Posted on: September 28, 2011 5:47 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 5:53 pm
ST. PETERSBURG -- One day after being taken in a stretcher from Tropicana Field with chest pains, first baseman Casey Kotchman was back in Tampa Bay's lineup for Wednesday's pivotal game against the Yankees.
Kotchman underwent a battery of tests, all of which came back negative. He was released from the hospital late Tuesday, not long before the Rays finished their 5-3 win over New York.
"I don't think it's how you'd draw up Game 161, but I'm feeling better and everything's ready to go tonight," said Kotchman, who is hitting seventh and playing first base.
Kotchman, 28, said his chest was "uncomfortable, very uncomfortable" and added that he's never been through an episode like that before.
He said he still has no idea why it struck.
"No, but I'm not worried about it," Kotchman said. "I'll take it day by day."
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he had no hesitation in putting Kotchman back in the lineup Wednesday once he was cleared both by hospital staff and Tampa Bay doctors.
"I had to hear it from him [that he was OK]," Maddon said. "The doctors were on board. He was adamant that he was fine."
"I like putting on the costume," said Kotchman, who is batting .305 with 10 homers and 48 RBI. "Hopefully, we can pull out a win tonight."
Posted on: September 27, 2011 10:05 pm
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It took the Rays 125 days this season to pull back into a share of the American League wild-card slot.
So no way was the streaking, gutsy crew from Tampa Bay going to surrender it 24 hours later.
It was close, it was a battle, but when they write the story of the 2011 Rays, two huge monumental moments from Tuesday night's 5-3 nailbiter over the Yankees in The Trop will be at the top.
The first came with nobody out in the seventh when Matt Joyce bashed the game-winning homer, savagely attacking a pitch from former Rays closer Rafael Soriano and driving it into the right-field seats for a three-run blast.
The other moment was an honest-to-goodness triple play, which came in the sixth, during a tense time when the Yankees were threatening to blow this game open.
Leading 3-2 with runners on second and third and, of course, nobody out, the Rays elected to intentionally walk Jorge Posada to load the bases.
And then came a moment screaming that Tampa Bay is living right: Russell Martin scorched a ground ball to third, about one step from the bag. Evan Longoria was all over it, took the one small step for the Rays and one giant step for the AL wild-card race.
His foot on the bag, he wheeled and whipped the ball to Ben Zobrist at second, who turned and fired a strike to Sean Rodriguez, who was playing first after Casey Kotchman was scratched from the lineup pre-game and taken to the hospital with discomfort in his chest.
There was no question. Martin easily was out at first.
You could hear Boston groaning all the way from Baltimore. Given a reprieve from imminent disaster, the Rays turned it over to Joyce in the seventh, and Tampa Bay had done the impropable: The Rays have pushed their season to Game 162, still very much in position to push the Red Sox over the cliff and dance into October themselves.
Posted on: December 7, 2010 3:00 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Looking to plug their hole at first base, the Cubs are targeting free agent Adam LaRoche, according to CBSSports.com sources.
There are several available first basemen on the market, including Carlos Pena, Casey Kotchman, Paul Konerko (who is widely expected to agree to terms with the White Sox soon), Lyle Overbay and former Cub Derrek Lee.
The Cubs, who essentially created this opening when they traded Lee to Atlanta last summer, have talked with several of them but would like to close the deal with LaRoche soon.
LaRoche, 31, played in 151 games for Arizona last season, hitting .261 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI. He compiled a .320 on-base percentage and a .468 slugging percentage.
The seven-year veteran broke into the majors with Atlanta in 2004 and since has played for Pittsburgh, Boston and Arizona.
Currently, the Cubs' only option at first base is Tyler Colvin, who had a big rookie season at the plate in 2010 (.254, 20 homers, 54 RBI in 135 games) while spending all of his time in the outfield.
Looking to re-tool last season's highly disappointing club under new manager Mike Quade, the Cubs this winter need a first baseman and are planning to add pitching depth -- a starting or relieving, whichever comes their way and makes the most sense.
Posted on: May 9, 2010 7:33 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2010 11:01 pm
Dallas Braden's exquisite perfect game for Oakland on Sunday notwithstanding, no division in baseball has been as disappointing as this motley crew (though the NL Central should not be overlooked, what with the Cubs, Brewers and Astros).
The AL West this year is Conan O'Brien in his last few days on The Tonight Show. Not nearly as funny, but every bit as beleaguered.
How rough is it out there? They nearly had to delay the first pitch of Friday night's Angels-Mariners game because both clubs held meetings to discuss, they were scuffling so badly.
The weekend started with the Angels dragging a seven-game losing streak to Seattle, where the Mariners greeted them with a six-game losing streak of their own. Seattle skipper Don Wakamatsu closed the doors to address his team before the series started while the Angels held a players-only meeting.
For the Angels, who normally under manager Mike Scioscia only hold team meetings to divide up playoff shares, it was their second meeting in less than 24 hours. Scioscia had briefly closed the doors to address the troops the night before in Boston, where Los Angeles had been swept in a four-game series for the first time since 1967 which, for the Red Sox, goes all the way back to the Impossible Dream and Jim Lonborg pre-skiing injury.
Already, the Angels, who miss Chone Figgins and John Lackey more than they acknowledge, are closing in on a club record for meetings in a season. They don't need another alternate jersey so much as they need an appointment book.
Last time the Angels and Mariners met with each club at least six games under .500? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was way back in 1994.
By Sunday, that had changed because the Angels, behind Jered Weaver's 7 1/3 shutout innings Friday and Joe Saunders righting himself Saturday, took the first two games of this pillow-fight to climb to within four games of .500 -- and push Seattle's losing streak to eight in a row.
Obvious answer to the light-hitting Mariners' woes, of course, was to fire hitting coach Alan Cockrell, which Seattle did before Sunday's game. It's not Cockrell's fault that a single can of Mountain Dew contains more pop than the Mariners' lineup, which was last in the majors with a hard-to-believe paltry sum of 10 home runs.
The White Sox's Paul Konerko has more than that by himself (13), while five other big leaguers have equaled the M's total by themselves: Toronto's Alex Gonzalez, Baltimore's Ty Wigginton, the Dodgers' Andre Ethier and Arizona's Mark Reynolds and Kelly Johnson.
While the power outage cannot be blamed on Cockrell -- he didn't construct a lineup that has Franklin Gutierrez, Jose Lopez and Casey Kotchman in the middle -- the M's figured they had enough other evidence to sack him: Last in the AL in team batting average (.225), on-base percentage (.302), slugging percentage (.315) and runs scored (94).
Wretched? Eight Mariners in the regular lineup are hitting worse than .220.
Ugh -- and it's no picnic elsewhere in the division.
Texas is in first place, but every day "owner" Tom Hicks fails to pay his bills leaves the creditors barking more savagely, demanding that major-league baseball seize the franchise from Hicks and facilitate a sale. The Rangers franchise was supposed to have been sold by early April, and baseball taking control is a very real possibility. Turns out, whether or not the Rangers can afford a summer's worth of baseballs might be the least of their issues.
Oakland? In the muck of the AL West, the A's have been the most pleasant story going. Their only crime so far is guilt-by-association in this haggard division. That, and having nine players on the disabled list, their most since May, 2008. Which pretty much makes running in place a goal, not a detriment.
Ah well, what the AL West lacks in looks, it should make up for in sheer competitiveness this summer. At one point last week, the four clubs were separated by a mere half-game. And right now, looking through the one-way glass at the perp walk, it doesn't look like anybody here will be running away anytime soon.