Tag:Alfonso Soriano
Posted on: June 30, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: June 30, 2011 11:00 am
 

Pepper: Don't buy me peanuts or Cracker Jack

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Matt Snyder joins Lauren Shehadi to talk sweeps week in Major League Baseball, as the Phillies, Yankees and Mets go for sweeps in interleague series today.

BASEBALL FOR EVERYONE: A friend of mine has spent a good 15 years of his professional career around his great love, baseball. He's hoped to share that love with his son, named for his favorite player, Nolan Ryan. The two watch games on TV, but haven't been able to experience the game live.

Nolan hasn't been able to sit in the stands and wish for a foul ball to come his way or walk out of the concourse and see the field, hear the crowd roar as Ichiro Suzuki rounds second on his way to third or hear the pop of a Felix Hernandez fastball.

You see, two years ago, like any other toddler, Nolan ate some peanut butter. Soon, he could't breathe and broke out into hives. His parents loaded him into the car and rushed to the hospital. At one point, his mother decide they couldn't wait any longer and called 911 and they pulled over to the side as an ambulance rushed to their aid, closing the I-5. The paramedics were able to get it under control and doctors told them Nolan wouldn't have lasted much longer.

Nolan was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. Since then, they've noticed symptoms in their son if there is even peanut dust in the air. Safeco Field or any stadium was like walking into a poison trap for Nolan. 

Well, that won't have to be the case -- as the Mariners are one of the teams hosting peanut-free games this season, an increasing trend according to this Reuters article. Peanut allergies have doubled over the last decade, and nobody is sure why.

Five times a season, the Tigers offer peanut-free suites at discount prices, the next is Sunday against the Giants and all 70 seats are sold, the Detroit News reports. That's a good sign and hopefully encourages more of this.

PHILLIES GOOD: OK, this is hardly breaking news, but the Phillies' rotation is really, really good -- and that's even without Roy Oswalt.

David Hale of the News-Journal does the math for us, the current five starters in the rotation -- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick -- are a combined 12-3 with a 1.33 ERA in June with hitters managing just a .194 batting average against. WIth Halladay, Lee and Worley starting this month, the Phillies have gone 13-0.

BLAME BUD: While Bud Selig is 100 percent right to want Frank McCourt out as the Dodgers' owner, Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan writes that it's Selig's fault McCourt is in this position to begin with. Instead of finding the best owner for the team in 2004, Selig went with someone who would be on his side.

EXTENSION FOR HARDY: Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is on several team's trade wishlist, but he may not be going anywhere. The Orioles have reached out to Hardy's agent to talk about an extension. Hardy is a free agent after the season. [Baltimore Sun]

NO FIRE SALE: After the Cubs released Doug Davis, general manager Jim Hendry met with the media and assured them there would be no "fire sale." While nobody wants the bloated contracts of Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Zambrano, Hendry insinuated he wouldn't trade the likes of Carlos Marmol or Ryan Dempster. [Daily Herald]

NO FIRE SALE… YET: The Dodgers haven't started "substantive" trade talks yet, but could begin doing so after the break, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets.

ZIMMERMAN'S CHANGES: Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has struggled after rebuilding his throwing mechanics during a season, including allowing the game-winning run with a throwing error on Wednesday. But Zimmerman is convinced he's doing the right thing and it'll pay off in the end. [Washington Post]

WOOD CLOSER: The Cubs could get reliever Kerry Wood back in time for this weekend's series with the White Sox, CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney tweets.

ROENICKE, GREINKE MEET: Brewers manager Ron Roenicke met with right-hander Zack Greinke to "clear the air" after Roenicke felt some of his postgame comments were misinterpreted by the media after Greinke's two-inning start against the Yankees. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

BUCHHOLZ OUT PAST BREAK: After throwing a bullpen Tuesday, Boston right-hander Clay Buchholz said he won't make his next start and could be out until after the All-Star break. Buchholz is dealing with a muscle strain in his back. [Boston Herald]

STRASBURG'S MECHANICS: Stephen Strasburg is back throwing off a mound, but his mechanics look the same, some observers say. Does he need a change? Sports Illustrated's Will Carroll says he doesn't know (and if Will doesn't know, I certainly don't), but it would be wise for the Nationals to look into some biomechanics analysis to make sure his mechanics weren't the reason for his arm injury.

