Tag:Heath Bell
Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 11:05 am
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Pepper: Harper struggles early in Double-A



By Matt Snyder


Bryce Harper is the top prospect in all of baseball. He has prodigious power and a huge outfield arm. Low-A ball proved no match for him this season, as he hit .318 with 14 home runs, 46 RBI, 19 steals and a .977 OPS in 72 games before being promoted to Double-A. But he's still only 18, and is having a rough transition to Double-A.

Through 10 games, Harper is hitting .171 with a .237 on-base percentage and has yet to record an extra-base hit (Nationals Journal). He also looked overmatched at the Future's Game. So what does this mean?

Not a damn thing.

He's 18. Making the transition from the lower levels of the minors (Rookie ball, Low-A, High-A) to the upper levels (Double-A, Triple-A) is the toughest transition for a player this side of when they hit the majors. He even skipped a level. Plus, 10 games is hardly a representative sample from which to draw conclusions and he started slow in Low-A. It's possible he tears up Double-A pitching starting next game.

If we can say anything definitively, maybe it's that this is good for the fans clamoring for a quick Harper promotion. He's going to be special in a Nationals uniform, just not in 2011 and probably not 2012 either.

NOT SATISFIED: After trading Tuesday night for infielder Jeff Keppinger, Giants general manager Brian Sabean said he was working on "something much bigger" before the move and that he's not done making an effort to improve the badly flawed offense (Extra Baggs).

GMs ON HOT SEAT: Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports breaks down some general managers who may be out of a job by the time we turn the page to next season. The ones he lists on the hot seat are Ed Wade of the Astros and Jim Hendry of the Cubs. I'd argue pretty vehemently both should be canned immediately, so no shock there. Also of intrigue, Rosenthal says Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Rays GM Andrew Friedman might step away from their current posts. It would be interesting to see how quickly each is snatched up by other teams.

TROUBLE ON THE HOMEFRONT? Before Tuesday night's loss to the Padres, the Marlins had won nine of their last 10 games, but not everyone was happy. Left-handed reliever Randy Choate was pulled from the game Monday after falling behind 2-0 to a hitter. Yes, in the middle of an at-bat. Considering Choate had struck out 23 lefties and walked just before the game, he felt his track record should at least allow him to finish the hitter. McKeon disagreed and yanked him, saying he was "out of sync." The two reportedly talked, but Choate was still upset. (Fish Tank blog)

IRRELEVANT NO-TRADE CLAUSE: Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano told reporters he didn't even know he had a no-trade clause. Then he said he'd be willing to waive it if it meant he could play for a contender. Of course, Soriano is owed about $61 million through 2014 and considering his age, how quickly he has regressed and his current level of production, there's pretty much no way anyone is giving much for him. The guess is he's stuck in Chicago -- and, for the record, Soriano did say he was happy in Chicago and wanted to win there. (Chicago Sun-Times)

BEDARD'S RETURN DELAYED: Erik Bedard's return from injury has hit a snag, and he'll be pushed back. He's likely going to need a simulated game before thinking about a rehab assignment. This is big news, because we're approaching the trade deadline and a healthy Bedard was likely to be a pretty solid trading chip for the Mariners. He still might go, but his injury history will be a sticking point for potential suitors. (Seattle Times)

BLYLEVEN ON Twins: Bert Blyleven will be enshrined in Cooperstown this weekend, as a new member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. MLB.com has a lengthy story in which Blyleven reflects on his time with the Twins. One thing that jumped out at me is how Blyleven was drafted out of high school and promoted to the majors after just 21 starts and at the age of 19. If that happened nowadays, how much would we have to hear about the Twins "rushing" him to the bigs? Just something to think about.

IKE'S SEASON STILL IN QUESTION: Earlier Tuesday, a story about Ike Davis saying he feared he was done for the 2011 season broke, but then later Tuesday he changed his tone a bit. There's still a question on if he'll be able to get his ankle healed and make it back on the field, but Davis wasn't ready to rule anything out: "I'm not throwing the towel in," he said (ESPN New York). "I'm going to do everything I can to get healthy. And if I don't, I can't really do anything. My body is just not right. I'm working hard and I want to get back on the field."

