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Tag:Adam Dunn
Posted on: August 7, 2011 12:18 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Ellsbury goes off for six RBI

Uribe

By Evan Brunell


Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: Ellsbury slammed a three-run home run that helped propel the Red Sox to victory, but he wasn't done driving in runs despite his career high coming into the game was at three. He doubled that figure to six by adding a sac fly for the game's first run, then contributing to Boston's three-run outburst in he bottom of the eighth to clinch the game by driving a two-run RBI single. The leadoff hitter continues to be red hot with a .321/.377/.522 line and is receiving heavy AL MVP consideration. While he'll have to contend with teammates Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia along with Toronto's Jose Bautista, Ellsbury is certainly deserving of the honor, and BoSox fans serenaded him with "MVP!" chants on Saturday.

Prince Fielder, Brewers: Fielder crushed four RBI in a victory over the Astros. Losses by third-place Pittsburgh and fourth-place Cincinnati left them nine and 9 1/2 back, respectively, of Milwaukee. That leaves St. Louis as the only serious contender for the division title, but the Brewers are rolling now. Fielder went 3 for 3 with two runs scored and adding two walks to push his season line to .300/.416/.562, leaving him in fantastic shape with less than two months to go before the regular season ends and he becomes a free agent. He blasted his 25th home run of the year, tying him for fourth in the NL with Mike Stanton, three behind Lance Berkman for the league lead.

Brandon McCarthy, Athletics: "He was terrific," A's manager Bob Melvin told the Associated Press of McCarthy after the righty fired a five-hitter over eight innings to shut out the Rays in a 8-0 victory. "He's been as consistent a guy as we've had." The former top prospect was dealt from Chicago to Texas, but was never able to deliver on his promise amid injuries. While he still has a shoulder issue that's flared up from time to time, he's sandwiched 16 starts in the year and has a 3.31 ERA to show for it. In five starts since the All-Star Game, he's given up just 10 runs. After limiting Tampa to no walks and five hits, pushing his K/BB on the year to 74/16, it's time to take McCarthy seriously.



Neftali Feliz, Rangers: Feliz gave up three of four runs in a ninth-inning rally for Cleveland, with Texas' own last gasp in the bottom of the frame going for naught, scoring one run en route to a 7-5 loss. Feliz has been shaky all season, and the Rangers importing two top setup men spoke volumes about how secure the brass feels the late innings are down south. Feliz was able to register two outs, but didn't strike out anyone en route to giving up three hits and three earned runs, getting into trouble immediately in the inning and being gifted an out in the form of a sacrifice bunt that eventually led to the inning's first run. Feliz has a 3.64 ERA, but he's pitched worse than that, and the Rangers have to be looking forward to getting him into the rotation next season.

Adam Dunn, White Sox: At this point, it's bordering on abuse to keep slotting Adam Dunn in 3 Down. But what is one supposed to do, when Dunn consistently is one of the worst players to step on a field? At least those who can't hit a lick provide value on defense or baserunning. What exactly does Dunn provide value with? It was supposed to be hitting, but Dunn is having a season for the ages (in a not-good way) and whiffed three times against the Twins on Sunday in four hitless trips to the plate, sinking what already seems to be an unsinkable line to .163/.294/.302. Look, we get that Dunn needs to keep playing. He needs to hit for Chicago to do well, and there's a lot of years and money left on his deal, But does Ozzie Guillen really need to bat him cleanup?

Livan Hernandez, Nationals: Two home runs -- both solo shots in the bottom of the fourth -- were bad enough for Livan Hernandez, but he ended up letting seven other runs cross the plate, giving up nine all told. Sure, two runs were unearned, but that's still a lot of bad pitching in 3 2/3 innings, with the ageless pitcher giving up nine hits against zero strikeouts and walks. That's how you know you've got nothing, and Colorado hitters enjoyed teeing off Hernandez, whose ERA rose to 4.41. The 36-year-old has had several poor starts in his most recent outings, and one has to wonder if he's running out of gas.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: August 5, 2011 1:23 pm
 

Colbert takes over @MLB

By C. Trent Rosecrans

I already love baseball, but today's even better because Stephen Colbert is involved.

After winning a bet, Colbert has control of the @MLB Twitter feed today and is hard at work bringing the funny.

But TV's best host prepared on Thursday by talking baseball at The Colbert Report, highlighting the struggles of Craig Counsell and Adam Dunn:

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive

I'm ready for a daily Colbert's show on MLB Network -- it's got to be better than Intentional Talk.

