Tag:Joey Devine
Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:09 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 4:00 pm

Spring position battles: American League West

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.

Oakland Athletics
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.

Seattle Mariners
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.

Texas Rangers
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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Posted on: May 20, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 7:26 pm

A's make multiple pitching changes

By Evan Brunell

RossThe Oakland A's made a blizzard of moves Friday, playing starters Tyson Ross and Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list as the most notable transactions.

Ross (pictured) suffered an oblique strain (surprise!) and could miss over a month, while McCarthy has a stress reaction in his shoulder that has bothered him for a few years and apparently has flared up. That's 40 percent of the rotation -- gone. And those were some pretty valuable members, too.

Ross had a 2.75 ERA in six starts and three relief appearances, with the rookie backing up his production with a 3.66 xFIP. McCarthy, meanwhile, had revitalized his career in Oakland out of the No. 5 spot in the rotation, throwing up an identical 3.39 ERA and xFIP although you wouldn't know it from his 1-4 record.

Josh Outman, Bobby Cramer and Guillermo Moscoso are potential replacements in the rotation, although Outman has been hit around in Triple-A as he returns from Tommy John surgery; Cramer has his own injury concerns to work through; Moscoso seems to be the one most likely to get the call -- or at least one of the two calls. There isn't a need for a No. 4 or 5 starter until Monday, so the A's will delay a decision until then.

Reliever Trystan Magnuson was also optioned after coughing up six runs over two innings Thursday. To replace the three open spots, Joey Devine, Jerry Blevins and Fautino de los Santos were recalled. De los Santos, acquired in the Nick Swisher trade way back in 2008, was converted to relief for the 2010 season and is making his major-league debut after coughing up just three runs in 15 1/3 innings split between Double- and Triple-A. The 25-year-old added 21 punchouts and eight walks.  Blevins, meanwhile, was with the team just last week before being sent down to work on control problems, but events necessitated his return. Blevins gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A, so he's really nothing more than filler and can be expected to be sent back down shortly.

Devine will return to the majors for the first time since 2008, when he had a sterling 0.59 ERA in 45 2/3 innings. Injuries have robbed him of the years since, only returning to a mound this season for Triple-A and contributing 12 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out 17 and walking one. In other words, looking just like the Devine of old. It's been a long road back for the 27-year-old.

And here's what McCarthy had to say about his DL trip on Twitter:

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 12:21 pm

A's dominant pitching staff about to get better

By Matt Snyder

The Oakland A's already carry the best ERA (2.69) in the majors

The next closest mark in the American League is 3.07 (the Angels, who have plenty of credit to give to Dan Haren and Jered Weaver on that mark). With a stellar rotation and solid bullpen, the A's have proven early in the season to have the best top-to-bottom pitching staff in baseball.

And they're about to get reinforcements.

Andrew Bailey, the closer who has been sidelined all season with a forearm injury, threw 30 pitches Saturday night in simulated game action. He even mixed in his first breaking pitches of the season. (SFgate.com ) It would appear Bailey's ready to go on a rehab assignment quite soon. Since he's only a reliever, once that happens he'll be in the majors in no time.

Through two seasons in his young career, Bailey has 51 saves, a 1.70 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 133 strikeouts in 132 1/3 innings.

Meanwhile, Joey Devine -- who has been sidelined for two years after Tommy John surgery -- has yet to allow a run in 8 1/3 innings at Triple-A Sacramento. He's struck out 12 batters with zero walks.

It's very feasible the A's add those two talented arms to the back-end of the bullpen by the third week of May. Between those two, the experience of Brian Fuentes and the fine work the A's are getting from Grant Balfour, Michael Wuertz and Brad Ziegler, it's safe to say the A's are going to continue to own opposing hitters for the rest of the season.

Of course, they could always use more run support. The reason the A's are only .500 with such a superior pitching staff is because the offense ranks 13th (of 14) in runs scored.

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Posted on: May 6, 2011 10:10 am
Edited on: May 6, 2011 10:13 am

Pepper: Struggling Giants return home

By Matt Snyder

THE SAN FRANCISCO TREE: There's a nine-foot tall avacado tree growing behind the center-field wall at AT&T Park. It was born when a former groundskeeper left an avacado pit in a jar of water for a few months, only to see it sprout. He needed a place to plant it, so he did so at the ballpark. Ten years later, it's now standing in an area where the club grows replacement sod for the playing surface. It's a really cool and quirky story you don't see often. (Mercurynews.com )

