Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:25 am
Edited on: October 17, 2011 3:26 am
MILWAUKEE -- The wordplay is irresistible: Mr. Freese. The Iceman. Freese It. Freese Frame.
All we need now is for Cardinals third baseman David Freese to grow into a star. And with his NL Championship Series MVP, he's taken a long leap in that direction over these past several days.
"There are a lot of guys who have talent," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said as the celebration hit full-blast in the winning clubhouse Sunday night. "To be successful in this league, you've got to be tough and you've got to have good character.
"He is very tough. He's had bad breaks with his ankle and his feet, but this guy is very tough. If he can stay healthy, he's going to be a star year-in and year-out. I'm talking about a clutch, clutch star."
That's what Freese looked like against the Brewers. He hit safely in all six games, collected multiple hits in four of them and, by the final out in Game 6, was hitting a sizzling .545 (12 for 22) with three doubles, three homers, nine RBI and six runs scored.
Though the Brewers battled and eventually cut St. Louis' lead to one run, Freese's three-run, first-inning homer against Shaun Marcum essentially put Milwaukee on life support.
For a guy who grew up not far from St. Louis, in Wildwood, Mo., it was a dream come true.
"I think not too many people get a chance to do this in their hometown," Freese said. "And it's an unbelievable feeling. To be a part of this team, this group of guys, this organization, it means a lot."
Freese, 27, batted .297 with 10 homers and 55 RBI in 97 games for the Cardinals this season. He missed 51 games after fracturing his left hand when he was hit by a pitch against Atlanta on May 1. It continued a string of bad luck for Freese, who had surgery on each ankle in 2010 -- part of the reason why he played in only 70 games in '10.
Acquired from the Padres for outfielder Jim Edmonds in December, 2007, the Cardinals have been waiting for him to blossom. And by the looks of it, he's doing so at an opportune time.
"He's an unbelievable player," reliever Octavio Dotel said. "Unbelievable. And he's going to be a real tough player for the next five, six, seven years. He's a guy you're going to see on ESPN, hear all over the radio, see on Fox Sports ... he's going to do some damage to the other teams, because he's a really, really great player."
Posted on: August 24, 2010 2:03 am
Edited on: August 24, 2010 10:35 am
That, combined with manager Dusty Baker having to blow through three relievers when starter Edinson Volquez was chased in the first inning, left Baker and general manager Walt Jocketty discussing roster options with two more games remaining on this nine-game West Coast trip.
Will Cincinnati have to send out for bullpen help before Tuesday night's game?
"We're discussing that now," Baker said.
As for the outfield situation, the Edmonds injury appeared the worst of the two. Oblique strains can knock a player out for several weeks and, at 40, Edmonds, acquired from Milwaukee in a move for depth earlier this month, already was in rough physical shape.
"Right oblique and right foot," Edmonds said. "They kind of go hand-in-hand."
Translation: He's been nursing a sore right Achilles for two months, and he thinks the oblique injury occurred because he was compensating for the foot.
"I don't know what's going to happen now," said Edmonds, who already intended to retire following this season. "I'll see what the doctor says and go from there. ... I was sore the last couple of weeks, but the last couple of days, not playing much, I thought it would get better. False sense of security, I guess. That's the way it goes when you try to play through stuff and be stubborn."
As for Nix, he jammed his foot beating out an infield single in the third when he put on the brakes to avoid Giants pitcher Matt Cain, who was covering first base.
"I jammed my leg, but I didn't roll it," Nix said. "It shouldn't keep me out of action. I think I should be fine to pinch hit."
The Reds are plenty deep in the outfield. They're currently carrying six true outfielders in Nix, Edmonds, Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, Chris Heisey and Jonny Gomes, and infielder Miguel Cairo can play some in the outfield.
"[Edmonds] doesn't look good at all," Baker said. "We have six outfielders. We usually don't carry that many, and usually things in this manner take care of themselves. You just don't like it to be this way."
Posted on: July 29, 2010 5:08 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 7:01 pm
Toronto was the focal point of last year's trade deadline, then-Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi was the point man and ace Roy Halladay was the bait.
Toronto again is a focal point, first-year GM Alex Anthopoulos is the point man and reliever Scott Downs is getting as much action as anybody on the market.
Now Downs might not pack as much marquee punch as Halladay, but this year's trade market isn't exactly heavyweight, either.
And given the overwhelming bullpen needs of the majority of contenders this summer. ...
"He might be the best guy out there," the general manager of one club with interest in Downs says. "He's owed just a little more than $1 million, he's left-handed, he can close, he can set up. ..."
-- The Nationals are holding out hope of signing slugger Adam Dunn to a contract extension between now and Saturday's trade deadline, which is why talks remain slow between them and other clubs like the White Sox, Yankees and Giants. If contract talks don't progress, trade talks are expected to.
