Tag:Jack McKeon
Posted on: August 14, 2011 12:10 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 12:27 am

Marlins demote Morrison, release Helms

Logan MorrisonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Marlins released veteran Wes Helms and demoted 23-year-old Logan Morrison following Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Giants.

While Helms release isn't too surprising considering the 35-year-old is hitting .193/.279/.239 in 68 games, Morrison's ticket to Triple-A New Orleans was more surprising. Morrison is hitting .249/.327/.464 with 17 homers and 60 RBI. While manager Jack McKeon told reporters Morrison needs to "work on his whole game," Morrison told Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel that he believed he was demoted because of something "off the field."

Marrison is one of the game's most entertaining players off the field and on Twitter and in other media. 

"I think it's something else but I don't know if I want to say it right now," Morrison told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.

Morrison said he was "heartbroken."

"Right now I just feel resentment and anger," Morrison told Capozzi. "Stand up for what's right and this happens."

Morrison wouldn;t elaborate on what he stood up for that got him demoted. He said he asked for an explanation from the Marlins brass and his batting average was cited.

Morrison had not tweeted since being released (as of midnight), even though Morrison didn't think Twitter was the issue.

Capozzi cited a team source as saying the organization is trying to send a message, "To me it's a lesson, concentrate on the game and stop trying to be so funny."

Morrison said he felt both moves were related to "the same incident." 

Helms said he didn't know what the issue with Morrison was, but as for himself, he doesn't want to retire.

"I'm hitting .190 and haven't played much lately," Helms told the Sun-Sentinel. "They got to do what they got to do. They got a new stadium next year and evidently I'm not part of the plan. I'm not done yet. I want to give it a shot somewhere else. Not ready to coach yet."

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 8:38 am

Pepper: McKeon supports replay

By Matt Snyder

The instant replay debate in baseball will likely never go away, so long as umpires continue to miss close calls (which is inevitable) and it's not expanded as much as it is in, say, football (which it never will be). While fans of all ages differ on the subject, one thing I think is generally true is that people against expanding replay are older and people for expanding replay are younger. There are obvious outliers, but the age divide makes sense.

Then again, baseball's oldest manager since Connie Mack -- who was born during the Civil War and was managing in 1950, by the way -- wants to expand it. Marlins' skipper Jack McKeon, 80, actually believes Major League Baseball should use instant replay more often. The trigger point was an umpire ruling Saturday night that a Mike Stanton catch was actually not a catch -- replays were pretty definitive that Stanton made the catch. Albert Pujols followed with a two-run home run and the Cardinals ended up winning 2-1.

"We all thought he caught it. Like I told the umpires, 'You've got four guys out here and four guys can't see it.' Maybe that's another reason why we should have instant replay," McKeon said (MLB.com). "No question it's the difference in the ballgame. You're not going to criticize the umpires, because it's a tough job, but on the other hand, we've got to get these calls right."

I agree 100 percent. I just don't understand why there's technology available and baseball refuses to use it to improve the game.

Heat sidelines umpire: Home-plate umpire Paul Nauert was unable to finish the Cubs-Reds game Sunday, as the heat knocked him out after 7 1/2 innings (MLB.com). I'm not sure what the answer is, but in these dog-days-of-summer day games, the ump with all the gear on behind the plate is the one who never gets a break. The catchers each get a chance to recharge their batteries in the dugout every half-inning. Meanwhile, the umpires just get a quick break between half-innings. Let's hope it doesn't take a death before we find some way to better protect the guy behind the dish.

