Tag:John Danks
Posted on: June 18, 2011 10:15 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 12:58 am
 

White Sox will go back to 6-man rotation

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jake PeavyWith right-hander Jake Peavy coming off the disabled list to start on Wednesday night against the Cubs, the White Sox will revert to a six-man rotation until at least the All-Star break, Ozzie Guillen told the Chicago Tribune.

"At the start, yes," Guillen said when asked if the Sox would go with six starters. "We are going to do that because I think that's the best for the club. We talked about it yesterday and we have a couple of different scenarios. Right now, we're are going to stay with it until the All-Star break."

The White Sox will put Peavy behind Edwin Jackson in the rotation, pushing Jackson' next start to Friday because of Chicago's off day on Thursday.

Of course, that was all before Saturday's game and for a moment it appeared the White Sox could lose another pitcher after John Danks was hit in the head by a Stephen Drew liner. The ball bounced off the back of Danks' head and into the stands by third base for a ground rule double. Not only did Danks stay in the game, but he smiled and laughed afterward. You can see the play here.

With the off day on Thursday and June 27, there will be even more rest for the White Sox pitchers.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 15, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: June 15, 2011 10:53 am
 

Pepper: Danks discovers cut-fastball


Justin Verlander nearly pitched another no-hitter on Tuesday. NESN.com's Tony Lee joins Scott Braun on Baseball Today.

By Evan Brunell


NEW CUTTER: John Danks is finally on a roll, turning around his 0-7 start by winning his last two games. Danks pitched far better than his record indicated, but couldn't seem to figure things out and cited his cut fastball as one pitch he was struggling with.

"I play with grips a lot," Danks said. "My last game, I finally had a good one and was encouraged. Whenever I'm throwing a good one, I'm throwing it out front. That makes sense. I tend to not get on top of it and get around it, and it doesn't do anything for me. My focus is throwing it out front."

Danks is using a grip taught by batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey and has also experimented with other grips, including Mark Buehrle's.

"I will continue to work on other grips in case I lose it in a game so I have something to fall back on," Danks said. (Chicago Tribune)

ALL JETER, ALL THE TIME: Nick Swisher, for one, is tired of the Derek Jeter hoopla. Here's his response to a question about Jeter after taking out the Rangers:

"We just played a great game and you ask me that? I don't even know exactly what happened. A strain? Well, obviously, everyone knows what he's going up for, and he's the captain, we're going to miss him a lot, but then again we're trying to pick up where he left off. Gardy did a great job leading off for us tonight. I know he's excited about the opportunity to lead off for a little bit. But definitely when he's ready, we'll be ready for him to come back. He's a great player, definitely an elite, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. The show goes on.''  (ESPN New York)

BEST PLAYER IN THE GAME: How did Jose Bautista come about to be one of the -- if not the -- best players in the game? This fantastic feature explains it all, and no, steroids aren't part of it. (Yahoo! Sports)

BLANK THE GOAT: Cubs players created a stir Monday when they revealed new team shirts that read "F--k the Goat!!!" Predictably, questions arose as to whether the Cubs players are tempting fate.

"I have news for you. When you take the field, nobody is thinking about the goat, whether they're wearing the T-shirt or not," manager Mike Quade said. (Chicago Tribune)

YOUNG MILESTONE: Michael Young is now the Rangers' all-time leader in games played after Monday, passing Rafael Palmiero with 1,574 games. (New York Times)

FASTEST MAN ALIVE: Tony Campana believes he's the fastest man in the league, and manager Mike Quade concurs. Wonder if Michael Bourn might take exception to that. (Chicago Tribune)

HATED: This may come as a surprise, but the Yankees are one of the most hated teams in the game. But has anyone ever wondered who the 10 most hateable Yankees are in Rangers history? Probably not, but now you know. (Dallas News)

CLOSER IN L.A.: It appears as if Javy Guerra is quickly grasping the Dodgers' closer role. The rookie has been getting more and more late-inning, high-leverage outings lately and appears to be de facto closer, even as manager Don Mattingly refused to put a label on Guerra. (MLB.com)

