Tag:Nelson Cruz
Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: May 17, 2011 11:05 am
 

Pepper: Galarraga rotation spot in danger



By Evan Brunell


BLOWUP: Think Armando Galarraga is nervous about doing his job? Check out this meltdown against a reporter...

Reporter: Do you worry about your spot in the rotation?
Galarraga: No, why would I be worried? Is there something I have to worry about?
Reporter: Well, after tonight's performance, possibly...
Galarraga: You think? Why don't we talk about it at the end of the season? I don't count five starts.
Reporter: Aren't you disappointed?
Galarraga: I'm disappointed for this start. I'm not disappointed for the rest of the season. What are you talking about? What are you talking about, "When I next start"? Huh? Who you say I'm gonna be worried about my next start? Huh? (Unintelligible) ... my next start, or are you saying I'm gonna lose my job. Are you trying to say that?

Galarraga has made eight starts on the year so far and has a 5.91 ERA to show for it. He was already in danger of losing his job prior to Monday and then gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings to the Padres, walking two and whiffing one.

Hey, it's not easy to be someone like Galarraga -- a fringe major-league player who won't ever haul in millions of dollars unless something changes fast. He's got minimal job security, is on his third team in his career and clearly sees the writing on the walk. Just chalk this one up to a bad day. Athletes are asked a lot to stand before a microphone day in, day out on both good and bad days -- and woe to those who aren't in the right frame of mind and run out of patience. Everyone's allowed one of these days. (AZ Snakepit)

APT COMPARISON?
What to do when a diminutive white player gains a cult following, the appreciation of a manager and minimal impact on offense? Easy -- compare him to David Eckstein, which Rays skipper Joe Maddon did to Sam Fuld. (St. Petersburg Times)

GOODBYE: Tyler Colvin was optioned to Triple-A to get more at-bats, as he's been buried behind the hot play of the outfielders. But GM Jim Hendry wasn't forgiving in his evaluation of Colvin. "He had a really good year for us and since the first days of spring training he never played up to that level. We're in the production business. It wasn't that he wasn't given enough at-bats. He didn't earn enough at-bats. The other guys here outplayed him, too." (Chicago Tribune)

A STEP FORWARD: Danny Espinosa has been slumping lately and especially hideous from the left side. So naturally, when the Pirates brought in a right-handed reliever to flip Espinosa, a switch-hitter, to the left side of the plate, he cracked a two-run homer to send the Nats to victory. (MASN Sports)

It's all injuries, all the time today at Pepper...

TUESDAY TEST: Chipper Jones will test his injured right knee Tuesday after receiving two cortisone injections. If all goes well, he could be back in the lineup Tuesday night. But if his torn meniscus doesn't respond, he may need arthroscopic surgery, which will force him to miss two  to three weeks of action. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

SORIANO OUT:
Rafael Soriano will likely be put on the disabled list if the latest report is any indication. Soriano told reporters that he will probably miss another week or two unless his examination Tuesday goes splendidly. He hasn't pitched in the last seven games and threw his team under the bus (again) by saying he didn't think he would have affected the outcome of these games and the poor offense is responsible for the futility. (New York Times)

GUTIERREZ EN ROUTE:
Franklin Gutierrez has been sidelined all year with a mysterious stomach ailment, but is progressing so well he could debut this week. He DHed at Triple-A Monday and will play a full nine in the field on Tuesday before going to Seattle for a status report. (Seattle Times)

BROXTON TOSSES: For the first time since hitting the disabled list, Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton played a game of catch. Exciting, right? There is no timetable yet on Broxton, nor any (public, at least) word on the next step. (MLB.com)

NISHIOKA TURNS CORNER: The Twins can't wait to have Tsuyoshi Nishioka back and received good news to that effect as "he's starting to turn the corner," trainer Dave Preumer says. He underwent sprinting drills Monday. (MLB.com via Twitter)

TILLMAN INJURED: Despite only having two pitches to work with, Chris Tillman was handcuffing the Red Sox through five innings and 88 pitches. He left the game and saw his bullpen cough up the game. Why? Now we know it's because he left the game with back tightness that flared up during the fifth. It was the second injury removal of the game, as Derrek Lee left the game in the third with a strained oblique. (MASN Sports)