Course reversal: A few days ago, the Angels announced they were going to honor Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter when the Yankees visited Anaheim later this season. Apparently, enough complaints arrived to change the minds of Angels' brass, because now they're saying there are "no plans" to honor Jeter. (OC Register)

Leyland responds to complaint: Jim Leyland received what he described as a "brutal" letter from a fan. So he reached out to the fan and had a good conversation, which even culminated with the fan and his family receiving tickets to a game from Leyland. It's a credit to what a good guy Leyland is, but the story is actually quite aggravating when you go deeper into it. The fan's complaints were that his kid didn't get to meet any players or run the bases, due to the circumstances of the day. In fairness, the fan did say he was "embarrassed" to accept the tickets from Leyland because he was rewarded for bad behavior. Yep. So, basically, the letter was exactly the type of thing he should be teaching his son to avoid doing, and he was rewarded for it. (Big League Stew)

Boras impact: Is Scott Boras the key to the Royals' possibly bright future? The super-agent is still negotiating for his client -- first-round draft pick Bubba Starling -- to sign with the Royals and holds a lot of other power with the Royals, and every team in the bigs for that matter. Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star has a long, detailed look at Boras. It's a highly-recommended read.

Memorable first homer: Well, more memorable than usual. A major-leaguer's first home run is always likely one of his fondest memories when he reflects back on his career. Trayvon Robinson of the Mariners, however, had one he certainly won't be forgetting any time soon ... because he stopped at second base. Robinson said he thought the ball bounced over the fence. He's likely to be subject to playful mockery from teammates for much of the near future for a gaffe like that, but it could obviously have been much worse. He still hit a home run. (MLB.com)

Zito's rehab start: Injured Giants starter Barry Zito will take his first rehab start Monday afternoon in San Jose and is expected to throw four or five innings (MLB.com). Take your time, Barry. It's doubtful the Giants will have an open rotation spot when you get back.

He's strong: Mark Reynolds might be a butcher with the glove and strikeout a ton, but, man, does he have power. Sunday, he uncorked the sixth-longest home run in the history of Camden Yards -- 450 feet. Darryl Strawberry hit one 465 feet in 1998 to top the list. (School of Roch)

Moneybags, meet Uber-Moneybags: It's no secret most big-league baseball players are pretty rich. Sunday, the Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz met a man who wipes the sweat off his brow with what they make. Carlos Slim was in the Red Sox locker room before their game. Slim is the richest man in the world, as he's worth a reported $64 billion. Yes, 64 billion dollars. (Boston.com)

It's just one baseball: A foul ball went into a trash can at Tropicana Field Saturday night, but that didn't stop a pair of fans for sifting through the trash to find it. While I think it would be cool to catch a ball at a game, I just don't understand the lengths people go to get one. I mean, watch the video on MLB.com. Two dudes dive in head first and even get into a minor fight. Really, guys? Really? (Big League Stew)

Happy Anniversary: On this day 23 years ago, Wrigley Field finally caught up with the rest of baseball and played a night game. It's pretty easy to remember, being 8/8/88 and all. Still worth a mention.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 7:46 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 7:57 pm

CBS News interviews Jack McKeon

By Evan Brunell

On Wednesday, CBS News interviewed Marlins manager Jack McKeon, who has led the Marlins to a 15-10 record since taking them over, plus winning nine of the past 11. All at the tender age of 80 in his second stint at the helm of the Marlins during a managerial career that began in 1955.

"Why should experience be penalized?" McKeon asked in the video, which you can watch above. "I did think that no one would rehire me because of the age factor, but no, I'm not too old."

McKeon did notice a change this time around in managerial style, in which he has focused on keeping the team loose, happy and determined to win.

"I'm more patient. I don't let little things bother me anymore," McKeon says. "Losses don't bother me."

Check out CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler on McKeon, who has become the most popular man in Miami.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 11:05 am

Pepper: Harper struggles early in Double-A

By Matt Snyder

Bryce Harper is the top prospect in all of baseball. He has prodigious power and a huge outfield arm. Low-A ball proved no match for him this season, as he hit .318 with 14 home runs, 46 RBI, 19 steals and a .977 OPS in 72 games before being promoted to Double-A. But he's still only 18, and is having a rough transition to Double-A.

Through 10 games, Harper is hitting .171 with a .237 on-base percentage and has yet to record an extra-base hit (Nationals Journal). He also looked overmatched at the Future's Game. So what does this mean?

Not a damn thing.

