Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Braves Bulk Up For Stretch Drive

Things got real serious at the MLB trade deadline for the three top teams in the National League East. On Monday the Mets picked up second baseman Luis Castillo from the Twins, and the Phillies picked up starter Kyle Lohse from the Reds. On Tuesday it was the Atlanta Braves turn as they acquired three relievers Kansas City's Octavio Dotel, San Diego's Royce Ring, Texas' Ron Mahay and the big catch of the day Texas Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira. Teixeira was traded reluctantly by Texas owner Tom Hicks after the player's agent Scott Boras reportedly turned down a contract extension said to be for eight years and worth $140 million. The Rangers in return received catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and three minor league players the highly touted shortstop Elvis Andrus, pitcher Neftali Feliz and a pitcher to be named later.
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Yankees Pick Up Betemit To Get Bench Depth

The New York Yankees traded reliever Scott Proctor to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Wilson Betemit just prior to the trade deadline on Tuesday. The Yankees thought they needed some extra bench strength, and were willing to give up Proctor who has been a mainstay in the New York bullpen this season. Proctor had a terrible June but has seen his ERA rebound in the month of July. Betemit whom the Dodgers picked up from Atlanta last year in a deadline deal is hitting .231 with 10 homers and 26 RBI, but is hitting .320 as a pinch hitter this season.

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Red Sox Pick Up Gagne In Deadline Deal

The Boston Red Sox traded for Texas Rangers' reliever Eric Gagne in exchange for starter Kason Gabbard and minor league outfielders David Murphy and Engel Beltre. Gagne who just a few seasons back was one of MLB's elite closers, seems to have his health back after undergoing two operations on his elbow as well as back surgery. Gagne will only add depth to the back end of the Boston bullpen which already has two All-Stars in closer Jonathan Paplebon, and setup man Hideki Okajima who were on the American League squad earlier this month.

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Phillies Pick Up Lohse For Stretch Run

For the second year in a row Kyle Lohse will be changing uniforms as the MLB trade deadline grows near. Last year the Cincinnati Reds picked up Lohse from the Minnesota Twins as they tried to make the post season, which they did not. On Monday the Reds traded Lohse to the Philadelphia Phillies as Philadelphia after winning on Monday night now trail the National League East leading Mets by only three games. Lohse has not a great year for Cincinnati as he has a 6-12 record with an ERA of 4.58, however he has gone 4-3 with a 2.57 ERA at home. The Reds get Matt Maloney a 23 year old Double A pitcher in return. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said that Lohse will be one of his starting pitchers, but did not say whose place he would take in the rotation.

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Mets Get Castillo From Twins To Solidify Infield

The New York Mets on Monday acquired second baseman Luis Castillo from the Minnesota Twins for two minor league prospects. The Mets were in need of a second baseman after Jose Valentin went on the disabled list last month after breaking his leg when he fouled a pitch off it . Castillo has been an All-Star second baseman three times as well as winning three gold gloves. The Mets gave the Twins Double A catcher Drew Butera, and Single A outfielder Dustin Martin in return for Castillo. Minnesota recalled Alexi Casilla from Triple A Rochester to take over second.
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Monday, July 30, 2007

Ripken And Gwynn Get Their Day To Shine At Cooperstown

Two of baseball's greatest ambassadors were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York on Sunday. Former San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn, and Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken were inducted as the 2007 class of Baseball's Valhalla. The two players actually had quite a bit in common. Both players stayed with one organization their entire careers, a rarity in modern baseball. Both players collected over 3100 hits, and both were known as consummate team players. Ripken of course broke Lou Gehrig's "Ironman Streak" of 2,130 consecutive games played by playing 2,632 before sitting. Ripken won a World Series title with Baltimore in 1983.

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Washington Signs Dimitri To Two Year Extension

The Washington Nationals announced on Sunday that they have signed first baseman Dimitri Young to a two year contract extension that will keep him with the club through the 2009 season. The deal according to reports is for a total of $10 million. Young who made the All-Star team this season, says he is glad to stay in Washington because the team believed in him when many clubs thought his best days were behind him. The deal also has a club option for the 2010 campaign.
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Barry Gets 754 Giants Beat Marlins 12-10

Barry Bonds gave the fans at AT&T Park what they were looking for early, the first inning to be exact as he hit career home run number 754 as the Giants beat the Florida Marlins 12-10 Friday night. Bonds hit the long ball off of Marlins starter Rick Vanden Hurk a solo job that went to left center. The home run leaves Bonds one homer short of tying career MLB leader Hank Aaron at 755. Bonds who was originally scheduled to have Saturday off will get the start against Florida's Dontrelle Willis.

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Lofton Shines As Tribe Wallops Twins 10-4

He was in the two hole rather than his old leadoff spot, and playing left field instead of center, but other wise it was like the good old days for Kenny Lofton and the Cleveland Indians Friday night as they beat up on Minnesota 10-4. Lofton who was acquired earlier that day from the Texas Rangers for minor league catcher Max Ramirez received a warm ovation from the Jacobs Field crowd and then repaid them with a three hit night as well as a RBI. Indians starter Paul Byrd got the win giving him a 9-4 record for the season.
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Johnson To Undergo Season Ending Back Surgery

Stating that he intends to be pitching during Spring Training in 2008 Arizona Diamondbacks starter Randy Johnson held a press conference on Friday to announce he is having season ending back surgery. The 43 year old hurler will undergo back surgery for the second year in a row and the for the the third time in his career. Saying that he loves to pitch and has since he was seven years old, the "Big Unit" vowed to come back successfully from the surgery to pitch next year. Johnson currently has 288 career victories and wants to attain 300 before he hangs up his spikes for good.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Tribe Trades For Lofton

