Tag:Vernon Wells
Posted on: August 13, 2011 1:21 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Fun homecoming for Wells

By Matt Snyder

Vernon Wells, Angels. Wells was the Blue Jays' first-round pick all the way back in 1997. He first grabbed a cup of coffee in the bigs in 1999 and stuck for good in 2002. He amassed 223 home runs, more than 1,500 hits and an .804 OPS for the Jays. He was traded to the Angels this past offseason. Friday night, Wells returned to Toronto for the first time as an enemy, but the Blue Jays faithful hadn't forgotten him. Wells was greeted with a nice ovation before his first at-bat. He then proceeded to hit his 126th career home run in the Rogers Centre, only this time it hurt the Jays. Wells' new team would go on to win 7-1 and stay two games behind the Rangers in the AL West.

Prince Fielder, Brewers. Going 3-for-4 with a home run wouldn't normally land the big man here. That's what he's paid to do and what he's going to be paid a gigantic amount this offseason to continue to do. But one of his singles Friday is worth noting. In the bottom of the fifth, Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm completely jammed Fielder inside, and the result was what should have been a routine grounder to the shortstop area -- with the shift on, it was third baseman Pedro Alvarez making the play -- but Fielder beat it out. There wasn't even a bobble on the defensive end. He just legged out a single. And the Brewers won for the 14th time in their last 16 games.

J.J. Hardy, Orioles. The shorstop hit two more home runs Friday night, giving him 23 on the season. His career high in homers is 26, which he in 592 at-bats in 2007. He also hit 24 home runs in 2008 ... in 569 at-bats. He has just 343 at-bats so far this season. If Hardy can stay healthy -- which is a big if -- his contract extension earlier this summer by the Orioles was a great decision. He's still just 28 years old.

CC Sabathia, Yankees. For the first time in his career, Sabathia allowed more than three home runs in a game. He actually allowed five in the Yankees 5-1 loss to the Rays. The funny thing is, Sabathia is a such a competitor he still kept the game within striking distance and lasted eight innings. I almost wanted to make him an "up" for such an effort. Then I realized CC himself is probably livid he coughed up five bombs to a team that came in averaging less than one per game.

Giants offense. Matt Cain told reporters after the game he cost his team the game. You know, because he allowed two runs. If a starting pitcher is blaming himself for a loss when he allowed two runs -- against a team that entered the game with a seven-game losing streak, mind you -- that's a problem. Pablo Sandoval told reporters the Giants aren't having any fun right now, too (SFGate.com). Will things suddenly turn around when Carlos Beltran and Nate Schierholtz get healthy? They better, for the Giants sake, or else Arizona is taking the West while the Giants watch from home in October.

The Oakland A's. So Rangers starter C.J. Wilson talks about how much everything in Oakland sucks this week and then he takes the hill Friday night in Oakland. And the A's come out and get their teeth kicked in, 9-1.

And in case you missed it, the biggest clown down of the night was Carlos Zambrano. Click here and here to see why, again, if you missed it.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:41 pm

On Deck: Spotlight on Turner Field


By Matt Snyder

We've got our usual full slate of Friday night games, with 15 starting in a three hour and five minute window. There is, of course, the possible drama of the Giants heading to Florida to square off against the team that knocked Buster Posey out for the season, but it sounds like nothing will come of that. So we'll grab three other intriguing storylines here. And remember to keep those eyes glued on the CBSSports.com live scoreboard all night with up to the second updates.

Uggla goes for 32, Braves lead Wild Card: The Braves return home Friday with second baseman Dan Uggla bringing in the longest major-league hitting streak since Chase Utley's 35-gamer in 2006. We've already covered the matchups for this series in terms of Uggla's history against the Cubs' pitchers, so let's instead focus on the game itself here. The Braves have a five-game lead in the NL Wild Card race and host the team with the second-worst record in the National League. Still, it may not be as easy as it sounds. The Cubs come in having won nine of their past 11 and are playing solid baseball for the first time in 2011. Carlos Zambrano (9-6, 4.46) of the Cubs faces off against Mike Minor (1-2, 4.85). Cubs at Braves, 7:35 p.m. ET.

