Tag:Los Angeles Angels
Posted on: July 8, 2009 2:05 am
 

Vladimir Guerrero hurt again

Vladimir Guerrero's tough-luck season continued Tuesday when he was forced to leave the Los Angeles Angels' 8-5 loss to Texas in the eighth inning when he suffered what was described as a strained muscle behind his left knee.

The Angels say he will be re-evaluated on Wednesday and undergo tests, but watching him walk off the Angel Stadium field, it's hard to imagine the 34-year-old outfielder avoiding another stint on the disabled list.

At the very least, manager Mike Scioscia said, it is "doubtful" Guerrero will be able to play in the series finale with Texas on Tuesday night.

The injury is a blow to both the Angels and Guerrero, who missed 35 games earlier this season with a torn muscle in his chest. Guerrero, who has not driven the ball with his usual authority for most of this season, was just getting back up to speed. Over 37 games since returning from the DL, he was batting .318 with three homers and 18 RBI.

Mostly, he served as the Angels' designated hitter when he was activated because he wasn't up to making throws from the outfield. He only returned to outfield duty within the past week.

The injury occurred when he moved toward the gap to field Elvis Andrus' single in the eighth inning.

"It grabbed at him," said Scioscia, who described the injury as more toward the upper calf behind Guerrero's left knee.

"Vlad definitely was swinging the bat better," Scioscia said. "This obviously will be a setback if he's not able to get back into the lineup quickly."

Posted on: April 26, 2009 8:46 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2009 1:48 pm
 

Short Hops: Hot Pirates, returning Lugo, etc.

A baseball season is a series of tests, and even with its pitching going gangbusters, Pittsburgh is being tested right now. The Pirates lost catcher and cleanup hitter Ryan Doumit to a broken wrist last week and then disabled shortstop Jack Wilson on Sunday with a sprained left middle finger.

Meantime, outfielder Nate McLouth missed the weekend series in San Diego after suffering a strained right oblique during batting practice Friday.

"We're going to have to really pull it together," manager John Russell says.

The Pirates did so in Sunday's 8-3 win over San Diego. Shortstop Brian Bixler, recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis, punched a two-run double and catcher Robinson Diaz singled home two more runs.

The Pirates can't necessarily plan on that sort of success every day from their role players, and losing Doumit, especially, for what is expected to be eight-to-10 weeks will hurt. But the Pirates do appear built better this year to withstand such injuries with veterans such as Eric Hinske, Craig Monroe and Ramon Vazquez and rookie catcher Jason Jaramillo.

"Neal (Huntington, Pittsburgh general manager) has done a great job," Russell says. "Depth is one thing as an organization we've focused on. Acquiring talent, developing our talent and having good drafts. It was tough to trade Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady last year. But coming out of spring training, there's a lot more depth than last year."

The Pirates especially will lean on Jaramillo, acquired last December for Ronny Paulino, with Doumit out for an extended period.

"It's tough," Pirates pitcher Zach Duke says. "He's our guy. He's our leader. We want him back there. J.J. is a capable catcher. He works his butt off and we're comfortable with him behind the plate. He's stepped in nicely.

"You can ask anybody in here, if he hits .250 and calls a good game and blocks everything, we'll be more than happy."

-- After taking the first two games of their series with the Yankees before heading into battle one more time Sunday night, more good news is on deck for the Red Sox: Shortstop Julio Lugo is through his rehabilitation period and is expected to be in the lineup Monday night in Cleveland. And while Lugo hasn't exactly come close to living up to expectations since he signing with Boston, there is this: Among the 11 American League shortstops with at least 300 plate appearances in 2008, Lugo's .356 on-base percentage was second only to Derek Jeter's .360.

-- We'll never know if there would have been the usual scouts or SAT administrators behind the plate, but we just missed a matchup of Princeton University products over the weekend when Russ Ohlendorf started for Pittsburgh on Sunday while San Diego's Chris Young will go Monday in Colorado. When Pittsburgh played San Diego last September, Young and Ohlendorf missed each other by just a day as well. They are two of only three pitchers in Princeton baseball history to be named Ivy League rookie of the year (Young won in 1999 and Ohlendorf in 2002).

