Posted on: October 28, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 7:50 pm
ST. LOUIS -- Mike Napoli is hurting. Nelson Cruz is hurting.
But it's Game 7.
It's Game 7 of the World Series, and both Napoli (left ankle) and Cruz (right groin) are in the Rangers' lineup for Friday night's game at Busch Stadium. Both were regarded as questionable after getting hurt in Thursday's incredible Game 6.
Napoli, in line for World Series MVP honors if the Rangers win, hurt his ankle when he went into second base awkwardly in the fourth inning Thursday. He stayed in the game, but said afterwards that the ankle was "pretty sore."
"He showed the type of warrior he is," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "If you hadn't seen him hurt the ankle, you wouldn't have even known it was hurt."
Cruz left the game after batting in the top of the 11th inning. The Rangers believe he got hurt banging into the wall trying to catch David Freese's game-tying triple in the ninth inning.
Cruz was in more doubt Friday, but the Rangers decided after batting practice that he was good enough to go. The Rangers didn't seriously consider removing him from the World Series roster, in part because they thought that at the very least he could give them a pinch-hit at-bat.
While Napoli and Cruz are in the lineup, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is out. Holliday severely injured his right pinky when he was picked off third base in the sixth inning. The Cardinals replaced him on the roster with Adron Chambers, and Allen Craig replaced him in the Cardinals lineup for Game 7.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made another lineup change, dropping Rafael Furcal out of the leadoff spot for the first time this postseason, and putting Ryan Theriot atop the order.
Furcal sparked the Cardinals for a while, and his first-inning triple was the biggest hit in their 1-0 Game 5 Division Series win over the Phillies. But in his last 11 games, Furcal has hit just .128 (6-for-47) with a .196 on-base percentage.
Full lineups for both teams are in Matt Snyder's excellent Game 7 preview, available here.
Posted on: December 17, 2008 12:18 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2008 7:14 pm
"Right now, things are swinging back towards the Dodgers probably," Paul Kinzer said.
This time, it seems Kinzer meant what he said.
By late afternoon, Braves officials were conceding that they won't be signing Furcal, despite what they thought was an agreement reached late Monday night. Kinzer insists that he never agreed to a deal with the Braves.
Tuesday, he went back to the Dodgers, asking them to match the Braves deal: three guaranteed years, with a vesting option, with a chance to make about $40 million.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti was open to matching it, according to sources, but he needed a final OK from owner Frank McCourt.
The Braves were so certain that they had a deal that they told some people that Furcal would be in Atlanta today for a physical.
Asked how the Braves could have become convinced they had a deal, Kinzer responded: "You'll have to ask them. They never received any signed documents, or anything. . . . I'm sorry if they were embarrassed. They know we didn't have a signed contract, and we didn't have a verbal agreement."
Kinzer, who was in New York for the Mets' Francisco Rodriguez press conference, said that Furcal was still home in the Dominican Republic.
Kinzer said that Furcal liked both the Braves and Dodgers, but that he preferred to play shortstop rather than second base. The Dodgers wanted him as a shortstop; the Braves planned to play him at second, with Yunel Escobar remaining at shortstop, and Kelly Johnson moving from second base to left field.
"There's nobody else (other than the Braves) that he would have even considered switching positions for," Kinzer said.
One person who knows Furcal said he believes Furcal preferred all along to remain with the Dodgers, and also agreed that Furcal would like to remain at shortstop. But Furcal would apparently sign with the Braves if the Dodgers aren't willing to guarantee the third year of the deal.
Kinzer, interestingly enough, makes his home in the Atlanta area. He said that after news of Furcal's apparent signing with the Braves broke on Tuesday morning, he received 50 phone calls from Braves fans. He said he told them that there was still no deal.
Posted on: December 16, 2008 8:57 am
Edited on: December 16, 2008 5:57 pm
But when the Braves reached agreement late Monday night to bring Furcal back to Atlanta, it was as a second baseman. Furcal agreed to terms on a three-year deal, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com, with an option for a fourth year.
While Paul Kinzer, Furcal's agent, was telling people Tuesday that he was still talking to the Dodgers, the Braves firmly believe that Furcal has already chosen to play in Atlanta and that the deal that was agreed to will be completed.
The Braves plan to keep Escobar, according to officials familiar with their plans. After offering him to the Padres as the key to a deal for Peavy, the Braves are now determined not to trade him.
"It would take an act of Congress to get him moved now," one of the officials said.
There is a chance the Braves would trade Kelly Johnson, who played second base last year. But the immediate plan is for Johnson to play left field.
The Braves are still hoping to trade for another starting pitcher, although it's unlikely that they would revive talks for Peavy. Some Braves officials now look back and say they were fortunate the Padres broke off the Peavy talks last month. The feeling now is that the Braves would have given up too much in that proposed trade.
It is possible the Braves could solve their need for a starting pitcher through the free-agent market, but they're expected to explore trades first.
FOXSports.com first reported Furcal's decision to go to Atlanta.
Posted on: December 10, 2008 5:50 pm
The Royals are interested in free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, and while it's possible they could sign Furcal without trading Guillen, their current current projected payroll is already close to what they had budgeted.
Guillen probably won't be easy to trade. The market is flooded with outfielders, both free agents and those available in trades, and Guillen is signed for $24 million over the next two years.
Posted on: November 24, 2008 12:55 pm
Rafael Furcal's agent was telling teams last week that he had a four-year offer, but Paul Kinzer wouldn't say from which team.
Sunday, Furcal told the Dominican newspaper El Caribe that the team was the A's and that the offer was for $48 million.
The Dodgers are interested in keeping Furcal, but haven't been willing to offer him four years. With many young players on the verge of qualifying for arbitration, the Dodgers have been trying to limit their long-term commitments.
The Giants have also shown interest in Furcal. The Braves would be interested, but only if they trade Yunel Escobar as part of a package for Jake Peavy, something that's unlikely to happen quickly. Furcal told the newspaper that the Mets are also interested, but that's very unlikely.
Posted on: November 18, 2008 11:02 am
The Orioles desperately need a shortstop, but they're not expected to make a play for any of the free agents available this winter (Rafael Furcal, Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria). Instead, the O's will focus on pursuing the two big-name free agents with Maryland ties -- first baseman Mark Teixeira and right-hander A.J. Burnett.
Teixeira was born in Maryland and attended high school in Baltimore. Burnett is an Arkansas native, but he makes his home in Monkton, just outside Baltimore.
The Orioles desperately need starting pitching. Their rotation combined for a 5.51 ERA in 2008, tied with Texas for the worst in the majors.
Finding a shortstop remains a priority, but the O's will likely try to address that need through the trade market. Khalil Greene of the Padres, Jack Wilson of the Pirates and Bobby Crosby of the A's are all possibilities.