Tag:Matt Cain
Posted on: May 12, 2011 10:20 am
 

Pepper: Peavy's encouraging return, young guns



By Matt Snyder


BASEBALL TODAY: See the video above for my takes on Justin Masterson, Zach Britton, Daniel Hudson, the Angels without Kendrys Morales and Jake Peavy's encouraging first start of 2011.

OVERTHINK MUCH? Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had a theory as to why Derek Jeter was struggling earlier in the season. It's that Jeter was pressing due to feeling the pressure of the upcoming 3,000-hit milestone. "I'm not concerned about Derek," Steinbrenner told the New York Post. "Milestones can be difficult. They can be a big weight on a guy." Oh, yeah, and then this: "He's obviously broken through that and is hitting well now." As if right on cue, Jeter went out and had an 0-6 day Wednesday night. So is he feeling the pressure again? Let's all take a deep breath and realize guys are going to have ups and downs over the course of 162 games. You too, Hal.

FIRST OF MANY: Royals prospect-turned-first baseman Eric Hosmer went yard in Yankee Stadium Wednesday night for the first home run of his very young career. To top things off, he came through with the go-ahead RBI on a sacrifice fly in extra innings. He's sure to see some hills and valleys throughout his rookie season, but thus far he's been really solid. Cling to that .250 batting average if you must, as Hosmer's sporting a .409 on-base percentage and a .909 OPS, which is outstanding.

BACK ON TRACK: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro started the season absolutely on fire, but then drastically cooled. In fact, he recently had a 12-game stretch where he hit .137 with an abysmal .311 OPS. The Cubs' rivals came to town, Mike Quade dropped Castro in the order and things seem to be back where Starlin likes them. In the past two games, he's 6-8 with a triple, four RBI, three runs and a walk.

MORE HUG-GATE: Wednesday in Pepper we discussed the completely meaningless yet somehow blown out of proportion hug between Albert Pujols and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. Hendry laughed about the talk that fateful embrace sparked. Pujols offered up his thoughts on the situation Wednesday afternoon. "I figured that would happen, that they would play with it," Pujols said. "At the end, it's not what you do on the field. It's what kind of person you are off the field. That's the kind of relationship you want to build with somebody you respect. He's on the other side. I'm on our side. I just think it's kind of ridiculous. Three writers came and talked to me about that and the contract. "Are you serious? C'mon." (StLtoday.com) Meanwhile, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times says Cubs fans should forget about Pujols for two reasons: 1. He's not signing with the Cubs; 2. They'll be better off in the long-haul for it.

TORRE SETTLING IN: Joe Torre is ready to attend the first owner's meetings in his new role of executive vice president of baseball operations. The first meeting's agenda doesn't appear to have any impact in terms of on-field play, but there is one interesting nugget in this article: Torre's reason to retire from managing was that he couldn't take losing anymore. "It wasn't balanced out by the winning anymore. I hated it," Torre said. "I was more ready not to do what I've been doing for years. When the Commissioner made this job offer to me, I asked him a few times if he thought I could do it. It was the insecurity of not knowing what the job entailed, even though it's baseball-related. But it has been fun and very energizing for me." Good for him. Honestly, he's 70, who needs that kind of day-in, day-out stress at that age anyway? (MLB.com)

I MIGHT BE A SADIST, BUT ... : Grant Brisbee over at SB Nation asked how much money it would take to step into the batter's box and face Aroldis Chapman right now -- keeping in mind that he can hit 105 on the radar gun and has walked nine of the last 14 batters he's faced. The stipulation is that you could wear a helmet but no "Barry Bonds armor." Honestly, I'd give it a go for free just to see what it looked like from there. My biggest issue isn't so much the fear of getting drilled, but the fact that he's left-handed (I'm a lefty and they always had me mentally whipped when I played). Then again, I haven't been hit with a pitch in probably 11 years and never took one more than 90 mph. Maybe I'll take some cash for the fictional at-bat afterall.

