Tag:Torii Hunter
Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:43 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 2:44 pm
 

Love Letters: The Spring is Almost Here edition

Last mail call before spring training. Now, doesn't THAT sound nice? ...

FROM: Bert L.
Re.: Red Sox, Brewers, Phillies reign over winter carnival

Your column with trades and teams making them was an absolute riot. Very funny and very factual. Being in South Florida, I loved the Hanley Ramirez bit about hustling and the A.J. Burnett bit about salt and snow trucks. Thanks for the well written and well thought out entertainment.

May need some sand to dump on Burnett as well as salt to make sure he's good and thawed for spring camp and beyond.

FROM: Alan

You'd really put A-1 on filet mignon? You're about as smart as a bag of hair.

Depends on who's cooking the filet mignon. If I'm grilling it, no need for A-1.

FROM: Alex B.
Re.: Contrite Joyce seeks new beginning after haunted winter

Mr. Joyce is an inspiration to me. He has taken the wave of anger head on, stoically endured it, preserving what I believe is the most beautiful thing about baseball: That it is about the controlling of chance, and ultimately about the human element of judgment. I may be alone in this, but I believe what happened in that game is the best argument against replay-officiating in baseball. The controversy of judgment and the finality of the moment has been the spice of our nation pastime since its beginnings. But honestly, I had stopped thinking about that game, and I assumed everyone else did too. I hope that's the case soon, but I will remain his fan. Thanks for writing the piece.

I think he made a lot of fans and, as I wrote, he put a human face on the umpiring profession. And some of those guys really need it.

FROM: Kurt K.

Hi Scott,

Very well written article on Joyce. It was really interesting to see what he has been up to recently. What a class act Joyce is. I am sorry that it had to happen to Armando Galarraga but I am actually glad it did happen. It just shows what true sportsmanship is all about and why baseball is so much classier than all other professional sports.

Another thing: When baseball sells seats to a World Series, the seats are actually there for the ticketholders.

FROM: John B.
Re.: Rangers can't let demand get old before dealing Young

How about this for a deal? Michael Young to the Mets for Carlos Beltran. Works for both teams, fills needs and clears problems. Could work!!!

I like your thinking but here's why it won't work: The Mets are not on Young's list of eight clubs to whom he will accept a trade. I don't see Young being interested in playing for the Mets. And Beltran has a full no-trade clause.

FROM: Frank D
Re.: Needing youth, quickness, Angels instead opt for Wells

Love your passion, but I think too many are underselling Vernon Wells. If you look at his numbers in 2008 and 2009, though they were down, they were, in fact, superior to Adrian Beltre -- who got a huge deal and a lot of positives. Wells brings grit, power and pride to the Angels. Coupled with Torii Hunter, you have two pros who will play hard, produce and lead a team fighting for the AL West. They also have the best manager in MLB and he'll know how to get the most out of Wells. Napoli already has been dealt to Texas, and Rivera is an oft-injured 4th OF who jakes it. The Angels gave up nothing, but money to get a quality player with character.

You're right about Rivera, and Napoli wasn't ever a Mike Scioscia favorite. And you're right that Wells is a pro, just like Hunter. But that's a lot of dough for a player where there are other, more significant needs.

FROM: Scott D.

Nice hatchet job on the Angels Scott. It will be interesting to see what you have to say if Wells brings a big bat to go with his contract. Three center fielders in the outfield adds up to a great defensive unit, and Mike Trout is waiting in the wings. If the underachievers from last year play up to potential, we could see the Angels winning the division and more, again. Enjoy your vacation, moron.

If Wells plays a key role in the Angels winning this year, here's what I will say: I was wrong. But I'm not counting on it. I still think Angels need infusion of youth and speed.

FROM: Travis B.

Dear Mr. Miller,

I respect your words but I disagree. The Angels don't need a lead-off man -- Peter Bourjos can do the job. Vernon Wells is the power we needed just in case Kendry Morales can't answer the call. To drive in runs.

Come on, Bourjos batted .204 with a .237 on-base percentage over his 51 games in Anaheim last summer! Unless he grows into his offensive shoes in a hurry, I don't put him anywhere near the leadoff slot.

Likes: On deck in just a few days: The daily spring training Bull Pennings with news, notes, quips, likes, dislikes, the whole package. And, of course, the rock and roll lyrics. A Florida (and then Arizona) travelogue. Stay tuned. ... Could go from a Green Bay Super Bowl title to a Milwaukee Brewers' playoff appearance later this summer. The Brewers have made some great offseason moves. Wisconsin is a fabulous sports state. Could be fun. ... The Eminem/Chrysler/Detroit Super Bowl commercial. If you missed it, it's here. ... Jane Leavy's biography of Mickey Mantle is a terrific read. ... Go see The Fighter. You will not be disappointed. Christian Bale is everything you've heard, Mark Wahlberg is good and Melissa Leo -- one of the most underrated actresses around -- is as great as she usually is. ... Hey, the groundhog saw his shadow! Spring is right around the corner. Right?