SWISH BEING SWISH: Nick Swisher said his recent turnaround on the field has allowed him to be himself in the clubhouse. [Wall Street Journal]

ECKSTEIN NOT RETIRED: Former Angels (among other teams) shortstop David Eckstein says he's not retired, he's just choosing not to play. There are teams that would be interested in the game's leader of grit, but isn't sure if he wants to return. He sounds like he just needs to be wined and dined in the right way and he'd return. [Los Angeles Times]

NAME GAME: Just as Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle was responsible for Pete Rose's nickname, "Charlie Hustle," another Hall of Famer hung the moniker "Donnie Baseball" on Don Mattingly. Mattingly said Kirby Puckett gets credit for the nickname. [MLB.com]

NAME CHANGE: Remember the old XFL and Rod "He Hate Me" Smart? The CPBL -- the Chinese Professional Baseball League of Taiwan -- is apparently trying some sort of similar name-changing gimmick with its foreign players. One of those is former Royal Dan Reichert who is now Robert 38. [FanGraphs.com]

DODGERS DREAM TEAM: Steve Garvey has put together what he calls a "Dream Team" to buy the Dodgers, including another former Dodger, Orel Hershiser. [SportsRadioInterviews.com]

DIFFERENT DERBY: The Midwest League featured a different type of home run derby, which featured a hitting contest with more than 50 targets and prizes, including a dunk tank. Really, though, the biggest improvement over the big-league version is the absence of Chris Berman. [Benjamin Hill]

BUTCH'S TIRADE: Former big-leaguer Butch Hobson is now a manager in an Independent League, but his tirade from the other night is certainly worthy of the majors. Check him out has he does a combination of Lloyd McClendon and Terrell Owens. [h/t ItsAlwaysSunnyInDetroit.com]

MASCOT FAIL: Is that a sock or are you just happy to see me? Check out this independent league mascot in Amarillo, Texas. Yep. That's not good. [h/t Big League Stew]

BRING A PACKED LUNCH: I've always wanted to go see a game on one of the Wrigley Field rooftops, and I'd still like to -- I'm just not sure I would eat anything they have. Several rooftop businesses failed their health inspections recently. [Chicago Tribune]

CONGRATS CHONE: FanGraphs.com looks at the worst players in baseball based on 2010 and 2011 -- with Mariners infielder Chone Figgins edging Brewers shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for the title.

CIVIL WAR-STYLE GAME: If you're in Savannah, Ga., this weekend, you have plenty of entertainment and dining options, but how about checking out some baseball at a Civil War fort? Fort Pulaski will host a game Sunday featuring rules from 1860. [Connect Savannah]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:02 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2011 5:25 pm
 

With rebuild on way, who could Cubs trade?

Soriano

By Evan Brunell


The Cubs are gearing up for trade season, as GM Jim Hendry and his staff plan to determine the team's future leading up to the trade deadline. The Chicago Tribune says that Chicago will start taking bids on overpriced or underachieving players, as Hendry continues his third rebuild, although he could be out of a job once the season ends.

With those parameters in mind, who could the Cubs deal?

Kosuke Fukudome, right fielder
Original contract:
4 years, $48 million
Contract remaining (includes 2011):
1 year, $13.5 million

Fukudome is enjoying his most productive season and has gotten better with each of his four years in the majors. He's playing center field on Friday for the first time since 2009, which tells you the Cubs are trying to keep his bat in the lineup. He still doesn't hit for much power, but that doesn't matter when you have a .400 OBP. Even better is the fact he is no longer a platoon player against left-handed pitching.

Chance of being traded: Fukudome has never really seemed to fit in Chicago, although his disappointing production to start is partly to blame. The Cubs project to have an Alfonso Soriano - Brett Jackson - Marlon Byrd outfield next season, so Fukudome would appear to be the odd man out. There are several teams in demand of an outfielder and it will be hard to do much worse than Fukudome in production, salary and cost to acquire.

John Grabow, reliever
Original contract:
2 years, $7.5 million
Contract remaining: 1 year, $4.8 million

For a team rebuilding, do they really need a reliever tasked with getting left-handers out -- but isn't? Grabow's contract is obviously not a hindrance, but his performance this season isn't up to par. While he's still getting lefties out at a better clip than righties, he hasn't exactly been a lockdown reliever. In 31 innings, Grabow has walked 11 and whiffing 16, posting up a 4.94 ERA and 4.79 xFIP.

