Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:12 pm
By Matt Snyder
The Chicago White Sox were a popular pick to the win the AL Central prior to the 2011 season. I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you why I picked them. The starting rotation is strong and the offense looked to be powerful.
Instead, the offense was abominable through last Friday. The White Sox had dropped eight of nine games and sat in last place in a pretty bad division at 11-22. While the back-end of the bullpen has been a serious concern, the most head-scratching problem with the team was the lack of offense. From April 15 through May 6, the White Sox scored more than three runs four times -- two of those were four-run games. They scored either zero or one run seven times. This was a 20-game stretch.
If you look at the currrent seasonal totals for American League ballclubs, the White Sox rank 10th in runs, 10th in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage and 10th in OPS. The problems were evident all over the place. Adam Dunn had an awful transition to the AL, possibly affected by his appendectomy (though Matt Holliday seems to be just fine). A.J. Pierzynski can't hit anymore. Juan Pierre hasn't been getting hits like he usually does and has gotten caught stealing (eight) more times than he's stolen a base (six). Alex Rios got off to a pitiful start while Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez have scuffled more times than not as well.
You can say what you want about that collection of players, but you cannot dispute there is lots of talent there. I've seen many fans complaining about having a bunch of strikeout machines, but only three AL teams have struck out less than the White Sox. There is lots of power, but there is also speed and it's not an overly old bunch. The oldest one is Paul Konerko and he's been raking.
Now, with a three-game winning streak, it appears the lineup is waking up from its collective funk. Konerko has been consistent and hitting well all season. Carlos Quentin has had some insane hot streaks. He's up and down, but still has a .944 OPS with eight home runs and 23 RBI. They just needed everyone else to wake up and it could very well be happening.
In the past three games, the White Sox have scored 19 runs. Two of those came in the pitcher's paradise known as Safeco Field, too.
Some of the individuals who had been struggling are waking up, which only alleviates the collective pressure on the entire lineup.
Beckham went 6-15 (.400) in the series with two doubles, a home run, three RBI and three runs. Ramirez went 3-8 with a double and a home run in the past two games. Dunn went 5-13 (.385) with three doubles and four runs in the last three. Rios has gone 11 for his past 28 with a 1.036 in the past seven games. Even Brent Morel went 5-8 over the weekend.
The White Sox are still just 14-22 and a whopping 9 1/2 games out on May 10. That's an uphill climb. But the bats are starting to wake up, the bullpen hasn't been near as bad in recent weeks and Jake Peavy is coming back to bolster the rotation. There are five games left on a west-coast trip against some pretty good pitching. If the White Sox win two of those games, the 5-4 trip would be considered a success and they'd be coming home to a seven-game homestand in one of the best hitter's parks in the majors.
If you still don't buy the Indians -- and note that the rest of the division is flawed -- don't count the White Sox out. Remember, baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.
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Posted on: April 23, 2011 1:51 am
By Evan Brunell
Anibal Sanchez, Marlins -- Sanchez took a no-hitter into the ninth inning but had to settle for a complete game one-hitter. He's already tossed a no-no, so the former Red Sox farmhand clearly has no-hit stuff -- he just needs to stay healthy. He finally got a full season in last year, and the 27-year-old appears on the verge of stardom. His ERA entering the game was 5.53, but given his 3.57 xFIP, that was bound to go down. It did, all the way to 3.55.
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays -- Think it's time to take Bautista for real? Plenty were skeptical about the former backup repeating his career year, but the 30-year-old has pretty solidly shown he's here to stay. He went 3 for 3 with two walks, a RBI and four runs and Toronto needed all of them to beat the Rays in 11, 6-4. Bautista is now hitting a cool .339/.480/.661 and pitchers clearly want nothing to do with him. If he does end up walking 136 times this year (what he is pacing), that would be the most bases on balls in a season since Barry Bonds walked a ludicrous 232 times in 2004. Bautista had 100 last year, so it could happen.
