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Tag:Arizona Diamondbacks
Posted on: February 29, 2012 7:10 pm
 

Arizona's Drew comes back one grounder at a time

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- He works slowly, methodically. One ground ball at a time.

The Diamondbacks remain steadfastly non-committal about whether shortstop Stephen Drew, returning from a devastating ankle injury, will be ready in time for their April 6 opener against the Giants. Odds are against it.

They are insistent that no timetable is set because, well, once a timetable is there, then the player can start to rush, maybe push things a little too hard and that's the last thing anybody wants.

"He's probably ahead of where we thought he'd be," Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said Wednesday. "His range looks good. His arm looks good.

"With him, it will be recovery time. It will take some time to break up the scar tissue."

Drew broke his right ankle and severely damaged several ligaments sliding into home plate in a game last July 20.

How ugly was it? Giants catcher Buster Posey, who broke his own ankle during a play at the plate last May, said this spring that he'll watch replays of his own collision before he'll watch a replay of the Drew play.

"I cringe," Posey said.

It's been a long, tough rehabilitation since then for Drew. Add surgery for a sports hernia over the winter to his list of obstacles, and you can see why the Diamondbacks are determined to let Drew go at his own pace and not screw this one up.

"From what I've seen, he looks great," starter Daniel Hudson said. "We don't want to rush anything.

"Hopefully, when he comes back, he'll be the old Stephen Drew and he can help us with a playoff push."

In 86 games last season, Drew hit .252 with five homers, 45 RBIs and four steals. In three of the four years before 2011, he played in at least 150 games.

"There's a long way to go until he's ready, but it will be great to have him back," Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton said. "He's a big part of our team. Everybody knows, he's so big on defense."

Certainly, Drew's return is as important as anything for Arizona this spring. Towers helped keep the Diamondbacks in first place after the shortstop's injury last summer with his savvy acquisition of Aaron Hill and John McDonald from Toronto.

McDonald and veteran Willie Bloomquist will share time at shortstop until Drew returns.

A big test will be his first Cactus League game action, and that's an unknown, too. He will not be ready when Arizona opens exhibition play Saturday. The next big thing, then, will be to see how he responds playing in back-to-back games, and when he plays three or four days in a row.

"We're pleased with the way he's fielding balls, his body control when he makes plays, his range," Towers said. "I think he feels good where he's at."

Sunblock Day? The wind moved out of the Valley and the temperature crept back up to the mid-60s. The sun returned and all was good. But it will be better Thursday and Friday, with the temps expected back in the 70s.

Likes: What a difference in Diamondbacks camp this spring compared to last. Now, they're defending NL West champs and the talent level and depth is impressive. Then, they were coming off of a 97-loss season, Kirk Gibson was running his first camp as manager and they had no idea what was ahead. ... Frank's enchilada plate at Frank and Lupe's Mexican Restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz. Great food, great off-the-beaten-track atmosphere. Delicious hand-made tortillas. ... Steve Azar's Slide On Over Here. ... Listening to Diamondbacks coach Alan Trammell work with some of the kids on a back field the other day during work on cutoffs and relays, and hearing him explain to them that they had better learn it now to the point where they can do it instinctually. Because when you get to the major leagues, the crowds are so loud you often don't hear the other player hollering instructions.

Dislikes: Awww, sleep well, Davy Jones.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Oh, I could hide 'neath the wings of the bluebird as she sings
"The six o'clock alarm would never ring
"But it rings and I rise wipe the sleep out of my eyes
"The shavin' razor's cold, and it stings
"Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
"To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?"

-- The Monkees, Daydream Believer

Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:13 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 7:19 pm
 

Riffs from the Hall of Fame voting

The 2012 Hall of Fame election -- by the numbers, and with the skinny. ...

Elected

Barry Larkin, 495 votes, 86.4 percent: Many numbers tell the tale, such as Larkin becoming the first 30/30 (homers/steals) shortstop in history. But how about in 1988, when he led the majors with only 24 strikeouts in 588 at-bats?

Maybe next year (or the year after)

Jack Morris, 382 votes, 66.7 percent: Great chance next year (which will cause massive coronaries in Sabermetric community), but he could run smack into wall via overloaded ballot that includes Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.

Jeff Bagwell, 321 votes, 56 percent: Start forging plaque after big jump from 41.7 percent last year.

In need of GPS

Lee Smith, 290 votes, 50.6 percent: A decade on the ballot and it's like he's trapped in a Republican debate. No traction.

Tim Raines, 279 votes, 48.7 percent: Criminally unsupported for guy who ranks second all-time in stolen base percentage (300 minimum attepts), though up 11 percentage points over last year.