Chance of being traded: Grabow isn't getting the job done overall or against left-handers, and the contract is hefty for his (lack of) production.

Carlos Pena, first baseman
Original contract:
1 year, $10 million

Pena isn't really underachieving thanks to his power production, nor is his contract prohibitive, but a .220 batting average is disappointing even if it represents a 24-point increase over 2010. By trading Pena, the Cubs could give Tyler Colvin an extended shot at playing time in the second half, plus gear up for possible runs at Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. There are teams out there that would welcome Pena's 14 bombs and .350 OBP.

Chance of being traded: Pena will probably stay, as none of the clear contenders other than the Angels appear to have any interest or need of a first baseman. If Washington somehow stays hot and inserts itself in the postseason race, they could use Pena as Adam LaRoche is now lost for the season due to injury. Washington actually coveted Pena over LaRoche, but the former Ray opted for Chicago.

Aramis Ramirez, third baseman
Original contract:
5 years, $75 million
Contract remaining: 1 year, $14.6 million, plus $16 million club option ($2 million buyout)

Ramirez has a no-trade clause and has already said he won't allow a trade out of Chicago, but he could always change his tune based on where he would be traded or just by flat-out changing his mind. After all, as Alfonso Soriano said recently, why would you block a trade if the team wants you out? Ramirez had a brutal first half last season before recovering in the second half. He hasn't been much better this season.

Chance of being traded: Unless a team is really desperate and the Cubs agree to cover the buyout plus some of his current deal (fat chance), Ramirez is staying.

Alfonso Soriano, left field
Original contract:
8 years, $136 million
Contract remaining: 4 years, $72 million

Soriano's 2009 is looking more and more like an aberration -- at least for now. That's good, but he still hasn't reached the level of play he flashed in his first two years with the Cubs. The 35-year-old is a liability on defense, is showing regression in plate discipline without much difference in contact levels and is just overall a massive risk for a team to take on.

Chance of being traded: Unless Soriano is part of another bad contract trade (for Barry Zito?), he's going to be finishing out his deal. How this contract is going to look in two years is a scary thought.

Carlos Zambrano, starting pitcher
Original contract:
5 years, $91.5 million
Contract remaining: 2 years, $38.875 million, plus $19.25 million vesting player option

Out of all the players on the list, Zambrano looks the most appetizing. Unfortunately, it's almost by default. Big Z has just one year after this remaining on his deal and it's a long shot he will get that player option to vest as he has to finish in the top four of Cy Young Award voting next season to trigger it. But as everyone knows, he's quite a hothead and is too erratic and inconsistent in his pitching. His 4.50 ERA won't draw any fans, although he's always capable of ripping off a dominating stretch as everyone witnessed in his final 11 starts of 2010.

Chance of being traded: Teams are always in need of pitching, so Zambrano might be able to find a new home by July 31. The odds are that he stays and is part of the rumor mill during the offseason.

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


Posted on: June 22, 2011 5:44 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 6:12 pm
 

Soriano says comments were 'misinterpreted'

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Alfonso SorianoToday's "misinterpreted" comments are from Alfonso Soriano.

Soriano was upset Wednesday when he said he was "misunderstood" in his comments about Cubs fans -- that they were the "worst" -- found here.

"The fans here are good. at the same time, when you're doing bad, they boo," Soriano told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "But if you're doing good, they clap for you. It's nothing like I said they are bad fans. Here, everywhere -- Cincinnati, St. Louis -- any ballpark you go to and you're doing [bad], what are they going to do? They're going to boo you. If you're doing good, they're happy. So it's not like they're the worst fans in the world."

Soriano said he was just talking about Adam Dunn and how he felt sorry for him. He also said he doesn't mind when he's booed.

"I don't know why [the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer] tried to make it like I don't like the fans in Chicago," Soriano said. "Because I enjoy playing in Chicago and I enjoy playing for the fans in Chicago."

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Posted on: June 21, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 6:53 pm
 

Pepper: Pujols' injury keeping him in St. Louis?

