Tag:Barry Zito
Posted on: July 8, 2011 1:03 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Walk-off Grand Slam for Pronk

By Matt Snyder

Travis Hafner, Indians. We could concentrate on the colossal meltdown by the Blue Jays to lose after having a 4-0 lead entering the ninth, but let's instead focus on the man with the big blow, because you don't often see a walk-off grand slam. That's exactly what Travis Hafner did in front of the Cleveland fans who stuck around for the ninth Thursday. (Click here to watch the highlight on MLB.com). The Blue Jays only recorded a single out, allowing a single, double, walk and single before Hafner's bomb. The Indians appear to be somewhat back on track and have a 1-1/2 game lead in the AL Central.

Brad Hand/Jack McKeon, Marlins. Hand, a 21-year-old rookie, picked up his first major-league victory Thursday in a spot-start for the Marlins. He threw seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits. Sure it was against the Astros, but it still counts -- and the hitters are definitely better than Hand had been seeing in Triple-A. As for the McKeon inclusion here, he sent Hand out to warm up for the eighth inning and removed Hand before the inning started. Why? So the home fans could give the kid a standing ovation (Joe Capozzi via Twitter). Great move by the wily veteran McKeon. And don't look now, but the Marlins have won six of their last nine. Two of those three losses were to the Phillies, too.

Barry Zito, Giants. Alright, who took us back to 2002 in the time machine? I always knew Doc Brown was onto something with that flux capacitor. Zito was 40-57 with a 4.45 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in his first four years for the Giants after signing a gargantuan contract. After a brutal start to the 2011 season, most Giants fans were wondering what they had to do to be freed from this albatross. But, wait. Time circuits on ... Zito is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in three starts since returning from the disabled list. He was masterful Thursday night, striking out seven and walking zero. The only real blemish was a solo home run off the bat of Ryan Ludwick in the seventh. Zito's eight innings also allowed the Giants to rest the bullpen, other than one inning from closer Brian Wilson, after a 14-inning marathon Wednesday. If Zito keeps throwing like this, that's a pretty scary rotation for the defending champs.

White Sox vs. Twins. This is absolute ownership. After the Twins beat the White Sox 6-2 Thursday night, it ran the White Sox's record against Minnesota to 0-5 this season. That's not near the worst part. The White Sox have lost eight straight to the Twins. And that's not really the worst part either. In the last 36 games between the two, the White Sox have won just seven (LaVelle Neal via Twitter).

Nationals after the fourth inning. This just can't happen. The Nationals were leading the Cubs -- the team with the second-worst record in all of baseball -- 8-0 through four innings. That's gotta be the game. No discussion. Instead, the Nationals let the Cubs storm back and take a 9-8 lead in the eighth. Worse yet, the Nats tied it back up in the bottom of the eighth, only to see Henry Rodriguez allow a run. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, the Nationals had the tying run on third with one out and couldn't score him. Still, nearly all the blame has to go on the pitchers. Livan Hernandez allowed six runs in the sixth while Rodriguez, Sean Burnett and Todd Coffey combined to allow four runs in 3 1/3 innings.

Pedro Viola, Orioles. The Orioles as a whole are in a bad, bad place right now. They've gone 6-18 since pulling to within one game of .500 and Thursday night allowed 10 runs, 13 hits, six home runs and five walks to the Red Sox. But poor Viola, man, what a bad night. He faced just four batters. He walked one. The other three hit home runs.

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Posted on: June 25, 2011 3:55 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2011 4:06 pm

Giants activate Zito, place Sanchez on DL

By Matt Snyder

With Barry Zito on his way back, Ryan Vogelsong pitching like an ace and Jonathan Sanchez struggling with control, there were a few signs to indicate Sanchez was in danger of losing his rotation spot when Zito was activated. Instead, Sanchez has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with left biceps tendinitis (San Francisco Chronicle via Twitter). As a corresponding move, Zito has been activated and will start Tuesday against the Cubs.

Sanchez is 4-5 with a 3.81 ERA and once again is tough to hit. He only allowed 142 hits in 193 1/3 innings last season and he's given up 68 hits in 89 2/3 innings so far this year. The problem is that he led the majors in walks last season (96) and has the lead again this year (59). His rate has actually risen this season, as he's offered up 5.9 free passes per nine innings.

An interesting sub-plot is whether or not Sanchez is actually injured. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News tweeted that Sanchez said the following after Friday night's game: "Nothing wrong with me. I'm fine. I'm healthy. I'm just having a hard time."

Regardless, the Giants have placed Sanchez on the DL, so he won't pitch for at least 15 days.

