpen spot.

"He should've started with that first and then say you're throwing the ball good," Silva said. Riggins was the team's minor league pitching coordinator last season.

Silva, according to the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan (on Twitter), also said he was ready to pitch for the Cubs on Monday, his next scheduled day to throw. That seems unlikely now.

------------------

Carlos SilvaAndrew Cashner will be the Cubs' fifth starter and rookie Marcos Mateo has won the final bullpen spot, that means there's no room in the inn for Carlos Silva.

The team told Silva on Saturday that he has not made the team and Chicago will look to trade him, general manager Jim Hendry told the Chicago Tribune.

"I told Carlos Silva there was not a spot for him unless there's an injury between now and Opening Day," Hendry said. "We will explore trade opportunities with other clubs."

Finding a take for Silva and his $11.5 million contract may not be easy. The Yankees and Nationals reportedly scouted Silva earlier this spring, but the Yankees have sense settled on their rotation and no longer have a need for Silva.

Hendry also told Silva the team would like him to start the season at Triple-A Iowa with a shot to make his way back to Chicago if the team can't find a taker.

The Cubs would be responsible for Silva's entire $11.5 million salary if they were to release him, while the Mariners would be responsible for the $2 million buyout for his 2012 option.

Silva went 1-2 with a 10.90 ERA in five games and four starts this spring. He allowed 32 hits in 17 1/3 innings. Last season he went 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA last season in 21 starts with the Cubs.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 5:33 pm
 

Cubs likely to rid themselves of Silva soon

By Matt Snyder

As the last days of spring training pass by, it's becoming increasingly likely that Carlos Silva will not appear in a Cubs uniform in 2011. Randy Wells has been named the fourth starter in the rotation. Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner and James Russell have made the team, which leaves just one open roster spot. The smart money is on Cashner making the rotation as the fifth starter, which leaves the last roster opening for a long reliever. Braden Looper, Marcos Mateo and Casey Coleman are in the mix with Silva. (Chicago Tribune via Twitter)

The Cubs were reportedly hoping for some trade interest after Silva's last outing -- his first good one of the spring -- but there's nothing going on that front. (Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com ) In fact, the Cubs are willing to eat "a considerable amount" of Silva's $11.5 million salary this season just to get rid of him. (New York Post )

I don't even understand how it's a discussion -- and maybe it isn't. Silva was 2-6 with a 6.15 ERA and allowed opposing players to have an .858 OPS last season from June 12 on. He's been horrible this spring, in addition to complaining about not having a starting rotation spot handed to him and getting in a fight with a teammate -- the mild-mannered Aramis Ramirez.

The Cubs have money. Plus, trading Milton Bradley for Silva last offseason actually saved the team $5 million. The main reason for the deal was to get rid of Bradley. That happened and anything Silva gave the team last season was gravy. It's over now, so it's time to move on from the initial mistake, which was the multi-year signing of Bradley.

It's time to let the extremely promising Cashner enter the rotation and let someone worthwhile occupy the middle relief role. Whether it's a seasoned veteran like Looper or a youngster, either option is better than an albatross like Silva.

UPDATE: Well, so much for that. The Cubs have cut Braden Looper -- who plans to retire -- and Silva has made the team, barring any last-minute changes. (Chicago Sun-Times via Twitter)

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 10:22 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/23: Seven strong for Shields



By Matt Snyder


3 UP

James Shields, Rays. Roy Oswalt getting clocked in the head overshadowed this outing -- and rightfully so at the time -- but Shields threw a masterpiece against the Phillies Wednesday. It wasn't against scrubs either, as names like Rollins, Howard and Ibanez were in the order. He went seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and one walk. He struck out four while lowering his spring ERA to 1.88.

Carlos Silva, Cubs. With Randy Wells nailing down the No. 4 spot in the Cubs' starting rotation, there's only one opening remaining. Silva had been brutal so far this spring, but he made a case to remain in consideration Wednesday. He threw six innings and coughed up just one earned run. In fact, he only allowed three hits and walked none. I still like Andrew Cashner for that job, but reports had Cubs' skipper Mike Quade very pleased with Silva's outing.

Matt Kemp, Dodgers. The 26 year old continued his torrid spring, crushing a three-run bomb off John Danks to highlight a 2-4 day. He's now hitting .320 with a 1.072 OPS this spring. He has five home runs and 15 RBI in only 50 at-bats.

