Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:09 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 4:00 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
There's nothing like the Super Bowl to remind you that spring training is just around the corner. And with pitchers and catchers packing up their bags for Florida and Arizona, we here at Eye on Baseball will look at some of the key positional battles on tap for this spring, starting with the American League West.
Los Angeles Angels
Designated hitter: Mark Trumbo vs. Kendrys Morales vs. Bobby Abreu vs. Vernon Wells
At the end of the 2011 season, it seemed first base could be a battle for the Angels heading into 2012. That position was settled pretty easily with $240 million. The two previous candidates, Trumbo and Morales are now with BAbreu looking for playing time at DH. Add the wild card of Mike Trout possibly pushing either Torii Hunter or Wells into the DH competition and the team has a lot of players for one spot. Sure, the Angels are saying Trumbo can play third, but he's still not all the way back from an ankle injury and he hasn't proven he can handle the day-in, day-out rigors of third base (look at what it did to Kevin Youkilis last season). There's also the chance that Morales won't be healthy. There are so many variables to the Angles lineup that the only thing that seems certain at this point is that Albert Pujols will be at first base, batting third.
Closer: Grant Balfour vs. Brian Fuentes vs. Fautino De Los Santos vs. Joey Devine
One of the many players Billy Beane got rid of this offseason was closer Andrew Bailey, who went to the Red Sox for three players, leaving an opening at closer for 2012. Fuentes recorded 12 saves in Bailey's spot last season, while Balfour picked up two as well. Those two veterans should be seen as the favorites, but De Los Santos and Devine could surprise. De Los Santos struck out 43 batters in 33 1/3 innings last season, while Devine impressed in his first action since Tommy John surgery. Even if the two youngsters don't get the call after spring training, either are just one trade away from getting their shot -- and with the A's current situation, nobody in Oakland should be buying, just renting.
No. 3-5 starters: Blake Beavan vs. Charlie Furbush vs. Hector Noesi vs. Kevin Millwood vs. Hisashi Iwakuma
Felix Hernandez, of course, is the Mariners' No. 1 starter and Jason Vargas figures to be the other Mariner to start in the team's two-game series in Japan. After that, it gets interesting. Seattle signed Iwakuma to a $1.5 million contract in the offseason, so he figures to be in the rotation somewhere. Noesi was acquired along with Jesus Montero in the Michael Pineada trade and should be somehwere in the mix, as well. That leaves the youngsters Furbush (25) and Beavan (23), to go against the veteran Millwood (37). Furbush and Beavan showed flashes during 2011, but are hardly proven products. After stints in the minors for the Red Sox and Yankees, Millwood went 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA in Colorado and should benefit from pitching at Safeco Field.
5th starter: Matt Harrison vs. Alexi Ogando vs. Scott Feldman
Unless the Rangers do sign Roy Oswalt, it appears the first four spots in the Texas rotation are set with Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz, leaving three pitchers battling for the final spot. Last season the Rangers moved Ogando from the bullpen to the rotation with some success. They're looking to do the same with Feliz this season and possibly sending Ogando back to the bullpen. Ogando was 13-8 with a 3.51 ERA, but seemed to tire down the stretch. Harrison was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA last season, but still has to battle for his job. And then there's Feldman, who is a long-shot here, but is used to the yo-yoing from the bullpen to the rotation. If the team does sign Oswalt, the three could be stretched out in spring, but return to the bullpen once the season starts.
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Tags: AL West, Albert Pujols, Alexi Ogando, Andrew Bailey, Angels, Athletics, Blake Beavan, Bobby Abreu, Brian Fuentes, C. Trent Rosecrans, Charlie Furbush, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Fautino De Los Santos, Felix Hernandez, Grant Balfour, Hector Noesi, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jason Vargas, Jesus Montero, Joey Devine, Kendrys Morales, Kevin Millwood, Mariners, Mark Trumbo, Matt Harrison, Michael Pineada, Mike Trout, Neftaili Feliz, Rangers, Roy Oswalt, Spring Position Battles, spring training, Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, Yu Darvish
Posted on: September 17, 2011 3:59 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 4:32 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Trevor Hoffman has company.
