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Posted on: September 17, 2010 7:02 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2010 7:25 pm

Strong interest in former D-Backs pick

Remember Barret Loux?

Loux was the sixth overall pick in June's draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Loux, a right-hander out of Texas A&M, failed his physical and the Diamondbacks decided not to sign him. Instead, Arizona was awarded compensatory draft picks in 2011 and Loux was given free agency.

Anyway, Loux worked out for "about 15" teams in College Station, Texas, on Friday. Among the teams there was Loux's hometown Astros.

"The fact there were 15 teams there today and the fact some clubs didn't sign their first-round [picks] showed there was some interest," Astros director of scouting Bobby Heck told . "The fact we have somewhere [shows] our interest is sincere. We'll do our work on it. You have to have balance, not only the evaluation process, but because of the medical circumstances [team medical director] Dr. [David] Lintner becomes part of our process as well as we gauge where we can or can't go on this."

Loux was 11-2 with a  2.83 ERA for the Aggies last season and is currently in school finishing up his degree. According to Heck, Loux and his people aren't in a  rush, they just what something "in place later in the fall and know where their landing place is for spring training."

UPDATE:'s Brian McTaggart lists the other teams there -- the Dodgers, Twins, Marlins, Reds, Yankees, Pirates, A's, Brewers, Mets, Angels, Blue Jays and Royals.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 14, 2010 4:12 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2010 4:13 pm

Rangers to announce Triple-A move

In a move expected since Nolan Ryan's group bought the Rangers, the team will enter into an affiliation with the Ryan-owned Round Rock Express of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.

Thursday is the first day teams can announce affiliation changes, and reports that Round Rock, located near Austin, will make the announcement then. The Rangers have had their Triple-A team in Oklahoma City since 1983.

The switch will evict the Astros from Round Rock, where they have been since 2005. The Astros could be headed for Nashville, which has an affiliation contract ending with the Brewers.

Ryan also owns the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, and there had been speculation the Rangers would land there as well, but the Astros just extended their development contract there through 2016.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 11, 2010 3:00 pm

Brewers not giving up on Parra

Manny Parra As a starter, a certain left-hander has a 6.16 ERA in 16 starts. He's struck out 88 and walked 48, giving up 16 home runs in 84 1/3 innings.

As a reliever, he's got a 2.90 ERA in 31 innings, punching out 30 and walking 11.

In his career, his starting ledger has a 23-26 record and 5.44 ERA in 74 trips to the mound. Relief has 55 1/3 innings, an additional strikeout per nine innings and a 3.58 ERA.

At 27, one would think it pretty clear where the lefty's future belongs -- the bullpen.

Not so fast, manager Ken Macha says about Manny Parra.

"I thought that he had tremendous progress this year regardless of what his numbers are," Macha told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel . Macha says this despite a clear indication that Parra struggles to pitch deep into games.

"I still view his body of work as a starter this year," Macha said before Friday's game. "His delivery is much better, his curveball is much better, the [splitter] has been good. ... Perhaps just coming out of the bullpen and letting it rip is going to help him.

"You've got to give him credit. He's corrected a lot of [problems]."

Parra was yanked from the rotation after posting a 7.45 ERA in his last eight starts, which may have (should have?) closed the book on his attempts to be a starter.

On a team desperate for starting pitching depth and with a pitcher of Parra's talent, however, it's understandable why Milwaukee isn't prepared to make such a leap on Parra's career.

It's not a good idea for GM Doug Melvin to go into 2011 with Parra penciled in as a member of the rotation, however. To contend, Milwaukee has to bring in at least two solid starters to pair with Randy Wolf and Yovani Gallardo. Having Parra contend for the fifth spot in the rotation makes sense -- but that's as far as Parra's chances at the rotation should go.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 10, 2010 7:54 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2010 9:11 pm

Fake press release jabs Cubs' Hendry

Jim Hendry In what appears to be a joke, it's doubtful the Cubs will be laughing.

The rest of us, well, sure. But, the Chicago Tribune 's Paul Sullivan reports someone put a fake press release in the game day press notes at Miller Park announcing a new book by Cubs general manager Jim Hendry called "How to Finish Near Last Place with the Highest Payroll in the League."

From Sullivan:
The release said: "Read in Jim Hendry's own words how the Chicago Cubs managed to finish near the bottom of the National League Central; Division with the highest payroll in the National League."

It also said the chapters included:

"Why I signed Milton Bradley!"

"Why I released Casey McGehee only to see him hit 20 home runs and drive in nearly 100 runs for a division rival!"

"Why I hired former Pittsburgh general manager Dave Littlefield, the man who helped make the Pirates what they are today, as my special assistant!"

"How I botched the recall of Micah Hoffpauir from our minor league team in Iowa by losing track of the number of days that he was in the minors!"

"Why I signed players to long-term contracts with limited trade options!"

The release ended with the sentence: "Reserve your copy today!"

