Tag:Shane Victorino
Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Pepper: Scorching Hafner could hit DL



By Evan Brunell


HAFNER HURT: Indians DH Travis Hafner is hitting like it's 2006, as the oft-injured DH is roaring along at a .345/.409/.549 clip with eight doubles and five home runs in 127 plate appearances.

Sure, that average is over his head, but he's still geared up to have a quality season. It's about time, as Hafner has been one of the game's most overpaid players as he succumbed to injuries following his four-year, $57 million deal signed during the 2007 season. He's been a major reason why Cleveland finds itself in first place, and has helped fend off any type of decline that could have happened once Grady Sizemore hit the disabled list.

Unfortunately, Hafner may be joining Sizemore on the DL with a sore oblique. He was taking swings in the batting cage prior to Wednesday's game when one swing left him unable to swing any more. After being a late scratch, Hafner plans to get the injury checked out Friday with a MRI.

"One of the big things was how it felt [Thursday] morning," said Hafner. "It wasn't worse. That's kind of encouraging."

Obliques are the scourge of baseball these days, and unfortunately for Hafner, he's probably going to have to go on the DL and could be out for a month or more. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

LEYLAND'S BACK
: Jim Leyland still lives in Pittsburgh, but he hasn't been back in the stadium as an opposing manager since 2006, his first year with the Tigers. Leyland, of course, is well known for his 11 years managing the Pirates in the glory days, back when Barry Bonds was manning left field. (MLive.com)

RJM:
A nice story about Ricky Romero and J.P. Arencibia's night on Thursday. Romero went seven strong while J.P. Arencibia crushed a home run that eventually gave the team a 3-1 victory. Both players were reeling from the passing of a two-year-old fan after a battle with leukemia. (Toronto Star)

UNPRECEDENTED:
Jose Bautista's leap from last man on the bench to the best hitter in the game is still tough to wrap one's head around. But it's not the last time such a leap has been made. The closest comparable? Seattle's Bret Boone, who jumped in relevancy from 1999-2001. Of course, the likelihood that Boone used steroids is high, but unless you're really reaching or just hate Bautista/the Blue Jays, the same questions are not there for Bautista. (Fangraphs)

TURNING THE CLOCK BACK:
It's always entertaining to see players wear throwback uniforms. Sometimes these uniforms are preferable to the current set... sometimes they're nice memories or a way of learning more about history. Sometimes, they make us burst out laughing. History's being profiled Saturday when the Red Sox and Cubs wear 1918-era uniforms. (Boston Globe) Here's a look at what you can expect -- the 1918 uniforms of the BoSox and the 1918 road uniforms for the Cubs. And yes, no logo for the Red Sox.

FLIPPING THE BIRD
: Sometimes I wonder if we take ourselves a little too seriously. Andre Ethier, who was slightly irritated with a photographer prior to Monday's game, flipped him the bird before adding the other hand to the equation. Ethier joked about the situation before Thursday's game before issuing a standard mea culpa. "I wasn’t [angry] at all. If you’re going to stand there and take the same picture for 15 minutes, what’s the difference between the first and the 15th minute? It just got kind of annoying. I guess I slipped up, and that temper you guys sometimes like to write about, got ahead of me and I didn’t use my head and use the best judgment in that situation. I made a mistake of it and it’s unfortunate." Don't we have better things to worry about? (Los Angeles Times)

DISLIKED:
Are the Cardinals the most disliked team in baseball? Let's look at the evidence. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

WHERE'S ALLIE?
When talking about Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospects (try saying that four times in a row), the conversation invariably turns to Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie. Except that Allie is nowhere to be found on the stats pages. That's because he's been at extended spring training, working on his windup and a lack of control. Things have progressed to the point where he is nearing game action. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

LIND ETA:
Adam Lind won't be back with the Blue Jays for at least 10 days and is still a week away from baseball action in his recovery from a sore back. (Sportsnet via Twitter)

WHO'S OUT IN BALTIMORE? When Alfredo Simon returns to the Orioles' bullpen on Sunday, someone's gotta go. Bet on one of Brad Bergesen or Chris Tillman, as Jeff Zrebiec writes. Both -- especially Bergesen -- have been very poor in the rotation and the team can go with four starters for several days because of Brian Matusz's looming return late next week. (Baltimore Sun)

JOHN SMOLTZ RULE: John Smoltz effected a rule change in minor-league baseball while on a rehab assignment with the Red Sox in 2009. Now, major-league pitchers on rehab starts down on the farm can use major-league baseballs in games. (MLBlogs.com)

