Tag:Jose Bautista
Posted on: June 23, 2011 8:55 pm
 

Jays moving Bautista to third, call up Thames

By Evan Brunell

ThamesJose Bautista will temporarily move from right field to third base, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulous announced, according to Sportsnet.ca.

Toronto has been trying to get by at third with an amalgam of Jayson Nix, Mike McCoy and John McDonald, but both players simply aren't hitting. As a result, the club decided to call up outfielder Eric Thames, demote McCoy and shift Bautista to third,.

Toronto has been stumbling as of late, and starting pitcher Ricky Romero was none too pleased about that, saying the offense needed to step up. He later clarified his comments to the team, but it is clear that something needed to change. Now, Toronto is making a bid to get some more offense in the game with Thames, who already made his major-league debut earlier this season in a stint from mid-May to the first of June. The 24-year-old will be playing in left and right field along with DHing in the hopes he can spark the team.

Thames (pictured) was tearing Triple-A apart. While the Jays' Las Vegas affiliate plays in a hitter's league, Thames was still mighty impressive with a .352/.423/.610 mark in 241 plate appearances, cranking seven home runs and knocking 25 doubles. He also has a modicum of speed, as his five stolen bases (two caught stealing) indicate. Overall, it's a fine gambit for Toronto in the hopes of creating offense; while the Jays rank ninth in baseball in offense, only three other AL teams are head of the Jays. It's just their luck that the top two teams in offense are in the same division.

For Bautista's part, he last played third in 2010, playing 48 games, with a career 357 appearances at the hot corner. While his defensive numbers at third indicate he is below average, he's livable there provided Thames comes in and hits, but he will need a few days to adjust to the spot, Anthopoulous said.

Part of this move may be predicated on Brett Lawrie's fractured hand. Lawrie, the team's top offensive prospect, was on the verge of a call-up when he took a pitch off a hand in a Triple-A game. Originally thought to be a bruise, it instead revealed itself as a fractured hand. Thought to be out only a couple weeks, Lawrie now doesn't project to return to the lineup until August as he is still having trouble gripping a bat properly.

For those wondering why Thames got the call over Travis Snider, who was demoted to the farm at the end of April, the projected long term left-fielder is hobbled by a concussion. A MRI came back clean, so he should return to action before long.

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Posted on: June 21, 2011 5:54 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 6:07 pm
 

Romero calls team meeting after comments

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ricky RomeroSometimes a Twitter apology isn't enough -- or at least that's what Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero believes.

After defending himself and his postgame comments from last night on Twitter, Romero held a closed-door meeting to address his teammates.

MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm tweets Romero wanted to make sure his teammates knew he wasn't "calling them out" and his comments were misinterpreted -- or at least sensationalized.

Following a 2-0 loss, Romero had some frustrated comments about the team, which has scored just 13 runs in the nine games he's started that the Blue Jays went on to lose. Overall, he's 6-7 with a 2.98 ERA.

From the Toronto Star

"All I can do is just pitch," Romero said. "I can't worry about the offense and what they do. I’ve always said this at one point we can’t rely on [Jose] Bautista, we can’t rely on [Adam] Lind. We've got to get somebody else to step up and get on base and drive them in. These guys are getting pitched around. Everyone's got to step it up or else we're not going to be winning ballgames. This team doesn’t revolve around one or two guys. Everyone's got to put in their parts. That's how we win ballgames."

This morning he tweeted this:


I don't know that any of his teammates took it as him "calling them out," just a pitcher that was frustrated after losing a close game. I'm pretty sure there were frustrated Blue Jays hitters saying the same thing, just nobody was asking them.

Expect this "controversy" to blow over quickly.

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Posted on: June 21, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 3:57 pm
 

No changes in AL All-Star voting

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh HamiltonThis time of year, Major League Baseball releases All-Star voting totals every week, and at some point it becomes white noise -- especially when there's no change in the voting.

In the American League update released Monday, the top three at each position remained unchanged.

Of the nine positions fans get to vote for in the AL, eight are currently occupied by American League East players, with Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton the lone exception. And even the reigning MVP is getting some heat from Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury. Hamilton is third in outfield voting (trailing Toronto's Jose Bautista and New York's Curtis Granderson) with 2,400,408 votes, and Ellsbury now has 2,249,323 votes. Fellow Sox outfielder Carl Crawford is fifth.

The infield is dominated by Yankees -- catcher Russell Martin, second baseman Robinson Cano, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter. First-baseman Adrian Gonzalez and DH David Oritz of the Red Sox lead at their positions.

Voting runs through June 30, and the teams are announced July 3. 

The complete voting is available on MLB.com.

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Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:01 pm
 

On Deck: How about a Zito-Soriano swap?


