Tag:John Lackey
Posted on: December 7, 2009 6:48 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2009 7:20 pm
 

Angels talk Halladay, Lackey, Bay -- not Holliday

INDIANAPOLIS -- Owner Arte Moreno said nearly a month ago that free agent outfielder Matt Holliday will not be an option for the Angels, and GM Tony Reagins said here Monday that the club's position on Holliday remains "unchanged."

So congratulations to Holliday, who ranks as one of the precious few players in whom the Angels are not interested. Apparently, Moreno did not enjoy doing business last winter with Holliday's agent, Scott Boras, when the Angels made a losing bid for slugger Mark Teixeira (who wound up signing with the Yankees, of course). 

Otherwise, count slugging outfielder Jason Bay as one of their targets -- as Moreno also said last month -- free agent pitcher John Lackey and, especially, Toronto ace Roy Halladay. The Angels remain highly engaged in attempting to find a way to land him.

While Reagins would not confirm individual names after arriving here late Monday afternoon, neither did he dismiss anybody out of hand -- other than Holliday. Several sources confirmed the Angels' varying degrees of interest in the other players to CBSSports.com Monday.

Reagins, one of the last GMs to check into the hotel here at 5:20 p.m. Monday, was greeted by a phalanx of television cameras from Japanese stations in anticipation of the Angels' possible interest in free agent designated hitter Hideki Matsui.

"That was kind of surprising. ... He's a person we've talked about, along with several others," Reagins said. "We have a player, Vladimir Guerrero, who fits the same role. There are a lot of scenarios out there for us."

Guerrero, however, also is a free agent and the Angels' degree of interest in bringing him back seems limited.

"He's in our thought process," Reagins said. "That will be developing as well. He's going to see what options are out there for him."

Compared to the others, Guerrero appears in the Angels' afterthought process. Their top target clearly is one of these three players, probably in this order:

-- Halladay. Reagins declined to address the ace pitcher specifically because, of course, clubs can be fined for tampering while discussing players on opposing teams -- even if the club is attempting to trade the player, as the Blue Jays are Halladay.

"Starting pitching is difficult to come by," Reagins said. "Right now we have four real good starting pitchers [Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders and Scott Kazmir]. We have three or four others who could land in the fifth spot. We feel good about the rotatoin as it stands right now, and if we need to make adjustments, we will."

-- Lackey. The Angels are scheduled to meet with Steve Hilliard, Lackey's agent, later tonight.

"We have several options and Lackey is one of them," Reagins said. "There are opportunities we've been working on leading up to these meetings."

-- Bay. Several clubs are after one of the premier bats on the market this winter, including the Red Sox, Mariners, Angels and others.

"He's a guy we find appealing," Reagins said. "We'll see where it takes us."

As for losing leadoff man Chone Figgins, who is on the verge of signing a four-year, $36 million deal with Seattle this week, Reagins said "we felt our offer was strong. We thought it was fair and reasonable." He declined to say what it was.

Posted on: October 23, 2009 4:41 pm
 

ALCS: Juggling the pitching staffs

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- This is the way it works in the postseason:

Despite manager Mike Scioscia's mixed-reaction pulling of starter John Lackey after 6 2/3 innings and 104 pitches in Game 5, the Angels very well could benefit from it if they can extend this AL Championship Series to Game 7.

Currently, the Angels are listing Jered Weaver as their Game 7 starter. But Scioscia said that Lackey will be available out of the bullpen.

"We've got a lot of options for Game 7," Scioscia said. "We're certainly going to have the opportunity to have John Lackey out of the pen if we need it. Believe me, we're going to have everybody available."

With heavy rains forecast for Saturday in New York, if Game 6 is postponed, that could even set up a scenario in which Lackey could start a Monday Game 7 on three days' rest.

"We're going to let this thing unfold a little bit and see how the weekend goes," Scioscia said Friday before his team held a brief workout at Angel Stadium, after which they were scheduled to depart for New York. "If there is an opportunity to look at bringing a guy like John back, it's something we would certainly consider. We've talked about a bunch of different things."