The Cleveland Indians on Friday brought back a member of the "Glory Days" to hopefully help return them to the post season this October. The Indians acquired Texas Rangers outfielder Kenny Lofton for minor league catcher Max Ramirez. Lofton who will be doing his third tour of duty with the Tribe, is expected to arrive at Cleveland's Jacobs Field in time to play in Friday nights game against the Minnesota Twins. Lofton, along with current NY Mets catcher Sandy Alomar Jr., and former Major League players Albert Belle, and Carlos Baerga were the nucleus that took the Indians from a perennial bottom feeding team to the 1995 World Series, which they lost to the Atlanta Braves. However, Baerga was traded to the Mets in the middle of the 1996 campaign, Belle left the team at the end of the year as a free agent and signed with the White Sox, and Lofton was traded before the 1997 season to Atlanta for David Justice and Marquis Grissom. Lofton re-signed with Cleveland for the 1998 season as a free agent and then left as a free agent after the 2001 season. Lofton has been with seven teams since 2001, and the Indians have been looking for a pure leadoff hitter since Lofton left. The 40 year old outfielder does have 21 steals so far this year but it remains to be seen whether Cleveland manager Eric Wedge will use Lofton in the leadoff spot.
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Phillies Lose Game To Nationals Utley to Broken Hand

Not a stellar day for the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, not only did they lose the game 7-6 to the Washington Nationals they lost their second baseman. Chase Utley who has had a tremendous season for Philadelphia hitting .326 with 17 homers and 82 RBI was hit on the hand in the fifth inning by Washington pitcher John Lannan. Utley toughed it out and stayed in the game going 2-4 but after the game X-Rays showed a break in the hand. Utley said he was bummed out, but he did not believe it was a serious break, and believes he will return to playing in less than a month. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said that Abraham Nunez would fill in at the keystone spot.
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A-Rod Goes Deep Yankees Win Big Beat K.C. 7-1

The New York Yankees pulled to within 6.5 games of Eastern Division leading Boston Wednesday night as they smacked around the Kansas City Royals 7-1. It was the sixth straight win for the Bombers and they have now won 11 out of the their last 13 games. Hideki Matsui and Melki Cabrera each went deep for the Yankees, but the big shot of the night was New York third baseman's Alex Rodriguez career homer number 499. A-Rod who turns 32 on Friday would be the youngest player to get to the 500 mark. Jimmie Foxx who was 32 years 338 days currently is the youngest MLB player to attain the goal. Rodriguez is looking to become the 22 player in MLB history to reach 500 homers, and the second this year as Frank Thomas did it earlier this season.
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Glavine Beats Pirates 6-3 For Career Win #299

New York Mets starter Tom Glavine saw his record for the 2007 season record grow to 9-6 after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday night 6-3. But in the historical sense the win was career victory number 299 leaving him one win short of becoming just the 23rd pitcher in MLB history to reach the 300 win plateau. Glavine worked six frames giving up all three runs in the fifth, two via two run homer by Jason Bay his third homer in two days. The offensive man of the night for New York was Paul LoDuca who had four RBI. Tom Gorzelanny took the loss for the Bucs their tenth loss in eleven games. Glavine came into the 2007 campaign needing 10 wins to reach the 300 mark.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Selig Does About Face On Bonds

On Sunday we told you about MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's statements to reporters that he had no plans to follow Barry Bonds this week as he pursued Henry Aaron's record for most career home runs by a MLB player. In one of the slickest 180 degree turns this side of the Ice Capades Selig showed up on Tuesday at AT&T Park in San Francisco saying he would make every effort to attend each game Bond's plays in until he at least ties the record, outside of his commitments to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies this weekend in Cooperstown. On Sunday, the Commissioner said if he was present he would not participate in any celebration. Tuesday he talked about respecting the tradition of the game the magnitude of the moment, and all citizens of this country are innocent until proven guilty. He also said that he would have another statement once Bonds ties the record, Bonds currently sits at 753 two home runs short of Aaron's mark.

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Lester Makes Triumpahnt Return Bo-Sox Beat Tribe 6-2

Right now it seems sometimes that I am writing for the Police Blotter rather than about Sports. With NFL quarterbacks being indicted on dog fighting charges, and NBA referees being investigated on possibly "fixing" games, it is a pleasant change when I can write a story that makes us feel good. Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester made a triumphant return to the Major Leagues Monday night almost a year after being diagnosed with cancer and went six innings scattering just five hits and two runs and defeated the Cleveland Indians 6-2. Lester's parents made the trip to Cleveland to watch their son's 2007 MLB debut, and they got to see a great performance. Lester kept the Indians off balance for most of the game, in spite of the fact that the Indians have one of the best home records in the Majors this season. Former Indian Coco Crisp was the Boston offensive catalyst going 4-5 and scoring three runs. Jake Westbrook took the loss for Cleveland.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Selig: I May Be There But I Won't Celebrate

In what may go down as one of the greatest lines of "Spin" since a certain Presidential Candidate said he smoked but didn't inhale, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig showed the firmness of a marshmallow when he addressed reporters on the Barry Bonds "Home Run Situation" Sunday. Selig told a group of reporters that he may be present for the long ball that pushes Bonds past Henry Aaron, but if he is there he will not take part in any on field celebration. Bonds and the Giants head to San Francisco to play a seven game homestand and Selig says he has no plans to follow the team. Selig saw all three Giants games this weekend as they played in Milwaukee. Bonds currently sits at 753 career home runs two behind Aaron. Selig is scheduled to be in Cooperstown this weekend for the Hall of Fame inductions of Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn.

