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Tag:Bubba Starling
Posted on: September 28, 2011 2:22 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 2:51 pm
 

Top KC prospect Starling caught drinking underage

Starling

By Evan Brunell

Top Royals prospect Bubba Starling, selected with the fifth pick overall in the 2011 amateur draft, has been cited for underage drinking along with two other Royals minor-leaguers on Sept. 24, the Kansas City Star reports.

The three players were pulled over during a random alcohol checkpoint following a football game between Arizona State and Southern California in Tempe, Ariz. Starling was a major recruit for Nebraska, who hoped to build a dynasty around Starling at quarterback before he signed a deal with K.C. that paid a $7.5 million bonus.

“The players involved, which included Bubba Starling, put themselves in jeopardy by having a drink and not being of legal age," GM Dayton Moore said in a statement. "It was not a good decision on their part.  We’re disappointed in their actions and we’ll deal with it internally.”

None of the three players were over the legal limit, but were under the legal age of 21. Two others were also in the car, but one was of age and one was the driver who recorded a 0.00 on the breathalyzer test. Currently, the legal limit is 0.08.

“It’s something most teenagers deal with, but we’re disappointed that they put themselves in this position," J.J. Picollo, the Royals’ assistant general manager for scouting and player development, said, adding that no major disciplinary action was expected. "They did show some sense of responsibility in having someone who wasn’t drinking do the driving. We try to educate our kids from the time they sign until they get to the big leagues in what it means to be a professional athlete and how to represent the organization

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:53 am
 

Pepper: Signing deadline needs to be moved up

Bubba Starling

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The last couple of days showed us some of the best of baseball, five walkoffs on Tuesday, Jim Thome's 600th home run on Monday, triple plays both Monday and Tuesday and so much more. But Monday night we saw one of the things that needs to be fixed, and that's the signing deadline for draft picks.

Yesterday I touched on this, but I suggested just moving it from midnight to a more reasonable hour. That was a selfish wish. Hall of Famer George Brett tells the Kansas City Star that the deadline needs to be moved up more than a month to something like July 4.

The reason is simple, the development of players is stunted by a year and the posturing could hurt players. According to Brett, the Royals and Scott Boras, the "advisor" for their top pick, Bubba Starling, didn't even start talking until 10:30 p.m. on Monday night. The two sides then agreed to a deal with 20-40 seconds left, Brett said.

"If they made the deadline July 4, these guys would sign July 4 and the guy would jump on the plane and play some real baseball rather than go to Arizona when the season is almost over after not picking up a ball and a bat for how long … and playing football … he's not baseball ready," Brett told the newspaper. "It's going to take him a while." 

Instead of playing baseball and cashing checks, Starling was working out with the Nebraska football team as a negotiating ploy, showing that he was "serious" that he'd turn down millions of dollars to play football. He was also risking injury and his future with no guarantee.

That said, with the way money was thrown around on Monday night, it seems to make little sense to sign early. The teams showed that players who wait to sign until the deadline will be rewarded. An agent I spoke to on Tuesday said he's had players sign early in the past -- which is all well and good for the teams, but did he do his players' a disservice by not waiting until the end? In his previous cases, no, it was still the right thing to do. But next time? When the 27th player picked gets $800,000 above slot, the waiting game pays. That's not going to change, the way to fix that it to shorten the wait.

Pirates' booty: Speaking of the draft signings, the Pirates spent $17 million in signing bonuses for their draft picks. While there are negatives, for Pittsburgh, this is a positive. For many years teams like the Royals and Pirates wouldn't draft the best available player in the draft, instead drafting the best available player that would fit into their budget. The Royals gave Bubba Starling a huge contract and the Pirates gave out several, including an $8 million signing bonus to No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole and $5 million for second-rounder Josh Bell. Last season we heard about how the Pirates weren't spending their luxury tax gains, but now we see an actual plan and owner Bob Nutting is putting money into the team. [MLB.com]

Right player, wrong position: Living in Cincinnati I've seen this before -- teams in MLB will often pick the best player available in the draft, regardless of position, now Yonder Alonso is in the big leagues with the Reds and has little to do because Joey Votto isn't going to sit the bench for him. The Nationals saw a player some considered to be the best in the draft fall to them and couldn't pass up Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, despite already having a 26-year-old at third base in Ryan Zimmerman. The Nationals are happy to have Rendon and let that problem play out. [MASNSports.com]

