Tag:Jason Bay
Posted on: May 1, 2011 1:43 am
Edited on: May 1, 2011 1:51 am

3 up, 3 down: Shields, Halladay baffle batters


By Evan Brunell

3 UP

James Shields, Rays -- Shields delivered a dominating performance and may be on the way back towards being an ace. However, Shields is an inconsistent player, so we'll have to see how he performs more. Still, he twirled a beautiful start against the Angels, going eight strong with an eyebrow-raising 12 strikeouts against one walk, six hits and an earned run. He combined to strike out the first three batters of the game six times, holding them to 1 for 13 with a walk. This game pushes Shields' ERA down to 2.14.

Roy Halladay, Phillies -- What else do you expect? Halladay rivaled Shields for best pitching performance as he pitched a complete game seven-hitter, allowing a walk and punching eight out. The Mets -- especially Jason Bay in an 0-for-4 night with three whiffs -- were helpless as Philly squeaked out a 2-1 victory. That offense is starting to run a little cold in Philadelphia, who were lifted by reserve outfielder John Mayberry Jr.'s first home run of the year plus a sac fly by Placido Polanco. Carlos Beltran did have two hits, continuing a nice return from knee problems.

Michael Brantley, Indians -- The league's best hitting performance that also directly won the game for Cleveland by Brantley, who sparked the team to victory by first tying the game at two-all in the sixth by ripping a solo home run and then scoring the winning run on an Orlando Cabrera single. All in all, the leadoff man who was playing center as Grady Sizemore took a breather, stepped up to the plate with a 3-for-6 night (so did Cabrera), scoring those two runs and driving in himself on the homer to edge the Tigers 3-2. Top Indians pitching prospect Alex White got throw his start by throwing six innings and allowing just two runs despite coughing up four walks and six hits -- two home runs -- and whiffing four.


Matt Thornton, White Sox -- Ozzie Guillen must be furious. In his house, that is, as he was suspended two games for his comments about the umpiring earlier in the week and then tweeting about it. Matt Thornton was called in by bench coach Joey Cora to keep the ChiSox in the game as they trailed 2-1 in the eighth. Phil Humber had a two-run, seven-inning start, calling into question whether he should be demoted when Jake Peavy returns. Against the Orioles, Thornton went as such: single, stolen base, strikeout plus Pierzynski error allowing a run to score and batter to reach, single, wild pitch, walk, infield RBI single, sacrifice fly, and -- that was it for Thornton as Jerry Gray sandwiched two outs around a hit by pitch. Not a good day at the park for Chicago's closer at the beginning of the season who has already lost his job.

Red Sox offense -- What can the Red Sox offense do for you? Well, it can mount a seven-hit attack on Doug Fister, walk six times, and ... leave 11 men on base in a 2-0 defeat. Awesome. David Ortiz want 0-for-4 with two whiffs, coming up in a key situation that could have changed the complexion of the game. The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the first (yes, really) and fourth, with Jacoby Ellsbury ending the threat in the fourth by getting doubled off second in a mistake. Oh, and no Mariners game is complete without a Milton Bradley ejection. The mercurial outfielder delivered a RBI double in the second to send Seattle up 1-0 then argued with the second base umpire about a play in which Miguel Olivo grounded to first and got the heave-ho. Skipper Eric Wedge was in the process of leaving the field after mounting his own complaint, but he didn't get tossed.

Kyle Drabek, Blue Jays -- Drabek got a little lesson in humility Saturday night, lasting just 2 1/3 innings. Drabek has been a bit up and down in his first full major-league season, but was still doing decently enough. Now his ERA rests at 4.45 after giving up five runs on seven hits, four walks and four strikeouts against the Yankees. He was dinked to death, but those runs count and can be even more deflating than a single big blow. You can attribute giving up a grand slam to one misplaced pitch, but you can't justify any of your stuff when everything is being rifled. Oddly enough, no Yank had more than one hit, but everyone did sans Derek Jeter (all together: when will he be demoted to No. 8 in the lineup? -- hey, look a reunion of the top two in the order from last season... at the bottom).

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Posted on: April 25, 2011 11:17 am

Pepper: Mets winning on and off the field


By Evan Brunell

AMAZING CALLS: The Mets have instituted a new program this season where Mets players will phone citzens for various reasons, including sad ones.

