Tag:Doug Fister
Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 5:38 pm

Thursday afternoon rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It appears the Padres' Heath Bell may be the next big name off the trade board. CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller writes the talks are heating up, but there's still plenty of other trade rumors out there, so here we go:

• The Red Sox are looking at starting pitching, but they are telling team's they're focused on a right-handed-hitting outfielder, CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler tweeted.

• Knobler also reports the Tigers are down to three options for a starter -- Hiroki Kuroda, Aaron Harang and Jeremy Guthrie.

• Have the Red Sox and Mariners matched up for a deal? FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports the Mariners had two scouts watching the Red Sox's Triple-A team on Wednesday and another eyeing the Double-A team. The Red Sox are "all over" left-hander Erik Bedard, a source told Rosenthal. Boston could also be interested in right-hander Doug Fister or closer Brandon League, too.

• Bell expects to be a Ranger by Friday. Why? His parents are flying in from Texas on Thursday to spend 10 days with his family in San Diego, Bell joked to reporters after Wednesday night's game. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune also says the Braves, Indians and Reds are the most interested in Ryan Ludwick, but you may want to cross the Indians off the list after they acquired Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs on Thursday. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets that the Philles are also interested.

• After Wednesday's loss to the Rockies, Kuroda -- who has a no-trade clause -- told reporters, "My honest feeling is that I can't fathom wearing another uniform [other] than the Dodgers uniform right now." Still, MLB.com's Ken Gurick writes the Indians, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Tigers are still making a push for the right-hander. 

• The Brewers are interested in the Dodgers' Rafael Furcal and Jamey Carroll, but the Dodgers will only trade one of the two, Rosenthal writes. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark said the Giants have talked to Los Angeles about Furcal.

• La Valle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says the Twins aren't looking to deal Denard Span, but notes the Nationals may be interested in Ben Revere or prospects Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks.

The rumor on Wednesday was that the teams were considering a Span for Drew Storen trade, but MLB.com's Bill Ladson cites a "baseball source" as saying the Nationals wouldn't do that deal.

• The Twins are looking for bullpen help, FoxSports.com's Tracy Ringolsby writes, and could be targeting the Rockies. Colorado could deal right-handers Rafael Betancourt, Matt Lindstrom and Matt Belisle, and could even give up closer Huston Street for the right price. The Rockies would be interested in Minnesota's Kevin Slowey.

• Rangers manager Ron Washington reiterates his call for bullpen help. The team is apparently interested in Bell and Leo Nunez, with Robbie Erlin and Chris Davis being dangled.

• The Phillies have given up on getting Houston's Hunter Pence, Heyman tweets. The Braves are the last team in on Pence, he said.

• The Mariners will be busy selling off pieces between now and Sunday's deadline, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes.

• The Cardinals are focusing on middle-infield help, Rosenthal tweets, as shortstop Ryan Theriot struggles.

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

Posted on: July 26, 2011 4:50 pm

On Deck: Seattle primed for 17th straight loss

On Deck

By Evan Brunell

Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

MarinersCHASE FOR 17: The Mariners will go for their 17th straight loss on Tuesday, running up against the powerful Yankees and ace CC Sabathia. That's a tall task for the Mariners, who will offer up Doug Fister. Fister isn't exactly a terrible pitcher, but he's no Sabathia. Fister's success this season is dependent on a below-average walk rate and limiting home runs, which isn't exactly hard to do in his home park, where he's allowed two of his six homers on the season. By the way, fun fact on the 16 straight losses by Seattle: Back in 2001, the Mariners won 116 games, and their 16th loss of the year was on June 18. Mariners vs. Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET

KarstensHansonBEST MATCHUP: Yep, your good old Pirates are part of the best matchup, which will pit Jeff Karstens and his surprising 2.28 ERA against the Braves' fireballer Tommy Hanson. Hanson has a 3.0 ERA and is really the better pitcher to have both this year and in the long run because of his excellent peripherals, but Karstens has registered the second-lowest ERA in the NL. He's done so by taking a minuscule 4.2 walk percentage, fourth lowest in all of baseball. And these days, every win is paramount in Pittsburgh as it will put more and more pressure on the front office to make a move to improve the club, which everyone and their mother agrees is necessary. The Pirates are tied for first with the Cardinals, a mere half-game up on the Brew Crew. Atlanta, meanwhile, has fallen to six games behind Philadelphia and at this point have to be more concerned with ensuring their grip on the wild-card race Pirates vs. Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