Bundy eyes 2013: Orioles first-round pick Dylan Bundy said his plan is to be in the big leagues in 2013. The right-hander would be 20 in 2013. Brett would tell him if he was serious about that, he maybe should have signed sooner. [Baltimore Sun]

Overrated Howard: Baseball-Reference.com's Sean Forman made the argument in the New York Times that Philadelphia's Ryan Howard is not an elite hitter. The bigger argument was about overvaluing the RBI -- the stat that Howard provides much of Howard's worth. It does certainly help that he plays for the Phillies and has some pretty decent players in front of him in the lineup.

Umps visit kids: Jerry Meals may be Public Enemy No. 1 in Pittsburgh, but not to 3-year-old Emily Berger. Berger, who had undergone surgery on Monday, was one of the children visited by a group of MLB umpires to visit a children's hospital on Tuesday. Meals, who famously blew the call at home plate to end a 19-inning game in Atlanta for Pittsburgh loss, and the rest of his crew hosted a Build-A-Bear workshop for dozens of children. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

Sizemore improving: The Indians hope Grady Sizemore can return next month after he started baseball activities on Tuesday as part of his rehab from a right knee injury and a sports hernia surgery. [MLB.com]

Granderson's rare feat: Curtis Granderson has a shot at leading the American League in homers and triples. The last player to do that was Jim Rice in 1978. [Baseball-Reference.com]

Mariners doing well: Jack Zduriencik won the offseason according to many before the 2010 season, and we saw how that worked. But even with that in hindsight, it appears Zduriencik has had a good couple of weeks despite his team's fall in the standings over the last two months. [Seattle Times]

More Thome: If you haven't had enough of Jim Thome (and really, it's not like we've even got to a tenth of the DJ3K madness yet), his hometown paper, the Peoria JournalStar put together a fantastic package looking back on his life and career. Make sure you check it out.

Give the people what they want: Nice job by the Brewers' promotion department with the announcement of  "Tony Plush Rally Towels" for the Sept. 9 game against the Phillies. "Tony Plush" is the "gentleman's name" of outfielder Nyjer Morgan. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Bashing Boise: No, not the Broncos and their "Smurf turf," but the city's Class A team -- Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said Boise's Memorial Stadium is "below standard." [Chicago Tribune]

Pros vs. G.I. Joes: Some White Sox players are playing video games with soldiers online. [MLB.com]

Hi, bye: Outfielder Jonny Gomes was traded from the Reds to the Nationals last month, but he wasn't informed until just before the Reds' game started, meaning he wasn't able to say goodbye to his teammates in Cincinnati. Now a member of the Nationals, Gomes got to say both hello and goodbye to the Reds when the team started their series in Washington. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

Cut those sideburns: Monday was the 20th anniversary of Don Mattingly sitting out a game for refusing to cut his hair. [MLB.com]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: August 10, 2011 10:28 am
 

Pepper: Where will Bubba Starling end up?

Starling

By Evan Brunell

TOUGH DECISION: Bubba Starling has a choice -- accept a hefty bonus and head to the minor leagues for a few years in the hope he can rise up the ladder and join the Royals. The hometown athlete was drafted by Kansas City in June but he has yet to sign with the deadline coming up on Monday. Starling has a tough decision to make -- join K.C. or head to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, where fame as a quarterback awaits.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Starling told the Kansas City Star.

Starling was at the University of Nebraska signing autographs and fans obviously were rooting for Starling to opt to join the Cornhuskers. The problem is, that's a lot of money for Starling to give up to play football, a sport that's more dangerous to overall long-term health.

“If it was my son, I’d probably tell him to play baseball,” fan Kevin Sullivan said. “But, you know, if he’s going to play Nebraska football …” (Kansas City Star)

BIZARRE INJURY
: There's always a few injuries each season that make you do a double-take. Chris Narveson was a victim of such an injury, slicing his thumb with scissors while trying to repair his glove. He required eight stitches and will miss his next start. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

BACK TO SCHOOL: Zachary Houchins, the Nationals' 15th round pick, is heading back to college. “I haven’t had [contact with the Nationals] any since all that stuff happened,” Houchins said. “I’m set on going back to school. ... I’m happy with it. I’d love to go back there.”