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Well, just who is that handsome man joining Lauren Shehadi today? Why, it's me. Hear me ramble about Josh Outman, Dillon Gee and the Marlins in today's Baseball Today.

Cubs TO PASS ON PUJOLS: There are questions about whether the Cubs can even afford to go after Albert Pujols, but the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer speculates that Pujols' wrist injury could keep the Cubs from even entering the sweepstakes for the three-time MVP.

Although Pujols has been incredibly durable throughout his career, the injury he suffered Sunday could send red flags to teams considering the long-term investment that Pujols will require. Pujols will likely be looking for the security of a long deal, one that could be the final contract of his career. With concerns about his health, the Ricketts family may just have the excuse they were looking for as to why the Cubs can't lure Pujols from St. Louis.
It could also be nothing; it could be a blip on Pujols' career -- but at this age, you have to consider how long you can be saddled with a declining player. The Cubs have been hamstrung by contracts in the past (see Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Milton Bradley) and a decline triggered by injuries and aided by age can even happen to the game's best players (Ken Griffey Jr.).

There'll still be a market for Pujols after the season, that's for sure. But it'll be interesting to see what kind of markdown there will be following Sunday's injury.

Or, perhaps, this spurs the Cardinals and Pujols to reconsider signing an extension during the season, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo! urges both sides to consider.

Either way, the injury may hurt the Cardinals in the short term but help keep Pujols in St. Louis for the rest of his career.

M'S LEADER: In St. Louis, Brendan Ryan's energy and personality was seen as an annoyance to Tony La Russa. In Seattle, it's a positive, as the shortstop has emerged as a team leader for the surprising Mariners. [Seattle Times]

HOLD FOR FULD: And yet another chapter in the legend of Sam Fuld. While Fuld's numbers have dropped from his hot start, he helped out the Rays in another way Monday -- on the mound. Really, Fuld warming up for the eighth inning isn't as much a testament to Fuld as it is manager Joe Maddon. The Rays needed more time to warm up lefty Cesar Ramos and since Fuld had already entered the game in the pitcher's spot, he didn't have to throw a pitch in the eighth but did take up enough time to allow Ramos to get ready to pitch. [St. Petersburg Times]

NEXT PROSPECT UP: 'Tis the season for prospect call-ups, and the next one may be the Pirates' Alex Presley, the team's 2010 Minor Leaguer Player of the Year who's hitting .332/.382/.506 with eight home runs in Triple-A. Pirates GM Neal Huntington said if the Pirates weren't in the stretch of games in American League parks, Presley would already be with the big club. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

PASSING OVERBAY: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said first baseman Lyle Overbay won't start during the team's series with the Orioles to work on his hitting. Garrett Jones started at first in Overbay's place Monday. Overbay is 4-for-30 in his last 11 games, dropping his season line to .228/.307/.353. Hurdle said Overbay may still be used to pinch-hit or as part of a double switch, but Jones will start the next two games. [MLB.com]


NL CATCHES A BREAK: While the National League gets pounded by the American League in interleague play, the senior circuit may catch a break in the All-Star Game. The way the Tigers' rotation shakes out, Justin Verlander would pitch on the Sunday before the July 12 game in Phoenix, making him ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game two days later. [MLB.com]

INSIDE THE BASEBALL STUDIO: In one of the great, "I wish I would have thought of that" features of recent years, Patrick Cain of FanGraphs.com asks baseball players actual questions from James Lipton on Inside the Actor's Studio. His first one is with Reds starter Bronson Arroyo -- I will say, it'll be interesting to see how many guys go along with this. Bronson's one of those who will answer any question -- and give you great answers. Anyway, bravo Patrick, bravo. 

