Tag:BRian Wilson
Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:41 pm
 

Preview of Showtime's Giants series looks great

By C. Trent Rosecrans

I'm probably the target audience for something like this -- and it's working. I've ordered HBO on the day of the first Hard Knocks of the season and I don't even really like the NFL. But now Showtime is doing it's Hard Knocks-like all-access show with the Giants, and if this preview is any indication of what's to come from The Franchise, I'm sold.

Sure, it's following the Hard Knocks storyboards, but that's not a bad thing. I don't care about original, I can put up with the iron pumping if I get to see Brian Wilson's fake cop car, Freddy Sanchez saying he needs to get his wife "liquored up" on Valentine's Day and who knows what we'll see from Tim Lincecum. (OK, I will say I can't be the only one who saw the lighting of the cigar and thought -- for just  a second -- that it was Lincecum.)

Showtime's going to have a free preview on April 13. I'm so there. And when the series starts, I may just have to order Showtime, you know, for work.

Hat tip to 'Duk at Big League Stew.

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Posted on: March 21, 2011 8:39 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 8:40 pm
 

Wilson vows to be back for opening day

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brian WilsonThis weekend the reports from Scottsdale, Ariz., were that Brian Wilson's status for opening day was in doubt. On Monday, Wilson said there's no doubt he'll be ready to pitch once the games count.

"If it's a regular-season game, I'm throwing," Wilson told MLB.com's Chris Haft. "There's really no point in risking anything by going out and pitching the sixth inning of a spring training game on March 21."

Wilson had his strained oblique muscle in his left side re-examined on Monday and may start throwing as soon as Wednesday.

"That's a credit to the type of shape he's in and his response to the treatment," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

The Giants start the season on March 31 at Dodger Stadium.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 19, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: March 19, 2011 3:54 pm
 

Wilson has oblique strain, opening day in doubt

By Matt Snyder

This could be bad news for the World Series champions.

All-Star closer Brian Wilson has suffered a mild oblique strain and will be reevaluated Monday. Reports say this leaves opening day in doubt.

"There's concern, sure," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Sometimes these things take longer than others. On Monday we'll have a better idea, and then I can tell you how much concern, but sure there's concern when it's an oblique."

 "We still have some time here. He was at a pretty good place before he injured it, how he was throwing. It's a setback. Hopefully Monday we'll find it it's not too long of a setback. I know how tough and strong he is. He isn't overly concerned." (San Francisco Chronicle )

Obviously there are lots of different directions this could take, but oblique strains have a tendency to linger, and it's especially problematic when throwing -- which might be a problem for pitchers, no? In fact, this specific injury sometimes causes pitchers to miss a month. The season is less than two weeks away, so it looks like the Giants will be starting the year without their fireman.

Wilson, 29, led all of baseball with 48 saves last season and sported a minuscule 1.81 ERA.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:47 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 9:54 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/8: End of line for Ollie?

BeckhamBy Evan Brunell

3 UP

1. SP Kyle Davies, KC: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. An impressive outing for Davies, who lowered his spring ERA to 2.57. This from a guy with a career 5.49 ERA, but he's just 27. The Royals could really use a leap ahead by Davies, as the rotation looks downright frightful in what is going to be a very long season for Royals fans as they await the new guard. In the same game, Dontrelle Willis hurled two perfect innings and is shaping up nicely to claim a spot in the Reds' bullpen.

2. CF Chris Young, ARI: 4 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 4 RBI, 1 HR. Young has 30-homer power, but has yet to truly break out into being a star. He doesn't necessarily need to to provide value to the Diamondbacks, especially given his strong defense, but what's holding him back is batting average with a career .241 mark. Even after Tuesday's explosion with a two-run homer, Young's at a .250 batting average. He is what he is at this point in his career, and as long as he keeps boppin' them homers, he'll do just fine.

3. 2B Gordon Beckham, CHW: 4 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 1 RBI. Great day for Beckham, who is now batting .412 on spring training. Beckham got 2010 off to a brutal start before recovering down the stretch, but his season was already ruined statistically. A great sleeper as someone who could break out into a star.

3 DOWN

1. SP Zack Greinke, MIL. The Brewers' new ace will have to wait to make his debut, as bruised and fractured ribs will sideline Greinke for the first couple weeks of the season, if not longer. Milwaukee should be very concerned about its depth, of which it has none to replace Greinke. Manny Parra is a failed starter, and going with Mark Rogers is fraught with risk. By the way, in Tuesday's game, Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee took exception to the Dodgers' Roman Colon fist-pumping after a strikeout. Benches cleared, but no punches were thrown.