Cole Hamels, Phillies -- Hamels was a man among boys, going eight long before graciously allowing Ryan Madson to notch a save. He allowed just four hits and three walks and whiffed eight, blanking the Padres in a 2-0 victory. Every one of San Diego's starter except third baseman Alberto Gonzalez struck out, and even Gonzalez didn't have a full game as he was lifted after two at-bats. The No. 4 starter, Hamels is showing he belongs in the conversation with best pitchers in the game, as his ERA dipped below 3.00 to 2.92.
Rain -- The weather was not kind Friday, wiping out three games. The Yankees/Orioles, Nationals/Pirates and Indians/Twins games will have to be made up at another time. It's not that common you see three games wiped out and although every April people moan about rainouts, it feels especially bad this year, doesn't it?
Casey Coleman, Cubs -- Poor Chicago can't really do much here as it doesn't really have any options to replace Coleman; the Cubs have enough trouble trying to find a fifth starter. Colemans' ERA ballooned to 7.43 after Friday's debacle in which he handed the Dodgers six runs in just three innings. He whiffed four, but he also walked four. Coleman may have a decent career as a swingman for the Cubs, but the 23-year-old just doesn't have it this year.
Adam Dunn, White Sox -- Dunn is still recovering from an appendectomy, so you could excuse him for not getting in the groove just yet. Still, Friday showcased what you usually get from Dunn without any home runs -- an 0-for-4 skid with three strikeouts. Dunn's pacing for 178 strikeouts, which is nothing new for the slugger, but the White Sox will gladly take it if Dunn can swat 40 home runs. He's got two on the season, so has some catching up to do.
Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:47 am
By Matt Snyder
There really wasn't enough room here tonight with lots of really good and really bad performances throughout the baseball world. Apologies to Brett Anderson, the Orioles, the Braves, Randy Wolf and a host of others who brought it.
As for those who were spared, it was a long list, too. Among them: Tigers' pitchers, Paul Maholm, Hideki Okajima and Mother Nature.
It's just that we only have three spots in this subjective endeavor.
James Shields, Rays. He said after the game it had "been a long time," which was true -- as Shields hadn't thrown a complete game since June of 2008. That's exactly what he did Tuesday against the White Sox, netting his first win of the year. He struck out nine while only allowing four hits and an earned run. He's actually been dominant at home so far, sporting a 1.54 ERA in three starts -- adding 20 strikeouts.
Ryan Roberts, Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old utility man is making it impossible for Kirk Gibson to leave him out of the lineup. After going 2-3 with two home runs, two runs and three RBI in a 5-4 win at Cincinnati, Roberts raised his season average to .382 with four home runs, 10 RBI and seven runs in just 39 plate apperances. His on-base percentage is .462.
Angels' offense. Mark Trumbo went 3-5 with a double, home run, two runs and four RBI. Peter Bourjos went 4-5 with a double, home run, three runs and three RBI. The team as a whole battered the Rangers' pitching staff for 15 runs on 15 hits and drew six walks. Meanwhile, the Angels have now won 10 of 13 games and have tied the once red-hot Rangers for first in the AL West. Oh, and the cherry on top? Vernon Wells went 2-5 with a double. He's now hit safely in his past six games. He's also seven for his last 17 (.412) with two doubles and a triple.
Carl Pavano, Twins. I guess we aren't going to have any middle ground here. Pavano is either stellar (16 innings, one earned run in his two good starts) or awful (8 2/3 innings, 14 earned runs in his two bad starts). Tuesday it was the Orioles' offense inflating their stats against Pavano, knocking him around for eight hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 frames.
Kenley Jansen and Ramon Troncoso, Dodgers. The Dodgers entered the top of the ninth with some hope of winning the game. It was only 2-1 Braves. Sure, flamethrower Craig Kimbrel was awaiting the lower part of the order for the bottom half, but you never know. It was only one run. Well, then Jansen and Troncoso happened. Here's how the top of the ninth read, play-by-play: walk, home run, walk, fly out, single, single, homer, double, single, single, single ... and, mercifully, double play to end it. All told, that's eight runs on eight hits and two walks. There was a wild pitch in there. And the hits weren't cheap. Everything was hit hard. Freddie Freeman's double was of the ground-rule variety. Frankly, I'm glad it ended when it did, because it was getting uncomfortable to watch.