VerlanderCY YOUNG SHOWCASE: The Tigers are one game ahead Cleveland for first place, and what better pitcher to keep Detroit in first than Justin Verlander? Seemingly the leader for the AL Cy Young Award, Verlander has a 2.24 ERA in 165 innings, punching out 162. While he's been untouchable much of the year, one of his worst starts of the season came on Jul 15, allowing five runs in six innings. The White Sox, meanwhile, are caught between deciding to go for it or rebuild. At just 3 1/2 out, the series outcome could put a stamp on Chicago's future. It already took down Detroit on Monday, so can be assured of a series win Tuesday as the ChiSox offer up Jake Peavy, a one-time Cy Young Award winner who is now struggling to stay healthy and contribute in the AL. Tigers vs. White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 11:24 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 11:38 am

On Deck: Runs at a premium in Toronto


By C. Trent Rosecrans

Dodging a dozen: Seattle's lost 11 games in a  row, but has shown signs of life in the first two games of the series in Toronto, scoring at least five runs in back-to-back games for the first time since June 2-3. Starter Doug Fister can only dream of that kind of support -- he is getting the worst run support in the majors at 2.03 per game and just one run in total for his last three starts. Overall he's 3-11 with a 3.18 ERA, a better ERA than Michael Pineda, Felix Hernandez, Jon Lester and David Price. His opponent, Ricky Romero owns the same 3.18 ERA, but hasn't gotten much help either. In the 12 of his starts that the team has lost, they've scored 24 runs. In his last start against the Mariners, he threw a five-hit complete game, but lost 3-2. Mariners at Blue Jays, 12:37 p.m. ET (Follow live)

C.J. WilsonJered WeaverAll-Star showdown: The Rangers' 12-game winning streak is over, and now they've got to face manager Ron Washington's choice to start All-Star Game, Angels right-hander Jered Weaver. In Phoenix, Washington said Weaver was one of the most intense competitors he'd ever faced. Not only is he a competitor, he's a heck of a pitcher. Weaver's 12-4 with a 1.90 ERA, the best mark in the majors. As good as he's been this season, he's been even better lately, going 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his last 10 outings. The man Washington is putting on the mound today isn't too bad either -- and he was in Phoenix as well -- as C.J. Wilson is 10-3 with a 3.11 ERA. He's 6-0 with a 2.80 ERA in his last 10 starts. Rangers at Angels, 3:35 p.m. ET (Follow live)

CC SabathiaHappy birthday CC: Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia will celebrate his 31st birthday at Tropicana Field on Thursday night. It marks the third time in his career he's started on his birthday, going 0-1 with a 9.35 ERA in 2002 and 2006. But it would be hard to be pitching better than Sabathia has recently, winning his last seven starts with an ERA of 1.68 over that span. In his last five starts, he's allowed just two runs and struck out 50 in 39 2/3 innings. On the other side is Big Game James Shields, who has a streak of his own -- four starts, all losses. Yankees at Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 2:14 pm

Trade Deadline Primer: AL West

By Eye on Baseball Team

Baseball's trade deadline is just 13 days away. The rumor mill is certainly spinning, but we've only really seen one big move -- the Brewers acquiring Francisco Rodriguez. In the upcoming days we'll take a glance around baseball and sort out what we can expect to see from each major-league team. First up, the AL West, a division that saw several deadline deals last season, including an intradivisional Cliff Lee deal (though that happened in early July). It doesn't appear the landscape is ripe for another blockbuster like that, but let's dive in.