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Duncan Helps Yankees Clobber Devil Rays 21-4

Don't say I didn't warn you! The New York Yankees who many gave up for dead and buried in June, are partying like it's 1978. The team that was a game below .500 and ten games behind the Boston Red Sox at the All-Star break is now sitting at 51-46 and 7.5 behind Boston and going into Sunday night six games behind Cleveland for the Wild Card slot. Sunday afternoon's hero was the new kid on the block Shelley Duncan who had two home runs as the Yankees simply shellacked the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 21-4. Duncan the son of former MLB catcher and current ST Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, is a recent call up from the the Yankees Triple A team in Scranton-Wilkes Barre. New York starter Andy Petite got the win evening his season record at 6-6. New York got 25 hits the second game in a row they had at least 20, as they walloped the Devil Rays in the second game of Saturday's twin-bill 17-5. The Yankees took 3-4 from Tampa Bay and have gone 9-3 since coming back from the break.
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Lester Gets Monday Start For Bo-Sox

Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester will make his Major League debut for the 2007 season on Monday night as he will get start at Jacobs Field in Cleveland facing the Indians. Lester will be making his first MLB start since being diagnosed with lymphoma in August of last year cutting short his rookie season. The strain of cancer he has is said to be highly treatable, and although he started the year on the disabled list he was activated back on June 11 and was assigned to the minors. Lester will take the start for former Indian pitcher Julian Tavarez. Lester said on Sunday that it hadn't really sunk in the fact that he was making his first Major League start Monday, but assumes it will be an emotional moment when it occurs. Lester went 7-2 last year for the Red Sox before being diagnosed with cancer.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Marlins Pitcher Olsen Arrested On Multiple Charges

Florida Marlins Pitcher Scott Olsen was arrested early Saturday and charged with driving under the influence, resisting an officer with violence, and fleeing and eluding a police officer. He was booked at the Miami-Dade County Jail and released on $11,000 bond. Olsen was at the stadium before Saturday's game against the Cincinnati Reds, but would not comment on the arrest saying that there was a legal process going on, and that it would not be right to comment. The Marlins released a statement saying they would let the legal system run it's course, but that as an organization "we take this very seriously and are extremely disappointed,". Olsen was spotted by police at 3:40 AM driving 48 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. The officer put on his lights and tried to pull him over, but Olsen kept on driving going through a stop sign. He proceeded to pull into his driveway at his residence in Aventura, a suburb of Miami. He then left the car, and sat down in a plastic chair in his front yard, while the officer called for backup. When the backup officers arrived and tried to arrest him the 6'5" Olsen started kicking at the policemen, who had to use a stun gun to subdue him. He subsequently failed a sobriety test.
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Carpenter To Have Tommy John Surgery

ST Louis Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter who helped lead his team to a World Series championship last year, will undergo Tommy John surgery next week the Cardinals announced on Thursday. Carpenter pitched only once this year giving up five runs in six frames as the RedBirds lost to the Mets on Opening Day. He underwent an arthroscopic procedure in early May to get rid of bone chips in his elbow, but when he tried a rehab start he got swelling and stiffness in the elbow. Tommy John surgery is transplanting a ligament into the elbow, named for the former MLB pitcher who was the first Major League pitcher to have the procedure done. John's career took on a second life after the comeback from the surgery. It usually takes about 18 months for a pitcher to be somewhat effective after the procedure, though recovery times can vary greatly.

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Bonds hits Two Homers But Giants Lose To Cubs 9-8

Guess the time off must have done him some good! San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds returned from his respite, with a bang hitting two home runs but it wasn't enough to secure the victory as the Giants fell to the Chicago Cubs 9-8 Thursday afternoon. Bonds hit a solo shot to lead off the second off Cubs starter Ted Lilly that actually hit pavement on Sheffield avenue outside the park, the first time this year a ball has carried that far. Bonds hit a three run job in the seventh off reliever Will Ohman the 443 pitcher in MLB history to give up a long ball to Bonds. The two homers left him at 753 two behind Hank Aaron's MLB record of 755. Bonds had sat out of the starting lineup in the other games of the series.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Junior Gets Hit Number 2500

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. passed another career milestone on Wednesday one that will help pave the way to an eventual enshrinement in Cooperstown. Junior got career hit number 2500 against the Atlanta Braves as he hit a single in the Cincinnati win over Atlanta 5-4 in 15 innings. Junior who assumed sixth place last week in the all time MLB career home run list is the 84th player to reach 2500 hits in the Majors. The Reds won the game as second baseman Brandon Phillips drove in two with a single in the top of the 15th.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tribe Extend Wedge's Contract through 2010

The Cleveland Indians Monday extended the contract of manager Eric Wedge through the 2010 season. Wedge who has managed the team since 2003 was promoted from the Indians Triple A franchise Buffalo after the 2002 campaign. Wedge, who took the team to 93 wins in the 2005 season and just falling short of the playoffs was only signed until the end of this season before the extension. Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro praised Wedge in a statement released by the franchise, as the right man to guide the team to the next level.
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Junior All Alone In Sixth Reds Win 10-3

Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 24th home run of the season, giving him sole possession of sixth place on the MLB career home run list, and helped propel the Cincinnati Reds to a 10-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves Monday night. Junior hit a three run shot off Braves starter Oscar Villarreal in the second inning giving the Reds a 5-0 lead. Cincinnati starter Bobby Livingston helped his own cause going 4-4 at the plate and had a RBI. Junior now occupies sixth place by himself with 587 round trippers, one more than Hall of Fame slugger Frank Robinson, and trailing Texas Ranger Sammy Sosa by 15 for fifth place.

