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Tag:BRett Lawrie
Posted on: April 19, 2011 10:20 am
 

Pepper: Super Sam

Sam Fuld
By C. Trent Rosecrans

One of the best parts of any new season is seeing players reach their potential -- or in Sam Fuld's case, exceed it.

With a 4-for-4 performance in Monday's win over the White Sox, Fuld is now the American League batting leader, hitting .396. And he made another fantastic catch, as you can see above.

Fuld was acquired in the deal that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs this offseason and learned a little bit about playing at Tropicana Field with his diving catch in the third inning on Tuesday.

"It felt like someone took a blow torch to [his left hand], and then I look at it and then there's nothing to show for it, no blood," Fuld told reporters, including the Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney. "Now I know what turf burn is like."

Replays showed starter David Price screaming and clapping his hands after the play, which helped him win his first-ever victory over the White Sox.

The Rays are giving out a Sam Fuld cape later in the season, but it doesn't appear he needs one.

BASEBALL TODAY -- Lauren Shehadi and I talk about the Rockies pitching Cardinals offense.

FASTEST GUN IN THE MIDWEST -- There's little debate now, the gun at Great American Ball Park is juiced.

On Sunday, it had Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan throwing 102, while Pitch F/X had him hitting 98. On Monday, the scoreboard showed Aroldis Chapman hitting 106, when Pitch F/X showed his third pitch to Andrew McCutchen as "just" 102.4.

Last year I had scouts tell me the gun was pretty accurate, but apparently the excitement around Chapman got the Reds greedy, amping up the radar gun. If he does hit 105 mph again, will it say 110 on the scoreboard? Maybe the gun will make Bronson Arroyo feel better about his heater. [MLB.com]

GOOD SEATS -- Nate Schierholtz's brother was sitting 10 feet from where his mammoth shot landed in the third deck at Coors Field, and paid the guy who caught it $25 bucks to get the ball. [San Jose Mercury News]

STREET WATCH -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy is keeping a close eye on closer Huston Street, who hasn't pitched more than two days in a row this year, but has pitched in 10 of the team's first 15 games. [MLB.com]

AXFORD STRUGGLES -- Brewers closer John Axford had another bad outing on Monday, blowing a 3-2 lead in the ninth of an eventual 12-inning Milwaukee victory. The issues has been control, but manager Ron Roenicke said he's not concerned or thinking about any kind of change. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

AND I WANT TO BE COMMISSIONER -- Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said he still wants to play first base. Manager Ned Yost's response? " You know what, I'd like to be an astronaut -- and for some reason they just won't let me." With Kila Ka'aihue is manning the spot until Eric Hosmer comes in to take it for good. [Kansas City Star]

BRING AN UMBRELLA -- Weather has been bad all around baseball early this season, although attendance hasn't been hurt too much. [Associated Press]

GOOD JOBA -- Joba Chamberlain's velocity is down, but his results are up. His slider has become a good pitch, helping his results. [New York Daily News]

NICE SHOT -- Ryan Raburn's pop foul in the first inning on Monday was the first-ever ball to hit the roof at Safeco Field. [MLB.com]

PLENTY OF GOOD SEATS AVAILABLE -- The Mets' bad start is good if you're looking for bargain shopping on the highest-priced seats at Citi Field. [New York Times]

RIOS AILING -- Alex Rios will be getting a break in the White Sox's series with the Rays to try to help his sore left toe fully heal. Rios said the toe has been hurting him for the last five years, so it's doubtful a simple day off will cure him. [Chicago Tribune]

AARDSMA TAKING THE HILL -- Mariners closer David Aardsma is expected to pitching tonight in Triple-A, his firs tame action since his hip labrum surgery in January. The Mariners will likely wait for him to throw three or four games in the minors before taking him off the disabled list. [MLB.com]

MORE SURGERY FOR ZUMAYA? -- The Tigers put Joel Zumaya on the 60-day disabled list and another surgery is possible on his right elbow. [Detroit Free Press]

NICE CATCH -- David Wright played catch with some young fans at Turner Field the other day. Pretty cool stuff. [Big League Stew]

NEW DUCKS UNIFORM -- The Oregon Ducks have added an orange jersey? Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie models the newest Oregon uniform combo. [WhoSay.com/JeremyGuthrie]

VIN SCULLY ON 42 -- Dodger Gene Hermanski had the idea of everyone wearing No. 42 way back in 1948, Vin Scully said. [Sons of Steve Garvey]

TROP VETERAN -- White Sox rookie Chris Sale recalled going to the first-ever Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays game in 1998 when he was 9. [Chicago Tribune]