CREDIT WHERE DUE: Tigers manager Jim Leyland was going to give slugging first baseman Miguel Cabrera the day off Wednesday to give him a few days off (the Tigers have an off-day Thursday) before a weekend series to rest his sore back. Instead, Cabrera waved him off and insisted on playing. (MLB.com) Keep this in mind whenever you hear people complaining about how the guys only play for the money and don't really care about the results. Sitting down would have had no effect on Cabrera's earnings. Since the complainers like to use real-world examples, compare this to having your boss tell you to take the day off and you insisting on staying at work (yeah, sure you would). Oh, and he had a two-RBI double in the fifth to give the Tigers the lead. They would win 9-7.

IN THE CINCY AREA AND LIKE SMOKED MEATS? The Reds have put in a new restaurant called Mr. Red's Smokehouse, and it will open Friday for the first game of the Reds' series against the Cardinals. On the menu, you'll find smoked ribs, turkey legs, pulled pork and chicken wings -- in addition to rotating specialty items. This weekend's item is "smoked Cardinal" (it's actually quail). Click here for a video tour of the new smokehouse.

HAIL DELAY: Via Big League Stew, here's a video of the hailstorm that caused an hour-plus delay to Tuesday night's Twins-Tigers game in Minnesota. Yes, that is golf-ball sized hail and a good amount of it.



IF YOU CARE ABOUT DYKSTRA: I'm pretty well over him at this point, and have been for years. If you are interested in what's become of Lenny Dykstra's life, according to this interview, by all means click through and read it. Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com got an exclusive interview with Dykstra's limo driver.

HIDE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN: Roger McDowell's suspension is almost over, as he'll rejoin the Braves Friday and resume his duties as their pitching coach. (MLB.com) I'd encourage fans across America to heckle him and test if those sensitivity classes paid off.

CANADIAN DOLLARS: An interesting discussion here, in that -- as long as the Canadian dollar is valued higher than the American dollar -- players for the Blue Jays are actually earning more money than their contracts dictate, assuming they cash checks in Canada. It's the exact opposite of how it used to be, when players used to get traded to either the Expos or Blue Jays and take a hit. (Slam Sports)

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Posted on: May 1, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: May 1, 2011 12:05 pm
 

On Deck: Mish-mash in the Central

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By Matt Snyder


Upside-Down Central: Coming into the season, the AL Central was said to be a three-team race between the Twins, White Sox and Tigers. Go grab a look at the standings as we head into May, though. They appear to be almost completely upside down from what we've seen in recent years. The Indians have won five straight and a franchise-record 18 in April. They don't appear to be going away. Meanwhile, the Tigers, Twins and White Sox have lost a combined 14 consecutive games. The Twins and White Sox are already nine games out of first. The Royals have won two straight after it appeared they were coming back to Earth. Does the turning of the calendar to May bring a complete reshuffling? Ozzie Guillen is ready to forget about April and I'm guessing Jim Leyland and Ron Gardenhire have the same feeling. I do expect the three bottom teams to get better in the coming weeks, but the Indians don't look like pretenders. This could actually be one of the most exciting divisional races. Or, if things don't change, the most boring. We'll see.

Still Streaking: Andre Ethier's 26-game hitting streak (an April record) is the talk of baseball. He's hitting .400 with a 1.059 OPS, 10 doubles, three home runs, 16 RBI and 15 runs during the streak, so he's not just squeaking by with a single per game. Dustin Moseley is the opposing hurler Sunday. In three career at-bats, Ethier has three hits, including a home run, against Moseley. That's far too small a sample to make any judgements, other than to say that he certainly won't be feeling anything less than confident when stepping into the box. That matters. Expect the streak to be at 27 come Monday.

