Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Ryan Ludwick
Posted on: July 25, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 12:16 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: NL West

By Matt Snyder

We conclude our series of primers for the MLB trade deadline with the home of the defending World Series champions: The NL West. It feels pretty obvious here, as there are two teams in it, two definitely out of it and one just kind of lingering in mediocrity.

San Francisco Giants
Status: Buyers.
Needs: Offense. Offense. Offense.
Notes: The Giants did already trade for Jeff Keppinger and promoted prospect Brandon Belt to the majors in an attempt to jumpstart their offense. Still, they may not be done. Outfield, shortstop and catcher would seem the obvious spots where an offensive upgrade would help, and the word is they'd rather add salary than give up prospects. Carlos Beltran's name has been prominent when it comes to the Giants making a move, but B.J. Upton's name has surfaced as a possible alternative. Plus, general manager Brian Sabean told reporters the Giants aren't close to getting Beltran (SFgate.com). Ivan Rodriguez would make sense as a half-season rental behind the plate, but he's injured and not coming back anytime soon. Sabean also recently said he wants to significantly upgrade the offense, but doesn't feel as if any moves are imminent (MLB.com). So it sounds as if the Giants will be quiet at least for the first half of this week. But remember, the July 31 deadline is only a non-waiver trade deadline. Players can pass through waivers and be traded in August, and that's how the Giants landed postseason hero Cody Ross last season.

MLB Trade Deadline
Arizona Diamondbacks
Status: Buyers.
Needs: Pitching. Big bat.
Notes: The Snakes are reportedly after pitching of all kinds (Fox Sports). Wandy Rodriguez's name has come up in rumors, but the Astros have been said to be asking for a lot in return. Maybe the asking price comes down as the deadline gets closer. He's really the only starting pitcher heavily involved in rumors to the D-Backs. Otherwise, it's been all relievers' names that have surfaced. Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports the D-Backs are focused on less-expensive, veteran relief pitchers. The following names have all been connected in at least semi-legitimate rumors: Jason Isringhausen, Kerry Wood, Brad Ziegler, Jason Frasor, Frank Francisco, Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch. Obviously, there are bound to be more guys on the radar of the D-Backs and not all those names would work. Wood, for example, is very unlikely to leave Chicago. Basically, it sounds as if the Diamondbacks will be relatively quiet as they tinker a bit with the bullpen. But things can easily change. UPDATE: Shortly after this posting, the Diamondbacks were reported to be a great fit for Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena.

Colorado Rockies
Status: Sellers.
Players available: Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, Huston Street, Rafael Betancourt, Jason Giambi, Matt Belisle, Ty Wigginton, Aaron Cook ... Ubaldo Jimenez?
Notes: Well, the big name here is obviously Jimenez, but the Rockies want an absolute killing in return. It would actually be pretty shocking to see him dealt, as it seems as if his name was only floated so the Rockies could get a realistic reading of his value. Instead, the focus with Rockies rumors should be more on the players most likely to be traded. There aren't many quality catchers on the open market, and Iannetta is reportedly expendable because of minor-league backstops Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario, according to Peter Gammons of MLB Network. MLB.com reports that Street, Belisle and Betancourt are available for the right price, also adding that Cook could be had -- if anyone would want him. Tracy Ringolsby of Fox Sports reported that the Rockies are fielding calls about Street and Betancourt, and also threw Ryan Spilborghs in the mix. Troy Renck of the Denver Post echoed a few of the above names and also threw in Ty Wigginton. Gammons then reported the Rockies aren't interested in moving Spilborghs. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported that Jason Giambi is garnering interest. Though the slugger reportedly wants to stay, he'll discuss any possible moves with the ballclub. Finally, one-time prospect Ian Stewart cannot seem to get things going and a change of scenery would probably be in the best interest of all involved parties. Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post reports the Rockies had been playing Stewart more frequently than usual because they were hoping another team saw something it liked and dealt for him. To sum things up, the Rockies are out of the race this season, but have a strong, young core and could easily compete in 2012. They'll likely only sell pieces that aren't part of the nucleus or could be replaced.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Status: Sellers.
Players available: Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Furcal, Jamey Carroll.
Notes: If you're pining for your favorite team to land Matt Kemp in a blockbuster deal, you're going to be doing so for quite a long time. Kemp -- along with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Rubby De La Rosa and Dee Gordon -- is unavailable as part of the future nucleus (MLB.com). Note the absence of Andre Ethier's name on that list. His name hasn't popped up much in legitimate rumors, but you never know. The Dodgers are pressed for money, and he's due a decent chunk next season before becoming a free agent after 2012. Much of the focus here has centered on Kuroda, though, and he's the most likely to be moved. General manager Ned Colletti has said he's ready to start dealing and is looking at 2012 (OC Register), so any prospects coming back would have to be nearly major-league ready. The Tigers are reportedly front-runners for Kuroda (Jeff Passan of Yahoo!), with the Brewers, Rangers and Indians in the mix. The Red Sox and Yankees are also reportedly interested, but Kuroda has said he's unsure if he wants to go to the East Coast and may use his no-trade clause to avoid the situation. Of course, now he's saying he's keeping his options open (Fox Sports). CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler notes that a trade might only be for two months, as Kuroda's a free agent at season's end and the Dodgers could just sign him back. Knobler said the Dodgers expect Kuroda to be pitching with them in 2012, if he stays in America. There have been whispers about Carroll heading to the Brewers and Furcal is surely available if a contender wants to take a shot at him staying healthy. Simply put, expect the Dodgers to be aggressive in dealing parts that aren't essential to building a contender for next season.

