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Tag:Pepper
Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:42 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 4:19 pm
 

Pepper: ChiSox may move from six- to four-man

Buehrle

By Evan Brunell

WHAT ABOUT FIVE? The White Sox had a six-man rotation for much of the season, fitting in Phil Humber after his strong start into the rotation when Jake Peavy returned from the disabled list. Now that Edwin Jackson is a Cardinal, that means the White Sox can go back to five members in the rotation, right?

Not so fast. Rookie starter Zach Stewart has made a start in the still-continuing six-man rotation and will draw another one, but after that Chicago expects to end the six-man rotation. Except instead of going back to five, the ChiSox are entertaining the thought of a four-man rotation. It would allow Mark Buerhle, who has been hot as of late -- and with the White Sox having won four in a row and pulling to within five of the division, the team needs as much improvement as it can get.

"You're tempted to say, 'Let's run [Buerhle] out there,' " pitching coach Don Cooper said. "If we keep playing good ball, it's an option we have to look at it. Get the hottest guys out there.

"We have something down on paper but nothing official," Cooper added. "We have to see how it goes. If we have a good week, and we ain't had a good week …. if we get hot, you never know." (Chicago Tribune)

HYPNOTIZED
: Giants manager Bruce Bochy, along with several other members of the staff, have finally quit dipping. How did they do it? By seeing a hypnotist, who explained the dangers of continuing to dip and using relaxation techniques. Bochy says that the cravings vanished almost immediately. Others remain skeptical. "Follow my finger. Do not smoke," bench coach Ron Wotus said jokingly. "You're cured. Next! ... A hypnotist, come on. Good for them. The mind is a powerful thing." (San Jose Mercury News)

SPRAINED WRIST: Carlos Beltran sprained his wrist in Monday's game, but the good news is that he might be ready to play Tuesday night. There's a quick turnaround to Wednesday afternoon, though, so it would come as no surprise if the Giants decided to keep Beltran out of the lineup until Wednesday. (Fox Sports)

'ROADIE DAD': Todd Zeile, as he put it, has gone from baseball player to producer to roadie dad as 17-year-old son Garrett's band, Jetstream, is touring with the Stone Tempe Pilots. Pretty cool, but also interesting is that the producer part of Zeile's life involves helping Charlie Sheen's show, Anger Management, get off the ground. (ESPN New York)

WHERE DO OLD SHORTSTOPS GO? San Francisco. Think about it -- the Giants had Omar Vizquel, moved to Edgar Renteria, then tabbed Miguel Tejada this season. When that didn't work out, GM Brian Sabean turned to Orlando Cabrera. No Giants shortstop who leads the team in games started over the past decade has been in his 20s. (San Francisco Chronicle)

STAMPING: The United States Postal Service is unveiling stamps with four major-leaguers commemorated. The first is Joe DiMaggio, but who else will make the list? That's unknown, but Joe Posnanski runs through the rules involving who will and won't be on the stamp and settled on Ted Williams as the most obvious choice. His most likely candidates to round out the other two stamps? Larry Doby and Carl Hubbell. (JoeBlogs)

WELCOME TO THE SHOW: The Jays are calling up a 21-year-old to fill the vacant rotation spot. Henderson Alvarez has a 2.86 ERA and could skip Triple-A so Toronto can see what it might have in the promising left-hander. (National Post)

HIRED: Former Astros hitting coach Gary Gaetti will be named the first manager of the Sugar Land Skeeters, an independent club in the Atlantic League. (Houston Chronicle)

PHONE CALL: A nice story about Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel, who called a Navy seaman battling cancer after the 2008 World Series. " It wasn't one of those "sorry you're sick, hope you feel better" calls, it was two baseball fans talking to each other about a sport they both loved," brother Scott Andrews wrote in. (Big League Stew)

SABR: Interested in what the top 40 events in baseball are since the SABR era (1971-present)? You're in luck. (SABR.org)

