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: March 4, 2011 5:34 pm
-- Strong, and interesting, words this spring from veteran second baseman Brian Roberts in assessing newcomers Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Vladimir Guerrero and, of course, manager Buck Showalter: "This is the most excitement, I think, that I've seen in my 10 years here. There's been some good excitement in the past, like when we got Sammy Sosa, but as far as realistic excitement, this is the most I've seen."
-- It's easy to get impatient with catcher Matt Wieters, 24, partly because it seems like he's been around longer than he has. We've been hearing about him for so long, a good year or more before he landed in the majors in 2009, that last year's .249 batting average, 11 homers and 55 RBI in 130 games sure seems ho-hum. Especially given that those numbers are down from his 86-game debut in '09: .288, nine homers, 43 RBIs.
"I don't give a lot of to Matt," Showalter says. "He's going to be as good as he's capable of being. Challenges off the field, physical toughness, mental toughness ... he brings all of those things. Like I was telling him last year, 'Matt, you make between 100 and 200 decisions a night with your fingers. You get four at-bats. You do the ratio of how much you impact this club.'"
As the Orioles' culture shifts into a new year, Showalter also is looking for his catcher to be more of a leader this year.
"I told him at end of year last year, the gloves are coming off," Showalter says. "You can't fool me. I know it's there. As long as you're not asking anybody else to something you're not willing to do yourself, then you're covered. If all of a sudden you go half-assed down the line, don't be saying anything to me about it. I want him to start taking more of a role in what's best for the Orioles."
-- For his part, Wieters should be more comfortable with Lee, Reynolds, Hardy and Guerrero around because it helps shoulder the load.
"It's big from an information standpoint," Wieters says. "It's big in that they've been on winning ballclubs. They let you know, this is no longer a rebuilding phase. It's time to win and win now. This is definitely a different camp this year."
-- And Wieters on Showalter: "He's probably the most prepared manager I've ever been around. You're going to come to the park and have a chance to succeed. That's the biggest thing. Every piece of information is there."
Sunblock Day? So far, there have been no days where you didn't need to slather on the sunblock this spring. Just gorgeous.
Likes: David Letterman's top 10 the other night, things you don't want to hear during spring training. Loved No. 9: "Instead of Tommy John surgery, I had Elton John surgery." For the whole list, check out our Eye on Baseball blog. ... A.J. Pierzynski getting pulled over and ticketed for speeding while wearing his White Sox uniform en route to a Cactus League game against Cincinnati. Classic story. And Pierzynski reports that the Arizona police still have not returned his insurance card. ... Boston's on A1A in Delray Beach, Fla. Great food, great atmosphere. ... Weather warm enough to wear shorts, and drive barefoot. ... Mavis Staples' disc You Are Not Alone, produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. Great, great stuff from a true -- and underrated -- soul legend.
Dislikes: Staying at the hotel in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., next to the Wackenhut corporate headquarters. The hotel is good. But seeing the Wackenhut building just gives me the shivers from a long ago time in my life. Scrounging for work the summer before going off to college, I got a job as a security man -- employed by Wackenhut -- at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Power Plan outside of Monroe, Mich. Now, here I was, an 18-year-old kid, working the graveyard shift (something like midnight-8 a.m.) making rounds to protect a nuclear power plant. There was a another security outfit, from what I remember, whose employees actually carried guns. Me, no. I just made rounds and reported anything suspicious. Fortunately, I found another job and only lasted, as I recall, about a month in that gig. It helped build character, no doubt. But I sure hope security has improved since those days.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"The pretty little raven at the birdbath stand
-- Bobby Day, Rockin' Robin
Posted on: December 7, 2010 1:02 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 12:41 am
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Paging the Los Angeles Angels, attention Angels.
Free agent Carl Crawford is still out there. So are free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre and free agent closer Rafael Soriano ... and, yes, free agent ace Cliff Lee.
After getting aced out of Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia two years ago and failing to produce a leadoff hitter to replace Chone Figgins last year, the heat is on the Angels to swing and connect this winter. On something.
