Tag:C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: February 28, 2012 9:43 pm
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Spring primer: New York Mets

Terry Collins

By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Marlins made headlines with their offseason spending spree, the Phillies still have the game's most intimidating rotation, the Nationals have some of the game's biggest young talents and the Braves are a sleeper team that shouldn't be written off because of last season's late collapse. And then there's the Mets. Last season the team finished fourth in the division and went 77-85, and then they lost their best player. To say there's a lack of buzz surrounding the Mets would be an understatement.

Major additions: CF Andres Torres, CL Frank Francisco
Major departures: SS Jose Reyes, RH Chris Capuano

Probable lineup
1. Andres Torres CF
2. Daniel Murphy 2B
3. David Wright 3B
4. Ike Davis 1B
5. Lucas Duda RF
6. Jason Bay LF
7. Josh Thole C
8. Ruben Tejada SS

Probable rotation
1. Johan Santana
2. R.A. Dickey
3. Jonathon Niese
4. Mike Pelfrey
5. Dillon Gee

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Frank Francisco
Set-up: Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Bobby Parnell

Important bench players
OF Scott Hairston, IF Justin Turner

Prospect to watch
The team's top prospect is right-hander Zack Wheeler, acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade, but if he sees Citi Field this season, it'll likely be near the end of the year when the team's fate has already been decided. Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis could contribute immediately. The 24-year-old missed the second half of the 2011 season with a torn labrum in his non-throwing (left) shoulder, but has been swinging the bat at full strength since last month. Before his injury, he was hitting .298/.403/.505 with six homers in 221 plate appearances for Triple-A Buffalo. A solid all-around player, Nieuwenhuis can play any of the three outfield sports, but center field may be where he could make his mark. The Mets have the 34-year-old Torres as the its starter in center and the 31-year-old Hairston backing him up, so it's not much of a stretch to see Nieuwenhuis get a chance sometime this season.

Fantasy sleeper: Lucas Duda
"From July 15 (about the time he took over for a departed Carlos Beltran) to the end of the season, Duda hit .322 with 10 homers and a .957 OPS -- numbers that jive with his minor-league track record. And that was at old Citi Field, complete with its big gaps, tall fences and ability to crush David Wright's spirit." -- Scott White [Full Mets fantasy team preview]

Fantasy bust: David Wright
"Over the last three seasons, he has a .284 batting average and .828 OPS, which are solid numbers but less than elite even for a third baseman. True, his struggles began the same year the Mets moved to spacious Citi Field, but that doesn't explain why his numbers have lagged on the road during that time. Thus, you can't assume the team's decision to move in the fences this year will be Wright's miracle cure. It'll help, but it won't eliminate the injuries, the perpetually rising strikeout rate and the curious home-road splits." -- Scott White [Full Mets fantasy team preview]

Optimistic outlook
Santana returns to Cy Young form and Niese takes a step forward, as the Mets pitching staff rounds into form. The new dimensions of Citi Field make a huge difference for the team's offense, with Wright and Bay returning to form, while Duda becomes a star. Even in this perfect world, the Mets could have trouble leapfrogging the Phillies, Marlins and Braves. But Bud Selig could always add another eight playoff spots, giving them a spot in the postseason.

Pessimistic outlook
Santana's injuries continue to haunt him and nobody steps up to take over at the top of the rotation. Davis isn't the same player that he was before his injury and Duda suffers from a sophomore slump, as the offense struggles overall. And then there's the chance that the problems on the field pale in comparison to the ownership problems. The worst-case scenario (well, for 2012, it's may be the best-case scenario for the long term) has a repeat of the Dodger fiasco.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 7:39 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 9:26 pm
 

Braves' Freeman could miss two weeks

Freddie FreemanBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Spring training always has its share of bumps and bruises, along with legitimate injuries, but it often takes a little time to figure out which is which.

Here's a brief roundup of some of Tuesday's injuries from around baseball.

• Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman could miss two weeks after his right knee popped out of place as he tried to scoop a low throw at first base.

