Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:A.J. Hinch
Posted on: June 25, 2010 11:07 pm
 

The nuttiest no-hitter yet

The pitch-count police are no doubt screaming.

I'm not. I can't. I'm too stunned to scream.

Another no-hitter? With eight walks? On 149 pitches?

Really?

Oh yeah, another no-hitter, and this time it's Edwin Jackson of the Diamondbacks, against the Rays, the team that traded him away a year and a half ago. It's the Rays, the team that has been the loser in two perfect games in the last 12 months, now losing an imperfect game.

And it really was 149 pitches, with eight walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch.

Really.

Yes, 149 pitches, the most anyone had thrown in a major-league game in almost five years (and the most anyone other than Livan Hernandez had thrown in more than six years). And the most anyone had thrown in a no-hitter in all the history that baseball-reference.com has recorded.

The pitch-count police are not going to like that. They're going to say that Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch was reckless, that he was putting Jackson's health at risk.

I'm not so sure about that. I'm not so sure that Hinch didn't help Jackson, by allowing him a night he'll never forget -- and, perhaps, a night that could help him understand how good he can be.

Jackson is talented enough that he made the American League All-Star team last year with the Tigers. But he's erratic enough that he has a 43-45 career record, inconsistent enough that the Rays basically wouldn't pitch him in the 2008 postseason, then traded him to the Tigers (who a year later traded him to Arizona).

Before Friday, he had completed two of 125 career starts. His lone shutout before this came in 2007, a season he began with eight straight losses and an 8.20 ERA.

Did I mention he's been inconsistent?

Anyway, Hinch has regularly allowed Jackson to throw more than 110 pitches, and twice before he's allowed him to go past the 120-pitch mark. Jackson is 26 years old, and he's already proven to be durable.

He has good enough stuff that it shouldn't be a total surprise that he could throw a no-hitter -- especially in this year where almost anyone can throw a no-hitter.

But a 149-pitch no-hitter, with eight walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch?

That is a surprise. A total surprise.

And I'm still too stunned to scream.
Posted on: March 3, 2010 6:03 pm
 

On Upton and greatness

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The best thing Justin Upton said today was the simplest.

"I want to be great," he said, as the Diamondbacks announced his six-year, $51.25 million contract.

"I'm glad he said that," manager A.J. Hinch said later.

The Diamondbacks have committed more money to Upton than they've committed to any player but Randy Johnson. And more than money, they've committed to this group of players, the group that flopped last summer.

No, Upton didn't flop. Far from it. And Mark Reynolds hit 44 home runs. And if ace Brandon Webb didn't get hurt one game in, perhaps the season would have been different.

But now Webb is coming back, and now it's up to the Diamondbacks players to show that management's faith in this group is justified.

"Everybody always says it, but I'm real excited about this group," Upton said. "I think we're one of the better teams in the league. I expect to win, and the guys in this clubhouse expect to win."

He expects to be great, which is probably a little easier to say when you've been a first overall draft pick, and then an All-Star at age 21. And when you just signed a $51.25 million contract that only takes you through age 27.

He wants to be great.

Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with saying it.

*****

The bigger question for the Diamondbacks is how soon Webb will be ready to pitch. Hinch said that Webb will throw another bullpen Thursday morning, and that the team hopes -- but isn't certain -- that in his next time out after that, Webb could face life hitters.

As of now, Hinch isn't ready to say when Webb will be able to pitch in a spring training game, although the hope remains that he'll be ready to open the season in the rotation.

Hinch has already named Dan Haren his opening day starter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com