Oakland's Public Enemy: Rangers starter C.J. Wilson (10-5, 3.35) had some strong words for the Oakland A's, the stadium, their fans, etc. earlier this week. He basically said everything sucks, so that couldn't have endeared him much to the A's or the Oakland fans. Wilson's former teammate Brandon McCarthy (5-5, 3.31), now of the A's, responded by saying the A's need to beat Wilson and the fans need to show up and send Wilson a message. And wouldn't you know it, the two pichers just happen to be squaring off Friday night. There doesn't seem to be any bad blood, so much as Wilson just speaking his mind and McCarthy trying to stand up for his ballclub and fans. Still, it's too bad the ptichers don't bat. It would be cool to see them go head-to-head. Rangers at A's, 10:05 p.m. ET.

Wells returns to Toronto: Vernon Wells played almost 1,400 games in 12 seasons for the Blue Jays. He was a fixture in center field for over a decade, making three All-Star Games and hauling in three Gold Gloves. This season, however, he's playing for the Angels and Friday night he'll take the field at the Rogers Centre wearing enermy garb for the first time. Wells hasn't fared well at all for the Angels, as his .208/.241/.373 line is the worst of his career. He is, however, in a pennant race of the Angels are just two games behind the Rangers in the AL West. Wells' Angels will send red-hot Ervin Santana (8-8, 3.21) to the hill as the Blue Jays counter with Brandon Morrow (8-6, 4.51). Santana is 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA -- and a no-hitter -- in his past eight starts. No word yet on the Man in White's availability, but the Jays may need him. Angels at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 2:14 pm

Trade Deadline Primer: AL West

By Eye on Baseball Team

Baseball's trade deadline is just 13 days away. The rumor mill is certainly spinning, but we've only really seen one big move -- the Brewers acquiring Francisco Rodriguez. In the upcoming days we'll take a glance around baseball and sort out what we can expect to see from each major-league team. First up, the AL West, a division that saw several deadline deals last season, including an intradivisional Cliff Lee deal (though that happened in early July). It doesn't appear the landscape is ripe for another blockbuster like that, but let's dive in.

Texas Rangers
Status: Buyers
Upgrade needed: Pitching, both starting and relief.
Possible matches: Padres, Marlins, Nationals, A's, Mariners
Notes: If the Rangers continue to win at this pace and create big separation in the AL West -- they're currently up four games and have won 11 in a row -- they won't feel the need to make a big splash. They have reportedly talked to the Marlins about pitching, with Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Leo Nunez as possibilities (Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports). Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports, however, that the Marlins aren't going to move Nolasco or Sanchez. Evan Grant of Rangers Blog reports the Rangers are interested in Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Andrew Bailey and Brandon League -- though Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says the A's would have to be overwhelmed to move Bailey, since he's under team control until 2014. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also has the Rangers in on Bell, Adams, Bailey and throws in Tyler Clippard of the Nationals. Buster Olney of ESPN says the Rangers are the "leaders" in the Bell/Adams sweepstakes. I'd expect the Rangers to do whatever it takes, within reason, to get to the World Series again.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Status: Frugal buyers
Upgrade needed: Could use more pitching and another bat.
Possible matches: They'd have to shed payroll first, so none at this point.
Notes: Thanks to several high-priced acquisitions in recent memory (Vernon Wells, c'mon down!) the word is the Angels don't want to increase the payroll -- even though general manager Tony Reagins denies that assertation, there's evidence to suggest it. So, while they'd probably like to upgrade several areas -- coincidentally, an upgrade over Wells would be nice -- there won't be much flexibility. Expect the Angels to make minor trades at the absolute maximum. UPDATE: Rosenthal reports Aramis Ramirez is on the Angels' wish list, but that Ramirez still has no intention of waving his no-trade clause for anyone -- at least until after July 31. This is interesting on several levels. Going after Ramirez would completely contradict the notion that the Angels aren't adding payroll. Not only is Ramirez making a pretty penny this season, but a trade would cause a $16 million option for next season to vest. Also, Ramirez's insistence on not leaving starts to make you wonder if he knows the Cubs will pick up his option after the season.

Seattle Mariners
Status: In limbo, but probably sellers.
Players available: Doug Fister, Jason Vargas, Erik Bedard, Brandon League.
Notes: We can't really be sure how things stand just yet. The Mariners were all set to be buyers and were reportedly interested in upgrading the offense, for example. But they've now lost nine in a row and -- teamed with the Rangers' winning streak -- that has buried them. I can't see a reason to move Felix Hernandez, and the Mariners won't, but some are sure to speculate about him. Just take those "rumors" with a grain of salt. All-Star reliever Brandon League could fetch a decent return and, when the Mariners decide to start selling, Bedard seems like a name that could be involved in any trade talks. Knobler also reports that Vargas and Fister are available -- and points out Hernandez and Michael Pineda are not.

