Tag:Russell Branyan
Posted on: March 7, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm
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Pepper: Raise a glass


By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Orioles are a trendy pick to be better in 2011, and they should be. But no matter how the Orioles do on the field, things will be better this season in Baltimore because Natty Boh is back.

Before the take-over of the beer industry by the big brewing companies, regional beers were king -- be it National Bohemian (known as Natty Boh in Baltimore) in the mid-Atlantic, Hudepohl in Cincinnati or Hamm's in Minnesota.

These were different than the great microbrews of today, they were the macrobrews of yesterday. It's what you remember your grandpa dinking, whether it was an Olympia in Washington or an Old Style in Chicago. These were American, working-class beers. And they belonged with baseball, at the ballpark and at home, listening along to the local nine on the radio.

Well, one of these greats, National Bohemian, is back where it belongs, at the ballpark at Camden Yards. And for that, America and baseball are better than they were before. (Baltimore Sun)

For more fun, check out this video of old Natty Boh commercials (with an added bonus of Maryland history):

GARDNER MAY PUSH JETER FROM LEADOFF: The Yankees front office wants Brett Gardner, not Derek Jeter, leading off, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes.

Jeter has batted first or second for most of his career, but it seems natural to put the speedy Gardner atop the lineup. Gardner had a .383 on-base percentage last season, along with 47 stolen bases. He also saw an MLB-best 4.6 pitchers per plate appearance, giving him a good case to bat first for the Yankees.

HOLD 'EM OR FOLD 'EM: Boston's Mike Cameron had his name thrown around a bit this weekend after Philadelphia lost Domonic Brown to a hand injury, but with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury roaming the outfield, is it wise for the Red Sox to get rid of any outfielder?

Although Cameron is making $7.5 million this season, that would hamper many other teams, but not the Red Sox. Cameron is also a rarity in the Red Sox clubhouse, a right-handed hitter. (Boston Globe)

HART SIDELINED: Brewers right fielder Corey Hart missed the last week after straining a muscle in his side. He was expected to miss two weeks, but after a setback during a throwing exercise on Saturday, Hart said he doesn't expect to be back in the original timeframe.

However, manager Ron Roenicke said he expects Hart to be ready for opening day. (MLB.com)

MOM KNOWS BEST: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he was feeling sorry for himself after suffering a broken bone in his left foot, until his mother set him straight.

"I woke up positive and [said] 'Let's do it,'" Cervelli told the New York Daily News. "That's it. Start the work, the therapy and get better. A lot of people in the world don't have legs or arms; I'm healthy. I just have something in my foot, but it's going to be OK."

MONTERO MAY BACKUP: Cervelli's injury may have opened the door for Yankees top prospect, Jesus Montero.

Many thought the Yankees would want him to play every day and not have him break camp just to back up Russell Martin. One who doesn't buy that theory, apparently, is Brian Cashman.

"There is a lot of knowledge that a catcher has to absorb that you just won't get at Triple-A," Cashman told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. "If it's the second week of April and he has only pinch-hit or started one game, I won't consider it a lost week. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that he has never experienced before.

"He can watch, see how [Martin] goes through it -- pre-game, advance scouting meetings, all those things. When he gets in there in the future, he'll be fully prepared, rather than just sink or swim."

The Yankees know Montero's bat can play right away, but many question his ability to stick behind the plate.

TRADE STUNG SAUNDERS: Former first-rounder Joe Saunders said he was upset last season when the Angels traded him to Arizona.

"I was pissed off. I'm not going to lie to you," Saunders told the Orange County Register.

Saunders said it was weird heading into the visitor's clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Angels' spring training home.

MULLET MANIA: Travis Schlichting has the greatest mullet in baseball history, and Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan has the story.

AUTHOR-PITCHER: Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst -- better known as the author of The Bullpen Gospels than anything he's done on the field -- said he's walked a fine line between being truthful and writing a tell-all.

Hayhurst's often hilarious characters in the book (really, it's worth checking out, a fun, quick read), are real, but he doesn't name names. He's also working on a second book and has a contract for a third, but those will also be done in his particular style, where the only specific player you get dirt on is Hayhurst himself.

