Tag:Derek Jeter
Posted on: July 21, 2011 9:18 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 9:33 am
 

Pepper: Matsui hits No. 500

Hideki Matsui

By C. Trent Rosecrans


You may have missed it last night, but Hideki Matsui hit his 168th home run of his Major League Baseball career. Why's that meaningful? Well, in addition to his 332 homers for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, he has 500 in his professional career.

Sure, 500 combined isn't the same as 500 in MLB, but it's still a cool accomplishment. Sadaharu Oh, who hit 868 home runs, was impressed by the accomplishment.

"To keep hitting home runs during a tough schedule while maintaining your conditioning is not easy," Oh told the Associated Press.

Matsui was less impressed. "It isn't like I've been aiming for this, because I don't really combine numbers from Japan and here. To me, they are two separate leagues," he told the AP.

And he's right, there are differences. The ballparks in Japan are smaller, the ball is slightly different, the pitchers are different and the season is shorter. But still, 500 is a lot of home runs, even if you're in Little League. He was never quite the same feared power hitter here that he was in Japan, but he did produce for many years and has been a good big leaguer, adjusting his game to his new surroundings. 

I lived in Japan when he first came up, and the hype he received is like nothing I've seen in the United States -- I'd say it's more like if Bryce Harper were a Yankee. That's how famous he was even in high school in Japan, where the high school baseball tournament is covered like the NCAA basketball tournament here. 

The 500 mark has been achieved by 25 in MLB and eight in Japan -- and just one, Matsui, has done it combined between the two.

KOTCHMAN QUALIFIED: It's been easy to miss, but Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman is having a heck of a season. He needed four plate appearances Wednesday to qualify for the batting title. Kotchman not only got his four appearances, he picked up three hits, raising his batting average to .337, which is second in the American League to Boston's Adrian Gonzalez (.343). [Tampa Tribune]

UNHAPPY DAYS IN CHICAGO: It's been a severely disappointing season in Chicago, and both managers are none too happy with their teams. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had some choice words for his team after a loss to Bruce Chen and the Royals [Chicago Tribune]; Cubs manager Mike Quade targeted his ire on two young players, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney. [Chicago Sun-Times]. 

STRONG COFFEY: Nats reliever Todd Coffey wasn't too happy about allowing a run in Tuesday night's game and reacted by throwing a water cooler -- nearly drenching Jerry Hairston. Let that be a lesson kids, another reason to wear high socks -- your pants don't get wet if Coffey spills on you. [Washington Post]

SWEET MUSIC: The New York Times music critic writes about the beautiful sounds of a ballpark. Listen to the sweet sound of summer. Maybe they should make it a MP3 so I can listen to it when there's snow on the ground.

JETER FATIGUE: Sick of hearing about Derek Jeter? Well, there's a browser tool for that. If you're using Google's Chrome, you can download the Jeter Filter to avoid all those pesky references to the Captain. Too bad this wasn't around a week or so ago (I kid, I kid). [Big League Stew]

CHAVEZ REVINE IS SAFE: The group that owns the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles says that it is not interested in building a downtown baseball stadium, contrary to earlier reports. "It's not even an idea. It simply doesn't work," AEG president Tim Leiweke told ESPNLosAngeles.com.

CLOSER IN WAITING?: If Florida trades Leo Nunez, it's like Edward Mujica will get the nod as the team's closer. You fantasy baseball folk may want to remember that and get in on him early. [Miami Herald]

SORIANO CLOSE: Yankees setup man Rafael Soriano made his first rehab appearance Tuesday, allowing two runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings at Class A Tampa. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he didn't know yet how he'd use Soriano upon his return. [New York Daily News]

DARVISH WATCH: One of the big names we'll be sick of hearing come January or so is Japanese import Yu Darvish. The Angels, Yankees and Mets were among the teams that watched his last start. [YakyuBaka.com]

NO MO NO-NO: Monday the Royals' Luis Mendoza of the Royals' Triple-A team in Omaha threw a no-hitter and the next night the Double-A squad in Northwest Arkansas threw a combined no-hitter. Well, Wednesday the Royals not only didn't have a no-hitter, but they had another taken away when the Pacific Coast League stripped Mendoza of his no-hitter, changing an error call to a hit -- again. Monday night outfielder David Lough of the Storm Chasers was charged with an error. Then just minutes after Mendoza celebrated his no-hitter, it was changed to a hit. And then an hour later, it was changed back to an error. And now Wednesday it was changed back to a hit. Mendoza threw a no-hitter for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2009. [Kansas City Star]