TWITTER CLOSED: Tony Sanchez closed his Twitter account amid what we thought were the Pirates being too sensitive about players going on Twitter and expressing a personality. However, Sanchez closed his account on his own (although a stern talking-to from the brass didn't help). Sanchez was benched three games for criticizing umpires. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

GOLD: A pretty neat promotion the Angels are putting on in which fans will get an autographed baseball from a player. Those lucky enough to end up with a gold baseball will then get to meet that player and get four tickets to another Angels game. (Orange County Register)

DL-BOUND: Joe Blanton is returning to the DL and will take Shane Victorino with him. The Flyin' Hawaiian has been hobbled the last few days and now the Phillies have decided they can't wait for him to heal much longer. Don't expect Domonic Brown's promotion, as GM Ruben Amaro continues to hold Brown back. (Wonder if it has to do with service time?) Anyways, expect either Delwyn Young or Ronnie Belliard to get the spot. (CSNPhilly.com)

NO MORE TOBACCO: The call to ban all types of tobacco in baseball only got stronger with the Diamondbacks' CEO Ken Kendrick calling for such a ban. (Arizona Republic)

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Posted on: May 20, 2011 1:39 am
Edited on: May 20, 2011 1:43 am
 

Injuries abound on Thursday

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos GonzalezPlenty of injury news from Thursday night, here's a quick rundown:

• The Phillies are expected to put both Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino on the disabled list on Friday. Blanton was scratched from his start with elbow soreness. Victorino has been struggling with a hamstring injury since Saturday. He didn't play against until Wednesday when he was used as a pinch-hitter.

• In that same game, the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez left with tightness in his left groin, but manager Jim Tracy said it wasn't serious and Gonzalez could be ready to play Friday in Milwaukee.

• The Rockies' Todd Helton sat out Thursday's game with a sore lower back, but his replacement, Jason Giambi, hit three homers and drove in seven. 

Red Sox starter Josh Beckett left after six innings with stiffness in his neck. Beckett downplayed it later, but he wanted to be cautious because the team already has starters John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the disabled list. He is scheduled to start again Tuesday in Cleveland.

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun left the team's game against the Padres after a fifth-inning popup with left shoulder soreness. He told reporters after the game that he didn't think it was serious, but didn't know if he'd be available for Friday's game.

• As for the Cardinals outfield -- Colby Rasmus was back in the lineup Thursday and Matt Holliday (quad) told reporters he thought he should be available for Friday, even if it's just to DH. However, Lance Berkman (wrist) will not be available, but shouldn't need a trip to the disabled list.

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Posted on: April 21, 2011 1:35 am
Edited on: April 21, 2011 1:37 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/20: Garland goes the distance

By Evan Brunell

Garland3 UP

Jon Garland, Dodgers -- In Jon Garland's second start of the season on the day MLB announced it was taking over the team, he twirled a beauty by going the distance, allowing just four hits, one earned run and two walks while punching out four. That made it a splended 50th birthday for Don Mattingly, as his Dodgers moved one game under .500. Juan Uribe was the hitting star of the game, driving in four runs in three hits for a 6-1 final score.

Ryan Ludwick, Padres -- Ryan Ludwick has been a piss-poor Padre ever since being acquired at the trade deadline last season. Ludwick was acquired both to be a middle-of-the-order bat en route to a postseason berth, then was supposed to make San Diego forget about trading Adrian Gonzalez. Instead, he had a .195/.293/.307 line for S.D. in 300 plate appearances split across two years. Not good, but he woke up in Wednesday's doubleheader. In the afternoon game, he collected two hits and a walk, but the real damage came in the night game. His 2 RBI were instrumental in the 6-5 takedown of Chicago, tacking on two runs and three hits while cranking his second home run of the year. Entering the day hitting .135/.262/.212, Ludwick is now up to .200/.314/.350. Hey, progress.

Shane Victorino, Phillies -- Shane Victorino wasn't supposed to be the leadoff hitter, but has stepped up big time with the loss of Chase Utley and moving of Jimmy Rollins to the No. 3 spot. The Flyin' Hawaiian knocked two hits against the Brewers in three trips to the plate, scoring two runs, driving in one with a homer and walking once. Victorino is now hitting .324/.370/.515 on the year and is certainly the star on offense in the early going for Philadelphia.