The Rays seem like a perfect fit, if only for the fact that when asked about Hayhurst, manager Joe Maddon used the word "ameliorated" in his response. (St. Petersburg Times)

OLIVO CONFIDENT: Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo had a scare on Saturday when he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and had to be helped off the field. Olivo will have an MRI today, but he told reporters on Sunday that he's confident he'll be ready for opening day. (Seattle Times)

BOOF REMAINS A MYSTERY: Even Boof Bonser doesn't know how his name came about, even though he's legally changed it. (Star-Ledger)

FORTUITOUS CUT: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is pretty happy he cut reliever Cristhian Martinez last year when both were with the Marlins. Martinez was optioned to Triple-A at the end of spring training last season and then designated him for assignment on April 3. The Braves signed him and now he's competing for the final bullpen spot.

Martinez struck out five in two innings against the Nationals on Sunday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MAYBIN MAY RETURN: San Diego's Cameron Maybin may return to action today after suffering concussion symptoms when he hit his head on a post during Wednesday's practice.

Maybin, the team's newly acquired center fielder, took batting practice on Sunday and said he felt good afterwards. (MLB.com)

D-LEE STILL OUT: Derrek Lee won't make his debut with the Orioles in the Grapefruit League until Wednesday at the earliest. (Baltimore Sun)

PEAVY TO MAKE SECOND START: White Sox starter Jake Peavy said he's sore from Saturday's start, but he's good enough to start on Wednesday. (Chicago Tribune)

FIRST BASE BATTLE: Here's something you don't hear very often -- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said defensive will be a key component to the team's search for a regular first baseman.

Russell Branyan, Brandon Allen and Juan Miranda are the other leading candidates for that job. (Arizona Republic)

ZAUN TO RETIRE: Veteran catcher Gregg Zaun is set to retire after 16 seasons in the big leagues.

Zaun, 39, was in the Padres camp. He's a career .252/.344/.388 hitter, but better known for his defense, spending most of his time as a backup catcher.

His retirement gives Rob Johnson the inside track at the Padres' backup job. (Sportsnet.ca)


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Posted on: February 25, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Imagining an MLB Combine

Michael Bourn

While our Eye on Football brethren are in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine not getting to watch guys run and jump, it got me to thinking how much fun an MLB Combine might be.

Among the drills the NFL draft hopefuls do that would be applicable to baseball are the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical leap and the Wonderlic Test. So who would be the best baseball players to participate? That's where the fun begins.

40-yard dash: Maybe for baseball, it'd be more fun to line the guys up and have them go 90 feet.

Favorite: Michael Bourn, Astros. A Sports Illustrated poll of players during spring training had Crawford picked as the fastest player in the majors, but the less-heralded Bourn finished second. Bourn has won two straight Gold Gloves in center, and much of it is because he can seemingly cover the entire outfield. In a division blessed with fast center fielders (Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs), Bourn covers more ground than anyone. Oh, and he's led the National League in stolen bases each of the last two seasons.

Others: Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Luis Durango, Juan Pierre, Jose Reyes, Andrew McCutchen, Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki, Emilio Bonifacio, Carlos Gomez, Carl Crawford

Adam DunnBench press: At the combine, players bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible, testing not only strength, but endurance. For baseball, maybe the best test would be a home-run derby-like format, but adding the distances of balls hit.

Favorite: Adam Dunn, White Sox. According to HitTrackerOnline.com, Jose Bautista had more "no-doubt" home runs than Dunn (19 to 16), but Dunn's homers averaged nearly 10 feet more, with an average "true distance" of 411.1 feet. Mark Reynolds' 32 homers averaged 415.6 feet, so he's certainly in the discussion. Dunn's been consistently hitting long home runs, so he gets the nod.

Others: Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Mark Reynolds, Wily Mo Pena, Mike Stanton, Travis Hafner, Russell Branyan, Jose Bautista

Dexter FowlerVertical leap: While it's not something that you associate with baseball, it's a good test of athleticism, but is also practical at the wall as players just to rob home runs.

Favorite: Dexter Fowler, Rockies. At 6-foot-5, Fowler was recruited as a basketball player in high school, but he showed his leaping ability in an unusual place in the 2009 NLDS. In the eighth inning of Game 4, Fowler was on first when Todd Helton hit a grounder to Chase Utley. Fowler was running toward Utley and hurdled him. Utley then threw errantly to Jimmy Rollins and Fowler was safe. (You can see the play here.)