BREAK IT DOWN: The NPB (Japan's version of MLB) is meeting with MLB to discuss the breakdown of revenue from the World Baseball Classic. (Yakyubaka.com)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
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: August 5, 2011 10:20 am
 

Pepper: Thome's silver hammer

Jim Thome

By C. Trent Rosecrans

I know this may seem like a dead horse, but I'm still dismayed at the relative silence around Jim Thome's impending 600th home run. He hit homer No. 598 last night and it seems like it was greeted by crickets. My colleague Matt Snyder wrote about this a couple of weeks ago after I touched on it, so it may seem redundant, but is it any more redundant that the constant (and deserved) fawning over Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit?

I've said all this before, but it just feels like it needs repeating -- Thome will soon become just the eighth player in baseball history to hit 600 home runs. So why is it being overlooked?

Is it because the steroid era has devalued home run totals?

Is it because the next guys on the list are Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez? And the guy atop the list is Barry Bonds?

Is it because Thome isn't a Yankee?

Is it because after 12 years in Cleveland, he's moved around, playing for the Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers and Twins?

Is it because the bulk of his productive years were in Cleveland?

Is it because he's no longer an everyday player?

Is it because there were two weeks between homer No. 595 and 596 and then another two weeks until No. 597? 

Is it because Thome has done it relatively quietly, not drawing a lot of attention to himself, therefore not receiving a lot of attention?

Or am I totally off base and blowing this out of proportion?

It could be any one of those reasons or a good combination of all of them. It just seems to me, it's something that could and should be celebrated not just in Minnesota, but all over baseball. Thome now has 598 home runs and will soon have 600 -- I'm not saying they need to dig out the dirt from the batter's box after his 600th and sell the dirt in keychains (like they did for Jeter), but it should be something we watch, anticipate and celebrate.

The long and winding road: If you don't read every word that comes out of Chris Jones' computer, you're missing out. Canada's finest's most recent piece is on the strange journey of Giants pitcher Barry Zito. I can't recommend it enough. [Grantland]

Here today: Most are assuming that Jose Reyes will re-sign with the Mets this offseason, but not so fast say Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino says the Mets are unlikely to give him the "Carl Crawford money" he is assumed to desire (and should be able to command). Apparently it's not just the money that the Mets are worried about, but also the number of years. The Mets aren't excited about giving the injury-prone Reyes seven years.

Get back: Ryan Zimmerman is back to his old form, even though he's been back on the field for nearly two months. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes that it took a while to break up the scar tissue that resulted from his abdominal tear and is no longer experiencing the soreness that had him skipping his post game workouts. 

Let 'em in: Ozzie Guillen's time in Chicago just seems to be at a natural end -- the team has underperformed and everyone seems to be tired of the marriage. Guillen sounds like he's over managing the White Sox in this interview with MLB.com's Scott Merkin, while he tells Yahoo! (via the Miami Herald) that he'd go to the Marlins "with a lot of class," and that it'd be "an honor to manage the Marlins." With Florida moving into a new park next year, it seems like the natural fit -- and he could manage there until Jeffrey Loria loses his patience at the All-Star break next year.

Here today: Red Sox minor leaguer Brandon Jacobs has no regrets about his choice to bypass a football scholarship at Auburn to sign with the Red Sox. Jacobs was a prized running back at Parkview High School in suburban Atlanta, but was drafted by MLB -- and a $750,000 signing bonus later, he found himself on the diamond instead of the gridiron. The 20-year-old has 14 homers and 26 stolen bases at Class A Greenville (S.C.). Even though Auburn won the national championship last season, Jacobs said he watched the game and didn't feel a twinge of regret. An interesting note, Parkview is the alma mater of another prominent football player who skipped a scholarship to play baseball, the Royals' Jeff Francoeur. [Boston Globe]

It was 10 years ago tonight: The Hardball Times looks back at the Indians' rally from an 11-run deficit to beat the Marienrs on Aug. 5, 2001. One thing to keep in mind about that, the Mariners won 116 games -- if they hold a lead, it's 117, a record number of wins. The 1906 Cubs also won 116 (in 10 fewer games).