3 DOWN

Matt Cain, Giants. He entered the game with five scoreless innings under his belt in the spring. He left with a 5.63 spring ERA after giving up seven hits and five earned runs in three innings. Good thing the spring games don't count.

Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks. The promising young arm for the Snakes couldn't get through three innings after allowing eight hits, two walks and seven runs. Only one of the runs was earned, but a Hudson throwing error was what helped open the door for the huge Rangers' third inning.

Ryan Doumit, Pirates. An interesting case, as you could glance at the box score and see Doumit collected two hits in four at-bats. But look deeper, as his ineptitude in everything but handling the stick was illustrated Wednesday. He allowed his third passed ball of the spring and was picked off on the basepaths -- twice! As the Pirates reportedly continue to shop him, efforts like these won't help.

BONUS -- YOU MAKE THE CALL

Francisco Liriano, Twins. He struck out nine hitters in three innings. Yes, every out he recorded was of the punch-out variety. Of course, he needed 76 pitches just to get through those three innings and along the way he walked three guys and gave up four hits. The one earned run isn't awful (it would be a 3.00 ERA), but a walk per inning is, just like the WHIP of more than two. Still, love seeing nine K in three innings. So would the outing be listed in up or down? You make the call.

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: March 23, 2011 11:42 am
 

Pepper: Greinke explains why Nationals were nixed

Greinke

By Evan Brunell

JUST WIN, BABY: Zack Greinke spoke about rejecting a trade to the Nationals in favor of the Brewers, turning down an extension that would have been worth over $100 million.

The reason for the deal, Greinke says, has nothing to do with having anything against Washington. In fact, Greinke wouldn't rule out going to the Nationals once he hits free agency, but Milwaukee is where he wanted to be.

"The one thing I couldn’t get over was the fact that, here I was trying to get out of Kansas City because the team wasn’t good," Greinke said. "Not saying [the Nationals] don’t have a chance, but I was trying to get to a team that was looking really good at the moment. And I believe [the Nationals] will be good eventually."

In addition, Greinke cited the fact that Washington would have given up too much of its building blocks that could take the team into contention, including Jordan Zimmermann, Danny Espinosa and others. Milwaukee, meanwhile, coughed up players that weren't crucial to the contending process.

But for now, Greinke is with the Brew Crew and rehabilitating a cracked rib. While everyone involved would prefer Greinke was healthy, the extra time has allowed those in the organization to get to know Greinke. (Washington Post)

STICK TO THE MALL: Tommy Hilfiger came out with some redesigns of iconic sports uniforms with his take on the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, Montreal Canadiens and New York Yankees. Umm, Tommy... stick with what's gotten you here, 'kay? (San Antonio Express News)

WELCOME TO THE JOB: In Joe Garagiola, Jr.'s first ruling, baseball's new disciplinarian is expected to hand down a ruling on the Cardinals-Nationals fracas from Tuesday in which Livan Hernandez admitted plunking Colby Rasmus on purpose. It's unclear how hard Garagiola will come down, but expect fines at the very least. (Washington Post)

POLE POSITION: “MLB wants to play in Europe and the Netherlands have conquered pole position," says MLB's director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Netherlands are on track to build a baseball stadium for 2014 to host baseball's first European games in Hoofddorp, a 30-minute drive from Amsterdam. Germany (Regensburg) and Italy (Rome) are also in contention. (Mister Baseball

"NOW PLAYING CENTER FIELD -- WAIT, WHAT?" Jason Bay took a turn in center field for the Mets on Tuesday, and it could be something you see again. Skipper Terry Collins says Bay could play center in a pinch as he will not allow Carlos Beltran to return to center at any point. (New York Times)

Josh Hamilton v.2: Everyone knows Josh Hamilton's story, but have you heard of Jeff Allison? The Marlins grabbed him with their first-round pick in 2003 after Hamilton was named Baseball America's High School Player of the Year. Two heroin overdoses and an Oxycontin addiction later, Allison seemed on the verge of leaving baseball -- and life. But he's been clean for over four years now and got his first taste of the majors Tuesday. (Miami Herald)

ROTATING LINEUP: Joe Maddon would love to have a set lineup for the Rays, but that's not going to happen. There's too much good information, he says, that comes from within the organization regarding production against certain pitchers and especially this year, Maddon plans to take advantage of it. (MLB.com)