-- Maybe a day off last Wednesday against Detroit helped Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, who homered and had a career-high four RBI in Sunday's 8-0 win over Seattle. Kendrick has been having a miserable time this season and is still hitting just .258 after his 4-for-5 day Sunday. Most noticeable has been  his strikeout total -- 14 in just 66, a rate of one per 4.7 at-bats as opposed to the one per 5.9 at-bats last year. Manager Mike Scioscia said it was a combination of mechanical flaws and Kendrick pressing. And what bothered the manager as much as the whiffs were the weak, rollover ground balls Kendrick was sending to the left side of the infield.

-- Update on two disabled Angels starters: John Lackey worked two innings' worth of an extended spring training game in Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday, same as Ervin Santana a day earlier. The duo each will have another extended spring training outing this week, Santana on Wednesday and Lackey on Thursday, and if it's still all systems go, they'll each likely report for rehabilitation assignments at Class A Rancho Cucamonga. The program would put Lackey and Santana back in the Angels' rotatoin sometime around mid-May.

Likes: Glad to see Pittsburgh pitching coach Joe Kerrigan back in the game. ... Watched San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg, the probably No. 1 pick in this June's draft, on Friday night and the kid is the real deal. Very, very impressive. Column coming on him later this week. ... Somehow managed to miss the entire NFL draft. Aw, shucks ... not. ... Closer Trevor Hoffman activated in Milwaukee. ...

Dislikes: Detroit catcher Matt Treanor about to undergo hip surgery? Say it ain't so! Now he and wife Misti May-Treanor, the Olympic gold medalist, can rehab together. She's still recovering from a ruptured Achilles heel suffered on Dancing with the Stars. Another reason why I don't dance.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Our house is a very, very fine house
"With two cats in the yard
"Life used to be so hard"

-- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Our House

Posted on: April 22, 2009 9:26 pm
 

Angels: No go on Pedro

With four starting pitchers on the disabled list, the Los Angeles Angels remain determined to patch their holes from within and will promote right-hander Matt Palmer from Triple-A Salt Lake to start Thursday night's game against Detroit.

Which means, for now, you can forget about the few scraps still out there on the free agent market such as Pedro Martinez. And behind him, neither Paul Byrd nor Mark Mulder should be waiting by their telephones.

"There are obvious free agents out there," Angels general manager Tony Reagins says. "Pedro's representative (Fern Cuza) reached out to me a couple of weeks ago. Since then, there hasn't been any contact."

Nor, Reagins said, are the Angels anywhere close to signing a free agent despite the fact that ace John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Dustin Moseley and Kelvim Escobar are on the DL. The Angels also are still recovering from the death of starter Nick Adenhart, who opened the season in the rotation, in a tragic traffic accident two weeks ago.

"There is nothing imminent," Reagins said when asked if there are plans to go outside the organization for help. "We're confident in the players we have in house. I want to be clear on that.

"Right now, we're not playing as good as we can. We can play much better. We're trying to re-set our bullpen. Our starting pitching has been fine.

"We're 13 games in. We're not pushing any panic buttons. We have some talented players. We're very confident."

The Angels gave a spot start to reliever Darren Oliver on Saturday in Minnesota. But manager Mike Scioscia said before Wednesday's game against Detroit that Oliver was "still a little stiff" from that start and that the club did not want to push him any harder with another start.

Besides, despite so many starting pitchers out, the Angels cannot afford to dip into their bullpen for spot starters because they need all hands on deck there. Los Angeles' 7.85 bullpen ERA is the worst in baseball.

As for Palmer, who will face the Tigers' Edwin Jackson at Angels Stadium on Thursday, the Angels signed him in January as a minor-league free agent from the Giants' organization.

Originally selected by San Francisco in the 31st round of the 2002 draft, Palmer has three big league starts on his resume, all last year. He went 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA for the Giants in 2008. In 12 2/3 innings, opponents batted .333 against Palmer last year. He walked 13 and struck out three.