QUICK TURNAROUND: The Rangers played a night game in Seattle and will have to rush back home to face the Yankees Friday night. They're looking at getting home just over 12 hours before the start of Friday's game. The Yankees, on the other hand, we already checked into their hotel in Arlington before the Rangers Thursday game in Seattle was even started. Shouldn't getaway day pretty much always be a day game, with things like these happening frequently across baseball? Well, city ordinances are in the way. Seattle only allows the Mariners to play eight day games due to traffic issues around the ballpark. There are things like this in several cities across the nation, too. It's just one of those things teams have to deal with from time to time. Hey, they get to play baseball for living, they can deal with the quick turnaround, right? (ESPN Dallas )

QUIET RETIREMENT: Remember Russ Adams? He played for the Blue Jays for a handful of seasons and has disappeared. Apparently he retired Thursday from Triple-A Buffalo (a Mets affiliate). (ESPN New York )

DAMON RISING: Johnny Damon is climbing up the all-time hit list, as he now sits 75th. That's right, of all the guys who have ever played in Major League Baseball, only 74 have collected more hits than Damon. It's actually realistic for him to climb into the top 55 by the end of the season, too. Feels like he might have a pretty underrated body of work, but I wouldn't start talking about the Hall of Fame until he's retired and we can let his resume breathe. Here's a trivia question: There are four active players with more career hits than Damon. Can you name them? (Tampabay.com )

REVIEWING Cliff Lee TRADES: The Seattle Times rounds up the three Cliff Lee trades. There are some names you'll recognize in there, like Ben Francisco, Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco, Mark Lowe and Justin Smoak. And while Smoak is hitting quite well right now and could turn into a star, the hauls each team got for Lee don't look to measure up to Lee himself at this point. COnsidering the Phillies got prospects back for Lee and then went and signed him in free agency, they'd have to be considered the winners. Honestly, though, I can't really see a big loser. The Indians got lots of young talent and weren't re-upping with him. The Mariners essentially exchanged prospects for a few months of Lee, but Smoak appears to be the best player that changed teams in the trades other than Lee. The Rangers gave up Smoak and only had Lee for a half-season, but went to the World Series.

REVIEWING THE GRANDERSON TRADE: By August of 2010, many were talking about how the Yankees' deal to acquire Curtis Granderson was a loss. After all, the Tigers ended up with Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth while the Diamondbacks got Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson. But looking at Granderson vs. Jackson this season shows the Yankees didn't fare too poorly either -- and it's probably because Granderson's gonna drop 40 bombs , right? (WSJ.com )

TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM: I absolutely love this one. A Royals blogger a while back suggested Wilson Betemit should have let himself get hit by an inside pitch with the bases loaded in a tie game. Fans do this all the time without thinking about the pain aspect, but to Lee Judge's credit, he wanted to put his money where his mouth was. So he got with the team and they fired up the pitching machine and he wore a 92 m.p.h. fastball, just to see what it felt like. There's a video and everything. (Kansascity.com ). As an aside, I have an excuse to pimp my brother's feat here. He played baseball for Valparaiso University and was hit by a pitch a whopping 27 times his senior year. So I have access to a great authority in HBPs. You know what he would say? YOu're damn right it hurts, but it's only temporary.

NOVEL CONCEPT: While many teams in baseball are suffering downturns in attendance due to the economy, weather and probably some other factors, the Blue Jays are flourishing. They're up 56.6 percent since last season at this point, and this with the on-field product not doing so well. So, what gives? Well, for the first time in years they have made an aggressive marketing campaign. Wow, go figure. (The Globe and Mail )

HIGH PRAISE: Jerry Hairston has faced Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens -- easily the big four guys who endured the PED era from the bump. So when he says "he's the best pitcher I've ever faced," who was he talking about? Roy Halladay. (Nationals Journal )

REMEMBER ME? Joey Devine is going to return to the A's bullpen soon. If you'd forgotten about him, you're forgiven. Devine has missed the past two seasons after having Tommy John surgery. He's 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 7 1/3 innings in Triple-A Sacramento. He's struck out nine hitters without allowing a single walk. He's only given up three hits. Yeah, I'd say he's ready. When Devine last threw in the majors, he was lights-out. In 2008, he had a 0.59 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings out of the Oakland bullpen. He's still only 27, so he will be a major reinforcement for an already-strong pitching staff. Expect a promotion within the next few days.(SFGate.com )

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Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 4:34 pm

Return from T.J. surgery tough for Outman, Devine

OutmanBy Evan Brunell

The comeback from Tommy John surgery is a lot more difficult than it may seem these days, with pitchers back in a year and some better than ever.

But the comeback trail is a hard one to bear with hours upon hours of rest and rehab before even picking up a baseball. And even when returning to game action, control is still shaky as pitchers have to relearn mechanics and proprioception, as Sports Illustrated notes in a look at Tommy John surgery and rehabilitation. Proprioception, in short, is the person's ability to sense where certain parts of our body are in space. Relearning that sense is difficult for pitchers to master after surgery.