3 DOWN

Jason Heyward, Braves -- Jason Heyward has entered a bit of a slump, as his three strikeouts Wednesday dropped his average to .190 even as he's only struck out 11 times this year against 11 walks. Manager Fredi Gonzalez believes Heyward needs to be more patient at the plate as he only has three walks in his past 11 games after walking at least once in the first eight games of the year. "It seems like he’s been making outs and swinging at balls early in counts [and out of the strike zone]," Gonzalez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Heyward didn't seem to take that advice Wednesday, but no worries -- he's too good to dail.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- Ellsbury struck out three times in four plate appearances, tying for the day's second-most strikeouts. Dexter Fowler won that honor with four, but at least added a hit. What Ellsbury's been up to this season is concerning, as Peter Gammons noted on WEEI. Hitting .182/.262/.418 with four homers, Gammons says:

I think one of the things that’s killed them is that Jacoby Ellsbury has forgotten what his job is in baseball, which is to get on base and run. His four home runs, to me, are one of the worst things that’s happened to this team early in the season, because I think it’s encouraged him to get wider and wider with his swing.

They need him hitting leadoff. They need him to get on base 37 percent of the time or 38 percent of the time. I think he’s kind of gotten away from that. I appreciate he didn’t play for a year, and I understand how difficult it is to come back, but I think that’s sort of been overlooked. The guy who’s supposed to hit leadoff isn’t getting on base.

Something to watch.

Charlie Morton, Pirates -- Morton looked like he was onto something as he completely revamped his windup to become a Roy Halladay clone. The problem, however, is that he started relying on one pitch in one location with his sinker. Morton got away with it until Wednesday when he was pounded for six runs in five innings against the Marlins, walking three and whiffing six. Morton's main issues here are trusting his other pitches and cutting down on the walks. He looks promising enough that if he starts mixing in more pitches, he really could be a find. But until he realizes that hs start to the season was the aberration and not the new normal, he'll have more nights like this.

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 10:24 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2011 10:49 pm
 

Pirates' Jones takes dousing in stride

Why does it seem like it's always Wrigley Field where players get beers dumped on them?

Two years ago it was Shane Victorino and back in the day it was Lenny Dykstra.

Victorino filed a complaint against Johnny Macchione in 2009 after the then-21-year-old threw a beer at Victorino.

Chicago native and Pirates outfielder Garrett Jones didn't seem as upset when he was doused with a beer on Sunday.

"It tasted good," Jones said.

Jones said he got some in his eye and his mouth in the fourth inning as he chased Carlos Pena's double. However it may have been an accident as a Cubs fan (with bad depth perception) tried to catch the ball, which bounced off the wall. A plastic cup fell into the wire basket, but the beer -- Miller Lite, according to Jones -- fell on Jones, allowing two runs to score. Manager Clint Hurdle tried to argue interference, but the two runs were allowed.

Jones was not initially in the team's lineup, inserted into right when Andrew McCutchen was scratched, moving Matt Diaz to left and Jose Tabata in center. Jones was 2 for 4 and scored the tying run in the ninth inning after leading off the inning with a walk.

Here's the video of Jones' interview after the game from the Chicago Tribune .


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Posted on: March 25, 2011 7:02 pm
 

Polanco, Victorino return for Phillies

By Matt Snyder

No Brad Lidge or Chase Utley, but at least the Phillies got two players back on the diamond Friday. Shane Victorino had been out sine Monday, when he had an ugly collision with Raul Ibanez in left-center field. He suffered a bruised eye and sore jaw, but is now back. Placido Polanco also made his return, after having been shelved since March 15 with a hyperextended elbow.

Polanco went 0-2 and Victorino was 0-4, but those results are hardly relevant at this juncture. The important thing is getting completely healthy and being ready for the start of the season.

Victorino is all the way back, while Polanco is still fighting through some soreness.

"It's playable. I still need to work on it," Polanco told MLB.com .

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Posted on: March 21, 2011 6:14 pm
 

Victorino fine after collision

Shane Victorino
Shane Victorino

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Shane Victorino said he is fine after a nasty collision with Raul Ibanez in Monday's game against the Red Sox.

Victorino left the game in the fifth inning after he and Raul Ibanez ran into each other trying to catch a ball from Boston's Nate Spears.

"I cut my lip a little bit and my nose was the one I was worried about," Victorino told reporters (via David Hale of the News Journal). "If I had to stay in, I was ready to go."

Victorino said he stayed on the ground because blood was coming out of his nose and mouth. He had a cut above his left eye, another on his cheek and lip and said his jaw is sore. He jogged off the field, under his own power, laughing.

The team will continue to monitor him for concussion symptoms. He may miss a day or two, he said and may also end up with a black eye.

Ibanez stayed in the game.

"Both of us were just trying to be aggressive," Victorino said (via Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com). "It's part of the game. Everything is fine."