He's 18. Making the transition from the lower levels of the minors (Rookie ball, Low-A, High-A) to the upper levels (Double-A, Triple-A) is the toughest transition for a player this side of when they hit the majors. He even skipped a level. Plus, 10 games is hardly a representative sample from which to draw conclusions and he started slow in Low-A. It's possible he tears up Double-A pitching starting next game.

If we can say anything definitively, maybe it's that this is good for the fans clamoring for a quick Harper promotion. He's going to be special in a Nationals uniform, just not in 2011 and probably not 2012 either.

NOT SATISFIED: After trading Tuesday night for infielder Jeff Keppinger, Giants general manager Brian Sabean said he was working on "something much bigger" before the move and that he's not done making an effort to improve the badly flawed offense (Extra Baggs).

GMs ON HOT SEAT: Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports breaks down some general managers who may be out of a job by the time we turn the page to next season. The ones he lists on the hot seat are Ed Wade of the Astros and Jim Hendry of the Cubs. I'd argue pretty vehemently both should be canned immediately, so no shock there. Also of intrigue, Rosenthal says Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Rays GM Andrew Friedman might step away from their current posts. It would be interesting to see how quickly each is snatched up by other teams.

TROUBLE ON THE HOMEFRONT? Before Tuesday night's loss to the Padres, the Marlins had won nine of their last 10 games, but not everyone was happy. Left-handed reliever Randy Choate was pulled from the game Monday after falling behind 2-0 to a hitter. Yes, in the middle of an at-bat. Considering Choate had struck out 23 lefties and walked just before the game, he felt his track record should at least allow him to finish the hitter. McKeon disagreed and yanked him, saying he was "out of sync." The two reportedly talked, but Choate was still upset. (Fish Tank blog)

IRRELEVANT NO-TRADE CLAUSE: Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano told reporters he didn't even know he had a no-trade clause. Then he said he'd be willing to waive it if it meant he could play for a contender. Of course, Soriano is owed about $61 million through 2014 and considering his age, how quickly he has regressed and his current level of production, there's pretty much no way anyone is giving much for him. The guess is he's stuck in Chicago -- and, for the record, Soriano did say he was happy in Chicago and wanted to win there. (Chicago Sun-Times)

BEDARD'S RETURN DELAYED: Erik Bedard's return from injury has hit a snag, and he'll be pushed back. He's likely going to need a simulated game before thinking about a rehab assignment. This is big news, because we're approaching the trade deadline and a healthy Bedard was likely to be a pretty solid trading chip for the Mariners. He still might go, but his injury history will be a sticking point for potential suitors. (Seattle Times)

BLYLEVEN ON Twins: Bert Blyleven will be enshrined in Cooperstown this weekend, as a new member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. MLB.com has a lengthy story in which Blyleven reflects on his time with the Twins. One thing that jumped out at me is how Blyleven was drafted out of high school and promoted to the majors after just 21 starts and at the age of 19. If that happened nowadays, how much would we have to hear about the Twins "rushing" him to the bigs? Just something to think about.

IKE'S SEASON STILL IN QUESTION: Earlier Tuesday, a story about Ike Davis saying he feared he was done for the 2011 season broke, but then later Tuesday he changed his tone a bit. There's still a question on if he'll be able to get his ankle healed and make it back on the field, but Davis wasn't ready to rule anything out: "I'm not throwing the towel in," he said (ESPN New York). "I'm going to do everything I can to get healthy. And if I don't, I can't really do anything. My body is just not right. I'm working hard and I want to get back on the field."

ANOTHER RIPKEN: Cal Ripken Jr.'s son, Ryan Ripken, is going to play in the Under Armour All America Baseball Game at Wrigley Field next month. The young Ripken hit .353 as a junior this season and the first baseman is fielding scholarship offers from several colleges. Fortunately, Cal is not pushing his son to baseball, saying he just wants Ryan to do whatever makes him happy (Associated Press).