TALKING CONTRACT: Adrian Gonzalez's agent, John Boggs, was in town on Tuesday to talk contract with the Red Sox. Both sides came away optimistic, and -- stop me if you haven't heard this before -- expect an extension to be consummated in April. (Boston Globe)

IZZY'S FINE: One of the more intriguing stories of spring training was Jason Isringhausen's return to the majors with the Mets. An injury appeared to have perhaps changed that, but Isringhausen says the injury won't knock him out for a while and he should still be ready for Opening Day. (New York Post)

STILL NO NO. 5: The Cubs still haven't made any decisions on who the No. 5 starter will be, so Carlos Silva gets another chance to turn his spring training around when he draws the start in Wednesday's spring-training game. (Chicago Tribune)

RIDE THE PONY: A classic restaurant that was the staple of baseball people in Scottsdale, Ariz. for a decade has reopened under new ownership and has drawn rave reviews for ... keeping things exactly the same, which is how patrons of the restaurant like it. (Washington Post)

ORGAN MUSIC: A nice little story on the White Sox's new organist, replacing one who retired after 40 years on the job. (Chicago Tribune)

REMEMBERING STEVE OLIN AND TIM CREWS: Tuesday was the 18th anniversary of the tragedy that took the lives of Indians pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews. A look back... (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

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Posted on: March 20, 2011 1:53 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:48 am
 

Pepper: Collins to dial down intensity

Collins

By Evan Brunell

TIME TO LOOSEN UP: Terry Collins is well aware of his reputation as a no-nonsense manager whose intensity lost the respect of his players when he helmed the Astros and Angels.

However, to hear Collins tell it, he realizes where he went wrong and wants to make changes.

 

"I’ve thought about it a lot," he said. "I took it way too serious. Even though I enjoyed it, I didn’t enjoy it. It was all about the winning, winning, winning, instead of enjoying being around these guys and watching them play, enjoying the experience and the challenge of competing. That’s what I love to do.

"There was that thing that I had to prove something. I still want to prove that we’re good enough, but I don’t think it’s the same type of attitude I had in the past. And with that comes the fact that these guys are human beings, and they need communication."

Collins plans to have the Mets play aggressively, as his Angels did -- which still continues to this day under manager Mike Scioscia. He also places a premium on players aspiring to be great and staying focused, which sounds a lot like the old Collins, but the skipper knows that.

"Hopefully, the energy -- or whatever people want to say, the intenseness that I have -- may work here," Collins said. (New York Times)

 

IZZY COULD SET UP: Jason Isringhausen was once one of the Mets' most heralded pitching prospects before injuries completely wrecked his early years. He was later moved to Oakland and became a closer, famous for his time in St. Louis. Now, after missing most of the last two years, Izzy appears poised to set up closer Francisco Rodriguez back in New York. (New York Post)

IT'LL BE PUDGE: After a brief skirmish among Nationals reporters as to the state of the catching, it appears Ivan Rodriguez will certainly start Opening Day for Washington -- but Wilson Ramos figures to get the bulk of work behind the plate in short order. (Washington Post)

NO MORE GUYS: Five Guys is a weakness of Evan's, and it will no longer taunt him in Nationals Park, as the burger chain has opted not to renew its lease despite being one of the more popular options for customers. (Eater.com)

SILVA'S SPOT IN DANGER: Carlos Silva has had a beyond-awful spring training and although he's slated to take the bump once more next Wednesday, that may not happen. Manager Mike Quade and GM Jim Hendry are expected to sit down and make some touch decisions prior to then. It's entirely feasible that Silva will be put out of the running for the No. 5 starter's spot at that time. (Chicago Sun-Times)

GOOD NEWS FOR BREW CREW: Milwaukee already has enough problems figuring out who will replace Zack Greinke in the rotation, so bad news regarding Shaun Marcum is not ideal. However, the righty believes while he may have to skip a start in spring training, he will be on track for the regular season. (MLB.com)

THE NATURAL: Ken Griffey, Jr.'s talent on the field sometimes evoked comparisons to the immortal Ray Hobbs, but who knew that Griffey had untapped potential? Griffey stopped by the Mariners' broadcast booth for five innings Friday and drew rave reviews. (MLB.com)

BENGIE WANTS TO PLAY: Don't call Bengie Molina retired, brother Jose of the Blue Jays says. Rather, Molina isn't interested in playing unless any contract he signs "shows him sufficient respect." Is it just me, or is an offer to extend your career and haul in at least another half-million plenty of respect to give? (FOX Sports)

INCREMENTAL PROGRESS: The Yankees haven't made formal who the Nos. 4 and 5 starters will be (bank on Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia) but now we know who is following CC Sabathia on the mound: A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes, respectively. (New York Post)

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Posted on: March 13, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:35 am
 

Pepper: Gordon's last shot?