Houchins is referring to epithets used to describe African-Americans, homosexuals and Chinese on his Twitter feed in June, since deleted. The Nationals were upset with his words, which Houchins admitted they had a right to be. Houchins added, though, that the comments weren't hateful and just part of how he and his friends (many African-American) talk.

“Honestly, in my eyes, there was no lesson to learn,” Houchins said. “It’s just what I said got blown out of proportion, and I paid the price for it.” (Washington Post)

CLUTCH: Matthew Leach runs through a list of players who have been clutch so far this season. The one thing that caught my eye is Asdrubal Cabrera's performance with the bases loaded -- a pristine 6 for 6. (MLB.com)

INJURY PROBLEMS: Paul Konerko's left calf strain has made lineup maneuverings tough for skipper Ozzie Guillen, and if the White Sox had gone into extra innings last night, would have done so without a DH when Konerko was pinch-run for by Brent Lillibridge, with Lillibridge moving to first for the ninth. (Chicago Tribune)

LYNN, TOO: Cardinals reliever Lance Lynn strained his left oblique in Tuesday's game and will hit the disabled list, depriving the team of one of its most dependable late-inning relievers. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

SURGERY: Reds shortstop Zack Cozart is likely to undergo surgery to repair a hyperextended left elbow, and would prefer to get it over with sooner rather than later. (Cincinnati.com)

LOPEZ ... HEPING? There's a piece up today about Felipe Lopez, who supposedly doing well in Milwaukee after coming over from Tampa Bay, starting nine of the last 10 games. How someone hitting .235/.289/.235 in 34 at-bats (which was conveniently omitted from the story) is doing well is not clear. (MLB.com)

LAST RING: Bengie Molina was at the Rangers game on Tuesday, collecting his AL championship ring -- the last ring Texas needed to hand out. He also threw out the first pitch and told his ex-teammates not to waste their strong season. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

SANTO STATUE: The Cubs will unveil a statue of Ron Santo on Wednesday. In the article, an interesting tidbit: Kerry Wood only returned to the Cubs because he ran into GM Jim Hendry at Santo's funeral in December. (Chicago Tribune)

ILLEGAL BALLS: An independent baseball team, the Lake County Fielders, had a game suspended Friday night for claims that the team provided inferior baseballs to be used. These baseballs were not sanctioned for professional use, but were still brand new and purchased from a sporting goods store. In financial trouble, the team hadn't placed its order to Rawlings for the baseballs until it was too late, and umpires decided the baseballs weren't acceptable. League officials have since approved their usage. (DailyHerald.com)

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 4:10 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Royals top pick hasn't started football practice

Bubba StarlingBy Jerry Hinnen

The will-he-or-won't-he drama surrounding Nebraska blue-chip quarterback signee and baseball mega-prospect Bubba Starling took another turn this weekend as the Huskers' fall camp opened without Starling on the team's 105-man roster.

Per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Brandon Vogel, Starling's absence wasn't a surprise to Husker head coach Bo Pelini. "Obviously he's got a lot of risk and after communicating with the family we decided this was the best way to go about it," Pelini said.

Pelini and the Huskers are holding two spots open on the roster, one for Starling and one for freshman defensive back Charles Jackson, who has yet to be cleared academically by the NCAA. Starling has until August 15 -- one week from today -- to sign with the Kansas City Royals, who selected Starling fifth overall in this year's MLB draft. Starling is "advised" by uber-agent Scott Boras.

Despite that gaudy draft position and the massive contract it demands, Starling has long maintained he would consider playing both football and baseball for the Huskers, and has already enrolled in classes in Lincoln--meaning that as soon as the Aug. 15 deadline passes, he would be free to join the Huskers at any time. 

That said, the consensus opinion has long been that Starling's Huskers flirtation was simply a ploy for leverage in his contract negotiations with the Royals. That Starling has passed on joining the football program for the start of camp won't do anything to change that consensus. (Nor will this bizarre tweet from ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons stating that Pelini had "gone off" and "threatened" Starling, an unsourced claim Starling's father has already denied.) 