Texas Rangers
Status: Buyers
Upgrade needed: Pitching, both starting and relief.
Possible matches: Padres, Marlins, Nationals, A's, Mariners
Notes: If the Rangers continue to win at this pace and create big separation in the AL West -- they're currently up four games and have won 11 in a row -- they won't feel the need to make a big splash. They have reportedly talked to the Marlins about pitching, with Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Leo Nunez as possibilities (Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports). Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports, however, that the Marlins aren't going to move Nolasco or Sanchez. Evan Grant of Rangers Blog reports the Rangers are interested in Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Andrew Bailey and Brandon League -- though Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says the A's would have to be overwhelmed to move Bailey, since he's under team control until 2014. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also has the Rangers in on Bell, Adams, Bailey and throws in Tyler Clippard of the Nationals. Buster Olney of ESPN says the Rangers are the "leaders" in the Bell/Adams sweepstakes. I'd expect the Rangers to do whatever it takes, within reason, to get to the World Series again.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Status: Frugal buyers
Upgrade needed: Could use more pitching and another bat.
Possible matches: They'd have to shed payroll first, so none at this point.
Notes: Thanks to several high-priced acquisitions in recent memory (Vernon Wells, c'mon down!) the word is the Angels don't want to increase the payroll -- even though general manager Tony Reagins denies that assertation, there's evidence to suggest it. So, while they'd probably like to upgrade several areas -- coincidentally, an upgrade over Wells would be nice -- there won't be much flexibility. Expect the Angels to make minor trades at the absolute maximum. UPDATE: Rosenthal reports Aramis Ramirez is on the Angels' wish list, but that Ramirez still has no intention of waving his no-trade clause for anyone -- at least until after July 31. This is interesting on several levels. Going after Ramirez would completely contradict the notion that the Angels aren't adding payroll. Not only is Ramirez making a pretty penny this season, but a trade would cause a $16 million option for next season to vest. Also, Ramirez's insistence on not leaving starts to make you wonder if he knows the Cubs will pick up his option after the season.

Seattle Mariners
Status: In limbo, but probably sellers.
Players available: Doug Fister, Jason Vargas, Erik Bedard, Brandon League.
Notes: We can't really be sure how things stand just yet. The Mariners were all set to be buyers and were reportedly interested in upgrading the offense, for example. But they've now lost nine in a row and -- teamed with the Rangers' winning streak -- that has buried them. I can't see a reason to move Felix Hernandez, and the Mariners won't, but some are sure to speculate about him. Just take those "rumors" with a grain of salt. All-Star reliever Brandon League could fetch a decent return and, when the Mariners decide to start selling, Bedard seems like a name that could be involved in any trade talks. Knobler also reports that Vargas and Fister are available -- and points out Hernandez and Michael Pineda are not.

Oakland Athletics
Status: Sellers
Players available: Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Conor Jackson and Michael Wuertz. Probably several more, too.
Possible matches: Pretty much any buyer.
Notes: You have to figure at least three of the above players are shipped somewhere. Things will probably go down to the wire, as none are huge difference makers and will probably be last resorts on July 31. Willingham could go sooner, as he's being dangled, it's just that not many teams are overly excited about him. The Pirates are said to be in on him, but could be setting their sights higher on Hunter Pence.

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

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: May 24, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 12:57 am

On Deck: Beckett looks to slow down Indians


By Matt Snyder

Are we in for a low-scoring night? From established aces like Justin Verlander and Dan Haren to up-and-comers like Jhoulys Chacin and Zach Britton, there are plenty of solid arms in action Tuesday night. In fact, there are 21 starting pitchers on the schedule with ERAs below 3.50 and 10 below 2.75 -- and this excludes Josh Collmenter (0.69) and Jorge De La Rosa (3.34), as the Rockies and Diamondbacks are already underway. Granted, some of the guys included are small samples like Johnny Cueto and Vance Worley, but it's still quite a night for good pitching.