ANOTHER RIPKEN: Cal Ripken Jr.'s son, Ryan Ripken, is going to play in the Under Armour All America Baseball Game at Wrigley Field next month. The young Ripken hit .353 as a junior this season and the first baseman is fielding scholarship offers from several colleges. Fortunately, Cal is not pushing his son to baseball, saying he just wants Ryan to do whatever makes him happy (Associated Press).

HOMETOWN DISCOUNT: Padres closer Heath Bell is one of the biggest names being thrown around in trade talk, but he's actually willing to take a "hometown discount" to stay in San Diego. The problem is, he's not likely to have that choice. The Padres are in rebuilding mode, and he's their most attractive trading chip. (Sports Radio Interviews)

TEAM FOR SALE: The Dodgers aren't the only team in financial danger out west, as the Padres' Triple-A affiliate will be put up for sale if plans for a new stadium aren't finalized soon. There were plans for a 9,000-seat stadium in Escondido, but the funding for the stadium is now unavailable in the new state budget. Padres CEO Jeff Moorad said he is still holding out hope that things get worked out before the end of the year. (SignonSanDiego.com)

WANG BACK SOON: Nationals starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is scheduled to make one more Triple-A start before joining the majors (Adam Kilgore via Twitter). For more on Wang's return to the majors, check out my short article from this past weekend.

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

Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:30 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 9:36 pm
 

Angels GM says he can add payroll

Tony ReaginsBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Angels general manager Tony Reagins says he's hasn't been given orders not to spend money at the trade deadline, as had been reported recently.

"I haven't been limited in any way," Reagins told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. "I've never had a conversation of that sort with Arte [Moreno] and any writer who writes something like that is misinformed."

However, the Angels currently have a $140 million payroll with approximately $28 million going to Scott Kazmir, Kendrys Morales and Gary Matthews Jr. That doesn't even take into offseason additions of Vernon Wells, Hisanori Takahashi and Scott Downs -- none of whom came cheap.

The Angels have come up in rumors about Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Another name that's popped up is Kansas City's Wilson Betemit and Melky Cabrera. There's also San Diego relievers Heath Bell and Mike Adams, who are the top relievers available.

Anaheim is entered Monday four games behind Texas in the American League West and could use some help in the bullpen and on offense. 

"You always look to upgrade if you can. If the right situation comes along, we'll be open to it," Reagins said. ""But the biggest improvement is going to come from within.

"Each situation [in the past, such as Mark Teixeira in 2008, Scott Kazmir in 2009 and Dan Haren last season] was trying to put the club in position to win a championship. … If that situation presents itself at this deadline, we'll be ready to act."

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

Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: AL West

By Eye on Baseball Team

Baseball's trade deadline is just 13 days away. The rumor mill is certainly spinning, but we've only really seen one big move -- the Brewers acquiring Francisco Rodriguez. In the upcoming days we'll take a glance around baseball and sort out what we can expect to see from each major-league team. First up, the AL West, a division that saw several deadline deals last season, including an intradivisional Cliff Lee deal (though that happened in early July). It doesn't appear the landscape is ripe for another blockbuster like that, but let's dive in.

