Posted on: June 17, 2010 3:21 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 4:08 pm

Torre: Manny to DH at Fenway

Manny Ramirez There won't be any Green Monster bathroom breaks for Manny Ramirez in his return to Fenway Park on Thursday.

Ramirez will likely be the designated hitter in all three Dodgers-Red Sox games, manager Joe Torre toid reporters on Thursday.

"That's my plan going in," Torre said. "I really haven't talked to him about it. I sort of threw it out there to him last night. I think it's probably the best thing just to keep him in the lineup for three games."

Torre said that the potential treatment of fans in the stands didn't impact his decision to DH the slugger, but viewed it as an added bonus.

Looking at it strictly from a baseball decision, DHing Manny is the sensible move. No one's ever going to confuse him for a Gold Glover out in the field. While Ramirez will likely be replaced by Garrett Anderson in the field, who is no defensive whiz himself, any chance to keep Manny off the field is a good thing.

In addition, Manny is not getting any younger. Any chance Torre can get to rest Ramirez and keep his bat in the lineup, he should take. Despite Manny's pedestrian (for him) seven home runs on the year, he's still one of the Dodgers' best hitters and needs to stay fresh all season if LA hopes to make a deep playoff run.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 17, 2010 11:56 am
Edited on: June 17, 2010 12:04 pm

Dodgers place Furcal on bereavement list

Rafael Furcal has hit the bereavement list as he tends to a family member struggling with illness.

The move leaves the Dodgers without their tablesetter for at least three games and no more than seven, according to the rules of the bereavement list. He will miss Thursday's series finale against the Reds and at least the first two games of the highly-anticipated matchup of the Dodgers and Red Sox which will see Manny Ramirez return to his old stomping grounds.

Furcal was hitting .305 on the year and will be replaced at short by backup infielder Jamey Carroll and Chin-Lung Hu, who was recalled from Triple-A Alberqueue to fill Furcal's spot on the roster. It's Hu's first appearance in the bigs in 2010. He has parts of three seasons experience under his belt and was hitting .298/.321/.392 over 194 at-bats for Alberqueue.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 16, 2010 8:19 pm

Big days ahead for Boston fans

As popular as they are, in this instance the Red Sox know better than to try to compete with the Celtics.

Boston announced that it has moved its Thursday game against the Diamondbacks from 7:10 p.m. local time to 6:10 p.m., letting fans catch the game, or at least most of it, before the Celtics take on the Lakers in the seventh and deciding game of the NBA Finals. The basketball game is slated to start at 9 p.m. Boston time.

The late start is going to leave Boston sports fans groggy, either jubilant or depressed, and feeling an anti-L.A. fervor on Friday, which is bad news for Manny Ramirez. The former Red Sox star will return to Fenway Park that night for the first time since he left for the Dodgers in 2008.

The Los Angeles Times predicts a rough reception for Ramirez, with the troubles late in his Boston tenure overshadowing what he contributed to two world championships. The fact that he's going to show up with "Los Angeles" written in script across his chest, hours after the Celtics had their fate decided in a game against the rival Lakers, can't help.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters he has no idea what to expect when Ramirez takes the field.

"This will be one of the more interesting returns, probably, in the history of the game," Francona said. "It could range anywhere from them throwing a parade to a riot. You just don't know."

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 11, 2010 1:12 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:33 pm

Are interleague 'rivalries' still relevant?

Interleague play opens up again Friday and yet again I'm underwhelmed by the Reds-Royals, Mets-Orioles and Pirates-Tigers.

But it's not just those mashups of also-rans that have begun to bore -- anyone excited for Cubs-White Sox? A's-Giants? Dodgers-Angels? Aren't those the reasons we're still stuck with a bastardized schedule? OK, it's Mets-Yankees and nothing else.

Every time this argument comes up, we're pointed toward interleague attendance numbers, without noting that most of those dates are summer nights on the weekend -- nights when teams would draw regardless of the visiting Royals or Pirates.

So what's on tap this weekend for our interleague overlords?

