Tag:Evan Brunell
Posted on: August 5, 2011 7:08 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2011 2:45 pm

Marlins' Class A team honors Lucille Ball


By Evan Brunell

On Wednesday, the Marlins' low-Class A team honored Lucille Ball by becoming the Jamestown Lucy Desis for a night, FoxSportsFlorida.com reports.

Ball was the star of I Love Lucy, a television show that aired from 1951-60 and is considered one of the greatest shows of all-time. Ball's 100th birthday would have been Aug. 6 had she not passed in 1989 of heart problems. The Jamestown Jammers renamed themselves for a night and donned uniforms with the names "Lucy" and "Desi" on the front of the jersey, above two photos of Ball and husband Desi Arnaz, who also performed on I Love Lucy and was married to Ball for 20 years. (Photo from the Jamestown Jammers, courtesy FoxSportsFlorida.com.)

"This is a great way for the local baseball team to tie in with another local icon: Lucille Ball," Jammers GM Matt Drayer said. "It's a great cross promotion where we can celebrate Lucy's birthday around the American pastime of baseball."

On the back of the jersey, there was a logo depicting the 100th anniversary of Ball's birth as well as the player's uniform number. Caps had a red heart inserted behind the Jammers' team logo. The celebration will continue through Sunday, with Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone performing. On Saturday, the city will try to set a world record for most people dressed as Ball's character on her show, Lucy Ricardo.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 5, 2011 5:53 pm

Aroldis Chapman scorches netting behind plate

By Evan Brunell

ChapmanAroldis Chapman flashed his powerful fastball Friday, busting a 99-mph heater through the netting behind home plate designed to protect fans from errant throws and foul balls.

Chapman was pitching the top of the ninth in an eventual 4-3 loss for the Reds against the Cubs. He whiffed two but also gave up two hits, which snapped his hitless streak at 10 1/3 innings. It was the longest hitless streak by a reliever in a single season since Chuck McElroy in 1994, when he posted 11 1/3 innings from April 25 to May 17. McElroy finished the year with a 2.32 ERA in 57 2/3 innings,

Chapman has been on fire since returning from the disabled list on June 25, posting a scant 1.47 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, striking out 32 and walking just five. That's a far cry from walking 12 over four games totaling 1 1/3 innings, giving up two hits and 10 earned runs, whiffing three before landing on the DL after his appearance on May 14.

Meanwhile, closer Francisco Cordero is finding July a tough battle. He'll be given a longer leash, but if he struggles in August, it's possible the Reds will make a move to Chapman if a postseason spot is at stake.

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Posted on: August 4, 2011 8:50 pm

Angels boot Joel Pineiro from rotation

PineiroBy Evan Brunell

After giving up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings on Wednesday, the Angels have demoted Joel Pineiro to the rotation, reports the Los Angeles Times.

"I wish I had an explanation, but I have no idea what's going on," Pineiro said of his recent struggles to the Times on Wednesday night. "I've tried everything. I've seen video, worked on mechanics, thrown in the bullpen. Honestly, the next thing I can do is sacrifice a live chicken."

Apparently that didn't work either, as Pineiro will rejoin the bullpen for the first time since 2007, when he tried his hand at relieving with the Red Sox after falling out of favor as a starter with Seattle. That didn't work, and Pineiro was moved to the Cardinals midseason, where he excelled in a return to the rotation.

Pineiro has a 5.31 ERA on the year in 18 starts. He's been hit hard this year, and while his peripherals point to him being unlucky with a 4.35 xFIP, the peripherals can't account for a pitcher throwing so poorly that batters are making good contact, which appears to be the case with Pineiro. It doesn't help that his fastball is averaging 87 mph, a career low.

"This is embarrassing," Pineiro said. "I'm making the team, the [pitching] staff and myself look bad. I've got to turn it around. If it's going to be like this the rest of the year, it's going to be a long year for me."

Between Pineiro and rookie Tyler Chatwood's struggles, the Angels are suddenly threatening to fall off in the postseason chase. Just one game behind the Rangers for the division lead, Los Angeles can't afford a dropoff, especially with Texas loading up at the deadline with two strong relievers. Pineiro's fall is especially surprising, as he had a 3.90 ERA in his first 14 starts. Since then, he's pitched just 13 1/3 innings in four starts, giving up 22 earned runs while striking out just two, walking six and giving up five homers. Not pretty.