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Bonds' Jury Decision Could Be Known Soon

Reports out of San Francisco say that a decision from the Grand Jury investigating whether Giants star Barry Bonds committed perjury, could be known as early as Thursday. The Grand Jury is scheduled to be dismissed at the end of the month, they will rule on whether to drop perjury charges against the San Francisco outfielder or to keep the investigation open for an additional six months. If the jury decides to end the investigation, Bonds then may be forced by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to meet with former US Senator George Mitchell who heads up Baseball's steroid investigation.
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Friday, July 13, 2007

Ichiro Signs Five Year Extension With Seattle

Seattle Mariners outfielder and 2007 MLB All-Star MVP Ichiro Suzuki signed a five year contract extension with his team on Friday. According to published reports, the deal is said to be for $90 million, below the $20 million per year that the Seattle Times had reported on Tuesday that the player would receive. Seattle General Manager Bill Bavasi said that the goal of the team going into spring training was to lock up Ichiro for the remainder of his career. The five year extension will end when Ichiro is 39. Suzuki leads MLB with 168 hits coming out of the break, and is hitting .355 going into Friday night's game.

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Giambi And Mitchell Meet

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig issued a statement on Friday, that the long anticipated meeting between former U.S. Senator turned "Steroid Sleuth" George Mitchell and New York Yankees DH Jason Giambi. Last month Selig had basically ordered Giambi to meet with Mitchell and his law firm or suffer possible consequences. Selig only revealed that the meeting took place, and that Selig was not present at the meeting. Giambi was accompanied by his agent Arn Tellem as well as his personal attorney. MLB was represented by Vice President Rob Manfred, and the players union sent their general counsel Michael Weiner.
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Boomer Gets Week Off For Bad Behavior

San Diego Padres starter David Wells is truly the "Peter Pan" of Baseball, he'll never grow up. And that mindset brings good and bad of course to the table. The veteran southpaw is still pitching in the Majors at age 44, although not as effectively as in his prime as he sported a 4-5 record with a 4.31 ERA at the break. But nobody will ever doubt his grit or competitiveness while on the mound. Unfortunately he is still prone to adolescent type tantrums such as the one he on Saturday during the fourth inning of San Diego's eventual 8-5 win over the Atlanta Braves. Boomer gave up a two run round tripper to Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur, and then started to question the calls by the home plate umpire Ed Hickox. The umpire ejected Wells from the game, and Boomer looked like he was ready to get into a brawl in an Oakland motorcycle bar. It took Padres skipper Bud Black, and two coaches to restrain him from going after Hickox. Thursday, MLB Vice President handed down a seven game suspension and a fine. Wells is appealing, which means he can pitch until there is a hearing in Manhattan.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pronk To Remain With Tribe Through 2012

Reports out of Cleveland state that the Cleveland Indians will sign Designated Hitter Travis "Pronk" Hafner to a four year contract Thursday estimated to be worth $57 Million and will run through the 2012 season. The man known as "Pronk" came to the Indians before the 2002 season in a trade with the Texas Rangers. Hafner would have been a free agent after the 2008 season.
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Ichiro All-Star MVP American League Wins 10Th Straight

It may have been Barry's house, but it was Ichiro's night, as the soon to be $20 million man was the All-Star game MVP and the American League ended up holding on for the 5-4 victory. Ichiro Suzuki went three for three with two RBI capped off by an inside the park home run, the first in All-Star game history. The Seattle Times reported on Tuesday that the Seattle Mariners, and Ichiro are close to completing a contract reportedly for five years at $100 million, doubling his current salary. The American League had a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth when Seattle reliever J.J. Putz gave up a two run homer to Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano reducing the lead to one. The Senior Circuit looked like they had the momentum going their way as they loaded the bases off of Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez, but K-Rod got Philadelphia's Aaron Rowand to end the game with a fly out to right. Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford, and Cleveland's Victor Martinez both went deep for the A.L., Martinez had a two run shot. The National League's first two runs were driven in by Ken Griffey Jr., who had a RBI single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vlad Wins Home Run Derby

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero defeated Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios Monday night at the All-Star Home Run Derby. Guerrero won the title by beating Rios in the final round by a 3-2 margin. Although Rios actually got more home runs than Guerrero at 19-17, the winner is selected by winning the individual rounds, not by a cumulative total.
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Monday, July 09, 2007

Peavey, Haren Get All-Star Starts

The American and National League starting pitchers were named by their respective managers on Monday. N.L. skipper Tony LaRussa gave the nod to San Diego Padres starter Jake Peavey who sports a 9-3 record and an ERA of 2.19. American League manager Jim Leyland named Oakland's Dan Haren as his starter, who has been the ace of the A's staff with a mark of 10-3 and a 2.30 ERA. The game of course will be held on the other side of the Bay from Oakland in San Francisco Tuesday night.
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Sunday, July 08, 2007



Even though every team in MLB passed the actual halfway point of the season (81 games) the All-Star break, is the point where the fans, the media, and the teams historically and traditionally think of as the halfway point. With that in mind we will look at our first half award winners. If the season ended today, and we had a vote {Which unfortunately we do not, the electronic media in Baseball whether it is Television, Radio, and now the Internet are looked at as Interlopers. The MLBWA is looking forward to the day they no longer have to share the press box with us. Don't hold your breath fellas.} First we will go over the Award winners, and then talk about the teams currently contending, and see if we can distinguish between the Contenders, and the Pretenders. We will take a look at the American League first;