I've just seen a face: Can't get enough of of Kenta Imamura, the Ichiro impersonator? Well, you're in luck. Apparently Imamurua is a professional Ichiro impersonator and is nicknamed "Nicchiro" -- "ni" is Japanese for two. [Super Ichiro Crazy]

Maybe I'm amazed: A baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio and kissed by Marilyn Monroe sold for $59,750 on Thursday. The bidding started at $17,000 and quickly escalated. [New York Daily News]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 9:47 am
 

Pepper: Some Cubbie love from Lee



By Matt Snyder


At this time last week, we were busy pouring through rumor after rumor as the non-waiver trade deadline approached. There were a few Cubs' veterans we knew weren't going anywhere, despite playing for one of the worst teams in baseball. Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood in particular weren't going to waive their respective no-trade clauses. It might seem baffling to some people, but former teammate Derrek Lee says it's too great a place to play to want to leave.

"It's not that easy," Lee said (Chicago Tribune). "It's easy to look from the outside and say, 'Well, go play on a contender. This team is winning, so why don't you want to go there?' But you build roots in a place.

"Those guys have families. It's not that easy just to pack up and go. And how many cities are there as good as Chicago? You're going to have great crowds there every day, an atmosphere, and also those guys probably want the challenge of turning it around and winning there."

Baby steps: We've opined in this space several times about the sheer idiocy that are the MLB blackout rules and it appears there might be some ever-so-slight progress. Evidently MLB Extra Innings subscribers in northeast Ohio were all of a sudden blacked out from watching Pirates and Indians games due to a merger of several local cable providers. For once, Major League Baseball rectified an issue and lifted the blackout. So I guess that's a step in the right direction, but the rules are still absurd. (Biz of Baseball)

Remember me? Wednesday, we posted a video of an apparent Ichiro Suzuki fanatic in the Mariners crowd, who interfered with play by accident. Well, he was back at the ballpark the following day, once again dressed in full Ichiro garb. (Super Ichiro Crazy)

Bat-flavored beer: In Seattle, a brewing company has made a beer that soaked maple bats in it for three weeks. Interesting idea. Personally, I'm not sure I'd want to try it -- it just sounds weird, no? -- but who knows, maybe it's great. (ESPN.com)

Trade bait: Fangraphs.com has an excellent flow chart showing all the trades of Edwin Jackson, who has been dealt six times (and he's only 27 years old). Roughly 15 players have been traded for Jackson, though it's tough to very accurately say the proper number, as there have been a pair of three-way trades involving him.

Bad signings: Once you get past the Yankees, the Red Sox are generally maligned by casual fans for being a huge spender in free agency and just throwing money at players. The truth, however, is that the Red Sox are actually pretty good at developing their own. Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon and more came directly from the system. Meanwhile, many free agent signings, like John Lackey and Carl Crawford, have thus far been a disaster (ESPN.com). Maybe Theo Epstein should stop spending so much on external players?

Back off, Tony: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa took exception with some comments from Brewers fans earlier this week, and I got his back. On this, however, I will not be doing so. He heard a Brewers announcer say the Cardinals throwing at Ryan Braun was "bush league" and called said announcer to discuss. I mean, really? The two did "clear the air," so I guess all's well that ends well. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Chipper return: Chipper Jones hasn't been in the starting lineup for over a week. He returned from the disabled list only to come down with a new injury and has been relegated to pinch-hit duty since. He's planning on returning to the lineup Friday, not surprisingly, against the Mets. He's hit more homers against the Mets than any other team in his career. (AJC.com)

Moose rests: Royals rookie Mike Moustakas has struggled, for the most part, since his promotion to the bigs. Manager Ned Yost gave Moustakas Wednesday night off to work on his swing mechanics. (Kansas City Star)

