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Tag:NL Central
Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:48 pm
 

Brewers to make a pitch for Greinke extension

Zack Greinke

By C. Trent Rosecrans


At this point of the season, there's little reason to worry much about free agency -- there's a lot more things to happen before it's an issue. But during the long six weeks of real nothingness that is spring training, most of the free agents-to-be will be asked about their impending status.

Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke is today's subject. In Brewers camp, the 28-year-old was asked about his plans after this season. While, as is customary in this dance, Greinke said he was interested in re-signing with Milwaukee, he also acknowledged the possibility of listening to offers.

Greinke is currently without an agent, but said he'd hire a new one after the season -- thus insinuating he's not going to sign with the Brewers before testing the free-agent waters.

"I think it would be kind of neat. There could be positives to it, and there could end up being negatives. It’s not like everyone who gets to free agency, it ends up working perfectly for them, and everything comes true that they want," Greinke told Tom Haurdricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Sometimes it ends up backfiring on you and you would have been better off signing with your team. A lot of times, when you get all 30 teams fighting for you, you should be in a pretty good situation. It has happened where it doesn’t work out for people."

That kind of statement sows the seeds in the mind of the Brewers' brass that he could re-sign with the Brewers before he's eligible for free agency. He noted that owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin are expected to meet this weekend to talk about an extension with Greinke.

Said Melvin (again, via the Journal Sentinel): "Mark and I have to talk first," said Melvin. "We won't let (having no agent) stop us if we decide to talk to him. There's no timetable to do it. We haven't set any timetable. We definitely have to have a conversation (with Greinke) before the season starts. I'd like to be able to do that."

That said, he should be, along with Cole Hamels and Matt Cain, the prize of the free-agent market this coming winter. No matter what is said now, there's a lot more money available after the season than before it. The Brewers will certainly make an offer, but that doesn't guarantee much, if anything.

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Posted on: March 8, 2012 8:25 pm
 

Injury roundup: Price, Manny, Harper and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

David Robertson may not even have the oddest injury of the spring for any pitcher named David in the American League East.

Rays left-hander David Price Thursday's game after two innings with what the team called a "minor neck spasm." How does one suffer a minor neck spasm? Well, apparently by toweling off the beck of his head just a bit too hard.

Really.

Don't believe me? Ask Price.



If you didn't click on the video, Price said it's happened to him before and he shouldn't miss any time. [Tampa Bay Times]

PROJECTED LINEUPS AND ROTATIONS

• Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter may not make his scheduled start on Monday because of neck stiffness that has halted his training.

Carpenter canceled his throwing session on Wednesday and said Thursday he's been bothered by the neck stiffness. He was scheduled to throw Friday, but that may not happen, either. He said there's no timetable for his return. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

• Manny Ramirez may return from a sore back on Saturday against the Reds. Ramirez has played two games this spring and was scratched on Wednesday. [MLB.com]

• Nationals prospect Bryce Harper was a late scratch from Thursday's exhibition game because of a tightness in his left calf. He's listed as day-to-day, but expects to play either Friday or Saturday.

Harper said he didn't feel the tightness when hitting, but did feel it when he was in the outfield. [Washington Times]

• Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche played in a minor-league intrasquad game on Thursday, but he's still limited on his injured foot. He hit a home run during the game, but he wasn't able to get a real feel how his foot felt. He said he may be able to play in a big-league exhibition by Saturday. [MASNSports.com]

• Two days after his first start of the year, Mets left-hander Johan Santana said he felt good and is looking forward to his next start, Sunday against the Marlins. [New York Daily News]

• Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis will make his spring debut on March 14. Markakis had abdominal surgery in the offseason. He'll DH at first. [Baltimore Sun]

• Reds left-hander Bill Bray had been shut down for two weeks with a groin injury and then stopped his scheduled bullpen session short on Wednesday. Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters that could lead to Aroldis Chapman moving back to the bullpen.

The Reds have tried stretching Chapman out and using him as a starter this spring, but he could be back in the bullpen with Bray's injury. Chapman is starting Friday in a split-squad game against the Giants. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

• The Rangers' Brad Hawpe was scratched from a B game against the White Sox because of a setback with his right hamstring. Hawpe was supposed to lead off every inning in his first action of the spring, but instead "overdid it" getting ready on Wednesday.

Hawpe said he expects to be ready by Friday. [MLB.com]

• Marlins right-hander Anibal Sanchez hasn't thrown in a spring training game yet, and there's no telling when he will return from the tightness in his throwing shoulder. He's expected to throw for the team in Jupiter on Friday. [Miami Herald]

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Posted on: March 8, 2012 5:44 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 5:45 pm
 

MLB leaves Colt .45s uniform decision to Astros

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Astros may or may not wear the original Colt .45s uniform complete with the smoking gun graphic, but at least the decision will be the team's to make.