HOMETOWN DISCOUNT: Padres closer Heath Bell is one of the biggest names being thrown around in trade talk, but he's actually willing to take a "hometown discount" to stay in San Diego. The problem is, he's not likely to have that choice. The Padres are in rebuilding mode, and he's their most attractive trading chip. (Sports Radio Interviews)

TEAM FOR SALE: The Dodgers aren't the only team in financial danger out west, as the Padres' Triple-A affiliate will be put up for sale if plans for a new stadium aren't finalized soon. There were plans for a 9,000-seat stadium in Escondido, but the funding for the stadium is now unavailable in the new state budget. Padres CEO Jeff Moorad said he is still holding out hope that things get worked out before the end of the year. (SignonSanDiego.com)

WANG BACK SOON: Nationals starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is scheduled to make one more Triple-A start before joining the majors (Adam Kilgore via Twitter). For more on Wang's return to the majors, check out my short article from this past weekend.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 5:26 pm

McKeon could return for 2012

By Matt Snyder

At 80 years old, Jack McKeon was thought to be a temporary manager for the Marlins and would be replaced before the 2012 season. But that may not be the case.

“We’ll see where we are at the end of the year," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told reporters Friday in Chicago (Fish Tank blog). "There could be a number of candidates but right now Jack is the manager and we’ll see where it goes at the end of the year. There is a chance, of course. I’m not ruling anything out. But it will have to be somebody with experience. I’m not gonna allow a repeat of what happened this year.

McKeon took over as Marlins manager in late June, while the franchise was enduring a historically bad month. The Marlins ended up going 5-23 in the month, but four those wins came after McKeon took over. They have now won six in a row and are 12-8 under McKeon's guidance. They're 10-3 in their last 13 games and are playing as well as anyone at present.

Loria wasn't shy in pointing out that McKeon is a far better manager than the now-departed Edwin Rodriguez. Reportedly, the owner basically blamed the June woes completely on Rodriguez and the now-fired hitting coach John Mallee, saying he noticed problems with the coaching all the way back in spring training.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 8, 2011 11:39 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 12:13 pm

Video: Marlins minor leaguer hurt in celebration

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Last year we learned celebrations can be painful. Well, at least bloggers learned from Kendrys Morales and Chris Coghlan

The Marlins? Not as much.

At the Major League level, four different Marlins tried to deliver shaving cream pies to Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton on Wednesday. Nobody got hurt this time, but last July Chris Coghlan missed two months after suffering a knee injury trying to dump a Gatorade cooler on Stanton's head during an interview. Coghlan is back on the DL this season with trouble in the same left knee.

In the minors, outfielder Josh Kroeger sprained his right knee in a post-game celebration Monday. Kroeger, who led the Marlins' Triple-A New Orleans team in RBI and shares the lead in homers, tried to jump on Joe Thurston, whose RBI double gave the Zephyrs a walk-off win, but missed and was carted off the field after his knee buckled on landing.

Here's the video, which you may not want to watch if you're squeamish.

Marlins manager Jack McKeon said he's not planning on telling his team to curb its post-game celebrations.

"You have an isolated case or two like last year with [Coghlan] tearing up his knee," McKeon told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. "You hate to see it, but yet you hate to take it away from them.

"The thing is, I'd like to see more of them. I'm not seeing enough of them."

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Posted on: July 8, 2011 1:03 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Walk-off Grand Slam for Pronk

By Matt Snyder

Travis Hafner, Indians. We could concentrate on the colossal meltdown by the Blue Jays to lose after having a 4-0 lead entering the ninth, but let's instead focus on the man with the big blow, because you don't often see a walk-off grand slam. That's exactly what Travis Hafner did in front of the Cleveland fans who stuck around for the ninth Thursday. (Click here to watch the highlight on MLB.com). The Blue Jays only recorded a single out, allowing a single, double, walk and single before Hafner's bomb. The Indians appear to be somewhat back on track and have a 1-1/2 game lead in the AL Central.

