My Archives: June 2005

050624

If he does go elsewhere, Johnny Damon does not expect to be the only ex-Red Sox on the market. If so, he hopes to stick as close as he can to his current mates. ``When I get to free agency, I'm going to talk to a lot of players because I know there's a lot of teams out there who are going to want me,'' said Damon. ``I'm going to take my time, call guys like Kevin Millar, Billy Mueller, see where they end up, guys I've enjoyed playing with here. Put a package together, that's how much I care for these guys and how much they care for me. When I'm a free agent, I'll call Kevin and say, `Hey, who wants you?' I'll tell him who wants me and we'll turn another clubhouse inside out.'' Damon is waiting for the Red Sox to talk contract extension with him, and the Red Sox are waiting until after this season to do that, a strategy they used last year with Varitek, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe. He wants a five- or six-year deal from an East Coast team, but will settle for four with the Red Sox. The reasons he wants such a long deal are to get more World Series rings and to achieve personal goals - the kind that lead to Hall of Fame consideration.


Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Mike Lowell is offended at the suggestion he is not hitting homers this season because of what he may or may not be putting into his body. The Marlins' slumping third baseman has heard about sports radio callers wondering whether his power of years past was a result of testosterone or something else he used while recovering from cancer. "I don't find it amusing at all," Lowell said. "I think it's actually somewhat disrespectful. I've heard talk radio before and a lot of intelligent things I hear are from the fans, but there are a lot of things that are stupid. I heard after the third game of the season we should trade Miguel Cabrera because he was washed up." Before Thursday's series finale against the Braves, Lowell said the only medicine he took was to prevent nausea during radiation treatments. A testicular cancer survivor, he said he has never consumed anything to supplement the testosterone his body produces.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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The Chicago Cubs have interest in Austin Kearns, and when the Atlanta Braves were in town, manager Bobby Cox pointedly asked, "What's going on with Kearns and why is in Louisville? I sure like that kid." Kearns is hitting .346 with five doubles in 26 at-bats in Louisville. "I'm playing every day and hitting," he said. "As soon as I go back to Cincinnati, I won't play every day. They have the same situation ... too many outfielders. Sure, I'd like to be someplace where I can play every day." When he was sent down before the Boston series last week, he asked about a trade and was told by General Manager Dan O'Brien there was no interest in him. "I called him on that because I've heard there is," Kearns said. "When Washington was in town, (Nationals GM) Jim Bowden told both Adam Dunn and me he continues to try to make trades for us." Bowden, though, has said that his phone calls to the Reds are not returned and his e-mails to the Reds are not answered.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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As for the A's, they are talking about a contract extension with Mark Kotsay, a player the Yankees and several other clubs are interested in. Initially, the A's were looking for Phillip Hughes and Eric Duncan, the Yankees' No. 1 draft picks in 2004 and 2003. A's also dangled outfielder Eric Byrnes in the hope the Yankees would come off Chien-Ming Wang or Robinson Cano.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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A National League source confirmed that the Marlins offered minor-league pitcher Yorman Bazardo and shortstop Josh Wilson for Rockies' Brian Fuentes but that the Marlins balked when Colorado demanded that reliever Guillermo Mota be included in the deal.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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According to a person familiar with the situation, the Yankees like Mike Cameron the most. But even though the Mets would have interest in Tom Gordon, who might be available, it's extremely hard to envision the Mets trading Cameron to the Yankees.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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As the July 31 deadline approaches for non-waiver trades, the Brewers are sure to get plenty of inquiries about their bullpen. In particular, right-handers Matt Wise, Julio Santana and Ricky Bottalico have impressed scouts with their pitch-making as setup men. "All of those guys have done a good job," Yost said. "Our bullpen has been really good."

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty is in Memphis this weekend to see the Redbirds. Outfielder Roger Cedeno, on a minor-league rehab assignment in Memphis, could have his spot in the organization settled soon. Cedeno, who is rehabbing a hamstring strain, had four hits in his first 23 at-bats with the Redbirds, for a .174 average. That's not too far off his performance with the Cardinals before the injury. Time's ticking on his rehab assignment and if the Cardinals opt not to put Cedeno on the roster - preferring, say, to keep Scott Seabol as a bat off the bench - they could designate him for assignment. That sets him up to be traded or released.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Willie Randolph, who will visit Yankee Stadium for the first time as an opposing manager tonight, said yesterday he never got any indication from the Yankees, for whom he played for 13 seasons and spent 11 more years with as a coach, that the organization considered him a serious managerial candidate.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Rarely has a day gone by without Nats GM Jim Bowden talking to one of his fellow GMs about trading for a slugger. His primary targets are well known: Toronto's Vernon Wells, Colorado's Preston Wilson, Florida's Juan Encarnacion, Cincinnati's Wily Mo Pena. All are power-hitting outfielders with the potential to bolster a Nationals offense that ranks 15th of 16 National League clubs in runs scored.


Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Because Brewers 2B Bill Hall is young (25), cheap ($344,000 this year), fast and athletic, several clubs have called GM Doug Melvin during the past few years to inquire about trade availability, but Hall is quickly working his way toward untouchable status. "Other teams see him as a utility guy, because he can play a couple different positions in the infield," Melvin said. "To me, his value comes from the fact that he can hit in different spots in the lineup. He can hit leadoff if you need him to. He can hit second. He can hit fifth. He can hit in a number of spots.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Toward the end in Philaelphia, Terry Francona was facing merciless fan contempt, to the point he feared physical harm, and behaved accordingly. His parking spot was changed regularly. He stopped parking in the players' lot and moved to a space near the club's offices. In 2001, he revisited Philadelphia to scout a three-game series as a special assistant to then-Indians general manager John Hart. ''There was a security guard right above me [at each game]," Francona said. ''He looked at me and said, '[Phillies president] Dave Montgomery said I have to stand here.' I said, 'You're kidding.' He said, 'What, did you forget?' He stood there for nine innings. It was humiliating." And he won't be eating any cheesesteaks at Geno's, home of the original Philadelphia cheesesteak. ''Oh, my god, have you ever eaten there?" Francona said, recalling a time he used to eat there with his children. ''It's horrible. It's Cheez Whiz, and I've got four kids, and the kids can't make up their minds and the guy's yelling at them . . . "

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Veteran Diamondbacks relief pitcher Matt Herges cleared waivers after being designated for assignment last weekend and has agreed to report to Tucson.


Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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The Rockies moved closer to signing free-agent reliever Mike DeJean on Thursday. DeJean spent his first four seasons with the Rockies, going 14-9 with a 4.95 ERA. Asked if he had eliminated the Rockies from consideration, DeJean was blunt. "I definitely wouldn't say that at all," said DeJean, who expects to return to his Colorado house this weekend after getting released by the New York Mets with a 3-1 record and 6.31 ERA. "We will know something before too long. You may see me there."

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Of the available Rockies, Preston Wilson is the most popular target, making himself more valuable last week by admitting he would play a corner outfield position for a contender. The Cubs, unhappy with the production of left fielders Todd Hollandsworth and Jason Dubois, will not part with Triple-A shortstop Ronny CedeŮo or major-league reliever Todd Wellemeyer, players high on the Rockies' wish list.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Under the theory that one man's thorn can be another man's rose, the Giants on Thursday claimed outfielder Alex Sanchez off waivers from Tampa Bay. Sanchez, 28, is a good hitter and speedy runner but a poor defensive player who found himself on the Devil Rays' bench frequently complaining about his lot. Sanchez also holds the dubious distinction of being the first player suspended for 10 games under the major-league's new steroids policy, on the eve of the season opener. He claimed he took a nutritional supplement that he bought before the rules were changed, but he did not appeal the suspension. Manager Felipe Alou considers the steroid issue moot, saying, "He's got plenty of company, and the fact he's clear now puts him in big company, too. If a guy's clean, it's not like he murdered somebody or stole the Mona Lisa."

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Even though they're running away with the National League Central, the Cardinals will look to improve themselves by the July 31 deadline for making trades without waivers. With right fielder Larry Walker hurting, the Cardinals could use another outfielder to bolster their roster. "It's actually the same every day unless you're perfect," La Russa said of upgrading the team. "We're never perfect, so you're always looking to see how you can get better. It's the same process we're always talking about: How can we get better?"