NOTHING BREWING IN MINORS -- According to the latest Baseball America, the Brewers have the worst minor-league system in baseball. After trading away Brett Lawrie, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi this offseason, their top-ranked prospect is right-hander Mark Rogers -- the team's first-round pick in 2004. On Monday, Rogers lost to former Brewer starter Jeff Suppan in a Triple-A game. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

MINOR LEAGUER HIT IN HEAD -- Eric Hurley, a right-hander with the Rangers' Triple-A team, was hit in the right side of the head in a game against New Orleans on Monday. Hurley, 25, didn't lose consciousness and was taken to a nearby hospital. He left the field over his own power. [ESPNDallas.com]

THROWBACK THURSDAY -- Not only will the Dodgers be breaking out their new throwback uniforms against the Braves on Thursday, Atlanta will throw in throwback duds. No word yet on which Braves throwbacks we'll see. The Dodgers are wearing 1940s-era blue satin-like unis. To announce the promotion the Dodgers sent out a press release on Brooklyn Dodgers letterhead (or maybe the ownership ran out of their regular letterhead and had to find some at the back of the closet instead of ordering new stock.) [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

TODAY IN GLUTTONY -- The Akron Aeros have introduced a helmet sundae. No, not a mini-helmet sundae, a full-sized helmet sundae. [Akron Aeros]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
Posted on: March 25, 2011 10:01 am
 

Pepper: Young, Daniels clear the air

Michael Young

By C. Trent Rosecrans

With no games to play, sometimes some stories get a little too overexposed. From the Cliff Lee sweepstakes to Chase Utley's day-to-day health and the Jon Daniels-Michael Young feud, we're all pretty much tired of them by now.

The story won't be closed until Young is no longer in a Rangers uniform, then he'll have a press conference, have his say and it'll all be over. For now, he's still a Ranger and back on speaking terms with his general manager. The two met Wednesday and Thursday, and Young said neither minced words.

"I laid out in detail what I was feeling, what my concerns were and gave him the opportunity to do the same," Young told the media on Thursday, including the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. "Anytime you're going to sit down with somebody where there's a problem or an issue and air things out face-to-face, it's always productive."

Young would not say if he still wants to be traded, but Daniels said it's "unlikely" to happen before the season begins -- and Young understands that.

"It created a situation where fans, media and other people in the organization were almost taking sides," Daniels said (again, from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram). "It should have never been that way. We both want the same thing, for the Rangers to win. Through that process, I think Michael took a lot of shots from the media and fan base that from my persecutive weren't necessary."

That last statement is interesting to me -- it's Daniels standing up for Young. He may have thought or said in private some of the same things the fans or media have said, but he's not going to do that in public. It's a wise move, one that  Young -- no matter what he's said in the past -- has to at least see as a move in the right direction.

Maybe Young plays out his days as a Ranger, maybe he doesn't. But either way, hopefully we can end this chapter.

READ THIS TODAY -- The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger writes a great column on former Royal Willie Mays Aikens and his faith. Aikens is dealing with family tragedy even after everything in his life was looking up. After 14 years in jail, Aikens had been hired by the Royals this offseason. I'll let Mellinger tell the rest of the story.

BLAME THE MESSENGER -- Well, once someone says something interesting, we all know they'll come back and claim it's "taken out of context." That's what Buck Showalter did on Thursday, backing away from his comments in the April issue of Men's Journal about the Yankees and Red Sox. [Boston Globe]

GALARRAGA TO BULLPEN -- The Diamondbacks are expected to move Armando Galarraga to the bullpen, with Aaron Heilman taking the fifth spot in the team's rotation. Galarraga has an 8.44 ERA in 16 innings this spring. Galarraga said he still wants to be a starter. [Arizona Republic]

NATS PICK FIFTH STARTER -- Tom Gorzelanny will fill out the Nationals' rotation, manager Jim Riggleman said on Thursday. Livan Hernandez will open the season for the Nationals, followed by Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan and Jason Marquis. [MASNSports.com]

AND SO DO THE Rockies -- Colorado's fifth starter will be right-hander Esmil Rogers. Rogers will follow Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel. [Denver Post]

LAWRIE SENT DOWN -- After saying he was done with the minor leagues this offseason, Brett Lawrie discovered he's not the one in charge of that decision. The 21-year-old third baseman said he was disappointed, but understood his demotion. The Blue Jays acquired Lawrie this offseason by sending Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee in exchange for the former first-rounder. [MLB.com]

