Tag:Tim Hudson
Posted on: April 27, 2011 7:32 pm

Chipper passes Mantle on RBI list

SAN DIEGO -- On one of the most routine plays in baseball, Chipper Jones moved past one of the most extraordinary players in the history of baseball.

Jones' first-inning ground ball to shortstop Wednesday sent Martin Prado home from third, and it changed the game's all-time RBI list for switch-hitters to look like this:

1. Eddie Murray, 1,917.

2. Jones, 1,510.

3. Mantle, 1,509.

One inning later, Jones clobbered a two-run triple to dead center during Atlanta's 7-0 blitzing of San Diego, sending him home from this 10-day trip to the West Coast with 1,512 RBI and some extra text messages from a set of sentimental parents.

When Jones' father taught him to switch-hit as a kid in Florida in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was Mantle's name he usually invoked.

"It's gratifying," Jones, who turned 39 Sunday, said as the Braves dressed to fly home Wednesday. "I look at the numbers as just going out and doing my job."

Jones said he never really paused long enough to consider the history of it all as those numbers were piling up. But now that it's impossible to avoid the height of those piles. ...

"When you grow up hearing about Mantle like I did, the reverence regarding him from my father ... to pass him, it's gratifying," Jones said.

"It's nice to see," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It seems like there's a new milestone every day."

This one, though, comes with an extra lump in the throat for Jones and the Braves.

"The guy's pretty good, from what I hear," pitcher Tim Hudson deadpanned. "He's had an amazing career. I've played with him for going on seven years now.

"When you play with him and see some of the names he's passed, and the names of some of the guys he's going to be passing ... you lose touch with how significant a career he's had because you play with him and he's your teammate, your friend.

"But when you stack him up against everyone, he's going to go down as one of the greats in the history of the game."

Hudson paused, then quipped: "Even though he is a big dork."

That Jones was in the lineup Wednesday was a mild -- albeit pleasant -- surprise for the Braves. Following his season-ending surgery last summer that could have ended his career, and following an intense rehabilitation in which he arrived in spring training ahead of schedule, the Braves figured that at the very least, Jones would not be able to play in day games following night games early in the season.

Yet here he was on a beautiful day in San Diego, not only in the lineup, but advancing on history.

"He came in today saying, 'I'm good,'" said Gonzalez, clearly thrilled.

Jones is hitting .289 with three homers and 21 RBI through 25 games this season.

"Everyone has been saying in the dugout, 'Every other game, they're throwing out a baseball'," he said. "I'm like, 'Guys, we're done for awhile."

Posted on: October 13, 2010 3:40 pm

Ready, Fredi? Braves make Gonzalez official

Fredi Gonzalez is smart, he's coached under Bobby Cox, the Braves love him (front office and players alike) and he's got a veteran manager's pedigree.

There's only one thing not working in his favor, and it will be no small obstacle for Gonzalez to overcome: That old maxim, you never want to be the man who follows The Man.

Following Cox in Atlanta? It will be like following John Wooden at UCLA (poor Gene Bartow), Don Shula with the Miami Dolphins (Jimmy Johnson couldn't replicate the success), Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers (hello Bill Russell, sacrificial lamb).

Not only did Cox guide the Braves to those 14 consecutive NL East titles (discounting the strike-shortened 1994 season) and the 1995 World Series title, but his greater legacy while moving to fourth on the all-time managerial wins list might be this: You never heard any player who passed through the Braves clubhouse over the years utter a negative word about Cox. None. Ever.

What a testament to Cox in the immediate aftermath of Game 4 of the NL Division Series: The Turner Field crowd giving him a prolonged standing ovation, and the San Francisco Giants hitting the "pause" button on their on-field celebration long enough to stop, face the Braves dugout and give Cox a standing ovation of their own. What a show of spontaneity and class.

Into this Grand Canyon-sized opening steps Gonzalez, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Marlins last summer when owner Jeffrey Loria's lust for Bobby Valentine apparently got the best of him.

