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Tag:Torii Hunter
Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:13 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 11:15 pm
 

Hunter may retire after 2012; blasts Twins' Smith

Hunter

By Evan Brunell


Torii Hunter, right fielder for the Angels, is considering retiring after the 2012 season, he tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Hunter would prefer to retire an Angel but would also consider Minnesota.

''I am going to retire an Angel," Hunter said. ''Next year is my last year, and I'm going to retire an Angel. I'm going to evaluate it this offseason. That's when I'll know. It's 60-40, to the positive, that I'll keep playing."

Earlier this season, Hunter was mired in a bad slump after injuring his quad. That contributed to his .250/.321/.396 in the first half. Since the break, Hunter is slashing .281/.353/.474, which has caused him to reconsider the stance, although the possibility remains very much in play.

''I feel good now, but I was hurt the first two months, and I was just evaluating everything, like, man, I can't move," he said. ''And then it just went away, and now I feel good, so now I'm on the positive side again. 'You don't want to see your skills diminish. You don't want to linger.

"'So if I sign an extension, they'll get first dibs. I want to retire an Angel. If I can't, then why not Minnesota?"

Hunter went on to address his contract situation with Minnesota, saying he feels like it is in a similar position currently with Michael Cuddyer. Hunter, who signed a five-year, $90 million deal with the Angels, said he would have accepted a four- or five-year deal, while Smith would only offer three. Smith has offered Cuddyer a contract extension for two years, which he could double in free agency.

And then Hunter's guns came out, delivering harsh words for GM Bill Smith:

Hunter said the Twins made an offer to him ''just to show people that I turned it down, to make me look bad. Same thing here. Cuddyer is going to make less, as a free agent? I told him before, 'They'll make an offer and people will say, 'You turned down the money, you could have stayed, you're money-hungry.' "

Hunter described Smith as cold.

''He had no heart, no compassion, no nothing," Hunter said. ''Because he wasn't the one who brought me in. [Former GM] Terry Ryan brought me in. Terry Ryan was my dad, my guy. When Bill Smith took over and we had a conversation, I wasn't feeling it. There was no chemistry, nothing between us. It was like I had never played with the Twins."

Noting that the Angels traded for Mark Teixeira during a pennant race in 2008, Hunter said: ''Sometimes I think they have that small mind over there, in that organization. I just feel they never went and got that big piece. Shannon Stewart worked out just fine for us [in 2003], he helped us out a lot, but getting Teixeira, that's big."

Well, if Hunter thought Minnesota was an option if he didn't stay in Los Angeles, I don't think it's one anymore.

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



Posted on: August 23, 2011 5:28 pm
 

Hunter snaps out of season-long slump in big way

Hunter

By Evan Brunell

When Torii Hunter signed a five-year, $90 million deal to join the Angels for the 2008 season, it wasn't seen as a steal, but it wasn't considered a gross overpayment, either.

Hunter was considered one of the best center fielders in the game on defense for years and could swing a pretty good stick to boot. For the first three years of the contract with L.A., all was well. Hunter played center and hit .285/.354/.477 over these three years, slamming 66 home runs and stealing 46 bases, better sustained production that he had contributed in Minnesota, his former home. Except last season, signs of age began creeping through.

While Hunter didn't disappear with the bat, he did post his worst Angels season by hitting .281/.354/.464. Clearly not shabby, but his second half was significantly worse than his first half (.906 OPS in the first half compared with .714 in the second), and his year was topped off by Los Angeles asking Hunter to move to right field to open up room for Peter Bourjos in center. Hunter had lost a step to age and hadn't been the same defensive wizard in some time that his reputation continued to carry, and his value took yet another hit.

More decline was in store, though.

With the bat in 2011, Hunter was significantly worse through July, causing some to wonder if the 36-year-old was cooked. Hunter's .232/.307/.378 line was far from worth the $18.5 million he was earning on the year, but since the calendar flipped to August, Hunter has been doing his best to reclaim some lost magic. He ripped off an 18-game hitting streak that ended on Monday, but even including the 0-for-5 night, Hunter's hitting .389/.443/.625 in August. Obviously, he won't sustain that pace, but it's encouraging to see such a sustained, hot streak from Hunter.

