Tag:Chad Billingsley
Posted on: March 10, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Pepper: Rites of spring


By C. Trent Rosecrans

Every spring we get excited and pick winners for every division, count out teams, give a couple of other teams a free ride to the World Series and then sit back and are surprised when it doesn't happen.

The thing is, in baseball and in life, things change quickly and can change drastically.

Since the start of spring training games -- a little less than two weeks -- we've seen the Cardinals and Brewers lose some of their luster in the NL Central and the Phillies go from 110 wins to a struggling offense. We've even seen Carlos Zambrano be the calm, collected, sane member of the Cubs staff.

It's a rite of spring to project and to then react and overreact to anything we see on the field in these four weeks of meaningless games. And even when meaningful games start, there's enough time for injuries to happen, players to return and players to emerge to really know what's going to happen at the end.

And that's the fun of it. We don't know. You never know.

Sure, we can all expect a Red Sox-Phillies World Series, but there's no guarantee that'll happen. But if it does, I guarantee the road there will be completely different than we all imagined. And that's why this game is so great. You just never know, even if you think you know.

FEELING 'HITTERISH': Nationals über-prospect Bryce Harper has been nearly as entertaining off the field as on it, as he coin a new term on Wednesday.

From the Washington Post:

"I feel really confident in myself. There's guys who are going to come after you. I want to hit right now. I'm feeling hitterish. I'm trying to go up there and get some hacks in. I'm not going to be here for a long time. I want to try to go up there and get my hits in."

So, what's the definition of "hitterish" Adam Kilgore asked?

"You wake up in the morning, and you're feeling hitterish, you're going to get a hit that day," Harper said. "That's what it is. If you get a hit every day, you're feeling hitterish, for sure. Wake and rake."

Harper had an RBI single in his only at-bat on Wednesday and is hitting .357 this spring (in 14 at-bats).

BELTRAN BETTER: Carlos Beltran won't play in a Grapefruit League until next week, but he does feel "a lot better" and has not been "shut down." He took batting practice and played catch on Wednesday.

The Mets are looking at Willie Harris and Scott Hairston in right field if Beltran can't go, and are also giving Lucas Duda extra work in right field to prepare him to play there if needed. (New York Daily News)

GARLAND GROUNDED: Dodgers starter Jon Garland is expected to start the season on the disabled list after leaving Wednesday's game with a  strained oblique muscle on his left side. He had an MRI on Wednesday and the team is expected to announce the results today.

The team has already lost starter Vicente Padilla for at least the first month of the season after surgery to repair a nerve below his right elbow.

The injuries mean the once-pitching rich Dodgers are down to four starters, although the team won't need a fifth starter until April 12. John Ely and Tim Redding would likely be candidates if Garland and Padilla are still sidelined. (Los Angeles Times)

GOOD ADVICE: Maybe the Dodgers could get that old guy to take the mound -- the one working with Ted Lilly on Wednesday. That guy was Sandy Koufax.

"He still loves to watch baseball, loves the art of pitching," Lilly told MLB.com. "You know he was great. But he's also smart, he's passionate about pitching, he understands and sees things. Sometimes they are little things.

"I enjoy learning about baseball and talking about it with someone like Sandy Koufax, and I enjoy talking about it with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley and Jon Garland. There are always ways to move forward, even if they are small."

ZOOM GROUNDED: Tigers manager Jim Leyland is planning his bullpen to start the season without Joel Zumaya, who has been sidelined with pain in his surgically repaired right elbow this spring.

"I don't think right now, from within camp or by trade, that you can replace a healthy Joel Zumaya -- and I emphasize a healthy  Joel Zumaya," Leyland told MLB.com. "So you have to just keep looking and try to come up with somebody, mostly from within."

The Tigers did go out and spend a lot of money on a set-up man, Joaquin Benoit, so the path leading up to closer Jose Valverde isn't barren. Ryan Perry is expected to handle seventh-inning duties, which he was expected to shoulder with Zumaya.

SALAZAR IMPROVING: Several Braves players said they feared for the worst after minor league manager Luis Salazar was hit in the face by a foul ball on Wednesday. 