Dislikes: The waiting for spring training to begin. Seems like it takes forever, doesn't it?

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well it's 9th and Hennepin
"And all the donuts have
"Names that sound like prostitutes
"And the moon's teeth marks are
"On the sky like a tarp thrown over all this
"And the broken umbrellas like
"Dead birds and the steam
"Comes out of the grill like
"The whole damned town is ready to blow"

-- Tom Waits, 9th and Hennepin

 

 

Posted on: July 29, 2010 5:08 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 7:01 pm
 

Toronto's Downs hot property & other trade notes

Toronto was the focal point of last year's trade deadline, then-Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi was the point man and ace Roy Halladay was the bait.

A year later, Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt having been traded and Saturday's 4 p.m. EDT non-waivers trade deadline bearing down?

Toronto again is a focal point, first-year GM Alex Anthopoulos is the point man and reliever Scott Downs is getting as much action as anybody on the market.

Now Downs might not pack as much marquee punch as Halladay, but this year's trade market isn't exactly heavyweight, either.

And given the overwhelming bullpen needs of the majority of contenders this summer. ...

"He might be the best guy out there," the general manager of one club with interest in Downs says. "He's owed just a little more than $1 million, he's left-handed, he can close, he can set up. ..."

Among other clubs, the Blue Jays have fielded inquiries about Downs from the Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, Mets, Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, Reds and Phillies over the past several days.

Clubs also are watching Jays relievers Kevin Gregg and Jason Frasor.

-- The Nationals are holding out hope of signing slugger Adam Dunn to a contract extension between now and Saturday's trade deadline, which is why talks remain slow between them and other clubs like the White Sox, Yankees and Giants. If contract talks don't progress, trade talks are expected to.

-- The Dodgers, who obtained outfielder Scott Podsednik from Kansas City on Wednesday, still want to acquire a starting pitcher and worked hard to try and pry Roy Oswalt from Houston until the Phillies finally finished the deal. The Dodgers were given indications that Oswalt would have waived his no-trade clause to go there.

-- The Dodgers have scouted the Cubs' Ted Lilly but are lukewarm on him, particularly given that they'd get only about 10 starts for the roughly $4 million he's still owed. They also have had a scout sitting on Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm, who was blasted by the Rockies in Coors Field on Thursday (five earned runs, seven hits, 4 2/3 innings). The Pirates have not indicated yet whether they intend to move Maholm.

-- GM Ned Colletti thinks the chances of the Dodgers acquiring pitching help might be better in August given the slim pickings right now. Plus, Dodgers under Colletti have made several of their key moves in August. Last year, they added pitchers Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland, infielder Ronnie Belliard and pinch-hitter Jim Thome in August. Two years ago, they added Greg Maddux in August.

-- The Twins and Mets also continue to engage the Cubs regarding Lilly.

-- The sinking Rockies want to move starter Aaron Cook, according to one source, but there has not been much interest.

-- Philadelphia scouted Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa as a fallback in case Roy Oswalt did not work out.

-- The Angels, who are just about DOA right now, had been working toward a deal for the Cubs' Derrek Lee for several weeks before Lee nixed it. Angels outfielder Torii Hunter had dinner with Lee in Chicago on June 18 after that afternoon's game that doubled as a recruiting session. Lee must be one of the few people in baseball who can't be charmed by Hunter.

-- Multiple clubs have asked Milwaukee about veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds, but Edmonds has told the Brewers he does not want to go anywhere. He particularly would make sense for San Francisco, which is looking for an outfielder who can improve the offense.

-- This shoulder stiffness that sent Washington's Stephen Strasburg to the disabled list on Thursday is something completely new. His college coach, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, said at Petco Park on Wednesday night that Strasburg never had a shoulder or arm problem in three seasons at San Diego State. Not even something minor. "None. Zero. Nothing," Gwynn said.

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: April 29, 2010 5:56 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2010 12:10 pm
 

Angels' Hunter advises Kemp on Dodgers' flap

Veteran Angels center fielder Torii Hunter, dismayed over his friend Matt Kemp being called out by Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti this week for poor defense and regressing since signing a two-year, $10.95 million contract, says he intends to call Kemp and offer some quick advice.