2. SP Oliver Perez, NYM: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. Perez had two scoreless innings to finish his outing, but that underscores how bad he got the first inning started by allowing the first four batters to reach. This figures to be the end of the line for the experiment doomed to fail with Ollie as starting pitcher. Never fear, Perez fans: the Mets will continue to give lip service toward the lefty making the team as a reliever. 

3. SP Brandon Dickson, STL: 3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. Dickson can't be too pleased with this outing as there's a job up for grabs that he's in the running for: Adam Wainwright's replacement. The righty is battling with several other candidates, but there are no clear-cut ones, so every outing counts, even if people are still working out the kinks this early in the spring training schedule.

HONORABLE MENTION

Brian Wilson, for making his beard even more legen -- wait for it -- dary, courtesy MLB.com.

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Posted on: March 4, 2011 9:53 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Pepper: Big Puma struggling through spring

Lance Berkman

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals came out of the offseason sacrificing defense for offense, but that offense may have a hard time even getting on the field.

Lance Berkman, inked in as the team's right fielder going into the spring, was scratched from the team's lineup on Thursday because of a sore left calf. Berkman had already been limited to designated hitter work because of a bad left elbow.

It's just the first week of games, and Berkman has been limited to play in the field. On Thursday, Berkman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he was "perfectly fine" and would still go to Kissimmee, Fla., on Friday to face his old team, the Astros.

Friday morning, Berkman wasn't on the bus, missing another game.

Prospect Zack Cox filled in for Berkman at DH on Thursday and knocked in a run, but he's not ready to fill in full-time for Berkman in the field and the National League doesn't have the DH.

Sure, it's early, and several players are battling bumps and bruises, but not all of them are 35, coming off a down season, moving to a more demanding physical position, blocked at their old position and being counted on to remedy a team's offense. That's a lot on the shoulders of the Big Puma, and it's looking less like he can shoulder that load.

WAKE-UP: As if stepping into the box against a guy who can sling the ball 105 mph wasn't enough to get your attention, the first pitch ending up somewhere near the bull certainly got Dodger Trent Oeltjen's attention. Thursday night, the first pitch of Chapman's inning of work went over the catcher's mitt and over the umpire's head. His next three pitches to Oeltjen were strikes, including strike three looking.

"If it was at my face, I wouldn't have had time to move," Oeltjen told the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez. "It woke me up. He sent a message he was throwing hard."

Said new manager Don Mattingly: "Jeez, huh? He was Randy Johnson-ish. It gets there quick, doesn't it?"

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Carlos Zambrano didn't fight anyone in his Thursday start for the Cubs -- not only that, he threw three scoreless innings. However, he did complain of arm fatigue after the start.

"I was just tired," Zambrano said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's normal. I wasn't feeling power in my arm, but I guarantee you I will work hard and feel good in my next start."

Zambrano note he typically feels a "dead-arm" at least once a spring.

JUST BAD NEWS: Yesterday the question was if Astros' catcher Jason Castro would miss the beginning of the season. Today, it's if he'll play at all this season.

Thursday night, Castro was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Castro was scheduled to have surgery this morning, and general manager Ed Wade said he could return "by mid-September." (Houston Chronicle)

WAIT FOR JUDGEMENT? Matt Cain said he hasn't thrown a ball since coming down with elbow inflammation on Sunday and will likely miss multiple starts this spring. 

However, Cain's not too concerned, even after taking an MRI.

There is a history -- and this is something to watch -- of pitchers going to the postseason one season and having trouble the next because of the increased workload. While Cain's not worried, it'll be something to monitor with all of the Giants' pitching staff. (San Francisco Chronicle)

ANOTHER WART: Hopefully Orioles starter Brian Matusz won't tweet a picture like Michael Cuddyer, but he'll also be having a wart professionally removed.

Matusz's wart is on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Still, he threw two scoreless innings on Wednesday even with the wart. He had it some last year, but pitched through it. He said it bothers him some on his breaking ball. (Baltimore Sun)

WAS THAT REALLY A CONSIDERATION? Oliver Perez has been the New York media's favorite target for a while, but is this really necessary? The New Your Daily News' "breaking news" from "a source" is that the Mets have internally decided Perez will not be a starter during the regular season.