Mariano Rivera recorded his 601st career save in the Yankees' 7-6 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday, tying him for the carer saves mark. Rivera also has 42 postseason saves, that are not included in his career total.
Rivera, 41, has recorded all 601 of his saves in a Yankee uniform, his first in 1996 and since then he's recorded at least 30 saves in all but one season since.
One of the all-time great Yankees, Rivera began his career as a starter with the Yankees in 1995, but was a setup man to John Wetteland in 1996 before taking over as the closer in 1997, when he recorded 43 saves.
Rivera's save on Saturday was his 42nd of the season, matching his uniform number. The Yankees took the lead in the seventh inning on Curtis Granderson's 40th homer of the season before Hector Noesi and Rafael Soriano pitched two scoreless innings to set up Rivera in the ninth inning.
Rivera and Hoffman are both well ahead of Lee Smith, who is third on the all-time list with 478 saves. John Franco is fourth with 424 and Billy Wagner, who like Hoffman retired after last season, is fifth with 422. After Rivera, the active pitcher with the most saves is Reds closer Francisco Cordero, who has 323 saves, good for 13th on the all-time list. The stat was not officially kept until 1969.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:23 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Jerome Williams, Angels: Williams was one of three pitchers to take a no-hitter into the sixth inning along with Oakland's Guillermo Moscoso and Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt, but neither of those pitchers was pitching for such high stakes. With the Rangers losing earlier in the day to the Rays, the Angels took the field Wednesday night knowing they could make up ground on their rivals in the only real playoff race left. Williams retired 15 of the first 16 batters he faced before Seattle's Trayvon Robinson homered to lead off the sixth inning and put Los Angeles in a 1-0 hole. It looked as if Robinson's stellar start would go for naught until the Angels rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to give Robinson and the Angels the 3-1 victory and to pull to 2.5 games behind the Rangers. Robinson's homer was the only hit the Mariners would record, as Williams struck out five and walked one.
Mark Reynolds, Orioles: Reynolds struck out four times (fun stat for the guy who's always sitting next to me at baseball games, strikeouts are worth one out, just like any other way a player makes an out), but with two outs in the 11th inning, Reynolds came through against Hector Noesi with an RBI single to give Baltimore a 5-4 victory in the Bronx.
Carlos Pena, Cubs: Pena was hitting just .135 off of left-handed pitchers and Reds lefty Bill Bray had limited left-handed hitters to just a .188 batting average this season -- so Dusty Baker's decision to replace Logan Ondrusek with Bray was sound. It just didn't work. With the game tied at 3 and one on and one out in the eighth inning, Pena caught up to Bray's first-pitch slider that didn't slide and put it on Sheffield Avenue for a 6-3 Cubs victory. Pena has five home runs and 16 RBI against the Reds this season.
A.J. Burnett, Yankees: As far as Burnett starts go, the Yankee whipping boy wasn't too bad on Wednesday, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking four. No, those aren't great numbers, but it's certainly good for Burnett this season. However, he did make history -- and not the kind he'd like -- on Wednesday with three wild pitches. It was the eighth time he's recorded at least three wild pitches in his career, the most in the modern history. Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro and Tommy John all had seven games with three wild pitches, which is pretty decent company. Burnett has 23 wild pitches this season, the most in baseball.
Daniel Bard, Red Sox: Thanks to Bard, Tim Wakefield failed in his eighth attempt at his 200th career victory. With Boston leading 8-6 in the eighth inning, Bard hit the first batter he faced and after loading the bases and recording two outs, he gave up the lead by walking Eric Thames and Jose Bautista to tie the game. Matt Albers then came in to relieve Bard and gave up a three-run double to Edwin Encarnacion, who drove in five in the game to give the Jays the lead for good. Wakefield wasn't great, allowing five runs (four earned) and three hits in five innings. He walked three and hit two more, but was in line to record the W.