San Diego Padres
Status: Sellers.
Players available: Heath Bell, Ryan Ludwick, Mike Adams, Aaron Harang, Chad Qualls and maybe more.
Notes: We talked to Corey Brock of MLB.com -- the Padres beat writer -- and he said they love Adams, see him as a possible replacement for Bell, but he's not off the table. Brock also said they need a young, controllable shortstop and a catcher. General manager Jed Hoyer reportedly said he's going to make multiple deals to get prospects and the ballclub is not in the position to have any untouchables (Marty Caswell). As far as Adams goes, we've seen a report that he's not going to be traded and a report that the report wasn't true. So, yeah, your guess is as good as ours. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that the Padres' trade talks are focusing on moving Bell, Qualls, Ludwick and Harang. Crasnick also notes that Jason Bartlett is going to remain in San Diego. On the other hand, Bell himself has said he expects to be traded. The Tigers have been said to be interested in Harang heavily, which is interesting because of the Kuroda-to-Tigers rumors. Ludwick has been connected to the Indians, Red Sox, Phillies, Reds and more. Adams and Bell have been rumored to pretty much every team in the race that is seeking bullpen help. The bottom line is that the Padres look to be the busiest team in the division and are looking to stock their farm system.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: NL East

By Eye on Baseball team

Leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the National League East has an actual race -- as well as a team with a bloated payroll and no hope -- which leads to a great chance of some pretty interesting trades to and from the division. Here's a look at the five teams in the NL Eeast:

Philadelphia Phillies

Status: Buyers

Needs: Bullpen, RH bat

Notes: Manager Charlie Manuel said he'd love a right-handed bat (Philadelphia Daily News), probably in the outfield, but this is the Phillies and expect the team to focus on pitching -- at least that's what history tells us. And because their rotation is pretty good (you may have heard about some of these guys), they focus on relievers, likely ending a streak of five years of adding a starter midseason. The team is likely one of the many suitors for Padres closer Heath Bell, although some suggest the Phillies prefer Mike Adams. Padres owner Jeff Moorad has reportedly told Adams he won't be traded. However, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres, the Phillies are willing to give up Class A first baseman/left fielder Jonathan Singleton in return for Adams.

Another bullpen trade partner could be the Orioles, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler said. The Phillies could be interested in Jim Johnson or Koji Uehara.

MLB Trade Deadline

As for the right-handed bats, the Phillies are in on the same folks everyone's chasing -- Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence and maybe Jeff Francouer. The biggest hurdle of all for the Phillies is money, as in they've already spent it and they're worried about the luxury tax. The team has just between $2 and $3 million to spend and avoid the luxury tax.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Phillies and Royals have already exchanged names in a possible Melky Cabrera trade. Cabrera is a cheaper, younger switch hitter for those who fall short in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.

Now, if they're going big and bold, Buster Olney of ESPN.com, tweeted the Phillies could go for Pence, centering the deal around right-hander Vance Worley.