Expecting Hunter to live up to his salary in 2012 (also at $18.5 million) is a pipe dream, but Hunter isn't necessarily cooked as a hitter. His power has slipped and his .256 batting average, if it holds, would be his lowest since 2003, when he had a .250 mark. Still, Hunter figures to crack 20 home runs for the sixth straight season, and 10th out of 11. He may not be the same anymore, but he still has something left to offer.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 17, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 3:36 pm
 

Hunter tweets while stuck in oxygen chamber

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Different players have different pre-game routines, and apparently Torii Hunter spends some time in an oxygen chamber. That's all well and good until you get stuck in one.

That's what happened to Hunter on Tuesday, but at least he had his cell phone and Twitter to keep him company.

From his Twitter account @toriihunter48:



 

He even posted a picture of himself from the chamber:

 

Hunter got out in time for the team's game and went 2 for 4 with an RBI in his team's 7-3 loss to the Rangers. So maybe he should trap himself in there again -- just so he doesn't drink the lemon-lime Gatorade.

HT to the Orange County Register

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:49 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 9:54 am
 

Pepper: Thome's quiet run to the Hall of Fame

Jim Thome

By C. Trent Rosecrans

I don't think there's any doubt Jim Thome will be in the Hall of Fame, but I did find it interesting that my wife had never heard of Thome.

The guy hits 600 home runs and the wife of someone whose life revolves around baseball had never heard of him. How is that possible? I thought chicks dug the long ball. 

Much of it, I guess, is that my wife is a National League kinda gal -- having been born in raised in  Braves country and now living in Cincinnati, the wife doesn't see much American League or even pay much attention to it. But still, Jim Thome?  I went through the teams -- Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Twins -- nope, not a flicker of recognition. The 1995 World Series when the Braves won? Well, He did only go 4 for 19 in the series.

It seems strange that she'd never heard of him, but it also seems to jibe with the relative silence of Thome's march to 600. Is it because Thome has always just been a quiet professional? He's never been in trouble, never even pounded his own chest. He's just been quietly hitting home runs and doing his job, day in and day out.

It's not that he's never been on the biggest stage, he's played in 67 postseason games and made it to two World Series, hitting one homer in 1995 and two in the '97 Series.

My friend Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has a funny theory of the Hall of Fame -- for him it's all about the fame. If his mother has heard of someone, they belong. If she hasn't, no. So for KG's Hall of Fame, Paul Molitor is out, but Jose Canseco is in. Rod Carew? Nope. Bo Jackson, yes. I'm pretty sure Thome doesn't hit the fame standard, but he certainly belongs in the Hall.

Here's a couple of better articles putting his candidacy in perspective -- Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated has the backstory of Thome's bat point at the pitcher and other things in a great blog post and Steven Goldman has the argument against Thome being a mere "compiler."

Meals in Pittsburgh: Umpire Jerry Meals made his first appearance at PNC Park in Pittsburgh since his bad call that cost the Pirates a 19-inning game against the Braves. As you would expect, he was not greeted kindly by Pirates fans. Since the call, the Pirates have lost 15 of 19 and fallen from a tie for first place to fourth place in the National League Central. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

Silly deadline: I understand why there's a deadline for signing draft picks and I even understand why it's in August, but I don't understand why it's at midnight. I talked to a scouting director on Sunday (and because it wasn't the Blue Jays' scouting director, he signed his first-round guy) and he said there's zero movement until late on Monday. On Sunday, there'd been no movement, but because these things go down to the wire, why not make move the wire up to a reasonable hour? How about 5 p.m. so you can announce it before a game and have everything all tidy? They've done that with the trade deadline, now with the increased focus on the draft, they need to do it on the signing deadline.

Full moon in Cooperstown: Did Robin Yount give Bert Blyleven an unusual greeting to the Hall of Fame? [FanGraphs.com

Scranton is nice in September: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said it's unlikely the team would call up top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos when rosters expand in September. [New York Post]

Nicasio visits teammates: Juan Nicasio, who suffered a broken neck on Aug. 5, visited his Rockies teammates before Monday's game in Denver. Closer Houston Street told the Denver Post that Nicasio was "full of life," smiling and laughing with teammates. 