Major League Baseball had originally told the Astros they couldn't wear the classic uniform with the gun on it as part of the team's 50th anniversary celebration. When the team debut in 1962, the Colt .45s featured a smoking pistol, with the smoke making up the "C" in "Colt."

Now the team will make its decision known on Friday whether it will wear the awesome uniform or cop-out and wear a plain, boring, inaccurate uniform (can you tell which side I'm on?). In a statement released Thursday, the team said:

"Over the past few months, the club has been in discussion with Major League Baseball about whether to wear the authentic Colt .45s jersey. The original logo features the Colts name and a pistol. The alternative jersey would only have the Colts name on the front of the jersey. This week, MLB informed the Astros that the decision would be left to the ballclub.

"The Astros organization continues to value fan input, therefore the Astros have been reaching out to fans the past week to get their opinion on this issue.

"Our fans have expressed overwhelming passion and support for the Astros and our rich 50-year tradition. We plan to announce our decision tomorrow, Friday, March 9."

The team is scheduled to wear the uniform as part of its "Flashback Fridays" promotion this season, wearing the Colt .45s uni on April 10 against the Braves and April 20 against the Dodgers.

The Houston franchise wore the uniform from 1962-64.

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Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:57 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 1:02 pm
 

Bray to shave head, earn money for charity

By Matt Snyder

Negative stories about celebrities and professional athletes get plenty of attention, so we try to pass along the real positive ones whenever we can -- like Marlins catcher John Buck playing hero of the day this past offseason -- and here's another one to pass along: Reds reliever Bill Bray is going to shave his head in an effort to raise money for childhood cancer research on March 17.

He'll do so at the Reds' player development complex in Goodyear, Ariz. Donors who pledge at least $25 toward Bray's head-shaving show of solidarity will get an 8X10 autographed photo of the lefty. Hit up Bray's Facebook page for information or to make a donation.

Note that this is taking place on St. Patrick's Day, and it's no coincidence. Bray's charity is the St. Baldrick's Foundation -- note that it's combining "bald" with the holiday.

Bray's personal tie to the cause is his 10-year-old cousin, Trevor, who has been fighting neuroblastoma cancer for the past several years.

“Trevor’s parents wanted me to get several signed baseballs for their upcoming auction, but I wanted to do more,” said Bray in a statement. “I thought, in addition to that, I should shave my head to raise money and national awareness for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Shaving my head is a simple sacrifice for a promising reward for Trevor and other children battling cancer every day.”

Kudos, Mr. Bray. And Godspeed, Trevor.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:43 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:30 am
 

Injury roundup: Wright, Posey, Trout and more

By Dayn Perry

David WrightInjury news and notes from Wednesday's camps ... 

  • Pirates second baseman Neil Walker missed Wednesday's contest with back tightness. As a precautionary measure, he's likely to sit out the next two to three games. [CBS Pittsburgh]

  • While Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is able to take part in some low-level baseball activities, he still has no idea when he'll return to game action or even face live pitching after suffering multiple concussions.

    "It's still a progression," he said. "We have steps that we're taking, and it's a pretty systematic approach so I don't just go do everything I want every day. My doctor lays out a plan every day, and we kind of go by that. I'm definitely better than I was four months ago, so that's good. It's never as fast as you want, but we're getting there." [Baltimore Sun

  • Boston lefty Andrew Miller, who's in the mix for a spot in the rotation, won't be traveling with the team on Thursday because of slight stiffness in his throwing elbow. [WEEI]

PROJECTED LINEUPS AND ROTATIONS


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Posted on: March 7, 2012 5:17 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 6:56 pm
 

Cubs may be closing in on Jorge Soler

Theo Epstein

By Dayn Perry

Power-hitting Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler may eventually sign with the Cubs for $27 million, MLB Network's Peter Gammons reports via Twitter

Soler is inevitably compared to his countryman Yoenis Cespedes, who signed a four-year, $36-million pact with the A's earlier this offseason, but there's one key difference: age. At 26, Cespedes is more major-league ready than the 19-year-old Soler. However, Soler, obviously, will have the opportunity to spend his formative baseball years under the aegis of a major-league organization, and he also boasts the higher ceiling. It's generally acknowledged that Soler is ready for High-A right now, so it's conceivable he could reach the highest level for good by late 2013. 

As for Soler's baseball skills, Baseball America's Jim Callis likens him to Royals uber-prospect Bubba Starling and suggests that, had he been eligible, Soler may have gone in the top five of last year's draft.

More from Callis: "Six-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Soler has explosive bat speed and power potential. He also has plus speed and arm strength and profiles as a classic right fielder, though he runs well enough to play center. Because of his youth, he'll need some time to develop, but he should be worth the wait."

