Tag:Mike Scioscia
Posted on: September 23, 2009 6:21 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2009 6:22 pm
 

Scioscia: 'The schedule's a joke'

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Over the past 10 days, the Angels have played the Yankees and Red Sox seven times, with a very good chance that they'll be seeing at least one of those clubs -- and possibly both -- when the playoffs start in less than two weeks.

Advantage or disadvantage for a club to be playing high-powered potential playoff opponents so close to the start of the postseason?

"The schedule's a joke," manager Mike Scioscia says. "You should be playing within your division at the beginning of the season, at the end of the season and in the middle of the season.

"The fact that we were back east [playing Boston] last week and that [the Yankees are] coming out West doesn't make sense."

Perhaps the root of Scioscia's anger is sleep deprivation. The Angels started last week's trip east with one game in New York on Monday, a makeup of an earlier rainout.

Traveling from Southern California following a Sunday game, the Angels arrived in New York around 1:30 a.m. Monday.

Then, after that night's game, they arrived in Boston around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday for the start of a three-game series.

Following the finale in Boston on Thursday, another night game, the Angels arrived at their next stop on the three-city trip, Texas, around 3 a.m.

Wednesday's home finale against the Yankees marked the end of a stretch in which the Angels played 20 games in 20 days and 41 games during a 43-game stretch.

"I don't know if there's ever been an off day more needed for this team than our day [Thursday]," Scioscia says. "The East Coast trip was tough."

Their reward, though, is just around the corner. Entering Wednesday, their magic number was five to clinch a third division title and a fifth in six seasons. While Scioscia says the schedule has been "a grind" lately, he's also learned something about his club.

"I think the depth of our team has surfaced," he says. "It's gotten us through what, looking back, has been a grind."

Likes: Still love the Rally Monkey in Anaheim. He's timeless. ... Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. The four Yankees who date back to 1996 remain class (and winners) today. ... Texas pitching Kevin Millwood to pitch the other night even though he was so close to it guaranteeing his $12 million option for 2010 was the right thing to do. ... Hey, with Minnesota chasing Detroit, we've got one race. Of course, the Twins have six games left with the red-hot Royals -- and are projected to face Zack Greinke twice. Hey, they wouldn't want to back into the playoffs, would they? ... President Barack Obama on The Late Show with David Letterman this week. Letterman remains the master of the late night. ... James Maddock's disc Sunrise on Avenue C has been a wonderful find. ... Big finish last week as the Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons held off New Boston Huron 20-19. Next victory for the Falcons: Friday night against Grosse Ile.

Dislikes: Rangers reliever Eddie Guardado, 39, considering retirement? Say it ain't so, Everyday Eddie. One of the game's true good guys.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now the years are rolling by me
"They are rockin even me
"I am older than I once was
"And younger than I'll be
"That's not unusual
"No it isnt strange
"After changes upon changes
"We are more or less the same"

-- Simon and Garfunkel, The Boxer

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: July 8, 2009 2:05 am
 

Vladimir Guerrero hurt again

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."

Posted on: April 10, 2009 7:26 pm
 

Difficult night at Angel Stadium

 ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It's just after 4 p.m. here, and on the center-field wall, an Angel Stadium crew is affixing a photo of the late Nick Adenhart pitching, right next to a large, round, black banner with a white No. 34.

Adenhart and two others were killed in a tragic hit-and-run traffic accident early Thursday morning, and now the Angels are back tonight to face Boston, and the whole scene here in the quiet of the afternoon is devastatingly heartbreaking.

In front of Angel Stadium, there is a makeshift memorial on the brick pitcher's mound on the grand entrance. There are hundreds of flower arrangements. A couple of funeral wreaths. Lit candles. Framed photos. A thunderstick. Notes. Poems.

When I drove in about 2:15 this afternoon, there were probably 50 or 60 fans/mourners paying their respects amid the stone silence. The guy manning the parking lot entrance was waving those in who said they just wanted to pay their respects and weren't staying for the game. No $8 parking fee for them.

The guard at the front entrance at Angel Stadium, the one who worked the 11 a.m.-7 p.m. shift Thursday, said a steady flow of 50 or 60 people had been streaming to the memorial ever since he arrived for work yesterday. One man made the sign of the cross as he approached. Several bowed their heads in silent prayer. One woman in a red Angels jersey and large sunglasses had a fistful of tissues, dabbing her eyes every few minutes.

The Angels' clubhouse is closed before the game, to re-open tonight after the game. Angels manager Mike Scioscia, pitching coach Mike Butcher and pitchers Joe Saunders and Dustin Moseley spent the past hour in the interview room -- Saunders and Moseley first, Scioscia and Butcher after that.

