Tag:David Aardsma
Posted on: April 21, 2011 10:29 am
Edited on: April 21, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Pepper: Booooooo!

Mets fans
By C. Trent Rosecrans

I think I've booed once in my life and to tell you the truth, I felt like a jerk afterwards.

That was a long time ago and booing has kind of bugged me ever since. Maybe it's because I've always been harder on myself than anyone else. When I was a kid, coaches and my parents never yelled at me or criticized me because they could see I was madder about it than they were. I tried hard and hated to fail more than they hated watching me fail. I've just assumed most people are like that. Failing isn't fun.

And that's why I've just never understood booing in 99 percent of the cases it's done.

Ryan Franklin apparently aggress with me. 

After Franklin, the removed Cardinals closer, gave up a home run to Laynce Nix in the eighth inning of St. Louis' first game against the Nationals on Wednesday and heard boos from the St. Louis fans.

"Sure, I hear it," Franklin told FOXSportsMidwest.com after the first game. "I guess they have short memories too, because I think I've been pretty good here. It doesn't bother me, but it shows some people's true colors. You're either a fan or you're not.

"You don't boo your own team. I don't care who you are or what you say or just because you spent your money to come here to watch us play, that someone happens to make one bad pitch and give up a homer and you are going to start booing him? I've been here for five years, and four years I've been pretty good.

"You should go write stories about the fans booing. They are supposed to be the best fans in baseball. Yeah right."

The thing is, from my travels, the Cardinals fans are the best -- especially if you want to judge them in terms of not booing. When even Cardinals fans are booing, this thing is getting big (or as a society and as baseball fans, we're becoming even bigger jerks).

Franklin later apologized, issuing a statement (via MLB.com) -- "It was right after the games and I said things I shouldn't have said. I apologize for that. It was the wrong thing to say, but at the same time, I was frustrated. I am frustrated. 

"I'm just trying to do my best to do everything I can to get back on track. So that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to get back out there and help this team."

Franklin also said he's loved his time in St. Louis and "it's my favorite place to play. It's just a frustrating time for me right now, because I feel like I'm letting everyone down."

To me, that's what it comes down to -- this game is hard. That's why we're not all baseball players. That's why we still go and watch, you never know what's going to happen. It's people trying their best and sometimes mistakes happen. To pile on someone who knows they didn't do well just seems like a jerk move to me. What's so wrong in your life that you have to boo someone else to make you feel better about yourself? Is it the money? You don't make enough so it makes you feel better to make someone with more money feel bad? Job frustration? Problem with teh ladies? Physical shortcomings? Sometimes the boos say more about the boo-er than the boo-ee.

BASEBALL TODAY -- Matt Snyder joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss the Dodgers and more.

Mets NEXT? -- There are some folks in New York feeling a little nervous over MLB's takeover of the Dodgers. There's a difference in that the Wilpons have been Bud's buds, while McCourt hasn't always played by Bud's rules. [New York Daily News]

APRIL NOTE -- Just noting that the Reds who started 5-0 and the Rays who started 0-5 are both 9-9 now. Clip and save for next April.

BLAZING -- The great Tator Trot Tracker times Peter Bourjos rounding the bases in 14.02 seconds, which is flat flying. Texas' David Murphy  misplayed Bourjos' single and Bourjos never stopped. Larry Granillo times every home run as part of his Tater Trot Tracker and the fastest inside-the-park home run last season was Angel Pagan's 14.48 inside-the-parker and Bourjos was nearly a half-second faster than that, which is amazing. (Bourjos also stole a home run from Murphy in the game.) [Baseball Prospectus]

ROAD BACK -- Adam Wainwright is in the second month of his rehab from Tommy John surgery and no longer has to sleep with his brace. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

ROAD BACK II, ELECTRIC BOOGALOO -- Mariners closer David Aardsma said his arm and hip felt great after pitching an inning at Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday. [Seattle Times]

ROAD BACK III, WITH A VENGEANCE -- Royals catcher Jason Kendall hopes to return by mid-May from his shoulder injury. "I'm close," Kendall said. [MLB.com]