White Sox at Cubs: Nurse that hangover from the Blackhawks parade at Wrigley. What does it say that the NHL in June will overshadow one of the prime interleague matchups? Everything, really.

Astros at Yankees: Loser has to claim Roger Clemens?

• Mets at Orioles: When the Wilpons and Peter Angelos get together, there are no winners. Really.

• Pirates at Tigers: Well, there will be two nice looking uniforms on display.

Nationals at Indians: Yes, they're going to play twice before Steven Strasburg pitches. But one relevant game out of three ain't bad.

• Royals at Reds: The first-place Reds 24th in home attendance. There's only one way to solve that -- a visit by the Royals.

Phillies at Red Sox: OK, I'll admit, this should be a good series. Boston plays in front of sold-out crowds every night, so it's not like this is going to help the gate.

Braves at Twins: Two of the best debuts of 2010 (non-Strasnurg division), Target Field and Jason Heyward meet.

Rangers at Brewers: Does any argument about interleague play hold up when it involves the Brewers?

Blue Jays at Rockies: I got nothing... Blue Jays. Rockies. That's enough.

Mariners at Padres:
Two great ballparks, two awesome cities, one good team.

Angels at Dodgers: If you live in Southern California and want to see the Angels, you've got 81 chances.

• A's at Giants: See above, substitute "Southern" for "Northern."

Oh, the excitement.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 10, 2010 10:45 am

Dodgers paid "scientist" to send positive vibes

The Dodgers Divorce has produced some strange stories, but this one might top the list.

As chronicled in a story by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt paid a Russian emigre "scientist and healer" -- who doesn't know anything about baseball -- more than six figures to send positive energy to the team from the other side of the country. Yes, really. Keep in mind, this is the team that now might be tanking the draft to save money on signing bonuses.

Vladimir Shpunt, now 71, says he led a team of Russian scientists in the 1970s who discovered ways energy can be directed to malfunctioning body cells. At some point he determined that he was able to direct this energy just by thinking about it. In 2004, Jamie McCourt contracted a severe eye infection and ended up referred to Shpunt for his unconventional treatment. The eye healed, and the McCourts became convinced of Shpunt's power. They hired him to direct his positive energy to benefit the team.

Shpunt "worked" for the Dodgers for five years, attending one actual game. Most games he watched on television from suburban Boston.

According to an attorney for Jamie McCourt, the team paid Shpunt a stipend plus a bonus of "certainly six figures and even higher" if the Dodgers made the playoffs. Shpunt used his assessment of the energies of team personnel to consult the McCourts -- he identified manager Jim Tracy as the "final reason for failure" when the Dodgers lost 91 games in 2005.

The McCourts, now tangled in a bitter divorce, declined to be interviewed for the Times' story. Through their representatives, naturally, Jamie said it was Frank's idea to hire the healer and Frank said it was Jamie's idea.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball new, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Tags: Dodgers
Posted on: June 9, 2010 8:25 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:12 pm

Familiar surnames in draft

Through 50 rounds of the MLB Draft, several familiar names -- or at least last names -- are picked . Among those kin to current or former big-leaguers drafted:

• Delino Deshields Jr. (1st round, Astros), son of Delino Deshields.
• Cam Bedrosian (1st round, Angels), son of Steve Bedrosian.
• Kellen Sweeney (2nd round, Blue Jays), brother of Mark Sweeney.
• Mel Rojas Jr. (3rd round, Pirates), son of Mel Rojas.
• Cory Vaughn (4th round, Mets), son of Greg Vaughn.
• James Baldwin III (4th round, Dodgers), son of James Baldwin.
• Dickie Thon Jr. (5th round, Blue Jays), son of Dickie Thon.
• Connor Narron (5th round, Orioles), son of Jerry Narron.
• Drew Cisco (6th round, Reds), grandson of Galen Cisco.
• Patrick Leyland (8th round, Tigers), son of Jim Leyland.
• Benjamin Gamel (9th round, Yankees), brother of Mat Gamel.
• JaDamion Williams (10th round, Twins), son of Reggie Williams.
• Reggie Williams Jr. (10th round, Cardinals), son of Reggie Williams.
• Hunter Jones (11th round, Indians), son of Tracy Jones.
• Josh Magee (18th round, Astros), son of Wendell Magee.
• Dillon Moyer (22nd round, Twins), son of Jamie Moyer.
• Ozney Guillen (22nd round, White Sox), son of Ozzie Guillen.
• Mark Tracy (22nd round, Rockies), son of Jim Tracy.
• Bryan Harper (28th round, Cubs), brother of Bryce Harper.
• Brett Bochy (30th round, Giants), son of Bruce Bochy.
• Benito Santiago Jr. (31st round, Cubs), son of Benito Santiago.
• Andy Fermin (32nd round, Blue Jays), son of Felix Fermin.
• Devon Ethier (32nd round, Dodgers), brother of Andre Ethier.
• Logan Thompson (33rd round, Indians), son of Robby Thompson.
• Andrew Benes (35th round, Cardinals), son of Andy Benes, nephew of Alan Benes.
• Bobby Geren (36th round, A's), son of Bob Geren.
• Jake May (39th round, Reds), grandson of Lee May.
• Bo McClendon (39th round, Tigers), son of Lloyd McClendon.
• John Franco (42nd round, Mets), son of John Franco.
• Chad Wallach (43rd round, Dodgers), son of Tim Wallach.
• Benjamin Verlander (46th round, Tigers), brother of Justin Verlander.
• Joesph Jackson (50th round, Royals), great-great-grandnephew of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 9, 2010 4:21 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2010 4:29 pm

Did Dodgers tank pick?

It's becoming obvious that the Dodgers have almost no chance of signing their top pick, Texas high school right-hander Zach Lee . Some Dodgers fans are wondering whether that was their intention.

The Dodgers are mired in a financial mess stemming from the bitter divorce between owner Frank McCourt and former club president Jamie McCourt. So it sure would be helpful not to have to shell out for a first-round signing bonus, wouldn't it? At least that's the cynical view.

Dodgers assistant GM Logan White told reporters the team is committed to signing Lee.

"I know this, I'm optimistic we’re going to make our best effort, definitely our best effort, to get out there and get this done," White said. "I understand the concern. I’ve always tried to take the best player."

Lee was, by most accounts, indeed the best player on the board when the Dodgers picked 28th. He was still there because he has a firm commitment to play quarterback and pitch at LSU. He was seen as unsignable, and even if someone could pry him away from his college plans, it would take a lot more than 28th-pick bonus money to do it. If the Dodgers don't sign Lee, they get a compensatory pick in the sandwich round next year, so they lose next to nothing.

LSU football coach Les Miles released a statement saying he had met with Lee on draft day and that Lee was not only coming to LSU, he had already enrolled in summer classes. Baseball coach Paul Mainieri told the Times-Picayune that he had no doubt Lee was coming to Baton Rouge.

"To my knowledge, they (the Dodgers) had not had any conversations with him about whether he was signable," Mainieri said. "He probably had the reputation of being the toughest to sign in the country. His asking price was through the roof. He doesn't believe they are going to give him that ... why would the Dodgers take him?"

That's the question a lot of people are asking today.

-- David Andriesen

Category: MLB
Tags: Dodgers, Zach Lee
Posted on: June 7, 2010 10:46 am

Sherrill fires back

Dodgers reliever George Sherrill didn't appreciate a reprimand he got last week from Major League Baseball, and he's making sure everyone knows it.

Sherrill got a warning letter from Bob Watson, MLB vice president of on-field operations, saying he took 45 seconds too long to throw his eight warmup pitches when he came into a game against Arizona on April 14. As reported by mlb.com , Sherrill taped the letter to his locker, visible to reporters, with this hand-written response: "With more strikes called, the game is faster."

"The thing is, you sit there and watch a game, and guys are throwing strikes on top of strikes, and (the umpires) are not calling them," Sherrill said. "That's why games are taking so long, not because a guy has a little extra time to warm up."

Should be interesting to see what the strike zone looks like the next time Sherrill takes the mound.

Category: MLB
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