BARNEY HURT
: Darwin Barney strained his right knee and will hit the disabled list for it. The second baseman leads all NL rookies in batting average with a .294 mark. (ESPN Chicago)

KAZMIR NEARING END? Scott Kazmir got raked once again in a minor-league rehab start, leaving him with a 17.02 ERA in 15 2/3 innings over five starts. It's likely that L.A. will now release Kazmir, who has a career 5.31 ERA with the Angels in 35 starts, one of the bigger busts in recent memory. (Los Angeles Times)

SECOND OPINION: Freddy Sanchez will receive a second opinion on his dislocated shoulder in the hopes of avoiding season-ending surgery. Sanchez is hoping to heal the shoulder on his own. (MLB.com)

SANDOVAL BACK: Pablo Sandoval was thrilled after his first game back from injury, saying he feels great and the surgery to repair his right wrist went well. The team, too, seems to be relieved that Sandoval has returned. (San Jose Mercury News)

GRANTED: Cole Hamels is one of the best pitchers on the field, but off the field he runs a charity that grants various amounts of money to Philadelphia schools to help them educate children in the face of budget cuts. (MLB.com)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 1:57 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Sweet victory for Danks



By Matt Snyder

John Danks, White Sox. From 2008-2010, Danks was 40-31 with a 3.61 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a decent strikeout rate. Basically, he was a very solid No. 3 pitcher and at age 26, he had a good shot to become even more entering 2011. Instead, he started 0-8 with a 5.25 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. The sad thing is, through seven starts, Danks wasn't bad at all. He got little run support in some games and the bullpen blew leads in some others. Then Danks got all focused on that archaic wins and losses total and started to press, even wondering aloud what was wrong with himself. Then he lost confidence and fell apart in a few starts. Fortunately, Danks got off the schneid Monday night. For a while it looked like Danks would have to do it all himself. The White Sox held a tenuous 1-0 lead through six innings, but would tack on two more runs and the bullpen held the lead. Danks worked 7 1/3 innings and allowed only an unearned run. He struck out six and earned his first victory of the season. Good for him.

Brennan Boesch, Tigers. Nelson Cruz of the Rangers hit two home runs and drove home four, but Boesch completely overshadowed him in a 13-7 Tigers win. Boesch got things started with a three-run homer in the first inning and didn't take his foot off the gas. He homered again in his next at-bat and ended the game 5-6 with a double, two home runs, three runs and five RBI. A tip of the cap to Michael Kirkman for getting Boesch to fly out in the seventh (though Kirkman also allowed Boesch's double a few innings earlier).

Eric Hosmer, Royals. The Royals needed 11 innings to score three runs Monday, but came away with the victory. Rookie sensation Eric Hosmer accounted for all three. In the fourth, he reached on an error and then scored. In the seventh, he coaxed a big game-tying, bases-loaded walk. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Hosmer came through with a clutch base hit to win the game in walk-off fashion. He's now hitting .304 with 20 RBI in 29 games since being recalled. Maybe it's time to give him Mike Moustakas as protection in the middle of the order? C'mon, Royals, don't make us wait forever.




Padres' offense. Six Rockies' pitchers combined to shut out the Padres Monday night, but it's not as if the Padres weren't given their chances. They collected nine hits and drew four walks, only to strand 11 and take the 3-0 loss. Brad Hawpe struck out with runners on second and third to end the first and Alberto Gonzalez struck out with the bases loaded to end the eighth -- and this was when it was only 1-0 Rockies. There were several other chances, but those were just the two most egregious. That's how you rank in the top three in NL ERA and still sit in last place.

Javier Vazquez, Marlins. Just when it looked like Vazquez had turned a slight corner, he was obliterated by the Brewers. Eight hits and six runs in four innings was the line, with the big blow coming courtesy of Prince Fielder in the third inning. The ERA has now ballooned all the way back up to 6.50 for Vazquez and the Marlins are officially reeling. They've lost five in a row, including getting swept in four games to the Brewers -- who entered the series 9-19 on the road.