Edgar Martinez, 209 votes, 36.5 percent: Fighting the designated hitter uphill battle. If you don't have 3,000 hits, it helps to have worn a glove at some point during your career.

Alan Trammell, 211 votes, 36.8 percent: Heading in the right direction after 24.3 percent last year, but still undeservedly playing the "bye" to the voters' "good."

Fred McGriff, 137 votes, 23.9 percent: CSI investigators -- or are those PETA reps? -- checking for pulse as Crime Dog's 493 career homers get no love.

Larry Walker, 131 votes, 22.9 percent: Even the Canadian exchange rate doesn't favor Cooperstown.

Mark McGwire, 112 votes, 19.5 percent: Big Mac Fan Club not allowing new members. Remarkably consistent from last year's 115 votes, 19.8 percent.

Don Mattingly, 102 votes, 17.8 percent: Just three more years left on the ballot. Hope Donnie Baseball's managerial stint with Dodgers outlasts that.

Dale Murphy, 83 votes, 14.5 percent: A Hall of Fame man, and even if he can't be in Cooperstown, I hope baseball somehow involves him more.

Rafael Palmeiro, 72 votes, 12.6 percent: Did this guy or his career really exist? Outside of wagging a finger at Congress, I mean?

Bernie Williams, 55 votes, 9.6: To those who support Bernie and Jorge Posada: How about we just put every Yankee who played between, say, 1996 and 2001, into the Hall?

No soup -- or future ballots -- for you

Juan Gonzalez, 23 votes, 4 percent: The Rangers had a homecoming ... and no Hall of Fame supporters showed up for Juan-Gone.

Vinny Castilla, 6 votes, 1 percent: Six votes?!?! Vinny had one Hall of Fame moment. That came near the end of his career when he walked into the stadium past me as I was arguing with a security guard who wasn't buying my press pass, stopped, grinned, then approached me in the clubhouse wanting the scoop ... and complimenting me for getting in the guy's face so spiritedly.

Tim Salmon, 5 votes, 0.9 percent: Not Cooperstown worthy, but easily could join Dale Murphy in the all-time good guys' Hall.

Bill Mueller, 4 votes, 0.5 percent: The guy won a batting title (AL, 2003), but I think somebody mis-read Mueller's moving receipts for Hall votes.

Brad Radke, 2 votes, 0.3 percent: I'm assuming the two who voted for Bad Brad are refugees who watched him, incredibly, win 12 consecutive starts while going 20-10 for an absolutely miserable Twins team in 1997.

Javy Lopez, 1 vote, 0.2 percent: Had the Braves allowed him to catch on nights when Greg Maddux started, he may have earned two votes.

Eric Young, 1 vote, 0.2 percent: Very cool. Had no idea Eric Young's mother was in the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America.

Jeromy Burnitz, 0 votes: Yeah, but he'll always have that starting berth for the NL in the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston on his resume.

Brian Jordan, 0 votes: Coincidentally, no votes for the NFL Hall of Fame, either.

Terry Mulholland, 0 votes: No votes, but gets points for being part-owner of the Dirty Dogg Saloon in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Phil Nevin, 0 votes: On the other hand, his managerial career (Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens) is taking off.

Ruben Sierra, 0 votes: Whatever happened to the Village Idiot?

Tony Womack, 0 votes: The New York precinct refused to consider him following that game-tying, Game 7 double against Mariano Rivera to set up Luis Gonzalez's game-winner in the 2001 World Series.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:18 pm
 

Arizona pondering Saunders' future

DALLAS -- The Diamondbacks are discussing a contract extension with Joe Saunders in talks that could either tie the left-hander to the Arizona rotation for a couple of more seasons ... or land him squarely on the trade block.

With young starters such as Tyler Skaggs and Jarrod Parker close to ready, and young lefties David Holmberg and Patrick Corbin on the way, the Diamondbacks are internally discussing the merits of a two- or three-year extension to Saunders.

He's worked 200 or more innings in each of the past three seasons and, as such, provides shelter for a young staff growing into its future. But he's also arbitration-eligible and due a big raise from the $5.5 million he earned in 2011. Saunders went 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA for the NL West champion Diamondbacks last summer.

If the Diamondbacks decide to go with their young pitching, the Diamondbacks could seize on a weak free agent market and perhaps deal Saunders as early as this week. The slow dance continues on the free agent market with Mark Buehrle (who is being pursued by more than a dozen clubs) and C.J. Wilson.

Beyond them and maybe Edwin Jackson, the best alternatives for clubs looking to acquire starting pitching this winter appears to be on the trade market, where Oakland is receiving hits on Gio Gonzalez, the White Sox are fielding inquiries on John Danks and Houston is shopping Wandy Rodriguez.
Posted on: November 16, 2011 5:35 pm
 

Maddon, Gibson representative of modern managers

More than ever, managers come in all shapes and sizes.