Zito had a dreadful start to the 2011 season, but threw a two-hit shutout in his last Triple-A rehab outing.

There's no telling what happens when Sanchez is healthy enough to return -- except that Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are obviously firmly entrenched in the rotation and it's hard to see Vogelsong falling apart anytime soon -- but, for now, the Giants have avoided a logjam by virtue of the Sanchez injury.

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 10:06 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 10:10 pm

Giants bringing Zito back to crowded roster

By Evan Brunell

ZitoPoor Barry Zito.

Zito sprained his right foot on April 17 and has yet to return to the majors, making four rehab starts. That wasn't quite necessary, especially since the left-hander has proven that he has absolutely nothing left to prove down on the farm. His last start, in fact, was a complete game two-hitter for Triple-A.

It's not every day that a veteran on a $126-million contract is actively left in the minors by his team, but there you go.

The reason the Giants have held Zito back is because there's just no room for him. The Giants certainly aren't going to start him over Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner -- and forget journeyman Ryan Vogelsong exiting the rotation given the hot start he's gotten off to.

Manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News that Zito will likely start one of the games next Tuesday, which is a doubleheader against the Cubs.

"He's coming off a great outing," Bochy said. "He's excited he got his pitch count up to 118 and went nine innings. He hasn't done that in a while. He got better as he went. His curveball was sharp. He got into a groove in the fourth inning and didn't labor at all."

When Zito returns, the Giants may go with a 13-man staff for two reasons. Firstly, the double-header essentially ensures that an extra arm will be valuable that week. Secondly, there are very little pitchers with options, while some position players have options. Why would GM Brian Sabean give up on an asset when he can simply demote another player?

Still, that's only a temporary fix. A 13-man staff creates a very short bench, especially in the National League where double-switches and pinch-hitters are common. At some point soon, the Giants are going to have to make a move to trim down to 12 pitchers, which will present a headache for Sabean.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:01 pm

On Deck: How about a Zito-Soriano swap?

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Is 80-year-old Jack McKeon the answer for the Marlins? MLB.com's Tom Boorstein joins Scott Braun to talk about the Fish, Albert Pujols and more. Click on the video above to hear about it all.

TRADE IDEA: There's an old saying that you don't trade players, you trade contracts. And there are hardly two contracts worse than those belonging to Giants lefty Barry Zito and Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News suggests those two swap teams -- well, because it wouldn't hurt. Barry Zito would help out the Cubs' awful pitching, while Soriano would help the Gints' offensive worries. Soriano is paid through 2014, while Zito can be bought out before that season. The Giants would end up paying $7.75 million more in the deal, but Soriano is probably that much more valuable than Zito for them, considering the team's pitching depth.

Sure, both players have full no-trade clauses, so there's that, but it could happen. Baggarly notes he's just spitballing and that he hasn't heard anything about this kind of trade -- but it makes some sense. It's not totally unheard of for the Cubs, who made the bad contract swap with the Mariners before the 2010 season sending Milton Bradley to Seattle for Carlos Silva. It's an interesting thought, that's for sure.

MANAGING THROUGH PAIN: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was rushed to a Phoenix hospital Sunday morning where he passed a kidney stone before returning to Chase Field about two hours before the team's 8-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. [Chicago Tribune]

SPEEDY GONZALEZ: Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez legged out a triple Sunday for his 1,000th career hit. It was actually his third triple of the season, two more than Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. "I was telling Jacoby I have more triples than you do. What's going on?" Gonzalez told reporters after the game (via WEEI.com). "He just said, 'Hey, you're faster than me.'" And a better hitter. 

CLEAN PLAYS: Giants fans are sure to disagree, but Yankees catcher Russell Martin said the play in which Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena bowled into him on Saturday clean, and so was the hit that ended the season of Giants catcher Buster Posey. Martin said it's only a dirty play if the catcher is standing in front of the plate and the runner goes out of his way to hit him, which wasn't the case for Posey and the Marlins' Scott Cousins. [MLB.com]

WEBB STRUGGLES: Rangers right-hander Brandon Webb gave up six hits and four runs in two-thirds of an inning at Double-A Frisco on Sunday.