Adenhart's parents, Jim and Janet, are here and were meeting with outfielder Torii Hunter and pitcher John Lackey. The Angels will wear a patch honoring Adenhart on the left front of their jerseys beginning tonight. His locker will remain intact in their clubhouse and the club will set up a locker in memory of Adenhart on the road this season.

Most of the items remain. His mother and father did remove a few items. Jerseys. And his mother, Janet, took the red cap Nick wore in what was his final start Wednesday night.

There will be a moment of silence and a tribute before tonight's game. It is going to be a tough, tough night.

"Of course we're going to be overcome by emotion," Scioscia said when someone asked how the Angels could prevent it from happening. "This is not like a tough loss of a game. It's a tough loss of the magnitude of which we hope we never are exposed to or see again."

 

Posted on: April 3, 2009 2:58 pm
 

Spring training: The outtakes

Spring training, that's a wrap. From the Grapefruit League to the Cactus League, a few of my favorite things:

Future song lyricist: At a Mariners' game in Peoria last week, they gave a public address microphone to a fan between innings for a daily contest in which the contestant must finish the lyrics to a Jimmy Buffett song, with the prize being a $25 gift certificate to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant.

So they play part of the song Margaritaville, then cut it off. The guy successfully finished the line "Searching for my lost shaker of salt."

So far, so good.

Then he ad-libbed, singing something along the lines of "Yeah, and we don't have Richie Sexson anymore."

The red-faced Mariners quickly grabbed the microphone away from the dude, but not before it elicited quite a laugh from the Peoria Stadium crowd.

The joke, though, was on the contestant:

Quoth the Mariners: No way you're getting that gift certificate now, buddy.

Best nickname: One of the contestants for the Padres' rotation this spring was a young lefty named Cesar Ramos.

Or, as manager Bud Black referred to him, "The Joker."

Outstanding.

For those of you not old enough to remember the old Batman television show, the Joker was played by  Cesar Romero.

If I'm the Padres, I make Ramos pitch with that evil red grin painted onto his face. Not many hitters could deal with that.

So what is it, then? Everyone knows Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia, maybe the best in the business right now, creates his own culture inside his team's the clubhouse.

But he took creating the Angels' world to new extremes last week when downplaying ace John Lackey's sore right forearm.

"It's not really an injury," Scioscia said. "It's tightness and inflammation."

Uh, OK. The Angels had to scratch Lackey from his opening day start. He will open the season on the disabled list.

But it's not really an injury.

Forget "Save the Manatees", somebody save the Pirates: We know Pittsburgh has precious little at the major-league level. The Pirates are embarking upon what will be a record 17th consecutive losing season.

Judging by Thursday's exhibition game against Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Fla., the Pirates' immediate future doesn't look so hot, either.

Manatee beat the Pirates 6-4 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.

Swear.

Did I mention it's a community college, not a four-year baseball factory offering scholarships?

The Pirates' regulars were elsewhere. It was a team consisting mostly of players who will play for Pittsburgh's Triple-A Indianapolis.

Still. Manatee is a community college.

As a chat-room poster going by Dubers 15801 noted on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Web site:

"Another great moment in Pirates baseball!

"Schedule only gets tougher with Bradenton Central High School tomorrow. They have a kid who throws, like, 85."

Pizzeria Bianco: Knocked one more thing off of the spring training to-do list this week in Phoenix when I finally dined at the place that has gotten notoriety from coast to coast, thanks largely to rave reviews by Oprah and Rachel Ray, among others. Apparently, the Food Network did something from there recently as well.

Pizzeria Bianco is a tiny joint -- seats maybe 40 for dinner -- that has such buzz that, routinely, the wait is two or three hours. I mean, it's absurd. They're not open for lunch, and they do not do take-out pizzas, either. We got there early the other night -- 4 p.m., an hour before they open at 5 -- and there were 25 people waiting outside the doors at that point. We got in at 5 -- arriving that early apparently is the only way to wait an hour, instead of half the night.

It is very, very good. They have a white pizza, fennel sausage and sweet onions, that is incredible. We had that, and the salami pizza, which was mouth-watering. And we had the margherita pizza, which was world-class. The ingredients are as fresh as you'll find, and they make the mozzarella right on site.

Part of the experience is the wait, and the scene. But I'll tell you this: Bring a book to read. And if you're starving, or actually have things going on in your life that maybe make waiting two or three hours for dinner not so enticing, maybe there's other pizza alternatives in town you'd like to investigate.