 

 

Posted on: April 10, 2009 7:26 pm
 

Difficult night at Angel Stadium

 ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It's just after 4 p.m. here, and on the center-field wall, an Angel Stadium crew is affixing a photo of the late Nick Adenhart pitching, right next to a large, round, black banner with a white No. 34.

Adenhart and two others were killed in a tragic hit-and-run traffic accident early Thursday morning, and now the Angels are back tonight to face Boston, and the whole scene here in the quiet of the afternoon is devastatingly heartbreaking.

In front of Angel Stadium, there is a makeshift memorial on the brick pitcher's mound on the grand entrance. There are hundreds of flower arrangements. A couple of funeral wreaths. Lit candles. Framed photos. A thunderstick. Notes. Poems.

When I drove in about 2:15 this afternoon, there were probably 50 or 60 fans/mourners paying their respects amid the stone silence. The guy manning the parking lot entrance was waving those in who said they just wanted to pay their respects and weren't staying for the game. No $8 parking fee for them.

The guard at the front entrance at Angel Stadium, the one who worked the 11 a.m.-7 p.m. shift Thursday, said a steady flow of 50 or 60 people had been streaming to the memorial ever since he arrived for work yesterday. One man made the sign of the cross as he approached. Several bowed their heads in silent prayer. One woman in a red Angels jersey and large sunglasses had a fistful of tissues, dabbing her eyes every few minutes.

The Angels' clubhouse is closed before the game, to re-open tonight after the game. Angels manager Mike Scioscia, pitching coach Mike Butcher and pitchers Joe Saunders and Dustin Moseley spent the past hour in the interview room -- Saunders and Moseley first, Scioscia and Butcher after that.

Adenhart's parents, Jim and Janet, are here and were meeting with outfielder Torii Hunter and pitcher John Lackey. The Angels will wear a patch honoring Adenhart on the left front of their jerseys beginning tonight. His locker will remain intact in their clubhouse and the club will set up a locker in memory of Adenhart on the road this season.

Most of the items remain. His mother and father did remove a few items. Jerseys. And his mother, Janet, took the red cap Nick wore in what was his final start Wednesday night.

There will be a moment of silence and a tribute before tonight's game. It is going to be a tough, tough night.

"Of course we're going to be overcome by emotion," Scioscia said when someone asked how the Angels could prevent it from happening. "This is not like a tough loss of a game. It's a tough loss of the magnitude of which we hope we never are exposed to or see again."

 

Posted on: April 9, 2009 6:48 pm
 

Long history of tragedy haunts Angels

The shocking death of pitcher Nick Adenhart in an auto accident early Thursday morning is only the latest in a long history of tragedy that has struck the Los Angeles Angels' organization.

It was only a year ago, coming out of spring training, that Preston Gomez, the beloved longtime Angels scout and special assistant, was struck by a truck at a service station on his way home from watching Cactus League games.

Gomez was critically injured and passed away in January at a care center in Fullerton, Calif., close to the place of Adenhart's fatal accident. The Angels this season are wearing a black patch emblazoned with the name "Preston" on their uniform sleeves this season.

This is the organization for which outfielder Lyman Bostock was playing when, after a game during the 1978 season, he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Gary, Ind.

Three years after blowing the save in Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship Series, former Angels closer Donnie Moore committed suicide after shooting -- and seriously injuring -- his wife.

It was in 1992 that the Angels' team bus, on a trip from New York to Baltimore, ran off of the New Jersey State Turnpike, an accident in which several team members were injured. Most notably, then-manager Buck Rodgers suffered broken ribs, a broken knee and a broken elbow.

Meantime, in the 1970s, three Angels were killed in auto accidents. Shortstop prospect Mike Miley was killed in a 1977 preseason wreck, lefty pitching prospect Bruce Heinbechner was killed in a crash in the spring of 1974 and utility infielder Chico Ruiz, 33, was killed in a 1972 auto accident.

*****

On a personal level, it's going to take the Angels quite some time to get past Adenhart's tragic death.