The Angels are stuck, though, with limited options for a replacement. Perhaps they should have been more active at the trade deadline?

"Our organizational pitching depth is not where it has been," manager Mike Scioscia said. There are limited options, but we'll look at everything and see what the best way is for us to move forward."

There are three candidates, starting with long reliever Hisanori Takahashi. The Japanese import made 12 starts for the Mets last season, shuttling between the rotation and bullpen. He's been exclusively a reliever so far on this season, contributing a 3.35 ERA in 48 1/3 innings.

Takahashi "is definitely going to be in the conversation," Scioscia said.

In Triple-A, the club has Trevor Bell, who has pitched in spurts with Los Angeles from 2009-11, ending up with a 5.33 ERA in 48 games and 11 starts. Bell has a 4.34 ERA as a starter down on the farm. There's also Garrett Richards, the team's top pitching prospect. At Double-A, the righty has a 3.04 ERA in 136 innings, striking out 98 and walking 39. Given the team's aggressive promotion and retention of Chatwood, who is 21 and made just three Triple-A starts in his career, Richards is a distinct possibility.

"We're going to throw a lot of things on the table," Scioscia added.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 4, 2011 7:44 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 8:33 pm

Report: Yadier Molina fights with Gerald Laird

ReddickBy Evan Brunell

Not only did Yadier Molina go off on an umpire and earn a five-game suspension for it, but he reportedly got into a fight with Gerald Laird on Wednesday night, Craig Mish of SiriusXM reports on Twitter.

Laird, Molina's backup at catcher, reportedly called Molina a "cheater," but the context was unclear. That's all that's currently known about the fight at the time.

Tim McKernan of InsideSTL.com confirmed the fight, saying it occurred after the club arrived in Florida to begin a series against the Marlins. GM John Mozeliak termed the argument as a disagreement, but did not have any details, saying "boys will be boys."

"It was a frustrating day for everybody," he added, refering to playing a day game a day after Tuesday night's 11-inning victory. "It's water under the bridge."

More information will be posted if available, but many teams attempt to keep these types of incidents behind closed doors.

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Posted on: August 4, 2011 7:30 pm

Mariners dump Jack Cust, Greg Halman

By Evan Brunell

PenaThe Mariners have an open roster spot after culling two hitters from the team in Greg Halman and Jack Cust.

Cust, the longtime A's DH who has fallen on hard times and inked a deal to join Seattle in the offseason, but hit just .213/.344/.329 in 270 plate appearances with just three home runs, 30 less than what he hammered in 2008. Halman, meanwhile, came up from the minor leagues after healing a left wrist fracture and producing in the short time he was in Triple-A. The 23-year-old floundered at the bigs, however. Halman was sent down as he had lost much of his playing time to Casper Wells, who was acquired at the trade deadline in the Doug Fister trade with Detroit.

As for who will step into the DH spot, there are conflicting reports. Greg Johns of MLB.com is convinced it's Wily Mo Pena, while Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune is betting on Trayvon Robinson, also acquired at the trade deadline, but this time from the Dodgers in what was a baffling deal.

Robinson's power is certainly ready for a promotion, as he's slammed 26 homers down on the farm, posting an overall .289/.374/.552 mark in 428 plate appearances, with 12 of those in the Seattle organization. The knock on his game is making contact, as he also strikes out at a high rate, with 126 whiffs. If Robinson can maintain a .250 batting average or higher, he should turn out to be a great hitter. Any lower will sap his value, and he could end up having a tough go of it int he early going of his career like Chris Davis.

Pena (pictured), meanwhile, has power in spades but like Robinson, strikes out far too much. He can launch a fastball into the stratosphere, but continues to struggle with breaking balls and plate discipline. Arizona brought him to the majors for interleague play to function as the DH, being called up for the minors in his return to the bigs, last appearing back in 2008 with the Nationals. His power was on display with five home runs in 46 plate appearances, but hit .196 with 19 strikeouts. Pena would certainly inject power into the middle of Seattle's lineup, but he continues to look like the overmatched youngster of his earlier days.

The Mariners are expected to announce the replacement in advance of Friday's game.