DAVIES TOO: Vin Mazzaro gave up 14 runs against the Indians and is the story nationwide, but that never would have happened if not for Kyle Davies. Davies left Monday's game after just 21 pitches with shoulder soreness. He underwent a MRI, and the team is currently waiting for the results. If Davies hits the DL, Mazzaro may have been a candidate to replace Davies in the rotation... but then that whole 14-run thing... (Kansas City Star)

Rangers ON COMEBACK TRAIL: Good news for the Rangers, as two-thirds of their expected starting outfield could be back in the fold before long. Josh Hamilton is expected to head on on a rehab assignment as early as Wednesday and should be back with the big-league club at some point in their six-game homestand that begins May 23. Meanwhile, Nelson Cruz doubled in his rehab start Monday and could rejoin Texas on Friday. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

TEAHEN UP IN AIR: Mark Teahen, sidelined by a strained oblique, will be evaluated on Tuesday before a decision is made on whether to DL him. It's too early to guess which direction this goes in, but if Teahen is on the DL, it will constrain third base candidates to Brent Morel and Omar Vizquel. Dayan Viciedo will receive the call from Triple-A if needed. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Rangers promote Chavez; Cruz hopes return on way

By Evan Brunell

BorbonThe Rangers placed outfielder Julio Borbon on the disabled list Saturday, marking the third starting outfielder for Texas to go on the DL.

Endy Chavez (pictured) was yanked from Friday's Triple-A game upon Borbon's strained left hamstring in Friday's game and is in the lineup at leadoff, playing center field. The Rangers plan to deploy him against right-handers and Craig Gentry against lefties, as the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram writes via Twitter.

Texas's outfield is in tatters, as none of the projected starting outfielders are in the lineup. Josh Hamilton is still a ways away in his recovery from a broken arm and took swings during batting practice Friday. He could be cleared for a minor-league rehab assignment shortly and be back by the end of the month. Meanwhile, projected starting right fielder Nelson Cruz will be running this weekend to test his strained right quad as he guns for a return from the 15-day disabled list.

"We are going to run Cruz heavy this weekend and if everything goes well, we will see where to go," manager Ron Washington told the Star-Telegram. "We've got to get him on the bases, start, stop, go, all that stuff. Once he passes that test we will see where to go."

Cruz will be eliglble to return next Thursday and is hoping to embark on a rehab stint Monday. With Borbon's injury, the Rangers must be really hoping Cruz comes through with flying colors, although they won't press the issue.

Endy Chavez, for his part, has not played since 2009 with the Mariners. He is not known for his bat but possesses good speed and strong defense, with his claim to fame being a robbing of Scott Rolen's home run in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, doubling Jim Edmonds off first to boot. The Cardinals would go on to win the World Series after then-closer Adam Wainwright froze Carlos Beltran for the final strike and out of the game on a curveball.

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Posted on: May 6, 2011 8:20 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2011 8:27 pm
 

Hamilton, Cruz working way back from injury

By Evan Brunell

HamiltonJosh Hamilton took 125 swings with a fungo bat off a tee Friday in a major step forward in his rehab from a fractured humerus bone in his right arm. 

Hamilton was expected to return to the Rangers in late May or early June, but may have pushed up that timetable to mid- to late-May.

"Two to three weeks," Hamilton told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "The biggest thing is just letting the bone heal. That's what is holding me back. Physically, running around and throwing is fine."

Meanwhile, Nelson Cruz ran sprints Friday to test his sore right quad in an attempt to force his way back into the lineup Saturday after injuring his quad in Wednesday's game.

"He was stronger and he maintained his stride well," manager Ron Washington told the Dallas News. We'll see what Dr. [Keith] Meister says and go from there."

The Rangers are down to three active outfielders and need Cruz to return shortly. Otherwise, a roster move will have to be made. Earlier Friday, Texas activated closer Neftali Feliz from the disabled list but opted to retain an extra pitcher so Texas does have a way to add an outfielder to the squad without having to disable Cruz.

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Posted on: April 5, 2011 10:49 am
Edited on: April 5, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Pepper: Kazmir struggling, future in doubt

Kazmir

By Evan Brunell

Scott Kazmir's job could be in danger.

