Tag:Franklin Gutierrez
Posted on: February 29, 2012 8:48 pm
 

Mariners' Gutierrez to start season on DL

Franklin GutierrezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez will once again miss opening day, and he could miss all of April after the team announced he suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle.

The good news is he isn't expected to need surgery. He will need at least four weeks before he is able to participate in any baseball activities.

"At this point, we don't know," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. "Every body responds to things differently. We do't know wwhat he'll be able to do and at this point, we'll probably just ease him into things gradually."

Last season Gutierrez didn't play until May after being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome during spring training.

Chone Figgins played center field in Wednesday's intrasquad game. Michael Suanders and Casper Wells, along with Figgins, are candidates to replace Gutierrez while he's gone.

Gutierrez played in just 92 games last season, hitting .224/.261/.273 with one home run.

He left Tuesday's workout with the pectoral injury and had an MRI the same day. He flew back to Seattle on Wednesday to see the team's doctor.

In other injury news from Wednesday:

• Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett was scheduled to return to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to have his right eye examined by team doctors after his bunt attempt hit him in the face.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Burnett joked, "Where did the bone go?" after the ball hit him in the face.

Burnett wasn't scheduled to throw on Wednesday.
 
• Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson threw his first bullpen session since suffering a concussion on Feb. 20. Hanson threw 30-pitches and told rpeorters he felt good.

"I think I threw a little better than I had expected," Hanson said (via MLB.com). "I've had some time to think about some mechanical stuff. I was surprised by how well I threw."

Hanson may throw live batting practice on Friday, but he still has to pass one more part of the concussion impact test.

•The Angels' Kendrys Morales is making progress from his 2010 ankle injury, hitting from both sides of the plate, something he didn't do last spring. He also added S-turns in his running -- another thing he never did last season.

"He's in a different position now because he's had nothing but a progression to the point where you can see that he'll progress to playing games in a couple of weeks," manager Mike Scioscia told reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.

• Keeping with the theme of Angels displaced by Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo was cleared by doctors on Wednesday to return to the field.

Trumbo, who had a stress fracture in his right foot, is attempting to make the move to third base. [Orange County Register]

• Cubs catcher Geovany Soto will miss the start of the Cactus League with a sore groin, but told reporters it wasn't a big deal.

"It's spring training, and there's no hurry to get out there," Soto told reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "I want to be there as much as I can, just to play. I've had four months off and you train hard all offseason, so you want to get every game possible to get ready for the season."

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 7:39 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 9:26 pm
 

Braves' Freeman could miss two weeks

Freddie FreemanBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Spring training always has its share of bumps and bruises, along with legitimate injuries, but it often takes a little time to figure out which is which.

Here's a brief roundup of some of Tuesday's injuries from around baseball.

• Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman could miss two weeks after his right knee popped out of place as he tried to scoop a low throw at first base.

"I was just doing pick drills and the knee gave out," Freeman told reporters (via MLB.com). "The kneecap went this way and I came back in. When I did this when I was playing in Triple-A, it took me two weeks. So that is what we are going on."

Freeman said he had a similar injury in 2010 and he could have come back after a week, but the team didn't want to push it.

• Speaking of the Braves,right-hander Tommy Hanson will retake his concussion test on Thursday and could throwing to live batters again that same day if he passes it. Hanson has been cleared for conditioning and throwing, but not for full workouts yet. He suffered a concussion in a car accident on Feb. 20. (MLB.com)

• Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who has been dogged by injuries and illness each of the last two seasons, left Mariners camp on a cart Tuesday.

Seattle manager Eric Wedge told reporters Gutierrez hurt something in the pectoral region and had an MRI. The Mariners are still waiting on word of the results of the MRI. (Seattle Times)

• Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was held out of Tuesday's workout due to back spasms.

"I'm not worried," Nationals manager Davey Johnson told reporters. "There's plenty of time."

Johnson said he didn't expect Werth to play in either of the Nationals' first two exhibition games, but he didn't plan on using too many of the Washington regulars in those games anyway. (NatsInsider.com)

• Rays rookie left-hander Matt Moore missed a second day with an abdomen strain, but Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters the team isn't worried, they're just being cautious.

