Tag:David Ortiz
Posted on: June 20, 2011 8:10 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 8:25 pm
 

Red Sox may play Adrian Gonzalez in outfield

Gonzalez

By Evan Brunell


Adrian Gonzalez could play the outfield during Boston's upcoming foray into the National League, the Boston Globe reports.

Before Monday's game at Fenway Park against the Padres, manager Terry Francona said the Red Sox have discussed putting Gonzalez in right field in order to get David Ortiz in the lineup. Gonzalez and Ortiz are the two best hitters on the team, but Ortiz's only position is first base -- the position Gonzalez plays at a Gold Glove level.

"We've talked to him," Francona said. "We'll see. I'm glad he's willing to do it. I don't want David to sit nine straight games ... maybe a couple of times ... I know he's done it. We'll see."

Gonzalez has minimal experience in the outfield, playing right field during his time in winter ball and once in 2006 with Texas when Mark Teixeira was manning first. That's it.

It's a big stretch to ask Gonzalez to play the outfield, especially coming off offseason shoulder surgery, but what is Boston supposed to do? It can't sit one of its best hitters for nine-straight games, whether that's Gonzalez or Ortiz taking a seat. Boston wouldn't play A-Gon in the outfield for all the games, but even just three is an additional three games with a big bopper in the lineup. As long as Gonzalez is told not to be a hero on defense, it's doubtful that it's a major injury risk as well.

It wouldn't be too much trouble for Gonzalez to fit into the outfield, as the club just placed Carl Crawford on the disabled list. That frees up an outfield spot for Gonzalez, but interestingly, it appears the team wants Gonzalez to play right field, not left. Most slow first baseman who need to be stuck in the outfield go to left field, so why isn't left being considered for Gonzalez? J.D. Drew is a capable right fielder and isn't a zero on defense. It would seem that by putting Drew in an unfamiliar position in left field, the team is harming its defense at both outfield positions. In addition, the left-field replacements for Crawford in Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald and Josh Reddick all have extensive experience playing center and right field.

The Red Sox go on the NL-portion of their schedule Friday when they visit Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Houston with interleague play, which concludes July 3.

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 2:30 pm
 

Ortiz blames media for being plunked

By Matt Snyder

Blanket blaming "the media" when things don't happen exactly as one would like seems the cool thing to do nowadays for those not in the media. Count David Ortiz as one jumping on the bandwagon.

Ortiz was hit by a pitch in the Red Sox win over the Yankees Thursday night, and Ortiz figures that some of the media ordered CC Sabathia to plunk him.

"I just want to thank [the media]. Not all of you, but some of you, for the stat today about be not being hit," he said (Boston Globe). "I finally got hit. I hope you [expletive] are happy."

Starting pitcher Josh Beckett -- who set the table by hitting both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez earlier in the game -- also got in on the action, though he was a bit more specific.

"I'm still trying to figure out if David got hit for something I did or if it was something ESPN stirred up," Beckett said.

I'll confess that I don't watch ESPN much -- I only watch games and MLB Network -- so I don't know what Beckett's talking about. I have an idea there was much discussion the past few days about the hit-by-pitch differences when it came to Ortiz and Jeter/A-Rod.

Prior to the game, Ortiz had gone 696 plate appearances against the Yankees without having ever been hit by a pitch. When Jeter was hit by Beckett Thursday, it was the 24th time in the regular season (in over 1,100 PAs) that Jeter was hit. When A-Rod was hit, it was the 20th time in 950 PAs.

Now, this doesn't mean the Yankees should come out and hit Ortiz just to hit him. It's just that when Jeter and A-Rod were hit again, a little retaliation was in order. Sabathia took care of it, there was no brawl (in fact, Ortiz smiled as you can see in the picture above) and both teams moved on. I don't believe Beckett hit Jeter or Rodriguez intentionally, but that doesn't matter in the old "unwritten rules" of baseball. Basically, everything happened the way it's supposed to happen.

I'm only surprised Ortiz went where he did after the game. You can't convince me CC Sabathia was sitting there watching ESPN all week and getting worked up. This was simply a case of doing what is expected in baseball -- even in the post-game interviews when Sabathia said the pitch just "got away" from him.