The Cubs. Seven straight losses, baserunning blunders, bad errors, balls misplayed in the outfield and a team that is completely falling apart in nearly every way. For Cubs fans, 2008 is sure a distant memory ... and it was only three years ago. The rest of the road trip shows two more at Cincinnati and three at Philly. Oh, and then they return home for a seven-game homestand against the Brewers and Yankees. It's hard to see things going well any time soon.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 5:19 pm
 

On Deck: It's opposite day

OD

By Matt Snyder


We've actually got a decent slate of games for a Monday night, with 22 teams in action. Plus, there's the MLB Draft, so it's actually a nice little Monday in terms of the middle of the MLB season. Let's dive in and take a look at three matchups chock full of contradictions.

BACK TO THE PACK: The Twins have won four in a row for the first time all season. The Indians have lost four in a row for the first time all season. Of course, seeing a Twins' winning streak and Indians' losing streak wouldn't have been so surprising if things went the way they were predicted to have gone this season. Most expected the Tribe to be where the Twins are and the Twins to be toward the top. So are the recent surges simply a correction, or just a fluke? Time will tell, but the Indians still lead the Twins by 12 1/2 games. On the hill Monday evening for the Indians is Josh Tomlin (7-2, 3.27), while Scott Baker (2-4, 3.86) gets the ball for the Twins. Minnesota at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. ET.

CREW TURNING TIDE: The Brewers went down to Florida with a 9-19 road record. The Marlins were 14-12 at home and right at the heels of the Phillies in the NL East. Three games later, the Brewers are in position to complete a four-game sweep in Miami. Late heroics have sparked the Brew Crew -- they've won each of the three games by one run, twice with homers in their final at-bat and once with a two-run seventh. So far in 2011, the two pitchers taking the hill Monday night haven't performed to expectations. Zack Greinke (4-1, 5.29) has been blessed with pretty incredible run support, as the Brewers have scored 29 runs in his past four starts. That accounts for his good record despite only three quality starts in six tries. On the other side, Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.02) has been pretty bad for the Marlins this year in his return to the NL East, but he's got a 2.84 ERA with 15 strikeouts and three walks in his past three starts. Milwaukee at Florida, 7:10 p.m. ET.

BOOM VS. BUST: The White Sox host the Mariners and, again, the fact that the Mariners have a better record at this point in the season would have been quite the surprising prediction back in March. Not only that, but back in March John Danks was expected to be a reliable starter for the White Sox while there were questions about whether Michael Pineda would be held down in the minors for one more year of seasoning. Instead, Danks sits at 0-8 with a 5.25 ERA and appears to have lost all his confidence. Meanwhile, Pineda is one of the top pitchers in the American League and a bona fide Rookie of the Year contender (if not front-runner). Is Monday when their respective fortunes continue or reverse? Seattle at Chicago, 8:10 p.m. ET.

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

Posted on: May 29, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2011 6:20 pm
 

Danks says Bautista 'acting like a clown'

John Danks

By C. Trent Rosecrans

White Sox starter John Danks -- he of the 0-8 record and 5.25 ERA -- called Jose Bautista -- he of the 20 home runs -- a "clown" on Sunday.

Danks, who allowed six runs in the first inning of Sunday's 13-4 loss to the Blue Jays, was upset after Bautista popped up a 3-2 pitch for the second out of the Blue Jays' three-run fourth inning. Bautista tossed his bat, apparently upset with himself, and jogged toward first as the ball was caught.

See the play here -- and listen to the White Sox announcers unsurprisingly take Danks' side.

As Bautista headed back to the dugout, Danks had some words for baseball's best player of the season.