"It's an over-conservative thing we're doing right now," Maddon told reporters. "I really believe the next day or two, he should be fine." (St. Petersburg Times)

• Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is expected back in camp on Wednesday after having his Achilles tendon examined in Baltimore on Monday. The Phillies said they wouldn't have word about his status until he returns. (CSNPhilly.com)

• Joba Chamberlain, who underwent Tommy John surgery last year, threw off the mound for the first time Tuesday since the surgery. He threw 16 pitches and said he felt good afterward. He hopes to return in June. (Star-Ledger)

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:22 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 2:35 pm
 

Spring primer: Seattle Mariners


By Matt Snyder


The Mariners are coming off a 67-95 season, when they finished 29 games out in the AL West -- seven behind the third-place A's. It was the sixth time in the past eight years Seattle came in last and they haven't seen the postseason since 2001. One big trade headlined the offseason as they attempt to turn the tide.

Scott Miller's Camp Report: With Jesus, Seattle seeks resurrection | Likes, Dislikes

Major additions: C/DH Jesus Montero, RHP Kevin Millwood, C John Jaso, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
Major departures: RHP Michael Pineda, UT Adam Kennedy

Probable lineup
1. Chone Figgins, 3B
2. Dustin Ackley, 2B
3. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
4. Justin Smoak, 1B
5. Jesus Montero, DH
6. Mike Carp, LF
7. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
8. Miguel Olivo, C
9. Brendan Ryan, SS

Probable rotation
1. Felix Hernandez
2. Jason Vargas
3. Hisashi Iwakuma
4. Kevin Millwood
5. Hector Noesi

Blake Beavan and Charlie Furbush are also in the mix.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Brandon League
Set-up: RHP Shawn Kelley, LHP George Sherrill

Important bench players
C John Jaso, IF Kyle Seager, OF Casper Wells, OF Trayvon Robinson

Prospect to watch
With the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, the Mariners pegged left-handed starting pitcher Danny Hultzen from the University of Virginia. It's likely his presence -- in addition to Furbush, Beaven and prospects Taijuan Walker and James Paxton -- made it easier to deal Pineda for some offensive help. Hultzen appeared in the top 30 overall in most prospect rankings this spring and is said to be close to big-league ready. The M's likely don't have a reason to rush him, but if he's ready come June or July, it wouldn't be surprising to see him make an impact this season.

Fantasy sleeper: Kyle Seager
"Seager isn't much of a home-run threat, and playing home games at Safeco Field won't help matters, but his gap power and keen batting eye could help him to an average in the .290 to .300 range, if not higher. Owners may look at last season's .258 mark, his lack of prospect hype and his place in a less-than-imposing Mariners lineup and discount him. However, Seager's ability to get on base and rack up doubles makes him worth a late-round flier in mixed league formats." - Al Melchior [Full Mariners team fantasy preview]

Fantasy "head-to-head hero:" Dustin Ackley
"Ackley's in-the-park extra-base hits will make him one of the seven or eight best second basemen in Head-to-Head, but the potential for mediocre homer and run production makes him a later-round option for mixed league Roto owners." - Al Melchior [Full Mariners team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Ackley and Montero become stars, Figgins returns to form, a finally-healthy Gutierrez returns to form as well and Ichiro thrives in the 3-hole, finally giving the Mariners a viable offense. Iwakuma adjusts to America impressively while Hultzen storms onto the scene in early June to provide an additional pitching boost. The Rangers and Angels suffer major injury and underachievement issues, and the Mariners shock everyone by winning the AL West.

Pessimistic outlook
Heading into this season, expect the Mariners to be picked third by pretty much everyone. Thus, the pessimistic outlook would be that the Mariners find a way to finish below the A's. If the offense sputters, younger players stall in their development and the rotation behind King Felix proves thin -- which is possible -- that last place finish could repeat.

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Posted on: January 26, 2012 8:35 pm
 

Mariners may drop Ichiro from leadoff spot

Ichiro Suzuki

By C. Trent Rosecrans


In the end, lineup construction has been shown not to matter much, but this time of year it always becomes a topic of discussion, because, well, there are no games.

Since Ichiro Suzuki joined the Mariners, the Seattle skipper du jour has had an easy start when filling out his lineup -- writing Ichiro in first and then figuring out the rest from there. Ichiro's batted leadoff in 1,722 of the 1,749 games he's played with the Mariners in the last 11 years.