GOOD NEWS FOR Astros: An MRI revealed no structural damage in the elbow of right fielder Hunter Pence, who has a sprain in his left elbow. He is listed as day-to-day, but manager Brad Mills said he is "questionable" for the Astros' upcoming series against the Rangers. [Houston Chronicle]

NATS PLANS UNCHANGED: You may not have noticed the Washington Nationals are one of baseball's hottest teams, winning eight in a row before Sunday's loss and are now just 4 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Wild Card standings. That doesn't change Mike Rizzo's plans for the future. The biggest decision may be whether to deal starter Jason Marquis at the deadline. If the Nats go into another funk before the end of July, they'll likely deal him. [Washington Post]

GOOD IDEA: Orioles reliever Chris Jakubauskas picked up his first big league hit on Sunday and with that came his first play at the plate when third base coach John Russell waved him home on J.J. Hardy's double in the fifth inning. He was out by a mile. "My main thing was don't fall down, because when I hit third my legs got Jello-ey," Jakubauskas told MASNSports.com.

Mets HEALING: David Wright played catch and took ground balls on his knees Sunday and is expected to ride an exercise bike on Monday as he rehabs from a stress fracture in his lower back. He's expected to have more news after an evaluation later this week. Meanwhile, lefty Johan Santana is still long-tossing and hopes to return to the mound later this week. [Star-Ledger and ESPNNewYork.com]

SMOKELESS Rays: Tampa Bay will be wearing the uniform of the Tampa Smokers on July 2 for their yearly Turn Back the Clock game, but when they released the pictures of the jersey, the team isn't staying true to the team's old logo. The Rays are omitting the cigar pictured on the original jersey, which is just a shame. We all know smoking is bad for you, but if you're not going to actually want to show a cigar, you probably should honor a team called the "Smokers." [JoeRaysFan.com]

THE YANKEE STRIPPER: Need a gift idea for the Yankee fan who has everything? Well, how about a photo of a showering Joe DiMaggio?

A photo from a postage shower us up for auction at Lelands.com if you're interested in that sort of thing. [San Francisco Chronicle]

FATHERLY ADVICE: When the Blue Jays demoted Kyle Drabek to Triple-A, he made a call to his dad for some advice. That's a pretty good idea when your dad has 155 career victories and a Cy Young Award on his mantle. [The Canadian Press]

HEFTY BILL: I'm not sure how aware most casual fans are of this unwritten rule of baseball, but when a big league star has a rehab appearance at the minor-league level, the tradition is the big leaguer buys the postgame meal for the team. Zito says his four rehab starts have cost him $4,500. Somehow, I think he can afford it. [San Francisco Chronicle]

ANOTHER GOOD BAUTISTA FEATURE: Last week Jeff Passan of Yahoo! wrote a great feature looking at the backstory of Jose Bautista. This weekend the Toronto Star's Vinay Menon wrote another good look at the guy who may be baseball's best player right now.

ANOTHER FATHER'S DAY STORY: Former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu tells the Toronto Star about his father and grandfather, who were in a Japanese-American internment camp in California during World War II.

HARPER RESTS: Bryce Harper sat out his second consecutive game on Sunday, as the Nationals determined he needed to rest more than play at this point. The Hagerstown Suns had been eliminated from winning the South Atlantic League first-half title, so they gave Harper some time off. Harper finished his first half of professional ball hitting .330/.429/.586 with 14 homers, 45 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 227 at-bats. He will certainly play at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday and may then be promoted to high-Class A Potomac for the start of the second-half of the Carolina League season starting on Thursday. [Washington Post]

BAD TRAVEL DAY: Tacoma Rainers broadcaster Mike Curto has the details on the Triple-A team's rough travel day on Friday that saw the team get to the park at 6:45 p.m. for a game that was scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.

DOES BASEBALL NEED TO BE CHANGED?: The Los Angeles Times asked various people -- including a filmmaker, an actor, an artist and a physics professor -- about how to improve the game. Some of the suggestions are benign, some ridiculous and few give easy answers. But it's an interesting read, anyway.

VENTURA PAIN-FREE: There have been few baseball injuries as grotesque as the one former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura suffered in a spring training game against Boston in 1997, when Ventura ran slid into Red Sox catcher Bill Haselman and then Ventura held his leg up with a dangling ankle. Today, he's pain-free after an ankle transplant. [Los Angeles Times]

PINGLESS: If you watched any of the College World Series this weekend, you noticed the ping of aluminum bats has been replaced by more of a thud sound. That's because college baseball changed to bats that perform more like wood this season. The results have been dramatic. [New York Times]

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Posted on: June 5, 2011 7:04 pm

Zito close to return, but Vogelsong staying put

By Matt Snyder
Barry Zito is slated to throw 85 pitches in a rehab appearance Monday, but it doesn't look like there's room for him in the Giants starting rotation as things currently stand. That's because Ryan Vogelsong has been lights out since taking over for Zito. Sunday, he handcuffed the Rockies for eight innings, allowing just four hits and one earned run while striking out seven. He's now 4-1 with a 1.68 ERA in 10 starts.