That happens, even though Lackey was angry with Scioscia for removing him from Game 5 when he said he still felt strong, maybe the ace right-hander will benefit by a shortened workload by having more in his tank if he is needed in Game 7 -- in relief on Sunday, or possibly starting on Monday.

Conversely, if rain plays havoc with the ALCS on Saturday, the Yankees would have the choice to start CC Sabathia on regular rest Sunday in Game 6, or continue with their plan with Andy Pettitte in Game 6 and Sabathia in Game 7.

***

Angels left-hander Joe Saunders, who pitched well in Game 2 in New York (two earned runs in seven innings) on his Game 6 start Saturday night: "We've got obviously a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum. We're going to be ready to play. It's going to be the usual Yankee hostile environment. It's going to be a lot of fun. They're going to be all over us. It's going to be a good battle."

Likes: Game 5 of Yankees-Angels was great fun. ... The impending CC Sabathia-Cliff Lee World Series smackdown matchup (unless the Yankees are derailed by the Angels). It's going to make poor Clevelanders sick. ... Belated birthday greetings to longtime Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard, who turned 99 on Tuesday. His taped introduction continues to announce Derek Jeter at-bats in the new Yankee Stadium, at Jeter's request. ... The World Series scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in which Jack Nicholson rabble-rouses his fellow asylum-mates to change the television channel to watch the game. Classic scene, and I always think about it this time of year. They should show it on the video boards at each stadium hosting the Series.

Dislikes: The mid-game and after-game television interviews with Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis. Either stop walking and stand still long enough to be interviewed, or just cancel the interviews, period. Weis looks incredibly uncomfortable as he talks en route to the locker room and the whole thing is awkward and painful to watch.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Old days
"Good times I remember
"Fun days
"Filled with simple pleasures
"Drive-in movies
"Comic books and blue jeans
"Howdy doody
"Baseball cards and birthdays
"Take me back
"To a world gone away
"Memories
"Seem like yesterday"

-- Chicago, Old Days

Posted on: August 28, 2009 4:52 pm
Edited on: August 28, 2009 11:05 pm
 

Angels acquire Kazmir from Tampa

The Los Angeles Angels acquired left-handed starter Scott Kazmir from Tampa Bay for two minor leaguers, left-handed pitcher Alex Torres and third baseman Matt Sweeney, and a player to be named later on Friday, immediately strengthening their rotation for the stretch run.

Rarely have the Angels been short of pitching over the past several years, but in a twist, while they ranked second in the majors to the Yankees with 713 runs scored entering the weekend, their 4.87 team ERA ranked 26th in the majors. The Angels' rotation, which has been battered by injuries throughout the year, ranks 11th in the American League with a 4.96 ERA.

The move comes after Kazmir, 25, produced a fine start in Toronto for the Rays on Wednesday, allowing one earned run on four hits in a no-decision. Still, it's been a very disappointing season for Kazmir, who is 8-7 with a 5.92 ERA in 20 starts for the Rays. Opponents are batting .273 against him after hitting only .220 against him last year. His ERA has been over 6.00 all summer until now.

While a somewhat surprising move for Tampa Bay given that the Rays are attempting to hang in there in the AL wild-card race, the move would off-load $22.5 million guaranteed to Kazmir through 2012  and give them some maneuverability in other areas, such as picking up outfielder Carl Crawford's $10 million option.

The Rays are not exactly viewing this as waving the white flag, either. They can replace Kazmir in their rotation with Andy Sonnanstine, who won several big games last fall, or rookie Wade Davis. Both are pitching at Triple-A Durham right now. Davis' ceiling is very high, and some scouts expected him to be recalled to the Rays before even David Price this season.

According to a clause in his contract, Kazmir is owed an extra $800,000 if traded.

Kazmir would join John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders in a rotation that is healthier than it's been all summer. Being that he's signed through 2011 (with a $13.5 million club option for 2012), Kazmir also gives the Angels some insurance against Lackey leaving as a free agent this winter. If he does, the Angels still would have Kazmir, Santana and Saunders, among others, for 2010.