Eric Wedge said Wednesday night in a radio interview that he was considering moving Ichiro from the top spot and reiterated those comments on Thursday at the Mariners' spring training luncheon. Here's exactly what he said, from Larry Stone of the Seattle Times:
"It's as much to do about his teammates as it does with him -- in regard to the collective nine we're putting down on paper. I haven't made any firm decisions. I've made it very clear over the course of the winter I'm thinking about it. I'm even further down the road to where I'm leaning in that direction to have Ichi hit somewhere else.

"I know it's a big deal to everybody. I can't get caught up in that. My job is to make sure I communicate that to Ichiro, make sure everyone understands what the options are, and what they're fighting for, and what I'm thinking about. That's what I'm going to continue to do.

"Right now, I'm going to be very open-minded to what I'm going to do, but I'm going to go into spring training leaning a certain direction. And we'll make the decisions from there."
As for where Ichiro would hit? Wedge said he's thought about all three of the top three spots in the lineup, including leadoff. And who would lead off? The candidates, in addition to Ichiro, are Dustin Ackley, Chone Figgins and Franklin Gutierrez.

Suzuki is coming off a career-worst .272/.310/.335 season with 40 stolen bases. He has a career .370 on-base percentage. The problem may be that the candidates to replace Ichiro aren't going to be any better. Figgins has been an unmitigated disaster in Seattle and hit just .188/.241/.243 last season, but does have a career .352 OBP and even put up a .340 OBP in 2010, his first year in Seattle. Guiterrez was plagued by a mysterious stomach ailment the last two seasons and put up a .224/.261/.273 line last season and has just a career .308 OBP. Ackley hit .273/.348/.417 last season, but that was in his only 90 games in the big leagues.

As most lineup discussions this time of year, it's purely conjecture and subject to change once games starts, injuries happen and performance patterns take shape. But when it does happen, it will seem pretty odd for Ichiro not to lead off games for the Mariners -- but not as odd as seeing him in a different uniform. Ichiro is in his last year of his contract with the Mariners and could easily be in his last season in Seattle.

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:39 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 7:41 am
 

HomegrownTeam: Los Angeles Dodgers



By Matt Snyder

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

Do the Dodgers do well in drafts and international signings? The answer is a resounding yes. What they do with those players could certainly be questioned, but as far as building a foundation, few have been better in recent years. See below.

Lineup

1. Dee Gordon, SS
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. Matt Kemp, LF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. Carlos Santana, C
7. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
8. Miguel Cairo, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Edwin Jackson
3. Ted Lilly
4. Hiroki Kuroda
5. Chad Billingsley

If you don't like us using Kuroda -- some commenters have disagreed with including guys who were professional players in Japan in this series -- you can slide in James McDonald or the youngster Rubby De La Rosa.

Bullpen

Closer - Joakim Soria
Set up - Javy Guerra, Joel Hanrahan, Kenley Jansen, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Pedro Feliciano, Cory Wade
Long - McDonald

Notable Bench Players

Russell Martin, Henry Blanco, James Loney, Blake DeWitt, Trayvon Robinson, Jerry Sands, Alex Cora

What's Good?

Spoiler Alert: This section is going to be much longer than "what's not." How about starting with the offensive firepower Victorino, Kemp, Konerko, Beltre and Santana bring in the 2-6 spots of the order? That is sick. Gordon has good potential and Gutierrez was a decent hitter before his stomach issues derailed him a few years ago. The starting rotation is good, deep, has a good lefty-righty mix and a true ace sitting at the top. The bullpen is so deep it's unimaginable. It's not as great as the Yankees' bullpen (Clippard-Robertson-Axford-Rivera) in this exercise, but this is definitely an elite unit. The bench is pretty damn good, too. Best of all, though, how about the defensive range? Gutierrez was widely considered the best center fielder in baseball before his stomach woes. Victorino is a three-time Gold Glover while he lost out to Kemp this season. I decided to shift Kemp to left because Victorino has a cannon that is an asset in right. Not that Kemp can't throw. This would be one insane defensive outfield. Beltre is the best defensive third baseman in baseball, too. That's a lot of help for an already-good pitching staff.

What's Not?