Underrated Pitching Matchups: On a day when we're treated to Jered Weaver (update: nevermind, he's out ), King Felix and the surprising Justin Masterson, there are quite a few pretty solid, yet under the radar, pitching matchups. Jordan Zimmermann has not pitched nearly as bad as his record (1-4) or ERA (4.55) would indicate and he's facing an anemic San Francisco offense with Matt Cain opposite him. Expect a low-scoring affair. How about Jaime Garcia against the recently-arrested Derek Lowe? Dustin Moseley only has a 1.99 ERA to this point, and he takes on Jon Garland, who hasn't been bad. Ricky Nolasco against Bronson Arroyo is another pretty good match. Cliff Lee squares off against Chris Young (1-0, 2.65) in Philly. Over in the AL, young gun Zach Britton toes the slab against the White Sox -- who trot out Gavin Floyd (3-1, 3.60). Matt Harrison is looking to get back on track against the A's and Gio Gonzalez (2.70 ERA). As I said, lots of good pitching matchups that wouldn't necessarily immediately turn heads.

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

Posted on: March 23, 2011 10:22 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/23: Seven strong for Shields



By Matt Snyder


3 UP

James Shields, Rays. Roy Oswalt getting clocked in the head overshadowed this outing -- and rightfully so at the time -- but Shields threw a masterpiece against the Phillies Wednesday. It wasn't against scrubs either, as names like Rollins, Howard and Ibanez were in the order. He went seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and one walk. He struck out four while lowering his spring ERA to 1.88.

Carlos Silva, Cubs. With Randy Wells nailing down the No. 4 spot in the Cubs' starting rotation, there's only one opening remaining. Silva had been brutal so far this spring, but he made a case to remain in consideration Wednesday. He threw six innings and coughed up just one earned run. In fact, he only allowed three hits and walked none. I still like Andrew Cashner for that job, but reports had Cubs' skipper Mike Quade very pleased with Silva's outing.

Matt Kemp, Dodgers. The 26 year old continued his torrid spring, crushing a three-run bomb off John Danks to highlight a 2-4 day. He's now hitting .320 with a 1.072 OPS this spring. He has five home runs and 15 RBI in only 50 at-bats.

3 DOWN

Matt Cain, Giants. He entered the game with five scoreless innings under his belt in the spring. He left with a 5.63 spring ERA after giving up seven hits and five earned runs in three innings. Good thing the spring games don't count.

Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks. The promising young arm for the Snakes couldn't get through three innings after allowing eight hits, two walks and seven runs. Only one of the runs was earned, but a Hudson throwing error was what helped open the door for the huge Rangers' third inning.

Ryan Doumit, Pirates. An interesting case, as you could glance at the box score and see Doumit collected two hits in four at-bats. But look deeper, as his ineptitude in everything but handling the stick was illustrated Wednesday. He allowed his third passed ball of the spring and was picked off on the basepaths -- twice! As the Pirates reportedly continue to shop him, efforts like these won't help.

BONUS -- YOU MAKE THE CALL

Francisco Liriano, Twins. He struck out nine hitters in three innings. Yes, every out he recorded was of the punch-out variety. Of course, he needed 76 pitches just to get through those three innings and along the way he walked three guys and gave up four hits. The one earned run isn't awful (it would be a 3.00 ERA), but a walk per inning is, just like the WHIP of more than two. Still, love seeing nine K in three innings. So would the outing be listed in up or down? You make the call.

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Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:54 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/14: Pie's day

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1. Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Lohse has been a weak, expensive link in the Cardinals' rotation the last two years, but is impressing this spring. On Monday, Lohse allowed just one hit over six innings against the Braves. This spring, he's allowed just two runs in 13 innings.

2. Matt Cain, Giants -- In his first start since the spring opener, Cain pitched three hitless innings against the Brewers on Monday. Cain hadn't pitched since Feb. 27 because of inflammation in his right elbow.

3. Felix Pie, Orioles -- The outfielder had a hit in four at-bats Wednesday, but he's here because it was his day, Pi Day (3.14). Sure, it's a stretch, but it's just spring training.

3 DOWN

Andrew McCutchen

1. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- Not only did McCutchen lose his glove trying to catch a home run by Baltimore's Randy Winn, in the same inning he was thrown out at the plate and complained that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters didn't avoid contact as much as he should in spring training (pictured).

