Tag:Milwaukee Brewers
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 8:28 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 8:32 pm
 

Will young power arms finally shift tide to NL?

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- How long has it been since the National League has won a freakin' All-Star Game?

Let's just say this: Last time the NL won, 1996 in Philadelphia, Bob Dole was running for president.

It's weird, it's bizarre, it's ugly and it's a subject the National Leaguers get tired of answering. Current count: The AL's unbeaten streak has reached 13 years, including winning the past seven in a row (since the humiliating 2002 tie in Milwaukee).

Yet silly as this sounds, there is a very real sense that the tide might be beginning to shift away from Junior Circuit dominance in the Mid-Summer Classic.

Reasons?

Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez. Florida's Josh Johnson. San Francisco's Tim Lincecum. Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo. All All-Stars this year. And, Washington's Stephen Strasburg, and San Diego's Mat Latos, who very well could debut as All-Stars next summer when the game hits Phoenix.

You know about Strasburg. And Latos was the next pitcher NL manager Charlie Manuel would have chosen in the event of one more injury scratch.

"It needs to turn for us, the way it's been going," says San Diego manager Bud Black, a coach on Manuel's NL staff this week. "There are some fine young power arms in the National League.

"Hey, the American League's no slouch either, with David Price and CC Sabathia. And Felix Hernandez can probably throw it as hard as he wants to."

No question. But there is more sizzle in the NL's pitching this summer -- especially given all the incredibly talented young arms -- than there has been in quite some time.

"Just looking at our staff, I know I wouldn't want to be a hitter on the other side," says Mets third baseman David Wright, who has been in the NL clubhouse for the past four losses. "We have some power arms, really, top to bottom. Just seeing their age and the ability and the upside and what they've accomplished already is amazing.

"I know how I feel with a bat in my hands in the box against these guys. Then when you string together the depth that the NL has with their young power arms, it's pretty impressive."

Jimenez comes into the game with 15 wins, a no-hitter against Atlanta this year and a 33-inning scoreless streak compiled during one especially torrid stretch in May and June.

Johnson leads the majors with a 1.70 ERA and has allowed no more than one earned run in 10 of his past 11 starts.

Lincecum has won back-to-back Cy Young awards, Strasburg is showing signs of having Cy Young stuff ... the list goes on.

"I know you've got Strasburg, Jimenez, Josh Johnson ... those guys throw hard," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter says. "They're filthy. I've been watching them on television."

In the NL, Wright has been watching most of them from the batter's box.

"You know that it's going to be a rough day when you're battling to draw a walk," Wright says. "Or you're battling to plate one guy and you know you have to be perfect as far as situational hitting just to plate a run, that you're not going to have that big inning where you can put up some crooked numbers.

"Where you have to battle and grind and fight and almost hope that the other team makes a mistake. You know what an uncomfortable at-bat it is. You know what they're capable of doing."

Add Philadelphia's veteran ace Roy Halladay, who will pitch for the NL for the first time following six All-Star appearances for the AL, and Atlanta's cagey Tim Hudson, who is making his NL debut Tuesday following Tommy John ligament transfer surgery (and two All-Star selections when he was pitching in the AL), and it's not an easy staff to face.

As for Jimenez and Johnson, the NL's two most dominant pitchers in the first half and the ones many AL hitters will see for the first time on Tuesday night, well, Wright says his least favorite to face is. ...

"Neither. We've been fortunate in that we've missed Josh Johnson the last few times we've played the Marlins, but it's no fun having him in the division.

"When you go in for a series in Miami, you always know which day Josh is pitching. You know you'd better win the game before that or the game after that or the other games because you're likely not going to win that one."

Whether the same will hold true for the All-Star Game, well ... it's got to turn one of these years, doesn't it?

Posted on: July 2, 2010 9:11 pm
 

Jimenez, Price aligned for All-Star Game

If American League manager Joe Girardi chooses to start Tampa Bay's David Price in the July 13 All-Star Game -- a very real possibility given that Price led the AL in ERA (2.44) and wins (11) on Friday -- the coast is clear.