Meaning that for all the drama -- and with one week to go before Starling's signature is due, there's bound to be more -- the likely outcome remains the same as it ever was, with Starling cashing million-dollar checks to play for his hometown Royals. That's not what Husker fans will want to hear (especially with the transfer of backup Cody Green already limiting the team's depth under center), but until Starling's name actually appears on a Nebraska roster, that's the case.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 8:38 am
 

Pepper: McKeon supports replay



By Matt Snyder


The instant replay debate in baseball will likely never go away, so long as umpires continue to miss close calls (which is inevitable) and it's not expanded as much as it is in, say, football (which it never will be). While fans of all ages differ on the subject, one thing I think is generally true is that people against expanding replay are older and people for expanding replay are younger. There are obvious outliers, but the age divide makes sense.

Then again, baseball's oldest manager since Connie Mack -- who was born during the Civil War and was managing in 1950, by the way -- wants to expand it. Marlins' skipper Jack McKeon, 80, actually believes Major League Baseball should use instant replay more often. The trigger point was an umpire ruling Saturday night that a Mike Stanton catch was actually not a catch -- replays were pretty definitive that Stanton made the catch. Albert Pujols followed with a two-run home run and the Cardinals ended up winning 2-1.

"We all thought he caught it. Like I told the umpires, 'You've got four guys out here and four guys can't see it.' Maybe that's another reason why we should have instant replay," McKeon said (MLB.com). "No question it's the difference in the ballgame. You're not going to criticize the umpires, because it's a tough job, but on the other hand, we've got to get these calls right."

I agree 100 percent. I just don't understand why there's technology available and baseball refuses to use it to improve the game.

Heat sidelines umpire: Home-plate umpire Paul Nauert was unable to finish the Cubs-Reds game Sunday, as the heat knocked him out after 7 1/2 innings (MLB.com). I'm not sure what the answer is, but in these dog-days-of-summer day games, the ump with all the gear on behind the plate is the one who never gets a break. The catchers each get a chance to recharge their batteries in the dugout every half-inning. Meanwhile, the umpires just get a quick break between half-innings. Let's hope it doesn't take a death before we find some way to better protect the guy behind the dish.

Course reversal: A few days ago, the Angels announced they were going to honor Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter when the Yankees visited Anaheim later this season. Apparently, enough complaints arrived to change the minds of Angels' brass, because now they're saying there are "no plans" to honor Jeter. (OC Register)

Leyland responds to complaint: Jim Leyland received what he described as a "brutal" letter from a fan. So he reached out to the fan and had a good conversation, which even culminated with the fan and his family receiving tickets to a game from Leyland. It's a credit to what a good guy Leyland is, but the story is actually quite aggravating when you go deeper into it. The fan's complaints were that his kid didn't get to meet any players or run the bases, due to the circumstances of the day. In fairness, the fan did say he was "embarrassed" to accept the tickets from Leyland because he was rewarded for bad behavior. Yep. So, basically, the letter was exactly the type of thing he should be teaching his son to avoid doing, and he was rewarded for it. (Big League Stew)

Boras impact: Is Scott Boras the key to the Royals' possibly bright future? The super-agent is still negotiating for his client -- first-round draft pick Bubba Starling -- to sign with the Royals and holds a lot of other power with the Royals, and every team in the bigs for that matter. Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star has a long, detailed look at Boras. It's a highly-recommended read.

Memorable first homer: Well, more memorable than usual. A major-leaguer's first home run is always likely one of his fondest memories when he reflects back on his career. Trayvon Robinson of the Mariners, however, had one he certainly won't be forgetting any time soon ... because he stopped at second base. Robinson said he thought the ball bounced over the fence. He's likely to be subject to playful mockery from teammates for much of the near future for a gaffe like that, but it could obviously have been much worse. He still hit a home run. (MLB.com)

Zito's rehab start: Injured Giants starter Barry Zito will take his first rehab start Monday afternoon in San Jose and is expected to throw four or five innings (MLB.com). Take your time, Barry. It's doubtful the Giants will have an open rotation spot when you get back.