Adam Dunn, White Sox. There's no way of knowing if there is a correlation between Dunn's struggles and coming back very quickly from an appendectomy. But after Shields made him look pretty dumb Tuesday night (0-4 with three strikeouts), Dunn is now 2-23 with 14 strikeouts since making his return.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 12, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 4:39 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Adam Dunn is back.
Less than a week after his emergency appendectomy, the White Sox designated hitter is back in the lineup against the A's tonight.
Dunn's batting third against Oakland's Trevor Cahill, according to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune.
Dunn took batting practice yesterday and reported discomfort, but was still looking to talk the White Sox coaches into putting him into the lineup. He is aided by being a designated hitter and not having to play the field.
Dunn tried to return to the lineup this weekend, but wasn't cleared.
"I'm a quick healer, like Wolverine," Dunn said last week.
Dunn missed had the appendectomy early April 6 and missed six games, beating St. Louis' Matt Holliday back into action. Holliday missed seven games after his appendectomy, returning to the lineup on Sunday.
Throughout his career, Dunn has played hurt and played nearly every day. Dunn's played in at least 152 games in eight of his nine full seasons in the big leagues.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 12, 2011 10:13 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:14 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Sendai, Japan, had something to cheer about on Tuesday -- baseball.
The northern Japanese city that was ravished by last month's earthquake is home to the Rakuten Eagles, who opened the Japanese baseball season with a 6-4 victory over the defending champion Chiba Lotte Marines.
The game was played a bit south in Chiba and the Eagles' stadium won't be ready until April 29, but TV showed people in shelters watching the game and each fan in the Chiba cheering section held up signs that said, "Stay Strong Japan."
"Despite the difficult conditions, we are able to open the season because everybody helped us to do it," former big leaguer and current Eagle Kaz Matsui told the Associated Press. "I want to carry this feeling of appreciation for the whole year by playing baseball."
Former National and Yankee, and current Eagle Darrell Rasner said he thought fans were happy to see games played, the Central League also started with the Yokohama BayStars beating the Chunichi Dragons 5-4.
"It is a sense of normalcy for them," Rasner told the AP. "It's something that's ingrained in them and, you know, I think this is going to be a healing process. This is going to be a great thing for them."
Not everyone aggress.
"Watching baseball is not the first thing on anyone's mind in Tokyo either," reporter Kozo Abe told author Robert Whiting, writing for SI.com. "The Japanese feeling at the moment is that they are not ready to root for the revival of Japanese baseball from the bottom of their heart."
One estimate says there are 30,000 people dead or missing and as many as 400,000 are homeless from the earthquake and tsunami. Half of the 12 NPB teams play in areas affected by the disaster. With many still without power, there's a debate whether using power on baseball games is the best way to use resources. Even though teams are playing more day games, enough power is used one day game at the Tokyo Dome to power 6,000 homes.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest newspaper, has had many call in and cancel their subscriptions to the newspaper that also owns the country's most popular team, the Yomiuri Giants, who publicly were against pushing back the season's starting date to today. The Giants will not play at home until next month in hopes of conserving energy.
It will be interesting to see how many people show up to games. Going to baseball games requires discretionary income, right now that's not exactly in abundance, and if it is, there's better use of that money in Japan.
Baseball did have to return to Japan, a country that loves the game as much (or more) than we do, but the start seems awkward, even though there was no easy way to avoid it.
TALKING PITCHING -- I join Lauren Shehadi to talk about some of the game's best pitchers. I don't like to overreact to one or two starts at the start of the season, so you know. But hey, you get the picture of me with my beard at its fullest.
NICE TOUCH -- Really nice scene last night when the Giants and Dodgers got together in a presume ceremony for Bryan Stow, who was beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot earlier this month. [Los Angeles Times]
ROAD DOGS -- The first nine games of yesterday were won by the road team and the Blue Jays took an early 7-0 lead on the Mariners before coughing up the lead and giving the home team its first victory of the day. Only once before -- on July 30, 1890, had all the road teams win on a day with 10 or more games.
