Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:27 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 8:30 pm
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.
Posted on: April 26, 2011 4:39 pm
-- After tagging Jered Weaver with the only loss he's taken in 2011 -- an arbitration beating last winter -- Angels general manager Tony Reagins confirms Weaver's account, that it was business as usual when the right-hander came to camp this spring.
"Unchanged," Reagins says of Weaver's demeanor. "I think he knew what to expect in the process. He went through it, but he didn't let it affect him.
The Angels had offered $7.365 million. Weaver, who earned $4.265 million in 2010, countered at $8.8 million. Weaver says he arrived in spring camp with neither a chip on his shoulder or with excess motivation to prove that he should have been awarded his payday.
"Not at all," Weaver says. "Business is business. Obviously, it was the first time I've gone through anything like that. You never take the business side of baseball and bring it to the fun part of it. That gets you in trouble. I've got pretty thick skin."
-- Weaver is eligible for free agency after the 2012, season, by the way. And with Scott Boras as his agent, Angels fans are advised not to fall too deeply in love with him.
-- Weaver gives off the appearance of a quiet, laid-back guy. But there's more beneath the surface.
"I see a guy who is a leader," Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher says. "He really stepped into the role last year. He wanted to challenge himself, and he reaped the rewards. He puts in a lot of hard work. He communicates very well with his teammates. He's very open. He mingles with everybody."
Says fellow starter Dan Haren: "I'm laid back off the field, and I don't wear my emotions on my sleeve on the field. He's laid back off the field, but on the field he's competitive and fiery. I've pitched on quite a few teams, and he ranks right up there with his will to win. He'll do anything. I've seen him throw 125 pitches and then beg to go back out there.
"You don't see that much anymore. At least, I don't."
-- Weaver doesn't throw as hard now as when the Angels made him their No. 1 pick in 2004, but he's acquired the wisdom that comes with five years in the league and that's made him more dangerous.
"He understands how to pitch," Reagins says. "When we took him, he threw much harder than what he throws now. But velocity is not as important as being able to throw the ball where you want to."
Weaver's fastball averaged between 93 and 95 m.p.h. a few years ago. Now, it averages somewhere between 91 and 93.
"But I like the results better," Reagins says.
Likes: Glad to see Ryan Ludwick slam the game-winning homer in the 13th inning in San Diego the other night. Not because I was rooting against Atlanta, or rooting for the Padres. It's just that Ludwick is a good man and has been buried in such a dreadful slump all season. Cover this game long enough and that's what happens: You don't root for teams. You root for people. ... Speaking of which, a pleasant memory came floating back Tuesday when a friend was trying to recall the name of the sweet old elevator operator at Tiger Stadium. Sarah, bless her soul. ... The framed Tiger Stadium print in my home office. Takes me right back to Midwestern summer nights. We're never too old to be reminded of our youth, are we? ... Here We Rest, the new CD from Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit. ... Blessed, the new CD from Lucinda Williams. ... Pipes Cafe, a great breakfast and lunch joint in Cardiff, Calif. Get the breakfast burrito.
Dislikes: The dead hummingbird I found on by back porch Tuesday morning, courtesy of my cat. At least, that's my current suspect, though CSI is still investigating and there is no proof. ... Never saw the J. Geils Band before they split up. That's probably the only band I never saw live that I really, really wish I would have (not counting groups that existed before I was old enough to go to concerts, like The Beatles). I would think there would be a ton of dough to be made with a J. Geils reunion tour. (I'm also not counting U2, which I've never seen, because they're currently on tour and, as such, they don't rank in the "Missed Chance" category. They're coming to a stadium near me in June and I figure I'll catch 'em.).
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"You talk about the junk you do
-- Lucinda Williams, Buttercup
Posted on: April 23, 2011 9:12 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 12:00 am
Guess life isn't going to be a tire swing all summer for the Texas Rangers, after all.
Not that the Rangers themselves ever expected to run away with the AL West, but when they were 9-1 and owned a four-game AL West lead on April 11, you sure heard some chatter in other quarters about the possibility.
Now, Hamilton is out for up to two months with a broken bone in his arm, and Saturday the Rangers disabled their closer with soreness in his shoulder before Saturday's game with Kansas City. Maybe Texas doesn't miss a beat, but if ever there was a time for an AL West rival to make an early-season move, this is it.
