Tag:Roy Halladay
Posted on: July 14, 2009 6:37 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2009 8:14 pm
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All-Star pitching plans for tonight

ST. LOUIS -- As American League manager Joe Maddon said the other day, it's difficult to "choreograph" the All-Star Game when it's played in a National League park without the designated hitter.

But while plans may eventually unravel, here's the way Maddon and his NL counterpart, Charlie Manuel, intend to begin tonight's 80th All-Star Game:

Maddon has told starter Roy Halladay that he will pitch two innings. Halladay will be followed in order, according to Maddon, by the White Sox's Mark Buehrle, Kansas City's Zack Greinke, Detroit's Edwin Jackson, Seattle's Felix Hernandez, Boston's Jonathan Papelbon, Minnesota's Joe Nathan and the Yankees' Mariano Rivera.

If Rivera pitches with a lead in the ninth inning, he will have a chance to claim his fourth All-Star save, which would be a record. Currently, he is tied with Dennis Eckersley for the record with three.

As of now, Maddon is planning on keeping in reserve Boston's Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett, Detroit's Justin Verlander and the Angels' Brian Fuentes. Beckett and Verlander pitched on Sunday.

As for Wakefield, making his first All-Star appearance at 42, and holding him back?

"It's all about this game matters," Maddon said. "It does matter, and he's the perfect guy if there are extra innings to carry us the rest of the way."

As for the NL, attempting to win its first All-Star game since 1996, Manuel, following consultation with San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy, has told starter Tim Lincecum to plan to pitch two innings.

After that?

Depends if Lincecum pitches two full innings, and it depends on whether the pitcher's spot is coming up in the next inning, Manuel said. That will determine whether he uses a starter or a reliever to follow Lincecum.

Posted on: July 13, 2009 9:42 pm
 

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

ST. LOUIS -- Not only will Tuesday night's All-Star Game start put Toronto's Roy Halladay on the biggest stage of his career, it also will be one of the most public auditions he'll make in his new life as trade bait for a contender.

But what's more newsworthy is that the very private Halladay spoke at length Monday about the possibility of leaving his beloved Toronto. And he sounded like a man who mentally has one foot out the door already. Which is notable in that he has full no-trade powers and must sign off on any deal.

"The team's open to looking and I'm open to it," Halladay said. "It's kind of, 'Let's see what happens and go from there.'"

The longtime ace of Toronto's staff finally seems resigned to the fact that if he is going to pitch in October for the first time in his 12-year career, it's going to have to be in a uniform other than that of the Blue Jays.

"For me, that's been the biggest struggle," Halladay said. "To (Toronto general manager) J.P. Ricciardi's credit, when I signed my extension, that was the focus for him. He said they were going to try and win. I believe they did the best they could to try and win.

"But financially, the economy, maybe you get to the point where we have to change direction a little bit."

The economy has hit Toronto hard. The Blue Jays rank 12th in the American League in attendance, ahead of only Cleveland and Oakland, and next year's payroll is expected to be lower than the current $80 million. As such, in a division with big spenders Boston and the Yankees, and including a very talented Tampa Bay club, the Blue Jays' immediate prospects for contending do not look good.

From Toronto's perspective, one thing that has to factor in is the disappointing return they got when pitcher A.J. Burnett fled via free agency last winter: The Jays were expecting two draft picks, but aside from the sandwich pick they got following the first round, they were stunned when events played out to net them only a third-round pick from the Yankees.

One of the most telling glimpses into Halladay's current thinking was in how he answered the question of being traded to a large-market club. He's thrived in the out-of-the-way quiet of Toronto, and he does not enjoy the spotlight.

But he also sounds ready to compromise on that for a chance to win.

"I think so," he said. "That's what made Toronto great for me. It is quiet. It is a great place.

"But I think you've got to take a chance sometimes. Wherever that may be, there is a point in your career where you know you need to take a chance and try it and win."

At 32, Halladay seems ready to take that chance. Even if it is in New York, where he says he would not be intimidated.

"No," he said. "I'm sure a lot of media people wouldn't love me. For me, I've always been able to separate what I do on the field from off the field, and I've realized I can't always make everybody happy all the time."