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Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 3:04 pm
 

Thome's aim at 600 deserves more attention



By Matt Snyder


A Major League Baseball player is going to achieve something this season that only seven others in the history of the game have. No, we aren't talking about Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit. That was a special moment, especially since no Yankees player had achieved the feat in a Yankees uniform and that he hit a home run en route to going 5-5 on that day. But Jeter became the 28th member of the 3,000-hit club. Twins designated hitter Jim Thome currently has 596 career home runs. When he hits No. 600, he'll join just seven others in that much more exclusive club: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa.

Now, here's how special Thome is. He played during the stained "steroid era" with Bonds, Sosa, A-Rod and Griffey. Griffey and Thome have never been accused of using anything by a credible source nor tested positive. Bonds, Sosa and A-Rod have. It should make us appreciate this impending feat that much more.

Career HR Leaders
Player Total
1. Barry Bonds 762
2. Hank Aaron 755
3. Babe Ruth 714
4. Willie Mays 660
5. Ken Griffey Jr. 630
6. Alex Rodriguez-y 626
7. Sammy Sosa 609
8. Jim Thome-y 596
9. Frank Robinson 586
10. Mark McGwire 583
Instead, the hype doesn't seem to be building nearly as much as it should. Maybe it's because Thome's home runs are pretty spread out now. As he moves into a more limited role, he only has seven this season. Thus, if we hype every single game, we might be waiting through upwards of 100 games in anticipation. That would be exhausting. Maybe the hype gets close to the hype for Jeter once Thome hits No. 599. We'll see, but I suspect it won't get anywhere close.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm part of the media that heavily hyped Jeter's quest for 3,000. If you saw the traffic numbers the Jeter stories drew compared to other stories, you wouldn't blame us. It's New York. It's Derek Jeter. It's a huge milestone. That gets numbers. Plus, I quite admire Jeter. I admire how he's played all these years in the spotlight and drawn nothing but respect from his peers. He's rarely been involved in much controversy, and that's a pretty tough task for 15 years as the face of the sport's most recognizable franchise. So please don't misconstrue this as a complaint against the Jeter coverage. It's far from it. Jeter deserved his coverage.

But take away the New York spotlight element and you could say many of the same things about Thome. In fact, you could say better things. Not only do you never hear an ill word about Thome as a teammate or an opposing player, but he's won the both Roberto Clemente and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards for his character, sportsmanship and community involvement. He has or will be reportedly putting all 10 of his nieces and nephews through college (Star-Tribune).

On the field, Thome's probably been underrated throughout his career. Despite regressions as he's aged -- he's 40 now -- he still has a career on-base percentage of over .400 (the seventh-highest active mark). His 1,646 RBI place him 28th all time. Why did he only make five All-Star teams and finish in the top 10 of MVP voting four times? Well, because his prime was during the juice era. And as far as all the evidence says, he didn't juice. And there's something to be said for longevity. He hit 25 home runs in just 276 at-bats last season. His prodigious 596th homer shows he still has the power.

Simply put, if you want a true All-Star both off and on the field, you need not look further than Thome. And he's nearing a milestone only a handful of guys have ever done without legitimate accusations of impurity.

Maybe it's because he's playing in a smaller market than New York. Maybe it's because he's bounced around a lot in his career and there isn't one fan base claiming him as their own. Maybe it's because some feel he's just a stat compiler -- which is ridiculous, by the way, since only seven guys have ever compiled this many homers. Or maybe it's just that we're waiting until he gets closer.

Whatever the reason, we need to rectify it. Jim Thome is close to hitting his 600th career home run. He deserves much more of our attention.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Thome 4 homers away from 600

Jim ThomeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Lost amidst Derek Jeter's run at 3,000 hits is Jim Thome's pursuit of 600 home runs. With a three-run shot of Kansas City's Felipe Paulino in the sixth inning of Sunday's game, Thome hit the 596th home run of his career.

