Tag:Jered Weaver
Posted on: July 12, 2010 10:10 pm

Torii Hunter: Babies yes, Rally Monkey not yet

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- As the lone Angels' position player on the American League team, outfielder Torii Hunter has emerged as the unofficial All-Star host.

It's a job he'll handle willingly

"FanFest, a couple of things with TV stations, autograph signings, talking to kids, kissing babies ... it's going to be fun," Hunter said, wide grin crossing his face.

So far, though, no appearances with the Rally Monkey.

"I'm actually scared of the Monkey," Hunter joked. "He's pretty aggressive. When he's in a bad mood, he'll actually scratch you."

Hunter was bitterly disappointed that he had to bow out of last year's game in St. Louis with a groin injury. As a kid growing up in Arkansas, Hunter was a huge Cardinals fan. He loved Ozzie Smith and Vince Coleman. To a degree, last year's game in St. Louis was personal with him, given the ties to his boyhood memories.

So he's determined to enjoy everything about this year's game. Three of his children were trailing around with him Monday, and Hunter said he was showing them the ropes -- up to and including "kissing babies."

Part of it is that Hunter naturally is a friendly, outgoing guy who simply enjoys people.

Part of it is that he learned from another gregarious legend as he was coming up as a kid in the Minnesota Twins' system.

"I used to watch Kirby Puckett all the time," Hunter said. "He was always smiling and talking to people. Whenever people needed him, media, vendors, whoever, he talked to them. I watched that.

"That's why I always talk. That's why, if you come to me and need something, I'll say yes. I don't beg for it, but if you've got a kid coming up. ..."

And if that kid is unsure of himself, or needs a good influence ... Hunter is there.


Posted on: August 28, 2009 4:52 pm
Edited on: August 28, 2009 11:05 pm

Angels acquire Kazmir from Tampa

The Los Angeles Angels acquired left-handed starter Scott Kazmir from Tampa Bay for two minor leaguers, left-handed pitcher Alex Torres and third baseman Matt Sweeney, and a player to be named later on Friday, immediately strengthening their rotation for the stretch run.

Rarely have the Angels been short of pitching over the past several years, but in a twist, while they ranked second in the majors to the Yankees with 713 runs scored entering the weekend, their 4.87 team ERA ranked 26th in the majors. The Angels' rotation, which has been battered by injuries throughout the year, ranks 11th in the American League with a 4.96 ERA.

The move comes after Kazmir, 25, produced a fine start in Toronto for the Rays on Wednesday, allowing one earned run on four hits in a no-decision. Still, it's been a very disappointing season for Kazmir, who is 8-7 with a 5.92 ERA in 20 starts for the Rays. Opponents are batting .273 against him after hitting only .220 against him last year. His ERA has been over 6.00 all summer until now.

While a somewhat surprising move for Tampa Bay given that the Rays are attempting to hang in there in the AL wild-card race, the move would off-load $22.5 million guaranteed to Kazmir through 2012  and give them some maneuverability in other areas, such as picking up outfielder Carl Crawford's $10 million option.

The Rays are not exactly viewing this as waving the white flag, either. They can replace Kazmir in their rotation with Andy Sonnanstine, who won several big games last fall, or rookie Wade Davis. Both are pitching at Triple-A Durham right now. Davis' ceiling is very high, and some scouts expected him to be recalled to the Rays before even David Price this season.

According to a clause in his contract, Kazmir is owed an extra $800,000 if traded.

Kazmir would join John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders in a rotation that is healthier than it's been all summer. Being that he's signed through 2011 (with a $13.5 million club option for 2012), Kazmir also gives the Angels some insurance against Lackey leaving as a free agent this winter. If he does, the Angels still would have Kazmir, Santana and Saunders, among others, for 2010.

Kazmir, who cleared waivers before the deal, is eligible for postseason play because he was traded before Aug. 31.

Posted on: May 15, 2008 1:26 am

Lackey pitches like an Angel

Look out, the Los Angeles Angels just got stronger.

A lot stronger.

Maybe that sounds funny on a night that saw the Angels endure a 5-1 beating by the Chicago White Sox. But that's small picture stuff.

Big picture? Ace John Lackey, who finished third in last year's Cy Young voting and led the American League in ERA, stepped onto a big league field for the first time in 2008, and all he did was look like he hasn't missed a step.

Lackey slammed the door on the White Sox for seven innings, holding the Sox to one run and six hits.

He was dominant, retiring 10 consecutive Sox batters during one impressive stretch and holding Chicago to one hit from the second through the seventh.

He worked ahead, pumping first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 26 batters he faced -- including eight of his first 10.

He threw 99 pitches, 67 strikes, and basically looked like a Triple Crown thoroughbred out for a training jog. Of course, part of that may have to do with the fact that the White Sox rank 13th in the AL in batting average, seventh in runs and ninth in on-base percentage.

He was, quite simply, just as the Angels remembered him.

"It's good to have him back," said Jered Weaver, who took Lackey's opening day start and is 2-5 with a 4.86 ERA in nine starts. "We all work off of him, that's for sure."