Others: Carl Crawford, Torii Hunter, Shane Victorino, Mike Cameron, Hunter Pence

Craig BreslowWonderlic test: A 12-minute, 50-question test used for testing applicants for learning and problem-solving. Harvard's Pat McInally is the only confirmed 50 score at the combine, while another Harvard alum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, scored either a 48 or 49 in nine minutes. So, it makes sense to look to the Ivy League for our baseball picks.

Favorite: Craig Breslow, Athletics. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Seriously. The Sporting News called him the smartest player in sports, while the Wall Street Journal suggested he may be the smartest man in the world. Not only that, batters hit just .194/.272/.348 against him last season, with lefties hitting .181/.245/.340 against him.

Others: Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Young, Fernando Perez, Mark DeRosa

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
Posted on: February 16, 2011 6:46 pm
 

D-Backs add Branyan

Russell Branyan
With Mark Reynolds and Adam LaRoche out the door, there was a need for power in Arizona, and the Diamondbacks on Wednesday addressed that by signing journeyman first baseman Russell Branyan. He gets a minor-league deal with an invitation to big-league camp, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com.

Branyan, 35, has averaged 28 homers the past two seasons in Cleveland and Seattle. While he doesn't really help Arizona's strikeout problem, he should find home run success in the confines of Chase Field. There also should be starts available at first base, with Juan Miranda and Brandon Allen currently listed at the spot.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 8:18 pm
 

DH market still crowded

Vladimir Guerrero If there's a surplus of one position on the free agent market, it may be the designated hitter spot.

Jim Thome, one of last season's bargain pickups, is still unsigned, as are Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. And then there's the not-retired Jermaine Dye, Jason Giambi, Russell Branyan, Jose Guillen and Hank Blalock.

So far this offseason, the Red Sox exercised their option on David Ortiz, the Yankees have said they'll move Jorge Posada out from behind the plate, as will the Tigers with newly-signed Victor Martinez. Adam Dunn will be a first-time designated hitter with the White Sox.

As for teams with needs, that includes the team Thome DH'd for last season, the Twins, who would like him back. Of course, after putting up the year he did, he feels like he deserves a raise -- especially with his 600th career home run likely coming this season. The Rays, Angels and Rangers also have obvious needs, while the Orioles, Royals and Blue Jays could upgrade at the spot or stay put.

As it stands, here how the current AL DHs line up:
Orioles -- Luke Scott
Red Sox -- David Ortiz
Yankees -- Jorge Posada
Blue Jays -- Edwin Encarnacion
Rays -- Matt Joyce
White Sox -- Adam Dunn
Indians -- Travis Hafner
Tigers -- Victor Martinez
Royals -- Billy Butler
Twins -- Jason Kubel
Angels -- Mike Napoli
A's -- Hideki Matsui
Mariners -- Jack Cust
Rangers -- David Murphy

And here's who is left on the market (2010 AVG/OBP/SLG HR, RBI)
Jim Thome .283/.412/.627 25, 59
Vladimir Guerrero .300/.345/.496 29, 115
Manny Ramirez .298/.409/.510 16, 42
Johnny Damon .271/.355/.401 8, 51
Russell Branyan .237/.323/.487 25, 57
Jason Giambi .244/.378/.398 6, 35
Andruw Jones .230/.341/.486 19, 48
Hank Blalock .254/.319/.349 1, 7
Jose Guillen .258/.314/.416 16, 62
Jeremy Hermida .216/.268/351 6, 29
Troy Glaus .240/.344/.400 16, 71
Mike Sweeney .252/.321/.444 8, 26
Jorge Cantu .256/.304/.392 11, 56
Jermaine Dye (2009) .250/.340/.453 27, 81

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: December 6, 2010 3:29 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:52 am
 

First base market dwindling

Carlos Pena The Toronto Blue Jays are making a rush at Carlos Pena, ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes tweets .

The Jays wouldn't want to be left out in the musical chairs of the first base market.  Assuming the White Sox lock up Paul Konerko, the Jays, along with the Diamondbacks, Cubs and Nationals all need first basemen, with Pena the prettiest girl at the ball.

What does it say that a guy who hit .196 is the best option left? Well, it says Adam LaRoche, Russell Branyan and Lyle Overbay are the next-best options.

In searching for first basemen, many teams are calling the Reds about Yonder Alonso, Yahoo!'s Tim Brown writes . However, with Joey Votto three years from free agency and a reluctance to sign long-term, the Reds are reluctant to move their No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft.