"I just told him to run the bases. He was out there acting like a [expletive] clown. I told him to run the bases," Danks told reporters, including the National Post. "He's a good player. He's had a great year and a half, no doubt, He's one of the best players in the league. He was out there acting like he's Babe Ruth or something. That's horse [stuff], I think"

Danks added, "He isn't that good to be acting like he needs to hit every ball out of the ballpark. That's just the way I feel. I have pride. I really do. I've had a pretty crappy year to this point, but I still have pride and I'm not going to let him sit out there and show me up like that. I just told him to run the bases and quit acting like a clown."

The thing is, nobody would have noticed had Danks not called attention to it. Players get upset with themselves all the time, spiking a bat his hardly something unique to Bautista. At that point, Danks maybe should've been happy he actually retired Bautista -- or any batter since he was trailing 9-2.

Here's Bautista's side:

"I was upset at missing a pitch, at myself," Bautista said. "If he took it the wrong way, I'm sorry, but I'm not here to make him feel good.

"It really doesn't matter to me what he thought. What I'm not going to allow is when I'm running by him, him yelling at me again, so I yelled back at him."

The Post also said White Sox announcer Ken Harrelson suggest on-air that Bautista was corking his bat -- he also admonished Bautista on-air about the incident with Danks. And then the announcer made a trip to the Blue Jays' clubhouse after the game, which writer John Lott described thusly:  "Harrelson made a special trip to the Toronto clubhouse after the game and fawningly introduced himself to Bautista. The two chatted for a few minutes. Apparently, the content of Bautista’s bat did not come up."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: May 24, 2011 11:02 am
 

Pepper: Brian Fuentes criticizes manager Geren



By Evan Brunell

FUENTES BLOWS UP: Brian Fuentes, the Athletics closer, had some strong words for manager Bob Geren after losing his seventh game of the year. He's now blown five of seven tie games and Fuentes isn't happy about the skipper's communication skills, saying Geren has handled his communication with the reliever poorly.

"There’s just no communication," Fuentes says. "Two games, on the road, bring the closer in a tied game, with no previous discussions of doing so. And then, tonight, in the seventh inning, I get up. I haven’t stretched, I haven’t prepared myself. If there was some communication beforehand I would be ready to come into the game  -- which I was, when I came into the game, I was ready. Just lack of communication. I don’t think anybody really knows which direction he’s headed."

Fuentes really shouldn't be complaining about being brought in during a tie game on the road. The general rule of thumb is that you deploy your closer with a tie at home or lead on the road, but that doesn't mean everyone has to follow that tenet -- not to mention that rule of thumb is a pretty weak one. You bring in your best reliever for the situation that demands it most, end of story.

That aside, it appears as if Geren doesn't have the right pulse on Fuentes -- or maybe even the bullpen as a whole. Fuentes says it's difficult to adhere to what appears to be a random schedule, instead of being afforded time to stretch and prepare for coming into the game in the eighth or ninth. Again, we're seeing "established" rules for closers with no reason for being established causing problems. In Fuentes' defense, however, he didn't trailblaze these established rules -- he's just following them and it's easy to see how he thinks they're a valuable part of his preparation. From the manager's perspective, though, Fuentes may have very well been the best choice to come into the seventh inning. The problem is when you don't communicate effectively.

"I thought he misspoke," Fuentes said of when he first learned Geren wanted him in the game in the seventh. "I thought it was some sort of miscommunication, but he said, ‘No, you’re up,’ so I got up and cranked it up. You can’t try to guess along with them. Very unpredictable."

Fuentes adds that this hasn't been a situation that's been slowly getting worse; rather, it's fairly recent and Fuentes first became displeased when Oakland traveled to San Francisco this past weekend. Or maybe it's because Fuentes has a 6.48 ERA in 8 1/3 May innings.

"I think the games in San Francisco were some unorthodox managing," he noted. "I thought it was maybe the National league thing, that maybe that had something to do with it, but [Monday] was pretty unbelievable."

Just don't expect Fuentes to be the one to initiate communication. He's going to leave that up to Geren.

