Tag:AL Central
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:28 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 12:59 pm
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Chris Perez out 4-6 weeks with oblique strain

By Matt Snyder

Just a few days after we learned the Indians have lost Grady Sizemore for a few weeks due to injury, the Tribe has been dealt another blow. All-Star closer Chris Perez will miss four to six weeks of action with a left internal oblique strain, according to the club's official Twitter account.

Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said Perez's body "wasn't ready for the intensity of the bullpen session." (Per Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

Six weeks from today is April 7, otherwise known as the first weekend of the regular season. Even if Perez can come back in a month, he'll need to work himself into game shape, so there's a decent chance he'll be unable to open the season with the Indians. Perez told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com that the goal is to be back March 15 and that he is "confident" he'll be ready for opening day. The Indians haven't ruled him out for opening day and said he "should" appear in games "toward the end of spring."

Perez, 26, had 36 saves with a 3.32 ERA and 1.21 WHIP last season for the Indians. If he's out for any period of time, the likely fill-in candidate for save chances is Vinnie Pestano.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:13 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 4:38 pm
 

Joel Zumaya hurt again

Joel Zumaya

By C. Trent Rosecrans


If Friday was a Grady Sizemore injury, Saturday must mean it was time for Joel Zumaya to get hurt, isn't it.

Unfortunately, that was the case. Zumaya, now a Twin, cut short a throwing session on Saturday after about 15 pitches. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters (via MLB.com).

General manager Terry Ryan said the MRI would be on the inside of Zumaya's right elbow.

"Obviously he felt something that was discomforting so he came off, which was right," Ryan said, according to the Star Tribune. "We've had this happen down here  before. We've had people walk off the mound because they were hurt. I'm glad he came off there, we'll get it addressed tomorrow and see what the results of that MRI are. It would be a little less concerning if we didn't have the history with him, which he's experienced in his career.

"There's not a lot I give you until we get the results. They'll be out fairly soon. We'll get him in tomorrow morning, which is a good thing, Sunday morning."

Zumaya declined to speak to reporters.

CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports Zumaya said he felt "something" and wasn't happy as he left the field.

The right-hander missed all of 2011 after undergoing elbow surgery last spring training and hasn't played in a game since June 28, 2010, when he fractured his elbow while pitching for the Tigers against the Twins.

A rookie sensation in 2006, Zumaya appeared in 62 games, striking out 97 batters in 83 1/3 innings and lighting up radar guns, while putting up a 1.94 ERA for the Tigers. Since then, he's appeared in just 109 games over four seasons and no more than 31 in any season. His strikeout rate has been around one per inning since his rookie season, but hasn't exceeded it.

In 2007 he had a finger injury and a shoulder injury limited him in 2009 and 2009 before undergoing season-ending surgery.

The Twins signed the 27-year-old to a one-year contract in the offseason.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 4:20 pm
 

Sizemore injured, 'unlikely' for opening day

By Matt Snyder

Once one of Major League Baseball's most promising, young stars, Indians' center fielder Grady Sizemore's career has been derailed by injuries. Unfortunately, his luck hasn't changed one bit in 2012.

Friday, Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff told media (including Jordan Bastian of MLB.com) that two weeks ago Sizemore suffered a lower back strain and is "unlikely" for opening day. Sizemore injured himself while fielding ground balls and has been shut down since. There is "no timetable yet for [a] return to baseball drills."

It's hard to not feel bad for the guy, as Sizemore simply can't stay healthy anymore. From 2005-2008, he averaged 160 games played per season. Since then, he's only played in 210 total (an average of 70 per season). His performance has suffered when he's been on the field, too, as Sizemore's OPS from 2009-11 was .728. From 2005-08, it was .868. His stolen base and home run rates have gone down as well.

Last season, Sizemore hit .224/.285/.422 with 10 homers and zero stolen bases in 71 games. He hit free agency, but the Indians brought him back on a one-year, incentive-laden contract.

With Sizemore out of the lineup, the Indians can slide Michael Brantley to center and go with Shelley Duncan, Aaron Cunningham or even Matt LaPorta in left field.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:18 am
 

Morneau doesn't sound positive about his future

Justin Morneau

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It's tough to take tone from transcribed quotes, but reading what Twins first baseman Justin Morneau doesn't take much of a leap to assume he's not all sunshine and puppies in regard to his future.

Morneau hasn't been the same player since suffering a concussion in July of 2010 and even though he said he's been symptom-free for about a month, his meeting with Minnesota reporters on Friday didn't sound like someone very positive about his future.