Texas Rangers
Status: Buyers
Upgrade needed: Pitching, both starting and relief.
Possible matches: Padres, Marlins, Nationals, A's, Mariners
Notes: If the Rangers continue to win at this pace and create big separation in the AL West -- they're currently up four games and have won 11 in a row -- they won't feel the need to make a big splash. They have reportedly talked to the Marlins about pitching, with Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Leo Nunez as possibilities (Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports). Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports, however, that the Marlins aren't going to move Nolasco or Sanchez. Evan Grant of Rangers Blog reports the Rangers are interested in Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Andrew Bailey and Brandon League -- though Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says the A's would have to be overwhelmed to move Bailey, since he's under team control until 2014. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also has the Rangers in on Bell, Adams, Bailey and throws in Tyler Clippard of the Nationals. Buster Olney of ESPN says the Rangers are the "leaders" in the Bell/Adams sweepstakes. I'd expect the Rangers to do whatever it takes, within reason, to get to the World Series again.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Status: Frugal buyers
Upgrade needed: Could use more pitching and another bat.
Possible matches: They'd have to shed payroll first, so none at this point.
Notes: Thanks to several high-priced acquisitions in recent memory (Vernon Wells, c'mon down!) the word is the Angels don't want to increase the payroll -- even though general manager Tony Reagins denies that assertation, there's evidence to suggest it. So, while they'd probably like to upgrade several areas -- coincidentally, an upgrade over Wells would be nice -- there won't be much flexibility. Expect the Angels to make minor trades at the absolute maximum. UPDATE: Rosenthal reports Aramis Ramirez is on the Angels' wish list, but that Ramirez still has no intention of waving his no-trade clause for anyone -- at least until after July 31. This is interesting on several levels. Going after Ramirez would completely contradict the notion that the Angels aren't adding payroll. Not only is Ramirez making a pretty penny this season, but a trade would cause a $16 million option for next season to vest. Also, Ramirez's insistence on not leaving starts to make you wonder if he knows the Cubs will pick up his option after the season.

Seattle Mariners
Status: In limbo, but probably sellers.
Players available: Doug Fister, Jason Vargas, Erik Bedard, Brandon League.
Notes: We can't really be sure how things stand just yet. The Mariners were all set to be buyers and were reportedly interested in upgrading the offense, for example. But they've now lost nine in a row and -- teamed with the Rangers' winning streak -- that has buried them. I can't see a reason to move Felix Hernandez, and the Mariners won't, but some are sure to speculate about him. Just take those "rumors" with a grain of salt. All-Star reliever Brandon League could fetch a decent return and, when the Mariners decide to start selling, Bedard seems like a name that could be involved in any trade talks. Knobler also reports that Vargas and Fister are available -- and points out Hernandez and Michael Pineda are not.

Oakland Athletics
Status: Sellers
Players available: Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Conor Jackson and Michael Wuertz. Probably several more, too.
Possible matches: Pretty much any buyer.
Notes: You have to figure at least three of the above players are shipped somewhere. Things will probably go down to the wire, as none are huge difference makers and will probably be last resorts on July 31. Willingham could go sooner, as he's being dangled, it's just that not many teams are overly excited about him. The Pirates are said to be in on him, but could be setting their sights higher on Hunter Pence.

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Posted on: July 13, 2011 2:22 am
Edited on: July 13, 2011 7:42 am
 

Bell's slide steals the show

Heath Bell

By C. Trent Rosecrans


PHOENIX -- Heath Bell was sure he wouldn't get hurt sliding into the pitchers mound in the eighth inning -- he'd practiced it after all.

Wait… what?

"Yeah, I practiced," Bell said of his slide.

Where?

"On my lawn. Last week," Bell said. "I'm not going to do something stupid… well, I'm not going to do something stupid without preparing myself."

 Bell has sprinted in from the bullpen for every appearance since 2009, but for his third All-Star Game, he wanted to do something a little special. The result had players and fans alike laughing as the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Bell came in to face Jhonny Peralta with two outs in the eighth and just before he got to the mound, he slowed his run and slid feet-first, tearing up a little of the infield sod along the way.

See the play here.

The idea was hatched in the Padres' bullpen recently as Bell tried to conjure a signature move for his All-Star appearance. Finally, fellow right-hander Anthony Bass suggested the slide.

Even with the practice under his belt, Bell had second thoughts during the game. First manager Bruce Bochy gave his "this game really counts" speech before the game and Bell reconsidered. Then during his run, he thought maybe it was just a bit too much. But when he saw third baseman Pablo Sandoval clear the way for his slide -- he went for it.