Such a call led to the arrival of John Falcone and family to Citi Field, mere months after John's son, also named John, was shot to death after saving a 3-year-old from the assailant in Poughskeepie, N.Y. The Falcones came to Citi Field Saturday to watch the Mets eventually defeat the Diamondbacks after David Wright told the family the club would do their best to win for them.

"More than anything, you just hope that for at least one afternoon, they can get their minds away from the tragedy," Wright said.

The Falcone family spoke to multiple Mets players and were allowed on the field prior to the game. They were given seats three rows behind first base and came away with signed baseballs. Needless to say, John and wife Margaret were "overwhelmed" by what the Mets had done for them.

"You have this deep emotional connection between fans and the team, and if you can bring some joy and momentary happiness, of course you want to do it whenever you can," Mets vice president Dave Howard said.

Credit the Mets -- and David Wright, the son of a police officer -- taking a great idea and helping to make a difference. (New York Post)

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Jason Bay's return catapult his team back into contention? Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about the Mets and the rest of the NL East.

CONSISTENCY: Being in the starting lineup every day and not having to worry about a demotion has worked wonders for new Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin, whose biggest question in his bat is coming around. (North County Times)

HOUSEKEEPING MEANS MASSAGING: To Lenny Dykstra, if you're hired to clean his house, you also need to give him a massage while the former major-league star is buck naked. That's what happened to a potential employee when she interviewed for the housekeeping position. Police are now investigating charges of lewd conduct. (TMZ)

DIETING: Athletics relief pitcher Brad Ziegler could be primed for a big year. The submarining reliever is receiving treatment for childhood asthma, which he believed he no longer suffered from, as well as starting a new diet as his body does not handle milk, eggs or gluten well. Ziegler can already notice a significant difference. (San Francisco Chronicle)

KEEP YOUR PANTS ON: Hanley Ramirez is running out of ways to snap out of the slump that's plagued him in the early going and is turning to superstition to help. He tried wearing high socks, then abandoned them, but no luck. What's next? "Maybe no pants," Ramirez suggested. Something tells me he won't go to that extreme. (Miami Herald)

REHAB TIME: Domonic Brown will begin a rehab assignment later this week in his return from a fractured hamate bone. While Ben Francisco has been equipping himself fine as the starting right fielder, you can bet the Phillies can't wait to see what Brown can do. (Philly.com)

HOLD IT: Can you imagine umpiring a 33-inning game? Take it from someone who's umpired Little League games -- even umpiring those games is no picnic, so imagine how tough Denny Cregg had it as home-plate umpire. But then ratchet it up a notch, as Cregg reveals on the 30-year anniversary of the game, and factor in not going to the bathroom even once during the whole affair. (MLB.com)

INSPIRATIONAL: Or something like it. Take a listen to Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard, who delivered an "inspirational" speech during a minor-league baseball game last season replete with monkeys riding dogs. You read that right. (Youtube)

BASEBALL FAMILY: Bernie Stowe has been part of the Reds' clubhouse for 65 years, and it's grown into a family affair as his two sons pilot the home and visitor's clubhouse. A nice profile on people with deep connections to baseball that you never hear about. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

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Posted on: April 23, 2011 5:21 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2011 5:23 pm

Bay's return powering Mets

By Matt Snyder

When Jason Bay joined his teammates for the first time this regular season, the Mets were 5-13. After a victory over the Diamondbacks Saturday, the Mets now stand 8-13. Small sample? Obviously. Coincidence? Not in the least.

Saturday, Bay hit his first home run of the season and drove in three. He's 4-12 thus far.

Adding Bay to the five hole of the batting order provides extra protection for Carlos Beltran and knocks Ike Davis down to the six-hole. The Mets are often maligned, but starting with Jose Reyes and going Wright-Beltran-Bay-Davis through the middle isn't half bad. They've scored 19 runs in the past three games. They'd scored 18 in the previous seven before Bay's return.

Bay's been under tons of scrutiny after last season. He signed a large free agent contract to join the Mets, but had one of the worst seasons of his career before it was cut short with a bad concussion. But in 2009, he hit 36 home runs and drove home 119 for the Red Sox. At 32, he's not old and is still a presence in the middle of the order -- the type of guy who can make everyone around him better.