After signing left-hander Gerardo Concepcion earlier this winter, Theo Epstein and the Cubs are obviously undaunted by the difficulties in vetting and projecting Cuban talent. Indeed, if the Soler rumors come to be realized, then this would amount to Epstein's boldest move since assuming control of the Cubs' baseball operations.  

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 10:29 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 10:52 pm
 

Injury roundup: Hart, Longoria, Utley and more

Corey HartBy Dayn Perry

Notes on some maladies and afflictions from around baseball on Tuesday ... 

  • Rays third sacker and AL MVP candidate Evan Longoria has no idea when his injured right hand will allow him to join the lineup. He might, however, begin hitting off a tee on Wednesday. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Brewers right fielder Corey Hart was recently diagnosed with torn cartilage in his knee and on Tuesday underwent successful arthroscopic surgery this week. He'll miss three to four weeks almost certainly open the season on the DL, just as he did in 2011. [MLB.com]

  • Phillies second baseman Chase Utley still has no clear timetable for his return from chronic knee problems. 

    “We talked about him not playing for the first week or two weeks,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We’re going to ease him into it. We know he’ll be ready when the bell rings. We just want to make sure he’s as fresh and as healthy as he can possibly be on Opening Day.” [The Zo Zone]

  • David Wright of the Mets is hampered by a ribcage injury, and he won't be able to see any Grapefruit League action until at least next week, manager Terry Collins told reporters. Wright is lifting weights and not experiencing any discomfort, but the Mets are taking a conservative approach with their third baseman. [Newark Star-Ledger]
  • Good news for the wondrously named Freddie Freeman, who was in the lineup on Tuesday well ahead of schedule. Freeman dislocated his left kneecap early in camp and was initially expected to be out for up to two weeks. 

    “I felt good,” Freeman said afterward. “I had no problems. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I’m not going to go out there if I didn’t feel like I could do it. It felt good swinging. It felt good fielding. I was able to come off the bag when holding on runners and go back just in case there was a throw back." [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

  • Nationals outfielder Michael Morse, fresh off his 31-homer breakout campaign of 2011, was a late scratch today because of a strained lat muscle. He's listed as day-to-day. [Washington Post]

  • Astros catcher Humberto Quintero will receive a cortisone shot on Wednesday and then head back to Houston to have his injured back examined. He hopes to be in the lineup on Friday against Toronto. [MLB.com]

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 8:57 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 9:24 pm
 

Injury roundup: Marcum, Longoria, Posey and more

By Matt Snyder

Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum still has a stiff shoulder. For more, check out Danny Knobler's blog on the subject, as he's on site.

As for the rest, here's Wednesday's injury wrap:

• A's first baseman Daric Barton has been shut down for three days after requiring a second cortisone shot in his surgically-repaired shoulder. Per MLB.com, the chances of Barton making the opening-day roster are "slimming by the day."

Mets ace Johan Santana is all set for his Tuesday start against the Cardinals (ESPN New York).

• Also in Mets news, third baseman David Wright missed Monday's game with his lingering ribcage stiffness. He previously said he'd be playing if these were regular-season games but was expected to suit up and give it a go Monday. Meanwhile, Ike Davis -- who the Mets believe has Valley Fever -- is scheduled to play both Monday and Tuesday for three innings (MLB.com).

Marlins ace Josh Johnson had a 41-pitch, "pain-free" start Monday. He's moving forward slowly, but the Marlins project him atop their rotation. (MLB.com)

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was hit in the hand with a pitch last week. He was fortunate to avoid any breaks, but is still suffering from the bruise and swelling. His batting practice session was cut short Monday and he'll wait a few more days before trying again (Rays Report).

• Just one week after dislocating his kneecap, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is going to be in the lineup for his club's spring game Tuesday (AJC.com via Twitter).

Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez "likely will play" in an exhibition game later this week, but here's the big news: Buster Posey "could join him." Getting Posey into game action this early in the spring as he looks to return from a broken leg would obviously be huge. He has already been cleared to hit in a game and will likely be used as a DH at first (same with Sanchez). "We don't need setbacks. We just don't want to risk anything," said manager Bruce Bochy.

Monday night's game is on TV, but Bochy still won't risk going with Posey. "I know they [fans] want to see him. We do, too, but it's not worth the risk."

Also in Giants news, Brian Wilson will face hitters Wednesday and is scheduled to pitch in a game March 11. They are also hoping Ryan Vogelsong can throw off a mound Thursday. (All info courtesy of Knobler, who was in camp)

• New Reds closer Ryan Madson has been shut down for a few days with irritation in his throwing elbow, but he'll resume throwing Tuesday. He called it a "normal" and said it's happened to him the "past couple of years." (MLB.com)

Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez was hit in the right hand with a pitch Monday. His X-rays were negative and -- like Longoria -- has a bruised hand. (MLB.com)

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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