"I can’t predict the future. If he decides to take that step, then there will be communication. If not, I’ll make sure I’m ready from the first." (MLB.com)

LOSING CONFIDENCE: Wins and losses don't matter from an evaluation perspective, that much is clear. But for a pitcher, it can be pretty demoralizing to see an 0-7 mark next to his name, like John Danks is dealing with despite a 4.34 ERA that is plenty good enough to keep him in the rotation, as manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It’s getting harder and harder," Danks said. "That's the blunt truth. But like I said, it doesn’t do me any good to sit and dwell on it or feel sorry for myself. I got to come in ready to work and have myself ready for my next strart. That’s how I’ll go about it." (Chicago Tribune)

RANDY POFFO, BASEBALL PLAYER: Before "Macho Man" Randy Savage became a sensation in the wrestling world, he was an aspiring baseball player with a tremendous work ethic who just didn't have the talent to go beyond Class A. But that didn't stop Savage, whose real name was Randy Poffo, from trying. (Sports Illustrated)

SAVAGE HOMER: When Brewers GM Doug Melvin heard that Savage had died, it took him a while to figure out that Savage was the same Poffo who played in the minor leagues. "I think he hit a homer off me," Melvin said, hearkening back to 1972 when the two would have been on opposing rookie-ball teams. Unfortunately, Melvin was unable to verify this, as he could not find boxscores. (MLB.com)

MOVING ON: It's hard to, but Francisco Rodriguez is trying to move on from the much-publicized altercation with his ex-girlfriend's father last season. Rodriguez is off to a fantastic start as closer and appears to have made major strides mentally. (New York Daily News)

MANAGING FOR THE FANS: In case it's not clear for you just yet, Jim Leyland manages for the fans, not with fans. Leyland didn't take too kindly to being second-guessed for taking Rick Porcello out of a game in which he was one-hitting the Pirates after eight innings with 84 pitches. Closer Jose Valverde finished off the win, and Leyland went on a rant Monday about being second-guessed. (Detroit Free-Press)

START 'ER UP: The Cardinals will put Mitchell Boggs into the rotation at Triple-A after the reliever was demoted in a bit of a surprising move on Monday. The transition to the rotation isn't permanent, but it will afford St. Louis some security in rotation depth as well as allow Boggs to fine-tune his secondary offerings. (FoxSportsMidwest.com)

GOING OPPOSITE: David Ortiz seems to be taking a page out of Adrian Gonzalez's book, as Big Papi is going to the opposite field more than he ever has before, banging balls off the Green Monster. Of Ortiz's 27 hits at home so far, 14 have gone the opposite way. Compare that to a full-season total of 16 in 2008. (WEEI)

MOVE THE WALLS: Padres manager Bud Black might be getting sick of the decrepit Padres offense. Black has avoided all comment about possibly moving the walls of Petco Park in, but admitted Monday he thought there was "room for discussion." (MLB.com)

GLOVE MAN: What can't Eric Hosmer do? All the focus has been on Hosmer's offense, but he sports a pretty good glove too. Alcides Escobar thinks so, smiling enthusiastically when asked about Hosmer's defense. (Kansas City Star)

SLOW AND STEADY: Adam Lind still hasn't played in a game since May 7 thanks to a sore back, but that could finally be coming Wednesday. Once Lind returns from his minor-league rehab assignment, he'll return to first base but will see starts at DH mixed in to ease him back physically. (MLB.com)

DAT DUDE: Brandon Phillips' Twitter account is among the best in sports and has turned him into a marketing machine who fans adore. That's quite a ways from the kind of person he was in Cleveland. This is a nice profile of Phillips and how Twitter has impacted him. (MLB.com)

SELLING OUT: The Double-A Dayton Dragons are at 799 consecutive sellouts and if all goes according to plan, July 9 is when the Dragons will take out the Portland Trail Blazers for most consecutive sellouts in sports history. However, 40-60 tickets a game for the 7,230-seat stadium remain, although the team does not appear concerned about that posing an issue. (Dayton Daily News)

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

Posted on: May 11, 2011 10:01 am
 

Pepper: Lackey struggling for Red Sox



By Matt Snyder


'OUT OF REASONS': John Danks is 0-6 this season and he can't figure it out.