The Daily News' Andy Martino wrote that the day after he wrote the team would cut Perez (and his $12 million salary) if he didn't perform well in his start on Thursday. Well, he threw two scoreless innings against the Cardinals, so Martino didn't get his wish. Instead, he had to find a new way to pile onto Perez.

Hey, it's not to say Perez doesn't stink. He does. Or that he's not overpaid -- he is. It's just, this breathless reporting seems almost like piling on. Sure, the Mets have said he's in contention for the rotation, but the Mets say a lot of things, and it's not like we believe those.

NOW HE COULD BE IN A ROTATION: Neftali Feliz wasn't too happy with his first start of spring. Still, he threw two scoreless innings, so it wasn't bad. He also threw three different pitches, but struggled with his command and rhythm.

The Feliz story may be one of the more interesting ones of spring, and certainly something to watch as the month goes along. He'll throw three innings next week. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

VISA TIME: Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati's opening-day starter, could pitch his first spring training start because of a visa problem, but he should be able to make his next start after a quick trip to his native Dominican Republic.

"Everything is set," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay. "They're just waiting for me to pitch it up."

He was unable to pitch in games at which admission is charged because he came to camp on a travel visa, not a work visa. His work visa was held up because of his failed drug test and suspension last season.

COCO CONTRITE: A's outfielder Coco Crisp said he's embarrassed about his DUI arrest on Wednesday morning. (San Francisco Chronicle)

GO METS OR GO HOME: Former Cardinals and A's closer Jason Isringhausen is back in camp for the Mets, after starting a comeback last season in the Reds system.

Isringhausen played in Triple-A last season, but says his bus-riding days are over. If he doesn't break camp with the Mets, he'll just go home and call it a career. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

OR JUST GO HOME: Boston's J.D. Drew says he's considering retiring after this year. It's been one of those things he's hinted at before and is hardly a surprise. (Boston Herald)

SO WHO IS A-ROD? According to Wikileaks, a U.S. diplomatic cable on the 2009 Iranian election called President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the "George Steinbrenner of Iran" when talking about his influence over the national soccer team.

I'm guessing that wasn't a compliment. (Associated Press)

WHAT'S A WORLD SERIES WORTH? How much are World Series starts worth to a Hall of Fame discussion? Or, even more words about Jack Morris from Baseball Prospectus.

Honestly, I used to be a Morris for the Hall guy, I'm not anymore. I used to not be a Bert Blyleven guy, but I am now. But I'll certainly never change my feeling that I never want to hear another Morris-Blyleven debate.

A BETTER SCORECARD: An interview with Bethany Heck, the designer of a new, better, scorebook. Heck's 20-game scorebook is like "if Moleskine made a scorebook…" (Bugs & Cranks)

WHAT TO WATCH: Jake Peavy will make his first start since July 6 today against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz.

"Hopefully, we'll see some of the hard work we've done pay off," he told the Chicago Tribune.

QUARTERBACK SHOWDOWN: There's a Groundhog Day aspect to spring training, so Padres manager Bud Black found a way to break up the monotony -- a quarterback combine.

While Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert (seriously, could you draft a quarterback named "Blaine") did this in Indianapolis last week, Black had his former quarterbacks -- top prospect Casey Kelly, Cory Luebke, Orlando Hudson and Nick Hundley -- go through their own competition Thursday morning.

According to MLB.com's Corey Brock, the three went through several drills, including hitting a moving target. Luebke, a high school quarterback in Ohio, upset Kelly, who signed a letter of intent to play QB at Tennessee.

"We're here for six weeks," Black said. "… We try to do some things to keep the guys going."

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The Reds have announced the front-runner for the year's best bobblehead. On July 2 against the Indians, fans will receive the combination Dusty Baker bobblehead and toothpick holder. The bobblehead even has Dusty with a toothpick in his mouth (and, of course, sweatbands on his arms). So far, it's the best bobblehead I've seen on tap for this year, with the Reds also getting second place for their Jonny Gomes bobblehead and arm, mimicking the way Gomes tugs at his helmet before every at-bat.

Dusty Baker

IF YOU'RE NOT ALREADY BEARDED OUT: The literary journal McSweeney's is selling a "How to Beard Yourself Like Brian Wilson" poster.

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Posted on: February 23, 2011 9:35 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:25 am
 

You oughta be in pictures

Andres TorresA documentary is being made about Giants outfielder Andres Torres and his 10-year journey in the minor leagues and life-long struggles with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has the whole story, but it got me to thinking -- what other big-leaguers would make a good movie?