ORDONEZ READY -- Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez said he'll be ready for opening day. Ordonez returned to action for the first time since last week on Thursday night. Ordonez went 1 for 4 on Thursday with a double. [MLB.com]

BELTRAN IMPROVING -- Carlos Beltran reported no pain in his knees after a workout on Thursday and Mets manager Terry Collins was so impressed with the way he looked that he wouldn't count out Beltran for opening day. [New York Times]

MORALES IMPROVING -- Orthotic inserts have helped ease the soreness in the left foot of Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales. Morales still won't be available for opening day, but he has gotten the OK by the team's trainers to start "baseball activities." [MLB.com]

DAVIS DRAWING INTEREST -- Doug Davis, the 35-year-old left-hander, threw for as many as eight teams in Tempe, Arizona, on Thursday. Davis made just eight starts last season for the Brewers due to a heart problem and elbow surgery. Among the eight teams to watch him were the Rangers, Rockies, Orioles, Mets and Angels. [MLB.com]

WORK OF ART -- Pedro Martinez will be on hand at the Smithsonian on Friday for the unveiling of his portrait at the National Portrait Gallery. A painting of Martine done by Susan Miller-Havens has been donated to the gallery by MLB.com's Peter Gammons and his wife.  [Smithsonian]

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER -- The man the late Buck O'Neil handpicked to run the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City following the legend's death, is finally getting the job. Bob Kendrick was passed over as the head of the museum two years ago and on the brink of collapse, Kendrick has been tabbed to takeover.

Few people were as upset at the snub as former Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski, who has kissed and made up with the museum on his blog. [Kansas City Star]

FAN-DESIGNED UNIFORM -- I didn't know until yesterday that the White Sox uniforms of the the 80s were the product of a contest run by the team to design a new uniform. Richard Launius, then of Dayton, Ohio, designed the White Sox's pullover Sox uniforms with numbers on the pants.  [ESPN.com]

FOOD NETWORK INVADES YOUR PARK -- The Food Network is offering steak sandwiches at eight ballparks this summer. If you're in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, San Diego, St. Louis or Texas, you can go visit Paula Deen working her cart at your park. What, you don't think she's going to be there? Maybe Morimoto? We can hope. [Sportsandfood.com]

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

 

Posted on: March 23, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Jays notebook: Club intends to run more

DrabekBy Evan Brunell

GM Alex Anthopoulous and manager John Farrell took to the airwaves Wednesday morning to talk about all things Blue Jays. And there were plenty of topics covered.

Farrell, for his part, skirted around the issue of what the Blue Jays did in the past, always a difficult thing to do when you disagree with the philosophy but don't want to burn bridges.

"Planning against [the Blue Jays while with the Red Sox] felt like it was more of a one-dimensional approach," Farrell said according to Drunk Jays Fans (warning: some language). "Now, I'm not saying that's a wrong approach, but I just know that, going up against other teams, it was much more difficult to approach or plan for a team when they had the ability to attack you with different methods. To be more opportunistic is probably I'd best describe it.

"Again, I don't think it's a matter of saying what was done in the past was wrong," he added. "I just feel like -- put it this way, it would be, I think, more of a complete type of game, or a complete style of game, rather than just that one dimension."

It's in this vein that Farrell plans to let players loose on the basepaths more than previous seasons, as that's the quickest fix toward improving the team. Farrell would also undoubtedly like to diversify the offense at the plate beyond being home-run happy, but that will come in due time.

Anthopoulous then came on the airwaves to touch on multiple topics, two of the most compelling being the rotation and service-time manipulation.

The rotation is expected to have Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow at the top, and AA isn't expecting issues from them. However, the pitchers set to round out the rotation -- or those still in contention for a spot -- do have specific aspects the GM needs to see improve.

With Jo-Jo Reyes, in the hunt for the last spot although he's likely to be moved to the bullpen, the lefty needs to stay down in the zone and deploy his secondary stuff effectively. Sounds obvious for pretty much any pitcher to succeed, but it's this aspect that tends to derail a lot of careers. It's not easy to do.

Kyle Drabek (pictured), who is expected to win a rotation spot, needs to be calm on the mound and (surprise), be down in the zone along with featuring his changeup. Meanwhile, Jesse Litsch needs to be able to throw strikes, which can be problematic coming back from Tommy John Surgery

Lastly, while Brett Lawrie has virtually no chance of making the club thanks to Juan Rivera blocking him, "there's a reason he's still here," Anthopoulous said. "He's probably better than we had hoped for at this stage."