Magglio Ordonez Detroit Tigers

There are two schools of thought on the MVP award in MLB, is it for the league's best player or most valuable player? Many time those are two totally different set of parameters, such as when Alex Rodriguez won the MVP in Texas a few years ago. Was he clearly the league's best player that year? Without a doubt, no question about it, but the Texas Rangers finished in last place, they could have done that without him! The other school of thought, and the one that I personally subscribe to, is that the Most Valuable Player is exactly that, a difference maker, the player that puts you over the top. The Player that if you did not have you would succeed to the level you have reached! Again in the first half of the 2007 campaign, we have that choice best season or the player that puts you in the position to contend. If we are talking pure numbers, then again you have to give it to A-Rod who is having a career season, even for a man who is already on the path to Cooperstown. With 30 homers, 86 RBI and a slugging percentage of .665 any other year since he has been with New York he is deservedly the MVP, hands down. But this is 2007, the Yankees are ten games back of Boston, and a game below .500 at the break. Great numbers but in my opinion he can't be called the MVP. No, in my opinion the the American League MVP is Detroit Tigers Magglio Ordonez. Last year Jim Leyland had the Tigers win with pitching and defense, this year it is with the sticks. The middle of the Tigers order this season facing Gary Sheffield, Ordonez, and then Carlos Guillen has proved to be a daunting task for most pitching staffs. And Ordonez with league's best batting average and OBP is the hub that that wheel spins on. Let's also remember that Ordonez was damaged goods when the Tigers signed him coming off major knee surgery.


C.C. Sabathia Cleveland Indians

Yes he got tagged pretty hard in his last start, as he gave up seven runs, and the Tribe lost 12-3, but Sabathia has been the most dominant pitcher in the league this season from the jump. William Shakespeare said "Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." Sabathia could be described as all of the above. I literally saw this young man come of age before my eyes between 2001-2006. The maturation of him as a pitcher has only been exceeded by his maturation as a man, I wish we could describe more of our athletes in such glowing terms. Sabathia, had success in his first year in the Bigs as he went 17-5, and the Tribe made it to the postseason for the last time in an era that between 1995-2001 saw them win the A.L. Central every year but one. The next year was the great "Cleveland Fire Sale, Every Thing Must Go!" including the Ace of the pitching staff Bartolo Colon, as well as veteran Chuck Finley. Talk about having greatness thrust upon you, Sabathia, went from being the "little brother on the team" {only in a figurative sense, C.C. is no body's little anything!) to the man the staff looked to as their leader. As he would say to me many times over the next few years "These guys are asking what it's all about, and I'm younger than all of them!" But he persevered, learned to be a pitcher and even more importantly a leader. The fact that he is 12-3 at the break does not surprise me, I wrote an article in February predicting this would be the year he would win 20 games. C.C. Sabathia has arrived.

Daisuke Matsuzaka Boston Red Sox

Of course he's not a rookie, either was Ichiro (who won) or Hideki(came close). So you think that when the team that I rooted for as a kid gets a player from the Japanese Leagues that he's not going to get my vote? Please! Yes Japanese players according to Hoyle should not be considered rookies, the caliber of competition they face over there is far superior to the USA's minor leagues or college counterparts. But since there is no rule against it, even though I realize it is wrong that this loophole exists, I will exploit it !! "Dice-K" has been as good as advertised, 10-6 with a strikeout to walk ratio of 123-38, and allowing only 51 runs in over 118 innings. Showed some shakiness at the end of May beginning of June, but seemed to have bounced back before facing the Red-Hot Tigers in his last start.


Eric Wedge Cleveland Indians

If John Wayne was ever a MLB manager he would have been Eric Wedge. When Cleveland Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro first started talking about then Triple A Buffalo Bisons manager Eric Wedge in the fall of 2002 when he was a candidate for the parent club's vacant field boss job, the words dynamic and intense came up a lot. Those words still apply. Wedge can say more with a glare or a raised eyebrow than most people could say in a 10 minute monologue. He treats people as individuals, yet realizes, no part is greater than the whole. The word TEAM means a lot to Eric Wedge, a philosophy he has stressed since day one. That is why the Cleveland Indians this year are playing better than the sum of their collective parts. Because of Wedge's team concept.

A.L. Division Leaders And Wild Card

Boston fell back to earth just before the break being swept by the suddenly Red-Hot Detroit Tigers. But unless they have a total collapse, in the second half they should be able to maintain what is now a double digit lead against all division foes. Los Angeles has had a very nice first half, the question is how will their only real competition so far this year Seattle deal with the loss of Mike Hargrove. In the Central it looks like you have the only real race, with Detroit currently ahead at the break over Cleveland by one game. However Cleveland has spent more time in first place in the Central than any other team, this division like last year will probably contain the eventual Wild Card team, either Detroit or the Indians. DARK HORSE: The New York Yankees. Yes I know they are seemingly out of it, with an ancient starting pitching staff except for Wang, and a bullpen that looks like it is popping rivets with every game they play. But it's the Yankees. I have seen too many journeyman pitchers go to the Bronx in seasons past and watch them turn into Ron Guidry for two months. The fixes never last for long ie; Bobby Abreu but they don't have to in Yankeeland it's all about today, who cares about tomorrow. As long as King George is still calling the shots, I learned long ago don't ever count the Yankees out!