"Obviously, Vogu is not going anywhere," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters after Vogelsong's gem Sunday (Hank Schulman via Twitter).

Vogelsong, 33, is actually one of the feel-good stories of the season. He entered 2011 with a 10-22 record, 5.86 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in 315 career major-league innings.

Meanwhile, there's no way Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner is being removed from the rotation. So Vogelsong makes five. Where does Zito fit on the team?

"We might have to get creative," Bochy said (Extra Baggs via Twitter).

The other option would be trying to make Zito into an eight-figure situational or long reliever. He's only pitched in relief twice in his entire career (against 356 starts), but he's 40-58 with a 4.48 ERA and 1.41 WHIP since signing with the Giants. He has a 6.23 ERA in three starts this season. It's hard to say there's any doubt he's the worst of the Giants' six starters, but that doesn't mean they will send him to the bullpen considering his lofty salary and lack of relief experience.

Perhaps the Giants go to a six-man rotation? The White Sox have used one ever since Jake Peavy returned to the hill. It would qualify as "creative."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 29, 2011 1:26 am

3 up, 3 down: Zobrist knocks in 10

Ben Zobrist
By C. Trent Rosecrans


Ben Zobrist, Rays -- Zobrist had 10 RBI on Thursday, eight in the first game of the doubleheader and two more in the nightcap in a sweep of the Twins. Zobrist was 4 for 6 with two doubles and a homer in the first game, and was 3 for 4 with a two-run homer in the second.

Brian Vogelsong, Giants -- The right-hander won his first game since Sept. 14, 2005. The 33-year-old made his first big league start since 2004. He spent some time in Japan before coming back to the U.S. last year, when he pitched in the Phillies and Dodgers systems before signing a minor-league contract this spring. He made two relief appearances in the last two weeks before pitching in Barry Zito's spot in the rotation, where he allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings against his old team, the Pirates.

Lance Berkman, Cardinals -- Against his old team, Berkman hit a three-run homer from the right side of the plate and an RBI single from the left side -- in the sixth inning alone. He added a solo homer (from the left side) in the ninth inning, going 4 for 5 with two homers on the night. 


Royals pitching -- Kansas City starter Kyle Davies gave up four home runs to the Indians on Thursday, making it 17 homers surrendered by Royals pitchers in the six-game road trip through Texas and Cleveland.

Ryan Dempster, Cubs -- The best thing you can say about Dempster's outing on Thursday was it didn't last long. Dempster lasted just one out, but gave up seven runs on four hits, four walks and a hit batter before he was yanked. The big blow was Stephen Drew's grand slam.

Eduardo Nunez, Yankees -- Derek Jeter certainly has his critics when it comes to his defense, but those complaints are usually about his range. Nunez got the start at shortstop for the Yankees on Thursday and bobbled the first play of the game, letting Brent Lillibridge reach on an error. He added a throwing error in the seventh inning.

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Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:32 am
Edited on: April 17, 2011 10:55 am

3 up, 3 down for 4/16: Jurrjens returns

By C. Trent Rosecrans
Jair Jurrjens
Jair Jurrjens, Braves -- In his first start of the season, Jurrjens allowed just two hits in seven innings in the Braves' 4-0 victory over the Mets. Jurrjens started the season on the disabled list because of a strained oblique, but really hasn't been healthy since 2009. Last season he struggled all season with injuries to his hamstring and knee while going 7-6 with a 4.64 ERA.

Josh Beckett, Red Sox  -- For the second outing in a row, Beckett appeared to be the ace of old. Saturday he allowed just three hits and a run in seven innings, while striking out nine. In his last two games, he's allowed just one run on five hits, walking three and striking out 19 in 15 innings. His ERA is down to 1.80.

Freddy Garcia, Yankees -- In his first start for the Yankees, Garcia went six innings without giving up a run as the Yankees beat the Rangers 5-2. He allowed just two hits, walked one and struck one out, while picking up the win. 

Barry Zito

Barry Zito, Giants -- It's been a rough season for Barry Zito -- and that's not even considering his 0-1 record and 5.56 ERA. Zito was in a car accident the night before the team's opener and Saturday he left in the second inning of the team's game against the Diamondbacks with a mild foot sprain. Zito dove for a Joe Saunders bunt and appeared to land awkwardly. After throwing a couple of warm-up pitchers, he left the game with the aid of trainers. Zito allowed three hits and two runs for before leaving the game after 1 2/3 innings. His ERA now stands at 6.23.