He also said that although he's played his entire career in the American League, he wouldn't necessarily be adverse to pitching in the National League and, thus, batting (which should be music to Philadelphia's ears).

"Once you go from the American League East," he said, smiling. "Not that there aren't great teams out there, but it's a tough decision. I'd rather hit than have to face (Derek) Jeter, A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez), (Hideki) Matsui, (Mark) Teixeira and those guys."

Halladay, thoughtful and reflective throughout the interview, said he doesn't yet know whether he would ask for an extension of his current deal (roughly $7 million remaining this year and $15.75 million in 2010) in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause, as some major league executives believe he will.

"It's a little bit down the road for me," he said. "All I can tell you is that my priority will be to win. I've been fortunate to have been taken care of fine in Toronto. As a younger player, maybe is at the beginning of a career, that's important. Now, the emphasis is on winning. As far as thinking that far, I really haven't gotten there. It just hasn't come up."

Whether Halladay will be traded by the July 31 deadline, he said, "for me, it will be the flip of a coin. I really believe that. I think there is so much that goes into it. I'm still not 100 percent sure what direction we're going to take in Toronto, if Toronto does decide to do something."

There are many in the game who think that Ricciardi is sending out feelers now and that the Blue Jays will wind up trading Halladay this winter, rather than this July.

Whatever the timetable, after listening to Halladay on Monday, you have to believe that he's already begun cutting the emotional ties in one of the most calculated gambles of his career -- and, on Toronto's part, in recent franchise history.

 

Posted on: June 14, 2009 10:07 pm
 

Nationals' Acta days appear numbered

Two springs ago, then-Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden looked me squarely in the eye during a conversation around the batting cage and uttered this declaration:

"Manny Acta one day will be a Hall of Fame manager."

He could not have been more earnest.

I did not write it because it was ludicrous on so many levels.

But with Acta pretty much reaching his expiration date as the Nationals' skipper, that statement is so apropos today in explaining a lot of things about how a Montreal Expos club turned into a disgrace by major-league baseball's stewardship has become an even bigger disgrace.

That Bowden could be so delusional to even say such a thing when the sample size of Acta's career was so miniscule (he had managed in the majors just one season at that point) helps explain many of the other decisions he passed off as sound during his time as GM.

That the Lerner family, owner of the Nationals, could allow a man with the gall to make such half-cocked assessments to remain in charge of running the show for four seasons helps explain why the Nationals currently are challenging the 1962 New York Mets for baseball ignominy.

Unless or until he gets another job, we'll never truly know how good -- or bad -- of a manager Acta is because evaluating his work with the mismatched cast of characters he was given to work with is impossible.

He was one of the hottest commodities on the managerial market when he was a third-base coach with the New York Mets. He was respected in the clubhouse. As a manager, he was always prepared. Surely, he's better than the ship that wound up taking him down.

But a Hall of Fame manager? Those were brazen words, even from Bowden. And, I thought, unfair to Acta. Here was a guy attempting to get his managerial feet on the ground with a club that was, at minimum, several years away from legitimately contending.

As things turned out, he had his hands full. He tried to leave his imprint, benching a Felipe Lopez here and a Ryan Church there when they didn't hustle. In each of the past two seasons, Acta ranked second among major-league managers in pinch-hitters used. But, as they say, you can't make chicken salad out of chicken ... .

The one thing that I thought did not reflect well on Acta was that his team often looked disinterested and arrogant. A coach with a major-league team asked me about it last year, then proceeded to rip the Nationals for the way they casually got on and off the field, often at little more than walking pace. This coach said it was one of the most unprofessional teams he had ever seen.

Acta probably could have ranted and raved more than he did, but given the cast of characters and reprobates he was handed, would it have mattered? I doubt it.

He did what he could with what little he had. In the end, he certainly did enough to warrant another crack at this managing gig.

I don't know that he's Hall of Fame material. But he's certainly better than a misguided organization made him look.