And if National League manager Charlie Manuel gives the nod to Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez -- which seems a slam dunk -- that should work, too.

In the first season in which baseball will deem ineligible any starting pitcher working on the Sunday before the All-Star break, the view from several days out looks pretty good.

Of the top AL starters, only the Angels' Jered Weaver (who leads the majors with 124 strikeouts), Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann and the Yankees' CC Sabathia currently are projected to start for their clubs on that Sunday.

Among the NL's top starters, only the Mets' Mike Pelfrey is slated to start on Sunday, July 11. But depending on what manager Jerry Manuel does with his pitching on the club's off-day on Thursday, July 8, that could change.

Price, a serious candidate to start for the AL, is scheduled to make his final pre-All Star start for Tampa Bay on Wednesday, which would leave him plenty rested for the Anaheim game. And if Girardi looks in a different direction, Seattle's Cliff Lee (last first-half start next Friday), Boston's Jon Lester (Friday) and Clay Buchholz (Tuesday), the Yankees' own Phil Hughes (Friday) and Texas' Colby Lewis (Wednesday) all should be eligible.

Jimenez makes his final pre-All Star start on Thursday and, assuming good health, should be a foregone conclusion to start for the NL in Anaheim.

As for the rest of the NL's top starters, things are setting up very nicely for Manuel: Florida's Josh Johnson (final first-half start slotted for Wednesday), St. Louis' Chris Carpenter (Friday), Adam Wainwright (Saturday) and Jaime Garcia (Thursday), Philadelphia's Roy Halladay (Saturday), Atlanta's Tim Hudson (Friday or Saturday), Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo (Friday), the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (Thursday), San Diego's Mat Latos (Wednesday) and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum (Wednesday) and Barry Zito (Thursday)  all should be fresh for the game.

Likes: Great move by Texas acquiring catcher Bengie Molina. Look out, this is the strongest team the Rangers have had in several years. ... The wheels came off the wagon horribly in Arizona, but make no mistake: Fired general manager Josh Byrnes and manager A.J. Hinch are good people. ... New Arizona manager Kirk Gibson's first game in the dugout, of course, is against the Dodgers. Who else? ... The All-Star break just around the corner and Texas, Atlanta, Cincinnati and San Diego in first place. ... The new concert DVD from Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band, Live in Hyde Park. Very, very good. Great song selections, tremendous playing and some breathtaking camera work of both the band's work and the crowd in Hyde Park. ... Quaker Oatmeal Squares for breakfast. ... Ben & Jerry's Milk and Cookies ice cream.

Dislikes: It's July, so here comes the July 31 trade deadline, a time that you would think would get a baseball writer's juices flowing. And it does mine, too -- it's fun to see the moves as they're made -- but it's also become one of my least favorite times of the year because there is so, so much wrong information that will be produced this month. And ferreting out the truth from the fiction is next to impossible. The sad, simple fact is the journalism bar at times is lowered today, and this is one of them.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Summer
"It turns me upside down"

-- The Cars, Magic

Posted on: May 2, 2010 8:46 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2010 8:51 pm
 

Padres putting on pitching clinic

SAN DIEGO -- Along with the Mets, the Padres are one of only two National League teams to never have thrown a no-hitter. But where San Diego's pitching is concerned, the Padres on Sunday did touch history by throwing a third shutout against Milwaukee in four games.

Never before had the Padres thrown three shutouts in a series of any length. And leaving the Brewers' batters even more bewildered, the two runs the stingy San Diego pitchers allowed were the fewest in Padres' history in a four-game series.

This against a Brewers team that arrived here last Thursday leading the National League in runs scored.

So much for the gap left in the rotation by trading ace Jake Peavy to the White Sox last July.

So much for the continued absence of All-Star Chris Young, who has been on the disabled list since the season's first week.

"You talk all the time about pitching and solid defense and timely hitting going a long way," Padres manager Bud Black said after Sunday's 8-0 whitewashing of Milwaukee. "You can't discount what our starters have done early this season.

"To a man, they've all pitched well."