"A ball hit that hard, at that short a distance, can certainly kill somebody if it hits them in the right spot," Chipper Jones told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I'm so glad to hear that he's conscious and breathing on his own."

Salazar was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Brian McCann and was airlifted to an Orlando hospital. MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports Salazar suffered multiple facial fractures, but did not suffer any brain damage. He was able to interact with family members later Wednesday night.

D-BACKS COACH BREAKS FOOT: While not nearly as serious as Salazar's injury, the timing does take away several light-hearted remarks I could make, but Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams may miss the beginning of the regular season with a broken foot.

Williams took a line drive off the foot while throwing soft toss to his son, Jake, on Monday. He's expected to miss two-to-three weeks. (Arizona Republic)

FIRST AT FIRST: Indians catcher Carlos Santana played his first-ever professional game at first base on Wednesday.

Santana cleanly fielded all nine chances he got at first and also had a double in the Indians' 9-2 loss to the Padres.

The Indians are searching for ways to keep his bat in the lineup and keep the young catcher healthy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

PILING ON: A New York  storage company is joining in on making jokes about the city's easiest target -- the Mets.

In an ad on the city's subways for Manhattan Mini Storage, it says, "Why leave a city that has six professional sports teams, and also the Mets?" (New York Times)

WHEN HIDEKI MET RICKY: New A's slugger Hideki Matsui has connected with team icon Rickey Henderson, whom Matsui admired growing up in Japan -- and the feeling is mutual. (MLB.com)

HIGH PRAISE: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera says 19-year-old left-hander Manny Banuelos is the best pitching prospect he's ever seen.

"I like everything about him," Rivera told ESPNNewYork.com. "The makeup and how he keeps his composure. I notice situations and how you react in situations. Where you make your pitches in tough situations, where you spot your pitchers, he has the ability to do that."

WHITE RETIRES: Former West Virginia and Miami Dolphins quarterback Pat White has retired from baseball.

After White was released by the Dolphins last September, White signed a minor-league contract with the Royals and played in the Fall Instructional League. On Wednesday, the team said White did not report to spring training.

The Dolphins drafted him in the second round of the 2009 draft. He was also drafted by the Angels, Reds and Yankees. (Associated Press)

RISING WATER: It's been raining here in Cincinnati, but check out just how much -- this photo from Reds assistant media relations director Jamie Ramsey gives you a big-picture view of just how high the water is on the banks of the Ohio River.

He adds another picture of flood gates set up around Great American Ball Park. (Better Off Red)


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Posted on: December 9, 2010 8:48 pm
 

Padilla signs cut-rate Dodgers deal

Vicente Padilla We've had some contracts this week with unexpected numbers, but this might be the first one that's surprisingly small.

The Dodgers announced that they have signed Vicente Padilla to a one-year deal, and the base salary is just $2 million. Considering he was the Dodgers' opening-day starter last season and went 6-5 in 16 starts with a 4.07 ERA, while making more than $5 million, that's a curiously low number. The 33-year-old did miss a lot of time with injuries, but you don't see a lot of players with decent numbers take a 60-percent pay cut.

According to MLB.com, however, the deal is loaded with incentives that would pay him up to $8 million more if he makes 33 starts, and up to $6 million more in unknown elief incentives, which would be tied either to appearances or games finished.

Los Angeles already has five starters -- Ted Lilly, Jon Garland, Hiroki Kuroda, Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw -- so it's unclear what they have in mind for Padilla. If he alternates between starting and relieving, that could create some awkward situations as he's unable to meet his incentive terms in either role. It's a clever deal for the Dodgers. They're protected if Padilla continues to have injury problems, and the incentives are big enough to keep him from taking a guaranteed deal for more than $2 million elsewhere, which he surely could have done.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 13, 2010 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:12 pm
 

R.I.P. Dodgers: Divorce drama dominates

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Los Angeles Dodgers.

Things looked promising after 2009, when the Dodgers won their second consecutive National League West title and made it two straight trips to the NLCS.