Anything would be a nitpick. Maybe that Dee Gordon might not yet be ready to lead off for this team? If that was the case, you could move up Victorino and then the bottom of the order becomes a bit weak. But, again, that's a nitpick.

Comparison to real 2011

I kind of chuckled during all the MVP arguments when people would say that Kemp played for a team that "sucks." The Dodgers finished 82-79. Yes, they were out of contention for pretty much all of the season, but they finished above .500, so they definitely don't suck. Of course, those real-life Dodgers couldn't hold a candle to this group. This is a World Series-caliber club, but the funny thing is, did you see Arizona's team? The D-Backs lineup is much better, but the Dodgers have the better defense and pitching. We'd have a nice battle for the NL West title and maybe even see a rematch in the NLCS. If only ...

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: May 18, 2011 9:59 am
 

Pepper: Peavy, Posada, Pudge and More



BASEBALL TODAY: What should White Sox fans expect from Jake Peavy tonight? Will Jered Weaver get back on track in Seattle? Tony Lee of NESN.com joins Lauren Shehadi with the latest edition of CBSSports.com's Baseball Today.

By Matt Snyder


MORE POSADA-GIRARDI FEUD: Evidently, the Jorge Posada-Joe Girardi issue Saturday night had been brewing for some time -- at least according to the New York Daily News. Reportedly, Posada and Girardi began to butt heads back in 2005 when Girardi was the Yankees' bench coach and Posada was the everyday catcher. Girardi was "heavily involved" in the game-planning in terms of how to work opposing hitters, but reportedly Posada would routinely deviate from the plans during games. So then Girardi would call Posada out, which made Posada angry.

"Jorge felt everything he did behind the plate was being second-guessed by Girardi on the bench," the Daily News' anonymous source said. "The way Jorge called a game was a big issue for Girardi."

The source went on: "Girardi couldn't wait to get him out from behind the plate," the source said. "He hated the way he called a game."

Whether or not this is true, I'm just ready for it to all be in the past. Permanently.

ON THE FLIP SIDE: With the whole Posada drama in New York, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post takes the time to point out that Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez could have very well done something similar considering his role has been severely downgraded this season as Wilson Ramos has taken over as the starter. It hasn't been lost on Rodriguez's teammates, either. “He comes in here, they hit him eighth, he doesn’t say a thing,” one Nationals player said, motioning toward Rodriguez. I believe the difference is that Rodriguez has had to bounce around from team to team, so he's had the chance to be humbled and avoid a sense of entitlement. But that doesn't make Posada right. He could learn a thing or two from one of the best catchers to ever play the game. (Nationals Journal)

SHAKEUP COMING: The Giants' offense is getting to be more and more of an issue with each passing day, as they've now scored the least amount of runs in the National League. There's talk of a shakeup coming with the starting lineup, specifically the infield, in an attempt to get more offense. In fact, the Giants might recall Brandon Belt, play him at first, and then move Aubrey Huff to third base until Pablo Sandoval is healthy again. That's a drastic move defensively, since Huff hasn't played third in a few years and wasn't good there to begin with. It's just how desperate they're getting for more punch. (Mercurynews.com)

MORE JOHNSON, LESS BRIGNAC: Rays manager Joe Maddon said that Elliot Johnson is likely to see the majority of the playing time moving forward at shortstop while Reid Brignac will play less. Considering Johnson is a switch-hitter and Brignac swings lefty (with the majority of opposing starters being right-handed), it won't be a straight platoon in the least. "I don't want to be committed to that. You're going to see more of Elliot. Let's put it that way," Maddon said. "I think he's done a nice job." (TampaBay.com) Johnson is 3-7 with two home runs and a stolen base in his past two starts. Brignac is hitting just .179 with a dreadful .402 OPS this season.