Atlanta Braves

Status: Bargain shoppers

Needs: Right-handed bat

Notes: The Braves need a right-handed bat like Roy Halladay needs air conditioning. Atlanta looks like the front-runner for the National League wild card, but don't have much money to spend. The biggest issue right now for Atlanta is its inability to hit left-handed pitchers. Braves hitters are hitting just .211/.285/.337 against lefties, with Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer all below the Mendoza line against southpaws. That's why Jon Paul Morosi's report of the Reds' Jonny Gomes drawing the interest of the Braves makes sense, Gomes kills lefties to the tune of a .340/.446/.547 slash line this season and .281/..377/.510 in his career. There's also the regular names such as Ludwick and Beltran.

To make room for more payroll, the team could trade right-hander Derek Lowe, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien wrote. The Tigers could be interested in Lowe, but would have to take up the rest of the $20 million he's owed through 2012.

New York Mets

Status: One-stop shopping

Needs: Young talent under team control; pitching

Notes: Outfielder Carlos Beltran is the top position player on the market, but his future is clouded by the number of teams that could use an upgrade in the outfield and the fact that he's not for sale, he's for rent. Whatever team gets him won't even get compensation picks if he leaves as a free agent after the season.

The Mets would reportedly rather pay Beltran's salary and get a good young player or top prospect in return. They could unload him to a team willing to pay the roughly $8 million left on his contract, but then they wouldn't get much in return. The Mets would prefer big-league ready pitching talent. New York seems confident it can re-sign Jose Reyes, meaning they're not ready to throw in the towel and go full-on rebuilding anytime soon. 

Beltran, however, does have a no-trade clause. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo!, Sandy Alderson gave Beltran a short list of teams interested -- the Phillies, Red Sox, Braves, Giants, Brewers and maybe the Yankees -- and Beltran hasn't ruled any of them out.

It's pretty certain now that the Mets won't deal Reyes, but it appears they may be holding on to Jason Isringhausen, too, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets.

Washington Nationals

Status: Listening to all offers

Needs: Leadoff man/center fielder of the future

Notes: The Nationals have pieces to deal -- from catcher Ivan Rodriguez to relievers Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Todd Coffey and Sean Burnett, plus starters Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez and Tom Gorzelanny. In short, they're open for business, with GM Mike Rizzo saying no player is "untouchable" -- but then following that up with "we're not going to touch our core." That means, "after a while, they don't ask for [Danny] Espinosa," Rizzo told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Ryan Zimmerman is also likely untouchable, as well as catcher Wilson Ramos.

One name to watch is shortstop Ian Desmond, but that would take quite the return for the team to move the 25-year-old.

More likely to go are some of the team's relievers. The Nats are deep in the bullpen and it's a position that's always in demand. The top tier would be Clippard or even Storen, but that would require Washington receiving a leadoff-hitting center fielder in return, someone like B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus or Denard Span, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal writes.

Florida Marlins

Status: Sellers

Needs: Third baseman, starting pitchers

Notes: The Marlins have starting pitchers that would interest many teams, but they may not part with them. Next year they rename themselves the Miami Marlins when they move into a new stadium and ownership would like a competitive team on the field when that happens.

Ricky Nolasco is the top starter to be had, but Knobler says they'd have to get a younger, cheaper starter in return for the 28-year-old right-hander.

The one the team may part with is Javier Vazquez, but it's not really their decision. Vazquez has a full no-trade clause and isn't in any hurry to leave South Florida. There are few places he'd accept a trade.

Sure to be gone is closer Leo Nunez. The Phillies are interested in Nunez. The other teams desperate for bullpen help -- like the Cardinals and Rangers -- are likely to at least inquire what it may take to get him.

Randy Choate has been verbal this week about his problems with current manager Jack McKeon and could get shipped off for not being a good soldier.

Also on the block are free-agents-to-be Greg Dobbs and Omar Infante. Infante's value is a lot less than it was a year ago.

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

Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:24 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:34 pm
 

Indians on hunt for outfielders, pitching

LudwickBy Evan Brunell

Both Jim Bowden of ESPN and Jon Heyman of SI.com report that the Indians are chasing either Ryan Ludwick or Josh Willingham to add to the club's offense.