And yet somehow, by the time camp broke in 2010, it was clear that this was a team that was in for a long season. The ongoing divorce of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt had generated sensational headlines and hamstrung the team financially. Without financial flexibility, general manager Ned Colletti was unable to add the pitching the Dodgers needed.

The result was an 80-82 season filled with frustration and distractions, and one of baseball’s proudest franchises is in trouble if the ownership mess isn’t straightened out soon.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Pitching was an issue throughout the season, as there wasn’t enough in the rotation to back up Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw (though Hiroki Kuroda was a nice surprise) and the bullpen caused as many fires as it put out. George Sherrill collapsed, and closer Jonathan Broxton pitched himself out of a job.

Manny Ramirez The offensive picture might have been a lot different if their $20 million slugging outfielder had shown up, figuratively or literally. Instead of vintage Manny Ramirez, they ended up with a post-suspension slap hitter who seemed dedicated to finding ways not to play baseball. He had just 196 at-bats and hit eight homers, not exactly what the Dodgers were hoping for.

Ramirez wasn’t alone as a distraction. Coming off a big season, Matt Kemp saw his batting average drop nearly 50 points, looked lost at times in the outfield after winning a Gold Glove the year before, and was constantly in a beef with someone. He clashed with teammates, coaches and staff.

Russell Martin continued to struggle with his injuries, and Andre Ethier broke his finger in May and never was the same. Rafael Furcal and Vicente Padilla also spent time on the DL.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Ethier took steps forward despite his finger issue, and Kershaw and Billingsley stepped up. Hong-Chih Kuo was a revelation in relief, and he and rookie Kenley Jansen give the Dodgers some good options at the end of the pen in the future.

Beyond that, good news was pretty tough to find.
 
HELP ON THE WAY

The minor-league ranks were thinned when Colletti, badly misreading his club’s potential, decided the Dodgers were still in contention and shipped out a ton of players in trades for Ted Lilly, Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot and Octavio Dotel – none of whom was signed past 2010.

Colletti’s shopping spree didn’t leave the cupboard completely bare. The closest they have to actual help from the minors is probably outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who upped his stock in a big way this season.
 
Frank McCourt EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

It will depend almost entirely on what happens with the McCourt mess.  The team could be tied up in court and financially hamstrung. Commissioner Bud Selig or the courts could force the McCourts to sell, giving the team a new lease on the future.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Dodgers have got some decisions to make.

One is on Matt Kemp. They need to get everybody into a room and work this thing out once and for all, or cut their losses and just admit they can’t get along. He has trade value.

Another is Martin. He’s just not the same player he was a couple of years ago, and now he’s coming off hip surgery and he could make as much as $7 million in arbitration. With the promising A.J. Ellis on board, they might be better off trading Martin before he puts up another .248/.347/.332 and loses all his value.

Word is that Lilly is open to returning, and that would be money well-spent -- they don’t want to enter next season short in the rotation again.

2011 PREDICTION

The McCourts’ drama shows no sign of abating, and even if they put the team on the market tomorrow, it’s unlikely a sale could be completed in time to solidify the Dodgers’ situation in time to help 2011. An unproven, rookie manager, plenty of drama – this doesn’t look like the recipe for immediate success. Tough to see the Dodgers finishing better than third in the division.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- David Andriesen

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



Posted on: June 27, 2010 9:49 pm
 

Billingsley to be activated for Monday start


Chad Billingsley will be activated from the disabled list in time for Monday's start against the Giants, MLB.com's Evan Drelich reports .

Billingsley went on the disabled list June 11 with a strained right groin. He is 6-4 with a  4.34 ERA, 69 strikeouts and 27 walks in 13 starts.

To make room for Billingsley, the Dodgers will likely option Jon Link to Triple-A Albuquerque. Link was called up for the third time this season on Friday when Charlie Haeger was designated for assignment. Link has made four appearances for the Dodgers this season, none since June 4.

"If it is Link, the fact that this experience [he's] having here, you take what you can get early in your career," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Hopefully it gives you a chance to get comfortable when you come back for a more extensive stay."

At the very least, he's learned how to pack in a  hurry.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
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