Two new skippers named this offseason -- St. Louis' Mike Matheny and Robin Ventura of the White Sox -- have never managed before in their lives.

Mike Quade had managed more than 2,000 minor-league games when the Cubs hired him last year.

So in this modern context, it couldn't have been more fitting that Joe Maddon (American League) and Kirk Gibson (National League) were named as Managers of the Year on Wednesday in voting by the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America.

Before the Rays named him as manager in 2006, Maddon spent 31 years in professional baseball with the Angels, the first 12 at the minor-league level as a manager or instructor.

When Gibson was named by the Diamondbacks as their manager last winter, before his three-month stint as their interim skipper in 2009, he had never managed at any level.

"As players, and if you talk to Mike and Robin I'm sure they feel this way, you always believe you can do stuff," Gibson said on a conference call Wednesday. "You always want to believe you are something more than you are.

"I was fortunate to fall into a good situation. I was familiar with the team and the organization because I had been in it."

Gibson, who came to the Diamondbacks as their bench coach in 2007, cited the belief and support of a front office led by president Derrick Hall and general manager Kevin Towers, who helped him put together a coaching staff that, philosophically, all hold similar beliefs and core values.

"They stood behind me when I maybe did something unconventional," Gibson, 54, said. "When I hear somebody say I did something unconventional it makes me smile because sabermetrics and numbers are a part of the game where applicable, but sometimes you need to fail to become a good ballplayer. Sometimes you need to fail to become a good team.

"When you've been in the game a long time, it helps you. I coached youth hockey and I coached youth baseball. That was instrumental. I spent five years in the television booth. That was helpful.

"You look at everyone's path, and if you utilize your resources properly, you can do well. [Matheny and Ventura are] great baseball minds. If the support is there, they will succeed."

Maddon, 57, managed rookie ball in Idaho Falls (1981), Single A in Salem, Ore. (1982-1983), and in Peoria, Ill. (1984) and Double-A in Midland, Tex. (1985-1986) before spending several seasons as a roving minor-league instructor before joining the Angels' big-league staff in 1994.

"I like the way I was able to get here," Maddon said Wednesday. "I'm very grateful.

"I'm always interested in the struggle. It's hard to say you have more fun after the struggle than you have during it."

Both Maddon and Gibson prefaced their remarks by noting they were speaking about their own situations, not those of Matheny or Ventura.

Maddon, known for his unconventional and creative way of thinking, honed some of those skills during his journey to the majors -- not after it.

"I'm so grateful I had all those years in the minor leagues," Maddon said. "A lot of things that are so-called 'outside the box', I had a chance to try those things in Salem, Ore., Midland, Tex., Peoria, Ill. I had a chance to try some of that stuff.

"You figure out what mistakes you've made, what you said to a guy and how he reacted. ... For me, I can't imagine what I'd do now without that experience.

"Having said all that, it's a little different now because a lot of the job today is not on the field. It's what happens in the clubhouse, dealing with personalities, having the ability to interact with the media."

But the bottom line today is the same as it was a generation ago: Winning.

Maddon is a new-age thinker in an old-school body.

Gibson, in turning a 97-loss Arizona team into 2011 NL West champions, helped blaze the trail for managerial neophytes like Matheny and Ventura to debut in the majors.

Together on Wednesday, they presented a pretty good snapshot of where today's managers are -- and where they come from.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:07 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Dbacks, Bloomquist figure it out

The Diamondbacks and Willie Bloomquist are back on track, with the infielder/outfielder agreeing to a two-year, $3.8 million deal, according to CBSSports.com sources.

The versatile nine-year veteran had declined his end of a $1.1 million mutual option last week in what became a mini-drama, what was characterized as miscommunication between the club and Scott Boras, agent for Bloomquist. In the aftermath of that, the club signed utility infielder John McDonald to a two-year, $3 million deal which led to speculation that Bloomquist's days in the desert were finished.

Arizona signed Bloomquist last winter as a free agent, and the 33-year-old veteran quickly became a valuable piece of the Diamondbacks' unexpected run to the NL West title. He batted .266/.317/.340 and played 59 games at shortstop, 25 in left field and one at second base.

Among other things, he became the club's everyday shortstop when Stephen Drew went down with a fractured ankle in July.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 8:31 pm
 

Hoyer to join Epstein with Cubs, Byrnes new SD GM

The Red Sox-Cubs soap opera spins forward as the clubs haggle over compensation, but the general parameters of a deal that will affect three clubs are in place, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations:

Not only will Theo Epstein take control of the Cubs, he will take Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, one of Hoyer's assistant general managers in San Diego, with him. Josh Byrnes, the former Arizona general manager who currently is San Diego's senior vice-president for baseball operations, will replace Hoyer as the new Padres' GM. Ben Cherington, Epstein's top assistant, will succeed him as GM in Boston.