Beckett vs. Red-Hot Tribe: It's pretty safe to say the Indians have been on a hot streak for the entire season, or at least at home. The Indians are the best team in baseball at 30-15 but are a ridiculous 19-4 at home. Asdrubal Cabrera stands out as the star of the team at this point, but he hasn't been carrying them or anything. This is a true team in every sense. Trying to slow the Indians down is Josh Beckett, in what should be a good battle. Beckett brings in an AL-best 1.73 ERA. He lost his first start of the season at Cleveland but has been on a different level since then, sporting a 1.38 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings. In four of those eight starts, he has allowed zero runs. In two more, he's allowed just one. Unstoppable force vs. immovable object? We'll see. Fausto Carmona (3-4, 4.76) toes the slab for the Tribe. Boston at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. ET.

Opposite Directions: As Stats, Inc. pointed out Tuesday afternoon (via Twitter), the Twins are looking to avoid their longest home losing streak since they weren't even the Twins. A loss against the Mariners Tuesday evening would mark the 10th straight in Target Field and would match a franchise high ... with the 1957 Washington Senators. As always, the Twins entered the season with high expectations, but they're clearly the worst team in baseball at 15-31. Meanwhile, the Mariners are riding high. They were the consensus last-place prediction in the AL West heading into the season. But after six consecutive victories, they trail the Rangers by just 1 1/2 games in a division that seems completely up for grabs. For Tuesday night, it will be Doug Fister (2.93 ERA and 1.29 WHIP) for the Mariners vs. Nick Blackburn (3.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) of the Twins. As Monday night proved, however, the starting pitchers may not be what determines the outcome. Seattle at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m. ET.

Reeling Reds: After sweeping the Cardinals and Cubs at home by the middle of last week, the Reds were sitting pretty. They had won 11 of 13 overall and appeared to be opening up a decent lead in the NL Central. Then they lost two to the Pirates at home and were swept at Cleveland. After a 10-3 drubbing on Monday night at the hands of the Phillies, the Reds had lost six in a row and are now 3 1/2 games behind the Cardinals. Johnny Cueto (1.45 ERA in three starts) takes the hill and will attempt to stop the bleeding for Cincy. His counterpart will be Philly's rotation replacement Vance Worley, who has been stellar this season in somewhat limited action (1.13 ERA in 16 innings). Someone on the Reds you may not have noticed as they've been losing is Jay Bruce. The 24-year-old outfielder is white hot. He's gone 11-18 (.611) with four home runs, six RBI, five runs and a 1.983 OPS in his last five games. Cincinnati at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 1, 2011 1:43 am
Edited on: May 1, 2011 1:51 am

3 up, 3 down: Shields, Halladay baffle batters


By Evan Brunell

3 UP

James Shields, Rays -- Shields delivered a dominating performance and may be on the way back towards being an ace. However, Shields is an inconsistent player, so we'll have to see how he performs more. Still, he twirled a beautiful start against the Angels, going eight strong with an eyebrow-raising 12 strikeouts against one walk, six hits and an earned run. He combined to strike out the first three batters of the game six times, holding them to 1 for 13 with a walk. This game pushes Shields' ERA down to 2.14.

Roy Halladay, Phillies -- What else do you expect? Halladay rivaled Shields for best pitching performance as he pitched a complete game seven-hitter, allowing a walk and punching eight out. The Mets -- especially Jason Bay in an 0-for-4 night with three whiffs -- were helpless as Philly squeaked out a 2-1 victory. That offense is starting to run a little cold in Philadelphia, who were lifted by reserve outfielder John Mayberry Jr.'s first home run of the year plus a sac fly by Placido Polanco. Carlos Beltran did have two hits, continuing a nice return from knee problems.

Michael Brantley, Indians -- The league's best hitting performance that also directly won the game for Cleveland by Brantley, who sparked the team to victory by first tying the game at two-all in the sixth by ripping a solo home run and then scoring the winning run on an Orlando Cabrera single. All in all, the leadoff man who was playing center as Grady Sizemore took a breather, stepped up to the plate with a 3-for-6 night (so did Cabrera), scoring those two runs and driving in himself on the homer to edge the Tigers 3-2. Top Indians pitching prospect Alex White got throw his start by throwing six innings and allowing just two runs despite coughing up four walks and six hits -- two home runs -- and whiffing four.


