Tag:Lucinda Williams
Posted on: May 24, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 6:56 pm

Heath Bell looking like short-timer in San Diego

As the Padres' home struggles deepen, chances of the club finding a new home for Heath Bell this summer appear to be increasing.

Bell is a closer who isn't getting much work, and he's headed for free agency this winter. The Padres briefly broached a contract extension with him this spring, but those talks were very general and have not been revisited since camp ended.

"I love it here, and I don't want to go anywhere," says Bell, who just had a house built in the area. "But because I've beat that drum into the ground, I think people are tired of hearing it."

Because the Padres were 19-29 and last in the NL West heading into the middle game of a three-game set with St. Louis on Tuesday, the reality is that odds of a trade are increasing.

Several clubs -- including Texas, according to CBSSports.com sources -- have inquired recently about Bell. The Padres, not yet eager to pull the trigger, are in listen-only mode and, sources say, want to wait a little longer and see how things play out.

The Rangers, who recently inquired about Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan, are described as simply checking their options while they, too, evaluate how the season develops.

As for the Padres, barring a dramatic turnaround, there will be no reason not to deal Bell.

He's pitched in just three of the last 14 games. Petco Park, where the Padres went 45-36 last summer, has turned into their very own little shop of horrors in these post-Adrian Gonzalez days.

The Padres are 8-19 at Petco, the worst home record in the majors. Six of their nine shutouts this season have come at home. The splits bear out the carnage: In 27 home games so far, the Padres are hitting .202 with just 60 runs scored. In 21 road games, the Padres are hitting .265 with 106 runs scored.

Manager Bud Black held a stern team meeting following Sunday's loss, the finale of a three-game sweep by Seattle.

"I'll give it everything I have for the Padres until the team says otherwise," Bell says. "Until Jed [Hoyer, Padres general manager] tells me I'm no longer a San Diego Padre.

"In my own quirky head, I still think something will happen at the end of the year and I'll stay here. It's wait-and-see. But I understand the business part. We've got to play well and get some fans in here."

Likes: Boston at Cleveland meaning something for both teams in late May. ... Kyle McClellan, the Cardinals' starter who is doing a great job of stepping in for fallen mate Adam Wainwright. ... The job general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson are doing in Arizona. ... Secretariat. Caught up with it on DVD the other night. Very enjoyable. ... The Reagan Diaries. Whatever your political persuasion, it's a fascinating peek behind the Oval Office curtain. But jeez, does the man ever whine every time Nancy leaves town. ("With Nancy gone, I think this must be the loneliest place in the world."). ... The music of Treme, the great HBO show starring New Orleans (along with real actors).

Dislikes: Aw, Animal Kingdom ran second in the Preakness. There goes my interest in horse racing for the season.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Sittin' in the kitchen, a house in Macon
"Loretta's singing on the radio
"Smell of coffee eggs and bacon
"Car wheels on a gravel road
"Pull the curtains back and look outside
"Somebody, somehere I don't know
"Come on now child we're gonna go for a ride
"Car wheels on a gravel road"

-- Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

Posted on: April 26, 2011 4:39 pm

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Outtakes from some time spent with Jered Weaver and his choir of Angels. ...

-- 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
"Like you talk about climbing trees
"You live the life of a little kid
"With bruises on your knees
"You will never cop to the damage that's been done
"But you will never stop 'cause it's too much fun
"Now you want somebody to be your buttercup
"Good luck finding your buttercup"

-- Lucinda Williams, Buttercup

Posted on: March 17, 2009 7:48 pm

The Go-Go Cubs? Not quite yet

So Chicago manager Lou Piniella was discussing whether the Cubs can become more of a running team given the makeup of this year's club.

Piniella acknowledged that new right fielder Milton Bradley can run some but "we've got to be careful with him" given some of the leg injuries in Bradley's past.

"(Ryan) Theriot can run, and (Mike) Fontenot and (Kosuke) Fukudome can steal the occasional base," said Piniella, whose Cubs ranked eighth in the NL in steals in 2008. "But we're probably more of a first-to-third team than a stolen-base team, to me. That was one reason we added Joey Gathright.