While Epstein will receive a five-year deal worth $18.5 million, Hoyer, likewise, is expected to receive a five-year contract with a significant bump in pay from his current salary as incentive to move. Hoyer currently is signed with the Padres through 2013, with and the club holds an option on him for 2014.

While Epstein would hold a presidency role, it would be a lateral move for Hoyer. However, he would be reunited with his very close friend, Epstein, and he would have large-market resources at his disposal.

The deal could be announced as early as Friday, though one source says that "a lot would have to happen" for everything to be put in place by then. As of late Thursday, particularly with Boston still holding up the Epstein part of the deal over steep compensation demands from the Cubs, it seemed realistic that these talks could spill into next week before things are finalized.

As of early Thursday evening, the Cubs had neither asked permission from Major League Baseball to hold a news conference on Friday, a World Series off day, nor had they asked permission from the Padres to speak with Hoyer.

Compensation issues are not limited to the Cubs and Red Sox in this elaborate game of executive hopscotch, either. Not only will the Cubs pay Boston for the right to take Epstein -- either financially or via players -- the Padres also are expected to be compensated by the Cubs for allowing Hoyer to break his contract.

That part, however, is not expected to be nearly as difficult a transaction as that which the Cubs are attempting to complete with Boston. San Diego most likely will receive one or two lower-level minor leaguers in return.

As for the Cubs and Red Sox, one source said Thursday night that he thought the two clubs were "getting close" on the compensation issues, though those talks have been ongoing for several days with Boston delighting in holding the sledgehammer.

Both Hoyer and McLeod worked under Epstein in Boston before they left the Red Sox for San Diego following the 2009 season. Hoyer was one of Epstein's top assistants and McLeod was director of amateur scouting for the Red Sox.

Under McLeod, among others, the Red Sox drafted outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, right-hander Clay Buccholz and infielder Jed Lowrie.

Byrnes was one of Epstein's right-hand men for three seasons in Boston, a time during which the Red Sox drafted Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, before the Diamondbacks hired him to become their GM in October, 2005.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 8:48 pm
 

Angels to interview DiPoto, Orioles too

Jerry DiPoto, who nearly became Arizona's full-time general manager before the Diamondbacks turned to Kevin Towers last fall, is a wanted man in the executive ranks.

The Angels on Friday became the second team to obtain permission to interview DiPoto for their vacant general manager's job, according to sources, following the Orioles. Baltimore obtained permission from Arizona to speak with DiPoto on Thursday.

DiPoto becomes the third person from outside of their organization with whom the Angels have received permission to speak. Earlier this week, the Angels obtained permission from the Yankees to interview Damon Oppenheimer, executive vice-president of amateur scouting, and Billy Eppler, the Yankees' pro scouting director.

The Angels got an up-close look at DiPoto in July of 2010 while dealing with the Diamondbacks in the Dan Haren trade. DiPoto then was the point man for Arizona, which had fired Josh Byrnes, and it was under DiPoto that the Diamondbacks acquired four pitchers from the Angels for Haren, including Joe Saunders and top prospect Tyler Skaggs.

Highly respected within baseball circles, DiPoto, comes from a playing and scouting background. A former major-league pitcher, DiPoto was Colorado's director of scouting before coming to the Diamondbacks as their director of scouting and player development.

Angels owner Arte Moreno, manager Mike Scioscia, president John Carpino and former GM Bill Stoneman are expected to have input on the hiring of Los Angeles' new GM.

In Baltimore, Orioles owner Peter Angelos, of course, will make the final decision on Andy MacPhail's replacement -- with significant input from manager Buck Showalter.
Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:27 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 8:30 pm
 

Orioles to interview Dbacks' DiPoto for GM job

The Orioles have received permission from the Diamondbacks to interview Jerry DiPoto as their search for a general manager to replace Andy MacPhail begins, sources have confirmed to CBSSports.com

DiPoto was Arizona's interim general manager after the Diamondbacks fired Josh Byrnes and before they hired Kevin Towers in 2010, after which he became their senior vice-president for scouting and player development. As interim GM, he was the point man for the Diamondbacks when they acquired four pitchers, including Joe Saunders and top prospect Tyler Skaggs, from the Angels for Dan Haren.

Highly respected within baseball circles, DiPoto, comes from a playing and scouting background. A former major-league pitcher, DiPoto was Colorado's director of scouting before coming to the Diamondbacks as their director of scouting and player development.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos, of course, will make the final decision on MacPhail's replacement -- with significant input from manager Buck Showalter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com