Tag:Marlon Byrd
Posted on: February 25, 2011 8:46 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:37 am
 

Pepper: Spring is time for rebirth



RESURRECTIONS:
Carlos Beltran is making some progress on his rehab program, as he ran the bases Wednesday. "That's a huge sign, because he told me when he starts running the bases he'll be close to playing. So that was a big sign for me," manager Terry Collins said (ESPN New York ). The five-time All-Star hasn’t played a full season since 2008, but at age 33, it’s not out of the question to return to form for at least a year or two. He played last September, but was shut down the last week when his bothersome knee flared up.

Disclaimer alert: he hasn't pitched in a game since June 13, 2009, he's 38 years old and it's awfully early in camp. Still, Jason Isringhausen is impressing Mets brass thus far. Armed with a new changeup, Izzy has been good enough to draw the word "outstanding," from Collins. (New York Times )

Elsewhere, Brandon Webb is still on a long road back himself. He threw "60 to 65 pitches off flat ground" Thursday. He'll throw again Friday and if there are no setbacks, the Rangers will put him on the mound either Sunday or Monday (ESPN Dallas ). The right-hander, who finished in the top two of Cy Young voting three consecutive seasons before falling injured, hasn't thrown a pitch in the majors since April 6, 2009. Webb, 31, is a complete wild card this season for the defending AL champs.

And though it isn't near as long a road back as Webb, Jake Peavy of the White Sox is feeling very optimistic, though he's careful not to get too far ahead of himself. "I'm far ahead of where I thought I would be at this point," Peavy told MLB.com . "But I can't push it and I've got to be cautious." In fact, the White Sox’s potential ace might be on track to start April 6, if everything goes as well as it possibly could. The 29 year old went 7-6 with a 4.63 ERA in 17 starts in 2010, last pitching July 6. He underwent season-ending surgery to repair a detached muscle in his pitching arm.

ABDOMINAL ANNOYANCE: Franklin Gutierrez was forced to fly back to Seattle to visit with some doctors about an ongoing stomach issue Thursday. The center fielder has suffered severe stomach pains on occasion since late last season, to the point that he couldn't eat well and his play was affected. It could help explain some of his offensive woes, as Gutierrez went .212/.253/.304 in his last 75 games at the plate. He did tell reporters last week his issue was gone, but it has apparently resurfaced and he'll likely need to get on some sort of medication to alleviate the pains. (Seattle Times )

SLIM CC: After dropping 25 pounds this offseason, CC Sabathia says he can already tell the difference when it comes to his stamina. "In years past, I would get a little gassed in my bullpens once I got 30, 40 pitches in, but I felt pretty good," he told the New York Times . "I was able to keep my mechanics together and work on stuff that I need to work on." If this carries over the regular season, watch out. The big fella has averaged 240 innings a season since 2007, averaging just a tick above seven innings per start. And he has more stamina?

On a lighter note, he noted the toughest tests for him during the season are road trips to Kansas City (BBQ) and Chicago (deep-dish pizza). Amen, CC.

BREWER BARGAIN: As Ryan Braun watches peers cash in with what some consider ludicrous contracts, one might wonder if he feels like his eight-year, $45 million contract -- of which he has five years remaining -- is short-changing him. The reality is that with the numbers Braun puts up, factoring in his age (27) and durability (at least 151 games in each of his three full seasons), the contract is an absolute steal for Milwaukee. To Braun's credit, he's not griping. He's only thinking about the playoffs, he says. As for the money thing, he told MLB.com: "I get it, but it's a non-issue. I pay attention to what goes on around the game, obviously, but I'm happy for all of those guys. I agreed to a deal three years ago that goes five [more] years, and I'm excited and honored to be here." (MLB.com )

IRON MAN? The ever-polarizing A.J. Pierzynski wants to catch every game this season. Yes, all 162. There's no need to get into the realism of that one, what with his career high in games being 140, his offensive skills deteriorating and his age hitting 34. Plus, there's nothing wrong with wanting to play every game. More guys should want that. The juice in this article is the always-hilarious Ozzie Guillen, who once said he hates his catcher only a little less than the competition. This time around, he again said Pierzynski annoys him and that "sometimes I wish he wouldn’t even come to the ballpark." It should be noted, Guillen was laughing, thus, saying everything tongue-in-cheek. (MLB.com )

