Posted on: August 23, 2010 6:18 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:12 pm

This week in free stuff: Aug. 23-29

A look at this week in promotional giveaways from around baseball:

Monday, Aug. 23
Florida Marlins -- cam floppy hat. It's a floppy hat, but nobody can see you.
Hudson Valley Renegades (New York-Penn League) -- mystery bobblehead. The team website doesn't say what the bobblehead will be, just that if you're one of the first 1,500 into the park, you'll get one.

Tuesday, Aug. 24
Carlos Ruiz Philadelphia Phillies -- Carlos Ruiz Bobble figurine. I guess it's a "figurine" because it's smaller. But it still looks pretty cool.
Los Angeles Angels -- fleece blanket. My dog loves his SGA (eBay lingo for stadium giveaway) fleece blankets.
Las Vegas 51s (Pacific Coast League) Holly Madison bobblehead. Yeah, it's the head that bobbles. I think they missed a good opportunity there.
Binghamton Mets (Eastern League) -- plunger. Really, just what it says. Hey, you probably need a plunger more than a bobblehead.

Wednesday, Aug. 25
Buffalo Bisons (International League) -- Fernando Martinez bobblehead. Martinez his hitting .253/.317/.455 with 12 homers, 33 RBI and 4,000 bobbleheads.
Trenton Thunder (Eastern League) -- back-to-school notebooks. Who couldn't use a notebook for school? Or do kids still use those?
Binghamton Mets (Eastern League) -- sling bag giveaway. The classic, jersey look. Again, a good, practical giveaway.

Thursday, Aug. 26
Springfield Cardinals (Texas League) -- winter cap
Hudson Valley Renegades (New York-Penn League) -- dog leash. The first 500 dogs get a gift, not their people. My dog would prefer to be let off the leash instead of a new one.

Friday, Aug. 27
Ichiro bobblehead Seattle Mariners -- Ichiro bobblehead. I don't currently have an Ichiro in my bobblehead collection -- maybe if I just knew someone in Seattle.
Syracuse Chiefs (International League) -- Stephen Strasburg action figure
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Eastern League) -- frisbee
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) -- Frank Howard bobblehead. The former Tiger will be at the park for his bobblehead night.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- Ron Darling bobblehead
Vermont Lake Monster (New York-Penn League) -- Mystery bobblehead. I'll be interested to know if it's new, or just old stuff they had in the storage room.
Yakima Bears (Northwest League) -- Mel Stottlemyre bobblehead
Greeneville Astros (Appalachian League) -- blanket

Saturday, Aug. 28
Los Angeles Angels -- candy jar. The Angels have had some of my favorite promotions this year, and this is another winner.
Texas Rangers -- t-shirt. Classic baseball style with red sleeves and a white base. It's for kids only, so it'll make some emo college kid happy.
Washington Nationals -- Ivan Rodriguez bobblehead
Colorado Rockies -- coffee tumbler. I still use my Dan Haren A's tumbler.
San Diego Padres -- Everth Cabrera bobblehead
San Francisco Giants -- Joe DiMaggio SF Seals bobblehead
Bowling Green Hot Rods (Midwest League) Cave Shrimp bobble-tail. So, the Hot Rods ran a contest to name the team. Hot Rods, obviously, won. Cave Shrimp was another entry and this is the "What Could Have Been" promotion. I may have to eBay this badboy..
Tulsa Drillers (Texas League) -- ONEOK Field replica
Visalia Rawhide (California League) -- reusable grocery bags
Quad Cities River Bandits (A) Matt Holliday bobblehead
Everett AquaSox (Norhtwest League) -- Ryan Rowland-Smith bobblehead
Idaho Falls Chukars (Rookie Appalachian League) -- Billy Butler bobblehead.

Sunday, Aug. 29
CC Sabathia Milwaukee Brewers -- CC Sabathia bobblehead day. I'm not exactly sure why the Brewers are honoring a guy who pitched 17 games for them, but oh well. It's a cool looking bobblehead.
Toronto Blue Jays -- Dave Stieb bobblehead
Chicago White Sox -- Frank Thomas Bobblehead
Texas Rangers -- kids chest protector backpack
San Diego Padres -- metal lunch box
Inland Empire 66ers (California League) -- Dodgers fleece blanket
Stockton Ports (California) -- Ports mini basketball and hoop set
Beloit Snappers (Midwest League) -- Ben Revere bobblehead

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: August 23, 2010 1:42 pm

Axford will not have innings limited

John Axford John Axford has logged a significant amount of time on the mound recently. Of the new Brewers' closer's last five outings, four have gone 1 2/3 or more innings, with his last three saves requiring five outs.

Normally, that would be a concern for a rookie, but Axford logged 76 innings in 2009 between the Brewers and farm system. That number is far and away over the 2010 season's 57 1/3 innings. Given Axford is pacing to throw roughly 10-15 more innings in the year, the 27-year-old is in no danger of far exceeding his innings limit.

"I've looked at how many innings he pitched last year and where he is this year, including his minor leagues, and he's still got a way to go," manager Ken Macha told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel . "There is something to say for getting up, throwing, sitting back down and getting up again, but that's not like any other relief pitcher."

Axford has been a revelation in a year where Trevor Hoffman seems to be bringing about an ignominious end to an otherwise stellar career. He has a 2.64 ERA on the season, notching 19 saves and should have no difficulty entering 2011 as the incumbent closer.

The former Yankees prospect took a long road to the majors, at one point being released by New York at the end of 2007. While Axford was similarly unsuccessful in high-Class A as a 25-year-old, so he was rather old for that level. 2009 is when things started changing as he started to cut back on his walks. He took another big leap forward in 2010 in learning how to control the strike zone.