By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Is 80-year-old Jack McKeon the answer for the Marlins? MLB.com's Tom Boorstein joins Scott Braun to talk about the Fish, Albert Pujols and more. Click on the video above to hear about it all.

TRADE IDEA: There's an old saying that you don't trade players, you trade contracts. And there are hardly two contracts worse than those belonging to Giants lefty Barry Zito and Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News suggests those two swap teams -- well, because it wouldn't hurt. Barry Zito would help out the Cubs' awful pitching, while Soriano would help the Gints' offensive worries. Soriano is paid through 2014, while Zito can be bought out before that season. The Giants would end up paying $7.75 million more in the deal, but Soriano is probably that much more valuable than Zito for them, considering the team's pitching depth.

Sure, both players have full no-trade clauses, so there's that, but it could happen. Baggarly notes he's just spitballing and that he hasn't heard anything about this kind of trade -- but it makes some sense. It's not totally unheard of for the Cubs, who made the bad contract swap with the Mariners before the 2010 season sending Milton Bradley to Seattle for Carlos Silva. It's an interesting thought, that's for sure.

MANAGING THROUGH PAIN: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was rushed to a Phoenix hospital Sunday morning where he passed a kidney stone before returning to Chase Field about two hours before the team's 8-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. [Chicago Tribune]

SPEEDY GONZALEZ: Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez legged out a triple Sunday for his 1,000th career hit. It was actually his third triple of the season, two more than Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. "I was telling Jacoby I have more triples than you do. What's going on?" Gonzalez told reporters after the game (via WEEI.com). "He just said, 'Hey, you're faster than me.'" And a better hitter. 

CLEAN PLAYS: Giants fans are sure to disagree, but Yankees catcher Russell Martin said the play in which Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena bowled into him on Saturday clean, and so was the hit that ended the season of Giants catcher Buster Posey. Martin said it's only a dirty play if the catcher is standing in front of the plate and the runner goes out of his way to hit him, which wasn't the case for Posey and the Marlins' Scott Cousins. [MLB.com]

WEBB STRUGGLES: Rangers right-hander Brandon Webb gave up six hits and four runs in two-thirds of an inning at Double-A Frisco on Sunday.

GOOD NEWS FOR Astros: An MRI revealed no structural damage in the elbow of right fielder Hunter Pence, who has a sprain in his left elbow. He is listed as day-to-day, but manager Brad Mills said he is "questionable" for the Astros' upcoming series against the Rangers. [Houston Chronicle]

NATS PLANS UNCHANGED: You may not have noticed the Washington Nationals are one of baseball's hottest teams, winning eight in a row before Sunday's loss and are now just 4 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Wild Card standings. That doesn't change Mike Rizzo's plans for the future. The biggest decision may be whether to deal starter Jason Marquis at the deadline. If the Nats go into another funk before the end of July, they'll likely deal him. [Washington Post]

GOOD IDEA: Orioles reliever Chris Jakubauskas picked up his first big league hit on Sunday and with that came his first play at the plate when third base coach John Russell waved him home on J.J. Hardy's double in the fifth inning. He was out by a mile. "My main thing was don't fall down, because when I hit third my legs got Jello-ey," Jakubauskas told MASNSports.com.

Mets HEALING: David Wright played catch and took ground balls on his knees Sunday and is expected to ride an exercise bike on Monday as he rehabs from a stress fracture in his lower back. He's expected to have more news after an evaluation later this week. Meanwhile, lefty Johan Santana is still long-tossing and hopes to return to the mound later this week. [Star-Ledger and ESPNNewYork.com]

SMOKELESS Rays: Tampa Bay will be wearing the uniform of the Tampa Smokers on July 2 for their yearly Turn Back the Clock game, but when they released the pictures of the jersey, the team isn't staying true to the team's old logo. The Rays are omitting the cigar pictured on the original jersey, which is just a shame. We all know smoking is bad for you, but if you're not going to actually want to show a cigar, you probably should honor a team called the "Smokers." [JoeRaysFan.com]

THE YANKEE STRIPPER: Need a gift idea for the Yankee fan who has everything? Well, how about a photo of a showering Joe DiMaggio?

A photo from a postage shower us up for auction at Lelands.com if you're interested in that sort of thing. [San Francisco Chronicle]

FATHERLY ADVICE: When the Blue Jays demoted Kyle Drabek to Triple-A, he made a call to his dad for some advice. That's a pretty good idea when your dad has 155 career victories and a Cy Young Award on his mantle. [The Canadian Press]

HEFTY BILL: I'm not sure how aware most casual fans are of this unwritten rule of baseball, but when a big league star has a rehab appearance at the minor-league level, the tradition is the big leaguer buys the postgame meal for the team. Zito says his four rehab starts have cost him $4,500. Somehow, I think he can afford it. [San Francisco Chronicle]

ANOTHER GOOD BAUTISTA FEATURE: Last week Jeff Passan of Yahoo! wrote a great feature looking at the backstory of Jose Bautista. This weekend the Toronto Star's Vinay Menon wrote another good look at the guy who may be baseball's best player right now.