After going through what Kaz termed "boot camp" in the offseason, the hope was that the former top left-hander would move on from his 5.94 ERA from 2010, the highest among pitchers who tossed at least 140 innings. However, the former Rays ace had an awful spring training and imploded in his first start of the season on Sunday against the Royals.

Manager Mike Scioscia was already unhappy with Kazmir's progress, and his outing Sunday only made things worse. One has to seriously wonder if Los Angeles is considering releasing Kazmir and the $14.5 million left on his contract. It's certainly been a long fall from grace for Kazmir and unfortunately it appears as if whatever made him great in the past is gone for good.

The skipper had no easy answers for Kaz's slow start, saying that he has no velocity or command. "Kaz is a little more complicated, a little more baffling," he said. The Angels do have starting pitcher Joel Pineiro on the way back from injury along with reliever Scott Downs, so Kazmir could lose his rotation spot in quick order. 

The only question is: is he moved to the bullpen or do the Angels cut ties entirely? (Los Angeles Times)

GOING YARD: Will Texas' Nelson Cruz go yard again on Tuesday to have homered in five consecutive games? That's a question Eye on Baseball blogger C. Trent Rosecrans attempts to answer in MLB Today. (CBS Sports)

PETE ROSE MANAGING: That's Junior, not the Hit King. The son of Pete Rose is now managing the White Sox's rookie-level squad after long stints as a minor-league and indy-ball player. (Chicago Sun-Times)

KID REPLACING IDOL: Over in Washington, Wilson Ramos has the tough task of replacing his idol behind the plate in Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge has graciously accepted a reduced role, while the Nats are excited about the potential Ramos has. (Washington Times)

TAKING NO LIP: The judge in the upcoming perjury trial for Roger Clemens has had enough of the Rocket and his accuser, Brian MacNamee, taking to the media to spread their own opinions of the trial. Judge Reggie Walton has since reminded the two that they are not allowed to talk about the case. (New York Times)

STEROIDS OUT: Brian Giles' potential use of steroids has been disallowed in a pending palimony trial against his ex-fiance, who is accusing him of owing her over $10 million as well as abusing her. His links to steroids would have been used to attempt to establish that he did, in fact, abuse her. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

BEER VIA TWITTER: A Mariners beer vendor may be onto something here as he will take beer orders via Twitter for the Mariners' home opener on Friday. Seems like it could be abused, but it's hard to imagine anyone sitting at home sending a beer vendor fake orders from fake seats, even in this day and age. This is definitely a service that could end up becoming common in all stadiums depending how well it is executed. (CNBC)

MORE RESTRICTIONS: In light of the abominable beating two Dodgers fans put on a Giants fan, the L.A. County supervisor is calling for additional security at Dodger Stadium as well as more restrictive limits on sales of booze. (Los Angeles Times)

THERE'S ALWAYS HOPE: Austin Kearns' son was diagnosed with autism at 14 months back in 2009. His son is doing well, however, receiving treatment at a Cleveland hospital that was also the main reason why the outfielder returned to the Indians after signing with the team for 2010 and being traded halfway through the year to the Yankees. (MLB.com)

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Of the potential bidders to become minority owner of the Mets, one has the executive producer of Entourage footing the bill. If Doug Ellin ended up with the team, it could mean a jolt of starpower as quite a few of the actors on the show are Mets fans and could show up to games. (New York Daily News)

FREEZE! A rather interesting story that Stan Musial actually froze his appendix inside his body back in 1947. This allowed Stan the Man to stay on the field and finish out the year before having an appendectomy after the year. You don't usually hear about frozen appendixes, so it's quite a fascinating story. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

SEVENTH INNING FOR JOBA: Joba Chamberlain appears to have a lock on the seventh-inning relief gig. 'We love the way he threw the ball in spring training," manager Joe Girardi said. Interesting given GM Brian Cashman and other Yankee brass were displeased with how out-of-shape Chamberlain was in spring training. (MLB.com)

IS BASEBALL DYING? Sobering news -- 43 percent of MLB fans are age 50 or older in a 2009 survey, tops among all big four sports plus MLS and NASCAR, while a low 28 percent of the coveted age 18-34 demographic prefer baseball. Plus, children are leaving baseball in droves. (BizofBaseball.com)