2. Bruce Chen, Blake Wood, Jason Kendall, Royals -- One of the best days of spring is the one scheduled off day. For players (and reporters) the one day without a game in March is the prize of six weeks in Arizona and Florida, who go without a day to themselves from the middle of February until April. The Royals trio all had to show up to work on Monday, Chen and Wood worked in a minor-league intrasquad game, while Kendall continued his rehab from shoulder surgery.

3. Chris Sale, White Sox -- The 21-year-old lefty was good last season after being called up at the end of the year, but has struggled this spring. Chicago's first-round pick in the 2010 draft allowed three runs in the fifth inning of Monday's game against the Padres. He has a 7.36 ERA in five appearances this spring.

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Posted on: March 6, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: March 6, 2011 11:35 am
 

Pepper: Phillie concern

Domonic Brown

By C. Trent Rosecrans

After nothing but (deserved) rave reviews this offseason, reality is hitting the Philadelphia Phillies.

Still the favorite in the National League East, the same problem that kept them in a division race last season is popping up again -- injuries.

Chase Utley is already getting cortisone shots and, as our own Danny Knobler wrote it perfectly, if the Phillies are concerned -- and they're saying they're concerned -- it's not a good sign.

And now Domonic Brown is out with a broken hamate bone in his hand. Although Brown was struggling this spring -- hitless in 15 at-bats -- and was likely headed to Triple-A, he was still part of the team's plans for 2011.

The hamate injury is a tricky one -- he'll likely be able to play this season, but he won't be the same. Last year when I was around the Reds a bit, I talked to two players who were in different stages of the same injury. One, Yonder Alonso, suffered the injury in 2009, the other, Chris Dickerson, had the surgery during last season.

Dickerson was able to return and even played with the Reds and Brewers after the surgery. Alonso had the surgery in June of 2009 and was back that season, as well. However, the injury saps power. Alonso told me several times that the ball just didn't jump off his bat the same, what would be a double in the past wasn't getting past outfielders, and what was a homer in the past just died in the outfield. As doctors told him, about a year fate the surgery, his power was back. 

Brown can return this season, but don't expect him to be the same player he has shown to be in the minor leagues and that he'll be in the future.

The Phillies are counting on Ben Francisco and Ross Gload to fill in for Jayson Werth until Brown is ready. Now they'll be counting on those two longer.

Pitching won't be a problem for Philadelphia, and it wasn't the problem last year. When the team got in trouble, it was injuries and offense. With uncertainly to the health of Utley and then general uncertainty with Jimmy Rollins, there's cause for concern in Philly.

That said, they're still the favorites, but maybe not quite the prohibitive favorites they were before.

STAYING PAT: The Yankees appear to be happy with the starters they have in camp -- CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova.

Brian Cashman tells the Boston Globe the team is unlikely to trade for a starter before opening day.

"Can't rule it out, but it's highly unlikely," Cashman said. "Normally anything of quality doesn't become available until after the June draft. That's why you try and get as much as you can get accomplished in winter."

HOT DOG RUN: Apparently because the team mom forgot the orange slices, after his stint in Saturday's game, Boston's Dustin Pedroia ducked out of the Red Sox clubhouse to the concession stand for three hot dogs.

"They probably didn't think he was a player," Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters, including the Providence Journal. "Did you see that outfit he had on? He looks like he's going into second grade."

NATS OPTIMISM: A scout tells Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) that Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is "back." He's throwing 94-95 mph with a "superb" slider. Said the scout, "if they had [Stephen] Strasburg, they'd be dangerous."

The Nats don't, but Zimmermann offers hope for 2012, as he had Tommy John surgery in August of 2009, a year before Strasburg. 

AMBASSADOR GRIFFEY: Ken Griffey Jr.'s new job with the Mariners is to be an ambassador of sort, but before he does that, he served the same role for the U.S. State Department in the Philippines. 

Griffey just returned from working with coaches and youth players in the Philippines. 

