Tag:Don Middlebrook
Posted on: February 28, 2011 5:40 pm

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

JUPITER, Fla. -- You can always count on the Marlins to be breaking in a hot, young prospect, and this year is no different. On the other side of Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison, over there at third base, a slick-fielding kid named Matt Dominguez is on the launching pad.

He's just 21, but he's been primed for this moment for years. In high school in Los Angeles, he played in a title game in Dodger Stadium ... as a freshman (he was a high school teammate, by the way, of Kansas City phenom Mike Moustakas).

"His defense is there," manager Edwin Rodriguez says. "We know what he can do defensively.

"We want good at-bats. We want quality at-bats. We're not looking at stats or numbers. We're looking for him to have the ability to keep the same concentration level regardless of who's pitching."

Florida's first-round pick -- 12th overall -- in 2007, Dominguez has never played above the Double-A level. And his bat remains a question -- thus, Rodriguez's looking for maturity at the plate, and not numbers. In 111 games at Double-A Jacksonville last summer, Dominguez batted .244 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs. He compiled a .324 on-base percentage.

With the glove, Dominguez reminds many of Mike Lowell with his soft, quick hands.

If Dominguez can win the third base job this spring, the Marlins figure to line up with Omar Infante, acquired from Atlanta in the Dan Uggla trade, at second.

If Dominguez proves that he is not ready this spring, Infante could flip over to third with Emilio Bonifacio, Ruben Gotay, Donnie Murphy or Joe Thurston playing second. The latter three are here as non-roster invitees. Gotta have insurance.

If none of that works out, then Infante could stay at second and veteran Wes Helms could play third.

"We're going to be very patient with Matty," Rodriguez says.

"I hope he does win the job," Morrison says. "He's a great kid. He's got the mentality. Now he has to show his stuff."

Sunblock Day? The run of 80-something degrees continues. Hoo-ha!

Likes: Big congratulations to pal Don Middlebrook, tropical rock troubadour in Michigan, for being named a top 10 finalist in Fox Sports Detroit's "April in the D" music video contest (the celebrity panel was led by none other than Kid Rock). But now you've gotta join me in voting for him -- early and often -- by the March 6 deadline. You can vote right here, and you can watch Middlebrook's original song and video here. This isn't Middlebrook's first at-bat in the baseball song department, by the way. He wrote a classic a few years back about the Ted Williams head in the cooler fiasco called Frozen in Arizona. Among his memorable non-baseball tunes: I Stole Jimmy Buffett's TV Guide.

Worst ... Oscars ... ever. Banal and brutal. James Franco and Anne Hathaway were awful. The script they followed was dreadful (the call-outs to their mothers was embarrassing). Hathaway's musical number -- the failed "duet" -- in a tuxedo was sophomoric. She wore six different gowns, which was distracting and ostentatious. I was fine with The King's Speech winning Best Picture. But getting to that point was painful. ABC announced in mid-show they had extended the contract with the Academy Award. If telecasts in future years are like Sunday night's, there's only one reaction to that: Poor bastards.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I rounded first never thought of the worst
"As I studied the shortstop's position
"Crack went my leg, like the shell of an egg
"Someone call a decent physician
"I'm no Pete Rose, I can't pretend
"Though my mind is quite flexible, these brittle bones don't bend"

-- Jimmy Buffett, Growing Older But Not Up


Posted on: August 21, 2009 12:24 am

Greene, Padres settle dispute

Khalil Greene arrived in San Diego on Thursday with his St. Louis Cardinals teammates -- but without union representation.

Which was a very good thing for him.

Greene and the Padres settled a grievance in which the club was attempting to recover up to $1.47 million in salary from last August and September when the shortstop was sidelined after a suffering a self-inflicted injury. The grievance hearing had been scheduled for this month.

"It was resolved a couple of weeks ago in a mutually satisfactory way," Padres chairman Jeff Moorad said.

Moorad declined to reveal terms because the parties signed a confidentiality clause. David Prouty, chief labor counsel for the major league baseball players association, confirmed the settlement Thursday.

"It certainly was something, as far as it being over and done, I'm glad it's over," Greene said. "It was something that was on my mind for a long time up until the point when it was finally finished.

"I'm glad to be done with it."

Greene suffered a broken hand last July 30 when, in a fit of anger, he punched a storage locker in Petco Park during a game. The Padres, angry to have lost their shortstop for the season and in a financial pinch, wanted to dock his salary for the time he missed.

It is believed that Greene wound up receiving most of, if not all of, the $1.47 million due him. One precedent the players' union was citing in its case involved former pitcher Doyle Alexander, who won a similar grievance in 1982 when the Yankees attempted to recover salary paid while he was sidelined for two months because of a similar self-inflicted injury. Then, Alexander fractured a knuckle when he punched the dugout wall.

Greene has been on the disabled list twice this summer with anxiety disorder issues and is hitting only .211 with five homers and 23 RBI in 57 games for St. Louis. He also has eight errors.

Likes: When people talk about Albert Pujols' greatness as a complete player, this is what they're talking about: Pujols swiping second on a 3-and-0 count to Matt Holliday in the ninth inning of a tied game in Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night. It caught the Dodgers so flat-footed that shortstop Rafael Furcal didn't even back up the play, so nobody was there when the ball skipped away from Orlando Hudson. So Pujols took third, then scored the winning run on Holliday's fly ball. It even got a smile from normally stone-faced manager Tony La Russa when I asked him about it. ... College football getting close. ... Don Middlebrook's new CD Beach Bar Serenade. Check out Don's stuff here. ... Bob Dylan's latest Together Through Life. Really good. ... Dark Star's Sports Tonight radio program in Minnesota. ... The latest leg of Bruce Springsteen's tour opening in the United States -- in Hartford, Conn. -- on Wednesday. ... The Farrah Fawcett photo on the cover of this month's Vanity Fair. And I'm particularly glad that, of the two covers of this month's magazine -- Fawcett and Michael Jackson -- the issue featuring Fawcett was the one that landed in my mailbox. ... John Mellencamp's new song Save Some Time to Dream, that apparently will appear on a CD to be issued this fall. He's playing it in concert this summer. ... The free Friday concerts in the park near my house in the summertime. Just one more to go this weekend. Quick, somebody slow summer down. It's disappearing too quickly.

Dislikes: Who says the education system in this country doesn't need fixing? And I'm not talking math, science or even diagramming sentences. I'm talking about the young police officers in New Jersey who didn't even know who Bob Dylan was last month. Very amusing story here.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
"He gets me my drinks for free
"And he's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
"But there's someplace that he'd rather be
"He says Bill, I believe this is killing me
"As the smile ran away from his face
"Well Im sure that I could be a movie star
"If I could get out of this place"

-- Billy Joel, Piano Man

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