-- The Dodgers, who obtained outfielder Scott Podsednik from Kansas City on Wednesday, still want to acquire a starting pitcher and worked hard to try and pry Roy Oswalt from Houston until the Phillies finally finished the deal. The Dodgers were given indications that Oswalt would have waived his no-trade clause to go there.
-- The Dodgers have scouted the Cubs' Ted Lilly but are lukewarm on him, particularly given that they'd get only about 10 starts for the roughly $4 million he's still owed. They also have had a scout sitting on Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm, who was blasted by the Rockies in Coors Field on Thursday (five earned runs, seven hits, 4 2/3 innings). The Pirates have not indicated yet whether they intend to move Maholm.
-- GM Ned Colletti thinks the chances of the Dodgers acquiring pitching help might be better in August given the slim pickings right now. Plus, Dodgers under Colletti have made several of their key moves in August. Last year, they added pitchers Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland, infielder Ronnie Belliard and pinch-hitter Jim Thome in August. Two years ago, they added Greg Maddux in August.
-- Philadelphia scouted Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa as a fallback in case Roy Oswalt did not work out.
-- The Angels, who are just about DOA right now, had been working toward a deal for the Cubs' Derrek Lee for several weeks before Lee nixed it. Angels outfielder Torii Hunter had dinner with Lee in Chicago on June 18 after that afternoon's game that doubled as a recruiting session. Lee must be one of the few people in baseball who can't be charmed by Hunter.
-- Multiple clubs have asked Milwaukee about veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds, but Edmonds has told the Brewers he does not want to go anywhere. He particularly would make sense for San Francisco, which is looking for an outfielder who can improve the offense.
-- This shoulder stiffness that sent Washington's Stephen Strasburg to the disabled list on Thursday is something completely new. His college coach, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, said at Petco Park on Wednesday night that Strasburg never had a shoulder or arm problem in three seasons at San Diego State. Not even something minor. "None. Zero. Nothing," Gwynn said.
Posted on: April 5, 2010 2:38 pm
Four key players are or will be on the field today who did not even make it for one game in 2009:
Jake Westbrook is Cleveland's opening day starter against the White Sox.
Shaun Marcum is Toronto's opening day starter against Texas.
Ben Sheets is Oakland's opening day starter tonight against Seattle.
And outfielder Jim Edmonds is in Milwaukee's opening day lineup today in place of right fielder Corey Hart. Edmonds just whiffed with Brewers on first and third in the first inning. But the Brewers have high hopes for him, think he looked great this spring and manager Ken Macha thinks he will get Edmonds at least 250 at-bats this year.
In Chicago, meanwhile, Westbrook surrendered two early runs (a two-run Paul Konerko homer) and is trailing 2-0 in the third.
Posted on: March 29, 2010 4:33 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2010 6:22 pm
MARYVALE, Ariz. -- Is it actually possible to get younger by taking a year off?
Jim Edmonds, 39, sure looks it. He's about to complete one of the spring's most impressive comebacks, winning a spot on the Milwaukee Brewers' opening day roster after taking the entire 2009 season off.
"Kids and golf," he says. "Spent some time on the beach with my kids.
"I haven't gotten a chance to do that in 15 years."
He's leaner than when we last saw him in 2008, fading away with San Diego and the Cubs. He's toned. He's hitting .293 with a .383 on-base percentage in the Cactus League with two homers and 12 RBI in 16 games.
"I think the year off not only helped me get healthy, but it gave me a fresher mind and body," says Edmonds, a four-time All Star who has eight career Gold Gloves. "I was able to get all the negativity out of my mind.
"Now, I'm not worrying about whether it's a lefty or righty pitching, matchups, anything."
When we last saw him, he had a strained calf, suffered a concussion, got into it with Tony La Russa, his former manager in St. Louis. He was flat-out worn out.
"Trying to keep up with all the doubters and the negativity, it was tough to hit," he says.
Now, he's been one of the most pleasant surprises in the Brewers' camp. He's not going to win a starting job, not with slugger Ryan Braun in left, Corey Hart in right and speedy Carlos Gomez in center. But in a right-handed-heavy lineup, Edmonds' lefty bat will find plenty of playing time the way things stand now.
"I can see him getting 250 at-bats," Brewers manager Ken Macha says. "I don't think that will be a problem. If he plays two or three times a week against right-handed pitching, that's 75 games right there, times four at-bats ... 250 at-bats, I can see that happening easily.
"His defense has been terrific. I'm good with him in left field, center field or right field. His arm is still very good, and accurate."
Macha already is envisioning Edmonds hitting second in the lineup when he's in there.
"I just want guys who will get on base for Braun and Prince Fielder," the manager says.