He's strong: Mark Reynolds might be a butcher with the glove and strikeout a ton, but, man, does he have power. Sunday, he uncorked the sixth-longest home run in the history of Camden Yards -- 450 feet. Darryl Strawberry hit one 465 feet in 1998 to top the list. (School of Roch)

Moneybags, meet Uber-Moneybags: It's no secret most big-league baseball players are pretty rich. Sunday, the Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz met a man who wipes the sweat off his brow with what they make. Carlos Slim was in the Red Sox locker room before their game. Slim is the richest man in the world, as he's worth a reported $64 billion. Yes, 64 billion dollars. (Boston.com)

It's just one baseball: A foul ball went into a trash can at Tropicana Field Saturday night, but that didn't stop a pair of fans for sifting through the trash to find it. While I think it would be cool to catch a ball at a game, I just don't understand the lengths people go to get one. I mean, watch the video on MLB.com. Two dudes dive in head first and even get into a minor fight. Really, guys? Really? (Big League Stew)

Happy Anniversary: On this day 23 years ago, Wrigley Field finally caught up with the rest of baseball and played a night game. It's pretty easy to remember, being 8/8/88 and all. Still worth a mention.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: July 15, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Pepper: About those wins, losses



By Matt Snyder


One of the things I find most lame in the world of baseball writing is how there's a huge fight between those who love sabermetrics and those who oppose it as if it's the worst thing in the history of mankind. Accusations are hurled in each direction, whether it's a "mother's basement" insult or an insinuation that the other party is a moron. I try to not get involved, as I believe there's merit to different things on both sides, but one area where I feel strongly is that using wins and losses to judge pitchers is stupid.

Example number infinity happened last night during the Cubs-Marlins game. Matt Garza threw seven shutout innings, but Carlos Marmol was deplorable in the ninth (zero IP, five earned runs). The Cubs lost. So Garza didn't get the win.

I just have a question for the people who like to puff their chests out and use the "mother's basement" term on people who don't like using wins and losses: Where does Bob Brenly live? The Cubs' color man, who was an All-Star catcher and has a World Series ring from a managerial stint, said, "win-loss record is not a good way to judge a pitcher" once Marmol blew the game.

FIGHTING DEPRESSION: Mets reliever Taylor Buchholz is suffering from what seems like a very serious case of depression. He's likely to miss the entire season and things do not sound good (Springfield Patch).

EXPENSIVE MIDDLE RELIEVER: The Yankees spent a pretty penny ($35 million over three years) this offseason to bring Rafael Soriano in as their eighth-inning man. What they've gotten in return is a 5.40 ERA, an attitude the New York media has questioned and a long stint on the DL. In the meantime, David Robertson has excelled, even making the All-Star team. Soriano is close to coming back now, but what will his role be? We don't know, because Yankees' skipper Joe Girardi wouldn't say. It does feel unlikely the Yankees immediately promote him past Robertson, though. (NJ.com)

DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? Cubs manager Mike Quade had to fly commercially after the All-Star Game and he must have looked suspicious. He was retained for 40 minutes by TSA and given a full-fledged pat-down. Quade said he didn't tell the officials who he was, but hoped they would ask. (Chicago Tribune)

WORKING IT: Royals first round pick Bubba Starling is committed to playing football for Nebraska and the negotiations with the Royals are ongoing. Reportedly, Starling is likely to sign with the Royals eventually, but he's really working his bluff, as he's attending voluntary workouts with Nebraska. For what it's worth, the Royals don't seem bothered by it. (Fox Sports KC)

15 MINUTES: Apparently all you have to do to get a short run at quasi-fame these days is be an idiot. (Arizona Republic)

NO MO WILY MO? One of the more entertaining players in the majors has to be Wily Mo Pena. He's hit five home runs in just 46 at-bats, but he also has 19 strikeouts with nary a walk. But he's about to be designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks, who will activate Geoff Blum from the DL. Brandon Allen will also be added to the roster while Juan Miranda is demoted to Triple-A. What about prospect Paul Goldschmidt? Nick Piecoro examines the issue (Arizona Republic).