Brian Wilson -- Torres' teammate would be perfect for a comedy, or he could have a  fake documentary like Joaquin Phoenix's I'm Still Here.

Dirk Hayhurst -- The Rays reliever already has the book, they can just turn it into a movie. It would be high on comedy, low on juicy details. Hayhurst was living with his grandmother, close to quitting baseball when he turned his career around. It's not the perfect ending, he's had a handful of big-league appearances, but is with the Rays on a minor-league contract.

Josh Hamilton -- Everyone knows the story, and it's perfect for Disney.

Jon Lester -- Unless Disney decides to do Lester's story instead. Lester was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a rookie in 2006. The next season he won the game-clinching game for the Red Sox in the World Series. The season after that, he threw a no-hitter. Last season the lefty finished 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA.

Miguel Cabrera -- We're not sure how this one will end yet -- it could either be a feel-good story, or a tragedy. We'll stay tuned.

Coco Crisp -- Forget that beer commercial guy, Crisp may be the most interesting man in the world.

Ugeth Urbina -- The two-time All-Star reliever is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence in his home country of Venezuela after being convicted on two charges of attempted murder. In 2005, Urbina attacked five farm workers on his property, accusing them of stealing a gun. He attacked the men with a machete and tried to pour gasoline on them. (Suggested on Twitter by @23yanksgoyard.)

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: February 21, 2011 5:34 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 11:36 pm
 

Wilson, Sheen discuss 'Major League III'


Brian WilsonSo why was Giants' closer Brian Wilson at Charlie Sheen's house? To advise on Major League III, apparently.

"Quite frankly, when Rick Vaughn calls the bullpen, I'm going to answer -- on a  professional level, of course," Wilson told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Although TMZ.com called the get-together a "party," Wilson said it was more of a meeting to gain insight for another Major League movie -- apparently Major League: Back to the Minors didn't count as a true sequel, so they're making Major League III -- that or they're just trying, like the rest of us, to pretend it never happened. Anyway, Wilson said he was invited to talk about his workouts, pitching and other "baseball-related topics."

As far as any worries the Giants may have about Wilson cavorting with Sheen, Wilson said it's a non-issue.

"Basically [the meeting] was talking about how [Sheen] can portray this in the movie," Wilson said. "As far as talking about guilty by association, c'mon. I'm linked to the Sea Captain. I'm linked to the Machine. That doesn't bother me. People are going to make their assumptions. That's fine. You guys know me, know who I am. I shouldn't have to do a character sketch of myself."

The first Major League was released in 1989, meaning Sheen would be in his 23rd big-league season. Omar Vizquel also debuted in 1989, so it's not entirely out of the question. Other notables to have debuted in 1989 were Ken Griffey Jr., David Justice, Deion Sanders and Sammy Sosa.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: February 21, 2011 10:39 am
 

Morning Pepper: The next indy-ball major leaguer?

De La Rosa

NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP: Dane De La Rosa's eventual destination of Port Charlotte took years to accomlpish, but the 28-year-old finally arrived after flaming out of the Yankees organization, selling real estate and playing independent baseball for four seasons.

"It's a great feel-good story," Rays director of minor-league operations Mitch Lukevics said of De La Rosa and his path back to relevancy that has him poised to follow in the footsteps of Scott Richmond and Robert Coello as ex-indy players who fight their way to the majors. But first, De La Rosa had some growing up to do.

"I felt like I belonged there, which is not the mindset you need to have when you're there," De La Rosa said of his time in New York in which he appeared in just 20 games over the 2003-04 season. "You need to be humbled. Going through all this has made me a humble person, so I don't regret it at all."

De La Rosa headed to independent baseball after the Yankees cut him, but he struggled to adjust and then took a year off to sell real estate. However, his dream wouldn't die and he couldn't handle knowing his baseball career was over, so he returned to the independent leagues.  His play in 2007 got him a late-season pickup by the Brewers, but all he got was one two-inning stint at the rookie level before being released.

But after two more years in the independent leagues, De La Rosa finally caught the attention of the Rays, who brought him in for a workout. Tampa witnessed a 6-foot-5 righty with a fastball reaching 97-mph and immediately signed him.

"He was pounding fastballs, and we were thinking this is too good to be true," Lukevics said. De La Rosa would go on to split the year between high-Class A and Double-A, posting a 2.01 ERA in 76 innings and whiffing 80 while coughing up 26 walks. Now, he has a chance to win a bullpen spot in the major leagues after being placed on the 40-man roster, news that came just weeks after becoming engaged. That's a lesson in the art of perseverance.