UNDER BYRD'S WING:
It's always sad when veteran players have an ego too big to take a younger player under their wing. A football example comes to mind: you know, something with a guy wearing number four and a team that just won the Super Bowl. Anyway, I digress. We're talking about baseball. And Marlon Byrd of the Cubs has been working with top Cubs prospect Brett Jackson this spring. They're both center fielders, and Byrd's even embracing the inevitable for the sake of the franchise. "Last year, he really didn't know me," Byrd told MLB.com . "Now I say things and he understands that it's to help him. I even have to sit him down and say, 'I've got to help you to get ready because if you're going to move me to right field, you have to be ready. If not, I'm capable of playing at 34, 35 years old.' He got a kick out of that. He laughed."

RESTORING POWER IN THE BAY: ESPN’s SweetSpot blog takes a look at Jason Bay, specifically his power. Or, if we’re talking about 2010, a lack thereof. Four times in Bay’s career he went yard at least 30 times in a season. After signing a big contract with the Mets, he did so just six times in 401 plate appearances in 2010. There were health problems and an adjustment to a new, cavernous park, but the output was still horrifying, as Bay slugged just .402 (his career slugging percentage is .508). Bay said he believes 30 home runs this season is "reasonable," and points to David Wright -- whose home run total jumped from 10 to 29 in his second season with Citi Field as a home.

BOSTON RED STALKS:
Remember how Carl Crawford was creeped out about the Red Sox virtually tailing him over the winter before inking him to a colossal contract? Johnny Damon, part of the group replacing Crawford in Tampa Bay and former Red Sox outfielder, isn't surprised. He even offered up an example of when it had happened in the past. "I know Boston had followed guys before like Mo Vaughn especially; they wanted to see what he was doing all the time. The Boston fans, they follow you around too to see what you’re doing, it seems like they’re everywhere. But when a team's investing $142 million they probably have a right to know every little bit of your history," he told the St. Petersburgh Times . Interesting. Damon wasn’t anywhere close to Boston when Vaughn departed via free agency, but he could very well be correct. And if he is, the Red Sox did their homework well. Check out Vaughn’s stats by year -- right when he departed Boston, his regression began.

-- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: February 17, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: February 17, 2011 2:06 pm
 

Morning Pepper: Al-booo-ert?

Albert Pujols

There's a lot left to be said about the Albert Pujols negotiations, but the question I've had is what exactly is the fan reaction going to be to him this season? Could the great Pujols actually be booed at home?

Now, if it were any other city other than St. Louis, I don't think I'd wonder this -- I'd expect this. However, St. Louis is America's great baseball city. Not only does the town pride itself on its baseball knowledge, but also the way it treats the Cardinals as a whole and as individuals. Go to Busch Stadium and you'll observe a baseball crowd that loves baseball. And Albert was their king.

Now, though, could it get nasty that he's had a chance to prove his undying love and devotion and decided instead to possibly shop around?

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked fans if Pujols would still be a Cardinal in 2012 , AS of 8:30 a.m., 35 percent said he would be, 32 percent said no, and 33 percent answered "I know [sic] longer care]." To no longer care about Albert Pujols in Cardinal red in St. Louis is akin to being an atheist at Vatican City.

Here are some of the comments from the newspaper's website:
Pujols comments


There are also less dignified responses (from a comment section of a website? I know, shocking) calling Pujols out because of his background and also his outspoken Christianity, as well as those making the apple-oranges comments about our current economic state and a baseball player's salary (if you haven't noticed, they're not connected.) In fairness, there were also messages in support of Pujols and the Cardinals and some reasoned debate, but in a crowd of 43,975, that's not always who is heard.

So, when opening day rolls around in St. Louis on March 31 against the Padres and the third Cardinal batter comes to the plate, what will the reaction be? Could a St. Louis icon be booed in St. Louis? We'll see (or hear).