While two separate reports give some credence to the rumor, don't forget that both people could be drawing from the same source. Regardless, it's no surprise to see Cleveland nosing about for a right-handed outfield bat, given the struggles of Grady Sizemore to stay on the field and Shin-Soo Choo's broken thumb keeping him out until late August. Add in DH Travis Hafner's brittle body, and despite ranking 10th in baseball in runs scored, you can see how offense is a question mark for the Indians.

Ludwick has seen his offense depressed since being traded to the Padres midway through the 2010 season but has drawn trade interest from quite a few teams and could be a nice complementary piece. Willingham has had his own offensive dropoff since joining Oakland before the season but has been hot in July after an injury and slump dragged down his numbers in June. He's a safer bet than Ludwick to produce, but he also costs more and would come with a higher price tag. Carlos Beltran has also come up as a possible target, although it's unlikely Beltran would waive his no-trade clause to go to Cleveland -- plus the Indians wouldn't want to surrender a top prospect.

More important to Cleveland is shoring up the pitching as CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports. One name to note here is Aaron Harang, as Heyman reported Cleveland's interest on Tuesday. The right-hander is having a bounceback season with the Padres, but pitching in Petco Park is a big reason why. His 3.19 ERA will command a higher price than he's truly worth, while another of Cleveland's targets, Hiroki Kuroda, may not pan out because he has a no-trade clause and wants to stay on the West Coast. As a result, the Dodgers' trade market for Kuroda is quite thin.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, check out Danny Knobler's trade deadline news and rumors.



Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: June 22, 2011 11:34 am
 

Pepper: No rule change needed at 1B

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: There may not be a more interesting division in baseball than the American League Central. While the surprising Indians lead the Tigers by a game, the White Sox and Twins linger. Can the Twins, now just 6 1/2 games out, continue to get themselves in contention? Will Jake Peavy be able to stay in the White Sox's rotation? NESN.com's Tony Lee joins our own Lauren Shehadi to discuss.

RULE CHANGE NEEDED?: And just yesterday, I was going to make a sarcastic joke that I was surprised I hadn't heard Giants fans complain about safety at first base after the Albert Pujols injury.

For weeks after Buster Posey's injury we heard long discussions about changing the rules for plays at the plate and how the catcher had to be protected. Scott Cousins was vilified and scapegoated. Well, Wilson Betemit was taken off the hook when Cardinals manager Tony La Russa put all the blame on the shoulders of rookie Pete Kozma, even though in both cases the injured player deserves much of the blame for being in a  poor position (and I'm not saying either deserved to be hurt, just that they put themselves in a bad spot and got hurt -- it happens).

Anyway, the New York Times is the first (and only that I've seen) to start up the change-the-rules-at-first-base bandwagon. My response? In a word: no.

LUDWICK ON THE MOVE?: Ryan Ludwick was moved last July from one contender to another -- from St. Louis to San Diego (in a three-team trade that brought Jake Westbrook to St. Louis); he could be on the move again.

The Phillies, Marlins and Reds have all reportedly asked about Ludwick's availability. Ludwick is hitting .255/.322/.393 with a team-high nine home runs this season, but is hitting .279/.324/.419 away from Petco Park.

The Padres could also move some of their relievers, with the Phillies and Cardinals having already checked in on the availability of Chad Qualls and Heath Bell.[FoxSports.com]

SHIPPING HANLEY?: Are the Marlins better off without Hanley Ramirez? Ramirez is in the third year of a six-year, $70 million contract that pays him $46.5 million over the next three years and does not include a no-trade clause. [Palm Beach Post]

MADDON APOLOGIZES: Joe Maddon didn't intentionally pull the wool over the eyes of umpires Monday by not having Sam Fuld face a batter after warming up in the eighth inning, it's just that Bob Davidson was behind the plate, and he didn't know the rule any better than Maddon did. Maddon apologized to the umpires and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. [Tampa Tribune]

FAUSTO FLOUNDERING: One Ohio team has already demoted its opening-day starter to the minors, and the other team may soon be sending its opening-day starter to the bullpen if he doesn't get it together. Cleveland's Fausto Carmona is 4-9 with a 6.17 ERA in 16 starts this season and is 1-6 with a 9.73 ERA over his last seven starts. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