"I was just doing pick drills and the knee gave out," Freeman told reporters (via MLB.com). "The kneecap went this way and I came back in. When I did this when I was playing in Triple-A, it took me two weeks. So that is what we are going on."

Freeman said he had a similar injury in 2010 and he could have come back after a week, but the team didn't want to push it.

• Speaking of the Braves,right-hander Tommy Hanson will retake his concussion test on Thursday and could throwing to live batters again that same day if he passes it. Hanson has been cleared for conditioning and throwing, but not for full workouts yet. He suffered a concussion in a car accident on Feb. 20. (MLB.com)

• Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who has been dogged by injuries and illness each of the last two seasons, left Mariners camp on a cart Tuesday.

Seattle manager Eric Wedge told reporters Gutierrez hurt something in the pectoral region and had an MRI. The Mariners are still waiting on word of the results of the MRI. (Seattle Times)

• Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was held out of Tuesday's workout due to back spasms.

"I'm not worried," Nationals manager Davey Johnson told reporters. "There's plenty of time."

Johnson said he didn't expect Werth to play in either of the Nationals' first two exhibition games, but he didn't plan on using too many of the Washington regulars in those games anyway. (NatsInsider.com)

• Rays rookie left-hander Matt Moore missed a second day with an abdomen strain, but Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters the team isn't worried, they're just being cautious.

"It's an over-conservative thing we're doing right now," Maddon told reporters. "I really believe the next day or two, he should be fine." (St. Petersburg Times)

• Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is expected back in camp on Wednesday after having his Achilles tendon examined in Baltimore on Monday. The Phillies said they wouldn't have word about his status until he returns. (CSNPhilly.com)

• Joba Chamberlain, who underwent Tommy John surgery last year, threw off the mound for the first time Tuesday since the surgery. He threw 16 pitches and said he felt good afterward. He hopes to return in June. (Star-Ledger)

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:36 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 6:18 pm
 

Bobby V. takes swipes at A-Rod, Jeter



Bobby ValentineBy C. Trent Rosecrans


Somewhere in Bobby Valentine's office, there may be a checklist of people he should insult.

Monday, it was his predecessor with the Red Sox and Tuesday it's his rival, the Yankees. First on the list of Yankees to tweak? Alex Rodriguez, second was Derek Jeter.

When discussing retiring Boston catcher Jason Varitek, Valentine took a swipe at A-Rod. In a list of positives about Varitek, Bobby V. noted "he beat up Alex," referring to the 2004 dustup between the two.

Then, while discussing his team's work on relays and cutoffs, he dared blast Jeter's famous flip in Game 2 of the 2001 American League Division Series against the A's.

"We'll never practice that," Valentine told reporters (via the Boston Herald). "I think [Jeter] was out of position. I think the ball gets [Jeremy Giambi] out if [Jeter] doesn't touch it, personally. That was amazing that he was there. I bet it's more amazing that he said he practiced it. I don't believe it."

Would the ball have gotten there in time without Jeter's help? Looking back on it, it may have been closer than I'd remembered. I'm still not sure it had enough juice to get there on its own.

I'm surprised while he's at it, he doesn't bring up that in the same game where Jeter made his famous diving catch in the stands in 2004, Pokey Reese made a similar, but superior, play earlier int he game. (If you don't remember, Reese's catch was similar, but he went further and made the catch closer to the wall -- he just lacked Jeter's theatrics and his team didn't win that game).

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:17 pm
 

Braun's sample collector denies tampering

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Last week Ryan Braun held a press conference to tell his side of his positive test, casting doubt and innuendo on the collector of his sample. He didn't name Dino Laurenzi Jr., but his name came out anyway shortly after Braun's press conference.

On Tuesday, Laurenzi released a statement:
On February 24th, Ryan Braun stated during his press conference that "there were a lot of things that we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way that the entire thing worked that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened." Shortly thereafter, someone who had intimate knowledge of the facts of this case released my name to the media. I am issuing this statement to set the record straight.