"Are we going to lead the National League in stolen bases? I hardly think so. Unless we steal them before and after games."

Likes: Lou Piniella's sense of humor. ... Cubs general manager Jim Hendry and assistant Randy Bush, on their first trip to the Dodgers' new complex here Tuesday, unknowingly walking into the wrong dugout about 30 minutes before game-time (the teams were both back in the clubhouses) and helping themselves to the spray bottles of sunblock on a very hot day. Dani Holmes, the Cubs' media relations assistant, had to cross the field and re-direct them. "Stole some of the Dodgers' sunblock," Hendry quipped, his face all lathered up in SPF-something. ... Mixed reaction to the Camelback Ranch facility the Dodgers and White Sox are sharing. Very plush, cool architecture, good-looking copper and tan and brown buildings but just not the cozy spring training atmosphere.

Dislikes: Phoenix traffic never seems to improve.

Sunblock Day? Most definitely. Gettin' hot here in the desert. Must have been pretty darn close to 90 today.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Is it much to demand
"I want a full house and a rock and roll band
"Pens that won't run out of ink
"And cool quiet and time to think"

-- Lucinda Williams, Passionate Kisses



Posted on: February 20, 2008 7:33 pm

Catching up with Albert Pujols

JUPITER, Fla. -- Give St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols points for honesty.

Was he concerned that manager Tony La Russa might not return for 2008 last October?

"I was worried about my injury," Pujols told me Wednesday morning. "I wasn't worried about him coming back."

That doesn't mean Pujols didn't want La Russa back.

"When we re-signed him, I was really excited for him because of our relationship and what kind of manager he is," Pujols said.

As for the injury Pujols was concerned with, it's a chronically strained ligament in his right elbow. It hurt most of last season, and though offseason surgery was an option, he chose to go the rehabilitation route this winter than to go under the knife.

The elbow caused a stir when he first reported earlier this week, especially when La Russa said the Cardinals will have to monitor it and when Pujols said "If it blows out, it's going to blow out. You can't control that."

But during our conversation Wednesday, he said: "I think people made my elbow worse than it really is. I just laugh. They think they know. They don't know. Only I know."

La Russa reiterated on Wednesday that the Cardinals will watch him closely and noted that throwing isn't the only issue for Pujols.

"You can tweak it from swinging, which is what happened last year," La Russa said. "He's got an issue there."

An issue the Cardinals don't need to blow up on them.

Likes: Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire lowering the boom and telling veteran pitcher Livan Hernandez that those big diamond earrings don't fly with the Twins. Not while a guy is on the field, they don't. ... Let's see how Fidel Castro stepping down in Cuba affects the majors. You can bet they're watching closely in New York -- as are several individual clubs -- because a thaw in the Cold War almost certainly means more Cuban players in the majors (without having to defect!) and possibly major-league games in Cuba. How about the Dodgers' spring training camp in 1947, Jackie Robinson's rookie year? They held it in Havana, Cuba. Then they moved to Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., the next season. ... Driving across the state on Route 80 and passing, in Clewiston, the Git-N-Split (fast food drive-thru joint) and the Git-N-Go (convenience store). Glad I didn't pass an outhouse with the "Git" theme to it. ... I'm telling you, sitting in a driftwood booth mere steps from the intracoastal waterway at Le Tub in Hollywood, Fla., the other night, munching on a cheeseburger (rated best burgers in the country a couple of years ago by GQ magazine), watching the boats go by and the sun setting, I was seconds from calling both my editor and my wife and telling them I was never to return. Then I woke up.

Dislikes: Rain in the forecast in the Fort Myers area the next couple of days.

Sunblock day? Sneaky sun today. Cloudy for much of the morning over in Jupiter, but the sun was out enough to warrant some sort of protection. We're cooking along in the upper-70s these days at most of the camps I've been to.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"Can't find a damn thing in this place
"Nothing's where I left it before
"Set of keys and a dusty suitcase
"Car wheels on a gravel road

-- Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

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