Alonso at third: Reds rookie Yonder Alonso projects as a very good major league hitter, according to most scouts, but he's a first baseman by trade. Not sure if you've heard, but the Reds have a decent 1B. Alonso has been played in left field, but most scouts see him as a bit of a butcher out there. Maybe third base could be a fit, with Scott Rolen being out for the next four to six weeks? He's been working out at third recently. (MLB.com)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 9:48 am
 

Pepper: Cardinals-Brewers rivalry heats up



By Matt Snyder


Last year it was the Cardinals against the Reds in the NL Central. This time around, it's the Brewers who seem to have drawn the ire of the Cardinals. Tuesday night, the Cardinals beat the Brewers to move within 2 1/2 games in the NL Central and break the Brewers' long winning streak, but everyone was talking about a pair of hit-by-pitches after the game.

In the top of the seventh inning, Brewers reliever Takashi Saito hit Albert Pujols in the hand/wrist area. It loaded the bases and was pretty clearly not intentional. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa even said as much post-game, though he also noted he still had an issue with it (via Associated Press).

"Real scary. They almost got him yesterday. There's nothing intentional about it," La Russa said. "That's what all these idiots up there -- not idiots, fans are yelling and yell. Do you know how many bones you have in the hands and the face? That's where those pitches are."

Next half-inning, La Russa left in Jason Motte to face Ryan Braun. Motte missed Braun on his first pitch, but not on his second try. He was removed after the hit-by-pitch and is the Cardinals hardest throwing reliever. Of course, La Russa says they weren't trying to hit Braun.

"And Braun, we were trying to pitch him in, too, it's just a little stinger," La Russa said (AP). "I don't want to even hear about Braun getting a little pop in the back when we almost lose [Pujols] in several ways."

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina -- who was ejected and may have spat on the umpire -- backed up La Russa's story. Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy had a different spin.

"That's clearly intentional. I mean that's ridiculous," Lucroy said (AP). "There's no way that we were trying to hit Pujols on purpose. You kidding me in that situation? If we wanted to put him on base, we would have walked him. That's ridiculous. We were trying to pitch inside and get a ground ball to third base."

For whatever it's worth, Pujols had no issues with his getting hit, saying "it's part of the game." (AP)

It's hard to not take sides here, because I don't think anyone other than Cardinals fans -- and even some of those would be excluded -- believes La Russa. It appears pretty obvious Motte was left out there to hit Braun and was going to have four chances to do it, not just the two it took. From here, each individual can make the call as to whether or not it was warranted.

Ryno moves on: After being named the Triple-A manager of the year, Ryne Sandberg was reportedly not even in the Cubs "top three or four" choices to manage the 2011 season in the bigs, but he doesn't hold a grudge. Sandberg told the Chicago Sun Times that he's moved on and looks forward, not backward. He says he still plans on making it to the majors one way or another. He's currently managing the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate.

LoMo visits Fan Cave with a 'friend:' Last week, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison had a highly publicized run-in with a praying mantis in the Marlins dugout, and he later admitted via Twitter that he's afraid of bugs. Tuesday, he showed he was a good sport by visiting the MLB Fan Cave with someone dressed as a praying mantis. (MLB.com)

Hard-luck losers: Beyond the Box Score took a look at the pitchers with the most losses in MLB history that came while they still threw at least seven innings while allowing three earned runs or less. It might be easier to simply disregard the archaic wins and losses stat, but since it's still mainstream, I'm on board with things like this. You'll find Nolan Ryan, Bert Blyleven and Greg Maddux on the list, among other all-time greats.

