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Tag:Jose Bautista
Posted on: April 7, 2011 12:18 pm
 

Jays pay tribute to absent teammates

By C. Trent Rosecrans

While Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is away for the birth of his daughter, his teammates have found a way to remember him -- and injured starter Brandon Morrow.

Blue Jays

The pictures of Bautista, left, and Morrow, right, were pasted onto popsicle sticks and stuck on the dugout railing during Wednesday's game against the A's.

Morrow is currently on the 15-day disabled list with right forearm inflammation, while Bautista is expected to be back for tomorrow's game in Anaheim against the Angels.

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Posted on: April 5, 2011 9:32 pm
 

Bautista out of lineup for birth of daughter

By Matt Snyder

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is not in the lineup Tuesday night as Toronto squared off against the Oakland A's. In fact, he will miss the entire series, rejoining his teammates Friday against the Angels. The team has said nothing more than it being a "family matter," but it's being reported that he's on hand for the birth of his first daughter. (Dionisio Soldevila via Twitter)

Bautista exploded in 2010 with 54 home runs and 124 RBI, obliterating his previous career highs of 16 and 63, respectively. Just in case there was any doubt, he's crushing the ball again to start the 2011 season. After three games, he's hitting .455 with a 1.600 OPS, two home runs and four RBI.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 3, 2011 8:02 pm
 

Nathan struggles, but earns save

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe NathanIt wasn't pretty, but it was good enough, as Twins closer Joe Nathan struggled, but still picked up his first save since Oct. 3, 2009 in the Twins' 4-3 victory at Toronto.

Nathan gave up a run on two hits and walked a pair in his inning, but got Adam Lind to ground out to first with bases loaded to end the game, earning his 248th career save.

"But it still feels like the first time when you get out there, for sure," Nathan told the Minneapolis Star-Tribine

When Nathan walked Jose Bautista, he had reached 30 pitches, more than manager Ron Gardenhire wanted him to throw.

"We're going to protect [Nathan]," Gardenhire said. "He was close to coming out of that game."

Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery last March, so the team is watching his workload. The team hopes to limit days Nathan pitches back-to-back, so he probably won't pitch on Monday in New York, with Matt Capps getting the call in a save situation.

"We've got two closers out there," Gardenhire said. "We trust both of them."

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Posted on: April 2, 2011 12:48 am
Edited on: April 22, 2011 11:28 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/1: A NL Central save, finally

By Evan Brunell

QuentinAhh, day two of baseball. SI.com's Joe Posnanski has a nice story up about Day 2 in baseball, and that's what we're about to look at.

3 UP

Joel Hanrahan, Pirates -- John Axford and Ryan Franklin couldn't handle the heat Thursday. Brandon Lyon fell victim earlier in the day. That left it to the Pirates closer in Hanrahan to settle matters. After an inning in which he made things interesting by allowing a hit and walk to the Cubs, while also whiffing two batters, Hanrahan walked away with the NL Central's first save.

Carlos Quentin, White Sox -- Quentin lit up Cleveland on Friday, even more so than Adam Dunn despite the newcome's two-run homer and double. Quentin drove home five with an RBI single in the first, two-run blast in the third and a two-run double in the fourth. Q is capable of hitting 40 home runs and this could be the year he puts it all together after following up a huge 2008 with an injury-riddled 2009 and a solid bounceback in 2010.

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays -- There's been plenty of talk about Bautista, especially given the shiny new contract he received as a present for hitting 54 home runs in 2010. Many either consider his season a fluke or one that will regress a lot as even 30 home runs would represent a 24-home run dropoff. However, Bautista rang in the new year in style, knocking a home run as part of a 3-for-4 night with three runs scored.

3 DOWN

Fausto Carmona, Indians -- Here's a nice, shiny 30.00 ERA for you, Fausto Carmona! The Indians ace coughed up 10 runs in three innings, allowing 11 hits, one walk and pumping out three strikeouts. Carmona just didn't have any part of it today against the White Sox. He's still a solid pitcher who will be in demand at the trade deadline, so don't read too much into this.

Ivan DeJesus, Dodgers -- Going 0 for 3 is not a good way to get into the good graces over in Dodgerland. DeJesus drew the start at second base thanks to both Casey Blake and Juan Uribe being out of the lineup, and utility infielder Jamey Carroll opening the game on the bench. The freshly-minted backup infielder whiffed all three times at the plate while oddly starting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. DeJesus would later be double-switched out for Carroll in the seventh in an act of mercy.