Here's what he had to say (via La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune) when asked about his concerns about concussions in the future:
"Well, I don’t think there will be a career if it’s something I’m dealing with,'' he said. "That’s the reality of the whole thing. I’m obviously not going to continue to mess around with this if it continues to be a problem. There comes a point where you can only torture yourself for so long. It’s something I love to do but you keep preparing and you keep being left out, that’s something that nobody wants to go through.

"Obviously it’s been a tough winter that way. I try not to think about that kind of stuff. Obviously it’s crossed my mind and it’s something I’ve had to think about but when that stuff comes into my mind I continue to look for something positive, and look how far I’ve come in the last week or in the last month and just hope it continues to go well.''
Morneau has two years left on the six-year deal he signed before the 2008 season. He will make $14 million this season and next. The 2006 American League MVP played in just 69 games last season, hitting .227/.285/.333 with four home runs.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:58 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 4:44 pm
 

Spring primer: Detroit Tigers



By Matt Snyder


The 2011 Detroit Tigers won the AL Central in a laugher, ending with a 15-game edge over the second-place Indians. The offseason was rather uneventful in Detroit for a while, but then the Tigers lost DH Victor Martinez to a torn ACL. And then they swooped in and landed slugger Prince Fielder with a 9-year, $214 deal. They'll enter 2012 as the heaviest divisional favorite in baseball and some will surely pick them to win it all.

Danny Knobler's Camp Report: Verlander's workload, expectations won't change | Likes, Dislikes

Major additions: 1B Prince Fielder, RHP Octavio Dotel, C Gerald Laird
Major departures: RF Magglio Ordonez, 3B Wilson Betemit, IF Carlos Guillen, SP Brad Penny

Probable lineup
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Brennan Boesch, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Alex Avila, C
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Andy Dirks, LF
9. Ryan Raburn, 2B

Probable rotation
1. Justin Verlander
2. Doug Fister
3. Max Scherzer
4. Rick Porcello
5. Jacob Turner

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Jose Valverde
Set-up: Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel

Important bench players
C Gerald Laird, IF Brandon Inge, IF Ramon Santiago, IF/OF Don Kelly

Prospect to watch
It would have been Turner here regardless, but there's extra emphasis on him now that the Tigers were unable to sign Roy Oswalt or trade for someone like Gio Gonzalez or Matt Garza. Thus, the path is clear for Turner to join the rotation out of spring at age 20, much like Porcello did before him. Entering 2011, Turner had never even pitched above High-A ball. But last season he appeared in Double-A, Triple-A and the majors. In 20 minor-league appearances, Turner was 4-5 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 110 strikeouts in 131 innings. He struggled mightily in his three major-league starts, but it's a new year.

Fantasy sleeper: Delmon Young
"Owners should look for improved power numbers from Young this year, and with him hitting behind Cabrera and Fielder, his RBI total should get a jolt as well." - Al Melchior [Full Tigers team fantasy preview]

Fantasy bust: Doug Fister
"Part of Fister's 2011 success was based upon holding batters to a .188 batting average on ground balls. The Tigers' infield defense overall should leave something to be desired, so Fister's WHIP will rise upward, even without a significant increase in walks. Owners may look to Fister as a No. 4 starter in mixed leagues, but in reality he may perform more like a low-end No. 5 SP or waiver wire option." - Al Melchior [Full Tigers team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Very simple: The Tigers win the World Series for the first time since 1984.

Pessimistic outlook
The infield defense is dreadful, which stunts the development of Porcello and Turner in addition to hampering Fister and Scherzer. With Jackson's strikeouts piling up, Boesch never really becoming what the Tigers desired and players like Avila and Peralta taking steps backward, the offense is basically a two-man show. With these issues, at least one AL Central team (Indians? Royals?) vaults past Detroit in a shocker.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 2:19 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:07 pm
 

Oswalt pulls a Clemens, prepares for half-season



By Matt Snyder


Free agent starting pitcher Roy Oswalt has told major-league teams that he's aiming to join a club at some point during the season.

"After much thought and careful consideration, Roy has decided to continue to evaluate his options," said Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber in a statement. "He is great health and will continue to stay in shape, while throwing regularly off the mound. Roy has every intention of pitching for a contending club at some point this season.''

Spring Training Coverage
You might recall Roger Clemens did the midseason thing twice last decade. In May of 2006, he signed with the Astros and went 7-6 with a 2.30 ERA that season. In May of 2007, Clemens signed with the Yankees, going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA. He made a postseason start, too, but was chased after just 2 1/3 innings.