Prince Fielder Milwaukee Brewers

No controversy here, best player on a story book team. This young man had huge expectations hoisted upon him before he was even drafted, almost unheard of in Baseball where the prospects usually do not have the cache of their counterparts, in the NBA, the NFL. or even the NHL. But Fielder because of his father former MLB slugger Cecil, had a reputation, he was a known quantity. And Fielder has lived up to all the hype and more! Leading the league with 29 homers and a .620 slugging percentage. Second in the league in RBI with 70 and fifth in the league in runs scored with 62. Young Mr. Fielder, "Welcome to the world of gentlemen."


Jake Peavey San Diego Padres

Probably my most difficult choice, I debated between Peavey and the Dodgers Brad Penny for hours before finally settling on Peavey. Penny with a 10-1 record and a 2.39 ERA, was a very tempting choice over Peavey at 9-3 with a 2.19 ERA. But when in doubt, you go to the scoreboard. Yes, if the season ended today both teams would be in the playoffs, but San Diego would win the division. Decision; Peavey.


Hunter Pence Houston Astros

You may be sitting in font of your screen right now saying who? This young man is for real, and he is good! People in Baseball knew this guy was going to be special, just not this soon. He didn't even start the season in the Bigs! But this young man with the humble demeanor, and All American Boy looks and personality have made him a hero in Houston, as well as Arlington,Texas where he hails from. All he is doing is leading the National League in batting average, and playing stellar defense in centerfield for the Astros. This young man is getting known in a hurry and so far it's all positive.

N.L. Manager Of The YEAR
Ned Yost Milwaukee Brewers

He's got the Milwaukee Brewers in first place in the National League Central at the All-Star break! With a 4.5 game lead over second place Chicago! He's got second best winning percentage in the National League! With the Milwaukee Freakin Brewers! They haven't contended since the Coolidge Administration (I am actually exaggerating a bit they only came into existence in 1970). Not only should this man win N.L. Manager Of The Year, they should make him mayor!

N.L. Division Leaders And Wild Card

A lot more volatility in this league than in the American League, with basically all three divisions really all within reach of teams that are further down in the standings. The Mets, have at times looked like they were on the verge of running away with it, only to slip back to the pack. In the West San Diego, and the Dodgers can feel the breath on the back of their necks, not only from the D-Backs, but the Rockies are still alive. Probably the team that looks the safest at the present time is Milwaukee, who is an unproven group, who have basically taken advantage of the fact that the three teams most experts picked to contend the Cardinals, Astros, and the Reds, have come no where near to what people's expectations were. It definitely could go down to the wire in all three divisions. DARK HORSE: Atlanta Braves, certainly within reach of the Mets and the Wild Card spot. And Andrew Jones can't have as bad a second half as he did in the first, can he?
© Copyright thesackattack.com 2007

A-Rod Has 30 At All-Star Break Yankees Win 12-0

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez hit his second home run in three games, giving him a total of 30 at the All-Star break, and contributing to the shellacking, the Bronx Bombers put on the Los Angeles Angels Sunday by a 12-0 score. New York got round trippers from Hideki Matsui, and Robinson Cano which helped lead to the drubbing. Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang went 6 1/3 innings of scoreless ball getting his sixth consecutive win and pushing his season mark to 9-4. Angels starter Ervin Santanna took the loss he sits with a 5-10 record at the break. The homer for Rodriguez now gives him sole possession of 22nd place in MLB career home runs. The blast broke a three way tie, with Lou Gehrig, and Fred McGriff.
© Copyright thesackattack.com 2007

Buehrle Inks Pact With Chicago Through 2011

Saturday, the fans of the Chicago White Sox held a going away party for starter Mark Buehrle, on Sunday they celebrated that he will remain in a White Sox uniform. Buehrle, and the team finally came to terms on a four year deal estimated to be worth $56 million. The deal had been worked on both sides through out the season but appeared to be dead because of Buehrle's insistence on a no trade clause, which the club was reluctant to grant. There is no word at this point at how that conflict was resolved. The White Sox made an announcement to the White Sox fans in attendance, after Chicago defeated the Minnesota Twins 6-3 Sunday afternoon. Chicago General Manager Ken Williams issued a statement saying that the team was very pleased to keep Buehrle in the fold. Saturday, Buehrle thought he had pitched his last start for the White Sox after his 3-1 win against the Twins.
© Copyright thesackattack.com 2007

Could It Be Farewell To Chi-Town For Buehrle?

If it wasn't for the last time, White Sox fans sure reacted like it was. Chicago fans sprang to their feet, and shouted "Buehrle, Buehrle" as White Sox starter Mark Buehrle pitched eight scoreless frames for Chicago giving them a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. The southpaw scattered just six hits over the eight innings a day after Minnesota had scored 32 runs in a day night double header against the Chi-Sox. Buerhle speaking to reporters after the game senses it is about even odds, that this may have been his last start for the White Sox. Buerhle, who can become a free agent at the end of the year seemed to be on the precipice of completing a pact that would have been for four more years. But the deal hit a snag because Chicago would not give the pitcher a no trade clause. The White Sox have had numerous inquiries about Buerhle from all over the Majors.
© Copyright thesackattack.com 2007

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A-Rod's Historic Homer Helps Lead Bombers Past Halos 14-9