Brad Hand/Jack McKeon, Marlins. Hand, a 21-year-old rookie, picked up his first major-league victory Thursday in a spot-start for the Marlins. He threw seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits. Sure it was against the Astros, but it still counts -- and the hitters are definitely better than Hand had been seeing in Triple-A. As for the McKeon inclusion here, he sent Hand out to warm up for the eighth inning and removed Hand before the inning started. Why? So the home fans could give the kid a standing ovation (Joe Capozzi via Twitter). Great move by the wily veteran McKeon. And don't look now, but the Marlins have won six of their last nine. Two of those three losses were to the Phillies, too.

Barry Zito, Giants. Alright, who took us back to 2002 in the time machine? I always knew Doc Brown was onto something with that flux capacitor. Zito was 40-57 with a 4.45 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in his first four years for the Giants after signing a gargantuan contract. After a brutal start to the 2011 season, most Giants fans were wondering what they had to do to be freed from this albatross. But, wait. Time circuits on ... Zito is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in three starts since returning from the disabled list. He was masterful Thursday night, striking out seven and walking zero. The only real blemish was a solo home run off the bat of Ryan Ludwick in the seventh. Zito's eight innings also allowed the Giants to rest the bullpen, other than one inning from closer Brian Wilson, after a 14-inning marathon Wednesday. If Zito keeps throwing like this, that's a pretty scary rotation for the defending champs.

White Sox vs. Twins. This is absolute ownership. After the Twins beat the White Sox 6-2 Thursday night, it ran the White Sox's record against Minnesota to 0-5 this season. That's not near the worst part. The White Sox have lost eight straight to the Twins. And that's not really the worst part either. In the last 36 games between the two, the White Sox have won just seven (LaVelle Neal via Twitter).

Nationals after the fourth inning. This just can't happen. The Nationals were leading the Cubs -- the team with the second-worst record in all of baseball -- 8-0 through four innings. That's gotta be the game. No discussion. Instead, the Nationals let the Cubs storm back and take a 9-8 lead in the eighth. Worse yet, the Nats tied it back up in the bottom of the eighth, only to see Henry Rodriguez allow a run. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, the Nationals had the tying run on third with one out and couldn't score him. Still, nearly all the blame has to go on the pitchers. Livan Hernandez allowed six runs in the sixth while Rodriguez, Sean Burnett and Todd Coffey combined to allow four runs in 3 1/3 innings.

Pedro Viola, Orioles. The Orioles as a whole are in a bad, bad place right now. They've gone 6-18 since pulling to within one game of .500 and Thursday night allowed 10 runs, 13 hits, six home runs and five walks to the Red Sox. But poor Viola, man, what a bad night. He faced just four batters. He walked one. The other three hit home runs.

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 1:43 pm

Pepper: Hurdle responds to Bochy comments

Barry Zito seeks his third straight win since coming off the DL while Jered Weaver looks to keep his hot streak going. Eye on Baseball Blogger Matt Snyder joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss those storylines and more in this edition of Baseball Today.

By Evan Brunell

ALL-STAR CRITICISM: Giants manager Bruce Bochy wasn't happy about criticism that Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and Marlins manager Jack McKeon leveled about his choices on who made the All-Star roster. Hurdle was annoyed that Andrew McCutchen hadn't made the team while McKeon questioned the selection of Bochy's player in Tim Lincecum.

Well, Hurdle fired back after hearing Bochy's comments, specifically that Hurdle and McKeon never lobbied for their players while other managers did, so how can they speak out against the selections?

"I don't think lobbying is a part of what you do in that position," said Hurdle, who has experience with the All-Star Game, managing it in 2008 when he represented the Rockies. "He's earned that opportunity by winning the National League championship. I just have never lobbied, and I never got any calls from any other managers lobbying the year I did it."

Hurdle did apologize if his comments were hurtful to Bochy.

"I have the most professional respect for Boch," Hurdle said. "He's a better manager than I'll ever be. My feelings came from the heart. Diplomacy, I guess, wasn't at the top of my list that day, and I can understand that as well.

"I've been on the other end of that. I just know that I took it with a grain of salt, and he felt he made the best decision for the National League because that's his job to represent. I wish the National League nothing but the most success that we go out and win the game.