Hendry is not in Milwaukee for the road trip. There has been no comment yet from the Cubs on the alleged joke.
UPDATE: A Brewers spokesman had this to say to Sullivan (via Twitter ): "It's an unfortunate incident ... a lousy attempt at a practice joke."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 8, 2010 5:03 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 5:43 pm

Profane fan gets thumb from umpire

Bruce Davidson
Umpire Bruce Davidson has a reputation for grandstanding, but he outdid himself Tuesday night.

Not content with ejecting Brewers manager Ken Macha, pitching coach Dave Duncan and outfielder Chris Dickerson in separate incidents, Davidson decided to have an unruly fan thrown out of the park in the eighth inning at Miller Park. Davidson walkled toward the backstop and motioned for the removal of a fan in a Brewers shirt identified by the Associated Press as Sean Ottow, 44. Ottow had been heckling Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

"I don't care how much this costs me ... you're a loser Molina!" Ottow shouted while being held in the ballpark's police outpost. He was charged with disorderly conduct.

Baseball's director of umpire administration Tom Leppard was asked in a recent online chat about whether an umpire can eject a fan and had this to say:
Umpires are entrusted with maintaining discipline and order on the playing field, and sometimes fans can interfere with order on the field. Security at the Major League level normally precludes the necessity of an umpire causing a fan to be removed, but this does happen on rare occasion. Umpires are thick-skinned by nature and ignore comments -- however inflammatory -- from fans. So what did this fan do that Davidson decided he couldn't tolerate? Retired umpire Bruce Froemming was in the crowd at Miller Park and told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the fan was being profane. He said he had ejected fans several times in his career.

"Davidson did what you do when there’s profanity in the stands with women and children sitting there,” Froemming said. "He told security to get the guy out."

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 8, 2010 12:52 am
Edited on: September 8, 2010 1:14 am

Hoffman nails down 600th save

Trevor Hoffman Trevor Hoffman earned his 600th save Tuesday night, putting the finishing touches on a 4-2 victory over the Cardinals.

The Brewer gave up a single to Colby Rasmus, but got Randy Winn to hit into a double play before Aaron Miles grounded to short, inducing a celebration that saw Hoffman carried off the field by his teammates.

"What a feeling! It's hard to describe this moment," Hoffman said in an interview on the field that was broadcast over the Miller Park loudspeakers via the Associated Press . "Thanks to everybody who stuck around. Thanks for enduring a long season."

It was just the ninth save of the season for the 42-year-old, who has endured a rough season. Hoffman had an 11.65 ERA through his first 18 games, blowing five saves. However, since then, Hoffman has a 2.73 ERA in 28 games over 26 1/3 innings, posting a 19/9 K/BB rate.

"I appreciate [the Brewers] sticking with me long enough to get to this point," Hoffman said.

"Individual accomplishments are fantastic," Hoffman added. "Personally, it's gratifying that the work I've put in over the years has gotten me to this point, but our focus is team-oriented."

Hoffman was pitching in a game that saw four ejections: Milwaukee manager Ken Macha, center fielder Chris Dickerson, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan and a fan.

In the bottom of the seventh, home plate umpire Bob Davidson -- known for being a caustic fellow -- told a fan near the backstop netting to leave his seat. It's not known why, but presumably the fan was giving Davidson a hard time. The fan stood up, extended his arms in a V and left to loud cheers.

Macha was ejected in the second by second base umpire Tim Timmons while arguing a interference call that cost the Brewers a run. Duncan was run by Davidson for arguing balls and strikes in the third and Dickerson hit the showers in the fifth after slamming his helmet to the ground after being called out on strikes. That caused Davidson to slip Dickerson the thumb.

While all this was going on, Casey McGehee had three RBI to pace the Brewers to a 64-74 record and sending St. Louis to a 72-64 record, remaining six games behind the Reds, who lost their third straight when they fell to the Rockies earlier Tuesday.

Hoffman has had a long and storied career that included 16 years with the Padres where he saved 552 games with a 2.76 ERA, showcasing his wicked Bugs Bunny changeup. He finished second in Cy Young Award balloting in 1998, when he posted 53 saves in 73 innings as a 30-year-old. He was cited in multiple other Cy Young and MVP ballots and is a seven-time All-Star.

Hoffman began his career as a hitter in the Reds system, drafted in 1989 before being converted to a pitcher and being plucked by the Fish in the 1993 expansion draft. He hit the bigs in 1993, throwing 35 2/3 innings for Florida, saving two before being dealt to the Padres with two other minor leaguers for Rich Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield.

Hoffman left San Diego after the 2008 season, inking a deal with the Brewers and saving 37 games with a 1.83 ERA in 54 innings before struggling in 2010.