Thome, 40, did it in style, too -- hitting the ball an estimated 490 feet to right-center field, making it the longest homer hit in the short history of Target Field. Last year he hit a 480-foot shot.

The homer also broke a 1-1 tie, giving the Twins a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning. Minnesota went on to win 4-3.

Watch Thome's bomb here

Thome is attempting to become just the eighth player in baseball history to reach 600, but the fifth since 2002. The fact that the other names to join the 600 club this decade include Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa has marred the accomplishment -- all three have been tied to performance-enhancing drugs. Ken Griffey Jr. is the only one of the newest members of the 600 club not to be tied to PEDs, although nobody  -- including Griffey and Thome --- are above suspicion just by the virtue of having played during the so-called Steroid Era.

Sunday's home run was the 500th of his career in the American League. Thome hit 96 home runs with the Phillies from 2003-05. He's the 11th player to hit 500 home runs in the American League.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: July 15, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Pepper: About those wins, losses



By Matt Snyder


One of the things I find most lame in the world of baseball writing is how there's a huge fight between those who love sabermetrics and those who oppose it as if it's the worst thing in the history of mankind. Accusations are hurled in each direction, whether it's a "mother's basement" insult or an insinuation that the other party is a moron. I try to not get involved, as I believe there's merit to different things on both sides, but one area where I feel strongly is that using wins and losses to judge pitchers is stupid.

Example number infinity happened last night during the Cubs-Marlins game. Matt Garza threw seven shutout innings, but Carlos Marmol was deplorable in the ninth (zero IP, five earned runs). The Cubs lost. So Garza didn't get the win.

I just have a question for the people who like to puff their chests out and use the "mother's basement" term on people who don't like using wins and losses: Where does Bob Brenly live? The Cubs' color man, who was an All-Star catcher and has a World Series ring from a managerial stint, said, "win-loss record is not a good way to judge a pitcher" once Marmol blew the game.

FIGHTING DEPRESSION: Mets reliever Taylor Buchholz is suffering from what seems like a very serious case of depression. He's likely to miss the entire season and things do not sound good (Springfield Patch).

EXPENSIVE MIDDLE RELIEVER: The Yankees spent a pretty penny ($35 million over three years) this offseason to bring Rafael Soriano in as their eighth-inning man. What they've gotten in return is a 5.40 ERA, an attitude the New York media has questioned and a long stint on the DL. In the meantime, David Robertson has excelled, even making the All-Star team. Soriano is close to coming back now, but what will his role be? We don't know, because Yankees' skipper Joe Girardi wouldn't say. It does feel unlikely the Yankees immediately promote him past Robertson, though. (NJ.com)

DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? Cubs manager Mike Quade had to fly commercially after the All-Star Game and he must have looked suspicious. He was retained for 40 minutes by TSA and given a full-fledged pat-down. Quade said he didn't tell the officials who he was, but hoped they would ask. (Chicago Tribune)

WORKING IT: Royals first round pick Bubba Starling is committed to playing football for Nebraska and the negotiations with the Royals are ongoing. Reportedly, Starling is likely to sign with the Royals eventually, but he's really working his bluff, as he's attending voluntary workouts with Nebraska. For what it's worth, the Royals don't seem bothered by it. (Fox Sports KC)

15 MINUTES: Apparently all you have to do to get a short run at quasi-fame these days is be an idiot. (Arizona Republic)

NO MO WILY MO? One of the more entertaining players in the majors has to be Wily Mo Pena. He's hit five home runs in just 46 at-bats, but he also has 19 strikeouts with nary a walk. But he's about to be designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks, who will activate Geoff Blum from the DL. Brandon Allen will also be added to the roster while Juan Miranda is demoted to Triple-A. What about prospect Paul Goldschmidt? Nick Piecoro examines the issue (Arizona Republic).