(H/T to 'Duk at Big League Stew)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:17 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Two-homer edition



By Matt Snyder

Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians. What a night and what a season for the now-star shortstop. He went yard twice, including a tie-breaking two-run shot in the eighth inning. On the night, Cabrera was 3-5 with three runs, four RBI and the two homers. The Indians won 9-6 and crawled within two games of the idle Tigers in the AL Central.

Derrek Lee, Pirates. Quite a debut for Lee as a Pirate. He homered off former teammates Carlos Zambrano and Kerry Wood en route to driving in all three Pirates runs. Alas, it was all for naught, as the Pirates dropped their fourth straight, this time 5-3. They're now 5 1/2 games out and just one game over .500.

Dan Uggla, Braves and Rick Ankiel, Nationals. We'll combo these two in order to fit everyone who hit two homers in a game Monday night. These two played in the same game, so it works, right? Uggla is absolutely scorching hot, as he hit his 21st and 22nd homers of the season while also extending his hitting streak to 23. But his team came up short, while Ankiel helped his club prevail. Ankiel took All-Star pitcher Jair Jurrjens deep twice as the Nats won 5-3.



Adam Dunn, White Sox. The White Sox lost 3-2 to CC Sabathia and the Yankees Monday night and fell 4 1/2 games back in the AL Central. Maybe if Ozzie Guillen didn't insist on a hole in the middle of the lineup against lefties, they'd have found a way to score at least one more run. Dunn hit cleanup and went 0-4 with three strikeouts. Put his full season totals aside -- as ugly as they are -- and consider Dunn against lefties. He's now 3-77 (.038) with 35 strikeouts against lefties. If you figure around 650 at-bats is a full season, he'd be on pace to be punched out nearly 300 times in a full season of left-handed pitching at this pace. If Guillen absolutely insists on playing Dunn against left-handers, he should probably at least bump him down toward the bottom of the order.

Trevor Cahill, Athletics. The Mariners had failed to score at least five runs 80 times this season heading into Monday night. Cahill coughed up five to the Mariners in the second inning alone Monday. We're talking about an offense with Mike Carp and Adam Kennedy hitting fourth and fifth. We're talking about a team that ranked dead last in the majors in runs, average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage heading into the game. And Cahill -- an All-Star and fringe Cy Young contender last season -- allowed six earned runs, two walks and a career-high 12 hits in just four innings. The A's lost 8-4 and are only 2 1/2 games ahead of the Mariners, who just had a historic losing streak.

Craig Counsell, Brewers. It may be time for the 40-year-old veteran of nearly 1,600 career games to hang it up. He hasn't had a hit since June 10, as he's zero for his last 45. The Brewers can't continue to give him opportunities much longer, especially as the pennant race heats up even more. On the other hand, the Brew Crew did pull through again Monday evening, 6-2, have won seven straight and own a 3 1/2 game lead in the NL Central.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Pepper: Gomes adjusting to Nats after deal

Gomes

By Evan Brunell

TRADE IMPLICATIONS: It's never easy to get traded, and Jonny Gomes is still adjusting to life in Washington.

Unfortunately, his first game ended hitless with a hit by pitch, grounding into a bases-loaded double play in the third, then striking out with runners on the corners in the seventh inning.

“You can’t help but kind of jump into an interview, if you will,” Gomes said. “It’s everyone’s first time seeing you and whatnot. I’ve got a few years in now. I’m a little older. I’m definitely not nervous by any means. But there’s still some sea legs. I can’t remember the last time I grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, maybe ever. I had to go back in the archives to find that. So I’m a little bit out of my element, things like that. But I felt good at the plate.”

Gomes admitted that staying in the National League is going a long way toward getting used to his new surroundings.

“It’s not like they’re going to pitch me different because I’m in a different uniform,” Gomes said. “There’s certain strategies with guys who hit behind you, who hit in front of you, guys who like to run, guys who don’t like to run – just kind of situational ball inside the clubhouse that I’ll have to adjust to. That just comes with days of service to this team.” (Washington Post)

RASMUS FALLOUT: Why didn't the White Sox simply trade for Colby Rasmus themselves, Phil Rogers reports. His conclusion? The White Sox want to keep the manager's seat available for Tony La Russa, as there's a distinct possibility he could rejoin the ChiSox after the year. (Chicago Tribune)