NAME THAT TEAM: The Cincinnati Reds' Double-A affiliate is moving into a new stadium in Pensacola, Fla. next season. There's a contest being held to determine the nickname of the club, and you must also include why you think it's a good name. (Pensacola News Journal)

NICKNAMIN': Ever wonder how each baseball team got its nickname? All set. (Delaware County Daily Times)

ON THE WAY BACK: Mat Latos tossed a simulated game on Monday and came through it with flying colors. He will be re-evaluated Tuesday, and it's possible the right-hander could be activated as soon as Friday. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 9:24 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 1:04 am
 

Cruz makes history with fourth home run

By Matt Snyder

Nelson Cruz of the Rangers hit a home run against the Mariners Monday night in Texas. It was his fourth home run of the season, one comnig in each of the Rangers' four games thus far in 2011. Only Willie Mays (1971) and Mark McGwire (1998) have previously accomplished the feat. Ian Kinsler and Mark Teixeira entered Monday night with a home run in each of their team's first three games , but neither was able to join Cruz in the history-making feat.

Monday night, he drove an Erik Bedard pitch 419 feet in the bottom of the fourth inning.

"In that at-bat I was thinking, hit the ball through the hole (at) second base hard, because he was throwing that curveball," Cruz said "I was hoping he would throw that so I could hit it the other way, but he threw me a changeup and I turned on it."

Interestingly, each of Cruz's four home runs have been solo shots. He ended the game -- a 6-4 Rangers win -- 2-3 and is hitting .429 thus far. The Rangers, last season's AL champs, have jumped out to a 4-0 start.

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Defense costing teams early

Aubrey Huff

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sunday afternoon the sight of Aubrey Huff diving in right field was a joking matter. The night before he made a diving catch and then before batting practice his teammates put a faux-chalk outline of his dive in the Dodger Stadium grass.

A couple of hours later, it wasn't so funny.

In the first inning on Sunday, Huff dove on a Jamey Carroll liner which ended up a triple and helped the Dodgers score three in the inning. In the seventh inning, Huff also lost a ball over his head by Marcus Thames, good for another triple and driving in the go-ahead run.

One scout told CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler that the Giants defense is "going to be an issue."

The Giants made their decision leaving camp that their defense would be secondary to scoring runs, as the team kept rookie first baseman Brandon Belt on the roster -- and it's not Belt that's the problem, he's a good defender. It's that in order to keep Huff and Belt in the lineup, Huff went to right field. And as right fielder's go, he's showing he's a first baseman.

I don't actually fault Huff, he's going out there and giving it his best and doing what the team asks him to do -- ultimately, it's just a flawed strategy putting Huff in the outfield. When Cody Ross is ready to come off the disabled list -- which is still at least two weeks away -- the Giants will be better at that spot, but they'll also have a decision between Belt and Huff -- or benching Pat Burrell and keeping Huff in the outfield. That said, the Giants will still have Miguel Tejada at shortstop.

But it's not just the Giants that are struggling defensively.

RangersThe Giants' World Series opponents last fall started off their season with a fielding error on the first batter of the season when Julio Borbon ran into Nelson Cruz.

The Cardinals seemed to be one team unconcerned about defense this offseason and could be concerned as the season goes along. The team added 35-year-old Lance Berkman, who hadn't played in the outfield since since 2007, to play every day in right field and got rid of one of baseball's best defensive shortstops, Brendan Ryan, and replaced him with an average second baseman in Ryan Theriot.

Theriot is the only National League player with two errors through Sunday's game, while in the American League one notoriously bad fielder (Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion) and one remarkably good fielder (Oakland's Daric Barton) have three errors each. 

There have been 68 errors this season through 46 games (following Sunday's games). That's only one more error than there was through 46 games last season (and 15 more than there was through 46 games in 2009).

That said, we all know errors aren't the best way to measure defense, there are plenty of examples of bad defense that didn't include an error in the boxscore.

On Sunday, the Cubs' defense let down closer Carlos Marmol. With one out and runners at second and third, Pedro Alvarez hit a dribbler to shortstop Starlin Castro who unloaded a bad throw to first, allowing two runs to score and the Pirates to get the win.