UPDATE: As for Alonso, here's what Reds general manager Walt Jocketty had to say to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon : "I think right now, Yonder is a guy that still figures in the organization," Jocketty said. "It gives us protection. He believes that he's working this winter to come in and compete for a spot on the bench next year to play some first and left field and be a left-handed hitter off the bench."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: November 3, 2010 3:54 pm
 

M's decline options on Bedard, Branyan, Lopez

Erik Bedard The Mariners have declined their options on left-hander Erik Bedard, Russell Branyan and infielder Jose Lopez.

The Mariners had an $8 million option on Bedard with a $250,000 buyout. He made $1.5 million this year and made just one rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma in 2010. The team may try to bring him back at a much lower rate.

Branyan was due $5 million. The first baseman was acquired in a trade with the Indians in June. He played in 57 games for the Mariners, hitting .215/.319/.483 with 15 home runs and 33 RBI.

Lopez, who had a $4.5 million option with a $250,000 buyout, is eligible for arbitration, if the Mariners desire. However, the team already has Chone Figgins and Dustin Ackley coming, so he would unlikely be an option for a team that's going to be watching every penny and expecting another rough year. The Denver Post 's Troy Renck notes (via Twitter ) the Rockies have interest in Lopez.

The Mariners had already declined their option on right-hander Ian Snell.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: August 5, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2010 7:35 pm
 

Youkilis out for year

Kevin Youkilis Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters Thursday afternoon that first baseman Kevin Youkilis will have to have surgery on his injured thumb and is out for the year.

Youkilis tore a muscle in his right thumb on Monday, and was to be examined by a hand specialist Thursday.

"He'll be immobilized for approximately six weeks and then be re-evaluated from there," Francona said. "I think Youkilis was pretty resolved to the fact that this was probably going to happen."

It's a big blow to the Red Sox, who are six back in the American League wild-card race. Youkilis was batting .307/.411/.564 with 19 homers and 62 RBI. The Red Sox might turn out to be lucky they were unable to pawn off Mike Lowell, who has had nowhere to play this season but now looks like the starter at first.

If Boston decides to pursue a first baseman, the options appear limited. Ty Wigginton, Lyle Overbay and Derrek Lee are among first-base options who didn't move before the non-waiver deadline, but it's unclear whether they could get through waivers. The Mariners would probably let Russell Branyan go. Teams have reportedly been looking at Carlos Delgado, who hasn't played since last year and is recovering from hip surgery.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: Lowell was in the lineup at first again Thursday. Francona told reporters the plan is to have him at first for three games of the four-game series against the Yankees. He said the other first-base options on the current roster are Victor Martinez, David Ortiz and Jed Lowrie.

UPDATE: The Boston Herald reports that the Red Sox will work out Delgado in the next few days. There have been reports that the White Sox, Rockies, Angels and Mariners have called about Delgado recently.

UPDATE: Delgado's agent, tells the Chicago Tribune 's Mark Gonzalez that he's talked to the White Sox and says, "Carlos will be wearing a uniform for someone next week."

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





Posted on: July 24, 2010 1:25 am
Edited on: July 24, 2010 2:06 am
 

Mariners scuffle in dugout


The drama in Seattle wasn't another Jonathan Papelbon blown save, but a scuffle in the Mariners' dugout after manager Don Wakamatsu pulled Chone Figgins from the game.

"What people have to understand is that everyone in the dugout cares," Wakamatsu said after the game. "Tempers flair there, but what happens there, stays there."

Replays showed Jose Lopez being restrained by Jack Wilson and Ryan Rowland-Smith, while Russell Branyan was held back by several other teammates.

It appeared Branyan was going after Figgins, when Lopez got in the way. At some point, Lopez's jersey was ripped off in the scuffle.

Figgins was lifted after a play in the fifth inning where it appeared he stood on second base and watched an errant throw from left fielder Michael Saunders to go wild, allowing Mike Cameron to go to third. It didn't cost the team a run, as Jason Vargas got out of the jam.

Wakamatsu said he didn't feel Figgins gave enough effort on the play, so he pulled him from the game.

In the bottom of the inning, Figgins was replaced by Josh Wilson. Wilson came up with two on and two outs in the ninth and struck out to end the game.

The incident overshadowed Josh Becekett's return from the disabled list. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowed five hits and a run, walking three and a striking out five.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


 
 
 
 
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