GUT FEELING: The Mariners are about to receive a shot in the arm -- both offensively and defensively -- Wednesday, as Gold Glove center fielder Franklin Gutierrez will finally be activated from the disabled list. He'd been sidelined since the middle of spring training with a stomach ailment that had bothered him a good portion of 2010 as well. Expect Gutierrez to immediately take over in center for Mike Saunders, who has been fine in center but brutal offensively (.171/.222/.265). Gutierrez is superb in the outfield and a capable hitter. He hit .245 with 12 home runs and 64 RBI last season, but remember, he was plagued by the stomach issue. In 2009, he hit .283 with 18 homers, 70 RBI and a .764 OPS. (MLB.com)

REMEMBER ME? Dallas McPherson was once a top-20 prospect in all of baseball. He was the Brandon Wood of the early-to-mid 2000s -- expected to be a big power source for the Angels, only to flop several times before the Angels finally gave up on him. The difference was McPherson could blame some of his woes on injuries and he wasn't near as bad, sporting a .755 OPS in 117 games for the Angels in parts of three seasons. Still he hadn't been in the majors since 2008 ... until Tuesday night. McPherson is now a member of the White Sox and got a hit in his big-league at-bat in three seasons. It has been a long road back through a back surgery and lingering problems. "I've got to be honest, I wasn't sure I'd hear those words again," he said in discussing his promotion back to the majors. (Chicago Sun-Times)

FLASHBACK CAPS FOR SALE: The Angels are going to wear four different throwback jerseys this season on Friday home games, in what they're calling "Flashback Fridays." Well, the lids will be available for sale, which is sweet. I'd love to get the one with the lower-case "a" with a halo over it. Awesome. (The Ballcap Blog)

HIGH PRAISE: It's become pretty common knowledge at this point that Brandon Phillips is the best defensive second baseman in baseball, but that doesn't mean it hurts for him to hear the words from a former Reds second baseman -- one who is in the Hall of Fame. "He's unbelievable to me, with his range and everything," said Joe Morgan. "I think he's the best defensive second baseman in the game. He's athletic and he's willing to take chances, which I think is what separates him." (Cincinnati.com)

DREAM COME TRUE: Tony Campana grew up in the Cincinnati area and was able to make his major-league debut Tuesday night in Cincinnati -- only it was for the Cubs. He didn't disappoint his reported 50-plus friends and family in attendance, either, as Campana picked up an RBI double in his first big-league at-bat. He scored the go-ahead run an inning earlier when he had entered as a pinch-runner. "It's pretty much a dream come true, other than the outcome of the game," Campana said. "I couldn't be happier to come out, get a hit, score a run and get an RBI." Oh, yeah, that outcome. The Cubs blew the game again. This time in the eighth. (MLB.com)

RAIN DELAY FUN: All kinds of stuff happens when baseball players are waiting out rain delays. Here's a great video of some jousting with bats, courtesy of college teams Radford and High Point.



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Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: May 17, 2011 11:05 am
 

Pepper: Galarraga rotation spot in danger



By Evan Brunell


BLOWUP: Think Armando Galarraga is nervous about doing his job? Check out this meltdown against a reporter...

Reporter: Do you worry about your spot in the rotation?
Galarraga: No, why would I be worried? Is there something I have to worry about?
Reporter: Well, after tonight's performance, possibly...
Galarraga: You think? Why don't we talk about it at the end of the season? I don't count five starts.
Reporter: Aren't you disappointed?
Galarraga: I'm disappointed for this start. I'm not disappointed for the rest of the season. What are you talking about? What are you talking about, "When I next start"? Huh? Who you say I'm gonna be worried about my next start? Huh? (Unintelligible) ... my next start, or are you saying I'm gonna lose my job. Are you trying to say that?

Galarraga has made eight starts on the year so far and has a 5.91 ERA to show for it. He was already in danger of losing his job prior to Monday and then gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings to the Padres, walking two and whiffing one.

Hey, it's not easy to be someone like Galarraga -- a fringe major-league player who won't ever haul in millions of dollars unless something changes fast. He's got minimal job security, is on his third team in his career and clearly sees the writing on the walk. Just chalk this one up to a bad day. Athletes are asked a lot to stand before a microphone day in, day out on both good and bad days -- and woe to those who aren't in the right frame of mind and run out of patience. Everyone's allowed one of these days. (AZ Snakepit)

APT COMPARISON?
What to do when a diminutive white player gains a cult following, the appreciation of a manager and minimal impact on offense? Easy -- compare him to David Eckstein, which Rays skipper Joe Maddon did to Sam Fuld. (St. Petersburg Times)

GOODBYE: Tyler Colvin was optioned to Triple-A to get more at-bats, as he's been buried behind the hot play of the outfielders. But GM Jim Hendry wasn't forgiving in his evaluation of Colvin. "He had a really good year for us and since the first days of spring training he never played up to that level. We're in the production business. It wasn't that he wasn't given enough at-bats. He didn't earn enough at-bats. The other guys here outplayed him, too." (Chicago Tribune)

A STEP FORWARD: Danny Espinosa has been slumping lately and especially hideous from the left side. So naturally, when the Pirates brought in a right-handed reliever to flip Espinosa, a switch-hitter, to the left side of the plate, he cracked a two-run homer to send the Nats to victory. (MASN Sports)

It's all injuries, all the time today at Pepper...