Daniel Bard, Red Sox -- Bad day for Daniel Bard, who started the eighth inning with Boston having just tied the game at 5-5. Bard, who is the heir apparent at closer and clearly the best reliever in the bullpen, instead gave up four runs on four hits in just 2/3s of an inning, drawing the loss. Absolutely nothing was going right, including David Murphy's ball that just barely kissed the chalk for a two-run double. Bard said himself the pitch was executed the way he wanted. So yeah, bad day.

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 9:35 pm
 

Five teams to improve, five to decline in 2011

By Matt Snyder

Finally, spring training is concluding. Now we have a day or two before your favorite team begins play. In the meantime, I'm here to bring you the top five teams to decline and the top five to improve upon their 2010 performances. In return, you accuse me of bias and call me names. It's fun for everyone, really. One thing to keep in mind is that improving or declining by more than 10 games is pretty drastic. On some of these, I'm looking at something like a seven-game swing.

TOP FIVE TEAMS TO IMPROVE

1. Boston Red Sox. Well, let's see ... Last season Kevin Youkilis only played 102 games, Dustin Pedroia saw action in 75 and Jacoby Ellsbury just 18. Josh Beckett was either injured or ineffective all season. Meanwhile the Red Sox added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to a team that won 89 games, despite all those injury woes -- and some underachieving from people like John Lackey. Easiest call on the board here, and even Yankees fans would have to concede this team is loaded.

2. Oakland A's. The pitching staff is stellar, even including the bullpen. The starting rotation is already really good and only getting better. The A's won 81 with one of the worst offenses in baseball last season. A full season of Coco Crisp, Kurt Suzuki bouncing back and the additions of Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham don't exactly sound like adding Gonzalez and Crawford, but small improvements will do wonders for the pitching staff. Slugger Chris Carter is waiting in the wings, too, and don't be surprised if Billy Beane adds a bat at the deadline.

3. Colorado Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki needs to stay healthy and Dexter Fowler needs to get closer to his ceiling. I'm going out on a limb that both happen, along with steps forward from Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart. Watch Jhoulys Chacin's development in the starting rotation, too. He's got big potential.

4. Milwaukee Brewers. This is contingent upon the big names staying healthy and Zack Greinke getting healthy as soon as possible, because this team is paper-thin. But the top line is very impressive. Plus, the division is not very good at all. The Brewers are going to score runs, get good starting pitching (again, assuming the health thing) and have a good back-end of the bullpen. If they can overcome defense and depth deficiencies, they'll win the Central.

5. Florida Marlins. Call it a bit of a gut call, but I really like the Marlins. The rotation really has great potential with Javier Vazquez returning to a pitcher's park in the NL East (he's apparently too intimidated by being a Yankee) and Ricky Nolasco having the ability to be a true No. 2 if he can ever stay consistent. Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad have -- again, this word -- potential to be solid at the end, with stud Josh Johnson leading the five-some. I love the outfield potential of Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton, so long as all three can stay healthy. Hanley Ramirez is primed to have a big season, too.

TOP FIVE TEAMS TO DECLINE

1. San Diego Padres. Removing Gonzalez from the middle of the batting order changes the complexion of everything. And Mat Latos is already hurt, which does nothing to alleviate the concern of the huge workload increase he's experienced over the past two seasons. Most of all, the Padres just seem outmanned by the Giants and Rockies. Winning close to 90 games seems outlandish. Of course, many people said that last year, too.

2. Houston Astros. They overachieved in a big way last season according to run differential (the 'Stros allowed 118 more runs than they scored) and aren't any better. Other than Hunter Pence, the position players are either getting old (Carlos Lee), still unproven (Brett Wallace) or just not that good (Jason Michaels, Bill Hall, Michael Bourn). I'm not a huge fan of the rotation, but it's going to have to carry the team. Good luck with that.

3. Tampa Bay Rays. This is difficult. It's hard to not love the Rays for being so good at sticking with the Yankees and Red Sox in the mighty AL East on that paltry payroll. The loss of Crawford hurts. Carlos Pena wasn't overly productive -- though he was much better than his batting average said -- last season, but his presence helps everyone else see better pitches. That goes away with Dan Johnson at first. The loss of Matt Garza isn't a big deal, so long as Jeremy Hellickson does his thing and James Shields returns to form. The bullpen is worse, though. Look, I'd pick the Rays to win the NL Central if they were in it, but the Yankees aren't any worse and the Red Sox are way better. The Orioles should be better as well. I think the Rays win in the ballpark of 86 games, but that's 10 worse than last year and good for third place.