Thus far in 2011, it's working well for Bay and Mets. Even if it's only been three games, any good news will do.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 22, 2011 10:45 am
Edited on: April 23, 2011 12:43 pm

Pepper: Dodgers leave Kershaw out to dry

By Matt Snyder

Seemingly lost in the shuffle of the Dodgers' extra-innings win over the Braves -- on another Matt Kemp walk-off bomb -- was how long Don Mattingly stuck with Clayton Kershaw in the ninth. I generally find that managers, especially early in the season, seem to err on the side of pulling starters early when they're throwing well. It was the complete opposite here.

Kershaw recorded two outs to begin the ninth, so he was just one out from a complete game victory. Chipper Jones singled. Dan Uggla singled but advanced to second on a throw to third base. So there are now runners on second and third in a one-run game. Kershaw had thrown 113 pitches and didn't look completely done, so I could see letting him face one more hitter.

Then he walked Freddie Freeman on six pitches. The bases were loaded, Kershaw was sitting at 119 pitches and finally -- during the Freeman at-bat -- seemed to be losing some bite on his pitches. Closer Jonathan Broxton was ready to enter. Instead, Kershaw was left in the game and allowed a two-RBI single to David Ross. So much for the lead, now the Dodgers trailed by one.

Look, it's tough to blame Mattingly for giving Kershaw some leeway. He's their best pitcher, Broxton hasn't been good and they were one out from victory. It just seemed like Kershaw was cooked and Mattingley refused to acknowledge it.

Of course, had Kershaw recorded an out we wouldn't even be talking about it. That's just the way things go in this game. It's really an illustration for how hard it is for managers to truly judge when to remove a pitcher. Think about it: had Mattingly removed Kershaw and seen Broxton lose the lead, what would we be saying?

BASEBALL TODAY: Ryan Braun is going to be in a Brewers uniform for a long time. Watch Danny Knobler discuss this and more with Lauren Shehadi on CBSSports.com's Baseball Today.

HEY, SITTING IN THE BULLPEN IS BORING: In a Class A-Advanced game Tuesday, members of the Clearwater Thrashers (a Phillies affiliate) bullpen came up with a game for fans peering over the edge. They simply put paper cups down and said if a fan tossed a quarter into the cup, he could win a prize. They had a cardboard sign up advertising the "promotion," even saying "we make change." The prize was a bat. No official word, but I'd guess the players keep the quarters that don't make it in a cup (hey, minor leaguers don't make much). You've gotta click through on this link and see the pictures -- in the last one you can see how many quarters are littered across the bullpen ground. (The X-Log )

HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT COMES TUMBLING DOWN: National Geographic is doing a show -- "Break it down" -- about the demolition of the old Yankee Stadium April 28 at 10 p.m. ET. After all the great games we've all seen there, it's going to be a bit surreal, no? (NatGeo )

PERFECTIONIST: Joey Votto had an RBI double in a 3-1 loss Wednesday night, but he was angry ... because he should have had a triple. “I stopped because runs were at premium. I was in scoring position. We had two outs to get the job done. It was a real in-between play. And I wish I had taken the chance. I left like there was a good shot I would have been safe.” And you made the correct decision, Joey. Quit beating yourself up for making the smart play. The reining NL MVP is crushing the ball again this year, but he needs to realize he can't single-handedly carry the team. (Cincinnati.com )

CAPTAIN JUNIOR: Ken Griffey Jr. followed in his father's footsteps in becoming a major league baseball player and now he's gone and done it again. Apparently, Griffey the elder is a pilot and now Junior is working on his pilot's license as well. Kudos to him. Is his flight path follows the same as his career path in baseball, he'll greatly exceed his father's abilities. Oh, and in case you're worried about Junior's well-being, his plane has a built-in parachute. (Geekwire )

THANK YOU, JOE: I've long hated the phrase "Hall of the Very Good" when people try to denigrate the Hall of Fame cases of players who they believe don't belong. It doesn't make sense because it's not the same medium. Hall of the Very Good would be secondary to the Hall of the Great or Hall of the Elite or Hall of the Exceptional. But Joe Posnanski finally up and did it, he created a "Hall of Not Famous Enough," peppered with players every bit as good as lower-level guys in the real Hall, just lacking some mainstream oomph on their names. Bobby Grich, Dwight Evans, Alan Trammell, Rick Reuschel and several others make the list. I hightly recommend at least a quick glimpse. (Joe Blog )