At second base, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips had gotten full warning that Bell was going to do "something." He saw the sprint and thought it was nothing new -- Phillips' former teammate Todd Coffey has been doing that for the last five years. And then Bell went into a slide.

"What in the world?" Phillips recalled. "It was funny. It was classic."

What about first basmean Joey Votto? What did he think?

"I think he was safe. I wasn't really that surprised," Votto said. "I was expecting more from Brian Wilson afterwards, though. I thought maybe he'd do something cool, like parachute in."

Wilson said he enjoyed Bell's slide, but had just one thought.

"You better get the guy out," Wilson said.

Bell needed five pitches, but did get Peralta to pop up to Phillips, ending the inning.

"It was my third All-Star Game and I wanted to have a blast," Bell said. "I did and I did my job."


For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

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




Posted on: July 12, 2011 11:28 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 11:41 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Under-the-radar All-Star version



By Matt Snyder


PHOENIX - One quick note: We're not going to use Prince Fielder or Roy Halladay as "up" guys because they have separate stories up on them. We'll spread the love a bit.

Hunter Pence, Astros. Pence had a single and scored a run, but that's not why he's here. In the top of the fourth, Adrian Beltre singled to left. Jose Bautista was on second and was sent home to score. Pence apparently didn't like that because he cut Bautista down easily at home with a perfect strike (see above). It didn't even bounce. That throw was the highlight of the night for me.

Heath Bell, Padres. The Padres closer only faced one hitter, but he got his jersey dirty. That's because Bell came sprinting out of the bullpen in Todd Coffey fashion. But when Bell got to the infield, he slid into the infield grass. He even left a huge divot. He was having fun and, dammit, that's what this game is all about. And he did retire the one hitter he faced, too, as Jhonny Peralta popped out.

Starlin Castro, Cubs. The youngest player in the game made his All-Star debut when he pinch-ran at first base for Troy Tulowitzki. Castro made the most of his opportunity, as he stole second and third. It made him the first player to steal two bases in the Midsummer Classic since Kenny Lofton in 1996. We'll just forget about that pesky strikeout and error.



C.J. Wilson, Rangers. The right-hander was tagged with the loss after allowing three hits and three earned runs in his inning. The big blow of the game -- Fielder's go-ahead three-run blast -- came off Wilson, too.

Alex Avila, Tigers. He gave up three stolen bases in one inning. There were Castro's two, and Rickie Weeks also got in on the action. Maybe it was working with an unfamiliar pitcher, but no catcher ever wants to cough up three in one inning.

The fans who booed (which was the majority of the crowd). Now, before I say more, I'll make sure to lay it all out there so there's no misunderstanding. Fans pay to see the game and have every right to boo if they want. I'm not angry about the fact that the fans booed nearly every player that wasn't a Diamondback. I'm shocked. I just don't get it. The All-Star Game is a chance for your city to see all the best players in the league. Instead, the booing was ferocious, even for players where it made absolutely no sense. I'd suggest these fans lighten up and have fun -- like Heath Bell. And no, it's not like that in any other stadium for the All-Star Game. Fans usually just boo rivals and that's it. Of course, I'm sure lots of people think booing is fun -- the same people who think it's awesome to slander people on Twitter and message boards.

For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:06 pm
 

Introducing your 2011 NL West All-Star team

By Evan Brunell

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central
For a number of years, the NL West has been fairly balanced. Every team except the Rockies has a division title in the past five years, and the Rockies advanced to the World Series as a wild-card team back in 2007. That balance is clearly seen in the representatives of the NL West All-Star team, which you can see below.

MonteroC Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks: Poor Buster Posey. He had this on lockdown until... well, no need to rehash it, but he's out for the year. Montero's a great consolation prize. He has ripped 10 home runs and has a .275/.346/.468 mark. Montero was actually in a close race with Chris Iannetta of Colorado for this gig, but Montero outstrips Iannetta in caught stealing, nabbing 12 of 37 baserunners.