THE PRICE IS RIGHT: Rays pitcher David Price was initially upset about giving up Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit -- which was also a home run, as we all know. Evidently, Price is over it, as he's now agreed to a deal to autograph items, such as baseballs, "I gave up DJ's 3K." (Tampabay.com)

BACK ON HIS FEET: Just a few weeks from walking away from the Nationals' managing gig, Jim Riggleman now has a job with the Giants as a special assignment scout. (Extra Baggs)

THERE SHE BLOWS: A minor-league game was postponed when heavy winds blew the outfield wall down at Lake Olmstead Stadium, home of the Augusta GreenJackets. It was reportedly a 50-foot section of an 18-foot high wall. (Augusta Chronicle)

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: There were tons of scouts in the building to watch Rockies starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez Thursday. Upwards of 17 teams, that is (Fox Sports). And he's not going anywhere. The Rockies will have to be absolutely bowled over to cough him up, especially since he's relatively cheap for the next few years.

MORNEAU, ROBERTS PROGRESSING: Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has been cleared to resume baseball activities (MLB.com). Meanwhile, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts has been allowed to increase his workload as he attempts to return from a concussion (MLB.com).

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 6:16 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 6:31 pm
 

Jeter injury, not exhaustion, reason for absence

By Evan Brunell

JeterPrevious reports had Derek Jeter missing the All-Star Game because he was exhausted from chasing 3,000 hits, but Jeter said on Thursday that wasn't the case.

"It wasn't an exhaustion thing, it was an injury thing," Jeter told ESPN New York.

"I hadn't heard about it until someone told me it was all over TV on Tuesday," Jeter added. "I guess I was surprised, is the best way to put it, on the coverage. I understand disappointment. I get that. I understand that fans are disappointed.

"Like I told you guys, I was disappointed I didn't get a chance to go play. I've told you guys throughout the years, but this was a decision that I thought was best for our team for the second half of the year."

It seems like Jeter's missing the point here. It's completely understandable why Jeter didn't want to play in the game. Even if he was emotionally exhausted (a point he thoroughly debunked), everyone would have understood. What appears to be the issue, however, is that Jeter didn't even show up in a ceremonial capacity. If he had, the uproar over Jeter not playing would have been muted, if not non-existent. Baseball, the media and fans wanted Jeter at the game to celebrate his milestone.

Nevertheless, Jeter said that the break has helped.

"(Joe) Girardi wanted to give me days off when I first came back, so it was difficult for me to play in the games [with the Yankees,]" Jeter said. "When I got hurt, everyone was telling me how difficult an injury it is and it takes until the offseason. It is serious -- you don't want to come back too soon. I decided to take some days off to help out and turned into this. The days helped."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 14, 2011 10:03 am
Edited on: July 14, 2011 3:19 pm
 

Pepper: Brewers on hunt for infield help

Betancourt

By Evan Brunell

WHAT'S NEXT? Now that the Brewers have traded for Francisco Rodriguez and beefed up their bullpen, what's next?

Anyone who has been keeping tabs on Milwaukee can tell you that a shortstop and third baseman are next on the list. Yuniesky Betancourt hasn't been a competent hitter or fielder for years, yet continues to hold down a starting job; if Milwaukee can find a replacement, Betancourt will be sent on his way. Third base was supposed to be populated by Casey McGehee, who drove in 100 runs last season. Alas, he's been terrible offensively, which has shined a spotlight on his below-average defense.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports indicates that the Brew Crew is indeed pursuing left-infield help as the club makes a run for the postseason in Prince Fielder's final season.

Rosenthal brings up Dodgers infielder Jamey Carroll, who is having one of his best big-league seasons at age 37, but he hasn't been made available yet. If Baltimore's contract extension with J.J. Hardy falls through, the Brewers could look into re-acquiring their former shortstop. Also linked to the team is Royals third baseman Wilson Betemit, but he wouldn't really be a significant upgrade over McGehee.

Who else could be had? Well, Houston is solidly out of the postseason chase and has been dangling Jeff Keppinger for some time. The Marlins could move out free-agent-to-be Omar Infante and if the Padres throw in the towel, Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett would certainly be options.

There's no sliver bullet available here unless GM Doug Melvin has a magic trick up his sleeve, but there won't be that much trouble upgrading from McGehee and Betancourt. They've been poor enough on both sides of the ball that even an all-glove, no-hit player would outproduce these players.