Career cut short: A Padres  prospect had to retire from baseball at 22 because of an inner-ear problem. Read all about Drew Cumberland. [Pensacola News-Journal]

Another good guy: This seems to fit with the Thome celebration, but if Thome's not the nicest guy in the game, Torii Hunter may be. Like Thome, I've never heard anyone say a bad thing about Hunter. In fact, I have a sportswriter friend who has a long list of people he doesn't like, but he named his dog Torii in honor of Hunter. Here's a good story about one of the good guys from ESPN.com's Jim Caple.

Read this: A really good story this weekend from the New York Daily News about baseball and Sept. 11. Go read it.

It's gotta be the shoes: Evan Longoria's new spikes have made a huge difference for the Rays' third baseman. [MLB.com]

Literary touch: I've only been to Safeco once (well, three games, one series), so I don't know all the ins and outs. I will say I love the park, but maybe even more so after seeing this from the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham -- the park has baseball-themed quotations on all its gates to the park. That's just so darn cool.

Murph blogs: One of the most interesting baseball blogs around right now is from former MVP Dale Murphy, who is enjoying blogging and Twitter. [New York Times]

New caps: Gone, apparently, are the ugly stars and stripes trucker caps to make a buck, and in their place for Sept. 11 will be simple American flag patches. It's certainly an improvement, but still not sure why everyone needs to be reminded what country they live in -- shouldn't the butchered version of the Star Spangled Banner by some American Idol-wannabe before the game be enough? 

New caps 2: That said, I do think it's cool that the Nationals will wear a cap with the Navy SEALs logo tonight to honor the 22 SEALs killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 6. It's the Nationals' first game back in Washington since the attack. [Washington Post]

Odd sight: There was something odd on Sunday in Dayton, Ohio -- empty seats. Home of professional sports' longest sellout streak, Dayton's Fifth Third Field had empty seats on Sunday as the Dragons and Lake County Captains played a continuation of Tuesday's suspended game was played before the regularly scheduled Sunday game. However, once that game started, the Dragons had their 832nd consecutive sellout. [Dayton Daily News]

Step back for Carter: Sad news today, as Gary Carter learned of a "mild step backward" on Monday, as a doctor's visit revealed his white blood cell count was low, which means he won't be able to start a scheduled round of chemotherapy that he was supposed to start today. [ESPN.com]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 1:25 am
 

Angels' Hunter makes friends in the Bronx

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Torii Hunter turned down the chance at picking up an extra buck on Tuesday night after a fan offered him a dollar reward for his sunglasses.

In the fourth inning of the Angles' 6-4 victory in New York, Hunter went back to the warning track at Yankee Stadium to catch a fly by Nick Swisher and record the second out of the game. He noticed a fan had lost his sunglasses and went back to the warning track to retrieve the fan's sunglasses. When Hunter reached up to hand him the sunglasses, the fan offered him a dollar, which Hunter refused.

"He dropped his glasses, they fell over and he wanted to give me a dollar," Hunter told MLB.com's Joey Nowak. "I said thanks, though. It was a nice gesture."

Hunter is known as one of the best guys in baseball. Oddly though, he wasn't the only one to retrieve a pair of sunglasses on Tuesday. In Cincinnati, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce fielded a foul ball and noticed a dropped pair of glasses. In addition to handing the fan their glasses back, Bruce handed them a ball, as well.

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

Posted on: July 19, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 10:15 am
 

Pepper: Victorino rounds bases on foul ball



By Matt Snyder


Let's go the light-hearted route in leading off Pepper on this Tuesday morning. Phillies All-Star center fielder Shane Victorino had a moment in a rehab assignment Sunday that prompted him to say he was embarrassed. No, it wasn't an angry embarrassed caused by poor play. In fact, Victorino crushed a ball down the left-field line in his first at-bat. As he rounded first base, he heard a loud cheer from the crowd and assumed it was a home run. The umpires evidently signaled home run, but no one ever verbally told Victorino. He had his head down and was running hard, so he just keep on running, until manager Jeff Parent -- who was coaching third -- told Victorino.

“Parent stopped me at third and said, ‘It wasn’t a home run,’” Victorino said (NJ.com). “I said, ‘Well, I appreciate you letting me trot around the bases.’ No one stopped me. It was an embarrassing moment.”

Don't be so hard on yourself, Shane. Could've happened to anyone who was getting around the bases quickly.

There is a GIF of the play over at SB Nation.