ROAD BACK IV, A NEW HOPE -- A's starter Dallas Braden will not need surgery on his left shoulder. Braden has inflammation in his shoulder, but no structural damage. He will have to rest and take anti-inflammatory medication, but there is no timetable for his return. [San Francisco Chronicle]

FAMILIAR TERRITORY -- Noted former Expos fan Jonah Keri looks back on the last time MLB took over a franchise. Dodger fans may want to avoid reading it. [FanGraphs.com]

FAMILIAR TERRITORY II, JUDGMENT DAY -- Dodger players asked former Expo Jamey Carroll just what it's like working for Bud. He said it really wasn't much different. [MLB.com]

SHOWALTER ON WIETERS: DEPENDS -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter says catcher Matt Wieters is entertaining -- "I'm going to start keeping a notebook of Wieterisms. He's funny. He said a couple of things in the dugout last night, I almost peed my pants. He didn't even know it. He's sharp. He's quick." [Baltimore Sun]

ATTENDANCE WATCH -- Major League Baseball's attendance problem isn't as bad as it looks. Many of the empty seats are at the high-end of the ticket spectrum, meaning the tickets closest to the field (and likely to be seen on TV) are the ones going empty. [CNBC.com]

RAMBO: ATTENDANCE WATCH II -- This season has seen four of the five smallest crowds in the history of this version of Busch Stadium. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

OLDEST MINOR LEAGUER -- Here's a really good read on Andy Tracy, who at 37 is the oldest position player in the minors. [The Good Men Project]

HISTORY OF THE D -- Here's a really cool poster from the Tigers' gift shop at Comerica Park that shows the history of the Tigers' D. [UniWatch Blog]

BALLPARK BEERS -- A nice look at the craft beer options at Great American Ball Park, including my go-to summer beer, Bell's Oberon. Unfortunately, Oberon's no longer on tap at GABP because of our InBev overlords. [Red Reporter]

RICKEY WINS -- The new Pepsi Max commercial featuring CC Sabathia is pretty cool. I like anything with jokes about Rickey Henderson speaking in the third person, though, so I'm an easy mark.


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Posted on: April 19, 2011 10:20 am
 

Pepper: Super Sam

Sam Fuld
By C. Trent Rosecrans

One of the best parts of any new season is seeing players reach their potential -- or in Sam Fuld's case, exceed it.

With a 4-for-4 performance in Monday's win over the White Sox, Fuld is now the American League batting leader, hitting .396. And he made another fantastic catch, as you can see above.

Fuld was acquired in the deal that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs this offseason and learned a little bit about playing at Tropicana Field with his diving catch in the third inning on Tuesday.

"It felt like someone took a blow torch to [his left hand], and then I look at it and then there's nothing to show for it, no blood," Fuld told reporters, including the Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney. "Now I know what turf burn is like."

Replays showed starter David Price screaming and clapping his hands after the play, which helped him win his first-ever victory over the White Sox.

The Rays are giving out a Sam Fuld cape later in the season, but it doesn't appear he needs one.

BASEBALL TODAY -- Lauren Shehadi and I talk about the Rockies pitching Cardinals offense.

FASTEST GUN IN THE MIDWEST -- There's little debate now, the gun at Great American Ball Park is juiced.

On Sunday, it had Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan throwing 102, while Pitch F/X had him hitting 98. On Monday, the scoreboard showed Aroldis Chapman hitting 106, when Pitch F/X showed his third pitch to Andrew McCutchen as "just" 102.4.

Last year I had scouts tell me the gun was pretty accurate, but apparently the excitement around Chapman got the Reds greedy, amping up the radar gun. If he does hit 105 mph again, will it say 110 on the scoreboard? Maybe the gun will make Bronson Arroyo feel better about his heater. [MLB.com]

GOOD SEATS -- Nate Schierholtz's brother was sitting 10 feet from where his mammoth shot landed in the third deck at Coors Field, and paid the guy who caught it $25 bucks to get the ball. [San Jose Mercury News]

STREET WATCH -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy is keeping a close eye on closer Huston Street, who hasn't pitched more than two days in a row this year, but has pitched in 10 of the team's first 15 games. [MLB.com]