"I’m out of reasons. I don’t know. I’ve done the same thing I’ve done my whole career. I feel good. It’s just not working out. I don’t have any other way of putting it. But I’m back at it for my next start, whenever it is (May 17 against Texas). We’ll go from there.” (Chicago Tribune)

Could I make a suggestion? How about pitchers -- and the fans/media still clinging to the same notion -- quit acting like wins and losses are the defining individual pitching stat. Look at Danks' individual game logs. On opening day, he gave up two runs in six innings and lost. On April 13 he threw eight innings and allowed just one run and took a no-decision (there are guys with three or four wins who haven't had an outing this good). On April 19, he threw seven innings and gave up two runs, taking the loss. May 4, Danks worked eight innings and gave up three runs, taking the loss. Five of his eight starts have been quality starts. With better run support or bullpen help, he could easily be something like 4-3. Now, Tuesday night he was terrible, but that alone should be the discussion following the game, not how he's 0-6. That record alone suggests he's been terrible all season, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

FREE SPEECH? Pirates prospect Tony Sanchez is in trouble over a tweet he sent Monday night, where he complained about the umpiring -- even suggesting they decided "to blow a game." Obviously, Eastern League officials weren't too happy about the suggestion the umpires purposely changed an outcome. Sanchez ended up apologizing. (Hardball Talk) Much time has been spent discussing how athletes -- and, really, anyone -- should be careful when going to Twitter while emotional about anything. You're sending your thoughts to everyone who wants to see. That's not always a great idea. But what bothers me more than anything in these discussions is how few peolpe actually understand what "freedom of speech" means. The First Amendment begins, "Congress shall make no law." So you can't be punished by the legal system for speech. You most certainly can get fined, suspended or fired in any profession for something you say.

SPEAKING OF SOCIAL MEDIA: Jeff Sullivan over at SB Nation takes a look at the presence all major-league teams have on Facebook and Twitter. All use both outlets, but the numbers of fans vary and could correlate to how well the social media department of each franchise is run.

HUNTER UPDATE: Monday we passed along the news that Tommy Hunter of the Rangers had re-injured his groin. The good news now is that the strain is less severe and he'll only be set back about two to three weeks in his rehab. "I was more upset [Monday]," Hunter said. "It might just be scar tissue. It was just a little tweak. It's just a little setback." (Star-Telegram.com)

HUGHES UPDATE: Injured Yankees' starting pitcher Phil Hughes is expected to start a throwing program Thursday and could return in six to eight weeks. (MLB.com via Twitter) It will be interesting to track his progress, namely the great velocity question.

AN INNOCENT EMBRACE: If Albert Pujols does leave the Cardinals at the end of the year as a free agent, one major player for his services moving forward will most certainly be the Cubs. They lack power, will have an opening at first base and have about $50 million coming off the payroll before 2011. So, of course, when Cubs general manager and Pujols hugged before the Cubs-Cardinals game Tuesday night (look right for the evidence), it set off a media/social media firestorm. See, look, he's recruiting him already! Hendry, of course, said there was nothing to it.

"I can't win. I like Albert. We've always gotten along. He's a great, great player. I admire the heck out of him. He plays the game the right way every day," Hendry said, also noting he hugged former Cub Ryan Theriot, too. (CSN Chicago)

Pujols went out and had a 4-5 day as the Cardinals won.

BEST STUFF: What pitcher in baseball has the best pure stuff? Not who is the best or who has the best control, but the best arsenal of pitches that can baffle hitters. Fangraphs.com uses the criteria of "velocity, movement, intent and simply how hard it is for opposing hitters (of all types) to produce against what they're thrown" to determine Felix Hernandez has the best stuff. A healthy Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum and Justin Verlander round out the top five.