JOEY BALLGAME?: Had the Reds not taken Joey Votto in the second round of the 2002 draft, the Yankees were ready to snap up the reigning National League MVP. Former Yankee scout Dick Groch was in Votto's living room on draft day waiting for the Yankees to take him. It wasn't quite that close, though (not like, say, the Reds skipping Derek Jeter to take Chad Mottola in 1992), as the Reds selected Votto with the 44th overall pick. The Yankees didn't have a pick until 71 after losing their first-round pick by signing Jason Giambi as a free agent in 2001. So, even if the Reds had passed on Votto, we might be saying the same thing about whatever team picked him up between picks 45 and 70. [ESPNNewYork]

RAYS WOES: There was some positive baseball attendance news from this past weekend, but it wasn't coming from Tampa Bay. The Rays are second-to-last in attendance, yet have the most affordable tickets in professional sports, according to an ESPN the Magazine. [Tampa Tribune]

COFFEY RUN: Nationals reliever Todd Coffey has sprinted in from the bullpen his entire career. At the Nationals' annual Dream Foundation gala on Saturday night, Coffey made his entrance at a full-on sprint -- in a tuxedo. [Washington Post]

RICKEY A LINK TO THE A'S PAST: Rickey Henderson is working as a roving instructor in the Oakland minor league system. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy remembers how beloved an older Rickey was in San Diego, while the San Francisco Chronicle's Gwynn Knapp says Rickey is a link to the team's successful past. Rickey being Rickey can't but help Rickie's brother, Jemile Weeks, and the rest of the A's. 

HUGHES' ROAD BACK: Coming off an impressive start for short-season Staten Island on Sunday, Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes will make another start Friday for Double-A Trenton. [Trentonian]

Mets MESS: The Mets owners fired back at Irving Picard, the trustee overseeing the Bernie Madoff bankruptcy case, in their motion to dismiss the $1 billion lawsuit filed against them. [New York Daily News]

CANADIAN HALL: One of my all-time favorite baseball cards was the Topps Tom Henke All-Star card from 1988. I'm not sure why it always amused me so much, but I'm sure it had to do with the glasses. Still, the glasses often overshadowed one of the best pitchers of the 80s. Henke was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this past weekend. [National Post]

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

Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:01 pm
 

On Deck: How about a Zito-Soriano swap?


By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Is 80-year-old Jack McKeon the answer for the Marlins? MLB.com's Tom Boorstein joins Scott Braun to talk about the Fish, Albert Pujols and more. Click on the video above to hear about it all.

TRADE IDEA: There's an old saying that you don't trade players, you trade contracts. And there are hardly two contracts worse than those belonging to Giants lefty Barry Zito and Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News suggests those two swap teams -- well, because it wouldn't hurt. Barry Zito would help out the Cubs' awful pitching, while Soriano would help the Gints' offensive worries. Soriano is paid through 2014, while Zito can be bought out before that season. The Giants would end up paying $7.75 million more in the deal, but Soriano is probably that much more valuable than Zito for them, considering the team's pitching depth.

Sure, both players have full no-trade clauses, so there's that, but it could happen. Baggarly notes he's just spitballing and that he hasn't heard anything about this kind of trade -- but it makes some sense. It's not totally unheard of for the Cubs, who made the bad contract swap with the Mariners before the 2010 season sending Milton Bradley to Seattle for Carlos Silva. It's an interesting thought, that's for sure.

MANAGING THROUGH PAIN: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was rushed to a Phoenix hospital Sunday morning where he passed a kidney stone before returning to Chase Field about two hours before the team's 8-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. [Chicago Tribune]

SPEEDY GONZALEZ: Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez legged out a triple Sunday for his 1,000th career hit. It was actually his third triple of the season, two more than Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. "I was telling Jacoby I have more triples than you do. What's going on?" Gonzalez told reporters after the game (via WEEI.com). "He just said, 'Hey, you're faster than me.'" And a better hitter. 

CLEAN PLAYS: Giants fans are sure to disagree, but Yankees catcher Russell Martin said the play in which Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena bowled into him on Saturday clean, and so was the hit that ended the season of Giants catcher Buster Posey. Martin said it's only a dirty play if the catcher is standing in front of the plate and the runner goes out of his way to hit him, which wasn't the case for Posey and the Marlins' Scott Cousins. [MLB.com]

WEBB STRUGGLES: Rangers right-hander Brandon Webb gave up six hits and four runs in two-thirds of an inning at Double-A Frisco on Sunday.