AXFORD STRUGGLES -- Brewers closer John Axford had another bad outing on Monday, blowing a 3-2 lead in the ninth of an eventual 12-inning Milwaukee victory. The issues has been control, but manager Ron Roenicke said he's not concerned or thinking about any kind of change. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

AND I WANT TO BE COMMISSIONER -- Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said he still wants to play first base. Manager Ned Yost's response? " You know what, I'd like to be an astronaut -- and for some reason they just won't let me." With Kila Ka'aihue is manning the spot until Eric Hosmer comes in to take it for good. [Kansas City Star]

BRING AN UMBRELLA -- Weather has been bad all around baseball early this season, although attendance hasn't been hurt too much. [Associated Press]

GOOD JOBA -- Joba Chamberlain's velocity is down, but his results are up. His slider has become a good pitch, helping his results. [New York Daily News]

NICE SHOT -- Ryan Raburn's pop foul in the first inning on Monday was the first-ever ball to hit the roof at Safeco Field. [MLB.com]

PLENTY OF GOOD SEATS AVAILABLE -- The Mets' bad start is good if you're looking for bargain shopping on the highest-priced seats at Citi Field. [New York Times]

RIOS AILING -- Alex Rios will be getting a break in the White Sox's series with the Rays to try to help his sore left toe fully heal. Rios said the toe has been hurting him for the last five years, so it's doubtful a simple day off will cure him. [Chicago Tribune]

AARDSMA TAKING THE HILL -- Mariners closer David Aardsma is expected to pitching tonight in Triple-A, his firs tame action since his hip labrum surgery in January. The Mariners will likely wait for him to throw three or four games in the minors before taking him off the disabled list. [MLB.com]

MORE SURGERY FOR ZUMAYA? -- The Tigers put Joel Zumaya on the 60-day disabled list and another surgery is possible on his right elbow. [Detroit Free Press]

NICE CATCH -- David Wright played catch with some young fans at Turner Field the other day. Pretty cool stuff. [Big League Stew]

NEW DUCKS UNIFORM -- The Oregon Ducks have added an orange jersey? Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie models the newest Oregon uniform combo. [WhoSay.com/JeremyGuthrie]

VIN SCULLY ON 42 -- Dodger Gene Hermanski had the idea of everyone wearing No. 42 way back in 1948, Vin Scully said. [Sons of Steve Garvey]

TROP VETERAN -- White Sox rookie Chris Sale recalled going to the first-ever Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays game in 1998 when he was 9. [Chicago Tribune]

NOTHING BREWING IN MINORS -- According to the latest Baseball America, the Brewers have the worst minor-league system in baseball. After trading away Brett Lawrie, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi this offseason, their top-ranked prospect is right-hander Mark Rogers -- the team's first-round pick in 2004. On Monday, Rogers lost to former Brewer starter Jeff Suppan in a Triple-A game. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

MINOR LEAGUER HIT IN HEAD -- Eric Hurley, a right-hander with the Rangers' Triple-A team, was hit in the right side of the head in a game against New Orleans on Monday. Hurley, 25, didn't lose consciousness and was taken to a nearby hospital. He left the field over his own power. [ESPNDallas.com]

THROWBACK THURSDAY -- Not only will the Dodgers be breaking out their new throwback uniforms against the Braves on Thursday, Atlanta will throw in throwback duds. No word yet on which Braves throwbacks we'll see. The Dodgers are wearing 1940s-era blue satin-like unis. To announce the promotion the Dodgers sent out a press release on Brooklyn Dodgers letterhead (or maybe the ownership ran out of their regular letterhead and had to find some at the back of the closet instead of ordering new stock.) [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

TODAY IN GLUTTONY -- The Akron Aeros have introduced a helmet sundae. No, not a mini-helmet sundae, a full-sized helmet sundae. [Akron Aeros]

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 11:56 am
Edited on: April 3, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Pepper: The amazing Ichiro

Ichiro Suzuki

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edgar Martinez isn't in the Hall of Fame, but he has a heck of a case.

Martinez is one of eight players -- along with Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Stan Musical, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Manny Ramirez and Todd Helton -- to have 300 home runs, 500 doubles, a career .300 batting average, a career on-base percentage better than .400 and a career slugging higher than .500.