CATCHING THE FEVER: As the Pirates moved into sole possession of first place Monday night, the popularity of the team has continued to rise. It's been 18 years since the Pirates have had a winning season, so the fans are taking everything in here in 2011. Merchandise sales are reportedly on a huge rise in the Pittsburgh area, with one store owner saying he had to pull some Penguins gear to make room for Pirates' merchandise. That's a great sign for a franchise that had for so long seemingly lost its fan base. (Pittsburgh Live)

MORE SUPPORT: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen isn't shy in speaking his mind, we know that. This time around, he's saying Major League Baseball should do more to support the Negro League Museum in Kansas City, which is having financial troubles. (Chicago Tribune)

ON-AIR RESIGNATION: A minor-league play-by-play announcer quit on the air. He went out in a blaze of glory, going with a near-four-minute speech on how people in the organization are treated unfairly and mentioning how he hasn't been paid in full. He had lots of good points and was quite measured and sane. Check it out over at Awful Announcing.

PARALYSIS ONLY A 'SETBACK?' Former San Jacinto pitcher Buddy Lamothe would have been drafted much higher than the 40th round, had he not suffered a swimming accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He was in Houston Monday to throw out the first pitch and called the accident "just a little setback," and said he hopes to be on the mound one day as an Astros pitcher. That would be amazing. (Ultimate Astros)

OH, TORII: Torii Hunter of the Angels occasionally throws out a tweet that is funny in a "did we really need to think about that," kinda way. On his 36th birthday, Monday, he did it again. He thanked everyone who had tweeted him birthday wishes and noted that, at the ripe old age of 36, he still doesn't need Viagra. Well, that's a relief. I'll sleep tonight. (Torii's tweet)

NEW MENTAL APPROACH: The Nationals have brought in a sports psychologist to work with some of the players, including the struggling Jayson Werth. The psychologist is one that has been previously used by the Braves -- back in the early 1990s. You might recall a lengthy streak of division title beginning around that time. Maybe this guy knows what he's going? (Big League Stew)

SAFETY FIRST: Big league ballparks are focusing more on safety after the tragic death at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington a few weeks ago. They're looking at everything from the railing to security guards to discussing with the players how to throw the ball into the crowd. This is all good, but we as fans need to keep the surroundings in mind also. The Texas thing was a freak accident where a man simply lost his balance, but I saw several people doing pretty stupid things at the Home Run Derby in Arizona just to catch a baseball. If you're stepping one leg over the rail, maybe some priorities need to be re-examined. (San Jose Mercury News)

ABOUT THAT BOOING: Remember how one of the dominant themes of the All-Star Game was how the Arizona fans were booing everyone? I certainly do. Giants closer Brian Wilson does, too, and he doesn't understand it. Wilson has basically the same point of view as I do, in that it's not anger, but it's not understanding the point of view. Why spend all that money to just be angry the entire time? (Big League Stew)

END OF AN ERA? It's possible we're seeing the last few months of Mark Buehrle's career. The veteran pitcher is only 32 and surely has several more season's worth of production in that left arm. But he has openly discussed retirement and is a free agent at the end of the season. He's also made it known there aren't many other places he'd want to play. So this could very well be it. If he's content with his earnings and career achievements, there's nothing wrong with retiring to spend time with his family. (Chicago Tribune)

BARTON AND KOUZMANOFF TOGETHER IN TRIPLE-A: Daric Barton and Kevin Kouzmanoff opened the season as the A's first and third basemen, respectively. They're still working opposite corners of the infield together, it's just in the minors. MLB.com has a lengthy update on the duo, including Barton taking full accountability for his futility at the plate and Kouzmanoff discussing how he was surprised by the demotion.

PITCHERS IN THE BOX: Here's an interesting stat. Seeing pitchers get a base hit occurs almost as frequently as position players triple. (WSJ.com blog)

STILL IN LIMBO: Brewers All-Star left fielder Ryan Braun is not going on the disabled list for the time being, at least that's the plan, despite Braun having missed 10 of the Brewers' last 13 games. He did pinch hit Sunday, so the Brewers are definitely taking a risk that a possible DL stint would go deeper into the season. (Journal-Sentinel)

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

Posted on: July 17, 2011 9:12 pm
 

Big leaguers' kids excelling in other sports

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Torii HunterI don't know what's more interesting, that Torii Hunter has a son that goes by the nickname "Money" or that his three sons are being recruited by some of the nation's top football programs.