Helton1B Todd Helton, Rockies: It's quite the renaissance year for the aging first baseman who was once known for his ability to hit for average and power while drawing walks. Now, it's just average and home-run power, but it's plenty enough to outpace any other first baseman in the division -- although, with all due respect to Helton, that says much more about first basemen in the division than it does Helton. Anyway, he's cranking to the tune of a .315/.394/.481 mark, with much of his power coming from an affinity for doubles.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Chase Headley SD 3B
2 Justin Upton ARI RF
3 Troy Tulowitzki COL SS
4 Matt Kemp LAD DH
5 Chris Young ARI CF
6 Carlos Gonzalez COL LF
7 Miguel Montero ARI C
8 Todd Helton COL 1B
9 Kelly Johnson ARI 2B
Johnson2B Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks: What, you'd prefer Aaron Miles? In a case of having to take the best option, Johnson edges Miles despite the latter hitting .320 and Johnson a meager .217. So why does Johnson get the edge? Because he's a better fielder and boasts more power, and he has also swiped eight bases to Miles' three. That's how someone hitting .217/.298/.431 can post a higher Wins Above Replacement mark (1.5) than Miles at .320/.339/.377, who has a 1.0 WAR. (It should be noted that Johnson has about 100 more plate appearances, but even adding those 100 PA would probably not be enough to bump Johnson.)

Headley3B Chase Headley, Padres: Not usually a name you see at the top of leaderboards, but Headley is enjoying a career year -- and is taking advantage of injuries to notable third basemen in the game to put his name in the conversation. Due to playing in cavernous Petco Park, his slugging percentage this season is a meager .404, but it's an impressive .465 on the road. His value comes from taking a walk, which is why he leads off this All-Star team despite just eight stolen bases. He boasts a .302 batting average along with a .392 OBP. If Pablo Sandoval hadn't missed so much time due to injury, he probably would have claimed this spot.

TulowitzkiSS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: What is there left to say about Tulo, who right now can lay claim to being the best shortstop in the game? While he hasn't performed up to snuff compared to his last two seasons, he's still plenty valuable and easily the best shortstop in the division, hitting to the tune of a .271/.339/.495 line and 37 extra bases. Oh, and he can pick it on defense.

GonzalezLF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: CarGo hasn't hit as well as his awe-inspiring 2010, but he can be forgiven for that as he set impossibly high standards. Colorado will take a .296/.363/.497 line, and so will we to honor him with the left-field starting job on the NL West All-Star team. He still has a remarkable home/away split, but no other left fielder truly threatened for this spot.

YoungCF Chris Young, Diamondbacks: Let's get this out of the way first. For those wondering where Matt Kemp is, hold your horses. We'll get to him in a minute. Young snags the center field job thanks to his strong defense and a power display that we haven't seen from him since 2007, when he slammed 32 home runs. He has exactly half that total (16) in 88 games so far, so he stands a shot of cracking the 30 HR barrier. He's currently hitting .255/.324/.478.

UptonRF Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: Anyone else think Kevin Towers is relieved he didn't trade the 23-year-old in the offseason? Upton's walk rate is less than last season but not out of whack with the league, and he is striking out much less. That increased contact has lifted his batting average to .295 (.377 OBP, .502 slugging percentage), the second-highest of his career. (He hit .300 in 2009.) He's hammered 14 homers on the year, just three off his 2010 total.

KempDH Matt Kemp, Dodgers: And here Kemp is, occupying the DH spot. Yes, the DH doesn't exist in the NL West, but regardless of what team, league or stadium holds the All-Star Game, the DH is used. So there. Kemp earns this spot with a season that's already given him a 20 HR, 20 SB season -- and with three more home runs, he'll reach 25/25. So yeah, he'll definitely hit 30/30 this year, and 40/40 is not out of the question if he hits a hot streak. He DH's with a .324/.408/.603 line because the dude simply cannot field and needs to be moved to left soon.