 The former Mariners designated hitter finished his career with a career 147 OPS+, while hitting .312 in 18 seasons. Martinez made seven All-Star teams and won five Silver Sluggers as a designated hitter.  In 2004, Major League Baseball renamed its Outstanding Designated Hitter Award for Martinez.

In short, Martinez was a phenomenal hitter.

And with 2,247 hits, Martinez had led all Mariners in career hits until Saturday night when Ichiro Suzuki broke his mark with two hits in the Mariners' 5-2 victory over the A's.

It took Martinez -- as we noted, one of the best hitters of his generation -- 18 seasons to amass 2,247. Ichiro passed it in the second game of his 11th season. 

Sometimes I think it's easy to forget just how good Suzuki is. Maybe because he plays in the late games and the Mariners haven't been good lately, but Suzuki's career is one for the ages.

In each of his first 10 seasons, Suzuki has had at least 200 hits. He's already the Mariners' career leader in stolen bases (386), triples (71) and batting average (.331) and needs 425 at-bats to pass Martinez in that category.

If you add the 1,278 hits Suzuki had in his time in Japan, he has 3,526 career hits and could finish his professional career with more hits than Pete Rose's 4,256 in the big leagues. While not quite the same and not the MLB record, it'd still be an impressive feat, especially with shorter seasons in Japan.

Martinez passed Ken Griffey Jr. as the team's all-time hits leader on April 3, 2001, just days into Suzuki's tenure with the Mariners. The two played together for several years, and Suzuki said Saturday he was humbled by passing Martinez.

"Today I broke his record. When you look at his numbers, that's a fact," Ichiro said through interpreter Antony Suzuki (via MLB.com). "But he is a hero back in Seattle. He is my hero as well. When you look at his existence, he's a lot bigger than I am, being a great human being as well. So that's how I look at it.

"I played with Edgar for years. That's something that is important to me. That's precious. That's a treasure to me. That's what I honor as well."

Royals' FUTURE FLUSH -- After the Royals beat the Angels on Saturday, it was time for the real show -- Kansas City's Double-A and Triple-A teams faced off at Kauffman Stadium to a healthy crowd ready to see baseball's most hyped prospects in person. About half the crowd of 18,022 for the Royals-Angels game stayed to watch the likes of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. [Kansas City Star]

NO PLATOON FOR PANDA -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy has assured Pablo Sandoval that he will not be part of a platoon at third base this season. Sandoval sat against lefty Ted Lilly on Saturday, but that was a matchup thing, Bochy told him. [San Jose Mercury News]

WAITING FOR HOLLIDAY -- The Cardinals aren't going to put outfielder Matt Holliday on the disabled list right away, hoping to avoid a trip altogether. Holliday had an appendectomy on Friday and was discharged from the hospital on Saturday. The Cardinals will wait a couple of days to see whether Holliday will be able to come back in time to avoid a DL trip. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

DEBUT -- Zach Britton may have been the Orioles' best starter this spring, but when time came for the final cuts, he still found himself headed to Triple-A Norfolk -- until the Orioles' best rookie of 2010, Brian Matusz, was placed on the DL with a left intercostal muscle strain. Britton, who had a 1.35 ERA in spring, will start today against the Rays. [MLB.com]

FAMILIAR FACE -- Roy Oswalt will make his first career start against Houston today. [MLB.com]

MAGGLIO OUT -- Magglio Ordonez isn't playing in today's game against the Yankees because of a sore right ankle. Ordonez was lifted for a defensive replacement in the sixth inning of Saturday's loss. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said it was mostly a precautionary move. [MLB.com]

DANKS OK -- John Danks had some dental work on Saturday, but won't miss his start today against the Indians. [MLB.com]

LONG NAME, LONG LAYOFF -- Nationals lefty Tom Gorzelanny will have 15 days between his final spring training start and his first regular-season start on April 9, but he is unconcerned. [Washington Post]

Padres LOVE THE BUNT -- The Padres new No. 3 hitter, Orlando Hudson, laid down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning of Saturday's game against the Cardinals. The Padres have had their No. 3 hitter sacrifice 20 times in the last 20 years. [Ducksnorts]

