Tag:Torii Hunter
Posted on: April 4, 2011 10:01 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:12 pm
 

Pepper: Closer concerns in NL Central

Brandon Lyon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The National League Central appears to be one of the most competitive divisions in baseball, with up to four legit contenders for the crown, so every little difference is going to be magnified when it comes to the end of the season.

While we're a long way from magic numbers, but the division's closer could be cause for concern.

In the first weekend of games, NL Central closers blew four of eight save chances -- including the first three -- and had an ERA of 12.91. Only Pittsburgh's Joel Hanrahan (who is 2 for 2 on save opportunities) hasn't allowed an earned run among the division's six closers.

All six closers have had save opportunities, and half of them are save-less. Milwaukee's John Axford has allowed four earned runs and hasn't finished an inning in two appearances, allowing a walk-off three-run homer to Cincinnati's Ramon Hernandez on Thursday and allowing two hits on Sunday before being replaced.

St. Louis closer Ryan Franklin gave up a game-tying homer in an eventual opening-day loss to the Padres and Houston's Brandon Lyon allowed six hits and three runs, picking up the loss against the Phillies on Friday.

The Cubs' Carlos Marmol struck out the side on Saturday for his first save, but Sunday he walked one and allowed two hits to cough up a lead, sending the Cubs to a 5-4 loss to the Pirates (and setting up Hanrahan's second save).

And then there's Cincinnati's Francisco Cordero, who picked up a save, but didn't instill much confidence in anyone, allowing two hits and a run in Saturday's Reds victory against the Brewers.

It could be a wild ride this year in the NL Central this season, and that's just the ninth inning.

HOMETOWN BOY -- Padres manager Bud Black said part of his reason for setting his rotation as he did was to allow San Diego native Aaron Harang make the start for the Padres' home-opener at Petco Park on Tuesday.

Black said it also helped that Harang has a history of opening day starts. Harang started five consecutive opening days in Cincinnati. He is in his first season with the Padres. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

PRETTY MUCH -- Dustin Pedroia on the Rangers' sweep of the Red Sox: "They kicked our ass, that's it." [Boston Herald]

RAY OF HOPE -- On opening day, the Rays announced a long-term deal with Wade Davis. The team's No. 1 starter, David Price, said he'd be interested in a long-term deal as well.

"Everybody here knows that I feel very comfortable here with the Rays," Price told MLB.com. "And I feel like I fit in very well with this organization and how they do stuff. If it's something we're able to get done, it's definitely something I'd like to do."

TURF CALF? -- Johnny Damon said Tropicana Field's artificial surface may have contributed to his right calf tightness that forced him to be scratched from Sunday's lineup. [St. Petersburg Times]

ANGEL TOURISTS -- Howie Kendrick and Torii Hunter talk about how special the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City is to them. [Orange County Register]

BASEBALL ART -- Aubrey Huff made a diving catch in Los Angeles on Saturday and before Sunday's game, Pat Burrell, Dan Runzler and Brandon Belt taped a body outline in the outfield where Huff made his catch. Here's a picture of their art.

HALLOWED GROUND -- Volunteers cleaned up at the old Tiger Stadium and finished off with a pickup game of baseball. The Navin Field Grounds Crew will be doing this every week during the summer in Detroit, hoping to allow everyone to use the field. [Detroit Free Press]

JAPANESE HERITAGE DAY -- The best highlight of Sunday's Japanese Heritage Day in Oakland was when Ichiro Suzuki caught Kurt Suzuki's fly in right and threw out Hideki Matsui at third base. The A's and their fans also raised more than $65,000 for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. [San Francisco Chronicle]

HUMIDOR SECURITY -- MLB has tightened its security procedures concerning the humidor at Coors Field, an "authenticator" will keep an eye on all the baseballs from when they're taken out of the humidor to the umpire's room where they're rubbed down to the Rockies dugout, where they're kept. During the game, he'll watch the bag. [Denver Post]

CARDS OWNER CONFIDENT -- Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. is happy with his team and confident, but added the team does have playroom flexibility of "several million dollars" if the team needs something later in the season. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

COPYING BAGWELL -- Astros shortstop Clint Barmes will wear a protective pad on his left batting glove when he returns to action. Barmes suffered a fractured bone in his hand late in spring training when he was hit by a pitch. Barmes said it's the exact same pad attached by velcro that former Astro Jeff Bagwell used to wear. Barmes said he wore a similar pad after breaking his hand in 2002, but will make it a permanent addition this time. [MLB.com]

VLAD THE ENIGMA -- Vladimir Guerrero has wowed us on the field for years, but not much is known about him off the field. But the Baltimore Sun's Kevin Van Valkenburg and Jeff Zrebiec have managed to write a really interesting feature on the new Oriole. For instance, before every home series, Guerrero writes down the name of all the Spanish-speaking players and coaches coming to town, and will then have his mom cook food for all the Latin players and bring it to the park. Guerrero's mom has lived with him since he was in Montreal. [Baltimore Sun]

