Tag:Morgan Ensberg
Posted on: May 13, 2010 8:14 pm

Braden set for encore Friday night in Anaheim

When Dallas Braden takes the mound Friday night in Anaheim in the latest attempt to become the only pitcher since Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer (1938) to throw no-hitters in consecutive starts, he says he will not feel any different than he did in his last start despite. ...

-- Becoming only the 19th man in baseball history to throw a perfect game last Sunday against Tampa Bay.

-- Reading the Top Ten list on David Letterman's show on Tuesday.

-- Appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

-- Appearing with his grandmother on the CBS Early Show on Thursday.

-- Watching his Q rating shoot through the roof.

"I don't get too wrapped up in all that stuff," Braden was saying in a conference call Thursday, his last public words before facing the Angels' Joe Saunders in his next chance for greatness. "I take some of it for what it's worth.

"I almost relinquish to a higher power, my mother having had a hand in what went on. I don't even know that I had a choice."

Braden's mother, Jodie, died of melanoma when he was a senior in high school, and his grandmother who helped him after that -- Peggy Lindsey -- was in the stands in Oakland on Sunday.

She also was at his side for postgame interviews and, now something of a cult figure (especially after her memorable "Stick it, A-Rod" line), Lindsey joined her grandson in Texas this week for a spot on Thursday morning's CBS Early Show.

"Believe you me, she's enjoyed it," Braden said of his grandmother and the limelight. "We did the morning show here in Texas, and the CBS folks were so nice to fly her out and take care of her. And I treated her to a spa day.

"I'm going to have to grease the walls to get her into her house when we get home, because she's loving life right now."

With just 17 career victories before Sunday's perfecto, the key for Braden, 26, is a changeup that tantalizes hitters. His fastball sits between 84 and 88 miles an hour, nothing special. Tampa Bay hitters swung and missed a total of only five times.

Because of that, the self-deprecating Braden doesn't think opponents will view him much differently from here on out, either.

"I don't think so," Braden said. "Because of how rare the feat is. I think everybody understands I'm not going to rattle off four or five in a row. I don't think there will be any fear of that.

"I think there will be fights at the bat rack to get to my fastball."

This will be his second start in Anaheim of the 2010 season. On April 11, he allowed three earned runs and five hits over six innings in a game Oakland won 9-4. Bobby Abreu drilled a first-inning homer against him, then Braden settled down.

"Good changeup," Abreu said this week. "He's got command in and out, and he's not afraid to throw it in, and then throw the fastball away. He comes right at you."

The key to facing Braden?

"Sometimes he gets a little wild," Abreu said. "Make him throw strikes. See how it's going to be in your first at-bat, then after that you decide."

Likes: Ken Griffey snoozing in the clubhouse? Check out the Seattle Times' Larry Stone, whose wildly twisted mind immediately came up with The Boys of Slumber: My All-Sleep Team. Included: Nap Lajoie, Robby Hammock and Andy Sheets, and Stone went deep on Clarence Pillow and James Yawn. Love it. ... And speaking of twisted minds, you know what else is a good read? Former infielder Morgan Ensberg's blog. Check it out here. ... The Detroit Free Press did a very nice job on a three-part series from an extended interview with the late Ernie Harwell last fall, during which the Free Press acceded to Harwell's request that it be held until after his passing. ... Finished Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked. Very good read. Not as good as About a Boy or High Fidelity, but it would be nearly impossible to hit that bar again -- for anybody.

Dislikes: Lenny Dysktra needs money. So badly that he's selling crap on Craig's List.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

Now close your eyes and imagine new Royals skipper Ned Yost singing:

"I'll be standing on the corner
"On the corner of Twelfth Street and Vine
"I'm gonna be standing on the corner
"On the corner of Twelfth Street and Vine
"With my Kansas City baby
"And a bottle of Kansas City wine
"I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come
"I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come
"They got a crazy way of loving there
"And I'm gonna get me some"

-- Fats Domino, Kansas City

Posted on: February 25, 2008 6:42 pm

Yanks won't be hamstrung

TAMPA, Fla. -- Camp (Joe) Girardi is more difficult than Camp (Joe) Torre in the early going this spring which, truth be told, was to be expected.

Everybody knows that Girardi was almost maniacal in cracking the whip on his young Florida Marlins two years ago.

But the Yankees aren't simply running more this spring than last for that reason alone.

No, it was in the early going last season, you might recall, that the Yankees were struck by an extraordinary number of hamstring injuries. Pitchers Phil Hughes, Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang and outfielder Hideki Matsui all landed on the disabled list with various degrees of hamstring pulls in the first weeks of 2007, leading to the firing of then-strength coach Marty Miller ... and, eventually, leading to a more regimented physical conditioning program this spring for the Yanks.

Mussina told me Monday morning that some of the descriptions of how much the Yankees are running so far are a bit over-dramatized. The club ran this much under Torre's direction in some springs, Mussina said. But the conditioning requirements eased off last spring, Mussina acknowledged, and these Yankees are running far more than they did last spring.

"People forget we ran before last year," Mussina says. "We didn't run as much last year, and it hurt us."

Understand, no games have been played yet -- Grapefruit League or regular season -- and these are just sketchy first impressions but, so far, the reaction to Girardi has been positive.

Especially from one of the men whose opinion counts the most.

"I love what he does," Hank Steinbrenner, Yankees senior vice-president, was saying around lunchtime Monday at the Yankees' Legends Field complex. "I love what he's doing. I really do. He's got a rare combination of things.

"They  like him and respect him, I think, and there's even a little fear."

Steinbrenner acknowledged the hard work is key after the way all those hamstrings blew up early last year.

"It's especially important," he says. "All of that stretching and running ... that's not going to happen again. If it does, it'll be a fluke."

The early running isn't necessarily unique to the Yankees. Reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who played with five other organizations before signing with the Yankees as a free agent this offseason, said he ran this much with the Rockies last spring and "we probably ran more in Minnesota."

"It ain't that hard," Hawkins says. "The hard thing is the heat and humidity. It's been humid down here. I was running a month ago at home (in Texas), inside, 65 degrees, and it was no problem. Here, the heat takes its toll on your body."

Likes: Morgan Ensberg, in Yankees camp as a candidate to play first base, is intelligent, personable and kooky. And one more reason why I love the guy came Monday in the Yankees' clubhouse, when, after catching up with each other for several minutes, he offered this as a farewell when we parted: "Write well this spring. Have good syntax." ... Pretty dull year for the Oscars. No Country for Old Men was a reasonably good movie, but not THAT good. Daniel Day-Lewis was outstanding in There Will Be Blood, but the ending was suspect. Juno was enjoyable, but nomination for best picture? ... David Michaelis' biography of Charles M. Schultz, who wrote the comic strip Peanuts for all those years.

Dislikes: Heading toward the Sunshine Skyway on my way toward Tampa the other night, I sat behind a car for a full five minutes at the toll booth as the driver tried to sort out some sort of problem. What was the problem? "She didn't have any money," the toll booth person told me when I finally was able to go. Great. No money, and the woman's driving a Lexus. "Sir, you work here for one day, you'd be amazed by what you'd see," the gentleman taking my $1 said ... and I believe him.

Sunblock day? Yep, still cookin'. Sunny, humid and in the 80s.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"And in the streets the children screamed
"The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed
"But not a word was spoken
"The church bells all were broken
"And the three men I admire most
"The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
"They caught the last train for the coast
"The day the music died

-- Don McLean, American Pie


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