Crawford has been a high priority, according to sources, though late Tuesday night it was confirmed that the Angels were in contact with Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker, and that that dialog is expected to remain ongoing.
"We're conducting business. What other clubs do doesn't affect how we operate."
Maybe that helps explain why the Angels, who took hard runs at both Teixeira and Sabathia two winters ago, have swung and missed lately. What other clubs do does affect the rest in this game, because market values are set.
Here in Florida, Crawford's market is still taking shape, and you bet the Werth contract will be a barometer.
The Angels are one of the few teams with pockets deep enough to pull up a chair at Crawford's table. One break they may have gotten in the past few days is that in acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox may be out on Crawford -- at least, at seven or eight years.
The Red Sox are said to have agreed with Gonzalez on the parameters of a seven-year deal worth between $161 and $168 million that likely will be finalized sometime around Opening Day. It's hard to see Boston signing two players to contracts that long in one winter.
Other than the Angels' interest, things have been awfully quiet here regarding Crawford.
The Angels always operate with the secrecy of a CIA spy, but until Tuesday night and the Lee revelation, there was little indication that much of anything was happening.
Beltre? The Angels currently are not taking an aggressive path there, according to a source with knowledge of the club's thinking.
Soriano? No indicators there, either.
Reagins, scrambling because of a flight delay Monday, was among the last GM's -- and, far as anybody can tell, the last -- to arrive at the Winter Meetings.
Owner Arte Moreno is known for being aggressive. But over the past couple of years, he hasn't been aggressive enough.
The Angels got worse last year. They looked old. They were slow.
The decision to let Figgins walk backfired when Erick Aybar did not develop into a leadoff hitter. The decision to let Guerrero walk blew up when he had a great year and Hideki Matsui was disappointing.
Suddenly, the shift of power in the AL West is becoming evident.
Texas not only won the division, but the Rangers are loaded with good, young talent. They're not going anywhere.
The A's have the kind of good, young pitching that has them poised to recapture some of the glory of old.
Seattle? Well, let's not get carried away here. Not everybody in the division is on the move.
Right now, though, in terms of forward momentum, the Angels are more Seattle than Texas.
Mike Scioscia said Tuesday that the return to health of first baseman Kendry Morales, who slammed 34 home runs and collected 108 RBIs two summers ago before suffering a season-ending broken leg early in 2010, will be a boon in 2011.
Looks like a whole lot of scapegoats. And so far, not much else.
Posted on: July 4, 2010 4:49 pm
-- Stephen Strasburg, discuss.
-- OK, here's my part of the discussion: I think the right thing was done not only in leaving him off of the All-Star ballot, but also in not listing him among the final five men for whom fans can vote. You know he would have won that in a landslide. As I blogged the other day, the guy's career has barely achieved liftoff -- there are others in line in front of him for the All-Star Game. Besides, the Nationals are so worried about his innings-pitched count that they're probably going to shut him down by early September. So why shouldn't he wait a year or two before making his All-Star debut? That said, it's one hell of an argument, and colleague Gregg Doyel makes the contrary argument (big surprise there, huh?) here and, as usual, does it very well. He's wrong, but he's good.
-- Biggest snub? Colorado catcher Miguel Olivo not being on the NL team. Forget a simple roster spot. He should be starting.
-- How can the San Diego Padres have by far the best pitching staff in the game one-through-12 this season and not have one pitcher on the NL team? Closer Heath Bell is one of the five players up for the fan vote for the last spot on the team. But starter Mat Latos (9-4, 2.62 ERA) should be on the team, and starter Clayton Richard (6-4, 2.74) merits consideration. But the real snub is that set-up man Luke Gregerson didn't make it despite a strikeout-walk ratio that is sick: 51 K's against six walks over 40 1/3 innings. What, the NL team has a death wish by not inviting San Diego pitchers?
-- Best All-Star story: Cincinnati reliever Arthur Rhodes, who, as a 40-year-old first-time All-Star, is the third-oldest All-Star "rookie" in history. Rhodes from April 13-June 26 made 33 appearances for the Reds without allowing a run, equaling a single-season record he now shares with Mark Guthrie (2002, Mets) and Mike Myers (2000, Rockies).