Kazmir, who cleared waivers before the deal, is eligible for postseason play because he was traded before Aug. 31.

Posted on: April 26, 2009 8:46 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2009 1:48 pm
 

Short Hops: Hot Pirates, returning Lugo, etc.

A baseball season is a series of tests, and even with its pitching going gangbusters, Pittsburgh is being tested right now. The Pirates lost catcher and cleanup hitter Ryan Doumit to a broken wrist last week and then disabled shortstop Jack Wilson on Sunday with a sprained left middle finger.

Meantime, outfielder Nate McLouth missed the weekend series in San Diego after suffering a strained right oblique during batting practice Friday.

"We're going to have to really pull it together," manager John Russell says.

The Pirates did so in Sunday's 8-3 win over San Diego. Shortstop Brian Bixler, recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis, punched a two-run double and catcher Robinson Diaz singled home two more runs.

The Pirates can't necessarily plan on that sort of success every day from their role players, and losing Doumit, especially, for what is expected to be eight-to-10 weeks will hurt. But the Pirates do appear built better this year to withstand such injuries with veterans such as Eric Hinske, Craig Monroe and Ramon Vazquez and rookie catcher Jason Jaramillo.

"Neal (Huntington, Pittsburgh general manager) has done a great job," Russell says. "Depth is one thing as an organization we've focused on. Acquiring talent, developing our talent and having good drafts. It was tough to trade Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady last year. But coming out of spring training, there's a lot more depth than last year."

The Pirates especially will lean on Jaramillo, acquired last December for Ronny Paulino, with Doumit out for an extended period.

"It's tough," Pirates pitcher Zach Duke says. "He's our guy. He's our leader. We want him back there. J.J. is a capable catcher. He works his butt off and we're comfortable with him behind the plate. He's stepped in nicely.

"You can ask anybody in here, if he hits .250 and calls a good game and blocks everything, we'll be more than happy."

-- After taking the first two games of their series with the Yankees before heading into battle one more time Sunday night, more good news is on deck for the Red Sox: Shortstop Julio Lugo is through his rehabilitation period and is expected to be in the lineup Monday night in Cleveland. And while Lugo hasn't exactly come close to living up to expectations since he signing with Boston, there is this: Among the 11 American League shortstops with at least 300 plate appearances in 2008, Lugo's .356 on-base percentage was second only to Derek Jeter's .360.

-- We'll never know if there would have been the usual scouts or SAT administrators behind the plate, but we just missed a matchup of Princeton University products over the weekend when Russ Ohlendorf started for Pittsburgh on Sunday while San Diego's Chris Young will go Monday in Colorado. When Pittsburgh played San Diego last September, Young and Ohlendorf missed each other by just a day as well. They are two of only three pitchers in Princeton baseball history to be named Ivy League rookie of the year (Young won in 1999 and Ohlendorf in 2002).

-- Maybe a day off last Wednesday against Detroit helped Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, who homered and had a career-high four RBI in Sunday's 8-0 win over Seattle. Kendrick has been having a miserable time this season and is still hitting just .258 after his 4-for-5 day Sunday. Most noticeable has been  his strikeout total -- 14 in just 66, a rate of one per 4.7 at-bats as opposed to the one per 5.9 at-bats last year. Manager Mike Scioscia said it was a combination of mechanical flaws and Kendrick pressing. And what bothered the manager as much as the whiffs were the weak, rollover ground balls Kendrick was sending to the left side of the infield.

-- Update on two disabled Angels starters: John Lackey worked two innings' worth of an extended spring training game in Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday, same as Ervin Santana a day earlier. The duo each will have another extended spring training outing this week, Santana on Wednesday and Lackey on Thursday, and if it's still all systems go, they'll each likely report for rehabilitation assignments at Class A Rancho Cucamonga. The program would put Lackey and Santana back in the Angels' rotatoin sometime around mid-May.

Likes: Glad to see Pittsburgh pitching coach Joe Kerrigan back in the game. ... Watched San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg, the probably No. 1 pick in this June's draft, on Friday night and the kid is the real deal. Very, very impressive. Column coming on him later this week. ... Somehow managed to miss the entire NFL draft. Aw, shucks ... not. ... Closer Trevor Hoffman activated in Milwaukee. ...