Orlando Cabrera, Giants: Many around the Bay Area are wondering why Giants manager Bruce Bochy is sticking with Cabrera over rookie Brandon Crawford at shortstop everyday. It didn't get any better in the team's 3-1 loss to the Padres on Wednesday. In the eighth inning, Cabrera dropped an easy popup behind the infield by Wil Venable, who later scored on a Cameron Maybin triple to give San Diego a two-run cushion going into the ninth with closer Heath Bell on the mound. It was Cabrera's fifth error in 30 games with the Giants. He's also struggling at the plate, going 3 for 28 in the team's last 10 games, including an 0-for-3 night on Wednesday.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: A.J. Burnett, AL East, AL West, Angels, Athletics, Bill Bray, Brandon Crawford, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Pena, Cubs, Daniel Bard, Giants, Guillermo Moscoso, Hector Noesi, Jerome Williams, Mariners, Mark Reynolds, Matt Albers, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Orlando Cabrera, Phillies, Playoff race: AL West, Rangers, Red Sox, Reds, Roy Oswalt, Tim Wakefield, Trayvon Robinson, Yankees
Posted on: September 6, 2011 6:39 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
OK, the two are not really connected except that it's a use of the expanded rosters by the Yankees to see some of their young players over the last month of the season.
Brackman was the team's top pick in 2007 out of N.C. State. The 6-foot-10 Brackman is a hard thrower who also has a good curveball, but has struggled mightily with his command -- walking 75 and hitting 14 more in 96 innings at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He did strike out 75 batters as well, while going 3-6 with a 6.00 ERA in 33 appearances, including 13 starts. While rated behind both right-hander Dellin Betances and lefty Manny Banuelos in Baseball America's annual prospect ratings, Brackman was fifth in the Yankees system and threw fewer innings than the other big pitching prospects.
Brackman also played basketball for the Wolfpack and underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after signing. He wa salsa slowed by an appendectomy the next season, so his professional carer didn't begin until 2009, when he was already 23.
The team also called up fellow pitchers Hector Noesi, George Kontos and outfielder Greg Golson.
The right-handed Noesi has appeared in 24 games for the Yankees out of the bullpen this season, going 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA. He was 1-1 with a 3.28 in six appearances and five starts at Triple-A this season. Baseball America ranked him the Yankees' seventh-best prospect.
Kontos, also right-handed, appeared in 40 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 4-4 with a 2.62 ERA and two saves. He's struck out 91 batters in 89 1/3 innings, walking 26 and hitting two.
A right-handed hitter, Golson hit .263/.330/.385 with eight home runs, 33 RBI and 15 stolen bases at Triple-A this season. He's played all three outfield spots, starting the majority of his games in center field.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 1:13 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
But it wasn't just that Allen hit two homers -- it is where he hit them. His first homer, off starter Bartolo Colon in the second inning was just the second hit into the third deck at new Yankee Stadium. Russell Branyan hit one there last Aug. 21. Allen's second homer -- off of Hector Noesi in the eighth inning -- "just" went into the second deck.
"Both had the same sound," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters (via MLB.com). "One just had a little more topspin on it. That first one, I can't imagine too many other home runs hit farther in this building than that one."
In his 10 games as an Athletic, Allen's hit .394/.432/.758 and at least put himself into consideration for the starting spot at first base for Oakland in 2012. He doesn't have the strongest competition, as Daric Barton was the incumbent and struggled mightily before being demoted to Triple-A in June. Prospect Chris Carter has as much power as anyone, but has yet to show he can hit in the big leagues.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:41 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
"I feel good -- I just have a little bit of pain," Colon told reporters, including Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record. "After 15 days, I'll be back."
If Colon is correct, he'll miss just two starts with his left hamstring injuries. He would be eligible to start against June 28 against Milwaukee.
Colon left Saturday's game in the seventh inning after feeling "a tug" in the hamstring while covering first base.
The team also placed right-hander Amauri Sanit on the disabled list with an elbow injury and called up right-hander Hector Noesi and outfielder Chris Dickerson.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.