Tag:Edinson Volquez
Posted on: March 4, 2011 9:53 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:29 pm
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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 28, 2011 9:08 pm
 

Carmona tabbed to start opening day

Posted by C. Trent Rosecrans

Fausto CarmonaThe Indians tabbed Fausto Carmona as their opening-day starter on Monday, before he went out to work two scoreless innings against the Reds at the team's shared home in Goodyear, Ariz.

Carmona will start opposite Mark Buehrle of the White Sox on April 1 at Progressive Park in Cleveland.

Not that it's much of a surprise -- it was Carmona or… Carlos Carrasco? But anyway, it was official until Monday when manager Manny Acta was asked if it was a "safe assumption" Carmona would start on opening day.

"That's a good assumption," Acta told reporters, including MLB.com. "Yeah, he's our opening day starter. He deserves that."

And while there are plenty we can assume -- we won't. Here's the official list so far:

Cubs -- Ryan Dempster
Dodgers -- Clayton Kershaw
Indians -- Fausto Carmona
Mets -- Mike Pelfrey
Rangers -- C.J. Wilson
Reds -- Edinson Volquez
Twins -- Carl Pavano
White Sox -- Mark Buehrle

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 7:53 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 8:48 pm
 

Buehrle to start opening day for White Sox

Mark BuehrleAnother day, another opening day starter announced. Today, it's the White Sox's Ozzie Guillen saying he'll hand the ball to Mark Buehrle in Cleveland on April 1.

Oh, except this one isn't "official."

"It's Buehrle unless something drastic happens," Guillen told reporters, including Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.

Buehrle will be making his ninth opening-day start, so it's hardly a surprise. Still, it's a rite of spring for each one of these to be made public. Few will be surprising, but many managers will make sure they keep it under wraps as long as possible, for some reason.

So here's the list we've got so far:

Reds -- Edinson Volquez

Cubs -- Ryan Dempster

Rangers -- C.J. Wilson

Twins -- Carl Pavano

White Sox -- Mark Buehrle

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:56 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 3:47 pm
 

Reds name Edinson Volquez opening day starter

In what appeared to be at least a three-man race to get the baseball on March 31 for the Cincinnati Reds, former All Star Edinson Volquez will get the nod over Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto et al.

Dusty Baker made the announcement Tuesday , a day after telling Volquez of the decision.

The 27-year-old right-hander is certainly talented enough to be the ace of the defending NL Central champions. In his only full season as a starter -- 2008 -- Volquez went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA. He struck out 206 hitters in 196 innings. He was so good, he even drew votes for NL Rookie of the Year , despite not being eligible to receive the award (details, details ... ).

In the past two years, Volquez has started 21 games, going 8-5 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. His start in last season's NLDS was a bit disastrous, but he was still regaining strength in his return from Tommy John surgery, which he had in August of 2009.

Volquez says he's already 100 percent and will certainly ready to go on opening day.

Baker seems to have arrived at the decision by simply eliminating the other starters in a relatively stacked rotation.
"We're very confident in Volquez. Plus, you name who you think can handle it the best," Baker said. "Is Homer ready for the No. 1? Is Wood ready for No. 1? Is Leake ready for No. 1? Cueto just signed a four-year contract, and what's he, 23 years old? He's already got enough pressure on him. I'm trying to relieve any pressure from him thinking he has to prove he's worth the money.

"There's nobody looser and I think can handle the situation better than Volquez. Not much bothers him. At least he doesn't show it bothers him."
As for Bronson Arroyo, who went 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and logged over 200 innings for the sixth straight season last year?
"I think Bronson has always leaned towards not being it," Baker said. "He's more of a long-run type of guy. What's Bronson's ERA, [3.88]? If you're facing No. 1s, that equals a lot of losses. He's fine with it. I talked to him about it. He was thinking about it this winter, he feels it's the best spot in the rotation for him, too."
 -- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: February 11, 2011 2:18 pm
 

Volquez rejected four-year offer from Reds

VolquezBefore the Reds settled with Edinson Volquez on a one-year deal for $1.62 million that buys out the righty's first year of arbitration, a long-term deal was discussed by both sides.

As Volquez reveals, the Reds offered a four-year deal "the same as Johnny Cueto," but Volquez declined to sign it.

