Tag:Corey Hart
Posted on: June 20, 2011 2:25 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 2:49 pm
 

The NL Central has become injury central

I'm guessing Jonny Gomes won't be dancing around or singing. I'm guessing Ryan Braun won't be, either.

But when I talked to one Reds person a few minutes after we found out that Albert Pujols will miss the next month with a broken wrist, his reaction was exactly what you'd expect.

"You hate to see anyone get hurt," he said. "But this is great news for us."

Pujols' injury is horrible news for the Cardinals, and bad news for baseball in general -- no Pujols in the All-Star Game, for one thing -- but it's great news for the Reds and for the Brewers . . . if they can stay healthy themselves.

Seriously, has any division race in baseball been as dominated by injuries this year as the National League Central?

The Cardinals have been without Adam Wainwright all year, without Matt Holliday for two tough stretches, without other lesser-known but key pieces like David Freese and Nick Punto, and now without Albert.

The Reds were without two of their five starters (Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey) for the first month of the season, and now they're without Bailey again. Key reliever Aroldis Chapman has spent the last month on the DL, as well, although his injury is much less serious than his continuing control problems. And Scott Rolen has already been on the DL once, and plays with significant enough pain that he's always a threat to go back there.

The Brewers missed Zack Greinke for the first month, and Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy for most of the first month. And Shaun Marcum left his last start early with a hip problem. And key reliever Takashi Saito appeared in just two games before going on the DL, where he remains.

Every year in spring training, someone reminds us that it's often not the best team that wins, but the healthiest. Every year, some very talented team doesn't make the playoffs, and injuries are one of the biggest reasons (2010 Red Sox).

But what happens when an entire division gets hurt?

We'll see this year, in the NL Central.

*****

As it turns out, C. Trent Rosecrans of our Eye on Baseball team was in the Reds clubhouse Sunday when Pujols was hurt, and he can confirm that neither Gomes nor any of the other Reds were singing about it.

"The only thing I heard was someone talking about being upset that he was hurt," Rosecrans said.

You might remember the minor stir in spring training, when Gomes was reported to be happily singing about Wainwright's injury (a report that Gomes stridently denied).
Posted on: April 19, 2011 7:45 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 7:49 pm
 

Hold off on judging Brewers, but not the manager

PHILADELPHIA -- It's too early to judge the Brewers.

It may not be too early to judge the Brewers' new manager.

We still haven't seen the Brewer rotation as it was designed, because we still haven't seen Zack Greinke throw a pitch for Milwaukee. We still haven't seen the Brewer lineup as designed, because Corey Hart still hasn't had an at-bat this year. We haven't even seen the Brewer bullpen as designed, because Takashi Saito appeared in just two games before going on the disabled list, and LaTroy Hawkins has yet to make his debut.

Within two weeks, the Brewers could have all those players back.

As infielder Craig Counsell said, "We're getting our team."

So no, we can't judge the Brewers yet, except to say that through all the injuries, they've hung in there so far in what is looking like a balanced (mediocre?) National League Central. Heading into play Tuesday night, the Brewers were 8-8, one game behind the first-place Reds.

So why does it feel like we can already start judging Ron Roenicke?

Simply because all the injuries, and everything else the Brewers have already gone through, makes it feel like he has already managed a lot more than 16 games.

"They haven't been easy," Roenicke said. "But the guys here, they've made it easy."

People around the Brewers say that those guys, the Brewer players, have taken to Roenicke in a way they didn't take to Ken Macha, the manager he replaced. They also say that Roenicke has already proven to have a trait that every good manager needs, the ability to stay consistent through good times and bad.

"Nothing ever festers or lingers with him," said John Shelby, who is on Roenicke's coaching staff as the Brewers' eye-in-the-sky. "You're not going to see him come in and tear up a locker room.

"There's no way you can tell anything different from [Monday] night's game [when the Brewers beat the Phillies in 12 innings] or the first day of the season, when we lost."

On the first day of the season, the Brewers didn't just lose. They blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning in Cincinnati, losing to the division rival Reds on Ramon Hernandez's three-run walkoff home run off closer John Axford.

Of the 29 other active managers in the big leagues, only two lost on a walkoff in their first game. Eric Wedge's 2003 Indians lost in 13 innings in Baltimore, while Ozzie Guillen's 2004 White Sox gave up six in the ninth and lost on a Carlos Beltran walkoff home run in Kansas City.

"I don't know if people think I can manage or not," Guillen told reporters that day.