WRIGLEY'S FOR THE BIRDS -- Flocks of ring-billed gulls have made Wrigley Field one of their favorite feeding spots. At times you'll see more birds than fans in the stands. [Chicago Sun-Times]
NO-HITTER -- Trey Haley, Francisco Jimenez and Clayton Ehlert combined for a no-hitter for the Class A Lake County Captains in a 3-1 victory over the Dayton Dragons on Monday. The Captains are the low-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. [MiLB.com]
EVEN PUJOLS SLUMPS -- St. Louis really is America's best baseball towns, and its newspaper, the Post-Dispatch understands that. The P-D has one of the best baseball teams in the business, including Derrick Goold. I say this just to point out the work Goold did on his blog for Monday. Goold took a look at Pujols' slumps in his career and what followed. The moral of the story? You don't want to be a Diamondbacks or Dodgers pitcher this week.
AND JETER -- Derek Jeter's .206 average through his first nine games is the second-worst start of his career. The only time he started worse was 1998, and he had one of his better seasons following that start. However, he was 23. [New York Times]
DAVIS TO DL -- Blue Jays center fielder Rajai Davis is expected to go on the disabled list today with soreness in his right ankle. He had been playing with the injury, but the team decided he needed rest to fully recover. [MLB.com]
GOOD GENES -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was a proud big brother on Tuesday as his sister, Prosha, was taken by the San Antonio Silver Stars in the third round of the WNBA's draft that was held on Tuesday. The younger Phillips played at the University of Georgia. Her big brother had signed to play baseball at UGA before being drafted. [Twitter]
SUPER SLO-MO -- This video of Tim Lincecum is just killer.
Hat tip to Big League Stew.
YOUTH MOVEMENT -- We all know the Cubs' Starlin Castro is young, but did you know that's he's nearly four months younger than the next-youngest player in MLB, Florida's Mike Stanton. Royals lefty Tim Collins is the youngest -- and shortest -- player in the American League. How about the minors? Braves phenom Julio Teheran is the youngest player in Triple-A, while the Rangers' Jurickson Profar is the youngest player in a full-season league in the minors. He was born Feb. 20, 1993. [Baseball America]
DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE -- Sam Mellinger defends Royals owner David Glass. [Kansas City Star]
SPEAKING OF BAD OWNERS -- Frank McCourt's former attorneys are suing him. [Los Angeles Times]
RETIREMENT INCREASING -- No, not Manny Ramirez, but maybe 99 or 24. Anyway, here's a cool article from Chris Jaffe at the Hardball Times about retired numbers and it has a list of the players with the highest WAR for each franchise without their number retired. Looking at the list, my guess for next to have his number retired is probably Ken Griffey Jr. ANother Cincinnati kid, Barry Larkin isn't on the list, but his number is likely going to be retired soon, too.