The 600th save came in his 676th chance and also has the most games finished in history with 852. However, Mariano Rivera, two years Hoffman's junior, has 555 saves and 823 games finished. It's anyone's guess how long Rivera lasts, but he will likely down Hoffman's records before he retires, as Hoffman will likely exit the game prior to Rivera. Hoffman says he will wait until the end of the season before deciding whether to retire, as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 's Tom Haudricourt reports . Milwaukee and Hoffman have a mutual option for $7 million with a $500,000 buyout attached -- and the option certainly won't be exercised by the Brew Crew although they may be interested in bringing Hoffman back at a lower salary.

For now, however, Hoffman is rightfully the first man to 600 saves in baseball history and will go down as one of the greatest closers in history along with Rivera. Rivera may own the AL, but Hoffman will always own the NL.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 6, 2010 10:29 pm

Fielder in midst of frustrating season

Prince Fielder It may be hard to believe, but Prince Fielder's three-run home run against the Phillies on Sunday was the first time he had hit a homer with more than one runner on base.

With 30 blasts to his name, that's hard to do.

And yet, Fielder has struggled all season to drive in runs after finishing 2009 tied atop the league with 141 RBI.

"He comes up a lot of times and they don't give him anything to hit," manager Ken Macha told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel .

Fielder isn't far off his normal rate stats, checking in at .274/.407/.501 in 610 plate appearances with his .908 OPS not far off from his career .927 mark and is leading the NL with 91 walks, a byproduct of being a hitter so fearsome pitchers are avoiding him at all times. In fact, 24 of his 30 home runs on the year are solo blasts.

That's why he has a fairly pedestrian 73 knocks on the year after three consecutive seasons with over 100 -- and it's not as if he's lacked the opportunities to do so. Fielder has played in every game so far in 2010, checked in at 162 in 2009 and has over 150 games played in his previous three seasons, the first of which was his rookie year. Fielder prides himself on being in the lineup every game and has played 322 consecutive games. He may be no Cal Ripken, Jr., but he's strikingly durable for being a hefty first baseman.

Still, the lack of RBI gnaws at Fielder during a year where the Brewers are playing below expectations. And that's not the only thing eating at Fielder.

"With everything that's going on with him this year -- the contract [negotiations that broke off], not giving him anything to hit, the number of walks, the hit by pitches [21]... for a young guy he's gone through a lot of stuff," Macha said.

Macha added that Fielder has been able to handle the situation "the last couple of weeks" well, leaving unspoken how he handled it prior to the last couple weeks.

"I think he was frustrated a little bit," said Macha. "All I'll say is he's 26 years old."

Fielder, represented by Scott Boras, is looking for a new contract worth over $100 million which is outside the Brewers' price range. Milwaukee shopped Fielder prior to the trading deadline but couldn't find a fit. Many believe the one-time 50 home-run hitter is a lock to be dealt in the offseason as he enters the final year of arbitration having made $11 million in 2010.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 1, 2010 9:56 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 10:20 pm

Chapman registers 103.9 mph

Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman actually managed to top himself in his second career appearance Wednesday night.

After topping out at 102.7 mph in an eight-pitch inning Tuesday, the 22-year-old Cuban rookie reached a mind-boggling 103.9 Wednesday. The official MLB Twitter feed says that pitch and a 103.8-mph fastball, both in the same at-bat against poor Brewers rookie catcher Jonathan LuCroy, are the two fastest pitches ever recorded since the sophisticated Pitch F/X system was implemented in 2006.

Chapman needed 10 pitches to dispatch the Brewers in order in the seventh Wednesday. Lorenzo Cain grounded out on two pitches, Alcides Escobar struck out swinging in four, and LuCroy, who struck out against Chapman on Tuesday, struck out swinging on four pitches.

You can go here for full Pitch F/X data on Chapman's outing.

UPDATE: Here's a list of the 10 fastest pitches recorded since 2008, according to the Society For American Baseball Research:

103.9 mph: Aroldis Chapman, CIN v. MIL, 9/1/2010, facing Jonathan Lucroy
103.8 mph: Aroldis Chapman, CIN v. MIL, 9/1/2010, facing Jonathan Lucroy
102.7 mph: Aroldis Chapman, CIN v. MIL, 8/31/2010, facing Craig Counsell
102.7 mph: Joel Zumaya, DET v. CHN, 6/23/2009, facing Milton Bradley
102.7 mph: Joel Zumaya, DET v. OAK, 6/30/2009, facing Matt Holliday
102.6 mph: Joel Zumaya, DET v. CHN, 6/24/2009, facing Mike Fontenot
102.6 mph: Joel Zumaya, DET v. OAK, 6/30/2009, facing Matt Holliday
102.6 mph: Jonathan Broxton, LAD v. SD, 7/3/2009, facing Kevin Kouzmanoff
102.5 mph: Bobby Parnell, NYM v. HOU, 8/18/2010, facing Chris Johnson
102.5 mph: Aroldis Chapman, CIN v. MIL, 8/31/2010, facing Jonathan Lucroy

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
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