Matt Thornton, White Sox -- Ozzie Guillen must be furious. In his house, that is, as he was suspended two games for his comments about the umpiring earlier in the week and then tweeting about it. Matt Thornton was called in by bench coach Joey Cora to keep the ChiSox in the game as they trailed 2-1 in the eighth. Phil Humber had a two-run, seven-inning start, calling into question whether he should be demoted when Jake Peavy returns. Against the Orioles, Thornton went as such: single, stolen base, strikeout plus Pierzynski error allowing a run to score and batter to reach, single, wild pitch, walk, infield RBI single, sacrifice fly, and -- that was it for Thornton as Jerry Gray sandwiched two outs around a hit by pitch. Not a good day at the park for Chicago's closer at the beginning of the season who has already lost his job.

Red Sox offense -- What can the Red Sox offense do for you? Well, it can mount a seven-hit attack on Doug Fister, walk six times, and ... leave 11 men on base in a 2-0 defeat. Awesome. David Ortiz want 0-for-4 with two whiffs, coming up in a key situation that could have changed the complexion of the game. The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the first (yes, really) and fourth, with Jacoby Ellsbury ending the threat in the fourth by getting doubled off second in a mistake. Oh, and no Mariners game is complete without a Milton Bradley ejection. The mercurial outfielder delivered a RBI double in the second to send Seattle up 1-0 then argued with the second base umpire about a play in which Miguel Olivo grounded to first and got the heave-ho. Skipper Eric Wedge was in the process of leaving the field after mounting his own complaint, but he didn't get tossed.

Kyle Drabek, Blue Jays -- Drabek got a little lesson in humility Saturday night, lasting just 2 1/3 innings. Drabek has been a bit up and down in his first full major-league season, but was still doing decently enough. Now his ERA rests at 4.45 after giving up five runs on seven hits, four walks and four strikeouts against the Yankees. He was dinked to death, but those runs count and can be even more deflating than a single big blow. You can attribute giving up a grand slam to one misplaced pitch, but you can't justify any of your stuff when everything is being rifled. Oddly enough, no Yank had more than one hit, but everyone did sans Derek Jeter (all together: when will he be demoted to No. 8 in the lineup? -- hey, look a reunion of the top two in the order from last season... at the bottom).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
Posted on: March 28, 2011 5:42 pm

Michael Pineda makes Mariners rotation


By Evan Brunell

The Mariners have decided to go with phenom Michael Pineda in the No. 5 spot of the rotation, as Geoff Baker reports on Twitter.

This is a surprise, as Pineda is just 22 and it would have been entirely justifiable for the Mariners to send him to Triple-A for some more seasoning and wait until June to promote Pineda. By allowing Pineda to break camp with the team, Pineda could hit free agency after the 2016 season. Of course, this is all assuming Pineda stays in the majors and doesn't lose service time in the future, but it is difficult to imagine Pineda blowing up and requiring a demotion. The Mariners would not have made the move to Pineda without being fully confident in both his current talent and ability to sustain it over a full year.

The right-hander was recently named the No. 20 prospect in all of baseball by CBS Sports and could eventually emerge to give the team a wicked complement to Felix Hernandez atop the order.

Pineda split 2010 between Double- and Triple-A, making 13 starts in the lesser league and earning a 2.33 ERA in 77 innings, walking 17 and whiffing 78. While he would walk 17 in Triple-A as well in less innings (62 1/3), he also dialed up his whiff proficiency, seating 76 by way of the K. Due to some bad luck, he finished his Triple-A season with a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts.

Now, Pineda will hit the majors and give fans and Ichiro Suzuki something to get excited about. There's promise in the Emerald City with Pineda hitting the majors and Justin Smoak manning first base after being acquired in the Cliff Lee trade. Top hitting prospect Dustin Ackley, who was ranked No. 8 among the top 100 list, will hit the majors at some point this season and take over second base. It will take some time for all the talent to gel together, but there's cause for real optimism.

Pineda will bring up the back of a rotation headlined by Hernandez and followed by Jason Vargas, Doug Fister and Erik Bedard.

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