$2 MILLION TACTIC -- Is Buck Showalter's tactic of teaching his players to try to break up a double play when a ball is hit right at the second baseman worth $2 million a season? [Sabermetric Research]
HERO WORSHIP -- Nearly 12 years after the last game he pitched in the big leagues, Jim Abbott is still inspiring others. [Orange County Register]
REDDICK MAKING ENEMIES -- Buffalo Bisons general manager Mike Buczkowski can't be much of a fan of Red Sox prospect Josh Reddick. It's not just that Reddick hit .327 with four homers and 10 RBI in 12 games against the Bisons in 2010, or that he homered in his first game against Buffalo in 2011. No, Reddick added to the misery he's caused Buczkowski on Saturday when on the pitch before his homer, Reddick hit a foul ball that shattered the windshield of Buczkowski's car. Pawtucket play-by-play man Dan Hoard has the details and photos on his blog. [Heard it from Hoard]
LUCKY CATCH -- A former minor leaguer won a $1 million jackpot in a scratch-off lottery. Joel Torres was released by the Indians this spring and wants to continue his career. [New York Post]
BAY AREA BASEBALL FEVER -- The Giants' run to the World Series title has made an impact on the participation of Bay Area Little Leagues. There are now waiting lists in some leagues. [New York Times]
LINEUP SHOW -- This is an interesting bit of marketing from Japan, a TV program invited all six Pacific League managers to present their opening day lineups and talk about them. I could see that working on MLB Network -- teams know who they're facing and what they're going to do, it only helps build excitement for the hard core fans (and for silly complaints about lineup construction, if you're into that kind of thing.) [YakyuBaka.com]
PUT ME IN COACH -- The Omaha World writes about the best baseball songs. As a huge fan of the Hold Steady, I appreciate any list that includes not only that band, but also its singer. That said, I prefer "Pasttime" from the Baseball Project's first album to "Don't Call Them Twinkies." But my favorite baseball song is still probably "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request" by Steve Goodman. All in all, a pretty darn good list -- especially with the inclusion of "Talkin' Softball."For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Adam Dunn, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Albert Pujols, Barry Larkin, Blue Jays, Brandon Phillips, Braves, Bryan Stow, Buck Showalter, Cardinals, Clayton Ehlert, Cubs, Darrell Rasner, David Glass, David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Dodgers, Francisco Jimenez, Frank McCourt, Giants, Indians, Japan, Jim Abbott, Joel Torres, Josh Reddick, Julio Teheran, Jurickson Profar, Kaz Matsui, Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Rajai Davis, Rakuten Eagles, Rangers, Red Sox, Reds, Robert Whiting, Rockies, Royals, Royals, Starlin Castro, Tim Collins, Tim Lincecum, Trey Haley, Ubaldo Jimenez, White Sox
Posted on: April 11, 2011 10:29 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:54 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Three out of four isn't bad. Well, unless you're a closer and you've blown three of four save chances.
The only thing worse than having a closer that can't close is the manager having zero confidence in anybody else in the bullpen.
When St. Louis manager Tony La Russa was asked if he was considering changing his closer from Ryan Franklin, he answered, "who's better?"
"Somebody's got to come up with somebody that's better on our club right now," La Russa told MLB.com's Matthew Leach. "The fact is that right now those young guys aren't better."
In fairness to Franklin, errors by Albert Pujols and Colby Rasmus with two outs in the ninth led to two victories by the Giants on Friday and Saturday, respectively. However, the way the Cardinals are constructed, defense will not be bailing out too many pitchers this season, and Pujols and Rasmus are two of the teams' better defenders.
Sunday the Cardinals found a way to avoid a closer breakdown -- by giving its pitchers a five-run lead to close out. They were successful, salvaging the series against the Giants with a 6-1 get-away day win in San Francisco.
RED-HOT Rangers -- Jeff Wilson of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about the Rangers' great start.
CABRERA HELPING CABRERA -- The influence of veteran Orlando Cabrera has already started paying off for the Indians. During spring, Cabrera noticed Asdrubal Cabrera's approach in batting practice was that of a slugger, not a shortstop. He told him to try that in a game sometime. During the Indians' seven-game winning streak, Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting .316 with three homers and nine RBI. Asdrubal Cabrera had three homers all of last season. [MLB.com]
"It was good to get out of solitary confinement and hang out with the general population, you know what I mean," Dunn told the Chicago Tribune's Dave van Dyck.
However, Dunn said he was done making predictions about when he'd return when asked if he could play today against Oakland.
TINKERING -- Derek Jeter isn't the only Yankee messing with his mechanics -- right-hander Phil Hughes tinkered with his motion during his bullpen session on Sunday. Hughes is attempting to use more of the bottom half of his body in his delivery. [New York Times]
ROUSING THE TROOPS -- Rays manager Joe Maddon tried to eject all four umpires in Sunday's 6-1 loss to the White Sox. [St. Petersburg Times]
Enjoy this video while it lasts (why MLB.com won't allow embedded videos, I just don't know...)