Don't feel bad about the Yankees missing out on John Axford as a potential Mariano Rivera replacement -- Rivera could probably pitch 20 more years and not miss a beat.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 19, 2010 12:33 pm

Gomez may lose CF job to Cain

Lorenzo Cain When the Brewers swapped J.J. Hardy to the Twins for Carlos Gomez in the offseason, the hope was the Brew Crew had found their center fielder of the future.

Instead, Gomez has shown absolutely no indication of taking the next step at the plate and thus has been left with a .228/.286/.350 line in 271 plate appearances before hitting the disabled list on August 3 with a concussion. Being considered a top defender can only do so much when a complete liability at the plate.

To replace Gomez, the Brewers called up one of the team's better prospects in Lorenzo Cain (pictured). The 24-year-old had split time between Double- and Triple-A, hitting a cumulative .317/.402/.432 in 380 plate appearances. Cain's most likely career outcome at this point was as a solid backup outfielder, if not a fringe starter.

However, since replacing Gomez, Cain has been much more than that. In 13 games comprising 41 PA, Cain has raked for a .389/.439/.566 mark. Certainly over his head, but Cain seems to have put to rest the question of if he can be a viable center fielder, something called in question in 2009 when he missed half the season. He'll likely never rack up the walks, but could be a .280-.300 hitter with 30-plus steals and strong defense.

Gomez, on his end, may end up being the fourth outfielder Cain was considered to have been.

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel doesn't see any chance Cain loses his starting job, which might leave Gomez shuttled off to Triple-A once he's ready to come off the DL. Gomez wouldn't be down in Triple-A for an extended period of time, however, as rosters are due to expand in September.

Has Gomez Wally Pipped himself? Sure looks like it.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 17, 2010 8:35 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2010 8:36 pm

Counsell open to trade

Craig Counsell In case the Brewers were hoping to get a stamp of approval from utilityman Craig Counsell on being traded, they have it.

Counsell, who turns 40 on Saturday, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 's Tom Haudricourt that he would be open to being traded to a contender. Making a total of $2.1 million on the year aside from performance bonuses, he has a .246/.317/.305 line in 188 plate appearances a season after having the third-best OPS of his career as a backup. The other two seasons were also in a similar amount of plate appearances.

Best known for being the starting shortstop on the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, who engineered a stunning walk-off World Series victory in Game 7 against the Yankees, Counsell can play all around the diamond and might represent a valuable commodity to have headed into October.

In fact, a good fit for Counsell may be the Yankees, who are searching for more dependable bench players leading up to the stretch drive.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 16, 2010 11:07 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 11:14 pm

Brewers can't reach terms with top pick

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports and Baseball America confirms that talks have broken off between the Brewers and their top pick, high school right-hander Dylan Covey. Covey apparently will now attend the University of San Diego.

There could be more to this story. Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid told Haudricourt that "it wasn't about money" with Covey, and the scouting website baseballbeginnings.com reports that Covey has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and decided college would be a better setting for him to adjust to his new lifestyle.

It's the first time the Brewers have failed to sign a first-round pick since 1991.

UPDATE: Haudricort has confirmed the story that Covey was recently diagnosed with diabetes and that was the reason he opted for college.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Tags: Brewers
Posted on: August 12, 2010 1:09 am

Braun to return to Brewers' lineup

Ryan Braun Ryan Braun will be back in the Brewers lineup on Thursday, Milwaukee manager Ken Macha told MLB.com's Adam McCalvy .

"He's going to play," Macha said. "After he took batting practice, he came up to me and said, 'I'll be ready to go tomorrow.'"

Braun hasn't started since suffered a strained left wrist Sunday against Houston. Braun pinch-ran in Tuesday's game and pinch-hit on Wednesday. He struck out with bases loaded.

Braun is hitting .289/.343/.463 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI.

As recently as Monday the Brewers were scrounging for healthy outfielders, but pretty soon it could be very crowded. Corey Hart (back) was back in the lineup on Wednesday, Braun is on the way back and Carlos Gomez is expected to start a rehab assignment at Triple-A Nashville on Friday and would return soon looking for playing time alongside rookie Lorenzo Cain and recently-acquired Chris Dickerson.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: August 11, 2010 11:04 pm

Arizona goes back-to-back-to-back-to-back

At what point, if you're Dave Bush, do you just go ahead and hit someone?

Instead, the Diamondbacks became the seventh team in history to hit four consecutive home runs. With one out in the fourth inning, Adam LaRoche, Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew homered off of Bush.

Bush then gave up a single to Gerardo Perra after Drew's homer, but got out of the inning without further damage. And in another odd note, the fourth was the first inning for Bush without a leadoff hit by the Diamondbacks.

Interestingly enough, Bush was the second Brewer pitcher to allow four homers in an inning, as Mike Caldwell allowed four to Boston in the fourth inning on May 31, 1980.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: August 10, 2010 7:55 pm

Braun unsure of when he will return

Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said he doesn't know how long he'll be out with his sprained right wrist.

Braun hurt the wrist Sunday against Houston before missing Monday's game with Arizona and tonight's game, as well. The Brewers are also without right fielder Corey Hart (back).

"I never want to put a timetable on something because you never know," Braun told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 's Tom Haudricourt . "Every injury is different; every injury is unique. You never know how your body is going to respond or what's going to happen."

The Brewers did get reinforcements, as Chris Dickerson was in the starting lineup, playing center field. Dickerson was acquired in Monday's trade with Cincinnati for Jim Edmonds.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com