USA Today's Paul White caught up with him last week before his trip. Griffey still refuses to talk about his exit from the game, but he'll likely be seen around the Mariners some this season. His new job requires about a month's worth of work with the team, doing a little bit of everything.

More importantly, he's being a dad. His daughter Taryn recently led Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School to the Florida girls basketball championship. Taryn Griffey, a freshman point guard, had 21 points in the championship game.

His son, Trey, is a junior safety and wide receiver who is being recruited, as well.

PIAZZA NOT BUYING Mets: Mike Piazza tells the New York Post he's interested in buying part of a baseball team "someday" but not now.

"I think everything is timing," Piazza said. "It's an interesting time in the game. There's a lot of change going on … but as far as anything on the forefront, there's nothing. Let's just say I talked to some people that are interested in getting into the game … It doesn't cost anything to talk. At least not yet."

NO PANIC FOR Braves: Atlanta's 23-year-old Craig Kimbrel has the inside track to replace Billy Wagner as the Braves' closer, but he's not been very good so far this spring. He's struggled with his command and has allowed four runs and six hits in three appearances this spring.

"If there is a trend like this later in the spring, then you start worrying about it," manager Fredi Gonzalez tells MLB.com. "But not right now."

CAIN FEELS BETTER: Giants pitcher Matt Cain played catch for about eight minutes on Saturday and felt no pain in his right elbow.

Cain was scratched from his last start and won't make his scheduled start on Tuesday, either. (MLB.com)

PIONEER LAID TO REST: About 500 people reportedly attended the funeral of Wally Yonamine in Hawaii on Saturday, according to Sanspo (via YakyuBaka.com). A memorial service will also be held in Tokyo later this month.

Yonamine, the first American to play professional baseball in Japan, died earlier this week at 85. The New York Times had a good obituary earlier this week, and a column in the Honolulu Star Advertiser shed light on how Yonamine dealt with death threats and other pressures when he started playing in Japan.

However, Yonamine became a star in Japan and was elected to the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. He was also the first Asian-American to play in the NFL.

NOT THAT IT'S GONNA HAPPEN: But contraction isn't going to happen.

Union chief Michael Weiner tells the St. Petersburg Times that the union will fight any attempt to contract teams.

"Having been in bargaining in baseball since the late 80s, anything is fathomable, so we don't either take anything for granted or rule anything out," Weiner said. "All I would says is if that changes, if contraction becomes a goal of the owners in this negotiation, the tenor of the talks would change quickly and dramatically."

Bud Selig tells the Los Angeles Times it's not a goal for the owners, and it's certainly not a fight they want to take up.

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Posted on: March 4, 2011 9:53 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Pepper: Big Puma struggling through spring

Lance Berkman

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals came out of the offseason sacrificing defense for offense, but that offense may have a hard time even getting on the field.

Lance Berkman, inked in as the team's right fielder going into the spring, was scratched from the team's lineup on Thursday because of a sore left calf. Berkman had already been limited to designated hitter work because of a bad left elbow.

It's just the first week of games, and Berkman has been limited to play in the field. On Thursday, Berkman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he was "perfectly fine" and would still go to Kissimmee, Fla., on Friday to face his old team, the Astros.

Friday morning, Berkman wasn't on the bus, missing another game.

Prospect Zack Cox filled in for Berkman at DH on Thursday and knocked in a run, but he's not ready to fill in full-time for Berkman in the field and the National League doesn't have the DH.

Sure, it's early, and several players are battling bumps and bruises, but not all of them are 35, coming off a down season, moving to a more demanding physical position, blocked at their old position and being counted on to remedy a team's offense. That's a lot on the shoulders of the Big Puma, and it's looking less like he can shoulder that load.

WAKE-UP: As if stepping into the box against a guy who can sling the ball 105 mph wasn't enough to get your attention, the first pitch ending up somewhere near the bull certainly got Dodger Trent Oeltjen's attention. Thursday night, the first pitch of Chapman's inning of work went over the catcher's mitt and over the umpire's head. His next three pitches to Oeltjen were strikes, including strike three looking.

