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Tag:Felipe Lopez
Posted on: May 3, 2011 4:38 pm
 

Longoria returns, Lopez designated for assignment

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Evan LongoriaAs expected, the Rays activated third baseman Evan Longoria from the disabled list before Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays. To make room for Longoria on the roster, the team designated utility man Felipe Lopez for assignment.

Lopez, 30, was hitting .222/.263/.347 with two home runs for the Rays, his eighth different team since he made the big leagues in 2001 with the Blue Jays. Lopez upset manager Joe Maddon more than a week ago for a lack of hustle and was benched for a game. He also drew his manager's ire when he flipped his bat toward the mound following a home run against the White Sox.

Lopez, an All-Star in 2005, has been somewhat of a problem child everywhere he's gone. Last year the Cardinals released Lopez after he was repeatedly late for meetings. It was Lopez's second stint with the Cardinals.

Longoria is in tonight's lineup, batting third. He played in two games -- going hitless in five at-bats -- before going on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.

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Posted on: April 23, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Lopez in Maddon's doghouse again

By Matt Snyder

For the second time this season, Rays manager Joe Maddon is not happy with third baseman Felipe Lopez. The first time around, Lopez was too dramatic about an inside pitch and then tossed his bat toward a White Sox pitcher after hitting a home run. This time around, Maddon had to get after Lopez for a lack of hustle -- for the second time this week.

Lopez is benched Saturday for the problem, but Maddon seems pleased the matter is behind them and apparently that Lopez was receptive to the punishment.

"He was great,'' Maddon said. (TampaBay.com ) "I explained to him everything, he understood, he was not upset. I just want him to understand that's how we do things here, and I've talked to him about it before. For us to be repeat AL East champs we've got to play the game a certain way, and that's it.''

It's no secret that Lopez, 30, has had attitude problems in the past. There's a reason he's played for seven teams in the past six seasons -- he's a problem child, but talented. This season, he's hitting .236 with two home runs, five RBI, six runs and a .663 OPS. He's been filling in at third base with Evan Longoria sidelined.

Maddon did go out of his way to talk up Lopez and maintain that he likes him.

"Here's my take : I feel like he and I have a good relationship -- I really like this fella, he's a very likable guy,'' Maddon said. "Sometimes people where they come from just don't understand, or it's about prioritizing what is important and what is not. So maybe it's not been presented to him in a way that this stuff is that important in the past. I just want him to know while he's here, it is that important. So hopefully he'll understand that and make the adjustments because I think he's done a great job for us so far.''

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 22, 2011 1:54 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Lohse, Hernandez twirl gems

Lohse

By Evan Brunell

3 UP

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Yes, you read that right. Kyle Lohse is in the '3 Up' category. He does this because he two-hit the Nationals in a complete game, punching out six while walking just two. That lowers Lohse's ERA to a sterling 2.01, although it'd be nice to see Lohse pitch against a team with actual offense. The Nats, Dodgers and Giants don't quite cut it. Still, it's possible Lohse has rediscovered the Dave Duncan magic.

Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- A game Hernandez squeaked out by pitching at the top of his game? What is this, 2010? Felix went nine, allowing just four hits to the Athletics while striking out eight and walking three. He needed that zero in the runs category to win as Seattle could only muster one run in a brilliant performance himself by Brandon McCarthy, who went the distance in the loss. (Which technically only required eight innings.) Hernandez will need to buy a gold watch for Adam Kennedy, he of 72 homers in 1,503 games, who batted third and swatted a home run. Get ready for a season's worth of wisecracks against the Mariners' O.

Pedro Alvarez, Pirates -- And Pittsburgh breathes a big sigh. Alvarez went 3-for-4, swatting a home run and adding two RBI and runs apiece. Now the much-hyped prospect is only hitting .212/.278/.303! Alvarez is expected to be an important power hitter in the middle of the order for Pittsburgh, which desperately needs things to start going right in its never-ending quest for .500. A game like this qualifies as news to note for the Bucs.

3 DOWN

Felipe Lopez, Rays -- Go ahead and snicker. Someone who got signed to a minor-league contract, is on his eighth team (ninth if you don't count two separate tours with the Cardinals) and has thoroughly underwhelming career numbers is batting third for the Rays. Except, it's kinda worked out so far as Lopez has a .261/.292/.457 line. Like I said, kinda. But that line took a hit Thursday as Lopez whiffed three times, even if he scratched together a hit. There's going to start being a few more games like this and while Lopez is still deserving of a starting spot, at least for now, he'll end up dropped in the order quickly.

Chris Perez, Indians -- Ouch. The AL's best team (check the standings) took a rough loss Thursday as closer Chris Perez coughed up a two-run single to Melky Cabrera in the bottom ninth to cap off loading the bases en route to a 3-2 loss. Perez has been rather good so far this year, grabbing six saves and even after giving up two runs to the Royals, still has a 2.25 ERA. But he's not this good, and this is the start of a more human Perez. With the win, K.C. moves to within one game of Cleveland for the division lead. Wait, is this 2014?