GOOD NEWS FOR Astros: An MRI revealed no structural damage in the elbow of right fielder Hunter Pence, who has a sprain in his left elbow. He is listed as day-to-day, but manager Brad Mills said he is "questionable" for the Astros' upcoming series against the Rangers. [Houston Chronicle]

NATS PLANS UNCHANGED: You may not have noticed the Washington Nationals are one of baseball's hottest teams, winning eight in a row before Sunday's loss and are now just 4 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Wild Card standings. That doesn't change Mike Rizzo's plans for the future. The biggest decision may be whether to deal starter Jason Marquis at the deadline. If the Nats go into another funk before the end of July, they'll likely deal him. [Washington Post]

GOOD IDEA: Orioles reliever Chris Jakubauskas picked up his first big league hit on Sunday and with that came his first play at the plate when third base coach John Russell waved him home on J.J. Hardy's double in the fifth inning. He was out by a mile. "My main thing was don't fall down, because when I hit third my legs got Jello-ey," Jakubauskas told MASNSports.com.

Mets HEALING: David Wright played catch and took ground balls on his knees Sunday and is expected to ride an exercise bike on Monday as he rehabs from a stress fracture in his lower back. He's expected to have more news after an evaluation later this week. Meanwhile, lefty Johan Santana is still long-tossing and hopes to return to the mound later this week. [Star-Ledger and ESPNNewYork.com]

SMOKELESS Rays: Tampa Bay will be wearing the uniform of the Tampa Smokers on July 2 for their yearly Turn Back the Clock game, but when they released the pictures of the jersey, the team isn't staying true to the team's old logo. The Rays are omitting the cigar pictured on the original jersey, which is just a shame. We all know smoking is bad for you, but if you're not going to actually want to show a cigar, you probably should honor a team called the "Smokers." [JoeRaysFan.com]

THE YANKEE STRIPPER: Need a gift idea for the Yankee fan who has everything? Well, how about a photo of a showering Joe DiMaggio?

A photo from a postage shower us up for auction at Lelands.com if you're interested in that sort of thing. [San Francisco Chronicle]

FATHERLY ADVICE: When the Blue Jays demoted Kyle Drabek to Triple-A, he made a call to his dad for some advice. That's a pretty good idea when your dad has 155 career victories and a Cy Young Award on his mantle. [The Canadian Press]

HEFTY BILL: I'm not sure how aware most casual fans are of this unwritten rule of baseball, but when a big league star has a rehab appearance at the minor-league level, the tradition is the big leaguer buys the postgame meal for the team. Zito says his four rehab starts have cost him $4,500. Somehow, I think he can afford it. [San Francisco Chronicle]

ANOTHER GOOD BAUTISTA FEATURE: Last week Jeff Passan of Yahoo! wrote a great feature looking at the backstory of Jose Bautista. This weekend the Toronto Star's Vinay Menon wrote another good look at the guy who may be baseball's best player right now.

ANOTHER FATHER'S DAY STORY: Former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu tells the Toronto Star about his father and grandfather, who were in a Japanese-American internment camp in California during World War II.

HARPER RESTS: Bryce Harper sat out his second consecutive game on Sunday, as the Nationals determined he needed to rest more than play at this point. The Hagerstown Suns had been eliminated from winning the South Atlantic League first-half title, so they gave Harper some time off. Harper finished his first half of professional ball hitting .330/.429/.586 with 14 homers, 45 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 227 at-bats. He will certainly play at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday and may then be promoted to high-Class A Potomac for the start of the second-half of the Carolina League season starting on Thursday. [Washington Post]

BAD TRAVEL DAY: Tacoma Rainers broadcaster Mike Curto has the details on the Triple-A team's rough travel day on Friday that saw the team get to the park at 6:45 p.m. for a game that was scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.

DOES BASEBALL NEED TO BE CHANGED?: The Los Angeles Times asked various people -- including a filmmaker, an actor, an artist and a physics professor -- about how to improve the game. Some of the suggestions are benign, some ridiculous and few give easy answers. But it's an interesting read, anyway.

VENTURA PAIN-FREE: There have been few baseball injuries as grotesque as the one former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura suffered in a spring training game against Boston in 1997, when Ventura ran slid into Red Sox catcher Bill Haselman and then Ventura held his leg up with a dangling ankle. Today, he's pain-free after an ankle transplant. [Los Angeles Times]

PINGLESS: If you watched any of the College World Series this weekend, you noticed the ping of aluminum bats has been replaced by more of a thud sound. That's because college baseball changed to bats that perform more like wood this season. The results have been dramatic. [New York Times]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 15, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 5:42 pm
 

Soriano activated, Barney to DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Alfonso SorianoThe Cubs' Alfonso Soriano is back with the Cubs and the team has placed Darwin Barney on the DL with sprained left knee and activated Soriano, the team announced.