"The challenge now for John is to maintain that from start to start," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

If you would have asked the Angels this spring whether they would have taken a 24-17 record and first place in the American League West in mid-May while playing without their top two starting pitchers, they may have strained their hamstrings leaping to say yes.

Yet, thanks in no small part to Joe Saunders (6-1) and Ervin Santana (6-0), there they were.

And who knows? Maybe this missed time will be beneficial down the stretch.

Lackey led the Angels with 224 innings pitched last season and, though he remained reasonably strong into the playoffs, he did get bounced around by Boston in his lone playoff start (four runs, nine hits in six innings).

Assuming he remains healthy the rest of the way, Lackey figures to clock in somewhere around 160 innings pitched by season's end. You figure that can only help come the stand-tall days of September and October (if the Angels advance to the postseason for the fourth time in five years).

"We'd rather have had him these last six weeks and take the chance that he wouldn't be fresher in October," Scioscia said. "If the benefit is that he'll be fresher, I don't see any silver lining."

Lackey won 19 games last season and Kelvim Escobar, who remains on the disabled list with shoulder issues, won 18. Escobar continues rehabbing at the Angels' spring training base in Tempe and the reports now are far more encouraging than they were this spring when the right-hander became so frustrated he said he thought he'd be out for the season.

Still, there is no timetable for when -- or if -- Escobar will return in 2008.

Likes: My pal Sam calling to tell me I overlooked a couple of key points in my rave about the burgers at Miller's Bar in Dearborn, Mich., in the Bull Pennings post from the other day. In addition to everything else I said, two other cool things about Miller's: There are only four things on the menu -- hamburger, cheeseburger, onion rings and fries. And, it's all on the honor system -- when you finish eating and drinking, you simply walk up to the bar and tell them what you had. Sam, who has spent a few evenings in Miller's in his life, has very good input -- these are two more endearing aspects to the joint. ... Angel Stadium. The remodel they did several years ago was terrific, and they keep it in great shape. ... The Marlins and the Rays, what fun we're having now, eh? ... The Sunday New York Times.

Dislikes: Gas prices. Nice summer we're about to have.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"She is beautiful, she is small
"She don't wanna play basketball
"There's no tellin' what she might do
"Before her doin' days are through
"But right now she can't even crawl"

-- John Hiatt, Georgia Rae


Posted on: March 15, 2008 7:19 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2008 11:42 pm

We signed WHO?

TEMPE, Ariz. -- So you follow every single move your favorite team makes, and you've tracked so many rumors involving moves your club eventually didn't make that you need a stronger glasses prescription each year.

You wonder where that middle-of-the-order bat will come from, how your team will beef up its bullpen and when maybe it'll add to its rotation depth.

Now for this breaking news flash: Ya know, not every player bothers paying close attention to what his team is doing all winter.

Take Angels starter Jered Weaver, with whom I had an entertaining talk Saturday morning.

As the Angels' high-powered winter rolled along -- they traded Orlando Cabrera for pitcher Jon Garland, signed Torii Hunter as a free agent, and spent weeks trying to trade for Florida's Miguel Cabrera -- Weaver remained blissfully ignorant.

"I don't pay attention to anything anybody does in the winter," Weaver said. "I just found out Nick Swisher was with the White Sox when we played them the other day. I was out with a buddy over the winter when somebody test messaged him that we signed Torii Hunter.

"That's how I found out we got him."

Hey, nothin' wrong with separating your work from the rest of your life, right? It's healthy. You don't obsess over the office when you're on vacation, do you?

Likes: Padres 3, Dodgers 3 in China. As one press box wag cracked, the Chinese already were going to have a difficult enough time deciphering this wacky American game without having to have ties explained to them. ... Using the phrase "press box wag." You just don't hear that often enough anymore. ... Randy Johnson still pitching. ... Arizona manager Bob Melvin's reply when I blanked for a second and called him "Doug" Saturday morning. Not to be confused with Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin, of course. I apologized and he said, "That's OK, Jim." Touche. ... Wall-to-wall college hoops for the next few weeks. ... How about the ending of the Minnesota-Indiana game in the Big 10 tournament? What a shot. ... Coffee Plantation on Mill St. in the Arizona State area. ... The thin crust pizza at Oregano's, followed by the pizza cookie. Only time I ever eat dessert after eating pizza. And I woke up the next morning not wanting to eat anything. ... The tortilla encrusted Mahi at Richardson's Cuisine of the Southwest. Hoo boy, is that place good.

Dislikes: Sunday's weather report. Keep reading.

Sunblock day? Not so much. Cloudy off and on, even a little on the cool side. It's supposed to drop down into the 50s for a high Sunday in the desert, which is a load of hooey. I mean, come on, we're entering the final two weeks of the spring. People are shoveling snow in much of the country, and it'll disillusion you if it turns cold down here, won't it?

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"Your Mama's yappin' in the back seat
"Tell her to push over and move them big feet
"Every Monday morning I gotta drive her down to the unemployment agency
"Well this morning I ain't fighting tell her I give up
"Tell her she wins if she'll just shut up
"But it's the last time that she's gonna be riding with me"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Sherry Darlin' 

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