Gonzalez was the Braves' third-base coach from 2003-2006 and, before that, in 2002, he managed their Triple-A Richmond club.

This is a man with intimate knowledge of the Braves' system -- the players, the way they do things, the culture. Even after leaving to manage the Marlins in 2007, Gonzalez lived in the Atlanta area in the winters and several times a week would meet Cox and other Braves coaches for breakfast.

So, the transition from Cox and Gonzalez should be seamless. Part of that will be because the Braves, as you would expect, handled the entire transition with class. From Cox's retirement to refusing to discuss Gonzalez until after one last, final Cox news conference on Wednesday, the Braves hit all the right notes.

Now, it's up to Gonzalez. We don't know whether Chipper Jones will make it back next year from his knee injury, but we do know the cupboard is fairly well stocked for the new manager, from pitchers Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe and Tommy Hanson to everyday players such as Martin Prado, Jason Heyward and Brian McCann.

In Atlanta, the prima donnas are at a minimum. Presumably, Gonzalez will not have a petulant Hanley Ramirez problem on his hands. And if he does, we know how he'll respond: In one of his finest moments as Marlins manager, he benched Ramirez when the shortstop resorted to dogging it.

In two of Gonzalez's three full seasons in Florida -- 2008 and 2009 -- he got more out of the Marlins than they had a right to expect. He'll have more resources in Atlanta -- bigger payroll, more tradition and established veteran players.

Replacing Cox will be no easy task, but in so many ways, Gonzalez is inheriting an ideal situation. Let's see what the man can do.

Posted on: July 2, 2010 9:11 pm

Jimenez, Price aligned for All-Star Game

If American League manager Joe Girardi chooses to start Tampa Bay's David Price in the July 13 All-Star Game -- a very real possibility given that Price led the AL in ERA (2.44) and wins (11) on Friday -- the coast is clear.

And if National League manager Charlie Manuel gives the nod to Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez -- which seems a slam dunk -- that should work, too.

In the first season in which baseball will deem ineligible any starting pitcher working on the Sunday before the All-Star break, the view from several days out looks pretty good.

Of the top AL starters, only the Angels' Jered Weaver (who leads the majors with 124 strikeouts), Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann and the Yankees' CC Sabathia currently are projected to start for their clubs on that Sunday.

Among the NL's top starters, only the Mets' Mike Pelfrey is slated to start on Sunday, July 11. But depending on what manager Jerry Manuel does with his pitching on the club's off-day on Thursday, July 8, that could change.

Price, a serious candidate to start for the AL, is scheduled to make his final pre-All Star start for Tampa Bay on Wednesday, which would leave him plenty rested for the Anaheim game. And if Girardi looks in a different direction, Seattle's Cliff Lee (last first-half start next Friday), Boston's Jon Lester (Friday) and Clay Buchholz (Tuesday), the Yankees' own Phil Hughes (Friday) and Texas' Colby Lewis (Wednesday) all should be eligible.

Jimenez makes his final pre-All Star start on Thursday and, assuming good health, should be a foregone conclusion to start for the NL in Anaheim.

As for the rest of the NL's top starters, things are setting up very nicely for Manuel: Florida's Josh Johnson (final first-half start slotted for Wednesday), St. Louis' Chris Carpenter (Friday), Adam Wainwright (Saturday) and Jaime Garcia (Thursday), Philadelphia's Roy Halladay (Saturday), Atlanta's Tim Hudson (Friday or Saturday), Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo (Friday), the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (Thursday), San Diego's Mat Latos (Wednesday) and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum (Wednesday) and Barry Zito (Thursday)  all should be fresh for the game.