Alex Gordon
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Remember when Alex Gordon was the next George Brett? Royals fans sure do.

Now, though, the former second-overall pick in the draft, is an afterthought in the deep, talented Royals system.

Taken ahead of the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki, Gordon has a career line of .244/.315/.355 in 1,641 plate appearances in the big leagues and has since been moved from third base to the outfield.

While no longer one of the core building-blocks of the Royals rebuilding job, Gordon still has some talent (and a little trade value). He's also starting to get hot in the Cactus League, going 8 for 12 in his last five games. He's also shown good plate discipline, drawing 11 walks.

"The timing was off. I was seeing the pitches good, I was just late and not making solid contact," Gordon told MLB.com. "Lately, I've been getting easy earlier and seeing pitches better and making good contact, and that's what it's all about. So definitely a big change in the last week."

Gordon, 27, spent his offseason working with Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, someone who knows a little bit about living in the shadow of the Royals' lone Hall of Fame player. Seitzer's emergence at third base moved Brett from third base to first in 1987 and even made the All-Star team as a rookie. Seitzer has been the team's hitting coach since 2009.

"I think I've pulled my hands back so I'm loaded instead of trying to find the load during the swing. I'm ready to go right off the bat," Gordon said. "I think that's helped, and I'm not late on pitches anymore, and I'm being aggressive."

With the Royals throwing out a placeholder roster for 2011 before the prospects begin to trickle in later this summer, Gordon may be getting his last chance to prove he's more than a Four-A player. Soon, that Royals influx of talent could make him the next Clint Hurdle in Royals history.

SILVA ON THE BLOCK: Three Nationals scouts, among others, watched the Cubs' Carlos Silva in his latest spring training start, ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine writes.

According to Levine, the Nationals and Yankees have had scouts at each of Silva's outings. Both teams are looking to fill their rotation and could afford Silva's $12 million salary.

Chicago has had good spring showings from Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner, making Silva expendable.

Dave MartinezHAIR CLUB FOR MEN: With Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez now Rays, manager Joe Maddon wants his team to follow the example of his newest stars.

"I encourage the growth of follicles," Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "I want them all to go nuts with their hair this year."

Although Ramirez is known for his long dreadlocks and Damon is now sporting a fauxhawk, the inspiration for his goal of being "the hirsute club" was bench coach Dave Martinez's bushy beard (pictured).

"Sometimes I just go with my instincts, and I just think it could turn into a lot of fun for the group," Maddon said, noting he'll let his hair grow out as much as possible. "So whatever keeps you focused on the field and having fun off it, I'm all for it."

FORMER CUBS OK: The Chicago Tribune caught up with former Cub Micah Hoffpauir, who is now playing in Japan.

"My first earthquake," Hoffpauir told the Trib. "And good Lord willing, it will be my last."

Hoffpauir, now a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters, was in his room on the 26th floor of his hotel in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, approximately 250 miles to the north.

"It felt like someone started shaking the whole country of Japan," Hoffpauir said. "At one point I thought, this building is going to fall down. But I was assured later that [swaying] is what the building was supposed to do."

He said he was evacuated from his hotel and was able to contact his wife in Texas to let her know he was OK. He said he has also been in touch with former Cub teammate Matt Murton, who was training further south in Osaka, and he was OK.

GARFOOSE FUNDRAISER: Author and Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst will call you up and thank you personally if you donate $50 or more to Mercy Corp Fundraising for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (DirkHayhurst.com)

HIDDEN TREASURE: Investigators found a jackpot of 1986 Mets memorabilia in a  Port St. Lucie storage facility following their case of former Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels.

Samuels is accused of theft and illegal gambling.