Sunday's winner was the graybeard of the group Jon Garland, a 10-year veteran. Kevin Correia, Clayton Richard, Wade LeBlanc and Mat Latos also have pitched so well that the discussion in San Diego recently has centered on just whom the Padres would send back to Triple-A when Young is ready to rejoin them.

Mix in the bullpen, where set-up men Luke Gregerson and Mike Adams in particular have been nails for closer Heath Bell, and the surprising first-place Padres have won 13 of their past 16 games.

"You see our bullpen," Padres catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "There are not a lot of guys people have heard of before. But if our starting pitching gets us a lead after seven innings, it's game over. Gregerson, Mike Adams ... guys nobody's heard of before, but they have outstanding arms.

"Our pitching is really deep."

"They're good," said slow-starting Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder (.234, two homers, nine RBI in 25 games). "They did a great job this series.

"Unfortunately, we probably weren't at our best."

Overall, the Padres now own a major-league leading six shutouts. Though five of them have come at Petco Park (the other came in Cincinnati), that's two more than the Mets and San Francisco and double the number of any AL team.

Coming into Sunday's games, the Padres' 2.88 ERA ranked third in the majors (behind the Cardinals and Giants), as did their .233 opponents' batting average.

"The fact that we held them to zero runs in three of four games and to two runs total in four games, we feel like we came away with a sweep," Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. said. "That's a very, very talented offense over there. Our pitchers really stepped up."

Heading into Monday's series opener against Colorado and Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez, Padres pitchers now have worked 40 scoreless innings in their past 42 innings pitched going back to Wednesday's game in Florida.

Over their past 16 games, the Padres own a 2.08 ERA.

Posted on: April 30, 2010 11:49 pm
 

Uecker comes through surgery, Brewers thrilled

SAN DIEGO -- Best news of the day for the Brewers on Friday came from back home in Milwaukee, where Hall of Fame radio broadcaster and beloved local icon Bob Uecker came through a six-hour heart surgery that was described by surgeon Alfred C. Nicolosi as having gone "smoothly."

Uecker, who had his aortic valve, aortic root and part of his ascending aorta replaced, is expected to remain hospitalized for approximately five to seven days, and a full recovery is expected in 10 to 12 weeks.

The Brewers were very happy when the news reached them in their clubhouse here before Friday night's game with the Padres.

"He's part of us, really," said infielder Craig Counsell, 39, a Milwaukee native whose father worked for the Brewers and who is in his fifth season with Milwaukee and 13th in the majors. "He's one of the guys. When he's not here, it's like a teammate is gone.

"We're hoping for the best and we can't wait to get him back."

Uecker, 75, is in his 40th season at the mike for his hometown team and in his 55th season of professional baseball overall.

"He gets around so good," Counsell said. "He doesn't really show any signs of getting older, ever. He just doesn't. He works out every day, swims."

The Brewers are not sure when Uecker will re-join them, but they're very happy to know that he will.

"On behalf of the entire Brewers' organization, we are relieved to know that Bob's surgery went as planned, and we look forward to his complete and speedy recovery," Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said in a statement. "I know Bob appreciates just how eager Brewers fans are to hear his wit, passion and knowledge of baseball as well as all things Milwaukee -- since listening to him is such a big part of our summers. Get well, Bob."

Likes: This bit from Craig Ferguson on the Late, Late Show last week: "Airports from London to Warsaw are on their sixth day of shutdown. The airports are closed because a volcano is erupting. Smoke and ash are spreading over Europe. The smoke cloud is big and thick. Meteorologists originally thought it was coming from Willie Nelson’s tour bus." ... Friday afternoons. ... The Hold Steady on David Letterman on Friday night.

Dislikes: Nothing personal, because he's a solid guy, but man is it tough to watch Milwaukee's Doug Davis pitch. Talk about taking forever to throw the ball. And 100 pitches later, you're still in the fifth inning.


Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"There are people in your life who've come and gone
"They let you down, you know they hurt your pride
"You better put it all behind you baby; cause' life goes on
"If you keep carryin' that anger, it'll eat you up inside, baby"

-- Don Henley, The Heart of the Matter

Posted on: April 29, 2010 12:17 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2010 1:37 pm
 

U2, the DH and the baseball schedule

Don't know whether or not Bono favors the designated hitter rule, but based on U2's summer concert tour, they're definitely American Leaguers.

