Posted on: August 24, 2011 12:35 am
ANAHEIM, Calif -- Highlights have been few and far between for the 2011 Chicago White Sox, but Paul Konerko put up one for the books when he cracked his 2,000th career hit in the eighth inning of Tuesday's series opener here.
The hit surely was especially meaningful to Konerko in that it was an RBI single against Ervin Santana that tied the game at 4-4 at a point in the season where the White Sox are desperate for every run, every win they can get. Konerko, a beloved figure on Chicago's South Side and widely respected throughout the game, becomes only the 13th player in club history to collect his 2,000th hit.
It's been a boom season for the 2,000-hit club: Konerko is the sixth man to join that club this summer. Previously this summer, Houston's Carlos Lee, San Francisco's Orlando Cabrera (then with the Indians), Cincinnati's Scott Rolen, St. Louis' Albert Pujols and Texas' Michael Young each collected his 2,000th hit.
The White Sox dugout immediately erupted in cheers, then most of the players began waving for the baseball as soon as the play concluded with Alejandro De Aza crossing the plate. With the game 4-4, White Sox manager removed Konerko, who was DHing, for pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge.
Konerko also is at 393 career homers and soon could become only the sixth active player with 400 homers and 2,000 hits, joining Pujols, the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, Atlanta's Chipper Jones, Baltimore's Vladimir Guerrero and Minnesota's Jim Thome.
Tags: Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Carlos Lee, Chicago White Sox, Chipper Jones, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Jim Thome, Michael Young, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Orlando Cabrera, Paul Konerko, San Francisco Giants, Scott Rolen, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Vladimir Guerrero
Posted on: April 14, 2011 8:53 pm
Cabrera Tales, and other outtakes from the red- (downgraded from white-) hot Indians. ...
-- The last time Orlando Cabrera played second base for more than one game in a season, it was 1998, he was 23 and the name on the front of his jersey said "Montreal."
So other than the fact that he needed a job and spring training was about to begin, what possessed him to agree to move full-time from shortstop over to second base and sign with Cleveland this season?
"It was a matter of playing every day," says Cabrera, now 36. "I know I can do the job [at shortstop], no doubt. But I don't want to move over to second base for a guy I don't respect at shortstop."
Asdrubal Cabrera is not that guy. Orlando respects him a bunch.
"This kid is going to be one of the elite players at this position for many years to come," Orlando says.
The switch to second seems to have rejuvenated Orlando as well, and not just because he's batting .295 with a .333 on-base percentage over his first 12 games.
"It feels like when I just came up to the big leagues," he says.
-- Without using the word, designated hitter Travis Hafner likens Orlando Cabrera and his veteran skills to a quarterback.
"He's brought a lot of leadership," Hafner says. "He's really helped solidified the middle infield. Both he and Asdrubal have played great up the middle. Both are swinging the bat well. That's been a big part of our success."
-- Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA), 26, who was one of the key pieces acquired from Boston in the Victor Martinez trade two summers ago, starts against Baltimore on Friday night as the Indians open a brief, three-game homestand before heading back out for a seven-game trip to Kansas City and Minnesota.
He's got a pretty good handle on the process these Indians will go through if they can keep winning.
"It goes from people saying, 'Who cares about these guys' to 'Oh, it's not going to last too long' to 'Oh, they've put it all together'," Masterson says. "We're not trying to prove people wrong. We're just trying to do what we know we can do.
"We know we're talented. We just have to ride the highs and not stay too long in the lows."
Likes: Figuring out which early surprises are for real in the game and which are mirages is always one of the fun parts of April and May. ... Cleveland manager Manny Acta, looking to build on some promise the Indians showed during the second half of last season, sounds a lot like Bud Black and the Padres last summer as they were winning 90 games following an August-September surge in 2009. That's not to say these Indians will win 90, but one thing in their favor is, the White Sox, Twins and Tigers all are kicking it around a little bit early in the season. No dominant teams right now in the AL Central. ... This video showing Tim Lincecum pitching in super-slow motion. ... The latest from the Drive-By Truckers, Go-Go Boots. Country blues, and it sounds so good. Used To Be a Cop is tremendous, and have alwayed loved the Eddie Hinton number, Everybody Needs Love.