Oakland Athletics
Status: Sellers
Players available: Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Conor Jackson and Michael Wuertz. Probably several more, too.
Possible matches: Pretty much any buyer.
Notes: You have to figure at least three of the above players are shipped somewhere. Things will probably go down to the wire, as none are huge difference makers and will probably be last resorts on July 31. Willingham could go sooner, as he's being dangled, it's just that not many teams are overly excited about him. The Pirates are said to be in on him, but could be setting their sights higher on Hunter Pence.

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Posted on: June 18, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2011 4:49 pm

Angels' Wells comforts young fan

By C. Trent Rosecrans 

Vernon WellsThere's been plenty said about Angels outfielder Vernon Wells and his massive contract, but let's forget that for a second and give the guy some credit.

Wells had an RBI single and a nice running catch in the seventh, but his best play of the night didn't show up in the boxscore. In the bottom of the third inning, the Mets' Daniel Murphy hit a foul ball that appeared to hit a child in the head near third base at Citi Field.

Two batters later after the inning was done, Wells stopped by the stands to make sure the child was OK and to gave the kid his hat. You can bet there's at least one person in New York who doesn't care that Wells is underperforming for his massive contract, just that he was a ballplayer who showed genuine human concern for another human. That shouldn't be so unusual, but it's still nice when it does happen. 

Tip of the cap, so to speak, to Marcia C. Smith of the Orange County Register for pointing out Wells' good deed.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:49 pm

Pepper: New Marlins ballpark draws raves

Edwin Jackson and Daniel Hudson are facing each other for the first time following last season's trade. Danny Knobler joins Scott Braun to take a look at the impact this trade has had and also looks ahead to other compelling interleague matchups.

By Evan Brunell

NEW PARK: The Marlins took media on a tour of the new ballpark Thursday, and it's the first real look at what the park wil be revealed as. There was a prior visit in spring training, but the ballpark at that point was mostly a construction zone. Now, thousands of seats are installed, the foul poles are up and the view of the Florida skyline has drawn rave reviews.

One interesting note is that there will be minimal foul territory, with less than 10 feet between the poles and walls leading to each corner, which means fans will be close to the action. One wonders what effect this will have on park factors and if the park could be hitter friendly.

"That's the only foul territory," said Claude Delorme, executive vice president of ballpark development. "Basically, it's either in play or it's in the seats. Every seat is a really quality seat. … We have more seats in the upper deck of Sun Life than the total capacity of this ballpark."

The response for the new park has been impressive, with more full season tickets being sold for next season than ever in franchise history. President David Samson views this as a good thing "because people are buying the ballpark, not the product."

Color me unconvinced. At some point, fans are going to want to see a winning product and a payroll that doesn't look out of place in the NHL's capped league. (The NHL capped payroll in this just-concluded season at $59.4 million.) As every other team with a new park can tell you, there is an initial bump in attendance in the first year, but that quickly dissipates. The Marlins will have a big fight on their hands to retain their season-ticket holders, and if the present and past is any indication they will lose that fight. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

: A Pittsburgh radio host declared that if the Pirates reached 34-34, he would wash the entire team's jock straps. The Pirates are now 35-33, so the milestone has been reached. Have fun, John Seibel! (Big League Stew)

: Before every homestand, Willie Bloomquist brings a child from the Phoenix Children's Hospital to a game, and Wednesday night's guest, Abe Spreck, predicted that Bloomquist would hit a home run. He of 14 career blasts in 780 career games. Bloomquist tried to tell Spreck, 14, how impossible it would be, but guess what happened? Yup. (Arizona Republic)

SPEAKING OF... Remember when there was a brouhaha a few days ago about Wrigley Field being a dump? Apparently that may not be too far off as word filters out that the rooftop establishments that allow extra seating for Cubs games are rarely inspected by health officials. Not good, but as one of these rooftop professionals quipped, "I think the only thing the people could get sick from is the way the Cubs play." (These establishments are not owned or operated by the Cubs.) (Chicago Tribune)

FORTUNATE 50: Sports Illustrated reveals its 50 most-paid American athletes for the year, and 17 baseball players landed on the list. The top five are Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Joe Mauer, Vernon Wells and Derek Jeter. No surprise that three Yankees are in the top five. (SI.com)