Orioles -- Remember a week ago when Buck Showalter's team was the toast of baseball? Funny thing about this game, everything tends to even out. The Orioles lost 8-3 to the Indians on Saturday, their sixth consecutive loss. Baltimore is now a game below .500 at 6-7.

Joe Nathan, Twins -- The Twins closer blew his second save opportunity in as many chances on Saturday, giving up a solo homer to Ben Zobrist before walking two batters. Jose Mijares gave up the RBI single to Johnny Damon that ended the game, Nathan picked up the loss. Nathan has now allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings this season, walking five as well. Since becoming the Twins closer in 2004, he's allowed just 2.6 walks per nine innings, and now he's walking nearly a batter an inning. The Twins have Matt Capps, who has 109 career saves, but he's not exactly knocking down the door with his performance of late. He gave up a run in the eighth on Saturday and has a 4.50 ERA.

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Posted on: April 2, 2011 11:32 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm

Pepper: Facebookin' baseball fans


By Evan Brunell

FACEBOOKIN': Oh, the things you can find out.

A group of Facebook data scientists got together and analyzed all 30 teams' fan pages on Facebook as well as status updates of its fans.

"While the U.S. may be a country of 50 states, to fans of Major League Baseball, it's a country of thirty teams, each with its own sphere of influence," the report stated.

So what was found?

For one, the World Series last season that opposed the Giants and Rangers pitted America's most liberal baseball fans against its most conservative. Not that much of a surprise given each team's respective locations. But the Giants were also part of a list of fans that were young and single. The two teams that paced baseball in having the youngest and most available fans were the Athletics and Blue Jays. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a Cardinals, Reds or Tigers fan is more likely to be older and married.

How about popularity? There are plenty of teams that "vie for popularity in Southern California, [but] teams like the Braves are dominant over most of the South," the report said.

The most popular team, though, was the Yankees as a fan "liked" the team every 1.5 teams. Bringing up the rear were the Nationals with over five teams liked per fan. (San Francisco Chronicle)

READYING FOR SUNDAY: Barry Zito is expected to make his start Sunday after coming through a throwing program Friday with no repercussions. Zito is still recovering from a car crash Wednesday night that has left him with a stiff neck. (San Jose Mercury-News)

FRENEMIES: A nice feature story on both Ed Wade and Ruben Amaro. Amaro, of course is the GM of the Phillies that has made bold moves lately to create a vaunted rotation while Wade hired Amaro to the front office and preceded Amaro as GM of the Phillies back in the dog days of Philly baseball before Pat Gillick came in and turned things around. (Philly.com)

BACK HOME: It was a strange return to Texas of sorts for Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who made his second straight opening start in the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Of course, last year he was a Ranger and ended up delivering the first game-winning hit of Texas' 2010 season. "I've got nothing but good things to say about Salty," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The guy works his butt off. The tools are there, but it's like anything else. Talking and writing about it is one thing. Getting it done between the lines is another." (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

STOP CHEWING: Commissioner Bud Selig fully intends to attempt a ban on smokeless tobacco in the next round of labor negotiations. He may have a difficult time getting the ban in place. Where's the line between what baseball can demand and a player's on personal choice? (MLB.com)

MMM, FOOD: Here's an interesting list of the best new food at ballparks for 2011. Topping the list is the "Meat Lover's Hot Dog" that is being rolled out in Cincinnati. It's a quarter-pound hot dog wrapped in bacon, deep-fried and then topped with pepper, jack cheese and fried salami. Sounds delish, but also sounds right in line with America's obsession with pigging out and then complaining about being obese. (Mantestedrecipes.com)

LINEUP CONTROVERSY: Brennan Boesch is in the lineup for Saturday's tilt against the Yankees, while presumed starting left fielder Ryan Raburn has hit the bench. That creates lots of questions about just what is the status quo in Detroit. (Detroit News)

NOT ROLLING IN MONEY: Forbes created a bit of a stir by revealing the Padres had the highest operating income last season at $37.2 million. Does that mean San Diego is pocketing money rather than reinvesting it back into the team? Not quite, as Forbes could have overstated the amount of profit by the team as much as $10 million. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

OVERCLAWING: The SEC believes Irving Picard is taking things a bit too far in his fee requirements in his capacity as trustee overseeing Bernie Madoff's financial empire. Picard is supposed to return the money to its rightful owners and yet could threaten the $2.5 billion fund of the government-sponsored nonprofit organization that manages the liquidation of failed brokerage firms in personal fees. (New York Daily News)

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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