ESCOBAR IMPROVING: Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar has seen his batting average rise nearly 50 points in the last two weeks, and his glove was already playing at a high level. Is the one big-league player the Royals got from the Zack Greinke trade beginning to show why the Royals thought he could be part of their next wave of talent? [Kansas City Star]

HEADED HOME?: The Hanshin Tigers are scouting Hideki Matsui and Kosuke Fukudome if either Japanese player decides to return to Japan after the season. Fukudome would be a better fit for the Tigers, who play in Japan's Central League. Like in MLB, NPB has one league with the DH (the Pacific League) and one without (the Central League). [YakyuBaka.com]

GREEN LIGHT: The Rangers' Craig Gentry is pretty fast. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

RESPECT: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sometimes goes out of his way to tweak the Cubs and Cubs fans, but not when he's talking about the other Chicago team's shortstop, Starlin Castro. Guillen calls Castro "amazing." Guillen gave some encouraging words to Castro after Monday's game, and that meant a lot to the young Cub. [Chicago Sun-Times]

TURNING 20: Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez celebrated the 20th anniversary of his big-league debut Monday. The 39-year-old Rodriguez has 13 Gold Gloves and an MVP since he came up as a 19-year-old with the Rangers. [MLB.com]

NICE PICK: With the Yankees in town, the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with former Reds first-round pick Chad Mottola, who was taken with the pick before the Yankees took Derek Jeter. Mo Egger of ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati breaks down why Mottola wouldn't have played for the Reds even if they picked him. Hint, his name is Barry Larkin.

ARMS SALE: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times looks at what the Mariners could get for Jason Vargas or Doug Fister, two guys who are having pretty decent years.

COMPELLING CAMPANA: A great story in The Tennessean about Cubs outfielder Tony Campana. As a kid in Franklin, Tenn., Campana battled Hodgkin's disease and couldn't play baseball, but was still in the dugout with his teammates, cheering them on. His coaches at the time didn't think he'd survive, much less be in the big leagues.

WORTHY CAUSE: There's a petition online to have Vin Scully call one more World Series. Scully hasn't called a World Series on TV since 1988 and is still one of the best. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]

CUTTER CUT: The Jays have told recently demoted Kyle Drabek to shelve his cutter for now. The team wanted him concentrating more on his fastball, but he kept going back to the cutter more than the team liked. The Jays hope he gains confidence in his fastball and lessens his reliance on the cutter. [National Post]

NO CHANGE IN POSTING: The posting system for Japanese players coming to the United States won't change, NPB Tracker passes along (since I can't read the original Sanspo report).

GOLDEN GROOMING: You may have missed the Golden Groomer Award, a monthly award given to the baseball player with the best facial hair. The last winner was Reds minor league catcher Corky Miller. [OMGReds.com]

LOGO FUN: Check out this really cool graphic of all the team's cap insignias since 1950 (including batting practice). Hat tip to the fine folks at the UniWatchBlog, which had a cool thing worth reading about spotting baseball fields from the sky.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 8, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 5:32 pm
 

Report: Padres could dangle Ludwick

LudwickBy Evan Brunell

The Padres are willing to trade left fielder Ryan Ludwick, and the Reds could be a fit, writes Hal McCoy of The Dayton Daily News.

Ludwick, who was acquired by San Diego from St. Louis at the trade deadline of 2010, has found the going rough thanks to his new home park. He has hit just .234/.314/.367, the worst numbers he's had since becoming a starter in 2007 for St. Louis.

But Ludwick could move to a park friendlier for his offensive talents. Walt Jocketty, the man who brought him to the Cardinals, is now the Reds' GM, and Cincinnati has struggled to fill the left field position capably. Jonny Gomes has lost his starting spot and is fighting with Fred Lewis and Chris Heisey to stay afloat.

The Padres can make Ludwick available because top prospect Anthony Rizzo is on the verge of the majors and would play first base. That moves Brad Hawpe to the outfield. While Cameron Maybin is on the DL, that won't create a playing-time crunch. But once Maybin returns, the Padres will have to go with a Ludwick-Maybin-Hawpe alignment and relegate Chris Denorfia to the bench -- plus block a possible promotion of Will Venable or Kyle Blanks.