"I didn't feel it was right for me. I spoke with the lawyer and the general manager, and we all agreed on a single season," Volquez told El Caribe, a Spanish newspaper, with MLB Trade Rumors providing the translation.

It's unclear if the Cueto comparison was strictly years or if the dollar value would have been similar. Cueto has signed a four-year deal for $27 million that buys out his first year of arbitration. However, while Cueto doesn't quite have the ceiling of Volquez, he's also made 92 starts in his first three seasons, posting a 4.27 ERA. Turning 25 next Tuesday, Cueto is a good bet to keep up his value over the next four years.

Volquez is a different story. He's made just 53 starts over the same span of time as Cueto, missing most of 2009 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He managed 12 starts in 2010 while rehabbing from the injury along with being suspended for performance-enhancing drug. His 3.62 ERA over these 53 starts is an appreciable difference from Cueto, a difference that xFIP supports.

However, that difference in quality is likely worth the $27 million Cueto received, even if there's questions around his endurance. Of course, if Cueto breaks out, that makes him vastly underpaid, but at this point Cueto is being paid like a durable No. 3/4 starter while the same deal would pay Volquez as a brittle No. 2/3 starter.

Of course, there's an age difference here: Volquez is 27, three years older than Cueto. But all it takes is one full, good season for Volquez for the price to spike up. And he knows that.

"Having a good year this season is my mission," Volquez adds. "Depending on my performance, we'll seek a contract of at least four years with the team. I can't define the amount we're going to seek following the next year, but it's going to be for that quantity of years."

At that point, Volquez would have two of his free-agent years bought out, so the price tag would be higher than $27 million regardless. And if things should change in spring training or in season?

"The parties remain open in case I want to sign during Spring Training or in the middle of the seasons, whenever I want."

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: January 30, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Cuddyer wants extension, plus more notes

CuddyerSome news and notes on this Sunday as baseball readies for spring training in two weeks...

 

  • The Twins' Michael Cuddyer (pictured) would love to stay a Twin for the rest of his career, as MLB.com reports. He is entering the last season of his deal and is excited about the season now that surgery to clean out his knee has been a resounding success. No extension talks have taken place and once the season starts, Cuddyer won't speak about an extension.
  • The Rangers signed Dave Bush to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training, per Anthony Andro of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Bush has an opt-out clause in his deal, but this is exactly the kind of depth Texas should be building in a rotation that looks a bit suspect. If Brandon Webb suffers a setback in his return to playing time, Bush would serve as the No. 5 starter.
  • The Orioles are in the lead for Justin Duchscherer's services along with the Nationals, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reveals. The deal from Baltimore is of the major league variety, so it would be tough for the Duke not to make the squad. However, he tells Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that he has yet to decide and is close to deals with several teams. Crasnick has four teams in the hunt for the righty.
  • Rafael Betancourt has locked into a one-year extension to stay with the Rockies, as ESPN Deportes says per a MLB Trade Rumors translation. He'll make $3.77 million in 2011, per an already agreed upon deal, and $4 million in '12. The Rockies hold a club option for $4.25 million. The 36-year-old has been excellent in Colorado since coming over midway through 2009. He posted a 3.61 ERA in 62 1/2 innings for the Rox last season, whiffing 89 and walking just eight. An excellent season no matter how you slice it.
  • The Reds and Edinson Volquez agreed on a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration even as the two discuss a multi-year extension as MLB.com reports. "We tried to do a multiyear deal," GM Walt Jocketty says. "They just wanted to concentrate on the one year now. [Volquez's agent] had a few cases and wanted to get the arbitration thing out of the way."
  • Buster Olney of ESPN reveals that the Diamondbacks have opted not to pursue a humidor at Chase Field, at least for this season. The hitter's haven could benefit from a humidor, but given that the stadium isn't outrageously tilted toward hitters like Coors Field is in Colorado, there isn't a major push for it. The humidor could solve dry desert conditions that affect the baseball.
  • Amid reports the Orioles might sign Vladimir Guerrero, Luke Scott couldn't care less if he DHs or plays left, according to the Baltimore Sun. Just keep him with the Orioles, as he wants to sign a contract extension. The Orioles rebuffed overtures for an extension, although that doesn't mean it couldn't happen later.
  • In Nick Cafardo's excellent Sunday Notes column for the Boston Globe, he reveals that the Diamondbacks are considering Scott Schoeneweis. The lefty had a brief stint with the Red Sox in 2010 before being released. Schoeneweis pitched for Arizona in 2009 but was shocked by the drug overdose of his wife in May, struggling with depression after. How he has battled since in raising his kids and attempting to continue his career is nothing short of remarkable.
  • Cafardo also reports that the Rays are likely in on the services for Manny Delcarmen, along with three other teams. Delcarmen pitched for years with the Red Sox before falling apart in 2010 and ending the year with Colorado.