TexAgs.com has this interview with the three Hunter boys -- Torii Jr., Darius and Money at Texas A&M's passing camp. All three say they've heard from Texas A&M and other schools, with Torii Jr. favoring Arkansas, Darius Oregon and Money hoping to play at Texas A&M. Both Torii Jr. and Money say they still play baseball, while Darius has given up baseball to focus on football and track. All three are entering their junior year at Prosper High School in Prosper, Texas, and play receiver. Torii Jr. also plays cornerback and Money plays strong safety. None of the three wear their dad's No. 48, but do wear numbers ending in 8 -- 8, 18 and 88, respectively.

The Hunter brothers would join some more notable sons of big leaguers who are playing other sports. Ken Griffey Jr.'s son, Trey, has been offered a football scholarship at Michigan State and is drawing interest from other schools such as Cincinnati, South Florida and Washington State. He's a wide receiver at Dr. Phillips High School in Florida. His sister, Taryn, led her high school team to a state tittle as a freshman, scoring 19 points in the championship game.

Shane Larkin, son of Griffey's teammate Barry Larkin, will be playing basketball for DePaul this season.

Jeff Petry, son of former big league pitcher Dan Petry, is currently in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers.

There are plenty of sons of baseball players in the majors and minors, as well, including Prince Fielder, Delino Deshields Jr. and John Mayberry Jr.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 10, 2011 12:37 am
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:11 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Ramirez with bookend RBI



By Matt Snyder


Alexei Ramirez, White Sox. The Cuban Missile got the White Sox started and then finished the game off Saturday. In the first inning, Ramirez homered to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. When he came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, the White Sox were tied 3-3. A loss would have been their 10th straight against the Twins. But instead, Ramirez singled home A.J. Pierzynski to win it.

Torii Hunter, Angels. The veteran right fielder pretty much took care of the Mariners himself in the Angels' 9-3 win Saturday. Hunter clubbed two home runs and drove home five. It helped the Angels stay just one game behind the surging Rangers in the AL West.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies. The Rockies have been one of the bigger first-half disappointments in baseball, as many expected them to compete for both the NL Wild Card and the NL West title. Instead they're sitting a handful of games below .500. One of the reasons has been the underperformance of ace Jimenez. He came into his Saturday start with a 3-8 record, 4.39 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Maybe his outing against the Nats Saturday will get things going. Jimenez went eight strong, allowing only five hits, one walk, one run and striking out eight. The Rockies have now won two straight after a five-game losing streak.

Special mention: It's not rare to see Jose Bautista hit home runs (anymore), but two Saturday gave him 31 before the All-Star break. What is this, 2001?



Mike Quade, Cubs manager. Quade pulled Ryan Dempster after five innings and 87 pitches. That's not exactly egregious, though it does feel early for a guy who wasn't getting knocked around in a major way. Yet it worked. The Cubs won as the bullpen threw four scoreless innings. But Dempster and Quade got into a pretty decent argument when Quade told his pitcher he was taking him out of the game. Again, if this was a stand-alone issue, it's basically a non-issue. But Quade's Cubs are 17 games under .500, he constantly makes questionable decisions -- take bunting with Marlon Byrd when light-hitting Tony Campana was on deck earlier this week -- and now he's arguing with a player. And Quade's big selling point was supposedly that he's a player's manager. Instead, he appears to be in over his head.

Brewers' bullpen. The Brewers found a way to get to extra innings against the Reds Saturday, but allowing five runs in the 10th inning is pretty tough to overcome, and now the Brewers are back tied with the Cardinals atop the NL Comedy Central. This one was noteworthy because it was the 20th loss this season for the Brewers, tops in all of MLB.

People complaining about Derek Jeter. Sorry, 3,000 hits is a huge milestone. Of all the players who have ever played baseball, only 28 have gotten there. It's a big deal. And it was pretty awesome that he hit a now-rare home run in getting there. If you feel the need to be negative instead of just enjoying the moment, maybe you shouldn't be a baseball fan. The whole reason we watch the game is to enjoy it, so let's enjoy the achievement.

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