AARDSMA CLOSER -- The Mariners may get closer David Aardsma back sooner rather than later, manager Eric Wedge told reporters. [Seattle Times]

CLOSE SHAVE -- Rays starter Wade Davis will shave his head -- well, at least the top of it, his beard is staying -- following today's game. The shave is for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's Cut for a Cure and is hoping to raise $10,000. As of Saturday, he'd raised $8,000 with his vow to go bald. [Tampa Tribune]

30-DOWN -- How Brian Wilson got into the New York Times crossword puzzle. [New York Times]

DIFFERENT WAY TO THE BIGS -- Former 16th-round draft pick Griffin Benedict has given up his dream of playing in the big leagues, instead accepting the Padres' offer of joining the team as its second bullpen catcher. Benedict is the son of former big-league catcher Bruce Benedict. He hit .229 at low Class A Fort Wayne last season. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

PATCH FEVER -- There's a total of eight memorial patches on MLB uniforms this summer. The Reds, Tigers, Pirates, Indians, Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs and Mariners are all sporting patches honoring people who have passed in the last year. While the Indians have gotten rave reviews of their Bob Feller patch (and for good reason), I'm a really big fan of the Pirates' Chuck Tanner patch as well. [Uniwatch Blog]

AT-BAT MUSIC -- Reds official blogger Jamie Ramsey has a list of all the at-bat music for the Reds this season. [Better Off Red]

WHITE TELLS ALL -- The New York Times has great things to say about Bill White's new book, Upity, about his time in baseball, both as a player and a league official.

BOW TIE -- Nice story from FOXSports.com reporter Ken Rosenthal on why he'll wear a bow tie on all telecasts this season. I thought it looked great, and glad to see the direction he's taken it. Good for Ken and Dhani Jones. [FOXSports.com]

FREE GAMES -- If you have the MLB At-Bat for the iPhone, iPad or Android devices, you'll get MLB.tv for free during April. If you're reading this and have an iPhone, iPad or Android device, you need to spend the $15 for the At-Bat app and this just makes it an even better deal. (You do have to buy separate apps for each device, but it's still totally worth it.) [The Unofficial Apple Weblog]

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Posted on: March 15, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Wanted: Experienced closer, likes Texas heat

Neftali Feliz

By C. Trent Rosecrans

If Neftali Feliz is starting for the Rangers, it doesn't appear the close is in camp with the defending American League champions.

"I have confidence in Jon Daniels and our scouts," manager Ron Washington told reporters, including ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon on Tuesday. "If that's the case, I'm 100 percent sure they'll go out there and find somebody to close ballgames down for us."

If that's the case, the Rangers will be looking for their seventh different closer in the last seven seasons (defining "closer" as "dude with the most saves."). The last Ranger to lead the team in saves in back-to-back years was Francisco Cordero in 2004-05. Cordero has since been an All-Star for two different teams.

Alexi OgondoThe Rangers' internal candidates appear to be Mark Lowe and Alexi Ogando (right). Or the team could go with a closer-by-committee until the trade deadline, also using veteran lefties Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver along with Lowe and Ogando. Prospect Tanner Scheppers is another (remote) possibility. The Rangers traded Frank Francisco, their closer in 2009, to the Blue Jays in exchange for Mike Napoli in the offseason.

As for trade candidates, the team could go out now, or wait until the trade deadline when more candidates would be available.

Among those available could be the Padres Heath Bell, the Mets' Francisco Rodriguez and the Orioles' Michael Gonzalez. The Blue Jays have several experienced closers on their roster, including Francisco, Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch.

If the team waits until the trade deadline, if the Mariners David Aardsma could be available, as well as Cordero, who could be supplanted by Aroldis Chapman (or Nick Masset). Others that could be available include Kevin Gregg, J.J. Putz and Brandon Lyon.

However, Washington did tell reporters in the same sitting that he felt confident enough with the rotation as it is and Feliz in the bullpen. It also appears, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson writes, that Washington would prefer to keep Feliz in the bullpen unless Daniels can get another closer.