THE PRICE IS RIGHT: Rays pitcher David Price was initially upset about giving up Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit -- which was also a home run, as we all know. Evidently, Price is over it, as he's now agreed to a deal to autograph items, such as baseballs, "I gave up DJ's 3K." (Tampabay.com)

BACK ON HIS FEET: Just a few weeks from walking away from the Nationals' managing gig, Jim Riggleman now has a job with the Giants as a special assignment scout. (Extra Baggs)

THERE SHE BLOWS: A minor-league game was postponed when heavy winds blew the outfield wall down at Lake Olmstead Stadium, home of the Augusta GreenJackets. It was reportedly a 50-foot section of an 18-foot high wall. (Augusta Chronicle)

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: There were tons of scouts in the building to watch Rockies starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez Thursday. Upwards of 17 teams, that is (Fox Sports). And he's not going anywhere. The Rockies will have to be absolutely bowled over to cough him up, especially since he's relatively cheap for the next few years.

MORNEAU, ROBERTS PROGRESSING: Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has been cleared to resume baseball activities (MLB.com). Meanwhile, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts has been allowed to increase his workload as he attempts to return from a concussion (MLB.com).

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Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Pepper: @DatDudeBP leads MLB tweeters

By C. Trent Rosecrans



BASEBALL TODAY:
CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about Derek Jeter, but also notes these games against the Yankees are not just big for Jeter's chase of 3,000 but also vital for the Rays. There's also the Braves-Phillies series, but Danny points out why that may not be as big of a series.

TWITTER 140: Our own @JamesonFleming put together the sports world's top 140 Twitter users and the Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP) comes in as baseball's best Twitter user.

Phillips didn't start using Twitter until this offseason, but has embraced the technology, holding contests for fans and also taking suggestions on restaurants and off-day activities. Earlier this season, a teen asked Phillips to come to his baseball game on a day the Reds were off, and Phillips stopped by. He also sent a pair fans to spring training and then another pair to San Francisco for the Reds' games at AT&T Park.

He has even won over some Cardinals fans, an amazing feat considering Cardinal nation's distaste for the Reds second baseman, who last year used not-so-nice words to describe Tony La Russa's club.

Florida's Logan Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) is fourth on the list and the second baseball player. Brewers closer John Axford (@JohnAxford) is the third MLB player in the Top 10.

LAST ONE THE TOUGHEST: George Brett told the Associated Press he thought the last hit would be the toughest for Derek Jeter in his quest for 3,000. Of course, Brett reached the mark with a four-hit game. Brett also said he wasn't sure how many more players would reach the milestone.

"Is that desire still going to be there when they're worth $250 million when they're 37 years old?" Brett said.

GOTTA BE THE SHOES: Jeter will be wearing special shoes for his 3,000th hit, and you can get a matching pair. Yahoo!'s Big League Stew has all the details on the details of the shoes.

JETER'S BALLS: One more Jeter entry -- a look at the special baseballs that MLB will use to try to track Jeter's 3,000th hit. [BizofBaseball.com]

CARDS LOCK UP GARCIA?: There are reports from the radio station partially owned by the Cardinals that say the team has reached a four-year deal with two option years with left-hander Jaime Garcia. The deal would cover all three arbitration years and one year of free agency for the 25-year-old Garcia. He's 8-3 this season with a 3.23 ERA and is 22-12 with a  3.07 ERA in his career. [MLB.com]

HARPER STILL TOPS: Baseball America released its Midseason Top 50 Prospects List, and the Nationals' Bryce Harper leads the list, followed by Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Rays' lefty Matt Moore.

ALL-STAR SWITCH: Royals right-hander Aaron Crow may have made the All-Star team as a reliever, but Kansas City manager Ned Yost sees the team's former first-rounder as a starter down the line, as soon as next spring. [MLB.com]

DOCTOR MAY NAME NAMES: Canadian Dr. Anthony Galea has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States to treat athletes, and he may be pressed to give the names of athletes he treated and gave illegal drugs. Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran of the Mets are among the players who have been treated by Galea in the past. [New York Times]

BORAS SPEAKS AT SABR: Super-agent Scott Boras talked of his love of baseball at the Society for American Baseball Research's annual conference on Thursday. Boras talked about his first superstar -- a cow on his family's farm. [Orange County Register]

SCHILLING TALKS PEDS: Former All-Star Curt Schilling went on a Philadelphia radio station Wednesday and said that no "team in the last 20 years that's won clean." Schilling said he thinks the recent decline in offensive numbers are because of MLB's testing policies. [SportsRadioInterviews.com]

NO TAPE MEASURE NEEDED: Ever wonder how they calculate home-run distances so quickly? There's a chart, of course, but how is that chart made? Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has that story.