Legend of Sam Fuld: Sam Fuld has been a bit of a cult hero in Tampa Bay since being traded from the Cubs this past offseason, so it was only a matter of time before a promotional poster was made. I have to say, it's pretty hilarious. A spin-off of Legends of the Fall, the Legends of the Fuld poster features Fuld, Chuck Norris and the Dos Equis guy. (TampaBay.com)

Use the Force: The Marlins won on two ninth-inning runs Tuesday night -- which came courtesy of a Justin Turner throwing error. Marlins catcher John Buck reportedly distracted the Mets' second baseman, and Buck credits his first-base coach for employing a "Jedi mind trick." Luke Skywalker would be proud. (Fish Tank)

Cody's the answer again: The 2010 Giants postseason hero was Cody Ross, a very late addition last August via the second trade deadline (using waivers). This season, the Giants were reportedly seeking a center fielder who could lead off, but Ross might again be the answer. He filled both roles Monday and Tuesday. (SFGate.com)

MVPs together again: Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton won the MVPs from their respective leagues in 2010, and they're commemorated together on a bobblehead, as Louisville Bats -- where the two were once teammates (OMGReds).

Sad road of Irabu: Robert Whiting of Slate chronicles the career of recently-deceased Hideki Irabu in an excellently written story.

Frankrupt: The dissatisfaction with Dodgers owner -- at least for now -- Frank McCourt has spawned many different money-making ventures by disgruntled fans, including T-shirts that say "Frankrupt" and a website that begs Mark Cuban to "save the Dodgers." (LA Times)

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: August 2, 2011 2:10 pm
 

Pepper: Cubs stumble with Colvin benching

Colvin
By Evan Brunell

TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY: OK, let me get this straight.

First, GM Jim Hendry somehow avoids making any trade of significance to help the Cubs moving forward in a futile attempt to keep the team relevant. Now, he and manager Mike Quade are not even playing one such person that could have a big impact next season?

The only Cubs deal at the deadline saw outfielder Kosuke Fukudome head to the Indians, freeing up right field for Tyler Colvin. Colvin hasn't impressed in the majors this season, but has been coming off the bench for the most part, also struggling in Triple-A. Still, he's a year removed from 20 home runs.

"The most important thing was that Tyler had to play," Hendry said of the Fukudome trade. "We saw the Tyler last year, and the Tyler this year wasn't quite the same. He went down to Iowa and worked hard, and it looks like he's made some progress and he deserves to play the rest of the way.

"And we need to find out whether he's an everyday guy or not by the end of this year. No matter how you slice it, the outfield situation, just like a few other (positions) will have to be addressed in the offseason."

Great. Except Colvin hasn't been in the lineup for two straight games. Quade seems to believe Colvin will get plenty of playing time the rest of the way, but if he's benching the 25-year-old to get Reed Johnson -- an aging, backup player -- more at-bats, Quade has the wrong idea here. (Chicago Tribune)

STAYING IN SAN DIEGO: Heath Bell says that he will take an offer of arbitration if the Padres offer it after the season, as that's how important it is to him to stay in town. This could complicate things for San Diego, who didn't deal the closer at the deadline for two reasons -- the possibility of signing Bell to a hometown-discount extension, as well as the chance to get two compensatory picks should the two sides be unable to agree on a new contract. Now, it seems San Diego may have erred in keeping Bell if they will have no choice but to retain him. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

SPELLING BEE CHAMPIONS: The Giants definitely are not spelling bee champions, even if they remain the reigning World Series champions. Check out this amusing photo snapped that shows the spelling prowess of those on the team. (BayBridgeBaseball.com)

NEW AGENT: When Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma was posted last offseason, the A's won the bidding but talks quickly broke down when Iwakuma's agent asked for an exorbitant amount to sign and accused the A's of not showing any respect. Well, Iwakuma's taking no chances this time around and has hired Paul Cobbe of Sosnick-Cobbe Sports to be his new agent. Expect him stateside in 2012. (ESPN)

KEMP DOMINATION: How amazing has Matt Kemp been this year? How important is he to the Dodgers? Let Anthony Jackson tell you: "Kemp has hit 36 percent of Dodgers HRs, has 22 percent of their RBIs and 35 percent of their stolen bases. Only other player in past 100 years to have 30/20/30 percent of his team's total in those three categories over a full season was Hank Aaron, '63 Braves." Lofty company. (ESPN Los Angeles on Twitter)