4. Toronto Blue Jays. They're still building and are moving in the right direction, but winning 85 games again in that division is a very tall order. Any offensive bounce-back from the likes of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind is negated by Jose Bautista's return to this planet.

5. St. Louis Cardinals. If anyone can pull this off, it's Dave Duncan, but losing Adam Wainwright was a death blow. Chris Carpenter is old and injury-prone. Jaime Garcia is due a massive regression. Kyle Lohse was awful last year and Jake Westbrook doesn't have good stuff. Kyle McClellan could very well prove a solid No. 5 starter, but he hasn't exceeded 75 2/3 innings the past three seasons in the bullpen. Can he really double that and remain effective? The outfield defense won't do the staff any favors, either. The Pujols/Holliday/Rasmus combo -- and even Lance Berkman in a best-case scenario -- is very solid, but there's only going to be so much they can do on some nights. I feel like mid-to-high 70s in wins, but Duncan and Tony La Russa find ways to make people wrong often.

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Five players to improve, five to decline for 2011

By Matt Snyder

Well, it's almost opening day, which means it's time for all us writers to put ourselves out there and make some predictions. In the end, every season is unpredictable and we're bound to be wrong on several of these. That doesn't make it any less fun. It's supposed to be fun, remember?

In this entry, we'll take a look at five players sure to improve upon what we saw in 2011 and five that are going to regress.

Five players who will improve upon 2010

A.J. Burnett, Yankees. He was pretty brutal last season, but it's a new one. Opening day is time for rebirth and we have to turn the page. His xFIP and strand rates from last season both show us he wasn't nearly as bad as his 5.26 ERA showed. His stuff wasn't sharp at all, either, as his lowest K-rate since 2001 illustrates. There are many instances where spring stats don't mean anything (like CC Sabathia, to name a different Yankees hurler), but for someone needing to turn the page like Burnett, it's important to throw well. He did this spring, putting together a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings. More importantly he struck out 11 and walked zero.

Derek Holland, Rangers. The youngster hasn't fared well in the majors thus far, but he's still only 24. He has lock-down dominated the minor leagues since being drafted in 2006. Last season in Triple-A he was 6-2 with a 1.87 ERA. He's 23-9 with a 2.47 ERA in his minor-league career with an outstanding 3.68 strikeouts for every walk. It's time to start showing this potential at the MLB level, and I believe 2011 will be the first step toward doing so.

Matt Kemp, Dodgers. He's refocused after a step backward in 2010. Which is weird to say, considering he had a 107 OPS+ and 28 bombs as a 25 year old -- but it really was a step back from his 2009 season, in which he won both a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove. He's having a solid spring and seems to be happier under Don Mattingly. Expect to see improvements in nearly every category -- except games played, since he appeared in all 162 last year.

James Shields, Rays. The traditional stat categories looked awful for Shields in 2010 -- 13-15, 5.18 -- but he really wasn't that bad. His strikeout rate was the highest of his career, balls in play were hits far too often (.341, as compared to a .308 career mark) and his xFIP was 3.72. If you don't like all the sabermetrics stuff, that's OK, but all of it says he's going to have a huge regression to the mean this year. In layman's terms, expect more 2008 (14-8, 3.56) than 2010.

Justin Upton, Diamondbacks. He appeared headed for superstardom in 2009, but took a step back in 2010. Still, like Kemp, he's awfully young (23) and his OPS+ was still good (111). This season, expect Upton's walk rate to continue to rise, as such he'll run more. Also, his power took a significant dip last season and he wasn't fully healthy. He is now, so look for a big step forward in '11.

Five players who will decline from 2010

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays. I once worked with a guy who liked to say, "just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's not true." Just to clear the air, I don't think Bautista cheated nor do I think last season was anything other than a continuation of his last month in 2009, which resulted from a new swing. I do not, however, think he's ever going to hit more than 40 homers in a season again. He hit 54 last year. Even if he comes through with another big season, he's going to see a huge regression. Think about it, if he hits 35 bombs, that's a whopping 35 percent less than last year.