While Ludwick is one of the better hitters on a light-hitting team, he's also 32 with a big home/road split. San Diego would likely be better off finding someone more tailored to the home park and who isn't an impending free agent. The Padres are "just" 6 1/2 games out of first. Their 28-34 record isn't entirely worthy of being in last place, though, so San Diego will likely hold off until nearer the deadline to evaluate the team with Rizzo's bat in the lineup -- as well as hope some of the other hitters such as Orlando Hudson catch fire.

If Ludwick becomes available, his struggles in Petco Park won't be enough to dampen interest in him. He's still a solid power hitter, which is increasingly in demand as pitchers take hold of the league.

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




Category: MLB
Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:02 am
This entry has been removed by the administrator.

Post Deleted by Administrator

This message has been removed by the administrator.

Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:48 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Jackson comes through; Wells to DL

Jackson

By Evan Brunell

upEdwin Jackson, White Sox -- Jackson needed this game as Jake Peavy is returning Wednesday and the ChiSox are trying to figure out how to keep Phillip Humber in the rotation. There's been some talk of a six-man rotation -- at least until the team is confident that Peavy is back and will stay back. But a six-man rotation just isn't a good idea for a permanent solution. Jackson would have been the odd man out as he's been the worst starter so far. But on Monday, he delivered the potential that has caused so many teams to take a chance on him. He went seven strong against the Angels, allowing just one walk and whiffing five, while limiting L.A. to just five hits and zero runs. His ERA sank a full 0.69 points all the way down to 4.29. Ozzie Guillen's job just got a lot harder.

Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- As good as Jackson was, Beckett was just as good, posting an identical line save for giving up an extra hit. This marks the fifth excellent start by Beckett (including his rain delay-aborted 4 1/3 innings last time out) and drops his ERA to a pristine 1.99, which is good for fourth in the AL behind Trevor Cahill of Oakland and two Angels teammates in Jered Weaver and Dan Haren. Beckett's resurgence comes as welcome news to Boston who desperately needed a return to prominence from the right-hander for the team to be confident in success in the postseason. Imagine how much more compounded the struggles of Boston would have been if Beckett was delivering an ERA in the 6.00s instead of putting him in the early Cy Young Award chase.

Victor Martinez, Tigers -- Martinez only came off the DL last Wednesday but is on fire, as he has registered a hit in every single game upon his return. Given he had hits in his three previous games before his injury, that marks a nine-game hitting streak for V-Mart, who went 3-for-4 as the Tigers routed the Blue Jays for their sixth victory in seven games. Martinez scored two and drove in three, while all three of hits hits went for extra bases with two doubles and a home run. He's now hitting a cool .293/..344/.488 and has been everything Detroit hoped for when they surprised many with an aggressive offer that got V-Mart signed early in the offseason.  


downVernon Wells, Angels -- Wells hits the disabled list with a right groin strain, and the .183-hitting outfielder will get some time to ruminate on how best to turn around his slump. Wells has actually flashed some power by bashing three home runs in May but still has yet to start stringing hits together. His line on the season is .183/.224/.303, which easily "beats" Carl Crawford out for the worst line by a starting player in the game now that Crawford has gotten hot in May. It's awfully hard to contend that L.A. hasn't gotten better with this injury. The defensively-challenged outfielder will likely be replaced in the field by Bobby Abreu, who has his own defensive limitations but will allow the club to get both Alberto Callaspo and Macier Izturis in the lineup. It's not every day one says Callaspo is better than Wells, but here we are. (And let's quell the speculation; Mike Trout is not getting the call. Bank on Reggie Willits to serve as backup outfielder.)

Javier Vazquez, Marlins -- And the beat goes on, as Vazquez turns in yet another disappointing start in what is an early front-runner for worst free agent signing of the year. Sure, Vazquez is only on a one-year deal, but how many players earn $7 million a year for the Marlins? Anyways, Vazquez's downward spiral with a disappearing fastball and inability to spot his pitches continued by coughing up five earned runs (six total) to the Phillies, going just 4 1/3 with one walk and zero strikeouts and nine strikeouts. He didn't exactly set the tone for the game, giving up a leadoff homer to Jimmy Rollins. At this point, Florida needs to come up with a phantom injury to get Vazquez and his 6.88 ERA away from the team. It's clear he's not right and he needs to fix himself away from the club.