Likes: Atlanta's Derek Lowe starting against Philadelphia's Brett Myers on Sunday night. Play ball!. ... Derek Jeter and David Wright competing for charity with their batting averages this year. ... Still love pulling Sports Illustrated's baseball preview issue out of the mailbox every year. ... Absolutely thrilled to see television's Friday Night Lights get extended for two more years. ... The MLB Network is off to a terrific start. Check it out. If you get cable television, you get the network. ...  Baseball-Reference.com. ... Texas president Nolan Ryan attempting to make men out of his boy pitchers. ... Peter Gammons, still healthy and productive after suffering that aneurysm a couple of years back. For a lion in the industry, Peter always has been remarkably humble, and so many people are so happy he's not only recovered, but thriving. ... Leonard Cohen, one of the best songwriters of our time, on tour. Wish one of his shows would line up with my schedule (or vice-versa). ... Go Spartans this weekend in the Final Four. ... Getting home after seven weeks on the road. I can actually walk down to the park and watch my daughter's softball game this evening. Very cool, and about time.

Dislikes: Is there ever a good time to block out to get your taxes done? Short answer: No.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day

"Fat bottomed girls
"You make the rockin' world go round"

-- Queen, Fat Bottomed Girls

 

Posted on: March 8, 2009 2:04 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2009 5:56 pm
 

Angels lose RHP Santana for start of season


TEMPE, Ariz. -- A relatively quiet camp was ruffled Sunday when Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed that All-Star right-hander Ervin Santana, bothered by elbow soreness, likely will not be ready for opening day.

Santana underwent an MRI exam, the results of which weren't immediately available. And though Scioscia said he doesn't expect the right-hander to be in the opening day rotation, he added that he doesn't expect it to be a long-term situation.

"We're going to get a better read on that later," Scioscia said Sunday morning. "Where he is now, I would anticipate that the start of the season would be a stretch."

The MRI, according to the Angels, revealed a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in Santana's right elbow. The club said he underwent an MRI last week, was re-examined on Saturday and will be held back from throwing with no definitive timetable. Meantime, the Angels said Sunday afternoon, he will continue daily therapy.

Santana, who earlier this spring signed a four-year, $30 million deal with a club option for a fifth year, was relieved Sunday that the MRI did not reveal anything more serious. And he wasn't quite as pessimistic on being ready for opening day as his manager.

"I think," Santana said. "I think I'm going to be ready for that."

But Scioscia said "we're going to take it slow with him and go from there. We're going to let some stuff calm down. We don't anticipate it being a setback for a very appreciable part of the season."

The Angels went through a similar situation with ace John Lackey last spring. Lackey, whom Scioscia already has named as the club's opening day starter for 2009, opened the 2008 season on the disabled list. The Angels still posted their first 100-win season in franchise history.

Right-handers Dustin Mosely, Shane Loux, Nick Adenhart and Anthony Ortega right now are vying for the fifth starters' spot in the rotation until Kelvim Escobar returns, possibly in May. With Santana now expected to open the season on the disabled list, two of those four could earn spots in the opening day rotation.

"We have some guys we feel can do the job and help us do what we need to do out of the chute," Scioscia said. "Moving forward, we'll get Kelvim Escobar back and we expect Ervin to be ready not too long after the start of the season."

Santana pitched 16 innings over four appearances for Licey in the Dominican Republic winter league this offseason and said he was fine when camp started.

The only previous elbow issues he's encountered before, Santana said, came in 2004 when he was stricken with tendinitis. That season, pitching for Double-A Arkansas, he made only eight starts.

"That was much worse," Santana said, referring to his '04 issues as tendinitis and calling his current soreness "inflammation."

He went 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA over 32 starts and 219 innings for the Angels in 2008 and was slotted as the No. 2 starter behind Lackey heading into '09.

 

 

 

Posted on: October 3, 2008 7:02 pm
 

Boston: Lowell out, Kotsay in for Game 2

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Boston manager Terry Francona's Game 2 lineup is in, and injured third baseman Mike Lowell is not in it.

Instead, the Red Sox will move Kevin Youklis to third base and have slotted Mark Kotsay at first. Also, Alex Cora is playing shortstop instead of Jed Lowrie.

Francona said removing Lowell, whose partially torn labrum in his right hip has reduced his effectiveness, was an agonizingly difficult decision. However, it was not a surprising decision when you consider the numbers.

Kotsay, who has struggled with the Red Sox, has a history of blistering Angels Game 2 starter Ervin Santana. Lifetime, Kotsay is 7-for-18 (.389) against Santana.