ANOTHER FATHER'S DAY STORY: Former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu tells the Toronto Star about his father and grandfather, who were in a Japanese-American internment camp in California during World War II.

HARPER RESTS: Bryce Harper sat out his second consecutive game on Sunday, as the Nationals determined he needed to rest more than play at this point. The Hagerstown Suns had been eliminated from winning the South Atlantic League first-half title, so they gave Harper some time off. Harper finished his first half of professional ball hitting .330/.429/.586 with 14 homers, 45 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 227 at-bats. He will certainly play at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday and may then be promoted to high-Class A Potomac for the start of the second-half of the Carolina League season starting on Thursday. [Washington Post]

BAD TRAVEL DAY: Tacoma Rainers broadcaster Mike Curto has the details on the Triple-A team's rough travel day on Friday that saw the team get to the park at 6:45 p.m. for a game that was scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.

DOES BASEBALL NEED TO BE CHANGED?: The Los Angeles Times asked various people -- including a filmmaker, an actor, an artist and a physics professor -- about how to improve the game. Some of the suggestions are benign, some ridiculous and few give easy answers. But it's an interesting read, anyway.

VENTURA PAIN-FREE: There have been few baseball injuries as grotesque as the one former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura suffered in a spring training game against Boston in 1997, when Ventura ran slid into Red Sox catcher Bill Haselman and then Ventura held his leg up with a dangling ankle. Today, he's pain-free after an ankle transplant. [Los Angeles Times]

PINGLESS: If you watched any of the College World Series this weekend, you noticed the ping of aluminum bats has been replaced by more of a thud sound. That's because college baseball changed to bats that perform more like wood this season. The results have been dramatic. [New York Times]

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: June 15, 2011 10:53 am
 

Pepper: Danks discovers cut-fastball


Justin Verlander nearly pitched another no-hitter on Tuesday. NESN.com's Tony Lee joins Scott Braun on Baseball Today.

By Evan Brunell


NEW CUTTER: John Danks is finally on a roll, turning around his 0-7 start by winning his last two games. Danks pitched far better than his record indicated, but couldn't seem to figure things out and cited his cut fastball as one pitch he was struggling with.

"I play with grips a lot," Danks said. "My last game, I finally had a good one and was encouraged. Whenever I'm throwing a good one, I'm throwing it out front. That makes sense. I tend to not get on top of it and get around it, and it doesn't do anything for me. My focus is throwing it out front."

Danks is using a grip taught by batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey and has also experimented with other grips, including Mark Buehrle's.

"I will continue to work on other grips in case I lose it in a game so I have something to fall back on," Danks said. (Chicago Tribune)

ALL JETER, ALL THE TIME: Nick Swisher, for one, is tired of the Derek Jeter hoopla. Here's his response to a question about Jeter after taking out the Rangers:

"We just played a great game and you ask me that? I don't even know exactly what happened. A strain? Well, obviously, everyone knows what he's going up for, and he's the captain, we're going to miss him a lot, but then again we're trying to pick up where he left off. Gardy did a great job leading off for us tonight. I know he's excited about the opportunity to lead off for a little bit. But definitely when he's ready, we'll be ready for him to come back. He's a great player, definitely an elite, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. The show goes on.''  (ESPN New York)

BEST PLAYER IN THE GAME: How did Jose Bautista come about to be one of the -- if not the -- best players in the game? This fantastic feature explains it all, and no, steroids aren't part of it. (Yahoo! Sports)

BLANK THE GOAT: Cubs players created a stir Monday when they revealed new team shirts that read "F--k the Goat!!!" Predictably, questions arose as to whether the Cubs players are tempting fate.