Likes: Excellent blog work from the Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger, who, in following up Shin-Soo Choo's winning hit off of a seagull last Thursday in Cleveland's Progressive Field, dropped a note to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Mellinger writes of the response from Dan Shannon, PETA's assistant director of youth outreach and campaigns: "PETA is just glad the bird is OK. Talk about having to take one for the team. But if Shin-Soo Choo wants to make amends, he could drop by his local animal shelter for a few hours to make it up to the animal kingdom." Quips Mellinger: "So, to review: Maximum sentence for bouncing a game-winning single off a seagull: 2 hours community service." ... Eric Arnett, Milwaukee's first-round pick out of Indiana University, was very impressive during the few minutes I saw him in the television booth on Sunday before he sets out for rookie ball in Montana. Very well-spoken and clean-cut young man. He was even wearing a tie.

Dislikes: Hate to see Toronto's Roy Halladay suffer a groin strain in the midst of a sensational start to 2009 (10-1, 2.52 ERA). Right now he's only expected to have his next start pushed back a few days. I hope that optimistic report is true and he avoids the disabled list. It's a crime that he's never started an All-Star Game. I know it's early but, right now, he deserves this year's start.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well, we got no class
"And we got no principals
"And we got no innocence
"We can't even think of a word that rhymes"

-- Alice Cooper, School's Out

Posted on: February 22, 2009 12:20 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2009 7:43 am
 

Burnett at home in pinstripes

TAMPA, Fla. -- A.J. Burnett's favorite part, so far, of the Yankee Experience?

"They rake the mounds between comebackers," he says in wonder, referring to the pitchers' fielding practice drills here. "It's unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it.

"You take a break, come back to the mound and they've raked it. It's the greatest thing ever."

As F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, the rich are different than you and me. And, yes, the Yankees are different than Burnett's old club, the Toronto Blue Jays. Or just about anybody else, for that matter.

As the Blue Jays work to overcome the loss of Burnett and key injuries to starters Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum at their camp roughly 30 minutes away, Burnett is starting the next chapter of his career alongside CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and the rest of the Bronx Bombers' luxury models.

Here, he sort of blends in despite his five-year, $80.5 million deal. But truth be told, he's taken a little bit of Toronto with him.

He was No. 2 to ace Roy Halladay there and, during his three years with the Jays, it was evident that Halladay's work ethic, approach and maturity rubbed off on Burnett.

"He had a big influence on me," Burnett says. "Doc's more of a lead-by-example guy. What he showed me was that no matter how good you are, you can always get better. Doc did that. When you thought he was unbelievable, he'd be more unbelievable."

Burnett has a lot in common with Halladay. Both are hard throwers who can overpower hitters when they choose to. But that last part is important. Halladay helped teach Burnett that a strategy of attempting to overpower hitters on every single pitch is a plan that eventually will lead to doom.

Take some speed off sometimes, Halladay showed Burnett, and you'll be surprised by how much movement you can achieve.

"I think all young hard-throwers are like that," Burnett says. "You want to challenge people all the time.

"I stopped trying to strike everybody out, and more strikeouts came."

Halladay's influence also resulted in another key development for Burnett: He learned more about his body, and which arm pain is worth worrying about and which is the kind of pain an elite pitcher should be able to pitch through.

"I was tired of not staying on the field," Burnett says. "You're never too old to learn. You're never too old to not get better."

You could almost see the light click on for Burnett sometime around mid-2007. His 204 innings pitched last year ranked sixth in the majors. That's one thing that helped him become one of the hottest free-agent pitchers on the market after opting out of his Jays contract last fall.

He's never before thrown 200 or more innings in back-to-back seasons, though. So in New York, that's his next challenge.

"I know how many times I've been healthy and I know how many times I've been injured in my career," he says. "I feel if I take care of myself, I'll finally be able to make enough starts."

That happens, and things likely will be very good for both Burnett and for the Yankees.

If it doesn't, well, by season's end, he'll certainly have a different answer for this next question.

His least-favorite part of the Yankee Experience so far?

Burnett looks around the clubhouse, glances at the pinstriped uniforms in the lockers and shakes his head.

"I don't have one."