Regardless of all that, Ortiz had the last laugh. He started the big seventh-inning rally and then shut the door later in the inning with a two-RBI double to make the score 7-2 Red Sox.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 5:08 pm
 

On Deck: AL Central getting tight



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Tigers prowl: With Cleveland's loss to the Twins on Wednesday, the Tigers are within a game of the American League Central lead. Detroit can't take over first with a win on Wednesday, but they can inch to a half-game out of first with a win over Texas in Arlington on Wednesday. Lefty Phil Coke is expected to be activated from the DL in time to face right-hander Alexi Ogando, who beat the Tigers with a two-hitter through seven innings in April. Ogando has yet to lose a decision as a starter. Tigers at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

David OrtizRetaliation time? Nobody expects A.J. Burnett to bean David Ortiz right off the bat -- but he may smoke him inside just to get his attention. It's nice to have some actual bad blood between these two teams again. For two long the rivalry has been pretty boring -- but with Joe Girardi complaining about Ortiz's bat flip on Tuesday, things could get interesting. Or at least more interesting.  Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

RockiesWelcome back: Everything's coming up Rockies today -- the team gets Aaron Cook back and he faces a team he's traditionally pitched well against. In his career he's 7-1 with a 2.21 ERA at Petco Park and is 14-4 against the Padres overall. They're also facing Dustin Moseley, who his pitching well this season, going 2-6 with a 3.00 ERA and has allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his last 12 starts. However, Moseley was rocked by the Rockies on May 13, allowing six runs in four innings of a loss at Coors Field. Rockies at Padres, 6:35 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:43 am
Edited on: June 8, 2011 11:24 am
 

Pepper: Papi bat flip angers Girardi


By Evan Brunell


BASEBALL TODAY: What is the latest with the knee of Mark Teixeira? Is Jered Weaver back on track for the Angels? Lauren Shehadi and C. Trent Rosecrans answer those questions and more. Click the video to play.

BOSOX-YANKS SPICE: While the Red Sox and Yankees remain appointment viewing, there hasn't been much of a rivalry in recent years, especially with Boston winning most of the games in 2010 and so far in 2011. The rivalry got spiced up a bit Monday night when David Ortiz crushed a two-run home run off of Hector Noesi to finish off the scoring in a 6-3 victory. Noesi, a rookie pitcher, had tossed a pitch at Big Papi just before the home run, causing some to wonder if it was an attempted hit-by-pitch to make up for Mark Teixeira's plunking earlier in the game.

Big Papi says no, but that didn't stop him from flipping his bat with a flourish after his home run in the fifth, drawing the ire of manager Joe Girardi of the Yankees, who said he didn't care for it.

"I never had a problem with David," Girardi said. "David has always played the game hard. I’m just protecting my young kid."

For Ortiz's part, he played it off lightly, which should kill any possible controversy.

“That’s Papi style,’’ kidded Ortiz. “It’s not the first time and it’s not my last one. I’m a home run hitter. It’s not like I do it all the time. What can I tell you? Just another homer for Papi.’’ (Boston Globe)

MARQUIS UPSET: Nationals pitcher Jason Marquis, who claims he has never thrown at a batter in his 12-year career, is fuming over his five-game suspension for hitting Justin Upton with a pitch Sunday. It was Upton's fourth beanball of the series and came after Jayson Werth's plunking in the game -- his third of the series.

"Never been ejected, never been fined, never been suspended," Marquis said. "I don’t understand why I would start now. I’ve been in games where there have been games getting hit back and forth. It’s a 1-0 game. We’re trying to put something together here. The game is 1-0. You don’t want it to get away from you just because you’re trying to show your manhood. I’m out there trying to win as many games as possible.”

Marquis added that the heat in Arizona is difficult, as the dryness of it doesn't produce enough sweat for the hand to grip the baseball properly. Plus, Marquis claims the pitch was supposed to be outside and moved inside.