"I have news for you. When you take the field, nobody is thinking about the goat, whether they're wearing the T-shirt or not," manager Mike Quade said. (Chicago Tribune)

YOUNG MILESTONE: Michael Young is now the Rangers' all-time leader in games played after Monday, passing Rafael Palmiero with 1,574 games. (New York Times)

FASTEST MAN ALIVE: Tony Campana believes he's the fastest man in the league, and manager Mike Quade concurs. Wonder if Michael Bourn might take exception to that. (Chicago Tribune)

HATED: This may come as a surprise, but the Yankees are one of the most hated teams in the game. But has anyone ever wondered who the 10 most hateable Yankees are in Rangers history? Probably not, but now you know. (Dallas News)

CLOSER IN L.A.: It appears as if Javy Guerra is quickly grasping the Dodgers' closer role. The rookie has been getting more and more late-inning, high-leverage outings lately and appears to be de facto closer, even as manager Don Mattingly refused to put a label on Guerra. (MLB.com)

BARNEY HURT
: Darwin Barney strained his right knee and will hit the disabled list for it. The second baseman leads all NL rookies in batting average with a .294 mark. (ESPN Chicago)

KAZMIR NEARING END? Scott Kazmir got raked once again in a minor-league rehab start, leaving him with a 17.02 ERA in 15 2/3 innings over five starts. It's likely that L.A. will now release Kazmir, who has a career 5.31 ERA with the Angels in 35 starts, one of the bigger busts in recent memory. (Los Angeles Times)

SECOND OPINION: Freddy Sanchez will receive a second opinion on his dislocated shoulder in the hopes of avoiding season-ending surgery. Sanchez is hoping to heal the shoulder on his own. (MLB.com)

SANDOVAL BACK: Pablo Sandoval was thrilled after his first game back from injury, saying he feels great and the surgery to repair his right wrist went well. The team, too, seems to be relieved that Sandoval has returned. (San Jose Mercury News)

GRANTED: Cole Hamels is one of the best pitchers on the field, but off the field he runs a charity that grants various amounts of money to Philadelphia schools to help them educate children in the face of budget cuts. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: June 11, 2011 12:54 am
 

No Home Run Derby for Hamilton

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh HamiltonJosh Hamilton is currently on pace to start for the American League in the All-Star Game, but he will not be participating in the Home Run Derby, he said Friday.

"I already said to them, I'm not doing it," Hamilton said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Let [Jose] Bautista hit 29, and maybe I'll come back and do it."

Hamilton hasn't participated in the Home Run Derby since hitting 28 homers in the first round of the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Despite Hamilton's record first-round, Justin Morneau won the event in 2008.

Hamilton missed a month of the season with a shoulder injury and has hit just four home runs, but three of them have come since June 3.

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 3:29 pm
 

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

By Matt Snyder

We all know the story by now. Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista went from being an also-ran -- if that -- to the best hitter in baseball with a virtual snap of the fingers. Since he did so just south of his 30th birthday and less than a decade since baseball was forever stained by the steroid era, there are some people who just can't grasp the fact that a player can sometimes just get better without using PEDs.

There are other explanations:

- He changed his swing.

- He was finally given full-time playing time and left alone.

- Once he got hot in 2010, his confidence grew. Hitting is just as much mental as it is physical after all.

- He was just a late bloomer. Sometimes it takes players a while to come into their own.

- Davey Johnson hit 43 home runs in 1973 and otherwise never more than 18 in a season. Was he on 'roids? There are more examples like that in baseball history, too.

But none of those matter to the many fans who just can't shake the cynicism. He has to be doing steroids, you'll hear: "He can't just get good like that. It's not possible." Just like it's not possible to get rich without cheating or recruit well in college hoops without paying players. Or you can't win an election without being dirty. And on and on the list goes. Obviously there are places where that stuff happens, but it's just lame to assume it happens without any evidence of it.

Friday on Jim Bowden's SiriusXM radio show, Bautista was a guest. He said that he had been tested 15 times over the past three years and every test came back negative (Bowden via Twitter). Now, I can hear the cynicism already: "How do we know that's true? He's lying. He could be using HGH anyway, because that's untestable."

You can believe that. Then you can explain why the notorious juicers in the early 2000s were herculean (Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, etc.), showing noticeable increases in size, while Bautista is six feet tall and less than 200 pounds. Same as he was as a bit player for the Pirates. And he hasn't tested positive for anything.

If Bautista ever does test positive, I'll admit I was wrong and take the abuse from the "I told you so" crowd. Until then, I'd rather be perceived as naive than a narrow-minded simpleton who refuses to give credit to a player for working hard and bettering himself.

I believe Jose Bautista is clean, and I believe the evidence is on my side.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 7, 2011 3:54 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Yankees, AL East dominate AL All-Star voting

Yankees

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Who says that old East Coast bias is limited to the media? Fan voting -- in the American League -- is leaning heavily east, as well.

The latest American League All-Star voting totals have AL East players winning at nine of the 10 positions fans can vote for, with the Yankees taking up the entire infield. The lone outsider is the Rangers' Josh Hamilton, who is third in voting for three outfield spots, behind the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista and New York's Curtis Granderson.

Yankees Russell Martin, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter occupy the top spots around the horn.

David Ortiz has overtaken Texas' Michael Young as the leading vote-getter at designated hitter.

Complete results are available at MLB.com.

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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