Mat Latos, Padres. His shoulder issue right now is concerning, as are the giant leaps in workload the past two seasons. Plus, he began to falter down the stretch last year anyway -- going 0-5 with a 8.18 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in his last five starts. And his team is now worse. Basically, I hope you let someone else draft him in Fantasy.

Josh Hamilton, Rangers. Led the majors in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. Won the MVP. Are those things going to happen again? Technically speaking, it's pretty easy to say he's going to regress even if he has a solid season. If you wanna dig deeper, OK, his BABIP was a stupid .390, his isolated power flew off the charts and his ability to stay on the field must be questioned -- he couldn't even do that last season.

Buster Posey, Giants. His numbers were pretty insane last year in a short time. He struck out at a much lower rate than he ever did in the minors and didn't lose any of his power. There's a reason the "sophomore slump" term has hung around for a while, and it's not because guys automatically just play worse in their second year. It's because advance scouts, pitchers and pitching coaches have a large sample of at-bats to study and can start to find small holes in a swing. Some guys are immune. If Posey is, I'll be wrong in this pick -- and I'm fine with that. He's a very likeable guy.

Jayson Werth, Nationals. I do like that Ryan Zimmerman is his protection, but he's still going to a worse team in a worse lineup in a less homer-friendly ballpark. And now instead of playing behind Halladay/Lee/Oswalt/Hamels/Blanton he has to face them. Then, instead of facing the Nationals' pitching staff 19 times a season he's playing behind them. And he just got a huge, almost inexplicable, contract. It's hard to see him getting better.

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 11:04 pm
 

Getting to know the Blue Jays

By Matt Snyder

MVP

There's just no way to pass on Jose Bautista until we know for sure last season was his Brady Anderson 51-homer season. Armed with a new swing and carrying over a late-2009 power surge, Bautista shocked the baseball world by slugging a whopping 54 bombs. He drove in 124, scored 109 and walked 100 times. He even threw in 35 doubles and nine steals for good measure. The result was a .378 on-base percentage and .617 slugging percentage. His defensive versatility allows the Jays to rest different players on different days or more easily plug injury holes, as he played four positions last season.

PLAYER ORACLE -- Dave Steib to Ricky Romero

Dave Steib played with Jimmy Key on the 1986 Toronto Blue Jays

Jimmy Key played with David Dellucci on the 1997 Baltimore Orioles

David Dellucci played with Ricky Romero on the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays

POP CULTURE

Late in the 1999 Adam Sandler comedy "Big Daddy," Jon Stewart's character reveals he got intoxicated on the heavy canadian beer in 1993 celebrating Joe Carter's World Series winning home run in Toronto and accidentally impregnated a woman -- leading to the birth of his son, a central character in the storyline. Hey, slim pickings here. At least I didn't make you watch these commercials .

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Posted on: March 22, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2011 4:09 pm
 

Jays field possible opening day lineup

DotelBy Evan Brunell

The Toronto Blue Jays are readying for opening day, deploying a lineup in Tuesday's spring-training game that could be the lineup manager John Farrell trots out for his managerial debut, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports.

That lineup is:

CF Rajai Davis
SS Yunel Escobar
DH Jose Bautista
1B Adam Lind
2B Aaron Hill
3B Edwin Encarnacion
LF Travis Snider
RF Juan Rivera
C J.P. Arencibia

The only differences that could occur are Bautista and Encarnacion swapping positions, as EdE isn't expected to play much at the hot corner while that will be Bautista's new home.

Rivera is tabbed for right despite being defensively challenged. Snider is as well, though, and has only 57 games in right to his name in the majors while Rivera has 272. Neither have right field as their primary position but it appears Toronto will have to sacrifice defense given the team's composition.

In other news, Knobler reports that relievers Frank Francisco and Octavio Dotel (pictured) may hit the disabled list to start the year, with GM Alex Anthopoulous believing it is possible neither can be ready in time -- but that's not definite.

Francisco felt discomfort during a bullpen session Saturday in his pectoral muscle, but a MRI came back clean. He is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews, which makes one immediately think "Tommy John surgery," but the Jays do not expect that type of news. Meanwhile, Dotel's left hamstring injury has kept him out of major-league spring training games for a week, but tossed an inning Tuesday in a minor-league game. The club expects him to be ready, but if not, Jon Rauch will likely function as closer until both return.

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