"If it was at my face, I wouldn't have had time to move," Oeltjen told the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez. "It woke me up. He sent a message he was throwing hard."

Said new manager Don Mattingly: "Jeez, huh? He was Randy Johnson-ish. It gets there quick, doesn't it?"

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Carlos Zambrano didn't fight anyone in his Thursday start for the Cubs -- not only that, he threw three scoreless innings. However, he did complain of arm fatigue after the start.

"I was just tired," Zambrano said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's normal. I wasn't feeling power in my arm, but I guarantee you I will work hard and feel good in my next start."

Zambrano note he typically feels a "dead-arm" at least once a spring.

JUST BAD NEWS: Yesterday the question was if Astros' catcher Jason Castro would miss the beginning of the season. Today, it's if he'll play at all this season.

Thursday night, Castro was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Castro was scheduled to have surgery this morning, and general manager Ed Wade said he could return "by mid-September." (Houston Chronicle)

WAIT FOR JUDGEMENT? Matt Cain said he hasn't thrown a ball since coming down with elbow inflammation on Sunday and will likely miss multiple starts this spring. 

However, Cain's not too concerned, even after taking an MRI.

There is a history -- and this is something to watch -- of pitchers going to the postseason one season and having trouble the next because of the increased workload. While Cain's not worried, it'll be something to monitor with all of the Giants' pitching staff. (San Francisco Chronicle)

ANOTHER WART: Hopefully Orioles starter Brian Matusz won't tweet a picture like Michael Cuddyer, but he'll also be having a wart professionally removed.

Matusz's wart is on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Still, he threw two scoreless innings on Wednesday even with the wart. He had it some last year, but pitched through it. He said it bothers him some on his breaking ball. (Baltimore Sun)

WAS THAT REALLY A CONSIDERATION? Oliver Perez has been the New York media's favorite target for a while, but is this really necessary? The New Your Daily News' "breaking news" from "a source" is that the Mets have internally decided Perez will not be a starter during the regular season.

The Daily News' Andy Martino wrote that the day after he wrote the team would cut Perez (and his $12 million salary) if he didn't perform well in his start on Thursday. Well, he threw two scoreless innings against the Cardinals, so Martino didn't get his wish. Instead, he had to find a new way to pile onto Perez.

Hey, it's not to say Perez doesn't stink. He does. Or that he's not overpaid -- he is. It's just, this breathless reporting seems almost like piling on. Sure, the Mets have said he's in contention for the rotation, but the Mets say a lot of things, and it's not like we believe those.

NOW HE COULD BE IN A ROTATION: Neftali Feliz wasn't too happy with his first start of spring. Still, he threw two scoreless innings, so it wasn't bad. He also threw three different pitches, but struggled with his command and rhythm.

The Feliz story may be one of the more interesting ones of spring, and certainly something to watch as the month goes along. He'll throw three innings next week. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

VISA TIME: Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati's opening-day starter, could pitch his first spring training start because of a visa problem, but he should be able to make his next start after a quick trip to his native Dominican Republic.

"Everything is set," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay. "They're just waiting for me to pitch it up."

He was unable to pitch in games at which admission is charged because he came to camp on a travel visa, not a work visa. His work visa was held up because of his failed drug test and suspension last season.

COCO CONTRITE: A's outfielder Coco Crisp said he's embarrassed about his DUI arrest on Wednesday morning. (San Francisco Chronicle)

GO METS OR GO HOME: Former Cardinals and A's closer Jason Isringhausen is back in camp for the Mets, after starting a comeback last season in the Reds system.

Isringhausen played in Triple-A last season, but says his bus-riding days are over. If he doesn't break camp with the Mets, he'll just go home and call it a career. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

OR JUST GO HOME: Boston's J.D. Drew says he's considering retiring after this year. It's been one of those things he's hinted at before and is hardly a surprise. (Boston Herald)

SO WHO IS A-ROD? According to Wikileaks, a U.S. diplomatic cable on the 2009 Iranian election called President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the "George Steinbrenner of Iran" when talking about his influence over the national soccer team.