“If you actually watch where that pitch started, it started on the outer third and moved three feet,” Marquis said. “I mean, can I control, ‘I’m going to throw a three-foot sinker, and hopefully it hits him?’ Most guys take a four-seamer and usually drill a guy. The catcher set up away. My ball moved three feet if you watch the film.” (Washington Post)

WERTH SCRATCHED: Jayson Werth did not play in Tuesday's game after being scratched from the lineup with a sore ankle. Laynce Nix replaced Werth in right field, and the new Nats star is day-to-day with the injury. (Washington Post)

GOOD ADVICE: With the No. 5 pick of the draft, the Royals snagged perhaps the best high-school bat in the draft with Bubba Starling. A local product, Starling needs to decide whether or not to play baseball or football in college and probably won't sign -- if at all -- until the Aug. 15 deadline. But Royals great Frank White has some words of advice for Starling, including signing as soon as possible. (Kansas City Star)

UNCLE JOE: One of Joe Girardi's good friends is Dante Bichette, a teammate way back in 1993 for the expansion Rockies. Now, Girardi has a chance to skipper Bichette's son, as the Yankees took Dante Bichette, Jr., with the No. 51 pick of the draft. The son calls Girardi "Uncle Joe," a practice he admitted he might have to stop. Meanwhile, Girardi marveles at how far Bichette, Jr. has come since Girardi and Bichette were taking Bichette Jr. on car rides as a baby to help him fall asleep. (New York Times)

BRUISED THUMB: There's been a lot of coverage of Anthony Rizzo's bruised thumb in San Diego. The 21-year-old is tearing Triple-A apart and was on the verge of a callup before bruising his left thumb and hand. He's on his way to San Diego to be evaluated by team physicians after a MRI came back negative. If everything checks out, the team could tell Rizzo to stay in San Diego and promote him immediately. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

SHARPEN THE SLIDER: The Cubs' Carlos Marmol has undergone a recent stretch of futility, blowing two games Sunday and last Tuesday. The culprit might be his slider, which has flattened out and removed perhaps his biggest weapon. (Chicago Tribune)

SCHERZER TOO: Max Scherzer is struggling with his slider as well, and skipper Jim Leyland says he'll turn to video along with Scherzer and pitching coach Rick Knapp to figure out the problem. Scherzer won his seventh game on Monday but was displeased with the amount of fastballs he left in the zone. (MLB.com)

RADIATION: Gary Carter underwent his first radiation treatment for his inoperable malignant brain tumors and came away "feeling good," his daughter said. (ESPN New York)

OZZIE'S MAD: Uh-oh. Better stay away from Ozzie Guillen for a week. "Iam in very very bad mood stay away from me the most you can," he tweeted after the White Sox's victory Tuesday night. "A lees for a week better tha way," he added. What's going on? No one quite knows, but he's likely unhappy that son Ozney Guillen has yet to be drafted with 30 rounds gone by. His son was picked in the 22nd round last year by the White Sox but did not sign.

SOCCER IN CITI: There was a soccer match at Citi Field Tuesday, with Ecuador taking Greece on. Check out the nice picture of the event. Seeing how baseball fields can convert and support a soccer game is always fascinating. (ESPN New York)

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

Yankees, AL East dominate AL All-Star voting

Yankees

By C. Trent Rosecrans

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

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

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

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

Complete results are available at MLB.com.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 3:53 pm
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Posted on: May 24, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 12:29 pm
 

The best and worst baserunners in the game

McLouth

By Evan Brunell


On Tuesday, Fangraphs unveiled a new statistic titled Ultimate Base Running. The calculation of UBR is similar to how the efficiency of outfield arms are calculated for use in Ultimate Zone Rating, one of the best freely available metrics to measure defense. Here's Fangraphs on how its calculated:
Whatever credit (positive or negative) is given to an outfielder based on a runner hold, advance, or kill on a batted ball is also given in reverse to the runner (or runners). There are some plays that a runner is given credit (again plus or minus) for that do not involve an outfielder, such as being safe or out going from first to second on a ground ball to the infield, or advancing, remaining, or being thrown out going from second to third on a ground ball to SS or 3B.

Runs are awarded to base runners in the same way they are rewarded to outfielders on “arm” plays. The average run value in terms of the base/out state is subtracted from the actual run value (also in terms of the resultant base/out state) on a particular play where a base runner is involved. The result of the subtraction is the run value awarded to the base runner on that play.