Dislikes: Detroit catcher Matt Treanor about to undergo hip surgery? Say it ain't so! Now he and wife Misti May-Treanor, the Olympic gold medalist, can rehab together. She's still recovering from a ruptured Achilles heel suffered on Dancing with the Stars. Another reason why I don't dance.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Our house is a very, very fine house
"With two cats in the yard
"Life used to be so hard"

-- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Our House

Posted on: March 8, 2009 2:04 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2009 5:56 pm
 

Angels lose RHP Santana for start of season


TEMPE, Ariz. -- A relatively quiet camp was ruffled Sunday when Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed that All-Star right-hander Ervin Santana, bothered by elbow soreness, likely will not be ready for opening day.

Santana underwent an MRI exam, the results of which weren't immediately available. And though Scioscia said he doesn't expect the right-hander to be in the opening day rotation, he added that he doesn't expect it to be a long-term situation.

"We're going to get a better read on that later," Scioscia said Sunday morning. "Where he is now, I would anticipate that the start of the season would be a stretch."

The MRI, according to the Angels, revealed a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in Santana's right elbow. The club said he underwent an MRI last week, was re-examined on Saturday and will be held back from throwing with no definitive timetable. Meantime, the Angels said Sunday afternoon, he will continue daily therapy.

Santana, who earlier this spring signed a four-year, $30 million deal with a club option for a fifth year, was relieved Sunday that the MRI did not reveal anything more serious. And he wasn't quite as pessimistic on being ready for opening day as his manager.

"I think," Santana said. "I think I'm going to be ready for that."

But Scioscia said "we're going to take it slow with him and go from there. We're going to let some stuff calm down. We don't anticipate it being a setback for a very appreciable part of the season."

The Angels went through a similar situation with ace John Lackey last spring. Lackey, whom Scioscia already has named as the club's opening day starter for 2009, opened the 2008 season on the disabled list. The Angels still posted their first 100-win season in franchise history.

Right-handers Dustin Mosely, Shane Loux, Nick Adenhart and Anthony Ortega right now are vying for the fifth starters' spot in the rotation until Kelvim Escobar returns, possibly in May. With Santana now expected to open the season on the disabled list, two of those four could earn spots in the opening day rotation.

"We have some guys we feel can do the job and help us do what we need to do out of the chute," Scioscia said. "Moving forward, we'll get Kelvim Escobar back and we expect Ervin to be ready not too long after the start of the season."

Santana pitched 16 innings over four appearances for Licey in the Dominican Republic winter league this offseason and said he was fine when camp started.

The only previous elbow issues he's encountered before, Santana said, came in 2004 when he was stricken with tendinitis. That season, pitching for Double-A Arkansas, he made only eight starts.

"That was much worse," Santana said, referring to his '04 issues as tendinitis and calling his current soreness "inflammation."

He went 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA over 32 starts and 219 innings for the Angels in 2008 and was slotted as the No. 2 starter behind Lackey heading into '09.

 

 

 

Posted on: May 15, 2008 1:26 am
 

Lackey pitches like an Angel

Look out, the Los Angeles Angels just got stronger.

A lot stronger.

Maybe that sounds funny on a night that saw the Angels endure a 5-1 beating by the Chicago White Sox. But that's small picture stuff.

Big picture? Ace John Lackey, who finished third in last year's Cy Young voting and led the American League in ERA, stepped onto a big league field for the first time in 2008, and all he did was look like he hasn't missed a step.

Lackey slammed the door on the White Sox for seven innings, holding the Sox to one run and six hits.

He was dominant, retiring 10 consecutive Sox batters during one impressive stretch and holding Chicago to one hit from the second through the seventh.

He worked ahead, pumping first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 26 batters he faced -- including eight of his first 10.

He threw 99 pitches, 67 strikes, and basically looked like a Triple Crown thoroughbred out for a training jog. Of course, part of that may have to do with the fact that the White Sox rank 13th in the AL in batting average, seventh in runs and ninth in on-base percentage.