 

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: January 26, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 4:19 pm
 

Reds working on locking up young players

I just got back from the Johnny Cueto news conference in Cincinnati. Even though the Cueto deal was known since last week, it was the other stuff that was a little more interesting.

First of all, the 5 p.m. news conference started at 5:05 p.m. because Reds general manager Walt Jocketty was talking to Edinson Volquez's agent on the phone. With Cueto signed, Volquez is the last arbitration-eligible player the Reds have.

Edinson Volquez "There's no update. We continue to negotiate and we're talking to them about both a one-year and a multi-year deal and hopefully we get something resolved soon," Jocketty said.

The team hasn't gone to arbitration since 2004 and Jocketty said he's "sure" they won't go to arbitration with Volquez, even if it's a one-year deal.

It would fit in with what the Reds have done this offseason, buying out the arbitration years of not only Cueto, but also Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, all in their first year of arbitration.

"We felt that it's important to solidify the core of this club for a number of years, know where our cost will be on certain, key players over the next three or four years and build from there," Jocketty said. "We'll build with the young players we have on the 40-man roster now and the number of guys that are coming here in the next couple of years."

He did warn that if the fans don't come out to Great American Ball Park, the team may have to say goodbye to the likes of Votto, Cueto and the team's other young talent.

"At some point when Johnny gets beyond this contract and Votto and some of the other guys, we're not sure if we're going to be able to sign these guys again," Jocketty said. "So we have to have players that will be able to step in and take over. Hopefully we can do that, it just depends on how our revenues and what we're able to generate over the next couple of years and if we continue to win, I think we will. I think our attendance will improve and our revenues will improve and we'll be in great shape to try to re-sign these guys."

Votto signed a three-year deal, taking him up to his free-agent years, while Cueto gave up a free-agent year and the Reds also have a club option for a second. Cueto, 24, will earn $3.4 million this season, $5.4 in 2012, $7.4 million in 2013 and $10 million in 2014. The Reds have a $10 million option for 2015 with an $800,000 buyout.

Bruce signed the longest deal, going through 2016 with a  club option for 2017.

Volquez has asked for $2 million and the Reds have offered $1.3 million.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 21, 2011 4:10 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 4:23 pm
 

Reds talking extension with Volquez

Edinson Volquez So far this offseason, the Reds have done little to change their team -- for 2011 or beyond.

The biggest moves made by the NL Central champs have been extensions for Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto. They've avoided arbitration for the next three with Votto, Bruce and Cueto. Another first-time arbitration eligible player is right-hander Edinson Volquez, and the Reds are looking to buy out his arbitration-eligible years, as well.

"We're looking at both -- one-year and multi-year," general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer . "We're hopeful that we'll get something done."

Volquez is the team's last arbitration-eligible player. He submitted a request of $2 million, while the Reds countered at $1.3 million.

Volquez, an All-Star in 2008, was acquired in a trade for Josh Hamilton in Dec., 2007. He was suspended for 50 games last season after testing positive for a substance on the banned list, though he has claimed it was a fertility drug he used by prescription from a doctor in the Dominican Republic in order to start a family with his wife.

Volquez was coming off Tommy John surgery. Volquez was 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA last season, a year after going 4-2 with a  4.35 ERA. He was 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA in 2007.

The Reds have made avoiding arbitration a priority this offseason -- while Votto's deal was only for his three arbitration years, they got three arbitration years and one free-agent year from Cueto and the arbitration years and three free agent years for the "Super Two."  The team also avoided arbitration with left-handed reliever Bill Bray. Cincinnati hasn't gone to arbitration with a player since 2004.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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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