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Posted on: August 4, 2011 6:36 pm

Johan Santana diagnosed with fatigued arm

SantanaBy Evan Brunell

The Mets announced that starting pitcher Johan Santana has been diagnosed with left-shoulder fatigue, a complication arising from his shoulder surgery last season.

Santana was originally scheduled to make his second rehab start in the minors on Wednesday, but headed to New York on Tuesday after feeling discomfort, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reported.

Santana, who tossed three innings of scoreless ball in his first rehab start, whiffing three and walking none against two hits for high-Class A, will cease throwing but continue exercising. Once his shoulder has improved, he will resume throwing. Due to the setback, Santana may have lost his opportunity to pitch in 2011.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 5:13 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 6:19 pm

Buchholz has stress fracture, not done for year

BuchholzBy Evan Brunell

Clay Buchholz has been confirmed to sport a stress fracture in his back, specifically in his L2 (lumbar) vertebrae, CSNNE.com reports.

Manager Terry Francona didn't rule Buchholz out for the rest of the year, but it's likely that he will be unavailable to pitch. It's possible he could make it back for the end of September or the postseason, but he would not have any minor-league games to rehab in. Surgery is not required; he will simply rest and rehabilitate his back.

"My aim is to try and get back for the postseason and to try and help this team win," Buchholz told the Boston Globe.

Buchholz landed on the map last season by posting a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts, finishing sixth in Cy Young Award voting. This year, Buchholz had a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts, striking out 60 and walking 31 over 82 2/3 innings. The Red Sox acquired Erik Bedard at the trade deadline in an attempt to fill the void. Bedard will make his first start on Thursday against the Indians.

The team released a statement saying there's no timetable for his return:
“Clay has a stress fracture in his lumbar spine.  He is responding to treatments and his symptoms are improving.  We have sent Clay to see three spine specialists, who all agree that the injury is stable and will heal on its own.  Clay will follow a five-step structured rehabilitation program, which will progress as his symptoms allow.  When completed, Clay will be cleared to resume throwing.  There is currently no time frame on his return, and his return this season has not been ruled out.”
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Posted on: August 2, 2011 4:46 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 6:06 am

Jered Weaver to appeal 6-game suspension

By Evan Brunell

WeaverThe Angels' Jered Weaver has been suspended six games for intentionally throwing at Alex Avila during Sunday's game. Manager Mike Scioscia was also suspended a game, which he will serve on Tuesday night.

Weaver, meanwhile, will appeal his suspension. He is expected to have a hearing in New York next week when the Angels are in town for a series against the Yankees.

"I obviously knew that something was going to happen," Weaver told the Associated Press. "It's six games, and it is what it is, but I've decided to appeal it. I wanted my voice heard a little bit on the situation and how it went down, see what they feel about it and go from there. So we'll see what happens."

If MLB is looking for contrition, Weaver doesn't sound like he's too interested in that. When asked by a reporter if he'd have handled anything differently, Weaver didn't give an answer that will please Joe Torre.

"I wouldn't have done anything different," he said, according to the Orange County Register.

On Sunday, Magglio Ordonez hit a home run off of Weaver in the third inning of a tight battle against the Tigers' Justin Verlander, and Ordonez paused to watch the home run, perhaps trying to determine if it would be fair or foul. Weaver shouted at Ordonez to run, which Detroit did not take too kindly. When Carlos Guillen blasted a home run in the seventh, he did everything but dance on Weaver's mound in milking the home run, which made the right-hander hot. Despite being immediately warned by the umpire, his next pitch went over Avila's head, earning an ejection.

Weaver said he wasn't trying to hit Avila, just send a message.

"[Avila] caught me in the All-Star game, and we gained a little respect for each other there. So I'm not here to hurt nobody. I just felt like I needed to prove a point," Weaver said. "I think if I wanted to hit him, I could have hit him. I just threw a fastball up and in and it got up and away. It probably looked a little worse than it was, but it was clearly about a foot or two over his head."

Avila had little to say on the matter.

"Part of the game. Suspend him? OK," Avila told the AP. "I've still got to play today."

Weaver's suspension is the same length as Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco, who was dinged for six games on Monday for throwing at the Royals' Billy Butler. A six game suspension guarantees a starter will miss a start.

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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