CRADLE OF MANAGERS: The Kansas City A's didn't produce a lot of wins, but they did produce their fair share of managers. Tommy Lasorda, Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog, Joe Morgan (not the Hall of Famer, but the former Red Sox manager), Dick Williams, Hank Bauer, Dick Howser and Tony La Russa all played for the A's in KC. Two of the game's more successful coaches, Dave Duncan and Charlie Lau, also played for the A's during their stint in Kansas City. [Joe Posnanski]

SLUGGER EMPATHY: Twins designated hitter Jim Thome said it wasn't his place to comment on Adam Dunn's struggles, but said he did empathize with the struggling Chicago DH. "As a guy who swings and misses and has struck out a ton, it's hard," Thome told the Chicago Tribune. "When you can have success and are blessed to play a long time and [then go through] those periods, it's tough."

NO STARS FOR ALL-STARS: Major League Baseball has added stars to the uniforms of All-Stars, but apparently the designations are purely optional, as the Cardinals' three All-Stars declined to take part to keep their uniforms uniform. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

STARLING UNDECIDED: The Royals took a gamble when they picked prep outfielder Bubba Starling with the fifth overall pick in last month's draft, as Starling is also a top-flight quarterback committed to Nebraska. Starling told the Kansas City Star he hasn't decided whether he's going to play football for Nebraska or sign with the Royals for millions of dollars. Starling said he's going to Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday and will work out with the team, but won't enroll in classes for the summer.

SAVES RECORD: You need more evidence they keep stats for everything? Braves closer Craig Kimbrel has set the record for most first-half saves by a rookie. Kimbrel's 27th save Thursday broke the record of 26 set by Boston's Jonathan Papelbon in 2006. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

LAWRIE PROGRESSING: Just before he was scheduled to be called up in May, Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie suffered a broken hand after being hit by a pitch. Lawrie began hitting off a tee earlier this week, and he's improving. The team doesn't expect him to be able to play in games until August. [MLB.com]

ROYAL SHAME: The Royals have once again taken the cheap route in their tribute to the Nergro Leagues, ditching the vintage uniforms. While there are many good signs for the Royals' future, this is a reminder that David Glass is still the owner. [Kansas City Star]

MYTHBUSTER: Scientists are using a lab at Washington State to measure some baseball physics. Among the findings, corked bats don't work, humidors do, and the balls from 2004 performed the same as a ball from the late 70s. [Popular Mechanics]

REMEMBERING BUDDIN: Former Red Sox shortstop Dan Buddin died last week. He's remembered mostly for not being very good -- he averaged 30 errors a year and didn't hit very well, either. A really good remembrance by FanGraphs.com's Alex Remington on the man Boston booed.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:43 am
Edited on: June 8, 2011 11:24 am
 

Pepper: Papi bat flip angers Girardi


By Evan Brunell


BASEBALL TODAY: What is the latest with the knee of Mark Teixeira? Is Jered Weaver back on track for the Angels? Lauren Shehadi and C. Trent Rosecrans answer those questions and more. Click the video to play.

BOSOX-YANKS SPICE: While the Red Sox and Yankees remain appointment viewing, there hasn't been much of a rivalry in recent years, especially with Boston winning most of the games in 2010 and so far in 2011. The rivalry got spiced up a bit Monday night when David Ortiz crushed a two-run home run off of Hector Noesi to finish off the scoring in a 6-3 victory. Noesi, a rookie pitcher, had tossed a pitch at Big Papi just before the home run, causing some to wonder if it was an attempted hit-by-pitch to make up for Mark Teixeira's plunking earlier in the game.

Big Papi says no, but that didn't stop him from flipping his bat with a flourish after his home run in the fifth, drawing the ire of manager Joe Girardi of the Yankees, who said he didn't care for it.

"I never had a problem with David," Girardi said. "David has always played the game hard. I’m just protecting my young kid."

For Ortiz's part, he played it off lightly, which should kill any possible controversy.