Among the treasure found in the storage facility was signed uniforms from the 1986 Mets team that defeated the Red Sox in the World Series. The collection is reportedly worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars." (New York Daily News)

SIZEMORE GETTING CLOSER: Indians manager Manny Acta said he thinks center fielder Grady Sizemore is scheduled to start running bases today and could be cleared to play in games sometime in the last 10 days of spring training. (MLB.com)

D-TRAIN OFF THE RAILS: Dontrelle Willis left Saturday's game with a sprained ankle, tripping on a bat after backing up the plate on Bobby Scales' two-run single. Willis had a rough outing, allowing two hits and two walks while recording just a single out. (MLB.com)

THANK YOU, COME AGAIN: Commissioner Bud Selig said Saturday that the stake in the Diamondbacks once owned by Padres chief executive Jeff Moorad has been sold. Current Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick absorbed the eight percent of the Diamondbacks  for $21 million. Moorad's group owns 49 percent of the Padres. (MLB.com)

HARDEN OUT OF ROTATION MIX: Rich Harden is officially out of the race for the Athletics' fifth-starter sport. Harden could still find a spot in the bullpen, but it's getting crowded too. Brandon McCarthy, Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer are still competing for the fifth starter spot, with the losers then looking to make the bullpen. (San Francisco Chronicle)

STATS FOR DUMMIES: The great Joe Posnanski gives you a primer on advanced offensive statistics. (JoePosnanski.com)

LINEUP CONSTRUCTION: Little has more breath and keystrokes wasted on it more than lineup construction. It's a fan's favorite nitpick to show why their manager is an idiot, yet it doesn't really matter that much in the long term. (Although, it makes the most sense to get your better hitters at the the top of the order, because they get the most at-bats). But anyway, Astros manager Brad Mills discusses his philosophy for filling out his lineup card. (Houston Chronicle)

RAYS RESURRECTION: Former top pick Matt Bush is making a comeback in Tampa's training camp. (Tampa Tribune)

BASEBALL PROJECT: If you missed our Ear on Baseball podcast with the Baseball Project, what's wrong with you? Seriously?

Anyway, you can catch up with Scott McCaughey, who says despite touring the world with various rock bands, he's always kept up with baseball because it's a "a sort of zen thing for me" and reading boxscores is "like meditation" -- I think we can all understand that. (Athens Music Junkie)

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 9:19 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 9:21 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/12: Castro, Ellsbury blossom

By Evan Brunell

CastroSaturday was a day full of star performances -- it was tough to whittle the list down to just three. Many of the stars were hitters, which comes as no surprise. Pitchers are only just now going deeper into games and transitioning from rounding everything into shape to competitively pitching while hitters are ahead of the curve.

3 UP

1. SS Starlin Castro, CHC: 3 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 4 RBI, 2 HR. Castro put on a power display Saturday, blasting two home runs and filling up the stat sheet. Castro is set to be the Cubs' starting shortstop in his first full season. While Castro impressed last season with a .300/.347/.408 line in 506 plate appearances, it was with just three home runs at age 20 and should add power over the next few years.

2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS: 3 AB, 3 R, 3 H, 3 RBI, 1 HR. Is Ellsbury a man on a mission to prove his detractors wrong after appearing in just 18 games last season and having his work ethic called into question? Now hitting .440 in spring training, Ellsbury could really turn heads if he returns to the lineup and builds upon his 2009 year (.301/.355/.415).

3. SP Zach Britton, BAL: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K. The Orioles have to be thrilled with Britton, who now has given up no runs in 10 innings this spring. He has zero chance of breaking camp with the team, partly due to the major-league rotation being full and partly because there's no reason to call him up until June at the earliest to delay free agency another year. But don't worry, O's fans: Britton's coming to Baltimore ... soon.

3 DOWN

1. CF Roger Bernadina, WAS: 4 AB, 0 H, 3 K. Mike Morse is slated to be the Nationals' starting left fielder, narrowing the outfield competition to just center field where Nyjer Morgan is attempting to hold off Rick Ankiel and Bernadina. Unfortunately for Bernadina, just one terrible game could be enough to put him squarely behind in the competition. Given Morgan's incumbency and Ankiel's history, Bernadina already faced an uphill battle before flirting with the golden sombrero.

2. SP R.A. Dickey, NYM: 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. Dickey's got a lock on a rotation spot, but if he doesn't perform up to snuff could be replaced in the season. Such is the life of a journeyman knuckleballer. He'll have these days from time to time -- but he can't have too many of them.

3. SP Carlos Silva, CHC: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Poor Carlos Silva. This competition for the No. 5 spot in the rotation must really be getting to him. After the clunker against the Reds which featured five projected starters, Silva has a ghastly 16.20 ERA. He may have sealed his fate with this game.

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