COWBOYS FAN: When Mike Adams was traded to the Rangers, everyone knew that he was a Texas homeboy. But what people didn't know is he had a Cowboys jersey ready to go in the Padres clubhouse as he had worn it earlier in the week. Miles Austin, the player's jersey that Adams is wearing, said he will go out and purchase an Adams jersey. "It's a great feeling when anyone from any profession, especially baseball, [wears your jersey]," Austin said. "That's America's pastime. I used to play baseball, but I ended up not being able to hit the curveball when I hit the eighth grade." (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

STEWART ALMOST DEALT: The Rockies thought they had a deal for third baseman Ian Stewart with another National League team (the Pirates, I'm guessing) but talks fell apart with a half-hour to go. (Denver Post)

INJURIES ON THE RISE: Major League Baseball injuries are on the rise, the American Journal of Sports Medicine details in its latest study. You would think this is odd given how treatment of injuries and physical conditioning have improved over the years. Is there a concerning trend? Maybe, but you can't draw conclusions from this as Hardball Talk notes. After all, these days players aren't asked to, for the most part, play through their injuries. Plus, the advent of technology has improved diagnosing injuries. (Hardball Talk)

DONUT: Hey Hunter, you're supposed to take the donut off the bat before you step to the plate. (Mocksession GIF)

SMALL STEPS: Former Red Sox top prospect Ryan Westmoreland is gearing up to face live pitching for the first time since his brain surgery over a year ago. It's a major step forward, and Westmoreland doesn't care how he performs. Just that he's finally facing a pitcher. (Providence Journal)

MAJOR-LEAGUE EXPERIENCE: The Nationals have the right idea, promoting Ross Detwiler to the rotation on Thursday. The club wants to give all their young starting pitchers as much experience as possible. Brad Peacock and Tom Milone will also get long looks. Some room in the rotation will be made by the exiting Jordan Zimmermann, who has about four starts left before he reaches his innings limit. (Washington Post)

HITS PER NINE INNINGS: Here's an interesting look in the leaders in hits per nine innings. Obviously, the leaders in this category are all solid pitchers, anchored by Nolan Ryan in the top spot. (Beyond the Boxscore)

TORN: Freddy Sanchez will have surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. You won't see him again this season. (Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area)

KISS CAM: At the Reds game, a fan got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend on the kiss cam. Problem: he fished the ring out from his fanny pack. So many comments to make... (MLB.com)

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Posted on: August 1, 2011 9:44 am
 

Pepper: Pelfrey finds sinker; Buchholz finished

Pelfrey

By Evan Brunell

SINKING: Mike Pelfrey thinks he has his sinker back and is hoping to reclaims some optimism during a season where Pelfrey crumbled under the weight of being considered an ace, regressing from a 3.66 ERA in 204 innings last night to a 4.55 mark to date.

"Mike takes such pride in what he does," pitching coach Warthen told the New York Daily News. "I see a guy who was forcing his pitches instead of throwing them."

Pelfrey, for his part, believes that mechanics were an issue. The right-hander's bread and butter has been his sinker, but that lost effectiveness when he altered his arm slot to make his secondary pitches more effective. While Pelfrey isn't scrapping his arm slot, he did say he has to make sure to get his arm out in front of his body more when he throws the sinker. Perhaps then, Pelfrey thinks, he can start racking up the numbers he produced last season even though his peripherals in both 2010 and 2011 are rather similar.

"... I've never seen anybody that can command a baseball as well as he can," Warthen added. "So when he goes out and walks three, four, five guys, I'm just baffled. It's beyond my belief that that can happen with a guy who can do the things he can with the baseball."