“That’s Papi style,’’ kidded Ortiz. “It’s not the first time and it’s not my last one. I’m a home run hitter. It’s not like I do it all the time. What can I tell you? Just another homer for Papi.’’ (Boston Globe)

MARQUIS UPSET: Nationals pitcher Jason Marquis, who claims he has never thrown at a batter in his 12-year career, is fuming over his five-game suspension for hitting Justin Upton with a pitch Sunday. It was Upton's fourth beanball of the series and came after Jayson Werth's plunking in the game -- his third of the series.

"Never been ejected, never been fined, never been suspended," Marquis said. "I don’t understand why I would start now. I’ve been in games where there have been games getting hit back and forth. It’s a 1-0 game. We’re trying to put something together here. The game is 1-0. You don’t want it to get away from you just because you’re trying to show your manhood. I’m out there trying to win as many games as possible.”

Marquis added that the heat in Arizona is difficult, as the dryness of it doesn't produce enough sweat for the hand to grip the baseball properly. Plus, Marquis claims the pitch was supposed to be outside and moved inside.

“If you actually watch where that pitch started, it started on the outer third and moved three feet,” Marquis said. “I mean, can I control, ‘I’m going to throw a three-foot sinker, and hopefully it hits him?’ Most guys take a four-seamer and usually drill a guy. The catcher set up away. My ball moved three feet if you watch the film.” (Washington Post)

WERTH SCRATCHED: Jayson Werth did not play in Tuesday's game after being scratched from the lineup with a sore ankle. Laynce Nix replaced Werth in right field, and the new Nats star is day-to-day with the injury. (Washington Post)

GOOD ADVICE: With the No. 5 pick of the draft, the Royals snagged perhaps the best high-school bat in the draft with Bubba Starling. A local product, Starling needs to decide whether or not to play baseball or football in college and probably won't sign -- if at all -- until the Aug. 15 deadline. But Royals great Frank White has some words of advice for Starling, including signing as soon as possible. (Kansas City Star)

UNCLE JOE: One of Joe Girardi's good friends is Dante Bichette, a teammate way back in 1993 for the expansion Rockies. Now, Girardi has a chance to skipper Bichette's son, as the Yankees took Dante Bichette, Jr., with the No. 51 pick of the draft. The son calls Girardi "Uncle Joe," a practice he admitted he might have to stop. Meanwhile, Girardi marveles at how far Bichette, Jr. has come since Girardi and Bichette were taking Bichette Jr. on car rides as a baby to help him fall asleep. (New York Times)

BRUISED THUMB: There's been a lot of coverage of Anthony Rizzo's bruised thumb in San Diego. The 21-year-old is tearing Triple-A apart and was on the verge of a callup before bruising his left thumb and hand. He's on his way to San Diego to be evaluated by team physicians after a MRI came back negative. If everything checks out, the team could tell Rizzo to stay in San Diego and promote him immediately. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

SHARPEN THE SLIDER: The Cubs' Carlos Marmol has undergone a recent stretch of futility, blowing two games Sunday and last Tuesday. The culprit might be his slider, which has flattened out and removed perhaps his biggest weapon. (Chicago Tribune)

SCHERZER TOO: Max Scherzer is struggling with his slider as well, and skipper Jim Leyland says he'll turn to video along with Scherzer and pitching coach Rick Knapp to figure out the problem. Scherzer won his seventh game on Monday but was displeased with the amount of fastballs he left in the zone. (MLB.com)

RADIATION: Gary Carter underwent his first radiation treatment for his inoperable malignant brain tumors and came away "feeling good," his daughter said. (ESPN New York)

OZZIE'S MAD: Uh-oh. Better stay away from Ozzie Guillen for a week. "Iam in very very bad mood stay away from me the most you can," he tweeted after the White Sox's victory Tuesday night. "A lees for a week better tha way," he added. What's going on? No one quite knows, but he's likely unhappy that son Ozney Guillen has yet to be drafted with 30 rounds gone by. His son was picked in the 22nd round last year by the White Sox but did not sign.

SOCCER IN CITI: There was a soccer match at Citi Field Tuesday, with Ecuador taking Greece on. Check out the nice picture of the event. Seeing how baseball fields can convert and support a soccer game is always fascinating. (ESPN New York)

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