-- Nicest All-Star story: Arizona outfielder Chris Young, who got himself so twisted up at the plate last season that the Diamondbacks shipped him back to Triple-A to fix his mechanics (and for his own sanity) last summer, bounces back to earn his way onto the NL team. Young has 16 homers, 57 RBI and 14 steals and is one of the few bright spots in Arizona this summer.
-- With the 5 p.m. start time to the Tuesday, July 13 game in Anaheim, you'll be hearing so much about "twilight" you'll think vampires (or Kristen Stewart) will be playing. No question, in the Year of the Pitcher, pitching should dominate for at least the first half of the game. Hitters will not be too crazy facing Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, David Price, Jon Lester, Cliff Lee and the rest in the twilight.
-- Quick reference guide: The American League has won seven consecutive All-Star Games since the tie in Milwaukee in 2002, and 12 of the past 13 (including the tie). The NL has not won since 1996 in Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium.
-- The new rule this year by which each manager can designate a position player to re-enter that game in the late (or extra innings) if the last available position player at any position is injured) is cheesy. I know Commissioner Bud Selig's special on-field committee is a crack staff, but it won't be long until we'll have Little League everybody on the roster gets to bat rules in place. Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio used to play seven, eight, nine innings. Today's "everybody gets a chance to play" mentality is weak.
-- You'll also be seeing endless replays of the big Bo Jackson 448-foot homer to dead center field against Rick Reuschel in the 1989 game.
-- Vladimir Guerrero returning to Angel Stadium as an All-Star with Texas will be intriguing to everyone but Angels fans.
-- Rookie Jason Heyward's announced plan to participate in batting practice with the NL All-Stars, because he was voted in by fans, but to sit out the game, because he's on the disabled list, is classy.
-- The painted Mickey Mouses (most featuring All-Star designs on Mickey) they're placing around Anaheim look very cool. And this from a cranky guy who doesn't give two hoots for Mickey, and a guy who generally avoids Disneyland (and Disneyworld) at all costs (I just despise crowded places where you stand in line forever).
Likes: The long piece on Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in Sunday's New York Times magazine. ... Seeing clips of Lou Gehrig's "Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" each July 4 -- it was delivered 71 years ago Sunday -- never fails to produce chills. ... I'm not much for reality shows -- sports or otherwise -- but The Club, centered on the crazy Chicago White Sox, on MLB Network later this month looks too dramatic to pass up. ... George Steinbrenner's birthday being on July 4. How perfect is that? ... Man, does the Padres' Tony Gwynn Jr. have wheels.
Dislikes: We can all argue All-Star snubs, but there are too many players on each roster already. The 34-man rosters are ridiculous.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Driving in to Darlington County
-- Bruce Springsteen, Darlington County
Posted on: December 19, 2009 10:24 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2009 10:30 pm
One of the more intriguing trade agreements from the winter meetings earlier this month in Indianapolis fell apart Saturday when the Rangers nixed the proposed Mike Lowell deal because of the third baseman's thumb injury, CBSSports.com has confirmed.
An examination of Lowell by specialists revealed that the injury, suffered late in the season, remains a problem: Lowell, according to sources, was found to have a torn radial collateral ligament in his right thumb, an injury that will require surgery following the holidays. Expected recovery time is six to eight weeks, which would mean that Lowell should be ready for spring training but might have to start slowly.
As part of the extensive physical examination the Rangers conducted, Lowell saw a hand specialist in Arizona on Friday and then met with other physicians in Arlington, Tex., on Saturday. The Rangers learned enough to scotch a deal that would have sent minor league catcher Max Ramirez and $3 million in cash to Boston with the Red Sox covering $9 million of Lowell's $12 million 2010 salary.
The Rangers have been looking for a middle-of-the-lineup bat and were hoping to use Lowell, who will be 36 on opening day, as a part-time designated hitter, first baseman and even spot him in at third base to give Michael Young the occasional day off.