GO AHEAD AND SLEEP ON SEATTLE: The Mariners have some good, young arms like Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda. The offense, however, is pretty bad. We know that. Surprisingly, however, the defense actually measures worse at this point in the season. (Seattle Times )

LITTLE LEAGUE HOME RUN: In Jason Bay's first game of the 2011 season, he scored on his own plate appearance without recording a hit. Yep, he came around on a four-base error when Hunter Pence dropped a fly ball -- otherwise known as a "little league home run," for obvious reasons. It was the fourth in Mets history. (ESPN New York )

TEXEIRA DEMOTED: C'mon, not Mark. His last name is spelled Teixeira anyway. Just going with a trick subhead there, as the Royals have sent Kanekoa Texeira to Triple-A. (MLB.com )

SHORT AND SWEET: Matt Joyce is swinging a hot bat right now, and he attributes it to shortening up his swing. (TampaBay.com )

MAD MAICER: You wanna call Maicer Izturis fragile just because he's missed almost half the Angels' games in the past three seasons? You aren't going to endear yourself to him, that's for sure. "Those are ignorant people who say that," Izturis said. "They don't know the game. I could play 140 games at 90%, 80%. But that's not the way I play. I play 100%." It's interesting to note that later Izturis said something about how when Josh Hamilton gets hurt, people don't call him fragile. Um, they actually do. Quite a few people say that, actually. The broader point, however, is the guy doesn't like being called fragile and there's nothing wrong with that. Injuries happen during the course of 162 games. (LA Times )

IN THE SEATTLE AREA? The boys over at Sports and Food have a sports bar suggestion for you. Check it out. (Sports and Food )

ON THIS DATE: On April 22, 1970, Tom Seaver threw a complete game for the Mets against the Padres. He allowed only two hits, two walks and a run -- a solo homer by Al Ferrara. The game is noteworthy because Seaver struck out 19 hitters, which tied the major-league record at the time (held by Steve Carlton, along with a pair of guys from the 1880s). It has since been surpassed by Kerry Wood and Roger Clemens (twice). (Baseball-Reference.com )

MAKIN' IT RAIN: Angels fans threw money at Carl Crawford when he was on deck Thursday night. You might recall Crawford spurned the Angels in order to sign with Boston. (Big League Stew )

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Posted on: April 20, 2011 12:01 am

Bay homers twice in minors, will be back soon

By Matt Snyder

Mets left fielder Jason Bay has been sidelined for the entirety of the 2011 regular season, but he should be making his debut very soon. In fact, after his display Tuesday, he could be headed straight to New York. (ESPN New York )

Bay went 4-4 with two home runs and four RBI for Class A St. Lucie Tuesday night. The plan was originally to have Bay play another rehab game Wednesday and then join the Mets Thursday, but two factors mitigate the situation. First of all, the Mets' offense is in dire need of a shot in the arm. Secondly, reliever Bobby Parnell may be forced on the disabled list, so a corresponding move would be needed anyway. Considering Bay seemed to have his timing down Tuesday, why wait an extra day?

Bay had a disappointing 2010 season, after signing a large free agent contract with the Mets prior to the campaign. He missed a significant portion of the season after suffering a concussion, but before that wasn't swinging the bat as he's capable. He hit .259 with 6 home runs, 47 RBI and a .749 OPS in 95 games. This was coming off a season where he hit 36 home runs and drove home 119 with a .921 OPS for the Red Sox.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 30, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2011 5:52 pm

Bay headed to DL, Duda ready to step in

By Matt Snyder

Though the move isn't technically official, the Mets are going to put Jason Bay on the disabled list for the beginning of the 2011 season. They are waiting until Thursday before finalizing the move, but multiple reports already have Bay headed to the 15-day disabled list and Lucas Duda joining the Mets as Bay's replacement in left field.

"I haven't had a chance to talk directly with Jason myself," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "... I wouldn't say that we're unsure that we're going to DL him. We've got sort of a tentative direction that we're going to take. But I really don't want to discuss it until I've had a chance to talk to Jason." (ESPN New York )

Nick Evans was also in the mix to take over left field in Bay's absence, but he is headed to Triple-A Buffalo.

Bay will be eligible to come off the disabled list April 9, due to being able to backdate the move to his last spring appearance, which was last Thursday.