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Posted on: February 25, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Imagining an MLB Combine

Michael Bourn

While our Eye on Football brethren are in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine not getting to watch guys run and jump, it got me to thinking how much fun an MLB Combine might be.

Among the drills the NFL draft hopefuls do that would be applicable to baseball are the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical leap and the Wonderlic Test. So who would be the best baseball players to participate? That's where the fun begins.

40-yard dash: Maybe for baseball, it'd be more fun to line the guys up and have them go 90 feet.

Favorite: Michael Bourn, Astros. A Sports Illustrated poll of players during spring training had Crawford picked as the fastest player in the majors, but the less-heralded Bourn finished second. Bourn has won two straight Gold Gloves in center, and much of it is because he can seemingly cover the entire outfield. In a division blessed with fast center fielders (Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs), Bourn covers more ground than anyone. Oh, and he's led the National League in stolen bases each of the last two seasons.

Others: Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Luis Durango, Juan Pierre, Jose Reyes, Andrew McCutchen, Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki, Emilio Bonifacio, Carlos Gomez, Carl Crawford

Adam DunnBench press: At the combine, players bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible, testing not only strength, but endurance. For baseball, maybe the best test would be a home-run derby-like format, but adding the distances of balls hit.

Favorite: Adam Dunn, White Sox. According to HitTrackerOnline.com, Jose Bautista had more "no-doubt" home runs than Dunn (19 to 16), but Dunn's homers averaged nearly 10 feet more, with an average "true distance" of 411.1 feet. Mark Reynolds' 32 homers averaged 415.6 feet, so he's certainly in the discussion. Dunn's been consistently hitting long home runs, so he gets the nod.

Others: Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Mark Reynolds, Wily Mo Pena, Mike Stanton, Travis Hafner, Russell Branyan, Jose Bautista

Dexter FowlerVertical leap: While it's not something that you associate with baseball, it's a good test of athleticism, but is also practical at the wall as players just to rob home runs.

Favorite: Dexter Fowler, Rockies. At 6-foot-5, Fowler was recruited as a basketball player in high school, but he showed his leaping ability in an unusual place in the 2009 NLDS. In the eighth inning of Game 4, Fowler was on first when Todd Helton hit a grounder to Chase Utley. Fowler was running toward Utley and hurdled him. Utley then threw errantly to Jimmy Rollins and Fowler was safe. (You can see the play here.)

Others: Carl Crawford, Torii Hunter, Shane Victorino, Mike Cameron, Hunter Pence

Craig BreslowWonderlic test: A 12-minute, 50-question test used for testing applicants for learning and problem-solving. Harvard's Pat McInally is the only confirmed 50 score at the combine, while another Harvard alum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, scored either a 48 or 49 in nine minutes. So, it makes sense to look to the Ivy League for our baseball picks.

Favorite: Craig Breslow, Athletics. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Seriously. The Sporting News called him the smartest player in sports, while the Wall Street Journal suggested he may be the smartest man in the world. Not only that, batters hit just .194/.272/.348 against him last season, with lefties hitting .181/.245/.340 against him.

Others: Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Young, Fernando Perez, Mark DeRosa

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 24, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 1:55 pm
 

Manuel likes Rollins to lead off

Jimmy Rollins
With Jimmy Rollins hobbled for much of the 2010 season, Shane Victorino got the nod at the top of the batting order most of the time for the Phillies last season. Manager Charlie Manuel says, however, that he's inclined to have Rollins batting first next season.

"I have always [looked] at Jimmy as a leadoff guy," Manuel said Monday in a radio interview, as relayed by the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I think Jimmy is a very intelligent player. I'm not saying Victorino won't lead off for us. He would be our next option."

Rollins played in just 88 games last season, leaving Victorino as the leadoff man 82 times. Victorino batted .276 in the leadoff spot and .234 elsewhere in the lineup, but posted the lowest on-base percentage of any full season in his career. Rollins similarly bats better in the leadoff spot, where he's played the vast majority of his career games. Manuel said he could see moving Rollins around and even using him in the No. 5 spot, where Jayson Werth's departure has left a big hole.

"First of all, I think Jimmy could hit first, second, third, fifth, sixth or even fourth for a couple of days," Manuel said. "Listen, I take a lot of pride in our hitting and we're going to find somebody to hit fifth. We have some good candidates. I guarantee you we're going to get some production from that spot."

Of course, Rollins' effectiveness at any spot in the lineup is going to depend on his ability to bounce back from leg and wrist injuries and show that he's closer to the guy who won the 2007 MVP than the .248 hitter he's been the past two seasons.

-- David Andriesen

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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