NEW REP IN TORONTO: For Rasmus' part, he just wants to move on and close the St. Louis chapter of his career. Who can blame him? Rasmus is looking to play his game in Toronto, free of distractions. Free from a manager the center fielder feels never cared for Rasmus. Free from constant speculation about his father's involvement in his career. (Sportsnet.ca)

MAN ON THE MOVE: Why does Edwin Jackson keep getting traded? It's simple: Jackson is a good enough pitcher to be in demand by many teams, but has a salary that has continually risen the last few years. (Big League Stew)

MORE CONINE: After Hanley Ramirez called Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine a "chicken," he then took to the Twitter waves to speak more on the subject, and this looks PR-scripted. "I'm sorry that Mr. Conine feels that way, and I admire him for all that he accomplished in his career. Proud to leave my skin on the field and the sweat on my uniform every night for my team, as we pursue our winning goals. End of story, we have games to win!" (Twitter link)

NO HITTING: Adam Dunn never hits in the offseason, choosing to pick up a bat in spring training and find his swing then. It's always worked, but it hasn't in Chicago. The good news is that Dunn's new home near Houston is close to a place for him to swing the bat in the offseason, and he may elect to change his routine this winter. (Chicago Sun-Times)

SKIPPING ZITO: Barry Zito was rocked so badly in his last start that he may have lost his opportunity to make his next start -- and perhaps has lost his spot in the rotation. (San Francisco Chronicle)

UNPOPULAR: Hideki Irabu was never a popular Yankee, but he didn't have many fans in the Japanese media, either. A New York Times story details how Irabu got a frosty reception from his countrymates in his first Yankees news conference. (New York Times)

TIME FOR A FIVE-MAN: Jake Peavy is ready for a five-man rotation with the departure of Edwin Jackson. The only drawback is that Peavy has essentially been a five-inning pitcher all season and won't be fully healthy until next year. This is something to watch. (Chicago Sun-Times)

TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY: It's always going to be better as a big-market team. That's just a fact. But parity rules the day in 2011, and payroll space isn't why. It's because most teams are geared to contend this year than usual. (BizofBaseball.com)

Mets DEBUT: New Mets prospect Zack Wheeler will draw his first start on Monday, in Class A Port St. Lucie. Wheeler was dealt for Carlos Beltran. (Zack Wheeler Twitter)

IRREGULAR: Kenley Jansen was hospitalized after Tuesday night's game, but was released a day later after a cardio conversion put his heartbeat back in place. (MLB.com)

Rays TRADE: Joe Maddon doesn't want his team to make any trades, the manager saying he likes the combination he's got. But there's a reason he's manager, not GM. You can bet on Tampa making some moves before the weekend is out. (St. Petersburg Times)

BEST CHICAGO GM: Three GMs are in action out in Chicago this weekend: the White Sox's Kenny Williams, the Cubs' Jim Hendry and football's Jerry Angelo, leader of the Bears. Which GM inspires the most confidence to get things done? No surprise, it's Williams, who has a history of not waiting around to make his move. (Chicago Tribune)

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Posted on: July 23, 2011 10:46 am
Edited on: July 23, 2011 10:55 am
 

On Deck: Jumble atop NL Central standings

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jaime GarciaKevin CorreiaKeeping pace: With Friday's victory, the Cardinals are now tied with the Pirates -- a game behind Milwaukee in the National League Central. The Cardinals have lefty Jaime Garcia on the mound. Garcia pitched well in his first start since his new extension last Sunday, but he picked up the loss against the Reds despite allowing just one earned run (two total) in seven innings. In his only career start at PNC Park, he lost in similar fashion, allowing a run and seven hits in six innings in a loss last season. Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia has struggled at home this season, going 2-5 with a 5.94 ERA at home and 9-2 with a 2.85 ERA on the road. Cardinals at Pirates, 7:05 p.m ET (Follow live)

Adam DunnProgressive steps for Dunn: Chicago's Adam Dunn was 2 for 5 in Friday's victory over Cleveland, raising his batting average from .158 to .163. He's 6 for 15 with a homer at Cleveland's Progressive Field this season and is 2 for 2 with a double against Indians starter, lefty David Huff. Sure, that's not a whole lot of reason for optimism, but for the White Sox version of Dunn, it's about as good as you can get. White Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Sneak peak at fall? Milwaukee took the first game in this weekend's only series between two first-place teams behind Shaun Marcum's performance and has lefty Randy Wolf on the mound for Game 2. Wolf's had success in his career at AT&T Park and against the Giants. He's 3-2 with a 2.59 ERA in nine career starts in San Francisco and 9-5 with a 2.77 ERA against the Giants. Ryan Vogelsong has already beaten his previous career best for wins with seven and has a 2.02 ERA. Brewers at Giants, 9:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:16 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 10:55 pm
 

Dunn admits to thinking about quitting

Dunn
By Evan Brunell

Adam Dunn is mired in such a deep and seemingly neverending slump that he admits quitting has crossed his mind, Yahoo! Sports writes.