"If Dane De La Rosa has taken this journey and now he's on the 40-man major-league roster and a heartbeat away from pitching in the big leagues," Lukevics said, "it tells every young man, every player they have a chance if they keep working." (Tampa Tribune, also source of photo)

PARTY TIME: Brian Wilson is sure one lucky guy. He was picked up in Arizona by none other than Charlie Sheen on a private jet and ferried to Sheen's house, where he hosted yet another party. This one was full of ballplayers watching movies and kicking back. (And yes, Sheen's iconic Major League was played, capping off the night.) Sources said the party was only "R-rated" instead of the debauchery that usually happens at the Sheen estate.

No word on whether Wilson's virtual doppleganger attended the festivities. (TMZ)

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME: Pete Rose joined a fundraiser for a Legion team and had plenty of jokes to crack even as there was the requisite talk about Rose's gambling and Hall of Fame chances. "This is America. You're supposed to get second chances," Rose said. "I chose the wrong vice." Or maybe his second chance was frittered away when he lied about gambling? Anyways, cool anecdote: Rose would always leave four tickets per game for his father, who would move seats every time Rose didn't get a hit. One day when Rose went 0-for-4 and didn't hustle (imagine that) on a grounder to second, his father castigated him.

"He asked me, 'Did you run hard in your third at-bat with the runner on third?'" Rose relayed. "I thought about it and I realized I hadn't because I thought I should've gotten a hit, and I grounded out to second."

His father's response: "'Don't embarrass me in this town. You run until the umpire says safe or out.'" (Oroville Mercury-Register)

LONG TIME NO SEE: When the Pirates traded Jason Schmidt back in 2001, they were hoping the return would put them on the path to respectability. Instead, Armando Rios got hurt and Ryan Vogelsong posted a 6.00 ERA from 2001-06 after rocketing through the Giants' system. But now, Vogelsong is finally back in San Francisco after stints in Japan and Triple-A for the Phillies and Angels last season. 

Before Vogelsong picked the Giants, the Dodgers came calling, but the righty stayed true to his roots. "I was like, I just can't wear Dodger blue," he said. (MLB.com)

PRIDE COMES BEFORE A FALL: Edgar Renteria isn't upset that the Giants declined his $10.5 miliion option (an obvious move, he says) but the resulting $1 million offer was disrespectful, he says. "I'm not going to play for anybody for $1 million," Renteria said. "I'd rather retire. That is why I say it [was disrespectful]. It's because I know what I can do in this game."

Renteria eventually signed for $2.1 million with the Reds. Meanwhile, if being offered $1 million is disrespectful, sign me up. (San Jose Mercury News)

REST IN PEACE: Cardinals co-owner Andrew Baur has passed away at the tender age of 66. He was a part of the 1996 purchase of the Cardinals by majority owner Bill DeWitt and was a member of the board of directors since the ownership change. Cause of death is not yet known. (FOX Sports Midwest)

LITERARY GENIUS: In Sunday's Morning Pepper, R.A. Dickey revealed he was writing a book about his major-league career. It's not often you hear of ballplayers who can write -- nevermind even read -- but add Burke Badenhop to that list. The Marlin relayed a story of the judge recognizing him when he served jury duty, but that was only the start of his offseason. He also got married, assisted a friend in writing a book about financial planning and is co-writing a movie script with his agent. But now, all he's concerned about is winning a bullpen spot. (Palm Beach Post)

DHING AIN'T EASY: DHs don't get a lot of respect in the league. Not only is it virtually impossible for them to get Hall of Fame or All-Star consideration, but many believe it's pretty easy to walk up to the plate four times a game, take your hacks and then warm the bench without having to play defense. Not so, and Adam Dunn is trying to figure out how to transition to a DH role. Fortunately, ex-White Sox players in Jim Thome and Harold Baines have some advice. (Chicago Tribune)

LESSON LEARNED: It couldn't have been easy for Mike Quade to step into Lou Piniella's shoes and then make the move of benching Starlin Castro for one game, but there you have it. The budding shortstop rode the pine for a mental lapse, and the Rookie of the Year candidate has said he learned his lesson from it. Quade, however, refuses to call it discipline, rather preferring to term it a "teaching moment" to get Castro a breather after breaking into the bigs amid much hoopla and starting on a regular basis. (Chicago Tribune)

-- Evan Brunell

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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