GLORIFIED DH: When Eric Hosmer sat on Thursday, it wasn't Billy Butler who took his place -- it was backup infielder Wilson Betemit. Manager Ned Yost conceded that Butler won't start any games in National League parks, which will reduce him to a pinch-hitter. Remind me again why it's OK to take away one of the team's best weapons, built specifically within the rules of the league, in exchange for having a pitcher walk up to the plate, take three half-hearted swings or lay down a sacrifice bunt that may or may not work? (Kansas City Star)

SLUGGISH SOX: The White Sox aren't performing well, and the Twins' recent run has the spotlight being shined squarely on Chicago as underperformers. Skipper Ozzie Guillen says there aren't any quick fixes to be had, though. (Chicago Tribune)

PITCHERS BAT EIGHTH: Manager Tony LaRussa is a big fan of batting pitchers eighth instead of ninth, although he doesn't do it on a regular basis. Nats manager Jim Riggleman recently made the switch and the team is 5-0 since. (Washington Post)

GUTHRIE HURT: Jeremy Guthrie was unable to come out for the sixth inning of Thursday's game after suffering a back strain. The injury has drawn concern given how Guthrie is so durable and adamant about pushing through adversity. He will undergo an MRI Friday. (Baltimore Sun)

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 7:51 pm

Report: Moreno says no more spending

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Arte MorenoAnaheim is hardly out of the American League West race, just three games behind leader Texas and 2 1/2 games behind second-place Seattle, but owner Arte Moreno has already told general manager Tony Reagins not to spend any more money this season, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon writes.

Saxon cites a "baseball source" as saying the Angels won't spend any more money for the rest of the season after eating what was left of Scott Kazmir's $14.5 million salary this season and taking on the albatross contract of .193-hitting Vernon Wells. Oh, and they're still paying Gary Matthews Jr. $12.4 million this season for a grand total around $140 million for the team's 2011 payroll.

The Angels can still make move, but they won't be able to take on any payroll, so a deal would have to be a wash financially or in the Angels' favor.

Reagins has shown a willingness to deal at the deadline in recent years. The Angels added Mark Teixeira in 2008 at the trade deadline and Kazmir a year later. Last year the Angels picked up Alberto Callaspo and Dan Haren for a stretch run. 

The Angels could try to unload Joel Pineiro ($8 million) and Fernando Rodney ($5.5 million) in a search for more offense. They could also try to move Bobby Abreu, who has a vesting option worth $9 million for next season with another 147 plate appearances.

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Posted on: June 2, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: June 2, 2011 10:51 am

Pepper: Injuries at forefront

By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: What will Tommy John surgery for Daisuke Matsuzaka mean for the Red Sox? What is the latest with Dan Haren? I joined Lauren Shehadi to discuss a few of the injuries around baseball. Click on the above video to check it out.

HUGHES PROGRESSING: Ailing Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes could begin a minor-league rehab stint soon. Hughes threw a bullpen session Wednesday night and was pain-free. If he feels no setbacks following another session Saturday -- likely a simulated game or batting practice -- the next step could very well be a rehab assignment. Hughes has been on the shelf since April 14 with an inflamed shoulder and is hoping to return before the end of the month. (NYPost.com)

ZIMM BACK IN ACTION: It's been quite a while since the Nationals had third baseman Ryan Zimmerman in the lineup, but he took a step forward Wednesday, as he played three innings in an extended spring training game. Remember, this isn't a rehab assignment -- which is limited to 30 days -- but it does mean he's ready to start getting closer to such a step. (MLB.com)

BOCHY'S PLEA: Giants manager Bruce Bochy -- who, you may have heard, recently lost his catcher for the season -- reportedly made a "passionate plea" to Joe Torre in the MLB offices about better protecting catchers from injury. Bochy doesn't want to make any sort of slide rule, but would like the league to suspend players who hit catchers not blocking the plate. Check out the full quotes on Extra Baggs. I'm against any rule changes and the general sanctimony directed at the play just because a great player got hurt, but Bochy's actually got a point. If the catcher is 100 percent blocking the plate, the runner should bowl him over. That's baseball. But if he's off to the side of the plate and the runner goes out of his way to level the catcher, that shouldn't be tolerated.