Question is, is anybody in a position to do so?
The Angels actually left Texas in first place on Wednesday night after taking two of three from the Rangers. But Boston devours Los Angeles like kids gobble Easter candy and, in winning the first three of a four-game weekend series -- the latest a 5-0 cakewalk on Saturday -- helped dump the Angels back into second place. The Red Sox have won 12 of their past 13 against the Angels, including nine of 10 in 2010.
Oakland ranks 13th in the AL in runs scored. Only Minnesota (57) had scored fewer than the Athletics (66), and Bob Geren's team needs to hit .500 (they were 9-11 before Saturday's game with Seattle) before worrying about passing the Angels and Texas.
The Angels had stabilized some after losing three of their first four, though Vernon Wells was still hitting just .183 with one homer and four RBI into Saturday night's game and the club's bullpen had walked an AL-high 41 batters -- five more than next-most Kansas City.
This isn't exactly how Wells would prefer to introduce himself to Southern California fans, though the nine-year veteran isn't panicking.
"It's not my first time," Wells says of a slow start. "I've hit .180 for the month of April before."
Not quite, but close: .191 in April, 2005.
Meantime, the Angels still are not sure when slugger Kendrys Morales, out since surgery to repair a fractured leg last May, will return.
"Early, it was really hurting us, especially with Rodney, Kohn and Jepsen," Scioscia says. "Obviously, they've got to work on command issues to get where they need to be. It's not a good trend.
Angels pitchers have walked 17 batters in the first two of the four games against Boston, 10 by the bullpen.
"We have some power arms down there [in the bullpen], but power arms that should be able to command counts better than we've seen," Scioscia says. "It will work its way out as the season goes on."
The Rangers, no doubt, figure the same thing about their current spate of injuries. And the run-challenged Athletics, about crossing the plate. And Seattle ... well, let's not get carried away here.
Posted on: April 10, 2011 8:25 pm
And they're not alone.
Now 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA, the Angels' ace is racking up impressive starts like he racked up a career-high 15 strikeouts against the Jays in Sunday's 3-1 win.
"I'm just trying to keep my team in the game," Weaver said. "And if it takes a couple of strikeouts every now and then, then that's what it's going to take."
It's usually more than just a couple. Weaver led the AL with 233 punchouts last season and is off to a roaring start in 2011. The Blue Jays were overmatched from the start Sunday, unable to even get a hit against Weaver until Travis Snider's infield single in the fifth.
Most importantly, after manager Mike Scioscia stuck with Weaver into the eighth, he issued two one-out walks with the Angels leading 3-1 before striking out Bautista to finish his afternoon.
Bautista took two balls to start the at-bat, then took called strike one and then ball three before a foul tip ran the count to full.
"The one pitch I tipped with my bat, that would have been ball four," Bautista said. "I couldn't hold on."
Bautista quickly made sure to say he was making no excuses and taking nothing away from Weaver. He was just beaten in the at-bat.
"You look at his numbers the last couple of years, he ranks with anybody," Bautista said. "Righty on righty, he's as good as anybody. He's very deceptive with that weird delivery that comes across his body.
"He's on top of everything, and he can locate all of his pitches. That's a good recipe for success right there."
Weaver's effort was especially welcomed by the Angels because it came after a 14-inning win Saturday night in which Scioscia emptied his bullpen and wound up using starter Dan Haren to work the 14th. Furthermore, it was the second time in four games the Angels' skipper had used every single one of his relievers in a game.
"Part of what you do [Saturday night] is because you know you have a guy like Weav coming up," Scioscia said. "Same with Haren. You know the guy is routinely going to get you to a point in the game."
Weaver became the first Angels pitcher to record 15 or more strikeouts in 16 years, since Chuck Finley did it against the Yankees on May 23, 1995. He was the first right-hander to do it for the Angels since Mike Witt on July 23, 1984, against Seattle.
"My command of the fastball was good, and the slider was better than it's been in awhile," Weaver said. "And matching up with a bunch of right-handers is going to play good."
"He pretty much did what he's good at, throwing strikes and mixing it up," Nix, the Jays' third baseman, said. "There are a number of things about him. He's deceptive, he's able to throw four pitches for strikes to both sides of the plate ... that's what he's usually able to do."