REALLY? -- Wearing a guy's jersey to a game is one thing, but a whole uniform, catching gear and all? This Philadelphia fan was at Sunday's game wearing complete catcher's gear, a glove, mask and even taped wrists. I wonder if security allowed him through the gate with metal spikes? [Philadelphia Daily News]

OAKLAND'S 'DUMP' -- Apparently the field at the Oakland Coliseum smells like sewage. And that's not all that's wrong with the Coliseum. [San Francisco Chronicle]

GREINKE PROGRESSING -- The Brewers expect Zack Greinke to throw off the mound at some point during the team's week-long homestead starting today. Greinke still isn't expected to return this month, but throwing off the mound is the first step to determining when he can return. He played long toss and threw from 60 feet before Sunday's game in Cincinnati. [MLB.com]

BLAKE BETTER -- Casey Blake is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday and hopes to be ready when he is eligible. The Dodgers are in Denver on Wednesday. [Los Angeles Times]

REWARD OFFERED -- A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest in the case of Dodger fans beating Giants fan Bryan Stow, 42, a Santa Cruz paramedic and father of two. Stow is currently in a medically induced coma. [Los Angeles Times]

SIGNS YOU'RE OLD -- When Jim Thome faced Blue Jays rookie Kyle Drabek on Saturday, the TV folks accidentally put up Thome's career numbers against Doug Drabek, Kyle's father. [UniWatch Blog]

IZZY SHELVED -- Jason Isringhausen, attempting a comeback with the Mets, left an extended spring training game on Saturday after feeling a "twinge" in his back. [New York Daily News]

DIFFERENT SWING -- John Smoltz talks about his attempt at a golf career. [Detroit Free Press]

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

 

Posted on: March 16, 2011 3:51 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:25 am
 

MLB bus trips less glamorous than you think

By C. Trent Rosecrans

You ever wonder what it's like on a bus with a Major League Baseball team on a spring training roadtrip?

Well, thanks to Torii Hunter's Twitter feed, it appears that it's no different than your junior high field trip.

From earlier today:

Torii tweet

That was followed by this:

Torii tweet

Yesterday was Hunter's first bus trip of the spring, and he had a similar theme:

Torii tweet

So really, big league ball players, they're not much different than you or me... when we were 11. Ain't technology grand?

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More MLB coverage

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

Imagining an MLB Combine

Michael Bourn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
Posted on: November 20, 2010 1:50 pm
 

Bobby Abreu willing to DH if needed

Abreu One of the Angels' primary targets this offseason is Carl Crawford.

In many respects, he's the perfect player for the Angels, who love players with strong defense, who play the game with their wheels and can hit for a solid batting average and chip in on the power department as well.

However, if he joins the Angels, it would put the onus on one of the incumbent outfielders to become a DH.

Peter Bourjos, who took over center field for Los Angeles near the end of the year, certainly isn't eligible for that because there are too many questions surrounding his bat and much of his value is tied up in being a fantastic defender.

Torii Hunter, meanwhile, may have been moved from center for Bourjos, but is still a solid defender and doesn't need to move out of right field.

Where the fit comes in for DH is when you look at Bobby Abreu, who has been a liability on defense for some time now but has managed to remain as right and left fielder for the Angels. If Crawford decides to head to L.A., the odds are Abreu will be the one headed to the DH position.

"I have no problem with that," Abreu said Friday to MLB.com . "If it's something that's going to make the team better, I'm for it. I've got no problem."

The move to DH may actually be a boon for Abreu, who will turn 37 prior to Opening Day. His risk of injuries would be lessened as the DH, improving his chances of playing in at leat 150 games for 14 straight seasons. If he can pull off that feat in 2011, he will have beaten out Willie Mays for that distinction, having tied Mays in 2010 with 154 games played. In an attempt to crack the 150-game barrier, Abreu won't be playing winter ball.

"I decided it would be better just to rest," said Abreu.

With a move to DH, Abreu might be able to bounce back with the bat after hitting just .255/.352/.435 in 667 plate appearances with 20 homers. Abreu had hit .293/.390/.435 for the Angels in 2009. His batting average is all that stands between Abreu and his career numbers, and focusing on hitting could address that issue in what will be the former Phillie and Yankee's final season of a two-year contract.

Abreu realizes that he needs to improve on his season, just like everyone on the team needs to to bounce back from an 80-82 record, the first time since 2003 that Los Angeles finished under .500.

"We need everybody to step up and have a good year," Abreu noted.

And the way Abreu may get his good year is by moving to the DH. First things first, though: Get Carl Crawford.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:06 am
Edited on: November 11, 2010 7:54 pm
 

Hunter: Angels 'need' Crawford

Carl Crawford Torii Hunter seems to think the Angels' Arte Moreno will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox in a bidding war for free agent outfielder Carl Crawford.