Likes: Cito Gaston back in the manager's chair during spring training. ... Corey Koskie on the Canadian World Baseball Classic team? The guy needs a break after dealing with post-concussion syndrome for the past two years. ... Ah, Florida. You don't see advertisements like this signage at Minnesota's Hammond Stadium just anywhere: "Mobility Unlimited. Home Oxygen Medical Equipment and Supplies. Rehab Technologies." ... Butler University, my father's alma mater, getting back on the winning side of things Saturday against Davidson. ... What a thing, Nino's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, one of the best stops on the spring training tour, has expanded. It's a great, family-owned joint with outstanding food and terrific people, and now that it's bigger, the odds of getting in without a wait are even better.

Dislikes: Florida drivers. Or drivers in Florida.

Sunblock Day? Happy to report the weather is back on track. Sunny and mid-70s today. You'd be disappointed if you were snowbound and read reports that it was cold down here, too, wouldn't you?

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day

"Well my time went so quickly
"I went lickety-splitly
"Out to my old '55
"As I drove away slowly
"Feeling so holy
"God knows, I was feeling alive
"Now the sun's coming up
"I'm riding with Lady Luck
"Freeway cars and trucks
Stars beginning to fade"

-- Tom Waits, Ol '55

Posted on: July 1, 2008 1:38 am
 

What if Brandon Morrow was a starter?

From his perch in the Seattle Mariners' bullpen, where he is chief set-up man to closer J.J. Putz, Brandon Morrow can't help but keep an eye on his old college rival.

He isn't alone. San Francisco's Tim Lincecum is tearing it up at 9-1 with a 2.38 ERA (second in the National League) and an NL-leading 114 strikeouts.

They pitched against each other in college, sort of, Lincecum starring for the University of Washington and Morrow for Pac-10 rival University of California.

"They were rained out or something right before we played them, and they jumbled their rotation and he didn't pitch that Friday," says Morrow, who did.

He wasn't exactly disappointed at the time -- "Gave us a better chance to win," he says -- and the two would run into each other across the country in the Cape Cod League as well.

Morrow was Seattle's first-round pick in the 2006 draft, fifth overall. The Giants chose Lincecum 10th overall in '06.

Morrow made the majors to stay in '07, ahead of Seattle's schedule, because the Mariners had a need in their bullpen. He was good as a set-up man last summer, going 3-4 with a 4.12 ERA over 60 appearances, but as Lincecum deals, he can't help but wonder what life might be like back in the rotation.

"I was always a starter," Morrow says. "You can't put enough importance on a quality start. If you don't get a good start, the relievers don't matter."

Until the Mariners traded for Erik Bedard and signed Carlos Silva as a free agent last winter, the club intended to slot Morrow in the rotation this season. He even made seven starts in the Venezuelan Winter League, working on building his endurance so he could pitch more innings.

"I was slightly disappointed I went through all that" and then was pushed back to the bullpen, Morrow says. "But anytime you're in the big leagues, you can't complain."

Meanwhile, several hundred miles south of Morrow, Lincecum's All-Star season continues for San Francisco.

"He's been throwing the hell out of the ball all year," says Morrow, who's seen it before.

Likes: Tampa Bay and Boston this week in a meaningful series. What fun. ... Roy Halladay, and six complete games. He would have fit in very well alongside Mickey Lolich,  Gaylord Perry, Catfish Hunter and Bert Blyleven. ... Safeco Field. Still beautiful after all these years. ... The way they arrange the AL flags in order of standing at Safeco. And yes, what an odd thing to see the Rays flag flying ahead of Boston's and the Yankees'. ... Seattle's "Countdown to Cooperstown" -- it's at 27 days -- in anticipation of legendary broadcaster Dave Niehaus' impending induction into the broadcasters' wing. ... Tim Lincecum pitching, any night. ... ... Ferndale, Wash., from Sandy Point to Barlean's Fishery.

Dislikes: Racial threats against Boston Red Sox players? What is this, 1859? Sad to say, that kind of backwater thinking continues to exist. Look at the Democratic primaries this year, where a stunning number of voters in West Virginia and Kentucky admitted in exit polls that race factored into the way they voted.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Racism lives in the U.S. today
"Better get hip to what Martin Luther King had to say
"I don't want my kids being brought up this way
"Hatred to each other is not okay
"Well, I'm not a preacher just a singer son
"But I can see more work to be done
"It's what you do and not what you say
"If you're not part of the future then get out of the way"

-- John Mellencamp, Peaceful World

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