I'm guessing that wasn't a compliment. (Associated Press)

WHAT'S A WORLD SERIES WORTH? How much are World Series starts worth to a Hall of Fame discussion? Or, even more words about Jack Morris from Baseball Prospectus.

Honestly, I used to be a Morris for the Hall guy, I'm not anymore. I used to not be a Bert Blyleven guy, but I am now. But I'll certainly never change my feeling that I never want to hear another Morris-Blyleven debate.

A BETTER SCORECARD: An interview with Bethany Heck, the designer of a new, better, scorebook. Heck's 20-game scorebook is like "if Moleskine made a scorebook…" (Bugs & Cranks)

WHAT TO WATCH: Jake Peavy will make his first start since July 6 today against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz.

"Hopefully, we'll see some of the hard work we've done pay off," he told the Chicago Tribune.

QUARTERBACK SHOWDOWN: There's a Groundhog Day aspect to spring training, so Padres manager Bud Black found a way to break up the monotony -- a quarterback combine.

While Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert (seriously, could you draft a quarterback named "Blaine") did this in Indianapolis last week, Black had his former quarterbacks -- top prospect Casey Kelly, Cory Luebke, Orlando Hudson and Nick Hundley -- go through their own competition Thursday morning.

According to MLB.com's Corey Brock, the three went through several drills, including hitting a moving target. Luebke, a high school quarterback in Ohio, upset Kelly, who signed a letter of intent to play QB at Tennessee.

"We're here for six weeks," Black said. "… We try to do some things to keep the guys going."

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The Reds have announced the front-runner for the year's best bobblehead. On July 2 against the Indians, fans will receive the combination Dusty Baker bobblehead and toothpick holder. The bobblehead even has Dusty with a toothpick in his mouth (and, of course, sweatbands on his arms). So far, it's the best bobblehead I've seen on tap for this year, with the Reds also getting second place for their Jonny Gomes bobblehead and arm, mimicking the way Gomes tugs at his helmet before every at-bat.

Dusty Baker

IF YOU'RE NOT ALREADY BEARDED OUT: The literary journal McSweeney's is selling a "How to Beard Yourself Like Brian Wilson" poster.

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Posted on: October 25, 2010 9:50 pm
 

Rangers announce rotation

Tommy Hunter And we've got our rotations set for the World Series, as Rangers manager Ron Washington met with the media at the team hotel on Monday.

Game 1: Tim Linecum vs. Cliff Lee
Game 2: Matt Cain vs. C.J. Wilson
Game 3: Jonathan Sanchez vs. Colby Lewis
Game 4: Madison Bumgarner vs. Tommy Hunter (pictured)

However, Washington said the rotation could change, meaning Hunter's slot isn't secure if things aren't going Texas' way when Game 4 rolls around.

In other notes (thanks to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ):

• The team's bullpen hasn't been set, and the team is considering leaving a left-hander off the roster and adding a right-hander, possibly Dustin Nippert or Mark Lowe. The team added extra left-handers to face the Phillies' heavily left-handed lineup.

Vladimir Guerrero will start in Game 1 in right field, and could also start the second game. David Murphy would start if Guerrero sits.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 25, 2010 8:20 pm
 

Cain to start Game 2

Matt Cain Reporters have met with Bruce Bochy in San Francisco and the Giants manager says he'll once again switch up his Game 2 and 3 starters.

Matt Cain (pictured) will start Game 2, followed by Jonathan Sanchez -- the opposite of their starts in the NLCS. Madison Bumgarner will pitch Game 4, he said.

So, the rotation will be Tim Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Bumgarner.

"Matt hasn't thrown in a while," Bochy said (via the San Jose Mercury News ' Andrew Baggarly on Twitter ). "He's ready and Johnny just threw. We're excited wherever we put these guys."

Also, Baggerly reports center fielder Andres Torres was planning on doing some light running to test his hip flexor.

"I think it's going to be all right," Torres said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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