DONE WITH TWITTER?
Sounds as if Orioles center fielder Adam Jones may be done with Twitter; no word on why. (@SimplyAJ10)

UPPER DECK CLOSING: The Marlins are following in the footsteps of the A's, who closed the upper deck of the stadium several years ago. Now, Florida is following suit as the paucity of people in the upper deck did not justify cost of ushers, personnel, concession stands and the like. (Miami Herald)

JETER MARKET HOT: Other than the World Series victories, Steiner Sports says the rush to get memorabilia for Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit is like never before. "It's like a mini-World Series," Mitchell Modell of Modell's said. (New York Times)

CHISENHALL OK: Indians prospect Lonnie Chisenhall was recently promoted to the majors and took a fastball off the face for his trouble. Now that the All-Star Break is past, Chisenhall thinks he's ready to play again despite a nasty bruise. (MLB.com)

WASHINGTON OR NEW YORK: It looks as if J.C. Romero will be in the majors at some point over the next couple of weeks. Released by the Phillies, the left-handed reliever plans to opt out of his contract with the Nationals by Friday if they don't promote him. In that case, he's headed to the Yankees. (ESPN MLB)

STOW PART OF BANKRUPTCY CASE: The family of Brian Stow, currently suing the Dodgers for culpability in the beating that left the Giants fan in a coma, has been named as a representative creditor in the bankruptcy case. Along with four other parties, the Stow family will represent unsecured creditors as owner Frank McCourt tries to navigate bankruptcy court.

FINALLY AN ALL-STAR: Kirk Gibson turned down two opportunities to participate in the All-Star Game as a player, much to his father's chagrin. But the former baseball standout finally went to his first All-Star Game when he joined Giants skipper Bruce Bochy in Phoenix as a coach. (MLB.com)

BAD BUCK: Joe Buck's lousy calling of the All-Star Game was making waves as it happened, and now a sports-radio personality blogs his take. In short: It's time for Buck to go away until his voice is fully healed. (Detroit Free-Press)

PERSONALITY CHECK: It's always nice to learn more about Yankees players outside of the game, and there's plenty of information here. For example, Sergio Mitre grew up fighting in the streets of Tijuana, Mexico and no Yankee would want to be without the reliever if they were in a fight. And surprisingly, Bartolo Colon would win an arm-wrestling match. (Wall Street Journal)

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Posted on: July 13, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 2:30 pm
 

Companies lining up to pay Yankee fan's tax bill

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Christian LopezThe fan who returned Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit ball may get tax relief from several companies that are hoping to get good P.R. by taking care of what could be a $14,000 bill from the IRS for the goodies the Yankees gave 23-year-old Christian Lopez.

Interested parties include beer company Miller and sporting good store Modells.

"Miller High Life believes you should be rewarded for doing the right thing, not penalized," Miller High Life brand manager Brendan Noonan said, according to  Darren Rovell of CNBC. "We want to recognize Christian Lopez, and in turn everyone like him, for doing the common sense thing and help him continue to live the High Life."

Miller also offered to throw a party for Lopez and his friends with free beer.

Modells said it would donate five percent of its proceeds from Yankees gear sales from July 13-19 to Lopez's tax fund, according to ESPNNewYork.com.

After catching Jeter's ball, Lopez gave the ball back to Jeter, asking only to meet the Yankee captain. The Yankees showered him with gifts, including tickets to games for the rest of the season and autographed memorabilia, worth as much as $60,000.

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 4:11 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 5:28 pm
 

Selig fine with Jeter's absence

By Matt Snyder

PHOENIX - One of the hot-button issues of the All-Star Game has been the no-shows, specifically Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter not being here even though he was elected as the starter and is not on the disabled list. He went 5-5 Saturday as he eclipsed 3,000 hits. There seems to be a buzz among some fans and media that Jeter owed it to the fans and even his fellow All-Stars to play in the game. Commissioner Bud Selig doesn't agree.

"I know what Derek Jeter is going through and his situation," Selig told the on-hand media. "If I were in his place, I would have made the same decision as Derek Jeter."

"Any suggestion I'm not happy with Jeter is false," Selig continued. "There isn't a player I'm more proud of in the last 15 years than Derek Jeter."

All-Star No Shows
Selig also made sure to point out that of the whopping 83 named All-Stars, 79 are present. Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Chipper Jones and Jeter are the four who didn't make the trip.

"Chipper Jones wanted to be here, but he's in the hospital today and obviously can't be here," Selig said.

For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

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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