The band is playing Angels Stadium (June 6-7), the Oakland Coliseum (June 16) and Toronto's Rogers Center (July 3) before, finally, landing in NL Florida's Landshark Stadium (or whatever they're calling it now, on July 9).

And it wreaked havoc with the 2010 schedule.

"They've become my least-favorite band -- which has nothing to do with their songs, talent or anything else," jokes Katy Feeney, the longtime National League media specialist who now helps handles major league baseball's club relations and scheduling issues.

Putting together the major-league schedule is always a chore because it has an incredible number of moving parts, and this year's was even more difficult based on the band from Ireland.

Because of the magnitude of the tour and sheer size of the stage, Feeney says, "they require 10 days to set up the concert and then break it down. That's an unusually long period of time [compared to other concerts].

"And that means a team has to be on the road for three series' over a week-and-a-half."

The problems, for example, didn't necessarily occur with sending the Angels on the road for a 14-game trip from May 31-June 14 to make room for U2, or with sending the A's on a nine-game trip from June 11-21 to accommodate Bono and the boys.

"Unfortunately, everything has a ripple effect," Feeney says. "And the number of actual teams hosting the concert, other than those 10 days, may not feel as many consequences as some other clubs."

It could have gotten more dicey. St. Louis initially asked to hold dates for U2, but for whatever reason, the band didn't fit Busch Stadium into its itinerary. And while the band is playing major-league cities Denver (June 12), Seattle (June 20), Minneapolis (June 27) and Chicago (July 6), those concerts are all in football stadiums.

"It wasn't as bad as the year the Republican National Convention was in Houston," Feeney says of the 1992 gathering. "The Astros had to be on the road for a month that year.

"Every year has something. Hopefully, everybody enjoys the U2 concerts in baseball stadiums. And hopefully, the stadiums will be full."

Maybe Bono will write about it in one of his New York Times Op-Ed columns.

Likes: Colleague Mike Freeman's column lobbying baseball to consider moving 2011 All-Star Game out of Arizona if the state does not change its new immigration law. ... Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo, the game's next superstar. ... Baltimore wins two in a row this week! ... Former Indians pitching coach Carl Willis as the roving pitching coordinator for the Mariners' minor-league system. He'll be back in the bigs soon. ... First three episodes of HBO's Treme have been solid. Very promising New Orleans-based show right there. From David Simon, who did Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire. ... New release from The Hold Steady next week. ... New DVD coming in June from Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band, London Calling. ... Finally started reading Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked. Not too far in yet, but anytime I'm reading a Hornby book, it's good with me.

Dislikes: The Giants' ninth inning Wednesday following Tim Lincecum. ... The Brewers' ninth inning Wednesday with Trevor Hoffman. ... The Royals' eighth and ninth innings Tuesday following Zack Greinke. ... Regarding the above on David Simon, I still haven't caught up with The Wire, which I hear is superb. It's on my list.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The more you see the less you know
"The less you find out as you go
"I knew much more then, than I do now
"Neon heart, day-glow eyes
"A city lit by fireflies
"They're advertising in the skies
"For people like us"

-- U2, City of Blinding Lights

Posted on: April 5, 2010 2:38 pm
 

Early race for comeback player of year

Four key players are or will be on the field today who did not even make it for one game in 2009:

Jake Westbrook is Cleveland's opening day starter against the White Sox.

Shaun Marcum is Toronto's opening day starter against Texas.

Ben Sheets is Oakland's opening day starter tonight against Seattle.

And outfielder Jim Edmonds is in Milwaukee's opening day lineup today in place of right fielder Corey Hart. Edmonds just whiffed with Brewers on first and third in the first inning. But the Brewers have high hopes for him, think he looked great this spring and manager Ken Macha thinks he will get Edmonds at least 250 at-bats this year.