"I'm going to make a phone call and tell him to keep his cool," Hunter, 34, told CBSSports.com Wednesday night before flying home to Texas to spend Thursday's off-day with his family. "I don't know what was said or why it was said, but it's something you keep in-house.

"That's one of my buddies right there. I know he plays the game hard. I thought he was a pretty good outfielder."

The outgoing Hunter over the years has become a mentor to several young players around the game, and he and Kemp have become especially tight over the past year.

They spent some time together this winter, with Kemp staying at Hunter's house in Dallas for two weeks while the two worked out at the Athlete's Performance Institute.

Kemp, 25, got to know Hunter's family then, and the two Los Angeles center fielders continue to talk "once or twice a week", according to Hunter.

Colletti's comments to KABC radio in Los Angeles this week started a firestorm of emotion around the Dodgers, and Colletti did not back down a day later when, among other things, he told reporters in New York, "If this is the last day of the season and people are voting for the Gold Glove, his name is not even on the ballot. It's a shame that he would go from where he was a year ago to revert back to when the ball goes up in the air and you're not sure where it's going, or if it's going to get caught."

Though Kemp, Colletti and Dodgers manager Joe Torre talked following the team's series-ending loss to the Mets in New York on Wednesday, Kemp's agent, the former big league pitcher Dave Stewart, fueled the controversy by ripping Colletti in Thursday's Los Angeles Times.

Hunter, an 11-year veteran, just shook his head Wednesday night.

"Hopefully, this will make him a better man and he'll come back stronger," Hunter said of Kemp. "Ned Colletti is his boss. I've never heard of a GM calling a player out like that. I'm just in awe right now. Matt needs to be the bigger man and not come out and say anything.

"All Matt Kemp can do is go out and play ball, and play hard. I know from talking to him all the time, he plays hard. He wants to win."

Hunter said he checks in with Kemp by phone regularly "just to see how he's feeling, where his head is at."

Right now, it may take a few extra conversations to gauge that.

Posted on: April 25, 2010 8:22 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2010 9:39 pm
 

Girardi: "I screwed up"

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Even World Series-winning managers get the blues.

The Yankees' 8-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in the series finale here Sunday came complete with a very unusual moment in the seventh that directly preceded Kendry Morales' three-run homer that salted away the win for the Angels.

With Angels on first and second, two out, the Yankees trailing 5-4 and Kendry Morales at the plate, Joe Girardi ordered an intentional walk to Yankee-killer Kendry Morales.

And then he didn't.

Afterward, Girardi acknowledged, "I probably should have gone with my first instinct."

Follow along:

With Morales at the plate (and hitting .390 -- 23 for 59 -- lifetime against the Bronx Bombers), Girardi waved four fingers in the dugout, catcher Francisco Cervelli reinforced it and reliever Damaso Marte threw intentional ball one.

Then, confusion.

Girardi called off the walk and popped out of the dugout, taking a couple of steps toward the mound.

His intention: To summon reliever David Robertson to finish the intentional walk. Then, with two out and the bases loaded, have Robertson go hard after the next hitter, Juan Rivera.

But a few steps out of the dugout, Girardi suddenly changed his mind and U-turned.

So the lefty Marte resumed pitching to the switch-hitting Morales (batting righty) and threw ball two. But, now, not intentionally.

And taking full advantage of the Yankees' hesitation, Torii Hunter stole third base to put runners on first and third.

Next pitch, ball three.

Next, with Angels manager Mike Scioscia smartly green-lighting Morales on 3 and 0, the first baseman crushed a fat Marte fastball for a three-run homer.

Morales at the time was 1 for 3 against Marte in his career, the one hit being a double.

Had Girardi gone with his first instinct and brought Robertson in to face Juan Rivera with the bases loaded, for the record, Rivera had one RBI single in one lifetime at-bat against Robertson.

The only thing more extraordinary than a sense of wavering from the Yankees' skipper was how bluntly he assessed himself afterward, even acknowledging that once the count on Morales ran to 3 and 0, he "probably could have put up four fingers again."

"I screwed up, in a sense," Girardi said. "Not everything I do is going to be right."

Posted on: November 25, 2009 1:56 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2009 2:29 pm
 

Thanksgiving

This long weekend, we give thanks. For all sorts of things. ...

 For turkey and dressing. Because after a 162-game season, man needs something other than hot dogs and beer.

 For loving (and understanding) family and friends. Because, really, you can only cuddle up to the Rally Monkey or your authentic Derek Jeter jersey for so long.

 For the Yankees' 27th World Series title. Because their long-suffering fans have been so patient and understanding during such a drastic drought.