KershawSP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in the entire game, never mind one of the best lefties or youngsters. One of the best, period. The 23-year-old has already tossed 122 2/3 innings on the season and posted a 3.23 ERA. That ERA would actually be the highest of his full seasons in the majors. But his third year actually boasts stronger peripherals, leading to a 2.66 xFIP that is currently a career best. He has punched out 138 and walked just 33.

RomoRP Sergio Romo, Giants: Romo or Mike Adams was a very, very difficult choice to make. So why did Romo get the spot over Adams? Simple: K/BB numbers. Romo has punched out 12.87 batters per nine innings and walked 1.26, good enough for a 2.20 ERA and 1.65 xFIP in 28 2/3 innings. Adams actually beats the ERA (1.35) and innings-pitched (40), but his K.9 is 9.23 and BB/9 at 1.13, with an xFIP of 2.59.

BellCL Health Bell, Padres: Bell won't be a Padre for much longer, I'm guessing, so better get him on here while we still can. He has had quite an impressive career so far as a closer, and this year is no exception. He has 26 saves, but his strikeout numbers are way down and would actually be a career-worst. Who knows why, but he's not having trouble getting by as his 2.55 ERA and 3.78 xFIP indicate.

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 10:35 am
Edited on: July 5, 2011 2:10 pm
 

Pepper: Dee Gordon 'wants to be great'; demoted


If you had one game to win, would you start Justin Verlander, Jon Lester or CC Sabathia? C. Trent Rosecrans joins Lauren Shehadi to answer that question and more.

By Evan Brunell


RETURN PENDING: Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon is being sent out to Triple-A to make room for Rafael Furcal's return, but if manager Don Mattingly knows what he's talking about, Gordon will be back at some point.

The scrawny son of Tom Gordon hit .232/.250/.280 in 85 plate appearances, just flat out awful numbers, and it's hard to think that his complete and utter lack of power is being exposed. Sure, there are plenty of successful slap hitters in the bigs, but even they have a modicum of power. When you look at Gordon, you certainly will have trouble finding any ounce of fat or muscle on him, so rifling line drives is a lot harder than for someone like Michael Bourn, who also has low power numbers.

Mattingly said that Gordon "showed [Mattingly] he wants to be great. That's the biggest thing."

"He has a real good feel for the game," GM Ned Colletti added. "He was able to slow things down more than not."

Maybe so, but the 23-year-old has a ways to go if he wants to be the Dodgers' future starter.  (Los Angeles Times)

ICE-CREAM TEAMS: Ice cream and baseball are as American as it gets, so it's no surprise that someone came up with corresponding ice-cream flavors for each baseball team. The Yankees being "vanilla" might sound odd given the term means ordinary, but let Timothy Malcom explain.

"The Yankees is and have been America’s most popular baseball team. It’s clean, it’s tradition, it’s even kind of predictable. But it’s always great, and always there at the end of the day. Damn Yankees."

Meanwhile, the poor Cubs get stuck with Neapolitan -- "Combine the tradition of the Vanilla Yankees, the sweet failure of the Chocolate Red Sox and the perennially optimistic Midwest following of the Strawberry Cardinals, and you have this wonderful combination of baseball’s top tier. The problem, of course, is nobody ever buys Neapolitan." (Timothy Malcom)

HAUNTED HOTEL: Humberto Quintero is currently at Houston's Triple-A affiliate on a rehab assignment for an injury. The backstop's team completed a game in Memphis, Tenn. and departed back to Oklahoma City afterward. Quintero hung back for the night, but had to switch hotels after two murders took place. I'd switch, too. (MLB.com)

HIGH-SCHOOL MEMORIES: The last time Laynce Nix played first base was in high school. Before Monday, that is. Slammed with injuries, Nationals manager asked Nix, an outfielder, if he had ever played first. After hearing that Nix did so in high school, Johnson decided that was good enough and sent Nix out to first base for the seventh inning. “It was pretty wild, I’m still trying to figure out how that worked out,” Nix said. “But it was fun.” (Washington Times)