Enough with the mechanics of the statistic. Let's take a look at the season leaders are in UBR. Keep in mind two things: First, UBR is a cumulative statistic. That is, the more you play, the more your UBR will change, so those who haven't played much this season will rank low on the leaderboard in part due to lack of playing time. Next, it's too early to judge the effectiveness of UBR. The defensive statistic of UBR tends to need three full seasons of data to get anything usable for defensive judgement. It's not yet clear if UBR can be relied on immediately or if more time is needed. Still, this data is a leap forward in player evaluation, as baserunning skills (not to be confused with speed or stealing) were one of the few remaining hurdles to clear to get an overall look at a player's effectiveness.

Here are the top 10 baserunners in 2011 according to UBR, plus their career marks in parentheses. Data only goes back to 2002, so an asterisk will denote one season of missed data. For example, Ichiro Suzuki receives one asterisk as he played in 2001. Keep in mind that while this list can help strip out strong baserunners from those who bumble their way around the bases, it's still a list influenced by speed. Going second to third on a fly ball is easier when you run like Usain Bolt.
  1. Nate McLouth (pictured), Braves: 2.8 (12.5)
  2. Alex Rios, White Sox: 2.8 (14.5)
  3. Melky Cabrera, Royals: 2.7 (-0.2) -- So not only as Melky Cabrera completely turned his career around by becoming a better defender and rediscovering his stroke, he's positing a positive UBR for the first (and only) time in 2006. Maybe he really has screwed his head on.
  4. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox: 2.5 (10.3)
  5. Alex Gordon, Royals: 2.4 (6.5)
  6. Aaron Rowand, Giants: 2.2 (15.7*) -- Rowand was actually especially bad last season, with a -2.8 mark. And yet, with roughly a third less at-bats to date, he's already almost mirrored his negative mark from last season positively. That's a big jump in limited playing time.
  7. Brian Roberts, Orioles: 2.2 (11.6)
  8. Danny Espinosa, Nationals: 2.2 (2.8)
  9. Michael Bourn, Astros: 2.1 (13.9) -- Bourn had a 5.8 mark in 2009, which placed him fifth. Chone Figgins ran away with the top spot at a 7.9 mark, but Bourn has racked up strong numbers consistently the last few seasons. He may not hit for much power or even average, but he does everything else.
  10. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: 2.1 (24.0*)
There's a couple interesting names here, but by and large, this list is far from surprising. It's comprised of speedy or competent runners who need to bring value beyond their traditional offensive skill set to remain valuable.

And now, your trailers, a list that is wholly unsurprising:
  1. Paul Konerko, White Sox: -4.4 (-44.2*****)
  2. Casey McGehee, Brewers: -4.1 (-4.2)
  3. Brett Wallace, Astros: -4.0 (-4.0)
  4. Chipper Jones, Braves: -3.6 (-4.4********) -- A lot of missed seasons for Jones, but the trend is clear: he used to be a decent baserunner... until his knees went to hell.
  5. David Ortiz, Red Sox: -2.8 (-40.5*****) -- Ortiz is the anti-Larry Walker, who was hailed for his baserunning acumen despite lack of speed. Ortiz and a few other guys on this list are considered the slowest runners in the game, so it's not much of a surprise.
  6. Ryan Howard, Phillies: -2.8 (-22.5)
  7. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: -2.5 (-27.2****)
  8. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: -2.4 (3.9***) -- Soriano posted his first negative mark in 2006 (discounting missing 1999-2001 numbers), his last season before joining the Cubs. In five seasons with Chicago, he's only posted two positive marks.
  9. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox: -2.1 (-12.8)
  10. Yadier Molina, Cardinals: -2.1 (-19.0)
Want more? How about the top and bottom five from 2002 to today?

The top:
  1. Juan Pierre (43.6)
  2. Chone Figgins (41.7)
  3. Jimmy Rollins (33.6)
  4. Carlos Beltran (30.5)
  5. Rafael Furcal (28.6)
Former/kinda current speedsters who have had age and injuries affect their speed. Unsurprising.

The bottom:
  1. Konerko
  2. Ortiz
  3. Jim Thome (-33.9)
  4. Pat Burrell (-30.6)
  5. Kevin Millar (-30.2)

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