Likes: Great move by Texas acquiring catcher Bengie Molina. Look out, this is the strongest team the Rangers have had in several years. ... The wheels came off the wagon horribly in Arizona, but make no mistake: Fired general manager Josh Byrnes and manager A.J. Hinch are good people. ... New Arizona manager Kirk Gibson's first game in the dugout, of course, is against the Dodgers. Who else? ... The All-Star break just around the corner and Texas, Atlanta, Cincinnati and San Diego in first place. ... The new concert DVD from Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band, Live in Hyde Park. Very, very good. Great song selections, tremendous playing and some breathtaking camera work of both the band's work and the crowd in Hyde Park. ... Quaker Oatmeal Squares for breakfast. ... Ben & Jerry's Milk and Cookies ice cream.

Dislikes: It's July, so here comes the July 31 trade deadline, a time that you would think would get a baseball writer's juices flowing. And it does mine, too -- it's fun to see the moves as they're made -- but it's also become one of my least favorite times of the year because there is so, so much wrong information that will be produced this month. And ferreting out the truth from the fiction is next to impossible. The sad, simple fact is the journalism bar at times is lowered today, and this is one of them.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It turns me upside down"

-- The Cars, Magic

Posted on: February 25, 2010 2:22 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2010 2:23 pm

Braves only hope to contain Heyward (and cars)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- OK, the legend of Atlanta phenom Jason Heyward is growing to crazy -- and wildly fun -- proportions.

The latest?

"I think we're going to put up some nets over the cars in the parking lot," Braves manager Bobby Cox said following Wednesday's workout. "I'm serious. He's smashing too many.

"He's hitting them off of fenders, bumpers. He hit 'em over the cars today."

Heyward drilled a Coke truck the other day with a liner over the right-field fence. That's the area in which the Braves park their cars as well, and the Coke hit wasn't even close to the most damaging. Heyward also sent a screamer over the fence the other day that smashed the sunroof in the car of Bruce Manno, Atlanta's assistant general manager.

"Cost $3,400 to fix it," Cox said. "It also bent the sunroof frame. We thought it was going to be around $900."

The frame, though, jacked up that bill. And the deductible on the Braves' company car was $2,500.


Cox joked that the club should fine Heyward. But in truth, the Braves could not be more thrilled with what they're seeing from their top-round pick in 2007. Heyward, 20, probably is the best position-player prospect in the game and has a very good chance at cracking the Braves' opening-day lineup.

"You know when he's taking batting practice," Cox said.

You sure do. The buzz is electric.

Sunblock Day: Yes, but also a jacket day. The car temp read 42 degrees at 7:30 this morning and the wind chill was in the 30s. Cox wore a jacket during the entire workout. And it's supposed to get worse Friday.

Likes: Braves starter Tim Hudson, back from Tommy John ligament transfer surgery two Augusts ago, says this is the best his arm has felt in eight years. "I feel like I'm 24 again," Hudson says. Catcher Brian McCann says Hudson has impressive bite again on his two-seam fastball. ... Bobby Cox changing uniform pants four times before Wednesday's workout had even begun. The Braves had a lot going on -- yearbook photos, in-house television stuff -- that resulted in different uniforms. Cox ambled onto the field for the workout wearing white pants while the other 50, 60 players and coaches were wearing gray. So after starting with white, changing to gray for photos and then going back to white, he went back inside to change to gray. More costume changes than Cameron Diaz for the decorated skipper. ... Ozzie Guillen on Twitter might be the greatest thing of the spring. Tweet of the day from Ozzie (at least, in my book): "I love what I'm doing now. Followers, don't worry. I will be here for all of you."

Dislikes: Don't get me started on Avatar. Yes, the special effects were groovy. But I cannot begin to tell you how much I absolutely hated the movie. You watch the special effects for 15 minutes, then you've still got two and a half hours to go. Pedestrian plot, way more violent than I thought and the "battle" scenes were endless. Ugh.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train
"And I'm feeling nearly as faded as my jeans
"Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before it rained
"It rode us all the way to New Orleans
"I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna
"I was playing soft while Bobby sang the blues
"Windshield wipers slapping time, I was holding Bobby's hand in mine
"We sang every song that driver knew"

-- Janis Joplin (Kris Kristofferson), Me and Bobby McGee

Posted on: April 9, 2009 8:39 pm

Different Giambi set for Oakland home opener

Biggest difference between the 20-something Jason Giambi who played in Oakland in the 1990s and the 38-year-old graybeard whose encore performance there resumes in earnest with the Athletics' home opener Friday night against Seattle?