"That was a hard one for me," Francona said of removing Lowell. The manager said Lowell's condition did not worsen since Game 1, but that it is obvious he's "hurting."

"Getting to that decision was hard for me," Francona said. "That was a tough one."

As for Cora, Francona said he was leaning toward playing Cora in Game 2 entering the series.

"Just style of pitching," Francona said. "Ervin Santana, the way Cora swung, the way Lowrie swung at certain types of pitchers.

"I was leaning more toward that anyway, but you don't need to make that decision until you need to."

Cora has two hits in three lifetime at-bats against Santana. Lowrie has never faced him.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia, meanwhile, is going with catcher Jeff Mathis instead of Mike Napoli in Game 2. Santana was 14-4 with a 2.88 ERA this season when pitching to Mathis (16-6, 3.21 ERA overall).

Posted on: September 10, 2008 8:39 pm
 

Angels clinch, K-Rod zeroes in on Thigpen

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Baseball's first clincher of the summer was an unusual one: The Los Angeles Angels finished their part of it by polishing off the New York Yankees 4-2 Wednesday. Then they retired to their clubhouse to watch the Texas-Seattle game.

For a team clinching so early, the Los Angeles Angels sure had to wait around awhile.

After closer Francisco Rodriguez, appropriately, fanned Hideki Matsui for the game's final out, some 72 minutes later, Seattle outlasted Texas 8-7 and the Angels popped the corks on their fourth AL West title in the past five seasons.

It's the earliest clinch ever in the AL West, and the delayed reaction didn't seem to deflate the instant gratification.

Several hundred eager fans had stayed to watch the Texas-Seattle conclusion on the scoreboard, and moments after it ended, the Angels immediately sprinted out of their clubhouse and onto the field to begin the celebration.

The highlight? Reliever Jose Arredondo somehow commandeering the grounds crew's infield garden hose and drenching teammates before spraying it into the stands to toast the fans. The Anaheim Fire Dept. would have been proud.

"Did you see the water hose, spraying everybody?" outfielder Torii Hunter exclaimed. "That's impressive!"

"It was perfect, man," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said, agreeing Arredondo gets an 'A' for creativity. "He got some of the fans, too. They loved it!"

Owner Arte Moreno spoke of wanting a "big finish" to gain October home-field advantage -- the Angels currently own baseball's best record and, as such, would have home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs -- and spoke of needing 11 wins in October to earn World Series rings.

He, like many around the club, thinks this might be the Angels' deepest playoff team.

"Last year we were banged up," he said. "The last few years, we ... didn't have the depth. This year, everybody was saying we have too many outfielders, too many pitchers. But it's such a long season.

"It's a team deal. I'd like to think we're getting close."

While the waiting around for official clinching word was unusual, what wasn't was this: The Angels were steered to the dock Wednesday by Rodriguez, who continued zeroing in on Bobby Thigpen's all-time saves record by scooping up his 56th of the season.

K-Rod, who will become one of the hottest free agents on the market this winter, will tie Thigpen's record 57 with his next save and should easily break the record by season's end. He's currently on pace for 62.

An Angels' official said that Thigpen isn't expected to be on hand when his record falls, but the club has been in contact with him through the Chicago White Sox and some sort of gesture is expected.

"It's almost magical the way things have fallen into place," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's as consistent as anybody I've seen. He turns the page better than anybody I've been around."

While it finally was a relief to the Angels to have wrapped up the division despite the large lead, it will be a similar feeling for Rodriguez when he finally passes Thigpen.

"I feel like I have 10,000 pounds on my shoulders," he said in Chicago last weekend. "I would like to get it over. ... That would be awesome. To break the record and clinch, take those 10,000 pounds off my shoulder on the same day -- that would be nice."

The Angels beat him to one of those finish lines.

Now, the team that leads the majors in both number of games decided by two runs or fewer (81) and number of victories in those games (54), can enjoy the regular-season conclusion of K-Rod's ride.

"It's a huge accomplishment," says starter John Lackey, who broke in with Rodriguez in the minors and says he once taught the Venezuelan some English words ("not good ones, either.") "It says a great deal about his ability.

"The guy has been fearless since he's been in the league. Whether the leadoff guy gets on or he goes 1-2-3, he gets it done. Maybe he's lost a little velocity over the years, but he still gets it done."

And if the Angels have their way, they'll again provide the World Series stage where Rodriguez first rocketed to national prominence, in 2002 against San Francisco.

"He means a lot to us," Scioscia says. "And, hopefully, he will mean even more."

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