James McDonald, Pirates -- McDonald really impressed last year after he came over from the Dodgers in an ill-advised deal for L.A. that got them Octavio Dotel. This year, though, he's busy living up to what it means to be a Pirate, giving up eight runs in three innings to the Marlins balloon his ERA to 10.13. McDonald still has the potential to emerge as a solid No. 3, but has also had to deal with Florida, Cincinatti and Colorado. A much tougher go of it than Lohse.

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Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:24 am
Edited on: April 20, 2011 1:13 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/18: That's gold, Jerry

By Matt Snyder

3UP

Jerry Sands, Dodgers. Going 1-3 isn't exactly setting the world on fire, but Sands made an impact in his first major-league game. He doubled in his first at-bat and then hit a sacrifice fly next time up. The significance there is that the Dodgers had gotten just two RBI from left field all season, and Sands had needed two plate appearances to get halfway home. He made enough of an impact that Tim Hudson threw a pitch behind him next at-bat -- Ted Lilly retaliated next inning by doing the same to Nate McLouth and both benches were warned.

Felipe Lopez, Rays. Greeted with mass mockey in the Twitter world for being a cleanup hitter, Lopez quieted the critics for one night by going 3-4 with a double, home run, two runs and three RBI. He's raised his triple slash (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) lines to .316/.350/.553. And the Rays won, giving them a 6-1 record since that dreadful 1-8 start.

Kevin Correia, Pirates. Picked up off the scrap heap by the Pirates after a disastrous 2010 season, Correia hurled a complete game Monday against the division-leading Reds. He now has a 2.48 ERA through 29 innings. And don't look now, but the Pirates -- after having taken two of three from the Reds -- are only a game out. Of course, it's a four-way tie at 8-8, but still a game out and tied for second place. I'm sure Pirates fans will take it.

3DOWN

Esmil Rogers, Rockies. The 25 year old had gotten off to a nice start to 2011, sporting a 2.77 ERA through two starts. So much for that. He was absolutely torched by the Giants Monday night. In only three innings, Rogers allowed six hits, two walks and eight earned runs. In the first inning, he gave up back-to-back home runs to Pat Burrell and Nate Schierholtz -- the latter of which was a 450-plus foot moonshot to the upper tank. Needless to say, Rogers wasn't fooling anyone Monday.

Ricky Romero, Blue Jays. The pitching matchup seemed to favor the Jays, as Romero was the opening day starter and the Red Sox were running Dice-K out there. Instead, they seemed to reverse roles. Romero couldn't make it through five, giving up eight hits and five earned runs. The worst part, though, was Romero's lack of command. He walked five guys and it took 109 pitches just to complete 4 1/3 innings.

Win as a short-term stat. Carlos Zambrano, Tim Stauffer and Shaun Marcum combined to throw 21 scoreless innings, yet none of them came away with a win. Zambrano was especially impressive, working eight shutout innings and striking out 10 batters for the first time since his no-hitter in September of 2008. But, wait, he didn't get the win! Gimme a break.

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Posted on: April 10, 2011 1:18 pm
 

Maddon to talk with Lopez about bat flip

By Matt Snyder

Early Saturday evening in Chicago, there was a heated exchange between Felipe Lopez and several members of the White Sox -- including manager Ozzie Guillen and catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

The issue started when White Sox pitcher Chris Sale threw an inside pitch to Lopez, who stared down Sale for apparently having the audacity to pitch inside -- seriously, it was not anywhere near his head, nor did Lopez have to dive out of the way. It was just an inside pitch. Lopez followed with a no-doubt home run. After the ball left his bat, he flipped his stick toward the mound. Yes, into the field of play. When Lopez arrived at home, Pierzynski greeted him with a simple question. You could read his lips, and the clean version is that he just wanted to know what that bat-flip was all about. Lopez and Pierzynski were separated by the umpire while several guys from the White Sox dugout, including Guillen, were screaming toward the field in anger as well. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and nothing further happened.

Sunday, Rays skipper Joe Maddon made it very clear that type of behavior will not be tolerated.

"That's not who we are. That's not how we play,'' Maddon said. "I'm not into the end zone demonstration that much. I think we've really morphed into this, I believe, very classy group over the last several years and I want to maintain that kind of thought about us. I don't even want to say image - you think about the Rays, you think these guys handle themselves in a certain way. So, we don't do that here.'' (TampaBay.com )

Good for Maddon, though it's hardly surprising. He's one of the most respected managers in the game for a reason.

To be fair to Lopez, he said he didn't flip the bat toward the mound on purpose and that he called Guillen to apologize. I definitely buy the apology, but you rarely, if ever, see a bat accidentally tossed that far into the field of play. And we know the staredown of Sale wasn't an accident. The smart money is on him realizing his error later and then calling Guillen, but all's well that ends well and the situation seems to have been put to bed.

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 1:33 pm
 

Longoria to miss 'at least' 3 weeks

Evan LongoriaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is headed to the disabled list with a strained left oblique and is expected to miss at least three weeks, Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports.