“If I’m not having fun anymore, I’ll go home,” Dunn said. “Flat out. I’ll go home. I mean that. Swear to goodness. I’ll. Go. Home. I enjoy playing. Even though I suck. Or have been sucking. I enjoy playing the game. Love it. But as soon as I lose that, I’m gone, dude. It’s true."

Dunn's slump has lasted all season with a miserable .158/.289/.299 line heading into Wednesday's game. All these are rock-bottom career lows, and if the batting average holds, he will obliterate Rob Deer's .179 mark in 1991 as the lowest by a player in quite some time. In addition, Dunn's 124 strikeouts put him on pace for 204 at the end of the season, which would give him a 200-strikeout season for the first time in his career.

“How many games can you play doing this? This is ridiculous," Dunn said. You get to a point, and you’re like …”

Still, don't expect Dunn to quit even if he talks about doing just that.

“It’s not going to happen,” he says. “Zero chance. Zero. You can’t get this competition anywhere else, dude. I don’t care where you look. Nowhere else. It’s one-on-one, dude. And you can’t find that anywhere."

Dunn can't make heads or tails of his slump, saying he feels fine at the plate -- mentally he's in the game, physically nothing's hurting and mechanically his swing is fine.

“I’ll have a good couple of games, and then … phhhhhh,” Dunn added. “I can’t get hot. Maybe it’s going to be one of those things where the last two months are just gonna be epic. I don’t know why they can’t be.

“There’s been times where it’s like, ‘Here we go. I’ve got it. It’s back.’ And then the next day I’ll run into a guy who pitches me good, and it’s like, ‘Oh, crap.’…”

Looking at the numbers, you can see that Dunn is suffering from a low batting average on balls in play, with just 23.5 percent of his batted balls falling in for hits. This is compared to a 29.3 percent career average. That's not enough to justify Dunn's failures though, because he could just be making weaker contact. His spiking strikeout rate and inability to catch up to fastballs to the point that pitchers are throwing him heaters like never before lends some credence to the idea that his bat has slowed just enough to destroy his chances of being productive. It doesn't help that the average fastball velocity that he's seeing is at a career-high 92.1 mph. He was seeing a lot of 89- and 90-mph fastballs up until 2009. That year, it ticked up to 91-mph -- but he didn't have trouble with those either. He certainly is now. He simply can't do a thing against fastballs.

One potential issue could be Dunn's expansion of the strike zone. Up until last season, he had offered at 20 percent or less of outside pitches. That spiked to 28.5 percent last season, the trend continuing with a 27 percent mark this year, while his offerings at pitches inside the zone have remained constant. Is Dunn expanding the strike zone to try to compensate for poorer pitch recognition or slower bat speed? Possibly, but cranking 38 home runs last season with a .260 batting average suggests other things are at play. Whatever they are, Dunn wants it to end as fast as possible and still harbors hope that he can have an elite August and September to put Chicago in the driver's seat for the division title.

“There’s two ways to do it," Dunn said on how to handle a slump. "You can sit and pout and ‘why me’ or you can say we’ve got 60 or 70 or 80 games left to start your year. For two months, be the best player in the league. And if I can do that, we’re going to win a lot of games. I’m blessed with that kind of attitude, and thank God, because I don’t know what I’d be doing. I know some people the big man upstairs wouldn’t do this to because there would be some bad things happening.”

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:59 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Pepper: Baseball's color issue



By Matt Snyder


There's a lengthy article in the Star-Telegram about the extremely low number of African-American players in baseball, and how it trickles down to fans. Curtis Granderson points out that he can rarely count 10 in the crowd, excluding stadium personnel. Is this a problem? Upon first glance, my thoughts were no. It's not an issue of racism, because it's pretty clear major-league teams will sign anyone that can help them win. My gut feeling is that more young African-American kids are drawn to basketball and football. Just look at the demographics and diversity in those leagues. As long as there's no discrimination, why does it matter what color the players and fans are?