He was, quite simply, just as the Angels remembered him.

"It's good to have him back," said Jered Weaver, who took Lackey's opening day start and is 2-5 with a 4.86 ERA in nine starts. "We all work off of him, that's for sure."

"The challenge now for John is to maintain that from start to start," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

If you would have asked the Angels this spring whether they would have taken a 24-17 record and first place in the American League West in mid-May while playing without their top two starting pitchers, they may have strained their hamstrings leaping to say yes.

Yet, thanks in no small part to Joe Saunders (6-1) and Ervin Santana (6-0), there they were.

And who knows? Maybe this missed time will be beneficial down the stretch.

Lackey led the Angels with 224 innings pitched last season and, though he remained reasonably strong into the playoffs, he did get bounced around by Boston in his lone playoff start (four runs, nine hits in six innings).

Assuming he remains healthy the rest of the way, Lackey figures to clock in somewhere around 160 innings pitched by season's end. You figure that can only help come the stand-tall days of September and October (if the Angels advance to the postseason for the fourth time in five years).

"We'd rather have had him these last six weeks and take the chance that he wouldn't be fresher in October," Scioscia said. "If the benefit is that he'll be fresher, I don't see any silver lining."

Lackey won 19 games last season and Kelvim Escobar, who remains on the disabled list with shoulder issues, won 18. Escobar continues rehabbing at the Angels' spring training base in Tempe and the reports now are far more encouraging than they were this spring when the right-hander became so frustrated he said he thought he'd be out for the season.

Still, there is no timetable for when -- or if -- Escobar will return in 2008.

Likes: My pal Sam calling to tell me I overlooked a couple of key points in my rave about the burgers at Miller's Bar in Dearborn, Mich., in the Bull Pennings post from the other day. In addition to everything else I said, two other cool things about Miller's: There are only four things on the menu -- hamburger, cheeseburger, onion rings and fries. And, it's all on the honor system -- when you finish eating and drinking, you simply walk up to the bar and tell them what you had. Sam, who has spent a few evenings in Miller's in his life, has very good input -- these are two more endearing aspects to the joint. ... Angel Stadium. The remodel they did several years ago was terrific, and they keep it in great shape. ... The Marlins and the Rays, what fun we're having now, eh? ... The Sunday New York Times.

Dislikes: Gas prices. Nice summer we're about to have.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"She is beautiful, she is small
"She don't wanna play basketball
"There's no tellin' what she might do
"Before her doin' days are through
"But right now she can't even crawl"

-- John Hiatt, Georgia Rae

 

Posted on: May 3, 2008 9:29 pm
 

Angels on the mound

John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar combined for 37 victories last season, so when they both went onto the disabled list to start the season, there was every reason for the Los Angeles Angels to cough, wheeze and sputter for the season's first several weeks.

So what happens? Left-hander Joe Saunders and righty Ervin Santana each start 5-0, matching Frank Tanana (1978) as the only Angels ever to go 5-0 in the month of April.

More impressive, it's only the second time in major-league history, according to Elias Sports Bureau research, that one team has had a pair of pitchers go 5-0 or better in the month of April. The only other time: Aaron Sele and Rick Helling did it for the 1998 Texas Rangers.

Who, no coincidence, wound up winning the AL West that season.

"We have to keep going, keep it up," Santana said after knocking off Oakland on Wednesday to go 5-0. "I'm 300 percent, 500 percent positive that I can do better."

Santana's math may be a tad off, but he was smiling as he said it and his point was made.

"Joe and Ervin have kind of matched each other pitch for pitch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia says. "They've really been the lead dogs for our rotation."

And the woofing is only going to get louder. While Saunders takes his 5-0 record into Sunday's series finale against Baltimore, Lackey will make his third injury-rehabilitation start for Rancho Cucamonga Quakes -- also on Sunday afternoon. So far, so good with Lackey, and the Angels have him tentatively scheduled to rejoin their rotation on May 14 in Kansas City.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com