MUST READ: Former Phillies manager Dallas Green talked to reporters yesterday about the loss of his granddaughter, Christina Taylor Green. Here's the report from the Seattle Times ' Larry Stone .

If this didn't get you, you have no heart -- "John called her princess, and I did, too. She was our angel."

NOW ABOUT THOSE OTHER FOUR SPOTS: Wednesday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly named Clayton Kershaw his opening-day starter. Vicente Padilla started Los Angels' opener last season. Kershaw will face Tim Lincecum in the opener -- not a bad matchup. (Los Angeles Times )

YEAH, HOW COULD THAT GO WRONG?: Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd is standing by his decision to work with BALCO found Victor Conte.

"Instead of me being dumb and just keep trying different things, I went to reach out to somebody so I didn't test positive," Byrd told reporters, including the Chicago Sun-Times .

Yeah. Good idea.

NO, A REALLY GOOD IDEA: If you have an iPad, check out this awesome-looking iPad app called Pennant . Seriously, while watching the video, I grabbed my iPad and plunked down my $4.99. If you're the type who can get lost in retrosheet.org, this looks great.

TRIBUTE TO TANNER: The Pirates will find ways to honor former manager Chuck Tanner, but they haven't exactly figured it out yet, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review . The team will honor him on opening day and the team is likely to wear a patch. The Reds and Tigers will wear a patch honoring former manager Sparky Anderson this season.

UNCLE ORLANDO: Orlando Cabrera, one of the most entertaining interviews in baseball, officially joined the Indians on Wednesday. The long-time shortstop looks to be the everyday second baseman, joining with "nephew" Asdrubal Cabrera in Cleveland. (MLB.com )

THE MORE YOU KNOW: Baseball America 's always-entertaining minor league transactions .

PLEASE NO: One of my favorite people I've ever met in baseball was the late Ernie Harwell. I was lucky enough to interview him once and will always treasure that.

However, I don't think it's an easy way to make a buck -- Mitch Albom, sportswriter-turned-sap producer, is going forward with a play based on Harwell's life . I'll keep my own memories of Harwell, thanks.

SORIANO'S TRAINING: The Onion on Alfonso Soriano:

Onion SportsDome


EVEN IF ALBERT LEAVES: Buck up St. Louis, you'll always have beer .

And if that doesn't help, how about Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman ? I'd lie just to get lassoed for the truth.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 29, 2010 10:18 am
 

Cubs players want Quade back

Mike Quade Cubs starter Ryan Dempster has thrown his support behind interim manager Mike Quade to get the full-time gig.

"He's done a great job and I hope that he's here longer than just this year," Dempster told the Chicago Tribune 's Paul Sullivan . "I hope he's managing for us next year because he deserves it. He's done everything they've asked, and everyone in here really likes him."

The Cubs are 21-11 under Quade and 14-3 on the raod.

"The record speaks for itself," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "The way we're playing, the way we're executing, just all-around."

Byrd said he wanted Quade back, but wasn't going to lobby for him.

"That's not my job at all," Byrd said. "[Jim] Hendry has a better feel than I do. He knows what he wants to do."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 4:45 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2010 4:46 pm
 

Cubs' Byrd fouls ball off face

One of the great things about baseball is how often, no matter how many games you've seen, things happen that you've never seen before.

The Cubs' Marlon Byrd left Chicago's game against St. Louis on Friday after fouling a ball off his own face in the third inning. He fouled the ball into the ground and it bounced up and struck him on the right cheekbone. Just to add insult to injury, he finished the at-bat and struck out.

The Cubs said Byrd suffered a contusion (bruise) and that it's not thought to be serious.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 21, 2010 12:11 am
 

Cubs hope to be the next Reds

Marlon Byrd A post-Lou Piniella surge in Chicago has Cubs fans thinking 2011 could be a good year.

With a 17-7 mark under interim manager Mike Quade, the Cubs and their bevy of young players have impressed and will end the season on a good note. They recently completed the best road trip of nine or more games in the team's history by going 8-1. The starting pitching sparked during the road trip, posting a 1.46 ERA.

"I've never been a guy that really read into how teams play in September, because of all the call-ups," center fielder Marlon Byrd told the Chicago Tribune . "But the way we're playing against teams contending for the playoffs is very impressive."