Dislikes: The Bonds Trial. Manny. It never ends.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Riding in your top-down Mustang
-- Drive-By Truckers, I Do Believe
Posted on: June 15, 2010 5:53 pm
CINCINNATI -- The first, and most important, bit of news as the first-place Reds prepare to open a three-game set with the Dodgers tonight is that second baseman Brandon Phillips is in the lineup, batting second.
Phillips was a late scratch Sunday because of a lingering hamstring issue, an issue being described by the Reds as feeling like a "cramp." An MRI exam on Monday's off day showed nothing worse than a mild strain -- not a pull -- so Phillips, hitting .311 with eight homers and 23 RBI, is going to give it a go.
He's just under orders from manager Dusty Baker to play smart, and to "not do anything crazy."
Shot back Phillips to his manager: "I'm always crazy."
"That's what he told me," Baker said, chuckling. "One thing about Brandon is, you know he's honest."
Of course, all of this is if tonight's game is played. As the Reds finished hitting and the Dodgers took the field at 5:40 the sun was shining, but it is 86 degrees and off-the-charts humid.
They're expecting severe weather here to the point that the Dodgers' pre-game notes contains this entertaining bit: "The National Weather Center is now predicting a strong chance of severe weather (with the potential for tornadic activity) late this afternoon and early evening. If the nasty weather becomes a reality, all credentialed press will be sheltered in the left-field level media interview room as the press box and broadcast booths will need to be evacuated."
In 20-some years of doing this, I can't ever recall a similar note in the pre-game handouts.
But I love the phrase "tornadic activity."
Likes: Great day Sunday watching Nationals' phenom -- and this week's Sports Illustrated coverboy -- Stephen Strasburg. ... Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera's enthusiasm. ... Nice drive from Cleveland to Cincinnati on Monday. About four hours, though it was a touch longer because I veered off the freeway in Columbus for a quick drive by Ohio State's football stadium, which I'd never seen before. ... I still love the pastoral Midwestern scenery. Farms, pastures, little shops like Grandpa's Cheesebarn and Just Pies. I couldn't pass up Grandpa's Cheesebarn ("Meats, cheeses, gifts"), and the hand-scooped ice cream cone was worth it. ... The ribs at Montgomery Inn, outstanding as ever. ... Yes, Monday being a travel day with no game, it doubled as a food day. ... Fantastic thunderstorm late Monday night, lighting up the Cincinnati skyline and the Ohio River and serenading those of us in hotels until the televisions went out. Love those mid-summer thunderstorms. One of the biggest things I miss since moving from the Midwest to the West Coast.
Dislikes: As I was saying the other day, come on Tom Izzo, stay put at Michigan State. You don't belong in the NBA. You're too good for the NBA. I mean it. Really.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"That's great, it starts with an earthquake
-- REM, The End of the World (As We Know It)
Posted on: July 31, 2009 1:04 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2009 2:04 pm
Cabrera, 34, has come on strong lately at the plate after a very slow start. He was hitting .280 with a .318 on-base percentage in 101 games for the Athletics, and he arrives in Minnesota with an 11-game hitting streak intact. He's hitting .375 (18 for 48) over that stretch and, since July 1, he's batting .373 (41 for 110) with eight doubles, two homers and 16 RBI.
In acquiring Cabrera, the Twins gave up their second-round pick from last summer's draft, Ladendorf. Initially, the Athletics were focused on outfielder Aaron Hicks, rated the Twins' top prospect in 2009 by Baseball America, and third baseman Danny Valencia, whom the Twins think is their third baseman of the future.
Cabrera is due roughly $1.25 million in salary this season, plus a $250,000 bonus for being traded. He is expected to arrive in Minnesota in time to play in Saturday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Twins, who also receive an unidentified amount of cash from Oakland in the deal, remain in the market for a relief pitcher.
Posted on: July 31, 2009 1:30 am
Edited on: July 31, 2009 1:30 am
In exchange for Cabrera, the Athletics were said to be asking for a high-level prospect plus that the Twins pay all of the roughly $1.25 million remaining of Cabrera's salary. The Twins, pushing to add help in their quest to catch Detroit and the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, are balking.
Among those whom the Athletics have inquired about in a Cabrera deal are outfielder Aaron Hicks, rated the Twins' top prospect in 2009 by Baseball America, and third baseman Danny Valencia, whom the Twins think is their third baseman of the future.