I am a 1983 graduate of the University of Wisconsin and have received Master Degrees from the University of North Carolina and Loyola University of Chicago. My full-time job is the director of rehabilitation services at a health care facility. In the past, I have worked as a teacher and an athletic trainer, including performing volunteer work with Olympic athletes. I am a member of both the National Athletic Trainers' Association and the Wisconsin Athletic Trainers' Association.  
   
I have been a drug collector for Comprehensive Drug Testing since 2005 and have been performing collections for Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program since that time. I have performed over 600 collections for MLB and also have performed collections for other professional sports leagues. I have performed post-season collections for MLB in four separate seasons involving five different clubs.  
   
On October 1, 2011, I collected samples from Mr. Braun and two other players. The CDT collection team for that day, in addition to me, included three chaperones and a CDT coordinator.  One of the chaperones was my son, Anthony. Chaperones do not have any role in the actual collection process, but rather escort the player to the collection area.   
   
I followed the same procedure in collecting Mr. Braun's sample as I did in the hundreds of other samples I collected under the Program. I sealed the bottles containing Mr. Braun's A and B samples with specially-numbered, tamper-resistant seals, and Mr. Braun signed a form certifying, among other things, that the specimens were capped and sealed in his presence and that the specimen identification numbers on the top of the form matched those on the seals.  

I placed the two bottles containing Mr. Braun's samples in a plastic bag and sealed the bag. I then placed the sealed bag in a standard cardboard Specimen Box which I also sealed with a tamper-resistant, correspondingly-numbered seal placed over the box opening. I then placed Mr. Braun's Specimen Box, and the Specimen Boxes containing the samples of the two other players, in a Federal Express Clinic Pack. None of the sealed Specimen Boxes identified the players. I completed my collections at Miller Park at approximately 5:00 p.m. Given the lateness of the hour that I completed my collections, there was no FedEx office located within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship packages that day or Sunday.

Therefore, the earliest that the specimens could be shipped was Monday, October 3. In that circumstance, CDT has instructed collectors since I began in 2005 that they should safeguard the samples in their homes until FedEx is able to immediately ship the sample to the laboratory, rather than having the samples sit for one day or more at a local FedEx office. The protocol has been in place since 2005 when I started with CDT and there have been other occasions when I have had to store samples in my home for at least one day, all without incident.  

The FedEx Clinic Pack containing Mr. Braun's samples never left my custody. Consistent with CDT's instructions, I brought the FedEx Clinic Pack containing the samples to my home. Immediately upon arriving home, I placed the FedEx Clinic Pack in a Rubbermaid container in my office which is located in my basement.   My basement office is sufficiently cool to store urine samples. No one other than my wife was in my home during the period in which the samples were stored. The sealed Specimen Boxes were not removed from the FedEx Clinic Pack during the entire period in which they were in my home. On Monday, October 3, I delivered the FedEx Clinic Pack containing Mr. Braun's Specimen Box to a FedEx office for delivery to the laboratory on Tuesday, October 4. At no point did I tamper in any way with the samples. It is my understanding that the samples were received at the laboratory with all tamper-resistant seals intact. 
   
This situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family. I have worked hard my entire life, have performed my job duties with integrity and professionalism, and have done so with respect to this matter and all other collections in which I have participated. Neither I nor members of my family will make any further public comments on this matter. I request that members of the media, and baseball fans, whatever their views on this matter, respect our privacy. And I would like to sincerely thank my family and friends for their overwhelming support through this difficult time. Any future inquiries should be directed to my attorney Boyd Johnson of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.
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Posted on: February 28, 2012 1:19 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 1:21 pm
 

Nationals' Johnson says it's playoffs or bust

Davey JohnsonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Nationals manager Davey Johnson is confident in his team, even if others may think the Nationals are a year or two away.

"We should make the playoffs," Johnson told CSN's Kelli Johnson (via the Washington Post). "There's no doubt in my mind."

The TV reporter asked Johnson if he'd consider this season a failure if the Nationals didn't make the playoffs.

"No question in my mind," Johnson said. "And they can fire me."