SLOW STARTER: Mat Latos was lights-out for a stretch last season. In fact, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. From May 7-Sept. 7, Latos was 13-2 with a 1.58 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 153 strikeouts in 136 1/3 innings. He did finish quite poorly and has started this season off poorly as well, so maybe that's why it's easy to forget last season he started out pretty poorly as well, as he took a 6.20 ERA into May. SignonSanDiego.com points out it's possible Latos is simply a slow starter and wore down late last season.

BEHIND THE DISH DEFENSE: There are lots of defensive metrics out there for defense in the field, such as range factor and zone rating. It's a bit tougher to judge catchers with stats, though, considering range doesn't factor in. They're parked behind the plate. Of course many have come up with methods over the years, and the thoughtful boys over at Beyond the Box Score have come up with their own methodology based upon tweaking parts of other metrics. So, in terms of saving runs for his team, the best defensive catcher so far in 2011 has been ... Matt Wieters. Of the 75 they ranked, Josh Thole was last. Interestingly, Yadier Molina -- who is hyped by many as a great defensive catcher -- checks in at No. 62, just ahead of Jake Fox and Ryan Doumit while trailing Mike Napoli. Small sample size? Maybe.

THE LEMONADE GUY: I had no idea who Kenny Geidel was before he passed away earlier this week, but apparently he was known to Pirates' fans as simply "the lemonade guy" and was pretty beloved. Big League Stew put together a tribute to the popular vendor.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 3, 2011 11:56 am
Edited on: April 3, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Pepper: The amazing Ichiro

Ichiro Suzuki

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edgar Martinez isn't in the Hall of Fame, but he has a heck of a case.

Martinez is one of eight players -- along with Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Stan Musical, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Manny Ramirez and Todd Helton -- to have 300 home runs, 500 doubles, a career .300 batting average, a career on-base percentage better than .400 and a career slugging higher than .500.

 The former Mariners designated hitter finished his career with a career 147 OPS+, while hitting .312 in 18 seasons. Martinez made seven All-Star teams and won five Silver Sluggers as a designated hitter.  In 2004, Major League Baseball renamed its Outstanding Designated Hitter Award for Martinez.

In short, Martinez was a phenomenal hitter.

And with 2,247 hits, Martinez had led all Mariners in career hits until Saturday night when Ichiro Suzuki broke his mark with two hits in the Mariners' 5-2 victory over the A's.

It took Martinez -- as we noted, one of the best hitters of his generation -- 18 seasons to amass 2,247. Ichiro passed it in the second game of his 11th season. 

Sometimes I think it's easy to forget just how good Suzuki is. Maybe because he plays in the late games and the Mariners haven't been good lately, but Suzuki's career is one for the ages.

In each of his first 10 seasons, Suzuki has had at least 200 hits. He's already the Mariners' career leader in stolen bases (386), triples (71) and batting average (.331) and needs 425 at-bats to pass Martinez in that category.

If you add the 1,278 hits Suzuki had in his time in Japan, he has 3,526 career hits and could finish his professional career with more hits than Pete Rose's 4,256 in the big leagues. While not quite the same and not the MLB record, it'd still be an impressive feat, especially with shorter seasons in Japan.

Martinez passed Ken Griffey Jr. as the team's all-time hits leader on April 3, 2001, just days into Suzuki's tenure with the Mariners. The two played together for several years, and Suzuki said Saturday he was humbled by passing Martinez.

"Today I broke his record. When you look at his numbers, that's a fact," Ichiro said through interpreter Antony Suzuki (via MLB.com). "But he is a hero back in Seattle. He is my hero as well. When you look at his existence, he's a lot bigger than I am, being a great human being as well. So that's how I look at it.

"I played with Edgar for years. That's something that is important to me. That's precious. That's a treasure to me. That's what I honor as well."