Both Joey Devine and Josh Outman are pitchers currently returning from Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2009, which puts their current timeframe well beyond the usual nine to 12 months needed to return from T.J. surgery. The Athletics are finding the road back harder than anticipated, and Outman has all but accepted he will likely have to go to Triple-A to continue his work to iron out small tweaks to his mechanics that need to occur before he can face major leaguers.

"We've talked about bad habits I've had in the past, and [pitching coach] Ron [Romanick] has noticed me doing a few things here and there all of a sudden," Outman (pictured) told MLB.com. "It's really nothing major, just a few details out of order. I've been out there every morning, and things are slowly coming back."

Devine is in a similar situation, struggling with mechanics in the process of battling a stiff arm. Like Outman, it is unlikely Devine will be able to break camp with the big-league team.


"I'm doing stuff that my body hasn't done in two years, so my arm's reacting a little different," Devine said. "I've been gripping the ball too much, too hard, and it's causing me to lock up. I have to get back to strengthening the biceps back up and throwing with a smoother delivery.

"My biceps, it's almost like it shut down. I guess, self-consciously, when the arm wasn't working, I thought I had to grip the ball harder. Well, that just causes bad habits, because I couldn't feel my release point, and I was going all over the place."

As a result, Devine's progression has been scaled back to correct his mechanics. He had an off day Sunday and will throw again on Monday before evaluating his readiness to return to game action.

Tommy John surgery has befell two of the more well-known names in baseball lately, with Stephen Strasburg undergoing the knife in September and Adam Wainwright suffering the same injury at the start of spring training. Their returns will be heavily scrutinized, as the progressions of Outman and Devine prove that returning from Tommy John surgery is no picnic.


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Posted on: October 12, 2010 8:21 pm

Devine, Outman on way back from Tommy John

Josh Outman Two Athletics underwent Tommy John surgery during the 2009 season and suffered multiple setbacks that knocked them out for the entier 2010 season.

Now, Joey Devine and Josh Outman (pictured) are back on track.

Devine, who tossed 45 2/3 innings of relief in his first season with Oakland, had a stellar 0.59 ERA (3.29 xFIP) as a 24-year-old. Despite missing just over two months with right elbow inflammation. That ballooned into Tommy John surgery after spring training the following year when Devine couldn't make a comeback. Complications knocked him out for all of 2010 as well, so the 27-year-old has spent two years away from the game. That's why he's excited he got to pitch in the instructional league as part of his rehab.

"I threw the ball well," Devine told MLB.com . "I threw all my pitches. My location wasn't great, but that's to be expected when you're still trying to build arm strength. Everything else felt good."

Likewise, starting pitcher Outman broke into the team in 2008, but looked to be en route to locking up a permanent spot in the rotation in 2009 before getting hurt. In 12 starts and two relief appearances, Outman had a 3.48 ERA (4.36 xFIP) over 67 1/3 innings. And then suddenly the lefty was undergoing the knife.

"I'm starting to get to where I feel like I'm really pitching again, rather than just waiting for something to hurt," he said. Due for one more rehab start before shutting down, Outman said his first start was "discouraging" but that the last three have been solid. "I'm not quite back to where I was. There are still aches and pains, but I think that's just from getting my pitch count up again. The important thing is, I feel more relaxed -- and I haven't pitched relaxed in a long time. It will be good to kind of finish on a high note."

Outman is expected to compete with Vin Mazzaro, Bobby Cramer and Tyson Ross for the No. 5 spot in the rotation. His stiffest competition will be against Mazarro.

"I want to compete for it, earn it," Outman, 26, said of the rotation spot. "I don't know what they're going to do, but I plan on earning that fifth spot."

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 11, 2010 6:38 pm

Devine won't pitch for A's

The Athletics thought they had a real find on their hands after acquiring Joey Devine from the Braves prior to the 2008 season for Mark Kotsay.

As a 24-year-old, Devine posted a 0.59 ERA in 45 2/3 innings, whiffin 49 and walking 15.

The only problem was a two-month respite on the disabled list due to right-elbow inflammation that ballooned to Tommy John surgery after the season, causing Devine to miss the entire 2009 season.

And in case you haven't been following Oakland's boxscores, the name "Devine, Joey" hasn't appeared in box scores for the A's at all in 2010. Manager Bob Geren told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle Saturday that Devine will not pitch for the A's at all, causing the righty to miss two years to what is normally a fairly standard surgery these days.

Instead, Devine will pitch in instructional league in the hopes of pairing with Brad Ziegler and Andrew Bailey for a dominant bullpen in 2011.

  -- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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