Lowell, however, has an extensive injury history, most recently the thumb and a troublesome right hip. He underwent surgery on that, for a torn labrum, following the 2008 season. It was because of these two injuries in particular that the Rangers moved along at such a deliberate pace. While the framework of this deal was set in Indianapolis, officials from both clubs cautioned that several things needed to happen before it would be done.
Saturday's news is highly inconvenient for the Red Sox, who were hoping to move Lowell, clearing room for them to do two things: Add a middle-of-the-order bat who also upgrades the club defensively. Among other options, Boston has been courting free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre and keeping in touch with the Padres regarding a possible Adrian Gonzalez deal.
In the latter, which sources say remains an point of intrigue for Boston but is not close to happening, Gonzalez could play first base and Kevin Youkilis would slide over to third.
But the development with Lowell's thumb now will make it impossible for the Red Sox to deal him before spring training. Clubs with any interest will want to see him play first and make sure he's healthy. Lowell batted .290 with 17 homers and 75 RBIs for the Sox in '09 but hurt his thumb taking batting practice during the season's final week.
The news also isn't good for the Rangers, who are trying to add a strong right-handed bat but don't have much money. The club is up for sale amid owner Tom Hicks' serious financial problems. With Boston paying much of the freight for Lowell, the Rangers had found a fairly creative way to improve inexpensively.
Now, without Lowell, the Rangers will look elsewhere -- possibly to designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, whose run with the Angels has all but come to an official end with Hideki Matsui joining them last week. Texas also is interested in free agent outfielder Jermaine Dye, but unless his demand decrease, the Rangers probably won't be able to be a player there.
Posted on: July 8, 2009 9:27 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2009 9:30 pm
The Los Angeles Angels and the American League may each be down an outfielder: Torii Hunter, battling a groin strain in recent days, underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday and is in jeopardy of having to scratch from Tuesday's All-Star Game in St. Louis.
Hunter, whose groin has been bothering him since he ran into a wall in Dodger Stadium in May, felt it grab as he was running to first base in Tuesday night's loss to Texas. He was diagnosed with a strained groin and adductor muscle and was waiting for Dr. Lewis Yocum, the team orthopedist, to read the MRI exam Wednesday evening.
Hunter, who was named an All-Star for the third time in his decorated career Sunday, was downcast when discussing his status for St. Louis.
"It's up in the air," Hunter said. "It's cloudy right now.
"I'll see what the doctor's going to say and we'll go from there. We're going to re-evaluate it on Friday. The main goal is to be healthy for the second half."
Hunter was not in Wednesday's lineup against Texas. The Angels have an off day on Thursday, which means Hunter is in line for two days of rest depending on what the team medical staff says regarding his status for Friday night's series opener against the New York Yankees.
"For Torii to not be able to go, you know it's significant," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Hopefully, it'll change directions."
Hunter was planning to take his wife and two sons to the All-Star Game with him.
Posted on: July 8, 2009 2:05 am
Vladimir Guerrero's tough-luck season continued Tuesday when he was forced to leave the Los Angeles Angels' 8-5 loss to Texas in the eighth inning when he suffered what was described as a strained muscle behind his left knee.
The Angels say he will be re-evaluated on Wednesday and undergo tests, but watching him walk off the Angel Stadium field, it's hard to imagine the 34-year-old outfielder avoiding another stint on the disabled list.
At the very least, manager Mike Scioscia said, it is "doubtful" Guerrero will be able to play in the series finale with Texas on Tuesday night.
The injury is a blow to both the Angels and Guerrero, who missed 35 games earlier this season with a torn muscle in his chest. Guerrero, who has not driven the ball with his usual authority for most of this season, was just getting back up to speed. Over 37 games since returning from the DL, he was batting .318 with three homers and 18 RBI.
Mostly, he served as the Angels' designated hitter when he was activated because he wasn't up to making throws from the outfield. He only returned to outfield duty within the past week.
The injury occurred when he moved toward the gap to field Elvis Andrus' single in the eighth inning.
"It grabbed at him," said Scioscia, who described the injury as more toward the upper calf behind Guerrero's left knee.
"Vlad definitely was swinging the bat better," Scioscia said. "This obviously will be a setback if he's not able to get back into the lineup quickly."