That turned to a discussion on service-time manipulation, which is always a factor with rookies and came into play last year with Buster Posey. He believes service time can be folded into the club's goal of doing certain things better than the competition, similar to Tampa Bay's chase for the extra two percent. That includes how players are treated along with what travel, the clubhouse and other factors are like, and service-time manipulation falls into that category, as players know when they aren't being "treated the right way."

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

Posted on: March 2, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Prospects who could vault to top of 2012 list

ChisenhallAs part of the CBSSports.com Top 100 prospects list, there are many who will graduate from the list and thus provide holes to be filled. A fair number will be filled from those who are drafted in June, but there will also be leaps forward by certain players. Here's the top five names to watch for a massive leap forward (no one ranked No. 25 or higher were considered):

No. 30 Jonathan Singleton, PHI
Age: 19
Position: 1B
Bats/Throws: L/L

It's not fair, is it? After the Phillies depleted their farm system to trade for Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, here they are with Domonic Brown ranked No. 3 on the Top 100 list and Singleton No. 30. Singleton could leap up this list with a consistent showing in 2011; he couldn't hold up to a full season in 2010. He's being moved to left field, so will have to sustain his offense while learning a new position.

No. 31 Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE
Age: 22
Position: 3B
Bats/Throws: L/R

Chisenhall is the Indians' great hope to anchor the infield and provide an elite bat alongside catcher Carlos Santana and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. With a strong season, Chisenhall could make a late-season debut although one has to cast an eye toward 2012 for any regular playing time. At just 22, Chisenhall figures to spend the entire year in Triple-A.

T-No. 44 Zach Wheeler, SF
Age: 20
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Wheeler, drafted No. 6 in the 2009 draft, impressed in his first showing in the professional ranks. He started 13 games and relieved in seven more, pitching a total of 58 2/3 innings and turning heads with a 10.7 K/9 rate although that was paired with a 5.8 BB/9 rate. If he can knock down that walk rate, he could zoom up the list. In Wheeler's favor is missing time in 2010 with a cracked fingernail that may have impacted his command. Wheeler could eventually emerge as a No. 1 and shows an ability to handle workloads of 200-plus innings.

No. 63 Nick Castellanos, DET
Age: 19
Position: 3B
Bats/Throws: R/R

Castellanos was drafted No. 44 overall in the 2010 amateur draft solely because of bonus demands. His potential is sky-high and could be the best third baseman on the 2012 top prospect list, although Chisenhall and Brett Lawrie will have something to say about that. The Tigers love taking prep players, and Castellanos is no exception. He has big power and a solid glove, but the jury is still out on how he transitions to advanced competition.

No. 100 Carlos Martinez, STL
Age: 19
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Formerly Carlos Matias, the Red Sox have to be annoyed they lost out on Martinez after faulty paperwork on the player's end. Martinez punched out 78 in 12 starts in the Dominican Summer League over 59 innings and turning the heads of many. Martinez's fastball plays in the high 90s and holds one of the best fastballs in the game as Baseball America's Ben Badler reports. He does need to improve his secondary stuff but at just 19, has plenty of time to do so. Now with a work visa finally secured, Martinez will be stateside for 2011. A top-10 ranking is probably optimistic, but top-25 should be well within reach.

HONORABLE MENTION: No. 44 Brett Lawrie, TOR third baseman and No. 38 Gary Sanchez, NYY catcher.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 12, 2010 7:10 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:58 am
 

R.I.P. Brewers: Pitching poor

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Next up: the Milwaukee Brewers.

Two years ago, the Brewers were exciting and a team to watch. They had potential, they had youth, they had star power. This year, they still had a team. It's not that the Brewers were bad -- they weren't good, but they weren't bad -- they were just immaterial. Still, the team has some talent and some hope for the future.

WHAT WENT WRONG

In a word: pitching. in two words: starting pitching.

Outside of Yovani Gallardo, the Brewers starters were not good. Randy Wolf had a winning record, but Gallardo and Chris Capuano were the only starters with an ERA+ of 100 or better, and Capuano was right at 100, but started just nine games. And then there was Jeff Suppan.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

John Axford The Brewers certainly have a potent offense -- they were third in the National League with a .759 OPS and fourth with 750 runs.

Rickie Weeks had the season everyone hoped he'd have when he showed such promise as a rookie in 2005. Weeks hit .269/.366/.464 with 29 homers and 83 RBI. Corey Hart had a great first half, hitting 21 homers en route to an All-Star appearance, but had just 10 the rest of the season.