Oswalt, 34, wasn't lacking for attention this offseason, as he turned down a one-year, $10 million from the Tigers and also declined to discuss terms with the Red Sox. Oswalt is said to want to be as close as possible to his home in Mississippi, specifically targeting the Cardinals and Rangers -- neither of whom were interested or met Oswalt's asking price. As CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler noted on Twitter, Garber didn't specify which "contending club" Oswalt wished to join, and it's believed he still only wants to pitch for the Rangers or Cardinals. So he's basically waiting on an injury or underperformance to open up a rotation spot on either team.

He was once one of the more durable pitchers in baseball. From 2002-2010, he only failed to make 30 starts one season while throwing at least 208 innings in seven of those nine campaigns. Last season, however, Oswalt was hampered by a back injury and made just 23 starts. He was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 139 innings. In his one postseason start, he took the loss, allowing six hits and five runs in six innings against the Cardinals.

Oswalt is 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 1,759 strikeouts in his career. He's a three-time All-Star and finished in the top six of Cy Young voting six times, but never better than third. He's pitched in the playoffs four different seasons, two with the Astros and two with the Phillies, once making the World Series (2005 Astros) but never winning it.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 2:19 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:07 pm
 

Oswalt pulls a Clemens, prepares for half-season



By Matt Snyder


Free agent starting pitcher Roy Oswalt has told major-league teams that he's aiming to join a club at some point during the season.

"After much thought and careful consideration, Roy has decided to continue to evaluate his options," said Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber in a statement. "He is great health and will continue to stay in shape, while throwing regularly off the mound. Roy has every intention of pitching for a contending club at some point this season.''

Spring Training Coverage
You might recall Roger Clemens did the midseason thing twice last decade. In May of 2006, he signed with the Astros and went 7-6 with a 2.30 ERA that season. In May of 2007, Clemens signed with the Yankees, going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA. He made a postseason start, too, but was chased after just 2 1/3 innings.

Oswalt, 34, wasn't lacking for attention this offseason, as he turned down a one-year, $10 million from the Tigers and also declined to discuss terms with the Red Sox. Oswalt is said to want to be as close as possible to his home in Mississippi, specifically targeting the Cardinals and Rangers -- neither of whom were interested or met Oswalt's asking price. As CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler noted on Twitter, Garber didn't specify which "contending club" Oswalt wished to join, and it's believed he still only wants to pitch for the Rangers or Cardinals. So he's basically waiting on an injury or underperformance to open up a rotation spot on either team.

He was once one of the more durable pitchers in baseball. From 2002-2010, he only failed to make 30 starts one season while throwing at least 208 innings in seven of those nine campaigns. Last season, however, Oswalt was hampered by a back injury and made just 23 starts. He was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 139 innings. In his one postseason start, he took the loss, allowing six hits and five runs in six innings against the Cardinals.

Oswalt is 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 1,759 strikeouts in his career. He's a three-time All-Star and finished in the top six of Cy Young voting six times, but never better than third. He's pitched in the playoffs four different seasons, two with the Astros and two with the Phillies, once making the World Series (2005 Astros) but never winning it.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 23, 2012 12:17 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:22 pm
 

MLB Network to go live with in-game player audio

By Matt Snyder

At times in the past, I've accused Major League Baseball of being archaic in several facets of the game, so it's only fair I give credit where it's due. This is one of those times. Major League Baseball has announced that they're going to broadcast a spring training game -- between the Indians and Diamondbacks on March 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET on MLB Network -- with live audio from players and coaches.

Up to six players on each team in addition to the coaching staff and each base will have microphones, for an unprecedented level of in-game audio available on broadcast. There will be a slight delay, for obvious (cough, cough) reasons.

“One of the missions of MLB Network is to promote the game of baseball and act as a platform to advance the presentation of the game,” said MLB Network President and CEO Tony Petitti in a statement. “The goal of this production is to bring fans closer to the game and experience it as a player would on the field. Not only are we trying to capture the player reactions and interactions, we want to present the natural sounds of the game, including the crack of the bat, the pop of a glove and the slide into a base like viewers have never heard before.”

It's not a big deal in and of itself that this is being done during a spring training game, which is basically meaningless. But let's look big picture. Obviously the league is working toward this being perfected, at which point they'll start doing it with regular season games. It's pretty cool to envision watching postseason games with this level of access on TV.

Though it didn't air last season, MLB Network did some testing with the technology, and here's a highlight package from the footage, via MLB.com video:



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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