WELLS READY FOR FRESH START: Vernon Wells got off to an awful start for the Angels and then hit the DL. As he prepares to return, he's ready to forget what has already happened and look for a new beginning. Wells: "You can't go back and change that (poor start). But I guess it is a chance for a new start. You're going to see numbers 'before DL' and 'post-DL' now. You'll have that stat breakdown, before and after. I guarantee you my post-DL numbers will be better than my pre-DL numbers." (OC Register) Just in case anyone's wondering, the "before DL" numbers: .183 average, four home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs, .527 OPS in 35 games.

MAYBE KEEP IT DOWN NEXT TIME? Rickie Weeks led off the game with a home run Wednesday night at Cincinnati. It was the third time this season he's done so in that very ballpark. He's spreading the wealth, too, because his three blasts have come off three different pitchers (Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake).

POWER OUTAGE: Justin Turner's eighth-inning home run for the Mets broke a 10-game homerless streak, their longest in 21 years. It also ended a 10-game streak of the sort at Citi Field, their longest home streak since 1979. Don't expect questions about moving in the fences to go away anytime soon. (NY Times Bats blog)

COLLINS ERUPTS: Of course, Mets manager Terry Collins doesn't much care about home runs, specifically, but he's getting a little tired of losing. Via ESPN New York, here we go: "I'm running out of ideas here. Do we play hard? Absolutely. That’s not the issue. The issue is not effort. That’s not it. It’s about execution. We have to add on some points when we get the lead. And I’m not looking for home runs. I’m looking for quality at-bats. We can’t make careless mistakes. We do. We give up at-bats. We can’t do that. We don’t have that kind of team." He went on for a good bit, and concluded with this: " ... maybe I’ve got to make some adjustments. And, by god, they’ll be made. I don’t know if it comes with finding different players. But they’ll be made. Something is going to be changing."

MAN OF THE HOUR: We posted about Adam Jones' brilliant catch Wednesday, and after the game the compliments from his teammates flowed. Orioles closer Kevin Gregg raved that Jones "looked like Griffey," while starting pitcher Brian Matusz said, "It was awesome. It was a good momentum thing because it put a smile on my face and it helped me relax a little bit and have fun." O's manager Buck Showalter said that Jones has been "spoiling" his teammates with his defensive play all season. (MLB.com)

PAGING CARP: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times makes the case that the Mariners should call on prospect Mike Carp immediately and plug him in left field. The fact is the Mariners have gotten basically nothing out of left field, and Carp could give the still-weak offense a boost. He's on a 17-game hitting streak with a .325 average and 14 homers in Triple-A. Meanwhile, Carlos Peguero is reeling in left for the big-league club, which is currently only 1 1/2 games out of first place in the up-for-grabs AL West. As I find myself doing more often than not, I agree with Baker. The Mariners are right in the mix and need more offense.

NO JOYCE FOR D-BACKS: One of the feel-good stories from last season was how umpire Jim Joyce and pitcher Armando Galarraga came together following Joyce's blown call that cost Galarraga a perfect game. It even ended up with the two collaborating on a book -- "Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History" -- which is being released Thursday. Due to the business relationship, Joyce has been forbidden by Major League Baseball to work any Arizona Diamondbacks games. Galarraga is not even with the D-Backs at present, as he's in Triple-A, but Joyce is still not allowed to do any Arizona games. (ESPN.com)

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 10:43 am

Pepper: Assessing chances of a K-Rod trade

By Evan Brunell

K-ROD TRADEABLE? For a while now, Francisco Rodriguez's $17.5 million vesting option has been seen as a major roadblock to any trade.

Rodriguez is a fine closer, but a $17.5 million figure for a closer is rather exorbitant, especially in recent years as the market for closers has appeared to plateau. K-Rod needs to finish at least 55 games for that option to vest, and he's at 18 through almost two full months. That puts him on pace to clear the threshold by the end of the year for New York, unless the Mets trade him first.

While Rodriguez could be traded to a setup role which would take care of that pesky games-finished requirement, reporter Andy Martino writes that his value as a closer may not be half-bad after all. He cites Rodriguez's dominant on-field play with his new personality off it, with Rodriguez demonstrating remorse for previous actions. It could be a good move for a team comfortable with trading for K-Rod to head up the ninth. It also helps that Rodriguez has expressed a willingness to tear up his current option and renegotiate a new deal.