There won't be much turnover as the Cubs plan to go young (read: major-league minimum salaries for rookies or second-year players), but Byrd is non-plussed as he feels the team has the talent to win -- it just didn't happen. If he has his way, however, the Cubs will emulate a division rival on the road back to contention.

"I know we have the players that can come in next year and win. We had them this year and it just didn't click. I'm not sure why, but you have seasons like that," Byrd said. "The rookies, it'll be their second year, and you're going to find out how much they've learned by the adjustments the league makes to them. And if they can readjust, and our veterans have to come in, be consistent and lead. If we do that, and I'm assuming we will, we can be like the Cincinnati Reds of this year."

What are the "Reds of this year?"

Well, the fact they lead the NL Central by seven games pretty clearly shows the team has been successful. But more notable is where the team came from -- and that's a 78-84 record to finish off 2009. The Cubs, by contrast project to finish with a 74-88 mark. In addition, Cincy ripped off its own 27-13 mark to end the year.

There's still plenty of difference between the two teams, however. The Reds had an up-and-coming young team with veterans who still make a difference. The Cubs, on the other hand, have only begun their youth movement and have a vast assortment of veterans (Byrd not included) having disappointing seasons. It make take one more year before the Cubs can emulate the Reds as postseason contenders.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs, Marlon Byrd
 
Posted on: July 16, 2010 4:20 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2010 7:43 pm
 

Votto happy to be enemy of Cubs fans


Joey Votto CINCINNATI -- Joey Votto said he was joking when he told a Chicago reporter he didn't like the Cubs following the All-Star Game, but he doesn't mind being the target of Cubs fans boos.

"I think it's kind of fun to play the heel," Votto said.

Following Tuesday night's All-Star Game, Votto was quoted by ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine as saying, "I don't like the Cubs. And I'm not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back."

Friday, Votto noted he was laughing when he said that and it may not have come over quite right when seen in black and white.

"The shame of it is Marlon and I got along the best on the bench and in the outfield and stuff, I talked to him and I was one of the first people to congratulate him in Chicago [when the All-Star teams were named]," Votto said Friday. "It was definitely taken out of context. I was laughing when I said it. I have the utmost respect for the Cubs in general -- not necessarily for the fans, but …"

Votto laughed after he said that, but the blog Church of Baseball , run by a Reds fan, dug up this video earlier this week in the wake of the Votto-Cubs flap.



The video shows Votto telling a young Cubs fan "I don't sign for Cubs fans."

Votto didn't deny that, either.

"I don't," Votto said, with a laugh. "I try not to. They're in our same division and we play good baseball against them. I think it's kind of fun to play the heel. Not everything has to be friendly, we take it seriously every time we go there. It's not just a game to us, it's our job."

Votto traces his Cub-dislike to 2007, when he was called up in September and watched the Cubs celebrate a division title at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

"I still remember that now, I remember them looking at the scoreboard and Cubs fans cheering and everyone in the stands wearing blue," Votto said. "I still remember that and it meant a lot to me. I guess I should probably let it go, but I'm not an easy forgiver."

The Cubs' Byrd didn't seem too worked up about the "controversy" telling MLB.com's Carrie Muskat that he understood Votto's sentiment.

"That's the competitiveness of Joey Votto," Byrd said. "He's an MVP candidate right now, he's going to say what he believes. But at the same time, I don't think any Cub is going to be patting anyone on the Cincinnati Reds on the back during the season. They're the ones in first place and we're chasing them. We're going to have to come after them hard."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he understood Votto's statement as well.

"I don't think he likes the Cardinals either," Piniella told Muskat. "I think it's more of an [intradivisional] thing."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


Posted on: July 3, 2010 9:59 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:16 pm
 

Scioscia against All-Stars for every team


Jose Rosado Because I grew up a Royals fan everywhere but Missouri, I've always been a fan of the rule requiring each team to have at least one representative for the All-Star Game.