"We've known each other back to when we were 16 years old. I can understand he's disappointed in what I had to say. I can deal with that."

McCutchen still has a chance to get on the roster as Ryan Braun from Milwaukee is hobbled by an inflamed tendon, and if he cannot play this weekend, will pull out of the game. (MLB.com)

ALL-STAR INVITE: Albert Pujols says he would be honored to go to the All-Star Game should he be selected as a replacement. Pujols missed his chance at going to the game thanks to his wrist injury, but could still squeak in as players pull out because of injuries or other reasons. It's possible Pujols could replace Braun. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

DODGER DEBACLE: More information in the saga that just won't go away. MLB has filed a motion that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt should not have the right to see various documents that McCourt is requesting, alleging that releasing the documents would turn the bankruptcy court hearing into "a multi-ringed sideshow of mini-trials on his personal disputes." (Los Angeles Times)

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Davey Johnson has never ordered a suicide squeeze, per his own recollections. That changed Wednesday night for the Nationals. Wilson Ramos dropped a successful bunt, allowing Mike Morse to cross the plate with what turned out to be the winning run. (CSN Washington)

WHAT EYE PROBLEM? Mike Stanton visited an ophthalmologist Wednesday and received eye drops to combat an eye infection that has sent him spiraling into a slump. He's received eye drops and apparently they worked as he slammed a walk-off home run against the Phillies on Wednesday night to give the Marlins a victory. (MLB.com)

YOU'RE NO PUJOLS: Apparently Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo is hoping to pull an Albert Pujols and get back on the field earlier than expected. After breaking his left thumb and staring at a diagnosis of eight-to-10 weeks out, Choo is telling friends he believes he can be back in early August. Given how fast Pujols returned, I suppose you can't rule it out, but ... well, don't go wagering on an early Choo return. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

YEAH AND NO: That was the Dodgers' Andre Ethier's answer when asked if he was pleased with his performance so far. Hitting a career-high .317 is great, but Ethier's seven home runs are a sudden loss of power for someone who slammed 31 two seasons ago. (Los Angeles Times)

WORKHORSE: Justin Verlander has made 37 consecutive starts of 100-plus pitches, which is tops in baseball all the way back to 1999, and probably a bit farther back, too. Second place boasts Felix Hernandez at 32 consecutive games from 2009-10, while Randy Johnson pops up multiple times. (Baseball-Reference)

UNSAVORY COMPARISON: Just three months into Jayson Werth's massive seven-year deal with Washington, and he's already being compared to another player who was a colossal bust on his own big deal, not that it was his fault for the team throwing ill-advised money at him. "Him" is Alfonso Soriano, and that's definitely company Werth does not want to be associated with. (Washington Post)

JONES HURTING: Chipper Jones admitted he shouldn't have played Tuesday after he received a cortisone shot for a meniscus tear as he is trying to avoid surgery. “I just didn’t feel right [Tuesday]," he said. "Not having that first step quickness, you favor it. It’s hard to stay on back of it right-handed, swinging the bat. Just one of those things we’ve got to continue to monitor and deal with.” For his part, Jones says he was perfectly fine for Wednesday's game. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

FIGGINS BENCHED: Finally. Chone Figgins has been benched and has easily become one of the largest albatrosses in the game. Figgin's replacement is Kyle Seager, who was promoted from the minors and will stay at third for the foreseeable future. (Seattle Times)

BARGAIN: Who were the best bargains signed as free agents in the winter? There are some worthy candidates in Bartolo Colon, Erik Bedard, Ryan Vogelsong and Brandon McCarthy. Fine seasons, all. But the best bargain is another pitcher, Phil Humber. Hard to disagree. (MLB Daily Dish)

CRAWFORD EN ROUTE: The Red Sox can't wait to get Carl Crawford back, and it looks as if that will happen after the first series back, which is in Tropicana Field. The Sox want to avoid Crawford playing on artificial turf right away, so a July 18 return in Baltimore appears likely (Providence Journal)

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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