Probably the yams.

Yes. Yams.

"No more fast food runs," Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez says. "It's yams now. That's his big thing."

Like Popeye, Giambi yam what he yam in the twilight of his career.

"I've gotta stick around," says Giambi, whose fast-food drive-thru tales were legendary in his early days with the A's. "Those were the good old days. I'd get fast food and burn it off until it was all gone."

Whatever he's doing is working so far. When Giambi steps onto the Oakland Coliseum field for the first time since 2001 wearing the green and gold, he'll bring with him a .417 batting average and a .500 on-base percentage through three games. He's yet to have homered, and he has one RBI.

Booed lustily by the Bay Area fans whenever he'd return after signing as a free agent with the Yankees before the '02 season, the A's are expecting their home fans now to wrap Giambi in a giant, warm, standing-ovation hug during what undoubtedly will be one of baseball's emotional high points of the weekend.

"There's no doubt," says Chavez, one of Giambi's good friends on the team then -- and now.

"It's great," Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson, recovering from offseason surgery and a former teammate of Giambi's during those glory days in Oakland, said this spring. "I was happy to see him go back. I know the fans and the people in Oakland are really going to enjoy him.

"He's got a lot of years left to play, and hopefully the rest of them will be right there. He was a great teammate there for me. One of the best teammates I've ever had. He was as great a teammate as a superstar could be. He makes everyone feel important.

"He's got a heart of gold, and he's a likable guy. I've never met anybody that doesn't like him."

Hudson chuckled at the memory of Giambi's old penchant for junk food.

"I've never been through a drive-thru with him, but he's brought me some in the past, that's for sure," Hudson said. "In Oakland, he was the kind of guy who came into the clubhouse with a sack of McDonalds and everyone would get what they wanted."

Giambi's new diet is completely fat-free. According to www.nutritiondata.com, one cup of yam cubes (136 grams) contains 158 calories, five grams of dietary fiber, two grams of protein, 27 percent Vitamin C and zero grams of fat.

He's even made dietary converts out of outfielder Matt Holliday, second baseman Mark Ellis and, yes, Chavez.

"Chavy was busting on Mark Ellis the other day, saying, 'Look at those guys -- they're in the trainer's room riding (exercise) bikes and eating yams," infielder Bobby Crosby says. "The next day, Chavy was mowing down some yams.

"Heck, I'll probably be doing it today."

Giambi brings 396 career home runs, 1,280 RBI and way shorter hair back to Oakland for his second tour, not to mention a stricter diet (thank goodness the tattoos haven't gone anywhere).

"Trust me," Giambi says. "I drive by McDonalds all the time and say, 'Oh, man. Those were the good old days.'"

Likes: Kansas City could have swept the White Sox this week, but for Kyle Farnsworth's first relief outing for his new team. ... Not that I wish bad things for the White Sox, because I don't -- I really like the team, manager Ozzie Guillen and the city -- but it's nice to see perennial doormats Kansas City, Cincinnati, Baltimore and even Pittsburgh get off to reasonable starts in the first week. ... Ichiro on his way back to the Seattle lineup soon. ... This GQ article on Lenny Dykstra. Shady, shady, shady. ... Mooning a train? Sounds good to me.

Dislikes: Sad, sad times in Anaheim for the Angels.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Days turn to minutes
"And minutes to memories
"Life sweeps away the dreams
"That we have planned
"You are young and you are the future
"So suck it up and tough it out
"And be the best you can"

-- John Mellencamp, Minutes to Memories



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