Posted on: July 27, 2010 9:21 pm
Turns out, it's a bit premature for the Texas Rangers to begin arranging their rotation for the playoffs.
A day after new acquisition Dan Haren was smoked in the pitching arm by a line drive, the Angels are hopeful that he will make his next start as scheduled. Which happens to be Saturday night against the Rangers, who lead the Angels by a tidy 7 1/2 games in the AL West.
It is the largest margin of any of the six divisions.
Haren, wearing a compression wrap on his right forearm, underwent X-rays on Tuesday and said "they didn't show anything. They looked clear."
Then he not only did his usual day-after throwing routine, he added to it. During a long-toss session of throwing baseballs 150-to-200 feet with pitching coach Mike Butcher, Haren said he mixed in some cutters and curveballs just to see how it would feel.
"Pretty good," he said. "No restrictions."
"Right now, we'll see how he progresses in the next day or two, but we're optimistic he'll make his next start," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Haren said he always plays long toss on the day after he pitches, but after coming out of Monday's game following only 62 pitches, he did more than usual on Tuesday.
It definitely was a hold-your-breath moment for the Angels, who had just acquired Haren from Arizona on Sunday. It was in the fifth inning of Monday's 6-3 loss to Boston that Kevin Youkilis rifled a line drive back through the box. Haren turned reflexively, raised his arms to protect his head and the baseball ricocheted off of his right forearm.
"The doctor said an inch lower and it would have been on the bone, and that wouldn't have been good," said Haren, who has never spent one day on the disabled list in his eight-year career. "I guess I got lucky. I've never come out of a game in my professional career like yesterday.
"I was frustrated, but I guess I'm lucky, too."
Posted on: July 26, 2010 4:35 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 2:44 pm
Talks between the Marlins and Rangers for slugger Jorge Cantu have reached the point where if a deal happens, it probably will happen in the next day or two, according to two major-league officials with knowledge of the discussions.
The Rangers are in full-throttle, pedal-to-the-metal mode with a seven-game lead in the AL West. One club source says the belief is that now is the time to push because this current Rangers team is showing that it's ready to win now.
The Texas front office believes it too, given the acquisitions so far of ace Cliff Lee and catcher Bengie Molina. If the Rangers can add Cantu to their lineup, as one scout says, they would add "probably the least-known 100 RBI guy in the game."
With the Angels having acquired right-hander Dan Haren from Arizona on Sunday and Seattle having dealt Lee to Texas earlier this month, the AL West is putting on quite a trade-deadline show this summer.
In the deal currently being discussed, Texas would send two minor-leaguers to Florida for Cantu. The Rangers would have to get the OK of the Commissioner's Office before any deal takes place because Cantu is owed about $2 million yet for 2010 and the Rangers, of course, are in bankruptcy court as their sale is pending.
However, Cantu also would be a perfect stretch-run pickup for the Rangers because there are no money issues after this year -- Cantu will become a free agent.
Meantime, while the Marlins have other issues -- such as, at 49-49 and eight games behind Atlanta in the NL East, they're trying to determine whether they're in or out of the race -- trading Cantu somewhere appears close to a fait accompli. The Marlins also are engaging Colorado and San Francisco in discussions.
The Marlins are comfortable with the idea of Chris Coghlan playing third base -- or, while he's on the disabled list with a knee injury, with Wes Helms there -- and they think Logan Morrison is ready for the majors. Morrison has been playing left field in recent games for Triple-A New Orleans and is hitting .306 with six home runs, 44 RBI and a .424 on-base percentage in 67 games.
Their feeling is, if they do trade Cantu and the trickle down effect includes Morrison, Coghlan and Helms, it won't hurt them while they make a run at it this summer.
Posted on: July 18, 2010 8:52 pm
Arizona ace Dan Haren has a limited no-trade clause in his four-year, $44.75 million deal that allows him to veto deals to 12 clubs.
Haren hasn't publicly listed those teams, and as a lost season goes further south for the Diamondbacks, he certainly is sounding like a man who is open to going to a contender.
But he also has not reached the point of frustration of, say, Roy Halladay during his final months in Toronto.
"I want to win," Haren told CBSSports.com this weekend. "I'd prefer it to be here [in Arizona]. I'm not asking to get out. My agent hasn't told me anything is close.