Roenicke said nothing that colorful. He won't, but he seems as at ease dealing with the media as he does in dealing with his players.

And he's dealt with a lot already.

The difficult opening day loss began a four-game season-opening losing streak. Axford has struggled with his control in nearly every outing, and this week Roenicke had to deal with questions about whether he has a closer problem (he responded by expressing confidence that Axford will get straightened out).

Rival scouts have noticed. They also praise Roenicke for the multiple shifts he has used to help out the Brewers' subpar defense, and for the aggressive style he prefers on the basepaths.

None of that should come as a surprise. Roenicke coached under Mike Scioscia with the Angels, just as Joe Maddon and Bud Black did. And just as Maddon and Black have proven to be successful with the Rays and Padres, Roenicke looks like he could be a success with the Brewers.

The Angels connection is strong.

When a reporter asked Roenicke the other day about Carlos Gomez, Roenicke said that other players in baseball were off to slow starts, too.

The two players he mentioned: Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter, both of the Angels.

"I'm watching them," he admitted with a smile.

You can be sure they're watching him, too.

They'll keep watching, and in a couple of weeks they'll be watching a Brewers team with Greinke, Hart and the others.

They've done all right so far without them.

"I think we've handled it really well," Roenicke said. "Fortunately for us, they weren't year-ending things. [The players] know Zack's coming back. Hopefully, we'll get everyone healthy, and then we'll get on a roll."

Maybe then, we'll know what kind of team the Brewers have.

We already have an idea what kind of manager they have.

Posted on: April 18, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 7:43 pm
 

Hart, Greinke begin rehab assignments

PHILADELPHIA -- The Brewers could get outfielder Corey Hart back as soon as next week.

For Zack Greinke, they'll need to wait a week more than that.

Hart and Greinke will both begin rehabilitation assignments on Tuesday, with Greinke pitching for Class A Brevard County and Hart playing for Triple-A Nashville. Both have been been on the disabled list since the season began, Greinke with a fractured left rib and Hart with a left oblique strain.

Manager Ron Roenicke said Monday that Greinke will make three rehab starts, which would put him on schedule to make his Brewers debut on May 4 in Atlanta.

"Let's hope it's three," Roenicke said, adding that the Brewers would give Greinke more time if he needs it.

Hart said he hopes to return during the Brewers' home series with the Reds, which begins next Monday.

The Brewers will be happy to have him back. Hart drove in 102 runs this year. Brewers right fielders (mostly Mark Kotsay and Erick Almonte) drove in just two runs in the first 15 games of the year. The only other team in baseball with as few as two RBI from right fielders is the Nationals, who also have just two from Jayson Werth.

Reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who has also been on the disabled list since spring training, rejoined the Brewers Monday, but he won't be activated until Wednesday at the earliest.


Posted on: March 30, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2011 4:05 pm
 

The All-DL opening day All-Stars

It's a team that might contend for a title, if it could only get on the field.

Then again, that's exactly the problem.

Think of the players that will (or likely will) begin the season on the disabled list. It's quite a group, lacking a little (for now) on the left side of the infield and behind the plate, but overflowing with top-level starting pitching and back-of-the-bullpen depth.

Not all the opening day rosters are official yet. Some teams are waiting until closer to Thursday's 11 a.m. deadline for final decisions, which only means that the All-DL-Stars could have an even better lineup by the time the first pitch is thrown.

Jason Bay, for example, should be your All-DL-Star left fielder by then. The Mets are expected to put him on the disabled list, but they haven't said so publicly yet. So I left him off, in part because this team is strong enough without him.

For now, we'll only go with guys we're pretty sure of.

So here goes:

1B -- Kendrys Morales, Angels

2B -- Chase Utley, Phillies

SS -- Clint Barmes, Astros

3B -- Nick Punto, Cardinals

LF -- Cody Ross, Giants (Bay could take his spot)

CF -- Grady Sizemore, Indians (with Franklin Gutierrez also available)

RF -- Corey Hart, Brewers

C -- Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers

Rotation -- Adam Wainwright, Cardinals; Zack Greinke, Brewers; Johan Santana, Mets; Mat Latos, Padres; Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays (with Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and others in reserve)

Closer -- Brian Wilson, Giants (with the Phillies' Brad Lidge and the A's Andrew Bailey setting him up)

You'd take that team, wouldn't you?

You'd be guaranteed to lose on opening day, because not one of them could play, but you'd take that team.


 
 
 
 
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