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More MLB coverage
Posted on: February 24, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 3:49 pm
 

Honorary All-Grudzielanek team

Mark Grudzielanek played in 1,802 games over the course of 15 major-league seasons. He appeared in uniform for six different teams, making the NLCS twice -- once with the Cubs and once with the Cardinals. He hit .289 with over 2,000 hits and 946 runs scored. He earned one Gold Glove and made the All-Star team once. He was a good guy who always played hard and was generally liked by teammates. Basically, Grudzielanek had a quality major-league career, but won't be showing up on any all-time lists.

That is, unless you are looking squarely at that stupendous last name.

So, in light of his retirement announcement Wednesday, it only seems fitting to put together an All-Star team of the best names in baseball. We're looking for who will carry the torch on with Grudz's departure, so it's current players only. No real criteria, other than that the name just has to sound interesting or be really hard to spell -- or both. This is completely subjective, so there's definite room for argument.

Without further ado, here is the 25-man roster (we also listed all names we considered).

CATCHER: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox. And here's the team captain. There's no better name in baseball. Backup: J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays. Also considered: Francisco Cervelli, Yankees; Taylor Teagarden, Rangers.

FIRST BASE: Pablo Sandoval, Giants. Bonus points for having an awesome nickname. Backup: Kila Ka'aihue, Royals. Also considered: Justin Smoak, Mariners

SECOND BASE: Chone Figgins, Mariners. Real slim pickings here. Nearly every name for a second basemen is bland or common. We'll go with Figgins because "Chone" is pronounced "Sean" or "Shaun" or "Shawn." Also considered: Robinson Cano, Yankees; Dan Uggla, Braves.

THIRD BASE: Kevin Kouzmanoff, A's. Also considered: Placido Polanco, Phillies.

SHORTSTOP:
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies. Alliteration gets him the nod here. Backup: Yuniesky Betancourt. Also considered: Marco Scutaro, Red Sox; Ryan Theriot, Cardinals.

LEFT FIELD: Scott Podsednik, Blue Jays. Also considered: Chris Coghlan, Marlins; Chris Denorfia, Padres; Ryan Langerhans, Mariners.

CENTER FIELD: Coco Crisp, A's. Another no-brainer. Second easiest pick on here after Saltalamacchia. Backup: Colby Rasmus, Cardinals. Also considered: Nyjer Morgan, Nationals; Rajai Davis, Blue Jays; Cameron Maybin, Padres; Denard Span, Twins; Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies.

RIGHT FIELD: Brennan Boesch, Tigers. Tough call here, but I'm a sucker for the alliteration. Plus, that's just a smooth combo. Props to his parents. Also considered: Jeff Francoeur, Royals; Nate Schierholtz, Giants; Nick Markakis, Orioles.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Milton Bradley, Mariners. Personal feelings aside, this was another obvious one.

STARTING ROTATION: CC Sabathia, Yankees; Max Scherzer, Tigers; Brian Matusz, Orioles; Marc Rzepczynski, Blue Jays; Justin Duchscherer, Orioles. CC gets the nod due to his first name being Carsten. Oh, and for losing the periods to his initials. The other four are pretty obvious with those last names. Grudz is surely proud. Also considered: Bronson Arroyo, Reds; Tim Lincecum, Giants; Madison Bumgarner, Giants; Gio Gonzalez, A's; Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals.

BULLPEN: Octavio Dotel, Blue Jays; Jeff Samardzija, Cubs; Fu-Te Ni, Tigers; Boof Bonser, Mets; Burke Badenhop, Marlins. All pretty obvious great names here, and I especially love "The Hopper," as the Marlins' announcers call Badenhop. Also considered: Brian Duensing, Twins; Joba Chamberlain, Yankees; Jeremy Affeldt, Giants; Jason Isringhausen, Mets.

SETUP: David Aardsma, Mariners. Based mostly on the fact that if you listed every major league player of all-time alphabetically, only Aardsma would come before the great Hank Aaron.

CLOSER: J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks. C'mon. He uses a double initial and his last name looks like an insult (though it's actually pronounced "puts," not "putts," for those in the dark).

MANAGER: Mike Scioscia, Angels. Maybe it's all mental at this point, but spelling that thing correctly still trips me up. Give me Grudzielanek any day. Also considered: Mike Quade, Cubs; Ned Yost, Royals; Manny Acta, Indians.

-- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: February 13, 2011 8:08 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 3:13 pm
 

Veterans likely to fill in for Aardsma as closer

As noted earlier, Mariners closer David Aardsma is out until at least late April and probably later, creating an opportunity for someone else to close for the Mariners in the first month or so of the season.

Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that he hasn't decided who that person will be, but it's unlikely it will be one of the team's younger pitchers, such as Dan Cortes or Josh Lueke.

Brandon League "You can't rule out a younger guy that we have with the staff," Willis said. "But I don't think it's fair to be pushing an inexperienced guy into that role right away."

The most likely candidates are Brandon League (pictured), Manny Delcarmen and Chris Ray, Willis told Baker.

League filled in for Aardsma at the end of last season, picking up six saves during the season and is likely the favorite.

Ray served as the Orioles' closer in 2006 and 2007, has 51 career saves, but underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007 and hasn't regained his form.

Last season, he played for the Rangers and Giants, going to San Francisco in the trade that sent Bengie Molina to the Rangers. He was not on the postseason roster.

Delcarmen has three career saves, one in 2007 and two in 2008.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: February 13, 2011 4:33 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 3:14 pm
 

Reports from reportings

Heath Bell With pitchers and catchers from nine teams reporting today, there's been plenty of news to report.

Here's a look around the league at some interesting tidbits:

• Padres closer Heath Bell, right, said he's surprised -- but happy -- he's still in San Diego. His agents are hoping for a multi-year deal with the team this spring. (MLB.com )

• Jered Weaver said he had "no hard feelings" toward the Angels after losing his arbitration case last week, but there are currently no talks about a long-term deal right now. (Los Angeles Times )

• Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton says he's glad he didn't get traded last season and wants to stay with the Diamondbacks long-term. (Arizona Republic )

• Here's a really good read, as Atlanta Journal-Constitution Braves beat writer David O'Brien goes on a motorcycle ride with new Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez, and the two talk motorcycles and managing following the ride on Super Bowl Sunday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

• Padres manager Bud Black says in a Q&A that the team is more balanced this season than it was in 2010. (San Diego Union-Tribune )

• New Padres first baseman Brad Hawpe took a glove from former Rockies teammate Todd Helton to use at first base. (San Diego Union-Tribune )

• Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher had surgery to remove a cancerous nodule on his thyroid gland last Thursday. Butcher attended some of the team's meetings on Sunday and expects to be back full-time this week. (Orange County Register )

• Mariners closer David Aardsma hopes to be off crutches on Wednesday and maybe throwing a week or a week-and-a-half later. The Mariners closer hopes to return in April. (Seattle Times )

* The Mariners may be looking to add Chad Durbin to their bullpen. (FOXSports.com )

• The Indians see Orlando Cabrera as a "super utility" type, playing all around the infield. (Cleveland Plain Dealer )

• The Cubs and closer Carlos Marmol are expected to avoid arbitration and may announce a deal on Monday, the day before a hearing was scheduled. The Cubs offered $4.1 million and Marmol asked for $5.65 million. It's possible the two have reached a long-term deal. (MLB.com )

• Fans celebrate the 50th anniversary of Strat-O-Matic. (MLB.com )

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: January 10, 2011 11:48 am
 

Aardsma hopes to be ready for spring training

David Aardsma Mariners closer David Aardsma said he expects to be ready to throw when the Mariners' camp opens on Feb. 13.

"My goal is still Day 1 and they say that's not unreasonable," Aardsma told the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker.

Aardsma is still in Vail, Colo., rehabbing his hip from last week's surgery. He said the doctors like to keep patients around for at least the beginning of rehab. Aardsma had surgery on a torn labrum in his left hip last week. The surgery, Aardsma said, was more extensive than he originally thought, but he expects to be throwing four weeks after the surgery.

While it's unlikely he'll be able to participate in all the team's drills right away and he may miss Cactus League playing time, but he could still be ready by opening day.

"I'm just going to do what I can to get ready and hope for the best," Aardsma said.

Aardsma had been a trade candidate in the offseason before his surgery scared off any suitors. With a good spring and early season, Aardsma could finish 2011 somewhere besides Seattle.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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