LAROCHE CONFIDENT HE'LL BE BACK SOON -- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche said he doesn't expect to miss any time after leaving Sunday's game with a strained left groin. LaRoche left in the 11th inning against the Mets, but said today's day off for the Nationals would give him ample healing time. [MASNSports.com]
ZIMMERMAN UNSURE OF RETURN -- Unlike his teammate LaRoche, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is unsure when he'll return from his strained abdominal muscle. Zimmerman will be re-evaluated on Tuesday following the off day. [Washington Post]
YOUNG UNHAPPY -- Mets right-hander Chris Young wasn't perfect on Sunday and that wasn't good enough for him or the Mets. In his first seven-inning outing in nearly two years, Young allowed just one hit and two walks, and the walk came back to hurt him, accounting for the lone run he gave up to the Nationals. After he left the game, Washington tied the game in the eighth inning before winning it in the 11th. Young picked up a no-decision, but is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in two starts for the Mets this season. [ESPNNewYork.com]
BACK-TO-BACK -- Mark Prior pitched on back-to-back days for the Class A Tampa Yankees on Saturday and Sunday as he makes the transition from starter to reliever in an attempt to return to the majors for the first time since 2006. Prior's fastball reached 91 on both days. [MLB.com]
NO REPLICAS FOR FANS -- The Giants will not make replica World Series rings available to fans, but you can by commemorative jewelry from the team. So, you know, if you've outgrown your class ring, you can get a ring that's symbolic of an achievement you had absolutely zero to do with earning yourself. But, you know, if you have $3,570 dollars just lying around with nothing else to really do with it, why not? It's not like there are charities that could use it more than you can use a 14K white gold ring with diamonds and your name on it that will repel women. Seriously, just buy one of the cool hats with the gold SF the team wore the other day. [San Francisco Chronicle]
NEW BOX -- The fine folks over at FanGraphs have unveiled their new boxscore. I swear there are some stats that aren't real in there just to see if you're paying attention. Seriously, there's just about everything you'd ever want in this box, and going through one could take longer than actually watching the game. And I mean that in the most awesome way possible. [FanGraphs.com]
NICE DAY AT THE PARK -- What's better than a beautiful Sunday at the ballpark? Try a day at the park followed by a post-game concert by the Avett Brothers. The band performed at Turner Field yesterday following the Phillies' 3-0 victory. My sisters-in-law and other friends went, plus one of my sisters-in-law met Kevin Gillespie in the beer line -- not a bad day.
Tags: Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, AL Central, AL East, AL West, AL West, Albert Pujols, Asdrubal Cabrera, Athletics, Cardinals, Colby Rasmus, Cubs, Derek Jeter, Giants, Indians, Jake Peavy, Jason Motte, Mark Buehrle, Mark Prior, Mark Riggins, Matt Garza, Mike Quade, Mitchell Boggs, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, Orlando Cabrera, Phil Hughes, Phil Humber, Rangers, Rays, Ryan Franklin, Ryan Zimmerman, Tony La Russa, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: April 10, 2011 11:59 am
By Matt Snyder
Sluggers Matt Holliday and Adam Dunn have both undergone appendectomies thus far in the new baseball season. We know this. We also know that the usual length of missed time following such a procedure is around four weeks, and that Andres Torres missing just under two weeks last season was a pretty fast return.
Apparently that's not good enough for Holliday and Dunn.
Holliday is set to return to the lineup Sunday, which would mean he'd only have missed seven games. (MLB.com ) Dunn seems ready to scoff at such a figure, as he is shooting for five days (his procedure was Wednesday). He took some cuts Sunday morning and reportedly felt "OK." (Chicago Sun Times )
This is a testament to the toughest of the players and modern medicine. Major props are due to everyone involved.