It's not going to be easy on a baseball level, either.

Having opened the season with three-fifths of their rotation on the disabled list -- John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar -- the Angels already were leaning on their organizational depth to patch things.

The most likely candidate now to join Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver, Dustin Mosely and Shane Loux in the big-league rotation is anybody's guess. When the Angels do decide on another fifth starter, it most likely will be either right-hander Anthony Ortega or left-hander Daniel Davidson.

Ortega was slated to pitch the season opener Thursday night for Triple-A Salt Lake, but the Bees game against Reno was postponed after Adenhart's passing. A native of Venezuela who had a big year in 2008, Ortega raised some eyebrows early in spring training with some soreness. But he appears fine now and, after moving from Double-A Arkansas to Salt Lake in '08, he could be the Angels' emergency stop-gap solution now.

Davidson is a big (6-4) left-hander who is not on the Angels' 40-man roster.

One pitcher who could have factored into the plans was Nick Green, whom Milwaukee claimed off of waivers after the Angels removed him from their roster to make room after signing outfielder Bobby Abreu in February. Green, a finesse right-hander with a good change-up, was 8-8 with a 5.32 ERA for Salt Lake last season.

 

Posted on: April 9, 2009 12:36 pm
Edited on: April 9, 2009 2:05 pm
 

Angels-Oakland postponed Thursday night

The Los Angeles Angels-Oakland Athletics game scheduled for Thursday night in Anaheim has been postponed following the stunning death of Angels starting pitcher Nick Adenhart, the Angels said late Thursday morning.

The game was postponed as the team comes to grips with the shocking incident that occurred within a couple miles of Angel Stadium following Wednesday night's game.

Adenhart, 22, was the starting pitcher and had held Oakland scoreless over six innings. Not long after, Adenhart was killed in a hit-and-run crash. He died Thursday morning after surgery attempts failed to save him, according to the Angels.

Adenhart was one of three people killed in the crash. The other two were not affiliated with the Angels' organization.

"The Angels family has suffered a tremendous loss today," Angels general manager Tony Reagins said in a statement released by the club Thursday morning. "We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nick's family, friends, loved ones and fans."

Adenhart is survived by his father, Jim, and his mother, Janet. They released this statement:

"Nick's family expresses sincere gratitude for all the help the Angels have provided. He lived his dream and was blessed to be part of an organization comprised of such warm, caring and compassionate people. The Angels were his extended family. Thanks to all of Nick's loyal supporters and fans throughout his career. He will always be in everyone's hearts forever."

 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 3, 2009 2:58 pm
 

Spring training: The outtakes

Spring training, that's a wrap. From the Grapefruit League to the Cactus League, a few of my favorite things:

Future song lyricist: At a Mariners' game in Peoria last week, they gave a public address microphone to a fan between innings for a daily contest in which the contestant must finish the lyrics to a Jimmy Buffett song, with the prize being a $25 gift certificate to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant.

So they play part of the song Margaritaville, then cut it off. The guy successfully finished the line "Searching for my lost shaker of salt."

So far, so good.

Then he ad-libbed, singing something along the lines of "Yeah, and we don't have Richie Sexson anymore."

The red-faced Mariners quickly grabbed the microphone away from the dude, but not before it elicited quite a laugh from the Peoria Stadium crowd.

The joke, though, was on the contestant:

Quoth the Mariners: No way you're getting that gift certificate now, buddy.

Best nickname: One of the contestants for the Padres' rotation this spring was a young lefty named Cesar Ramos.

Or, as manager Bud Black referred to him, "The Joker."

Outstanding.

For those of you not old enough to remember the old Batman television show, the Joker was played by  Cesar Romero.

If I'm the Padres, I make Ramos pitch with that evil red grin painted onto his face. Not many hitters could deal with that.

So what is it, then? Everyone knows Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia, maybe the best in the business right now, creates his own culture inside his team's the clubhouse.

But he took creating the Angels' world to new extremes last week when downplaying ace John Lackey's sore right forearm.

"It's not really an injury," Scioscia said. "It's tightness and inflammation."