But Corey Patterson of the Blue Jays makes a salient point (Star-Telegram).
"I really do like all of my teammates and I'm friends with them," Patterson said. "But it does bother me. It does. I'm not saying the whole stadium needs to be brown or black, it's not that. I could talk about this until I'm blue in the face, and you might sympathize, but it doesn't affect you, so you don't think about it too long.

"My mental processes might be different because of the environment I'm in.

"It's hard for me to explain. Someone might say it's fine and we're all cool, but it's easier said if you're the majority."
And he's right. Since I'm white, I don't know what the Pattersons and Grandersons of the MLB are going through. I always thought that just being accepting and supportive of everyone -- regardless of color -- was enough, but maybe the MLB does need to spend more money on campaigns to get all children in the country excited about baseball. After all, studies have shown most baseball fans are adults, while kids are more drawn to basketball, football and soccer. This could become less an issue of diversity down the road and more an issue of losing fans ... of all colors.

Getting defensive: The Rays are hanging around in the race this season despite having a less-than-exciting offense and having lost a lights-out back-end of the bullpen duo. They are, as usual, doing it with stellar defense. Steve Slowinski on TampaBay.com opines that this could be the best defensive team the Rays have had in the past decade. That's saying something, because they've been among the best defensive teams in baseball for the past four to five years.

Historic futility: The Mariners are on pace in July to have the fourth-lowest runs scored in a month -- in which the team plays at least 20 games -- in the history of baseball. No wonder they fell completely out of the race in a matter of two weeks. (The Seattle Times)

Runaway groom bride: A man wearing a wedding dress ran onto the playing surface during play at Turner Field Saturday night. The idiot was promptly tackled by security and arrested, but hey, I'm sure it was definitely worth it. (Big League Stew)

Pujols 'taunts' fans: After Albert Pujols' big three-run homer Saturday night in Cincinnati, Pujols told the Reds fans to quiet down, via body language (check out the screen-grab by clicking here). I can see some being up in arms about this -- because, let's face it, there is always at least one person who gets mad about anything these days -- but I have no issue. I actually kind of like it. Then again, I did grow up a Pacers fan and saw this from Reggie Miller on a regular basis. (via Hardball Talk)

Caught napping, literally: Saturday in Wrigley Field, the TV cameras caught Marlins relief pitcher Edward Mujica sleeping in the bullpen. Cubs broadcaster and former All-Star catcher Bob Brenly was aghast, calling it "embarrassing," though Mujica said it was less than five minutes that he had his eyes closed. Check out the video on MLB.com.

Already in trouble? As I noted in 3 Up, 3 Down Saturday night, Barry Zito had three really good starts before Saturday's debacle, but that seems to have been all he needed to shake the confidence of management. The possibility of skipping Zito's next turn is being discussed. Now, obviously it wouldn't be punishment of any sort, it's just that Zito is the No. 5 starter and the logistics of the schedule work out that a turn can be skipped. But had he thrown another gem Saturday, I doubt this would be a thought. (SFGate.com)

Let 'er rip, big fella: Adam Dunn has a pretty good shot at breaking the record for strikeouts in a season, and his manager isn't going to stand in the way. Ozzie Guillen told reporters that he'll bench Dunn if he's not helping the ballclub, but he won't specifically bench him to avoid the strikeout mark. (Chicago Tribune)

Cursed left hand: Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie was reportedly close to a promotion to the bigs before he was hit in the hand with a pitch May 31. The broken hand shelved him for weeks and he's now on rehab assignment. Saturday night, he was hit with a pitch on the same hand again -- only this time he walked away uninjured, due to a protective batting glove. At least he found out it works. (National Post)

Here today, gone tomorrow: Padres catcher Luis Martinez made his major-league debut Friday night and was then sent back to the minors less than 24 hours later. He still said it was a "dream come true" and is hoping to make it back. (MLB.com)

Happy Anniversary: Sunday marked exactly 70 years since Joe DiMaggio's famed 56-game hitting streak ended. Will anyone ever reach that mark again? I seriously doubt it. (Big League Stew)

80-dollar dog: Yes, there's a hot dog for sale with the hefty price tag of $80 -- the Broxton Rox, of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball. Here's the description of the monstrosity: "The foot-long wiener will get the royal treatment. After deep frying, it will be rolled in truffle oil, then coated in porcini dust. The dog is to be topped with white truffle shavings and crème fraiche. If that doesn't gild the lily enough, the frank will be finished with caviar and fresh roe." (ThePostGame.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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