Pelfrey will face the Marlins on Monday night and has long struggled against Florida with a career 1-7 record and 5.25 ERA in 15 starts. He'll look to use his sinker, which pushed him to a complete-game victory last time out, to walk away with a win. (New York Daily News)

TOP GMS
: You usually see a winners or losers list come out of the trade deadline, but what about a list of best GMs for those who focused on the short-term and then long-term? Unsurprisingly, contending teams dominate the first list, rebuilding the latter. (ESPN's Jim Bowden)

BAD BACK
: Clay Buchholz appears to have a stress fracture in his back, which will shut him down for the rest of the season and most likely the postseason as well. David Wright recently missed two months with a stress fracture. (CSNNE.com)

BELL EXTENSION: Now that Heath Bell is staying in San Diego, the talk can turn toward the Padres potentially signing him to a contract extension. Bell, for his part, continues to stand by his proclamation that he will accept a three-year deal with a hometown discount to stay with the Pads. (North County Times)

Dodgers DEAL: The Dodgers are considered one of the biggest losers of the trade deadline, dealing a blue-chip prospect for three organizational players. Steve Dilbeck pens a defense, saying the blue-chipper in Trayvon Robinson clearly didn't fit in Los Angeles' plans, plus they finally got the prospect catcher they coveted in Tim Federowicz. GM Ned Coletti says Federowicz could make the roster next spring training. (Los Angeles Times)

Cubs DON'T DEAL: Carlos Pena, who is expected to resign with the Cubs should Chicago miss out on Prince Fielder in free agency, was thrilled the Cubs stood pat at the trade deadline.

"I'd rather have someone really working toward our common goal, instead of (trading players) just for show," Pena said. "Our GM is not like that. He's not trying to 'look' like he's working. He's working. It's totally different than [thinking] 'I can fool the world by switching a couple pieces here,' and it really looks like he's making moves, making changes. When in reality it's just all for show.

"He's not like that. He's doing something that's going to mean something at the end of it all, something substantial, and we're going to reap the benefits. I'd rather have that. We put all our heads together, all our energy together, and personally, I'm excited about the possibility of me being part of that team. Even with our record at this point, with our difficulties, I can say the same thing. I'm excited about what's coming."

Sorry, Carlos. Hendry still messed up. (Chicago Tribune)

THAT'S NICE: That's the reaction of columnist Dejan Kovacevic on the Pirates' haul at the trade deadline, bringing in Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick. Unfortunately, they may be arriving aboard a sinking ship as Pittsburgh's pitching regresses. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

BEHIND THE SCENES
: Here's a quick look behind the scenes of the Francisco Rodriguez trade that sent the Mets closer to Milwaukee. K-Rod requested that his vesting option for 2012 be waived so the Mets were free to make baseball decisions about Rodriguez's usage. Alderson used that information to convince other teams the closer would void the option, which is exactly what happened once the righty moved to Milwaukee. (New York Times)

LOOKING FORWARD: Manager Eric Wedge won't let the Mariners get complacent the rest of the way, even if the trades made at the deadline deleted two strong pitchers from the staff and clearly set Seattle back this season. "What we're not going to do is spin our wheels," Wedge said. (MLB.com)

TOP DH: One of the best DHs in baseball history is Frank Thomas, who wasn't afraid to proclaim David Ortiz an all-time great at the position. Also, Thomas is a believer that DH gets a bum rap when it comes to Hall of Fame voting and perception of the position. "You ask any DH in the league how tough it is to sit there and pinch hit four times a day and put up monster numbers,” he said. (Boston Herald)

OPTION VESTS: Bobby Abreu's option for 2011 vested with his 433rd plate appearance of the season, reaching the milestone in the ninth inning Sunday against the Tigers. Abreu is now tied to Los Angeles for one more season at $9 million.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 9:53 am
 

Pepper: Pirates' pursuit of Beltran a positive

PNC Park

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos Beltran refused a deal that would send him to the Pirates, but just the fact that I can write that is pretty darn cool. Yep, the Pittsburgh Pirates were seeking a rental player at the deadline from the New York Mets.

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported the Pirates had made an "aggressive push" to get Beltran and were willing to pick up the $6.5 million left on his contract for this season.