Ryan Ludwick, Padres -- Ryan Ludwick just doesn't like being a Padre, doesn't he? OK, part of it has to do with Petco Park, but still, it's remarkable how far he's fallen since being dealt from St. Louis. You have to give the Cardinals a hand for seeing the writing on the wall, as Ludwick went 0-for-4 on the night with three strikeouts to drop his overall line to .189/.283/.344. Not including Monday's game, Ludwick's career line as a Padre: .205/.298/.339. Someone get him to Coors Field, stat.

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

Posted on: April 21, 2011 1:35 am
Edited on: April 21, 2011 1:37 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/20: Garland goes the distance

By Evan Brunell

Garland3 UP

Jon Garland, Dodgers -- In Jon Garland's second start of the season on the day MLB announced it was taking over the team, he twirled a beauty by going the distance, allowing just four hits, one earned run and two walks while punching out four. That made it a splended 50th birthday for Don Mattingly, as his Dodgers moved one game under .500. Juan Uribe was the hitting star of the game, driving in four runs in three hits for a 6-1 final score.

Ryan Ludwick, Padres -- Ryan Ludwick has been a piss-poor Padre ever since being acquired at the trade deadline last season. Ludwick was acquired both to be a middle-of-the-order bat en route to a postseason berth, then was supposed to make San Diego forget about trading Adrian Gonzalez. Instead, he had a .195/.293/.307 line for S.D. in 300 plate appearances split across two years. Not good, but he woke up in Wednesday's doubleheader. In the afternoon game, he collected two hits and a walk, but the real damage came in the night game. His 2 RBI were instrumental in the 6-5 takedown of Chicago, tacking on two runs and three hits while cranking his second home run of the year. Entering the day hitting .135/.262/.212, Ludwick is now up to .200/.314/.350. Hey, progress.

Shane Victorino, Phillies -- Shane Victorino wasn't supposed to be the leadoff hitter, but has stepped up big time with the loss of Chase Utley and moving of Jimmy Rollins to the No. 3 spot. The Flyin' Hawaiian knocked two hits against the Brewers in three trips to the plate, scoring two runs, driving in one with a homer and walking once. Victorino is now hitting .324/.370/.515 on the year and is certainly the star on offense in the early going for Philadelphia.

3 DOWN

Jason Heyward, Braves -- Jason Heyward has entered a bit of a slump, as his three strikeouts Wednesday dropped his average to .190 even as he's only struck out 11 times this year against 11 walks. Manager Fredi Gonzalez believes Heyward needs to be more patient at the plate as he only has three walks in his past 11 games after walking at least once in the first eight games of the year. "It seems like he’s been making outs and swinging at balls early in counts [and out of the strike zone]," Gonzalez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Heyward didn't seem to take that advice Wednesday, but no worries -- he's too good to dail.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- Ellsbury struck out three times in four plate appearances, tying for the day's second-most strikeouts. Dexter Fowler won that honor with four, but at least added a hit. What Ellsbury's been up to this season is concerning, as Peter Gammons noted on WEEI. Hitting .182/.262/.418 with four homers, Gammons says:

I think one of the things that’s killed them is that Jacoby Ellsbury has forgotten what his job is in baseball, which is to get on base and run. His four home runs, to me, are one of the worst things that’s happened to this team early in the season, because I think it’s encouraged him to get wider and wider with his swing.

They need him hitting leadoff. They need him to get on base 37 percent of the time or 38 percent of the time. I think he’s kind of gotten away from that. I appreciate he didn’t play for a year, and I understand how difficult it is to come back, but I think that’s sort of been overlooked. The guy who’s supposed to hit leadoff isn’t getting on base.

Something to watch.

Charlie Morton, Pirates -- Morton looked like he was onto something as he completely revamped his windup to become a Roy Halladay clone. The problem, however, is that he started relying on one pitch in one location with his sinker. Morton got away with it until Wednesday when he was pounded for six runs in five innings against the Marlins, walking three and whiffing six. Morton's main issues here are trusting his other pitches and cutting down on the walks. He looks promising enough that if he starts mixing in more pitches, he really could be a find. But until he realizes that hs start to the season was the aberration and not the new normal, he'll have more nights like this.

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