He will never even come close to Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak, a MLB record that stood for over half a century, until it was broken in the mid 1990's by Baltimore's Cal Ripken. He will probably never be as beloved, by the fans from the Bronx, or make a speech that still almost 70 years later raises goose bumps when you hear it("Today, I am the luckiest man, on the face of the earth....") However there is a milestone that the "Iron Horse" set that New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will very shortly takeover, 22nd place on the MLB career home run list. The man known as A-Rod coming back on Friday night after missing a day due to a tight left hamstring hit his MLB leading 29TH long ball of the season, helping the Bronx Bombers win a slug fest over the LA Angels 14-9. The round tripper was Rodriguez 493rd of his career putting him into a three way tie with Fred McGriff, and Gehrig for 22nd place on the career list. Rodriguez, said after the game that the hammy was still giving him some discomfort, but he thought he could work his way through it.
© Copyright thesackattack.com 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

Junior Ties Frank Robinson For Sixth In Career Homers

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Ken Griffey Jr. climbed another rung Friday night on the ladder of MLB immortality, as he hit career home run number 586 putting him in a tie for sixth place on the MLB career home run list with a man who ironically started his Hall of Fame career with the Reds, Frank Robinson. Junior hit the long ball in the fifth inning off of Arizona pitcher Micah Owings to give the Reds a 6-0 lead. It was number 23 of the season for Griffey, leaving him just four short of his season total for 2006, and one short of the team lead this season currently held by Adam Dunn. Griffey trails career leader number five, Texas right fielder Sammy Sosa by 16 as Sosa went into Friday night's action with 602 career round trippers. Robinson was traded from Cincinnati to the Baltimore Orioles in 1966, for Milt Pappas. Robinson went on to win the Triple Crown, the A.L. MVP and the World Series that year with the Birds.
© Copyright thesackattack.com 2007

Nefi Perez Gets Suspended For 25 Games

MLB issued a statement Friday morning announcing that Detroit Tigers infielder Nefi Perez has been suspended for 25 games, due to taking a banned substance. The substance is some sort of amphetamine, Perez is the first MLB player to be suspended for use of amphetamines. MLB policy is that a first positive test results in no penalties being imposed, so logically one would conclude that this must be at least the second time the Detroit backup player has tested positive for the stimulant. Amphetamines, also known as "Greenies" had been an accepted part of MLB culture for decades, before the ban went into effect last year. Perez will be out until August 4, and will lose over $400 thousand in salary.
© Copyright thesackattack.com 2007

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tigers Chomp On C.C. And Tribe 12-3

The Detroit Tigers made Cleveland Indians Ace C.C. Sabathia's last start before the MLB All-Star break, one that the pitcher will want to forget as quickly as possible. The Tigers lit up Sabathia for seven runs on ten hits in just four frames easily the southpaw's worst appearance of the year. Gary Sheffield, Placido Polanco, and Carlos Guillen all went deep off Sabathia. Sheffield's blast was number 20 of the year for him and gives him 475 for his career, putting him in a three way tie with MLB Hall of Fame players Stan Musial, and Willie Stargell for 27TH on the all time list. Justin Verlander got the win for Detroit scattering three runs on six hits over seven innings. After the game Sabathia, never one to make excuses said he did not have his best stuff and "I got my butt kicked." He said he would put the loss behind him as both he and Verlander have a chance to start the All-Star Game for the American League. Detroit manager Jim Leyland will be the American League manager.
© Copyrightthesackattack.com 2007

All-Star Squads Completed With Two Hurlers

The final two members of the MLB All-Star Teams were announced on Thursday, as two pitchers earned the honors through the fans votes on the Internet. Hideki Okajima, a reliever from Boston and the San Diego Padres starter Chris Young were the recipients of the Internet tallies. Okajima, gives the Red Sox six All-Star players more than any other franchise this year. Young who started serving a suspension on Thursday, stemming from a brawl last month, which cost him five games is the third Padres pitcher on the National League Team. Starter Jake Peavey and closer Trevor Hoffman have also been named.
© Copyrightthesackattack.com 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bonds Gets 751

San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds drew one step closer to immortality Tuesday night as he hit career home run number 751 in the first inning of the Giants game in Cincinnati. Bonds drove in two runs with the blast off of Reds starter Aaron Harang, the second one Harang has served up to Bonds. The homer was estimated to have traveled 409 feet and gave San Francisco a quick 2-0 lead. Bonds now needs just four more round trippers to tie MLB leader Henry Aaron, five will give him the title.
© Copyrightthesackattack.com 2007

Balky Back Puts Big Unit Goes On D.L.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have placed veteran starting pitcher Randy Johnson on the 15 day disabled list the team announced on Tuesday. The move is retroactive to June 29. This is the third time in the 2007 campaign that the 43 year old fireballer has been put on the list. Johnson who underwent back surgery last October has been diagnosed with a herniated disc. The D-Backs have filled the roster spot with pitcher Yusmeiro Petit, who pitched for the team in a 2-1 loss back in April.
© Copyrightthesackattack.com 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rocket Superb In Win # 350

Looking as if it was 1987, not 2007 Roger Clemens threw eight innings giving up just two hits, and defeated the Minnesota Twins Monday night 5-1 and got career victory number 350. The last MLB pitcher to reach that milestone was the Braves Warren Spahn, who reached the mark on September 29, 1963 shutting out the Cubs 2-0. His catcher was ironically Yankees manager Joe Torre. Clemens allowed a run in the second but other than that was magnificent, throwing 97 pitches 67 for strikes. It was only the third win that New York has had in their last 12 games.
© Copyrightthesackattack.com 2007

MLB Sets All-Star Roster

Major League Baseball announced the rosters Sunday for the National League, and American League teams for the upcoming All-Star game held Tuesday July 10, at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The starters of course are picked by MLB fans and the reserves are picked by their peers, and the respective squad managers. Managing the N.L. last year's World Series Champion Tony LaRussa, of the Cardinals. The man in the opposing dugout will be last year's A.L. Champs, Detroit Tigers skipper Jim Leyland. The game now carries more significance than a decade ago, because which ever League wins the game will have home field advantage in the World Series. The American League has won the All-Star game since that edict went into place and subsequently, have had home field in all those Fall Classics. Here are both rosters, starters, bench players and pitchers, with the American League listed first.

Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez Detroit
First Base: David Ortiz Boston
Second Base: Placido Polanco Detroit
Shortstop: Derek Jeter New York
Third Base: Alex Rodriguez New York
Outfield: Vladimir Guererro Los Angeles, Magglio Ordonez Detroit, Ichiro Suzuki Seattle
Reserves Catcher: Victor Martinez Cleveland, Jorge Posada New York
Reserves Infielders: Carlos Guillen Detroit, Mike Lowell Boston, Justin Morneau Minnesota, Brian Roberts Baltimore, Michael Young Texas
Reserves Outfielders: Carl Crawford Tampa Bay, Torii Hunter Minnesota, Manny Ramirez Boston, Alex Rios Toronto, Grady Sizemore Cleveland
Pitchers: Josh Beckett Boston, Dan Haren Oakland, Bobby Jenks Chicago, John Lackey Los Angeles, Gil Meche Kansas City, Jonathan Paplebon Boston, J.J. Putz Seattle, Francisco Rodriguez Los Angeles, C.C. Sabathia Cleveland, Johan Santana Minnesota, Justin Verlander Detoit
Catcher: Russell Martin Los Angeles
First Base: Prince Fielder Milwaukee
Second Base: Chase Utley
Shortstop Jose Reyes New York
Third Base: David Wright New York
Outfield: Carlos Beltran New York, Barry Bonds San Francisco, Ken Griffey Jr. Cincinnati
Reserves Catcher: Brian McCann Atlanta
Reserves Infielders: Miguel Cabrera Florida, J.J. Hardy Milwaukee, Orlando Hudson Arizona, Derrek Lee Chicago, Albert Pujols ST Louis, Freddy Sanchez Pittsburgh, Dmitri Young Washington
Reserves Outfielders: Matt Holiday Colorado, Carlos Lee Houston, Aaron Rowand Philadelphia, Alfonso Soriano Chicago
Pitchers: Francisco Cordero Milwaukee, Brian Fuentes Colorado, Cole Hamels Philadelphia, Trevor Hoffman San Diego, Jake Peavy San Diego, Brad Penny Los Angeles, Takashi Saito Los Angeles, Ben Sheets Milwaukee, John Smoltz Atlanta, Jose Valverde, Arizona, Billy Wagner New York

© Copyrightthesackattack.com 2007

Once, Twice, Three, Times A Lady

Photo courtesy of New York Post
The image above is what greeted millions of New Yorkers Monday morning as they either purchased, or passed by newsstands filled with the New York Post. The woman pictured is Cynthia Rodriguez, wife of Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. The venue is Yankee Stadium, during Sundays game against the Oakland Athletics. On the back of her shirt is an expletive followed by the word YOU in old English script. The expletive begins with the same letter and ends with the last three letters of the word firetruck. The headline on the tabloid read F-ROD at the top of the photograph. A classless retort to a classless act. Neither the Yankees or A-Rod had any comments on Mrs. Rodriguez attire. Rodriguez was the subject of rumors of infidelity after being pictured with an unidentified blonde woman, as they allegedly were entering a "Gentleman's Club" together. Mrs. Rodriguez was accompanied to the game on Sunday by her two year old daughter, and an "unidentified older woman" according to the account.
© Copyrightthesackattack.com 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Reds Fire Narron

The Cincinnati Reds announced Sunday that they were relieving manager Jerry Narron of his duties, effective immediately. The Reds made the move hours after losing by an 11-7 score to division rivals the ST Louis Cardinals. The loss put Cincinnati's record at 31-51 the worst in the major leagues, and the only team in the Bigs to have a less than.400 winning percentage. The organization opened up the purse strings this off season and had high expectations. Unless there is a dramatic turn around in the second half of the season those hopes may be centered on avoiding a 100 loss campaign. The last time the Reds lost 100 games was back in 1982. Narron is the second manager to be dismissed from his post this year, Baltimore fired bench boss Sam Perlozzo last month. Narron will be replaced by Cincinnati's advance scout Pete Mackanin. He will be the interim manager for the remainder of the season.

© Copyrightthesackattack.com 2007

Grover Resigns As Mariners Skipper

Seattle Mariners manager Mike Hargrove shocked the world of baseball on Sunday when he announced to the assembled media, that he had resigned as manager of the team. Sunday was his last game as the Seattle field boss, Hargrove's bench coach John McLaren will become the manager starting Monday. Grover said it had simply come down to the fact that he no longer had the passion for managing that had always been like breathing for him in seasons past. He said the lows had gotten too low, and the highs were not high enough.

Grover began his managerial career with the Cleveland Indians, and he was the first MLB manager that I ever covered on a daily basis. Grover was always fair and accommodating to me, but he did have a temper. I'm just glad to say I never had to deal with it. Grover to me was always the consummate pro, never ducked a question as long as it was fair. Each time I saw him after he had been fired by Cleveland, after losing to the Red Sox in the Post Season, he always made time for the reporters who had spent years with him. Hargrove first went to Baltimore as manager of the Orioles, but the team had no direction in the front office, and he was eventually dismissed. Hargrove then spent a year back with the Indians as a special assistant to General Manager Mark Shapiro, before taking the job in Seattle.
© Copyrightthesackattack.com 2007

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