Duda, 25, seems eager to step into the role, though he's not a big fan of the circumstances.

"It's unfortunate that Jason hurt his rib cage," Duda told ESPN New York. "Obviously you don't want to see that happen. He's a great ballplayer and even a better guy, so you hate to see that. I'm going to go out there and try to help the team any way I can until Jason gets healthy."

Duda hit .202 with a .678 OPS last season in his 92 plate appearances, but that was after a brutal start. He was 16 for his last 51 (.314) with four home runs and 12 RBI. Prior to his promotion, he hit .314 with 17 home runs and a .999 OPS in 70 Triple-A games. Duda hit .254 with a pair of bombs and six RBI this spring. His OPS was .723 in 78 plate appearances.

Since signing a lucrative contract with the Mets last offseason, Bay played just 95 games last year, missing a significant chunk of the season due to lingering effects of a concussion. His on-field stint was disappointing as well, as he was hitting .259 with six home runs and 47 RBI -- this coming off a season where he had 36 homers and 119 RBI.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 29, 2011 2:34 pm

MLB to implement new protocols for concussions

By Matt Snyder

In light of several recent players' bouts with concussions -- such as Jason Bay and Justin Morneau -- and increasing national awareness about the dangers of the head injury, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have come together to announce several new protocols for dealing with concussions for the 2011 season.

In terms of day-to-day operation, the biggest change will be the establishment of a seven-day disabled list. Previously, the minimum a player could be placed on the disabled list was 15 days. This new DL option will "aim to allow concussions to clear, prevent players from returning prematurely and give clubs a full complement of players in one's absence." (via MLB press release)

When a player wishes to return after a concussion, his club must submit a "return to play" form to the MLB's medical director. This is required even if the player was not placed on the disabled list.

“I believe that Major League Baseball is taking a major step forward on a vital shared goal with the MLB Players Association,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “This policy, which reflects the collective expertise of many of the foremost authorities in the field, will benefit players, umpires and clubs alike, and I am proud of the spirit of cooperation that has led us to this result.”

Another prong of the new policy is that during play, any incident which typically leads to a higher risk of head injury -- such as being hit with a pitch in the head -- there are additional protocols in place to immediately evaluate the possibly-injured players or umpires. Also, a "mandatory baseline neuropsychological testing" requirement is in place for every player and umpire during spring training or when a player joins a team during the season.

“The MLBPA is pleased to have worked with the Commissioner’s Office, members of Club training and medical staffs and some of today’s leading experts in neurology to develop new protocols for the diagnosis and treatment of concussions,” said MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner. “Player safety is a major concern of the collective bargaining parties, and these new protocols and procedures should enhance our ongoing efforts to protect the health of players and umpires.”

The commissioner's office has also formed a committee to conduct an orientation for the medical staffs of each club. It is chaired by Alex Valadka, MD, FACS, who is Chief of Adult Neurosciences and Neurosurgery at the Seton Brain and Spine Institute in Austin, Texas.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 29, 2011 11:25 am
Edited on: March 29, 2011 12:47 pm

Bay scratched with strained rib muscle

By Matt Snyder

As if the Mets needed more problems.

Finally freed from the albatrosses that were Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, in addition to looking forward to the full-time return of Carlos Beltran, things were finally starting to look up.

And then Jason Bay went down with a strained intercostal muscle -- a ribcage muscle that is comparable to an oblique strain. (New York Daily News )

All we know at this point is that Bay was taking batting practice when the injury occurred. He was immediately removed from the lineup for Tuesday's spring game and went back to Port St. Lucie for further medical attention. From there, the team can make a roster decision. (NJ.com )

We do know that opening day is this week and injuries of the sort generally take at least a few weeks to shake. Do the math.

Bay, 32, played only 95 games last season after a concussion cut his first stint with the Mets short. He hit .259 with six home runs, 47 RBI and a .749 OPS. He was coming off a 36-home run, 119-RBI season with the Red Sox and signed a four-year contract with the Mets.

If Bay is forced to miss any time, the Mets are in trouble in the outfield. Nick Evans was placed on waivers Monday, so they could hope to get him back. There's also Willie Harris, Scott Hairston or Lucas Duda. And, of course, there's always the worry Beltran reaggravates his knee injury. Simply put, the outfield is in danger of being a complete mess.

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Category: MLB
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