The Rays have called up veteran infield Felipe Lopez, who is expected to join the Rays in time for today's game. The team will have to make another move to get him on the 40-man roster.

Longoria had an MRI on Sunday morning after leaving Saturday's game in the fifth inning.

"It's just unfortunate," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're having a hard time scoring runs out of the chute. He's probably our best run producer and now we don't have him. We're just going to have to make some adjustments and keep playing."

Sean Rodriguez will likely get most of the playing time at third, with Lopez playing some as well.

Longoria didn't have a hit yet in the team's first two games.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Who could replace Chase Utley?

By Evan Brunell

ValdezThe injury to Chase Utley is certainly damaging. After all, when part of the solution includes Placido Polanco occupying the Nos. 3 or 5 spot in the lineup, you know something's gone very wrong for Philadelphia.

Already tasked with replacing Jayson Werth in the lineup, the Phillies now have to worry about Chase Utley, who is unlikely to start the season as second baseman and could be out for over a month. Surgery is also a possibility. As a result, the Phillies now have to worry about finding a second baseman to replace Utley.

Internally, the choice is clear: Wilson Valdez (pictured). The 32-year-old garnered 363 plate appearances for Philadelphia last season largely thanks to injuries to Jimmy Rollins. He hit .258/.306/.360, which is far from a surprise as he has shown no aptitude to hit. In fact, 2010 was the first time he had significant time in the majors after stints in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009 with other clubs. He does boast a solid glove and could be an adequate replacement for Utley for a few weeks.

But if Valdez reaches 300 PA again, the Phillies really will be in trouble. He's simply not a viable long-term replacement, but Philly isn't prepared to look for those solutions just yet. Instead, the club will likely go after another utility infielder to pair with Valdez in being Utley's replacement as CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports. This would allow for greater flexibility upon Utley's return.

It's this flexibility and uncertainty surrounding Utley's injury that make an acquisition of a starter like Michael Young unlikely, especially given the Phillies have a very expensive ballclub that can't sustain adding three years and $48 million of Young to. The Rangers have shown no indication that they are willing to eat a large portion of the deal, either. A similar issue confronts the Phillies on going after the Mariners' Chone Figgins as well.

Related
That leaves names such as Ramon Santiago, as Knobler suggests. Santiago is in the final year of a two-year, $2.5 million deal and is a capable backup at second and short. He hit .263/.337/.325 in 367 PA and his power has declined sharply over the last two years.

Other options that could fit as a utility player include signing the face of scrappy ballplayers everywhere in David Eckstein or trading for Felipe Lopez. Lopez is currently battling for a backup job in Tampa Bay along with Elliot Johnson. Heck, the Phillies could go after Luis Castillo after the Mets release him, as is expected. Castillo may sound like an odd choice, but all indications are he can still handle the position defensively and would bring a better bat than Valdez to the plate as he can still get on base at a good clip. Helping matters is Castillo would sign for the league minimum after being released, so Philly could cut Castillo without reservations once Utley gets back.

Jeff Keppinger of the Astros was perhaps the best fit as he appears to be the odd man out in Houston, but is sidelined himself for six weeks. If he comes back healthy and Utley is still out for an undetermined time or one-to-two months, Keppinger would be a great fit. He is a tweener type -- best utilized as a great backup on a championship-caliber club but capable of starting in case of injury or on a second-division club.

One thing in Philadelphia's favor is the ability of Placido Polanco to play second base, freeing up the Phillies to go after a third baseman if needed. They'll need that flexibility, as the Padres are chasing a backup as well, MLB.com's Corey Brock reveals. The Padres are concerned about shortstop Jason Bartlett's durability.

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Posted on: February 1, 2011 8:25 pm
 

To BoSox's dismay, Rays ink Lopez to minors deal

ButlerThe Rays are poised to sign Felipe Lopez to a minor-league deal, adding yet another ex-Red Sox.

Although, unlike Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, the signing of Lopez to a farm deal has an added wrinkle: it denies the Red Sox a chance at a supplemental first-round pick.

You see, Boston had signed Lopez after his release from the Cardinals (and refusing a waiver-claim assignment to the Padres) with just days left in the season. They did that because Lopez projected to rank as a Type B free agent, which would have netted Boston a first-round supplemental pick. All Lopez had to do was decline Boston's offer of arbitration (which he agreed to do before the team signed him) and hit the market hoping for a major league deal.

Key word: major league deal.

That's what's required to gain the pick. However, Tampa signing Lopez to a minor-league deal gives Boston nothing.

And even if Lopez makes the Opening Day roster -- a distinct possibility -- it is unlikely Boston could win a petition to be awarded a first-round supplemental pick. As Baseball Toaster founder Ken Arneson relayed via Twitter, the Blue Jays signed Type B free agent Shannon Stewart to a farm deal in 2008, and he made the Opening Day roster. Oakland did not get a first-round supplemental pick, so you have to think Boston would be in the same boat.

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com