TUESDAY TEST: Chipper Jones will test his injured right knee Tuesday after receiving two cortisone injections. If all goes well, he could be back in the lineup Tuesday night. But if his torn meniscus doesn't respond, he may need arthroscopic surgery, which will force him to miss two  to three weeks of action. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

SORIANO OUT:
Rafael Soriano will likely be put on the disabled list if the latest report is any indication. Soriano told reporters that he will probably miss another week or two unless his examination Tuesday goes splendidly. He hasn't pitched in the last seven games and threw his team under the bus (again) by saying he didn't think he would have affected the outcome of these games and the poor offense is responsible for the futility. (New York Times)

GUTIERREZ EN ROUTE:
Franklin Gutierrez has been sidelined all year with a mysterious stomach ailment, but is progressing so well he could debut this week. He DHed at Triple-A Monday and will play a full nine in the field on Tuesday before going to Seattle for a status report. (Seattle Times)

BROXTON TOSSES: For the first time since hitting the disabled list, Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton played a game of catch. Exciting, right? There is no timetable yet on Broxton, nor any (public, at least) word on the next step. (MLB.com)

NISHIOKA TURNS CORNER: The Twins can't wait to have Tsuyoshi Nishioka back and received good news to that effect as "he's starting to turn the corner," trainer Dave Preumer says. He underwent sprinting drills Monday. (MLB.com via Twitter)

TILLMAN INJURED: Despite only having two pitches to work with, Chris Tillman was handcuffing the Red Sox through five innings and 88 pitches. He left the game and saw his bullpen cough up the game. Why? Now we know it's because he left the game with back tightness that flared up during the fifth. It was the second injury removal of the game, as Derrek Lee left the game in the third with a strained oblique. (MASN Sports)

DAVIES TOO: Vin Mazzaro gave up 14 runs against the Indians and is the story nationwide, but that never would have happened if not for Kyle Davies. Davies left Monday's game after just 21 pitches with shoulder soreness. He underwent a MRI, and the team is currently waiting for the results. If Davies hits the DL, Mazzaro may have been a candidate to replace Davies in the rotation... but then that whole 14-run thing... (Kansas City Star)

Rangers ON COMEBACK TRAIL: Good news for the Rangers, as two-thirds of their expected starting outfield could be back in the fold before long. Josh Hamilton is expected to head on on a rehab assignment as early as Wednesday and should be back with the big-league club at some point in their six-game homestand that begins May 23. Meanwhile, Nelson Cruz doubled in his rehab start Monday and could rejoin Texas on Friday. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

TEAHEN UP IN AIR: Mark Teahen, sidelined by a strained oblique, will be evaluated on Tuesday before a decision is made on whether to DL him. It's too early to guess which direction this goes in, but if Teahen is on the DL, it will constrain third base candidates to Brent Morel and Omar Vizquel. Dayan Viciedo will receive the call from Triple-A if needed. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 10:44 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Pepper: Phillies symbol of Latin transformation

By Evan Brunell

LATIN Phillies: When Orioles third base coach Juan Samuel played for the Phillies in the late 80s, he was lucky if he had one teammate of fellow Latin descent. There were years when he was the lone one. Those were the memories Samuel recalled all these years later, even as Philadelphia has changed its fortunes with eight Latin representatives on the active roster.

"When I came to spring training, I'm like, 'We have our own little neighborhood over here,' " Samuel said earlier in the season. "I was joking with Danys Baez and Carlos Ruiz in spring training. I called that end of the clubhouse the barrio. 'Let me go to the barrio and talk to the guys.' "

Most of that increase comes with the explosion in the game of Latin players, which has increased the level of talent and given these players more teammates to identify with. That's important to these players.