Posted on: July 27, 2009 9:35 pm
Their season dangling in the balance with Monday's devastating news that starter Kevin Slowey will miss the rest of the season because of wrist surgery, the Minnesota Twins have expanded their trade talks to focus on starting pitchers.
Already searching for a middle infielder -- negotiations with Oakland regarding shortstop Orlando Cabrera have intensified in the past 24 hours, sources say -- and a set-up man, the Twins now are shifting gears again as they struggle to keep pace with Detroit and the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central.
Slowey's 10 wins lead the rotation even though he hasn't pitched in three weeks. Among those the Twins are expected to inquire about -- or have inquired about -- are Seattle's Jarrod Washburn and Arizona's Jon Garland and Doug Davis.
Meantime, the Twins, after nixing a couple of mid-level prospects the A's have asked for in exchange for Cabrera, have provided the Athletics with a list of young players they would trade for the shortstop. Though Cabrera got off to a very slow start offensively for Oakland, he has batted .339 since June 4.
Rookie pitcher Anthony Swarzak has been a huge help lately as Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins have struggled to reach the seventh inning in recent starts. But with the subtraction of Slowey, the Twins clearly are in a bind.
The Twins had fallen to four games behind division-leading Detroit entering Monday night's games and clearly are frustrated.
Following a tough weekend against the Angels in Anaheim, the three Twins' franchise players -- Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan -- told LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that it's time to make a move.
"Yeah, there's frustration," Mauer told the newspaper. "But I've learned over the last few years not to try to get my hopes up that we'll have something, then get disappointed."
"It's frustrating, very frustrating," Morneau said. "You hear about the future, the future. I don't know who gets to decide when that is or when they think that is. You have a core of a lineup that can compete with anyone in the league. One of the best closers in the game. Young starting pitching that might be missing one veteran guy to show them the way.
"It makes a difference to have someone like that."
Posted on: December 10, 2008 2:23 pm
LAS VEGAS -- The Baltimore Orioles are on the verge of landing their shortstop: They've all but finalized a one-year deal with Cesar Izturis, according to sources.
Izturis, 28, hit .263 with a .319 on-base percentage and 24 steals last season for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Orioles had inquired on several other shortstops, including discussing Khalil Greene in trade with San Diego before Greene was shipped to the Cardinals this winter. With Detroit having signed Adam Everett this week, the shortstop market was beginning to dwindle.
Rafael Furcal, who continues talking with Oakland, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City, remains unsigned, as does Orlando Cabrera.
Posted on: October 4, 2008 4:03 am
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Exactly how poorly things are going for the Los Angeles Angels in this series with Boston crystallized in the third inning of Game 2 when Torii Hunter, outraged over being called out in a close play at first, leaped into the air ... and hurt his knee when he landed.
Hunter remained in the game, and a check by Angels doctors following Los Angeles' 7-5 loss revealed no ligament damage. But the left knee is sore and a little swollen, and Hunter is hoping the cross-country flight and impending activity don't make it swell more.
What happened was, with two out, runners on first and second and the Angels already trailing 4-1, Hunter grounded to shortstop and thought he barely beat Alex Cora's throw.
Umpire Kerwin Danley thumbed him out, however. Hunter, after crossing first base, whirled around, jumped, and. ...
"I was about to stomp, and I might have stomped too early," he said.
He crumpled to the ground in what immediately looked like a severe injury. After several minutes, he eventually made his way out to center field.
"We'll see what happens the next couple of days," Hunter said. "Regardless, I'm playing. The only way they're going to get me out of the lineup is to put me in a cage."
Likes: I really liked Tampa Bay pitcher Scott Kazmir drilling White Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera in the first inning Friday. Kazmir and Tampa Bay are in uncharted territory here in the playoffs, but it made an immediate statement following Cabrera's screaming and kicking dirt in the direction of reliever Grant Balfour in Game 1. The statement was, Kazmir will protect his teammates, and Balfour obviously is respected by those same teammates.
Dislikes: Frank TV. I don't care if the playoff games are televised on TBS, ESPN, Fox or the Home Garden Network (though I sure would love it if CBS would get the contract). But I am so sick of this Frank guy and the oversaturated commercials that, even though he looks like he's got some spot-on impersonations, I'll never watch the show.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"The crops we grew last summer weren't enough to pay the loans
-- John Mellencamp, Rain on the Scarecrow