Uh, OK. The Angels had to scratch Lackey from his opening day start. He will open the season on the disabled list.

But it's not really an injury.

Forget "Save the Manatees", somebody save the Pirates: We know Pittsburgh has precious little at the major-league level. The Pirates are embarking upon what will be a record 17th consecutive losing season.

Judging by Thursday's exhibition game against Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Fla., the Pirates' immediate future doesn't look so hot, either.

Manatee beat the Pirates 6-4 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.

Swear.

Did I mention it's a community college, not a four-year baseball factory offering scholarships?

The Pirates' regulars were elsewhere. It was a team consisting mostly of players who will play for Pittsburgh's Triple-A Indianapolis.

Still. Manatee is a community college.

As a chat-room poster going by Dubers 15801 noted on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Web site:

"Another great moment in Pirates baseball!

"Schedule only gets tougher with Bradenton Central High School tomorrow. They have a kid who throws, like, 85."

Pizzeria Bianco: Knocked one more thing off of the spring training to-do list this week in Phoenix when I finally dined at the place that has gotten notoriety from coast to coast, thanks largely to rave reviews by Oprah and Rachel Ray, among others. Apparently, the Food Network did something from there recently as well.

Pizzeria Bianco is a tiny joint -- seats maybe 40 for dinner -- that has such buzz that, routinely, the wait is two or three hours. I mean, it's absurd. They're not open for lunch, and they do not do take-out pizzas, either. We got there early the other night -- 4 p.m., an hour before they open at 5 -- and there were 25 people waiting outside the doors at that point. We got in at 5 -- arriving that early apparently is the only way to wait an hour, instead of half the night.

It is very, very good. They have a white pizza, fennel sausage and sweet onions, that is incredible. We had that, and the salami pizza, which was mouth-watering. And we had the margherita pizza, which was world-class. The ingredients are as fresh as you'll find, and they make the mozzarella right on site.

Part of the experience is the wait, and the scene. But I'll tell you this: Bring a book to read. And if you're starving, or actually have things going on in your life that maybe make waiting two or three hours for dinner not so enticing, maybe there's other pizza alternatives in town you'd like to investigate.

Likes: Atlanta's Derek Lowe starting against Philadelphia's Brett Myers on Sunday night. Play ball!. ... Derek Jeter and David Wright competing for charity with their batting averages this year. ... Still love pulling Sports Illustrated's baseball preview issue out of the mailbox every year. ... Absolutely thrilled to see television's Friday Night Lights get extended for two more years. ... The MLB Network is off to a terrific start. Check it out. If you get cable television, you get the network. ...  Baseball-Reference.com. ... Texas president Nolan Ryan attempting to make men out of his boy pitchers. ... Peter Gammons, still healthy and productive after suffering that aneurysm a couple of years back. For a lion in the industry, Peter always has been remarkably humble, and so many people are so happy he's not only recovered, but thriving. ... Leonard Cohen, one of the best songwriters of our time, on tour. Wish one of his shows would line up with my schedule (or vice-versa). ... Go Spartans this weekend in the Final Four. ... Getting home after seven weeks on the road. I can actually walk down to the park and watch my daughter's softball game this evening. Very cool, and about time.

Dislikes: Is there ever a good time to block out to get your taxes done? Short answer: No.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day

"Fat bottomed girls
"You make the rockin' world go round"

-- Queen, Fat Bottomed Girls

 

Posted on: March 31, 2009 2:32 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2009 4:24 pm
 

A's Crosby, Angels' Matthews hoping for trades

 Displaced Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby isn't tracking the move of every team as late-spring roster moves intensify, but he still hopes to land elsewhere sometime in the near future.

He isn't alone. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. is among those hoping for a change-of-address in the final days of spring camp.

An extra part now that the beefed-up Athletics have installed Orlando Cabrera as their shortstop, Crosby, 29, is still hoping to prove he can be a valuable, everyday shortstop after hitting .237, .226 and .229 over the past three seasons. In two of those, 2006 and 2007, he played in fewer than 100 games because of injuries.