Milwaukee's Casey McGehee has had two costly decisions in the team's sweep at the hands of the Reds. In the ninth inning of Thursday's opener, McGehee failed to tag Brandon Phillips going to third, setting up the Reds' walk-off victory. On Sunday, McGehee went home and failed to get an out on a Drew Stubbs chopper, which led to a game-turned three-run homer by Phillips in the fourth. And that's two entire instances of the Brewers' bad defense without mentioning Yuniesky Betancourt, who the team had to take to get Zack Greinke, but didn't have to make their everyday shortstop. According to John Dewan's +/- system, no defensive player in baseball has cost their team more runs over the last three seasons than Betancourt's -66.

David Pinto over at Baseball Musings noted BABIP (batting average on balls in play) over the first weekend was .300, while it was .291 last season. That stat tells you a ball in the field was more likely to be fielded a year ago than it was this weekend.

Now, we're just 47 games into the 2011 season, so it's way too early to make any real conclusions about errors and defense as a whole, but it is something to watch. 

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 11:16 am
Edited on: April 4, 2011 12:01 pm
 

Three with shot at history

Ian KinslerBy C. Trent Rosecrans

There are only six games on tonight's baseball slate, but that doesn't mean there aren't high stakes.

Two games will feature a total of three players looking to tie an MLB record. Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and Mark Teixeira have all homered in each of their first three games of the season, becoming three of 26 players to achieve the feat. Only two men -- Mark McGwire in 1998 and Willie Mays in 1971 -- homered in each of the first four games of the season.

Teixeira and the Yankees host the Twins at 7:05 p.m. EST. Scott Baker is on the mound and that's good news for Teixeira, who has hit .462/.462/.769 in 13 plate appearances against the right-hander Baker. Teixeira has one homer and a double off of Baker.

Kinsler and Cruz are the first pair of teammates to notch homers in the first three games of the season and will be facing the Mariners' Erik Bedard at 8:05 p.m. EST at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Kinsler hasn't hit a homer off of Bedard in 20 career plate appearances, but does have a double and is hitting .350/.350/.400 against the lefty Bedard. Cruz has a homer and a double in eight plate appearances against Bedard, with a .375/.375/.875 slash line.

Bedard is making his first start in nearly two years. He hasn't pitched since July 25, 2009, missing all of last season with a shoulder injury.

H/T to Baseball Reference blog.

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 11:16 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2011 11:17 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/3: Teixeira's hot start

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mark Teixeira3UP

Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- Mark Teixeira is a notorious slow starter, but as CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller found out this spring, the Yankees first baseman overhauled his offseason routine and started hitting sooner. It appears it worked -- he homered for the third straight game on Sunday, joing Dave Winfield as just the second Yankee to homer in the first three games of the season. Speaking of homers in each of the first three games of the season, Texas' Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler became the first set of teammates to do that.

Jaime Garcia, Cardinals -- There were plenty of people worried about Garcia following a shaky spring. Well, once the games started to count, Garcia was back to his 2010 form. Garcia allowed just four hits in his shutout on Sunday, walking two and striking out a career-high nine against the Padres.

Reds catchers -- You saw what Ramon Hernandez did on opening day, well, he hasn't played since and it hasn't hurt the Reds. Between Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan, Reds catchers are 9 for 12 with three home runs and seven RBI after Hanigan went 4 for 4 with a pair of homers on Sunday's 12-3 victory over Milwaukee.

3DOWN

MLB schedule makers -- Weather was a constant concern this opening weekend, but only one game was called because of the weather, Sunday's Rockies-Diamondbacks game. How difficult is it to look at the schedules and figure out that you've got a better chance of bad weather in Denver in early April than in Arizona? Ozzie Guillen was right, it's "very stupid."

Brian Broderick, Nationals -- In his major-league debut, the Rule 5 pick not only allowed four runs on two hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning, he also balked in a run when his cleat got caught in the rubber and didn't throw the ball. "I was either going to throw it way over the catcher's head or not throw it at all," Broderick told MASNSports.com.

Angels bullpen -- For the third day in a  row, the Angels' bullpen gave up the lead and took the loss against the Royals. In 16 innings in four games, Angels relievers have allowed 19 hits, 12 runs (nine earned) five homers, 13 walks and 14 strikeouts. Closer Fernando Rodney walked three Royals before allowing a two-out double to Wilson Betimit to tie the game in the ninth on Sunday. Rodney has now walked four of the nine batters he's faced in 2011.

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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