"The Yankees are not going to go after him. They've got Cliff Lee. Boston might be the team," Hunter told the Los Angeles Times ' Bill Shaikin . "I think Boston and the Angels, that will be the bidding war."

Shaikin writes the Angels are prepared to break the $100 million mark to sign Crawford, and that's fine with Hunter, who speaks "regularly" with Crawford.

"We need Carl Crawford," Hunter said. "Put it like that."

With Peter Bourjos in center, Hunter in right and Crawford in left, the Angels would have one of the best outfield defenses in the game.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: October 22, 2010 6:50 pm
 

Players choice finalists announced

Carlos Gonzalez In September, major-league players voted for the Players Choice Awards, coordinated by the union. Friday, the MLBPA released the three finalists for each of the awards, which will be announced over the course of next week.

Player of the year (both leagues): Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies, pictured), Josh Hamilton (Rangers), Joey Votto (Reds).

Man of the year (for off-field efforts): Torii Hunter (Angels), Brandon Inge (Tigers), Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies).

NL outstanding player: Gonzalez, Albert Pujols (Cardinals), Votto.

NL outstanding pitcher: Roy Halladay (Phillies), Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies), Adam Wainwright (Cardinals).

NL outstanding rookie: Jaime Garcia (Cardinals), Jason Heyward (Braves), Buster Posey (Giants).

NL comeback player: R.A. Dickey (Mets), Tim Hudson (Braves), Aubrey Huff (Giants).

AL outstanding player: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), Hamilton.

AL outstanding pitcher: Felix Hernandez (Mariners), David Price (Rays), CC Sabathia (Yankees).

AL outstanding rookie: Wade Davis (Rays), Neftali Feliz (Rangers), Austin Jackson (Tigers).

AL comeback player: Freddy Garcia (White Sox), Vladimir Guerrero (Rangers), Francisco Liriano (Twins).

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 20, 2010 1:37 am
Edited on: August 20, 2010 8:45 am
 

Team meetings yield quick results

Hideki Matsui
Team meetings are kind of a delicate thing. Go to the well too often, and people stop listening. Call one at the wrong time, and you end up with a divisive argument.

But I've always been surprised at how often a well-intentioned team meeting produces short-term results (emphasis on "short-term"). Can professionals really be prompted to play baseball better with a pep talk or a lecture? There's really no way to quantify it statistically, but based on anecdotal observation, I think it happens. Refocus, clear the air, get back to business.

Two teams landed in the win column Thursday after closed-door meetings. The Angels apparently had a humdinger, led by Torii Hunter.

"I can't tell you everything because it's a secret," Hunter told reporters. "But it was uplifting. We got into it, too. But we figured some things out. The way we were playing, we were down every night. The last five games we were dead, no energy. Guys would strike out and just go sit on the bench. It was sad. I thought it was time to call a meeting.

"It was actually pretty intense. ... Give us your all. Play like it's your last game."

The Angels, who had lost three in a row and were 0-9 against Boston this season, then went out and whipped up on the Red Sox, 7-2.

Indians The last-place Indians are playing for nothing but pride at this point, and manager Manny Acta wanted to remind his team, which had lost nine of 12, that pride is enough.

"I was taking the temperature of the ballclub," Acta said. "I wanted to let the kids know we have a month and a half to play and we're going through a rough stretch right now. "Yes, we're young, but I have the right to tell them I'm not happy with the way we have played over the last 12 games.

"The whole meeting was about making progress. For us that's the challenge. Once the season is over only eight teams go to the playoffs, 22 will go home. If we're going home, we want to go home being better as a team and as individuals."

Hours later, the Indians put up 13 hits in a 7-3 win in Kansas City.

Angels pitcher Ervin Santana joked that maybe the Angels should have a team meeting every day.

"That's right – 4:45," Hunter said. "All of you [the media] have to clear out. Then you can come back in one minute later. Everybody [on the team] is just going to sit down, say, 'Let's go get 'em.' Then the meeting's over."

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: August 17, 2010 1:27 am
Edited on: August 17, 2010 1:29 am
 

Year has not been kind to Angels' bats

Torii Hunter
The Orange County Register points out that Wednesday is the one-year anniversary of a historic feat, and provides a reminder of how much things have changed for the Angels.

After a 5-4 victory over the Indians last August 18, all nine batters in the Angels lineup had a batting average of .300 or better (you can see the box score here ). It was the first time a team had been in that situation since the 1934 Tigers.

A year later, not one of those nine players is batting .300. Here's the lineup, with last year's August 18 average and their current average:

Chone Figgins (now with Seattle) .308/.251
Bobby Abreu .310/.266
Juan Rivera .310/.257
Vladimir Guerrero (now with Texas) .313/.297
Kendry Morales .303/.290
Torii Hunter (pictured) .307/.290
Maicer Izturis .300/.249
Mike Napoli .300/.254
Erick Aybar .313/.271

Explains a lot about how the Angels were 5 1/5 games up in the American League West then and 8 1/2 back now.

-- David Andriesen

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