"They have obviously chosen to move on with someone else, and I hope they give me the same opportunity," Crosby said.

Crosby broke in as Oakland's everyday shortstop in 2004, filling the vacancy created by the departure of Miguel Tejada. He played in 151 games that season, but the injuries started in 2005. A stress fracture in his ribs, back trouble, a broken left hand ... all conspired to prevent Crosby from developing into the shortstop he and the A's hoped.

Finally back on track last summer, Crosby's batting average was seventh-lowest in the American League and his .296 on-base percentage was worst in the AL among regulars and third-worst in the majors.

Enter Cabrera.

"Right now, there's nothing I can do about it," said Crosby, who was supposed to play second base in Oakland's Cactus League game against Kansas City on Tuesday but was scratched before the game. "I think everyone kind of understands where I'm at. I want to be a shortstop somewhere. That's not going to change.

"I said it right when they signed Cabrera and I'll say it to the end. But for the time being, all I can do is work at the other positions and get as good as I can and be ready."

Matthews, meantime, met with Angels officials earlier this spring, after the club signed outfielder Bobby Abreu, and expressed his displeasure at the prospect of reduced playing time. The club essentially delivered this message: Do something about it on the field during camp.

But on Sunday, manager Mike Scioscia informed Matthews that he stands fifth on the outfield depth chart, behind Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Abreu and Juan Rivera. Matthews has requested a trade, and the Angels gave him permission to leave camp for a day earlier this week to come to terms with his situation.

The Angels, though, owe Matthews roughly $33 million over the next three seasons and have not found a taker. Two obvious candidates, the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, have decided to fill their center field spots internally, the White Sox appearing set to go with Dewayne Wise and the Yankees announcing this week that Brett Gardner has won the job.

In the cases of both Crosby and Matthews, their personal unhappiness has been tempered to a degree by their good relationships with teammates. So far, neither player's situation has created bitterness or tension in the clubhouse.

"The guys here have been awesome," Crosby said. "Those are the guys I want to go and play hard for, because I love these guys in the clubhouse.

"Almost everyone on the team has come up to me, especially the guys I'm close with. Jason Giambi came up and asked how things are going, and told me if I ever needed to talk. ..."

***

The San Diego Padres, still searching for starting pitchers, have not been able to work a deal for Tampa Bay right-hander Jeff Niemann. The Rays, who optioned David Price to Triple-A Durham because of a glut of starting pitchers, are investigating the trade market because two others vying for the No. 5 starter's slot, Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel, are out of options.

Discussions with the Padres have not gained traction, according to a source with knowledge of the talks, because San Diego so far has not indicated a willingness to trade first-base prospect Kyle Blanks, a 6-6, 285-pound first baseman who has been the standout of the Padres' spring. Though Blanks' path to the majors is blocked by All-Star Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego is considering trying him as an outfielder.

Likes: Roster decisions coming swiftly in these final days. Gary Sheffield, gone in Detroit. Geoff Jenkins, gone in Philadelphia. DeWayne Wise, in as the Chicago White Sox's leadoff man and center fielder. Kevin Gregg, in as Cubs closer. ... Oakland's equipment truck packed and ready to pull out. ... Michigan State in the Final Four. What a great story, what a great coach (Tom Izzo), what a nice thing for the struggling folks in Michigan, whose 12 percent unemployment rate leads the nation. ... The Pollo Cubano at the Havana Café on Camelback Rd. in Phoenix. ... The Pad Thai at Thai Elephant in Tempe.

Dislikes: Too much hotel time these last seven weeks. Man, it will be nice to get home in a couple of days.

Sunblock day? The locals love it, but I've about had it with the chilly mornings and evenings here in the desert. Where's the heat? Mid-70s or so during the day is beautiful, and yes, I suppose you need sunblock, but as spring training closes, it's been chillier in the Cactus League than usual.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer
"I think he might've been our only decent teacher
"Getting older only makes it harder to remember
"We are our only saviours
"We're gonna build something this summer"

-- The Hold Steady, Constructive Summer

 

 

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