In Chicago, meanwhile, Westbrook surrendered two early runs (a two-run Paul Konerko homer) and is trailing 2-0 in the third.
Posted on: March 29, 2010 4:33 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2010 6:22 pm
 

Sabbatical over, Edmonds zeroes in on Brewers job

MARYVALE, Ariz. -- Is it actually possible to get younger by taking a year off?

Jim Edmonds, 39, sure looks it. He's about to complete one of the spring's most impressive comebacks, winning a spot on the Milwaukee Brewers' opening day roster after taking the entire 2009 season off.

Mexico? Margaritaville?

"Kids and golf," he says. "Spent some time on the beach with my kids.

"I haven't gotten a chance to do that in 15 years."

He's leaner than when we last saw him in 2008, fading away with San Diego and the Cubs. He's toned. He's hitting .293 with a .383 on-base percentage in the Cactus League with two homers and 12 RBI in 16 games.

"I think the year off not only helped me get healthy, but it gave me a fresher mind and body," says Edmonds, a four-time All Star who has eight career Gold Gloves. "I was able to get all the negativity out of my mind.

"Now, I'm not worrying about whether it's a lefty or righty pitching, matchups, anything."

When we last saw him, he had a strained calf, suffered a concussion, got into it with Tony La Russa, his former manager in St. Louis. He was flat-out worn out.

"Trying to keep up with all the doubters and the negativity, it was tough to hit," he says.

Now, he's been one of the most pleasant surprises in the Brewers' camp. He's not going to win a starting job, not with slugger Ryan Braun in left, Corey Hart in right and speedy Carlos Gomez in center. But in a right-handed-heavy lineup, Edmonds' lefty bat will find plenty of playing time the way things stand now.

"I can see him getting 250 at-bats," Brewers manager Ken Macha says. "I don't think that will be a problem. If he plays two or three times a week against right-handed pitching, that's 75 games right there, times four at-bats ... 250 at-bats, I can see that happening easily.

"His defense has been terrific. I'm good with him in left field, center field or right field. His arm is still very good, and accurate."

Macha already is envisioning Edmonds hitting second in the lineup when he's in there.

"I just want guys who will get on base for Braun and Prince Fielder," the manager says.

Besides, there's precedent for this sort of thing in Milwaukee. Outfielder Gabe Kapler did the same thing as Edmonds in 2008, winning a job after not playing in '07, and hit .301 with eight homers and 38 RBI. Kapler wound up parlaying that into two more one-year, $1 million-plus contracts in Tampa Bay.

Sunblock Day: Oh man, temperatures in the 80s. Are we sure spring training is wrapping up this week? It's just starting to heat up. Only problem is, so are the allergies.

Likes: Ricky Weeks, healthy. ... Milwaukee starter David Bush getting past the arm fatigue issues that plagued him in 2009 as he was coming back from a micro tear of his right triceps muscle that sidelined him from June through August. Bush right now probably slots in as the Brewers' fourth starter behind Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis. Fifth starter? Brewers manager Ken Macha still has a lot of ifs, but it's between Manny Parra and Chris Narveson after Jeff Suppan was put on the disabled list with a sore neck. ... Prince Fielder going over his iPod with Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins and recommending tunes early Monday morning. ... Brandon Morrow feeling great after throwing the simulated game for Toronto the other day. Would love to see him take advantage of his new gig in Toronto after pitching out of Seattle's bullpen the past few years. ... Livan Hernandez in the Nationals rotation? Love to see old people still productive. ... Colorado is looking for a middle reliever, ala what Oakland will get with Chad Gaudin. ... Can't wait for the Butler-Michigan State Final Four game Saturday. ... Ya know, if you get your spinach sautéed with olive oil and garlic, it's not bad.

Dislikes: All these ads I keep seeing about the World Cup this summer on ESPN, the only thing that makes them tolerable is the music, U2's City of Blinding Lights. That's as much attention as I will be paying to soccer for the summer, thank you very much. ... Spring is almost over and I have not even been to Waffle House once.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Just 'cuz I don't run my mouth
"Don't mean I got nothing to say"

-- Drive-By Truckers, Marry Me

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