Soriano was on the disabled list with a left quad strain. He went 1 for 13 in three games with Triple-A Iowa.

According to Muskat, Soriano was at Wrigley Field and headed to take batting practice. Soriano was placed on the DL on May 31, but at the time said he didn't think he'd need the full time to get healthy. Playing the last three nights makes it clear he was right.

Soriano was hitting .271/.297/.525 with 12 home runs when he went on the DL.

The rookie Barney has been one of the Cubs' best players this season, hitting .294/.321/.359. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:04 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Soriano hits DL with quad injury, Colvin recalled

By Matt Snyder

After straining his quad Monday afternoon, Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano has been placed on the 15-day disabled list (Cubs.com via Twitter). Soriano injured his left quadriceps when trying to beat out a grounder in his first at-bat against the Astros Monday in Chicago. He left the game immediately and was replaced in left field by Blake DeWitt. As a corresponding move to Soriano hitting the DL, Tyler Colvin has been recalled.

Soriano has been swinging a power bat for the Cubs this season. His 12 home runs are the second-highest total in the National League behind Cincinnati's Jay Bruce, and he's hitting .271 with an .823 OPS. Soriano is a bit of a circus act in left, but the Cubs will definitely miss the pop in his bat.

Cubs manager Mike Quade will reportedly use DeWitt as his regular left fielder, but there's no doubt that Colvin will see some looks as well. DeWitt was in the second base mix to start the season, but that job has been grabbed and held strong by rookie Darwin Barney. DeWitt is hitting .280 with a .714 OPS in 51 plate appearances. He was 3-4 Monday in taking over for Soriano.

Colvin, 25, had a good season as a rookie for the Cubs in 2010. He hit .254 with 20 home runs and an .816 OPS in less than 400 plate appearances. He scuffled in a big way early in 2011 with part-time at-bats, hitting just .113 with an abysmal .449 OPS. He was demoted to the minors a few weeks ago and hasn't really been great in Triple-A (.260 average, .783 OPS).

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Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:34 am
 

Pepper: Pirates best at something


By Matt Snyder


BASEBALL TODAY: Eye on Baseball's C. Trent Rosecrans joins Adam Aizer to talk about the impressive month of May that Jay Bruce has put together and much more. Check out the video above.

TOP STADIUM? PNC PARK: In a blog over at NYTimes.com, the writer compiled data on every major league ballpark from yelp.com, which gathers fan reviews. The attempt was to get a mass audience instead of simply having one person give an opinion about the best parks. Pittsburgh's PNC Park was first place and it was rather strong. This isn't entirely surprising, as most everyone raves about the yard. The problem is the Pirates have been a futile franchise for so long you rarely so it more than about 1/3 full. Fenway Park (Boston), AT&T Park (San Fran), Target Field (Minnesota) and Camden Yards (Baltimore) round out the top five. The bottom three are Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay), Overstock.com Coliseum (Oakland) and Rogers Centre (Toronto). You have to figure places with polarizing fan bases (Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium) are a bit hurt here by fan rankings and places with overly happy fans (St. Louis) get a bit of a bump. Overall these are pretty good, though.

SORIANO GOES DOWN: Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano had to leave with an strain to his left quad after his first at-bat Monday afternoon. He was trying to beat out a ground ball down the third base line and pulled up lame about three steps from first base. He left the game immediately and was replaced in left field by Blake DeWitt, who proceeded to go 3-4 the rest of the way. If Soriano hits the DL, expect Tyler Colvin to get recalled, though Cubs manager Mike Quade said DeWitt's going to be the first option in left. (Chicago Tribune)

MORE ON POSEY INJURY: Because it's been a few days since we mentioned the most important injury in the history of the world (yes, that is sarcasm), former catcher Mike Matheny believes the Scott Cousins hit to Buster Posey was unnecessary, but not dirty and there's no reason for a rule change. “It’s not a dirty play,” he said. “He didn’t come high spikes or elbow. But it wasn’t a necessary play. I loved the play at the plate as a catcher. But when a guy goes out of his way to get you, I’m not a big fan of that. It was avoidable.” So, basically, Matheny agrees with the majority of the sports world. Cool. I like Buster Posey and wish him a quick recovery, but it's utterly amazing how much fallout there's been from this injury. (Mercurynews.com)