 For wall-to-wall football on the big-screen TV during Thanksgiving weekend. Because as much fun as it is to watch football, it also reminds us of how much we're missing when the baseball season goes dark.

 For childhood memories at the holidays that continue to keep you warm all those decades later. Playing football with your brother in a soft snowfall in the vacant yard next door that seemed so big then and looks so small now. Watching the Lions lose again (yes, even back then) while mom -- every bit the artist in the Thanksgiving kitchen that Picasso was with a brush -- put the finishing touches on dinner. Nighttime dominoes and pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream. No school, wide-open days and Christmas around the corner.

 For CC Sabathia. Because even the Yankees are likeable behind his smile.

 For Cy Young races as close as the NL this year with the Tim Lincecum-Chris Carpenter-Adam Wainwright finish. Because it is things like this that give us something to argue about all winter, which sure beats discussing your wife's plans for the kitchen remodel or your daughter's unlimited texting plan!

 For the game No. 163 that the Twins and Tigers gave us in October. We knew then that there was no way any other postseason game was going to match that one in terms of drama and emotion, and we were right. For anybody with a pulse, it was one of the great moments of the season. Or, as Orlando Cabrera called it, the "most unbelievable game I've ever played or seen."

 For the Angels' Torii Hunter, the Twins' Joe Mauer, free agent Jason Bay, Baltimore manager Dave Trembley, the Tigers' Curtis Granderson, the Brewers' Trevor Hoffman and the many other good people in the game who have given back to their community over and over again, reminding us why a big league club can be so valuable to a community.

 For the Web site The Sports Pickle, which keeps us howling at times throughout the year with "stories" like this one: MLB to Complete Long-Awaited 1994 Season.

 For crazy folks like the guy who voted Detroit's Miguel Cabrera first on his AL MVP ballot, the only one of 28 voters who didn't have Mauer first. Because it is mistakes like this that make us realize that when we do bone-headed things on our own, we're not alone. The only explanation I can think of is that Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News in Japan -- he's based in Seattle and covers the Mariners -- turned in his ballot before the final weekend of the season, when Cabrera pulled an all-nighter and police were summoned to his home to quell a domestic disturbance with the Tigers battling to hang onto their AL Central lead. Because given that stunt, Cabrera not only didn't deserve a first-place vote, he didn't deserve to be on the 10-deep ballot.

 For two years' worth of touring from Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band, whose odyssey just closed on Sunday night in Buffalo, N.Y., leaving many of us to ponder when we'll ever attend another concert that matches that level.

 For Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. Because we all need living museums.

 For the two wacky managers in Chicago, Lou Piniella and Ozzie Guillen. Because they're so passionate, and so entertaining.

 For Christmas being just around the corner. Because you know several cool surprises are just around the corner. And look, here's one now. You've got to check out this crazy Bob Dylan video from his new Christmas album. It'll put a smile on your face for the rest of the day, I promise.

 For good health, good cheer and good friends.

 To all who come around here regularly, whether to cheer or to boo, thanks. And a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Likes: A hearty shout-out to the Falcons of Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, who clipped Constantine 23-17 in a Michigan state football semifinal on Saturday and will play for the state title on Friday against No. 1-ranked Montague at Detroit's Ford Field. Congratulations to the Falcons and old classmate and friend Coach Jack Giarmo, whose work with a proud program continues to be top-shelf. Go get 'em on Friday, fellas. Go green! Scouting report is here (from the good guys' perspective, of course).

Dislikes: Still looking for a reasonable last-minute airfare to get to Friday's title game. Still looking. ... Still looking. ...

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Catholic Central hats off to thee
"To your colors true we will ever be
"Firm and strong, united are we
"Rah, rah, rah, rah
"Rah, rah, rah, rah
"Rah for the Falcon team"

-- Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High School fight song

Hey, the state title game is this week. We gotta go with this one.

 

Posted on: July 8, 2009 9:27 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2009 9:30 pm
 

Hunter hurts groin, All-Star status in jeopardy

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.

"I really want to go," Hunter said. "It's my first one with the Angels. I really want to go represent the Angels organization and fans, and represent them well."

Meantime, Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, who left Tuesday night's game with a strained muscle behind his left knee, also was held out of Wednesday's lineup after undergoing tests.

Posted on: October 4, 2008 4:03 am
 

Hunter, sore knee, head to Boston

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
"Couldn't buy the seed to plant this spring and the farmers' bank foreclosed
"Called my old friend Schepman up to auction off the land
"He said, 'John, it's just my job, and I hope you understand'
"Hey calling it your job ol' hoss sure don't make it right
"If you want me to I'll say a prayer for your soul tonight"

-- John Mellencamp, Rain on the Scarecrow

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