Whether I lived in Cuba, Virginia, Texas, Japan or Georgia -- I was always guaranteed to see someone in a Royals uniform (usually George Brett) on TV every year. Not that the Royals of my youth needed the courtesy All-Star, they'd usually earned more than one berth in the game, but still, I knew there'd always be at least one. Sometimes that was the only time all year I'd be able to see a Royal on TV.

Now, though, I could -- if I wanted to punish myself -- watch just about every pitch of the Royals' awful season. With my MLB.tv subscription, my PS3, iPad and iPhone, I can watch those beautiful powder blue tops no matter where I go. That technology -- not to mention the advent of MLB Network, cable and satellite -- may have made the reason for the rule to have every team represented obsolete.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he thinks the rule should no longer apply.

"I'm all in favor of having guidelines where you try and represent every team," Scioscia told reporters, including the Orange County Register . "To have a hard-line rule, I think there are exceptions where a team doesn't have anyone All-Star worthy."

Scioscia was the manager of the All-Star team in 2003, when Lance Carter of the Ryas made the team with a 4.05 ERA and six blown saves.

"It's really a misnomer to say the manager picks the All-Star team. It doesn't happen," Scioscia said. "That team, with the guidelines in place, is virtually picked before it ever gets to the [manager]."

The rule helps explain why Jose Rosado's obituary will list him as a two-time All-Star and Mark Redman has an appearance on his resume.

There are currently 13 teams with losing records, some have obvious choices (like, say, the Cubs' Marlon Byrd or the Indians' Shin-Soo Choo), while it's a little tougher to choose a worthy All-Star from a team like the 24-55 Orioles (Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott?) or the 32-49 Astros (Dan Haren and his 4.56 ERA?)

Not all bad teams are created equally. The 33-46 Mariners have three worthy All-Stars in Ichiro Suzuki (who will no doubt be voted into the starting lineup by fans), Cliff Lee (if he's still a Mariner in a week) and Felix Hernandez. Even the Royals, at 35-45, wouldn't be embarrassed by David DeJesus, Joakim Soria or even Zack Greinke, who is having a down year.

If the game is truly for the fans, why not let it represent all the fans, and not just the Yankees and Red Sox? Baseball's All-Star Game is a celebration of the game with its best players and some of its nearly-best player or best players on one team. In the end, after injuries and the new rule against pitchers who pitch on Sunday throwing again in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, is it really that terrible to have the 75th best player in the game "snubbed" for the 131st?

In the end, I think of the 11-year old me waiting for Kevin Seitzer to get in the game, even if that visual is as anachronistic as my father listening to the Kansas City A's on the radio. Maybe out there somewhere, there's a kid excited about watch Andrew McCutchen get in the game, even if it's not "fair".

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 3, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2010 7:47 pm
 

Cubs silence their own bats


Alfonso Soriano Practice makes perfect? Maybe not. Maybe practice makes Cubs. And that's not good.

Chicago manager Lou Piniella told the Chicago Tribune 's Dave van Dyck that "sometimes less is more" before he cancelled batting practice and closed the Cubs' outfield hitting area before Saturday's game with the Reds.

The Cubs have scored three or fewer runs in 11 of their last 13 games, including five shutouts.

It doesn't help that the team is facing one of the National League's hottest pitchers, Johnny Cueto on Saturday, either. Cueto is 8-2 with a 3.74 ERA and entered the game having given up just 11 hits and one earned run in his last three starts, good for a 1-1 record and a 0.71 ERA.

UPDATE: Well, no real shocker here, but it looks like Piniella knows more about his team -- and baseball -- than I do. The Cubs have hits in each of the first five innings against Cueto, including leadoff hits in four of those innings. As of the bottom of the fifth, though, that hasn't led to any runs. The Cubs now have seven hits, including a leadoff double by Marlon Byrd in the fifth, while Randy Wells has held the NL's leading offense hitless through five.

UPDATE 2: The Cubs banged out 10 hits on Saturday in their 3-1 victory over the Reds, so Piniella's plan worked, although not perfectly. Sure, it's picking nits when you win, but Chicago left 17 runners on base. The National League record for most men left on base in a nine-inning game is 18, done most recently by Atlanta on June 23, 1986. The Yankees left 20 on base on September 21, 1956.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.





 
 
 
 
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