John Axford (pictured) was lost in a sea of great rookies in the National League in 2010, but nearly any other season he'd find a way to pick up a Rookie of the Year vote or two as a result of his 24 saves and 2.48 ERA. Kameron Loe and lefty Zack Braddock were also impressive out of the bullpen.

HELP ON THE WAY

Amaury Rivas was a solid starter in Double-A, but beyond him, there's not much immediate impact in the Brewers' minor leagues for the rotation, which is where the team needs the most help.

The team's best position prospect, Brett Lawrie, plays second base. Weeks is headed to his third season of arbitration, so Lawrie may be a good choice to replace Weeks if the Brewers are out of the race at the trade deadline.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

Right after the season ended, the Brewers announce they'd keep ticket prices the same -- that tells you something. Still, most will expect a little better than the 77-85 record. Most will be expecting a record around .500 with anything under the mark as a disappointment.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Brewers have money to play with -- as they shed the contracts of Suppan, Bill Hall and Braden Looper. Plus they'll decline the option on Hoffman. That will help offset the raises set to kick in to Ryan Braun, Hart and Gallardo.

Prince Fielder They need to spend their extra money on starting pitching -- there's not a whole lot of attractive options out there, but I might go for a guy like Javier Vazquez. Vazquez has been a disappointment with the Yankees, but he's an innings-eater and going from the American League East to the National League Central would certainly help. They can also look through the trash heap at a guy like Kevin Milwood, maybe.

The biggest question will be what to do about Prince Fielder. The first baseman is a free agent after 2011, and this offseason would be the best time to ship him out of town. Fielder got his wish and the team jettisoned manager Ken Macha, but he's ready for his final year of arbitration and then free agency. He may be worth more before the 2011 season, but look for the team to hold on to him until the trade deadline.

2011 PREDICTION

The division the Brewers play in can't be stressed enough -- the National League Central has two pretty good teams in the Reds and Cardinals, but it's not as if they have a team like the Phillies or Yankees or Red Sox. If everything breaks right, the Brewers could be in it come September. More likely, though, they'll be comfortably in third place, behind the two better teams but better than the Cubs, Astros and Pirates.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: July 4, 2010 6:13 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2010 6:14 pm
 

Plenty of names available to Mariners for Lee

Cliff Lee Could Jack Zduriencik of the Mariners be trying to engineer a three-team trade?

Buster Olney of ESPN speculates on Cliff Lee's future -- as everyone will do up until he is traded -- and notes that Seattle wants a "difference-making hitter" in any Lee trade.

Olney suggests Justin Smoak from Texas, but it's hard to imagine the Rangers agreeing to that. Perhaps Chris Davis is a more viable alternative, but Texas would then have to upgrade other elements of the package.

Another player that may catch Seattle's eye is Yonder Alonso of the Reds. Alonso was drafted as a first baseman but since Joey Votto has that position locked up, has been playing left. The Mariners could return him to his natural position of first or even slot him as DH, and the Reds would certainly love Lee as they make a push for the NL Central crown.

Olney then turns his attention to Brett Lawrie of Milwaukee. When Jack Z worked for the Brewers, he selected Lawrie in the first round of the 2008 draft. Lawrie has since emerged as one of the best prospects in the game while manning second base. Even though the Brewers are out of the race and wouldn't be interested in a Lee-for-Lawrie swap, Olney speculates that Zduriencik could engineer a three-way trade, sending Lee to the Reds, a stable of pitching prospects from Cincinnati to Milwaukee (fulfilling the Brewers' need for pitching) and Lawrie to the Mariners.

There's nothing to support this trade, but it's an intriguing idea.

All that said, Charley Waters of the Pioneer Press hears that the Twins are the frontrunners for Cliff Lee and are currently deciding whether Wilson Ramos should be made available to Seattle, who craves a young catcher. Interestingly enough, Waters says the Mariners love their 26-year-old catcher, Adam Moore, so Ramos may not be as available. Hard to imagine any team turning Ramos down who is head and shoulders above Moore but even if that's the case, Minnesota has more chips they can send out.

That starts with center fielder Ben Revere, who -- despite a clear lack of power -- has advanced well in the system since being selected in the 2007 draft. Joe Benson is another outfielder in the system that could be available, as well as major-league starting pitcher Nick Blackburn. It's doubtful Seattle would entertain Blackburn as the last thing they need is another back-of-the-rotation starter.

The Cliff Lee sweepstakes are heating up, and it's anyone's guess who plucks the prized left-hander with an obscene 89/6 K/BB ratio.

-- Evan Brunell

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

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