"Every organization has a signed a lot of players from Venezuela, Panama, Dominican Republic, Cuba, everywhere," reliever Danys Baez said. "So most of the time there are a lot of guys to talk to and share experiences from when you were a younger age.

"It's very important. Sometimes it's good even when you're supposed to talk in English. When you're learning, it's important to have somebody to talk to. Again, you can tell them about how it was when you were younger and how things were in your country. What it's like. Because every [Latin] country is different. So it's good to have somebody to share that kind of experience with."

The increasing globalization of the game is a good thing. Hispanic players now are a healthy percentage, but there is still much work to be done. Japanese players are coming to the states with increasing frequency, but the decline of African-Americans is concerning. MLB is to be commended for its efforts so far to reverse that trend, though, and are also making significant in-roads in European markets. (Philadelphia Daily News)

WHIZ KID: Growing up a Red Sox fan, I'm not a fan of Sports Illustrated covers because of its featuring of Nomar Garciaparra in the famous (at least, it's famous locally) "A Cut Above" cover; that cover ran around the time Nomar's career took a permanent turn for the worse after being hit by a pitch on the wrist. SI also predicted a World Series victory in 2000 for Boston with yet another cover... except it would take four more years for that ring. (And yes, I remember both covers well.) Ah, the Sports Illustrated jinx... well, anyways, SI.com is touting Starlin Castro on its next cover. Manager Mike Quade was quick to speculate on whether the dreaded jinx applied to Castro.

"How many do you have to deal with?" Quade said. "You have the sophomore [jinx], the S.I. [jinx]. If there's two jinxes, do they cancel each other out?" (MLB.com)

HEART-ATTACK ROBBERY: This is a disgusting story to write, but here goes: in early April, a Pirates usher was found dead in the middle of the street with only a superficial head injury. Turns out he was suffering a heart attack in the car. Along comes a 17-year-old who pulled the usher out of his car -- not to help, but to rob him of his wallet and car, leave the usher dying in the street. That 17-year-old was just arrested for the robbery, although he will not be charged with homicide. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

EMPTY SEATS: Low attendance is starting to scare some in the game, and several St. Louis reporters write about what the 3 percent dropoff at Busch Stadium thus far might mean. Here's the thing: it's just too early. Once school comes out and the weather warms up, one will be able to better evaluate the numbers. It seems as if every April we have this discussion, although gas prices and a housing market that many predict has hit rock-bottom may prove a tipping point. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

SIX-MAN ROTATION: Rotations these days are growing, even if there isn't any clear evidence that a five-man rotation is any better than a fourth. The White Sox may try their hand at a six-man rotation when Jake Peavy returns, both to ease him back into game action and to keep an impressive Phil Humber in the rotation. (Chicago Tribune)

BANGED-UP Twins: The Twins placed DH Jim Thome on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday night and recalled shortstop Trevor Plouffe, who will handle short until Tsuyoshi Nishioka returns. Incumbent shortstop Alexi Casilla is being shifted to second where he indicates he is more comfortable. But it doesn't stop there -- manager Ron Gardenhire said that outfielder Jason Repko is probably headed to the DL with Ben Revere being recalled. (Star Tribune)

BELT'S BACK: Or rather, he will be eventually. Belt is tearing up Triple-A and with the injuries the Giants have been hit with lately, Belt could be back in the majors sooner rather than later. The only problem is who the team kicks off the squad in the outfield -- Nate Schierholtz is already going to be dumped for Andres Torres once Torres returns from the DL. It's too bad Belt can't play shortstop.

LIFE IN SEATTLE: The Mariners were 4-11 before embarking on a 5-1 streak that ended with a loss Sunday to the Red Sox, but there's life in Seattle once more. Peter Gammons has more. (MLB.com)

RETURNING MARINERS: Life in Seattle will only get better once the team is back at full strength. The nearing return of closer David Aardsma and progress of center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, then, are things to be celebrated. (Seattle Times)

PAY ATTENTION: The Royals are stepping up warning fans of the danger of batted balls and bats after a four-year-old suffered a fractured skull after being hit with a foul ball. There's some discussion in the article of expanding the netting behind home plate all the way to the foul poles. Sounds awful, right? Is it more awful than a four-year-old's shattered skull? (Kansas City Star)

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