"This team has got some talent. It's a matter of putting it together."
As Arizona's season gets away, Haren is attempting to not allow the same to happen to his. After getting cuffed by the Padres on Friday night, the right-hander now is 0-4 with a 4.57 ERA over his past six starts. The Diamondbacks are 0-6 during those starts. Haren has surrendered 21 homers, tied for second in the majors.
"At this point, the way I'm pitching, I feel like I'm not even wanted by anybody," Haren said. "It's been hard. It's been a tough year. We're 20-some games under .500 ... I like the guys. I like this team.
"I'd like to be a part of turning it around."
Despite his rough patch lately, his overall body of work -- three-time All-Star, including starting the 2007 game in San Francisco, and leading the National League last year in WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched), among other things -- surely outweighs four or five rough starts. If ever there was a poster boy for someone in need of a fresh start, he looks like Haren in a 2010 Arizona uniform.
"I want to win," he said. "I've had a couple of good years personally here, this year being an exception. I'd like to be a part of winning in Arizona. This team made a big push to get me. ...
"I'm just trying to win ballgames. But winning has been few and far between this year."
Posted on: March 14, 2010 12:22 am
From his perch in the desert, right-hander Ian Kennedy is perfectly content to have left the No. 4 train to the Bronx behind.
He's making his pitch toward the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation and, though they're not handing him the job, they are giving him what might be the most important guarantee he could get: They view him as a starter, period. The bullpen is not an option.
"We'd like him to win the job," manager A.J. Hinch says. "We feel like he's going to win the job."
As Hinch says, they're not handing out jobs. Kennedy must earn his keep. But you get the idea. ...
"It's nice, because when I was with the Yankees, I didn't know this spring if I was going to relieve or start, what my role was," Kennedy says. "If they wanted me to start in Triple-A. ...
"Coming here, they said, 'Here's what you could have. You've got to just do what you do.' That's the advantage of being here. If you look around, there's a lot of good, young players here. That's what I'm excited about."
Having missed most of '09 with an aneurysm near his right shoulder, Kennedy is doing his normal spring work and feeling good. The Diamondbacks' rotation is somewhat in flux because of ace Brandon Webb's slow return from shoulder surgery.
Kennedy figured to line up as the No. 4 starter behind Webb, Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson -- though with Webb expected to start on the disabled list, Kennedy could find himself pitching the third game of the season against San Diego.
He's spent a lot of time with Webb this spring which, among other things, has resulted in Kennedy adding a sinker to his repertoire. That first came up during the Arizona Fall League.
"I talk to Webby a lot," Kennedy says. "He's usually in the training room, and I've asked him a lot of questions so far about pitching, trying to pick his brain on how he can throw that great of a two-seamer [sinking fastball]."
Sunblock Day? Finally, some sun and some 70-degree weather. And don't look now, but they're predicting highs of 83 and 84 Tuesday and Wednesday in Phoenix.
Likes: Diamondbacks bench coach Kirk Gibson and former major leaguer Brett Butler, now managing at Triple-A Reno, giving hands-on lessons on baserunning the other day on one of the back fields. I hope the younger Diamondbacks in particular were listening, there's a lot of wisdom to be learned from those two men. ... The Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch off of I-10 on the way south to Tucson. Never fails to amuse. And no, I didn't stop and pet the deer (one of the options listed in the extravagant signage). ... Picacho Peak, between Casa Grande and Tucson off of I-10. My friend Steve Gilbert of MLB.com informed me that the westernmost battle of the Civil War was waged there. It's now a state park, and there's a re-enactment of the battle each year. ... Watching the Big East title game Saturday night on television, great scene at the end after West Virginia won and they blasted John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads over the speaker system in Madison Square Garden with the Mountaineer fans singing loudly, especially to the lines in which Denver sings, "To the place, I belong, West Virginia. ..." Sounded great on television.
Dislikes: So I hear there's going to be a "big announcement" on a Detroit radio station Friday night from Alto Reed, saxophone player for Bob Seger. A summer tour, perhaps? How cool would that be? Uh, no. The announcement, according to the crack Web site Segerfile.com, is that the sax guy will be joining the radio station's on-air staff. Yawn.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"It's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most
-- Zac Brown Band, Chicken Fried