ZIMMERMAN HURT? Ryan Zimmerman appeared to injure his hand Saturday night and is out of the lineup Sunday. More details are sure to follow. (Washington Post )
DEMOTION COMING: Chris Snyder is going to be joining the Pirates soon, which will force Jason Jaramillo back to Triple-A, as the team has no plans to carry three catchers or move Ryan Doumit out from behind the plate. (Bucco Blog )
HELTON'S ACHY BREAKY BACK: Todd Helton missed Saturday's game with back pain. We've seen this before, so hopefully it gets cleared up soon. Helton did note his back locked up similarly to something that happened in spring training and it only lasted a "couple of days" then. (Denver Post )
THE MENTOR: Ivan Rodriguez is helping Nationals reliever Drew Storen learn the mental side of pitching
“Last year, I was amazed,” Storen said. “When I would go out and pitch, I would just let him call it. The way my mind works was so amateur compared to him. He just calls such a polished game. It’s just like, ‘Wow.’ So now I’m starting to get it. Now I’m starting to think on the same lines as him, which shows you how I’ve learned from him. I pretty much feel like I’m a passenger when he’s out there. I don’t have to think. He knows what I’m comfortable with, and he knows what the best approach is.” (Washington Post )
That's saying a lot coming from Storen. He's one of the more cerebral players in the league and graduated from Stanford. Then again, he was only four years old when Rodriguez entered the league. It's nice to see a youngster knowing what he doesn't know and striving to learn.
MANNYLESS TROP: The Rays have cancelled all merchandise sales and giveaways relating to Manny Ramirez, for obvious reasons. This includes wigs of his dreads and a bobblehead giveaway. Nooooooo! (Tampabay.com )
AWFUL NEWS: A Pirates usher was found dead early Saturday morning lying face down in the street and bleeding from an apparent head injury. His car is missing, too, so there appears to be foul play involved. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review )
GOOD NEWS: Luis Salazar is ready to return to his job as manager of the Braves' Class A affiliate (Lynchburg) this coming Friday. He has been sidelined for over a month after taking a line drive to the face and subsequently losing his eye. Of course, his life was in danger for a bit, so returning to the dugout is huge. Good for him. (AJC.com )
NO HARD FEELINGS: Chris Archer was dealt by the Cubs to the Rays in the Matt Garza trade, but he's not angry with the Cubs for doing so.
"When you get traded it's always a little bittersweet, but a team wants you," Archer said. "One team is willing to get rid of you for a big-name player and then one team wants you. Either way you look at it, I wasn't mad. I was wanted and it was for a big-name player, a No. 1 or No. 2 starter in the big leagues. Why would I be mad? If that's what the package is worth for a No. 1 or No. 2 starter in the big leagues, I'm happy with that." (Chicago Tribune )
It doesn't seem like a big deal, but I've seen far too many players act like there's some huge disrespect factor tied to getting traded. Good thing Archer isn't one of those.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 8, 2011 7:36 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
"I don't think that's a stretch," Holliday said Friday after going through his first full workout since undergoing an appendectomy on April 1. "I think Sunday's a definitely a possibility, and possibly even tomorrow depending on [how things go]. I can't say without talking to Greg [Hauch, the team's head trainer], but in my mind, that's definitely a possibility."
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa wasn't quite as optimistic.
"I think that's probably a push," La Russa said. "I'm not saying he wouldn't, because he was in such great shape when he got hurt and we're anxious to get him back, but that seems like a push. But if they give him the green light and he says he's ready to go …"
Holliday is not on the tema's 15-day disabled list, so he can return anytime he's ready.
Meanwhile, Adam Dunn has said he wants to be back as soon as possible, but manager Ozzie Guillen doesn't expect him back before Monday, five days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
Dunn could possibly pinch-hit, but Guillen doesn't want to do that, either.
"I'd rather lose a game than lose a guy for another month," Guillen told reporters, including the Chicago Tribune's Dave van Dyck. "If I have to pinch-hit Adam Dunn with the game on the line, I'd rather lose the game than have him hurt himself or lose him for we don't know how long."
Dunn has said he's a fast healer and doesn't expect to be out long. The White Sox start a three-game series with the Rays tonight before hosting the Athletics for three starting Monday. Chicago has an open day on Thursday and then three more home games against the Angels before leaving on a 11-game road trip starting April 18.