Royals' FUTURE FLUSH -- After the Royals beat the Angels on Saturday, it was time for the real show -- Kansas City's Double-A and Triple-A teams faced off at Kauffman Stadium to a healthy crowd ready to see baseball's most hyped prospects in person. About half the crowd of 18,022 for the Royals-Angels game stayed to watch the likes of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. [Kansas City Star]

NO PLATOON FOR PANDA -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy has assured Pablo Sandoval that he will not be part of a platoon at third base this season. Sandoval sat against lefty Ted Lilly on Saturday, but that was a matchup thing, Bochy told him. [San Jose Mercury News]

WAITING FOR HOLLIDAY -- The Cardinals aren't going to put outfielder Matt Holliday on the disabled list right away, hoping to avoid a trip altogether. Holliday had an appendectomy on Friday and was discharged from the hospital on Saturday. The Cardinals will wait a couple of days to see whether Holliday will be able to come back in time to avoid a DL trip. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

DEBUT -- Zach Britton may have been the Orioles' best starter this spring, but when time came for the final cuts, he still found himself headed to Triple-A Norfolk -- until the Orioles' best rookie of 2010, Brian Matusz, was placed on the DL with a left intercostal muscle strain. Britton, who had a 1.35 ERA in spring, will start today against the Rays. [MLB.com]

FAMILIAR FACE -- Roy Oswalt will make his first career start against Houston today. [MLB.com]

MAGGLIO OUT -- Magglio Ordonez isn't playing in today's game against the Yankees because of a sore right ankle. Ordonez was lifted for a defensive replacement in the sixth inning of Saturday's loss. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said it was mostly a precautionary move. [MLB.com]

DANKS OK -- John Danks had some dental work on Saturday, but won't miss his start today against the Indians. [MLB.com]

LONG NAME, LONG LAYOFF -- Nationals lefty Tom Gorzelanny will have 15 days between his final spring training start and his first regular-season start on April 9, but he is unconcerned. [Washington Post]

Padres LOVE THE BUNT -- The Padres new No. 3 hitter, Orlando Hudson, laid down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning of Saturday's game against the Cardinals. The Padres have had their No. 3 hitter sacrifice 20 times in the last 20 years. [Ducksnorts]

AARDSMA CLOSER -- The Mariners may get closer David Aardsma back sooner rather than later, manager Eric Wedge told reporters. [Seattle Times]

CLOSE SHAVE -- Rays starter Wade Davis will shave his head -- well, at least the top of it, his beard is staying -- following today's game. The shave is for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's Cut for a Cure and is hoping to raise $10,000. As of Saturday, he'd raised $8,000 with his vow to go bald. [Tampa Tribune]

30-DOWN -- How Brian Wilson got into the New York Times crossword puzzle. [New York Times]

DIFFERENT WAY TO THE BIGS -- Former 16th-round draft pick Griffin Benedict has given up his dream of playing in the big leagues, instead accepting the Padres' offer of joining the team as its second bullpen catcher. Benedict is the son of former big-league catcher Bruce Benedict. He hit .229 at low Class A Fort Wayne last season. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

PATCH FEVER -- There's a total of eight memorial patches on MLB uniforms this summer. The Reds, Tigers, Pirates, Indians, Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs and Mariners are all sporting patches honoring people who have passed in the last year. While the Indians have gotten rave reviews of their Bob Feller patch (and for good reason), I'm a really big fan of the Pirates' Chuck Tanner patch as well. [Uniwatch Blog]

AT-BAT MUSIC -- Reds official blogger Jamie Ramsey has a list of all the at-bat music for the Reds this season. [Better Off Red]

WHITE TELLS ALL -- The New York Times has great things to say about Bill White's new book, Upity, about his time in baseball, both as a player and a league official.

BOW TIE -- Nice story from FOXSports.com reporter Ken Rosenthal on why he'll wear a bow tie on all telecasts this season. I thought it looked great, and glad to see the direction he's taken it. Good for Ken and Dhani Jones. [FOXSports.com]

FREE GAMES -- If you have the MLB At-Bat for the iPhone, iPad or Android devices, you'll get MLB.tv for free during April. If you're reading this and have an iPhone, iPad or Android device, you need to spend the $15 for the At-Bat app and this just makes it an even better deal. (You do have to buy separate apps for each device, but it's still totally worth it.) [The Unofficial Apple Weblog]

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

 

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