Lost in this article is the bottom line: Rodriguez won't negotiate away his vesting option unless he stands to benefit by getting an extended contract from the team dealing for him. Helping matters is that K-Rod is willing to consider any team, even one of the 10 teams that are currently blocked thanks to a no-trade clause. But the bottom line remains: there's no reason for Rodriguez to tear up his 2012 option if he doesn't get something out of it. That kind of money over one season is well worth it to Rodriguez, who could then go get another big-money deal after 2012.

But working in favor of the Mets is Rodriguez's $3.5 million buyout. If New York agrees to fund the buyout -- which it must pay regardless of the option vesting -- other teams may change their perception of Rodriguez's value. Instead of digging into their pockets in free agency to sign the likes of Heath Bell and Jonathan Papebon, a team could address the K-Rod issue by having the Mets pick up $3.5 million at the trade deadline, giving the acquiring team one-and-a-half years of Rodriguez at a 2012 price of $14 million. Still hefty, but not outlandish and worth the price of doing business on a short deal. And as we've learned, short deals for closers is a smart route to go. (New York Daily News)

: Sure, Omar Minaya was a pretty bad GM in New York and now Fred Wilpon is on a media blitz designed to tell his side of the story but is only complicating things more. And yet, what might be to blame are bobbleheads, part of a yearly giveaway. Previous bobblehead players have ended up injured or ineffective after garnering the honor. This year's recipient? Ike Davis, currently on the DL. (New York Times)

: How tired do you think manager Mike Scioscia is of answering questions about 19-year-old prodigy Mike Trout? He continued to deflect any speculation that Trout would be called to the majors despite tearing up the minors and seeing L.A. limp along in left field with Alexi Amarista and Reggie Willits, although he did crack the door open for a promotion in a month. "I think that's a huge risk to take with a player with his upside," Scioscia said. "We see the growth in Mike. He's made an incredible amount of progress from last year to now. He's bridging that gap. Maybe in a month, this would be a different conversation, but right now, there's some growth he needs to be ready for that challenge of the major leagues." (Los Angeles Times)

: Angels left fielder Vernon Wells made progress in his return from a groin strain. He's not ahead of schedule, but underwent light agility drills and came away without complaint. (Los Angeles Times)

MY TURN: Mike Fontenot knows what groin strains feel like -- he just suffered one Thursday night that will probably get him on the 15-day DL. That's bad news for S.F., which already had a tattered left side of the infield. (San Francisco Chronicle)

RUNNER'S LUCK: The Giants also saw Darren Ford hobbled by a lateral sprain on his left ankle that will likely see the pinch-runner hit the DL. Bruce Bochy said there it would be "a longshot" for Brandon Belt to replace Ford on the roster. More likely is Ryan Rohlinger or Travis Ishikawa. (San Jose Mercury News)

STANTON'S BOMBS: Florida Marlins sluggger Mike Stanton is an attraction during batting practice these days. In San Francisco he drew applause from Giants fans as he launched home runs, including a standing ovation for a batting practice moonshot that went more than 500 feet. The applause quickly dissipated when he carried his home-run swing over into the game. (Palm Beach Post)

: When Andrew Cashner returns from his injury, bet on him moving into the bullpen. "When you miss a few months with an arm injury you cannot just go right back to pitching six innings or more when you return so I would think that he would be in the pen when he does come back this season," Cubs manager Jim Hendry said. If true, the Cubs are going to have to find another starting pitcher somewhere. They're so close in getting Casey Coleman out of the rotation, but still have Doug Davis to contend with, with only Coleman as depth. (CSNChicago.com)

SIZEMORE NEAR: Grady Sizemore has come through his rehab work so nicely that he may actually be activated the first game he is eligible for, which is Friday. His replacement on the major-league roster, Ezequiel Carrera, was seen shaking hands with teammates. Sizemore ran the bases prior to Wednesday's game and came through with no issues, putting him on track to be activated for the weekend series. (MLB.com)

BAD STEW: Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart pulled his hamstring in a game in Triple-A on Wednesday, so it looks like he will be out of action for a couple of weeks. Just another bad day in a line of bad days for Stewart this season. (Denver Post)

NO. 2: With the Mariners a surprising game under .500 and a weekend series with the Yankees coming up, Seattle needs to find a way to boost its offense if they hope to come away with a series win. How about batting Brendan Ryan, in the midst of a hot month, second in the order? (Seattle Times)

THOLE DIVE: In this day and age, if you mess up, you can bet everyone will soon be giggling at a .GIF of it. Josh Thole is no exception. (SB Nation)

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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