The 69-year-old Johnson took over the Nationals last June and went 40-43 in his 83 games of the season.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:34 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 12:02 pm
 

Guillen's one rule: be on time for the anthem

Ozzie Guillen

By C. Trent Rosecrans


There's been a lot of talk about rules in the last couple of days in response to Bobby Valentine's new rule banning alcohol in the clubhouse. The Marlins don't have such a rule.

New Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen went on a rant -- a rant that could only come from Guillen -- about his one rule: be on time for the National Anthem.

Here's part of what he said, from Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post:
"I don’t care if you go there buck-naked with your pants (bleeping) down your ass, your hair down to your legs. Just win games. When you win games you look cool. When you lose games, you look dirty," Guillen said.

"Be on time and play the game right – that's my rule. It should be that way. If you're late, you better give me a good excuse…

"You're late for the (bleeping) National Anthem? The National Anthem is (bleeping) 10 minutes before the game starts. We're going to start in 10 minutes and you're late?"
"A lot of people have been kllled to make this country free for us. You should be there for at least two minutes," he said.

"Respect that, especially if you come from another (darn) country, you should be there an hour before…

"I think it looks good for baseball when you are in the stands and you see the team respect the National Anthem," he said.

"Kids can see that, the respect."
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Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:27 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 11:04 am
 

Astros name Brett Myers their closer

Brett Myers

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Astros' search for a closer has led them to their own rotation. Brett Myers, Houston's opening-day starter a season ago, will close this season, manager Brad Mills told reporters on Tuesday.

Houston Astros
Myers has been a starter in all but one of his 10 years in the majors, closing for the Phillies in 2007. Last year he was 7-14 with a 4.46 ERA in 34 games, 33 of those starts. In 2007, he had 21 saves after moving from the team's opening-day starter to the back of its bullpen. He had a 4.33 ERA overall that season, but had a 2.87 ERA in 48 appearances as a reliever.

The team approached Myers about the switch after he reported to camp. Houston signed Lian Hernandez and Zach Duke to minor-league deals in the offseason to join the rotation with Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and J.A. Happ. The team also has Jordan Lyles, Lucas Harrell, Henry Sosa and Kyle Weiland competing for a starting spot.

"From my standpoint, we have some depth in the rotatiton between Duke, Livan, Happ, Sosa and Harrell and all the young guys," Luhnow told reporters, including Brian McTaggert of MLB.com. "We feel like we're in pretty good shape there and have some choices. We felt like we were a little exposed in the bullpen and having a guy who's been successful in that role and who's got the mentality and stuff to do well takes the pressure off of Brandon Lyon coming off an injury and doesn't put pressure on young kids like David Carpenter and Wilton Lopez."

Lyon started the season as the team's closer last season, but was injured early in the season. Mark Melancon took over, picking up 20 saves. The Astros traded Melancon to the Red Sox for infielder Jed Lowrie and Weiland in December.

Myers, 31, is in the second year of a two-year deal paying him $11 million this season. The Astros have a $10 million club option (with a $3 million buyout) for 2013 that vests based on his number of starts. According to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter), the team has adjusted Myers' option in accordance to his new role.

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Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:52 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 3:25 pm
 

Bobby V. fires back at Terry Francona

Bobby Valentine

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Well, earlier Monday former Red Sox manager Terry Francona said the Red Sox ban on alcohol in the clubhouse was a "PR move." Current Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine didn't give a "PR" or "PC" response.

"Remember," Valentine told reporters, including the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber, "you're getting paid over there for saying stuff. You get paid over here for doing stuff. I've done both."

It should be noted, Francona's done both too -- and has two more rings than Valentine.

Valentine continued -- "How was it PR?" he asked. "It means like 20 teams are looking for PR and that's why they're making good decisions."

Valentine did say he had the same rule in his last big-league managerial job with the Mets.

With ESPN's penchant to overblow everything Red Sox and Francona on its payroll, it's safe to say this won't be the last time Francona is asked about a Boston controversy -- and Valentine will object to whatever is said. Valentine is always entertaining, and with Francona in his new gig and a microscope on both, there should be plenty of fun for onlookers this season.

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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