Beltran's now with the defending champs and that's probably the best fit for him, which is the beauty of having a no-trade clause. Instead of finishing the season in Pittsburgh, he'll be in San Francisco, good for Beltran.

But it's also a sign of where the Pirates are and how they're planning on trying to win now. Last year we heard about the Pirates hoarding their luxury tax disbursement, this year we're hearing about them trying to improve.

Is it a new world order? Maybe not, but it is an indication that the Pirates' ownership is behind its team and serious about a winner. It also may end up helping the Pirates, who don't give up young talent and can contend for more years with a player that could develop into something special. Even if Beltran had accepted a trade to Pittsburgh, he wouldn't have stayed.

The Pirates have shown their commitment and that's something that was needed after last year's fiasco.

What to expect in Toronto: The folks at the Hardball Times take a look at what to expect from Colby Rasmus in Toronto. The move from Busch Stadium to the Rogers Center should help his power numbers a little bit, but not as much as it would if he were a right-hander. Meanwhile Rasmus' new manager said he'll play every day, replacing Rajai Davis. [The Globe and Mail]

La Liar?: Rasmus' father, Tony, says Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is incorrect in his assertion that his son was listening to him instead of his coaches. Rasmus said La Russa is "made that stuff up" and bullied general manager John Mozeliak into trading Rasmus for pitching. "Tony would like to have 25 pitchers," Tony Rasmus told the Toronto Sun, "like he thinks he has to put his stamp on every ball game. They had nothing else to trade. I think everyone is better off now." In a TV interview, Colby Rasmus was asked about his relationship with La Russa after the trade and the younger Rasmus said, "I hope he's happy." Tony Rasmus said La Rusa blames Rasmus for leading to Walt Jocketty leaving the Cardinals.

Winner, loser: Jeff Passan of Yahoo! says the two big deals on Wednesday showed the way to make deadline deals and the way not to make deadline deals. Let's just say the defending champs are doing something right, while another team panicked.

Oswalt strong in rehab start: Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt allowed just one hit in four innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday. Oswalt said after the start that he would probably need at least one, if not two more rehab starts before he's ready to re-join the Phillies rotation. [Delaware County Times]

Washington wants 'fire': Rangers closer Neftali Feliz can bring the heat, but his manager Ron Washington wants to see more "fire" from him on the mound. Washington said he doesn't see the urgency from his closer. Feliz has blown five saves this season after blowing just three last year. His strikeout rate is also down from a year ago. [MLB.com]

Wily Mo's back: The Mariners -- a team desperate for offense -- has signed outfielder/DH Wily Mo Pena to a minor-league contract on Wednesday. Pena hit five homers in 17 games for the Diamondbacks. Pena is expected to start at Triple-A Tacoma. [MLB.com]

Left is right: It's never a good thing for a pitcher to hear he'll have to undergo surgery to repair a loose capsule and torn labrum in his shoulder, but for Padres' right-hander Dustin Mosley, at least the surgery he'll undergo this offseason will be in his left shoulder. Mosley said he's hurt the shoulder twice this season and one more time earlier in his career, all while batting. Moseley may have to swing one-handed, bat left-handed or just bunt a whole lot more to keep his shoulder from popping out of joint when he swings. [North County Times]

Replay resistance: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly saw the play in Atlanta Tuesday night, but he's still not in favor of expanding replay. Mattingly's two issues -- the time and the human element. My response would be the time could be helped with technology and a dedicated umpire off the field for replay and the human factor isn't as important as the correct call factor. [MLB.com]

Papi's milestone: David Ortiz's grand slam on Wednesday gave him 1,000 career RBI with the Red Sox, just the sixth player to achieve that feat in Boston. He joins Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans and Bobby Doerr -- not bad company. [Boston Herald]

Stability behind the plate helps Rangers: Having the same catchers all season -- Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Napoli -- has helped Rangers pitchers. Torrealba has started 71 games behind the plate this season. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com