Besides, there's precedent for this sort of thing in Milwaukee. Outfielder Gabe Kapler did the same thing as Edmonds in 2008, winning a job after not playing in '07, and hit .301 with eight homers and 38 RBI. Kapler wound up parlaying that into two more one-year, $1 million-plus contracts in Tampa Bay.
Sunblock Day: Oh man, temperatures in the 80s. Are we sure spring training is wrapping up this week? It's just starting to heat up. Only problem is, so are the allergies.
Likes: Ricky Weeks, healthy. ... Milwaukee starter David Bush getting past the arm fatigue issues that plagued him in 2009 as he was coming back from a micro tear of his right triceps muscle that sidelined him from June through August. Bush right now probably slots in as the Brewers' fourth starter behind Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis. Fifth starter? Brewers manager Ken Macha still has a lot of ifs, but it's between Manny Parra and Chris Narveson after Jeff Suppan was put on the disabled list with a sore neck. ... Prince Fielder going over his iPod with Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins and recommending tunes early Monday morning. ... Brandon Morrow feeling great after throwing the simulated game for Toronto the other day. Would love to see him take advantage of his new gig in Toronto after pitching out of Seattle's bullpen the past few years. ... Livan Hernandez in the Nationals rotation? Love to see old people still productive. ... Colorado is looking for a middle reliever, ala what Oakland will get with Chad Gaudin. ... Can't wait for the Butler-Michigan State Final Four game Saturday. ... Ya know, if you get your spinach sautéed with olive oil and garlic, it's not bad.
Dislikes: All these ads I keep seeing about the World Cup this summer on ESPN, the only thing that makes them tolerable is the music, U2's City of Blinding Lights. That's as much attention as I will be paying to soccer for the summer, thank you very much. ... Spring is almost over and I have not even been to Waffle House once.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Just 'cuz I don't run my mouth
-- Drive-By Truckers, Marry Me
Posted on: April 4, 2008 11:19 pm
The season is only a few days old, but San Diego already is expecting a reinforcement in time for Saturday afternoon's game with Los Angeles. Center fielder Jim Edmonds, following a brief, two-game injury rehabilitation stint at Class A Lake Elsinore, will be activated and manager Bud Black hinted that he will be in the lineup.
Edmonds, who batted only .252 with 12 homers, 53 RBI and a career-low .325 on-base percentage last year in St. Louis, has been nursing a strained calf since early this spring. The Padres sent Edmonds to Lake Elsinore, about a two-hour drive north of San Diego, essentially for a two-game dress rehearsal. They wanted him to get some at-bats, run the bases and field in game conditions before turning him loose in Petco Park.
How Edmonds' early leg problems will play out undoubtedly will be one of the keys to San Diego's season. He's 38, and he's got a lot of ground to cover in one of the league's largest outfields.
Odd man out to make room for Edmonds? Outfielder Jody Gerut is expected to be optioned to Triple-A Portland. The other candidate would be Paul McAnulty, but he was hitting .455 entering Friday night's game and he's out of options. Plus, he's played his way into the Padres plans. For now, at least.
-- Strange to think about now, but there was a time this spring when new Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter was concerned about starting the season in Minnesota. He really was afraid he was going to be the target of boos and catcalls after leaving the Twins as a free agent. Instead, he was exhausted leaving Minnesota for the Angels' home opener Friday night because of all of the attention he received.
The Twins presenting him with his Gold Glove award on the field before the second game of the series was a class move, as were the several standing ovations Hunter received. It hasn't always been that way in the Metrodome for Twins who have left. Let's just say Minnesotans are world class at distinguishing between the phony and the real (well, other than when they elected Jesse Ventura as governor).
-- Don't pay too much attention to that fancy save Miguel Batista picked up for Seattle in closer J.J. Putz's absence the other day. Not to disrespect something the Mariners really needed after losing Putz to the 15-day disabled list, but it essentially was like throwing on the side in between starts for Batista.
Because he will not be removed from the rotation: He's still on schedule to start Saturday's game against Baltimore. Batista closed for Toronto in 2005, but while Putz recovers from a rib cage strain, right-handers Mark Lowe and Sean Green and lefty Eric O'Flaherty will share the eighth and ninth innings.
-- Did you see Alfonso Soriano flip back to second base in the ninth inning Friday against Houston? For one inning, and it figured: First ball in play is a grounder to Soriano, who hadn't played second in two years. He fielded it cleanly, after which he flashed a wide grin. He wound up with two assists in the inning -- two of the three Astros to bat grounded to him.
-- Was going to be in Anaheim for the Angels' home opener Friday night against Texas, but Kenny G was going to play the national anthem and Kenny G is just something I can't stomach. See you soon, Angels.