SCORE ONE FOR STATHEADS: One of the things the old-school crowd likes to say about sabermetrics, in a pound-my-chest sort of way, is that none of them played the game. People who played the game know baseball isn't about all these numbers, right? Five time All-Star and one-time Cy Young winner David Cone actually loves advanced metrics, specifically naming WAR (wins above replacement). "Crying the blues over run support drew me into the data a little more,” Cone said last week. “Just my yearning to quantify exactly what I did in my career, trying to compare year-to-year.” Hmmm, sounds like he isn't a fan of judging pitchers on the archaic wins and losses stats. (Baseball Prospectus)

BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL: Miguel Cabrera has had his driver's license suspended every since he was arrested on DUI charges on February 16 and his case is still pending. Cabrera has, however, gotten his license back. It was determined that there wasn't enough evidence Cabrera was actually driving while intoxicated on the night of the arrest, as he was drinking a bottle of scotch in his broken-down vehicle. Let's hope this doesn't mean he gets behind the wheel while intoxicated any time soon, but he'd have to drink first. The focus seems to be on him not drinking at all, so that's more important. (Detroit Free Press)

GOOD GENES: Diamondbacks' manager Kirk Gibson very much appreciates the U.S. military, as he pointed out on Memorial Day. Things hit a bit closer to home for Gibby, as his father was actually on the USS Missouri in 1945 when the United States and Japan signed a peace treaty that ended World War II. (MLB.com)

GREAT STORY: Without re-writing the entire thing, there's no way to do justice to the story of Pawtucket strength coach Mike Roose (just click here to read on MLBlogs). Thousands of Americans have served in the military -- Roose served in the Air Force -- so it's not like he's incredibly unique, but it's cool to read about his experiences. Here's a quick quote as a preview, about when he U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein (he was there): “It was surreal,” Roose said. “It’s one of those things that you think is mythical. It’s like the Pyramids of Egypt – until you see them they don’t seem real. But Hussein is just a man. He’s flesh and blood and I saw emotions like fear and cowardice. It’s something that I’ll never forget and I’m glad we took care of him, but there’s a lot more stuff over there that needs to be done.”

TRADE TALK: When the calendar turns to June this week, it's going to be time to fire up the ol' rumor machine, as teams will begin to move into buying or selling mode. As a head start, Foxsports.com offers up the Padres, Mets, Twins, Blue Jays and Rays as bullpen sellers. Fangraphs.com gives us some first base/DH trade targets. I'm not sure the Royals would cough up Billy Butler unless they were bowled over, but I'm sure he isn't untouchable. Everything else on both lists is very realistic. If the Rays seem out of place due to being a contender, Foxsports.com made sure to point out the Scott Kazmir trade. If the Rays feel like they can get better in the long term, they'll gladly move someone.

CHAPMAN ELIGIBLE TO RETURN, BUT NOT READY: Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday, but what he did on his rehab stint wasn't very good. In 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville, Chapman allowed seven runs (13.50 ERA), nine hits, two walks and two wild pitches. He did strike out eight. The Reds do have injury issues to their pitching staff, so a healthy Chapman would at least fill a vacancy, it's just that if he's as bad as he was before leaving injured, that doesn't help the team. "We want him sharp. That's the second part of this rehab stint. One was to get healthy and two was to throw the ball the way he's capable of throwing," said Reds pitching coach Bryan Price. (MLB.com)

AND PEOPLE MAKE FUN OF FANTASY BASEBALL: A 58-year-old man is playing out the 2008 baseball season with a tabletop game called APBA, in which you use dice and player cards. He has finished the regular season and it's time for the playoffs -- only he uses the format from the pre-Wild Card days. His playoff teams: Cubs, Dodgers, Angels, Red Sox. All four of those teams did make the postseason, but neither of the real World Series teams (Phillies, Rays) made it. The man is doing it because he says it relaxes him. Hey, to each his own, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around this when there are still so many who think it's cool to make fun of fantasy baseball. At least fantasy players actually watch games and use real data. (Ohio.com)

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