PRIVATE PITCHERS: Cubs manager Mike Quade wonders if pitchers should have the chance to warm up privately. He's not referring to the standard mid-inning tosses, but rather when a pitcher is forced to enter the game without warming up in the bullpen due to a pitcher's injury. In these cases, he can warm up for as long as he needs on the mound, but he can't get ready in the bullpen. Why not, Quade asks. ‘‘If a guy’s more comfortable doing his thing [in the bullpen], I’d rather have him [do that] because of the urgency once you get on the mound and everybody’s watching.’’ Interesting idea, but if the dude is expected to pitch in a game on that mound in front of a national TV audience and crowd, he can handle warming up. (Chicago Sun-Times)

WHY? A 4.47 ERA doesn't quite lend itself to being called a setup man, especially Kameron Loe, who has given up lead after lead this season despite not being notably any worse than last year. Fans are getting fed up with Loe, who blew a lead Monday as Milwaukee went on to lose. So why did Loe get the ball? Simple, says Brewers manager Ron Roenicke: lefty Zach Braddock was tired and the club isn't prepared to throw Takashi Saito, who has missed the entire season to date due to injury until coming off the DL mere days ago, into the fire that quickly. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

TOUGH CHOICE: Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he had a terrible time trying to figure out which Padres reliever to name to the All-Star Game: Heath Bell or Mike Adams? In the end, he took the closer -- but if and when Bell is traded this month, Adams will take over closing duties. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

MISERABLE: Clay Buchholz admitted he is "getting a little miserable" with the back problems that have yet to get better and have left him on the DL for 2 1/2 weeks, already past the projected return date. The righty is seeing a back specialist and will simply have to wait things out before returning to the Red Sox rotation. (WEEI)

GARLAND DONE? Part of what has made Jon Garland so appealing to teams is his durability. Well, 2011 certainly won't be part of his resume after his second trip to the disabled list has gone on for a month with right-shoulder inflammation and threatens his entire year. The right-hander will get a second opinion, but the Dodgers pitcher is likely done for the year whether he goes under the knife or not. (ESPN Los Angeles)

TIME FOR SPRING TRAINING: Johan Santana threw off a mound Monday and had no setbacks, so Santana will now begin his version of spring training. Don't count on a return from the lefty until mid-August, at which point this Mets team could have an entirely different look thanks to the trade deadline. (New York Post)

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


Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 3:39 pm
 

National League pitchers and reserves

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Albert Pujols may be back before the All-Star Game, the Cardinals said on Saturday, but he won't be on the All-Star team. Here's the rest of the National League team:

National League

Pitchers

Jonny Venters, Braves (players' pick)

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (players' pick)

Cole Hamels, Phillies (players' pick)

Jair Jurrjens, Braves (players' pick)

Joel Hanrahan, Pirates (players' pick)

Heath Bell, Padres (manager's pick)

Matt Cain, Giants (manager's pick)

Roy Halladay, Phillies (players' pick)

Tim Lincecum, Giants (manager's pick)

Brian Wilson, Giants (players' pick)

Ryan Vogelsong, Giants (manager's pick)

Cliff Lee, Phillies (player's pick)

Tyler Clippard, Nationals (manager's pick)

Reserves

OF Justin Upton, Diamondbacks (manager's pick)

3B Chipper Jones, Braves (players' pick)

SS Starlin Castro, Cubs (manager's pick)

2B Brandon Phillips, Reds (players' pick)

OF Jay Bruce, Reds (players' pick)

1B Joey Votto, Reds (players' pick)

SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (players' pick)

1B Gaby Sanchez, Marlins (manager's pick)

OF Hunter Pence, Astros (players' pick)

OF Carlos Beltran, Mets (manager's pick)

OF Matt Holliday, Cardinals (players' pick)

C Yadier Molina, Cardinals (players' pick)

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