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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The Cubs are debating how hard to pursue Oakland Athletics center fielder Mark Kotsay. Trading for him might answer one question but raise others. Kotsay, however, seems a more appealing possibility than Colorado's Preston Wilson, even if there are heavy financial considerations to weigh in Kotsay's case. He has a 2006 player option for $7.05 million.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Manager Dusty Baker said the Cubs may not announce who will start Sunday's finale of the City Series until Saturday. Mark Prior is expected to pitch Sunday, but Baker said they want to see how he feels after another bullpen session Friday before making a final decision. Prior declined to address the media after Thursday's game in Milwaukee.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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A provision in Roberto Petagine's contract allows him to opt out of his deal with the Red Sox beginning June 30 and sign with a team in Japan if he is still in the minor leagues. He could command a financially enticing offer in Japan, where he cemented a legend as a power hitter over the preceding six seasons (a .317 average and 223 HRs). The clause requires Petagine, a first baseman, to have a deal in place before he can leave the Sox organization. The Sox, meanwhile, could block any such deal by calling him up to Boston. But there's really no room for Petagine, what with John Olerud hitting .394 with a homer and six RBIs in 32 at-bats while playing an effortless first base as Kevin Millar's backup. The Sox are shopping Petagine, who probably could help some team as a lefthanded bat off the bench.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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So what does this Randy Wolf injury mean for the Phillies? Righthander Rob Tejeda remains in the rotation for the foreseeable future. In his first three big-league starts he is 1-0 with a 0.54 ERA. If he continues to pitch like that, they won't need to worry about him. But they might need to worry about righthander Vicente Padilla. Padilla, who pitches tomorrow afternoon against the Boston Red Sox, is 3-6 with a 6.23 ERA. He has pitched six innings just once in 10 starts. But the Phillies are confident they have options: Phillies general manager Ed Wade said they will continue to monitor righthander Gavin Floyd at triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In 11 starts for Scranton, Floyd is 3-5 with a 7.31 ERA. In his last three starts, he is 1-0 with a 12.08 ERA. Wade said the Phillies also will pay attention to lefthander Cole Hamels, who threw five no-hit innings for single-A Clearwater on Tuesday.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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The Yankees' trade focus could be on pitching instead of upgrading the outfield, an area of interest the past week. The most popular starter is Roger Clemens, even if the Astros have denied shopping him. There may come a time when the A's decide to move Barry Zito. Devil Rays closer Danys Baez is the best reliever on a team not in contention, but GM Chuck LaMar is very difficult to deal with. Outfield possibilities include Mark Kotsay, Juan Pierre, Mike Cameron and Brian Giles.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Forthcoming negotiations between the Royals and first-round draft pick Alex Gordon will include an interesting subtext: The club intends to fast-track Gordonís career by starting him at Class AA Wichita ó but only if the two sides reach a quick agreement. ďIf he signs soon,Ē general manager Allard Baird confirmed, ďIíll send him to Double-A. Then heíll go to the Arizona Fall League. But let me make this clear: This is not a negotiation. ďWhat Iím saying is he has survival skills, because of his plate discipline, to handle Double-A. Will he be challenged? You bet heíll be challenged. The difference between Double-A and college baseball is night and day.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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An MRI exam of Larry Walker's neck showed no increase in severity of the herniated disc in his upper spine, so he will test some medications this weekend while hoping to avoid invasive treatment for the pain that has restricted his neck's range of motion and limited his availability. Cardinals team doctor George Paletta said the MRI taken of Walker's neck on Thursday morning looked no different than the one taken in April. Both showed a small herniation, but one in "a critical location" that causes pain in Walker's left arm and can restrict movement of his head. Walker, 38, said he would like to avoid another cortisone shot. He received one about a month ago. Paletta said Walker will try several medications this weekend. He will be monitored. The Cardinals came into the season planning to play Walker two of every three games, and more only if permitted. It was a given the 38-year-old right fielder would need rest, as La Russa said, for any number of his maladies, including problems with his knee and his shoulder.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Some patrons through the years, including Scott Williamson when he pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, have reported seeing ghosts at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, the historic hotel in St. Petersburg where the Marlins will stay this weekend. "That might be just what we need,'' manager Jack McKeon joked, referring to the team's struggles. "Or kidnap Derrek Lee for a few days.''

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Alex Rodriguez stood in front of his locker after another maddening and inexplicable Yankees loss, and the words that were coming out of his mouth were nearly impossible to fathom. "They dominated us in every facet of the game," Rodriguez said of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "They played good defense; they ran the bases well; they pitched well -- and when you do that, you win three out of four." Yes, that's right. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, laughingstock of the American League since their inception in 1998, languishing in their customary spot at the bottom of the AL East with a 26-47 record, had just spanked the Yankees, 9-4, before 45,382 disbelieving witnesses inside Yankee Stadium, taking their second straight game, their third in the four-game series and their seventh in 10 games against the Yankees this season. Against everyone else, the Devil Rays are 19-44.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Ben Broussard the Indians' first baseman/recording artist gets to relive the thrill of performing on multiple stages tonight at Jacobs Field. Broussard and left fielder Coco Crisp will participate in a concert at the stadium after the Indians' game against the Cincinnati Reds. Pitchers won't hit in this interleague game, but hitters will sing. ``I think it's going to be a lot of fun,'' said Broussard, who has written between 25-30 songs. ``I have been playing guitar since I was 14, when I was in youth group. It's something I really enjoy. Coco is really good. He does a nice job with his freestyle.'' Broussard and Crisp are two of 11 current and former major-league players featured on the newly released CD Oh Say Can You Sing? that includes original and cover tracks. Crisp will sing his original rap track We Got That Thang. Broussard will perform original and cover material. They will follow an appearance by local band Sunset Strip.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Tomorrow, mid-morning, in a huge party tent on a picturesque plateau overlooking Canada's field of dreams, former major-league pitchers Dave Stieb and Steve Rogers will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame at St. Marys. Both are eminently worthy of the honour. "Stieb in his prime was as dominant as any pitcher in the game," said Buck Martinez, former Jays catcher and now O's broadcaster. "To me, that's the criterion. Where does he stack up with the other pitchers in the league?"

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Yesterday's game, which dropped Ichiro's average to .230 (20 for 87) for June, had Ichiro again seeking answers. Ichiro was vague on what he thinks may be wrong but said he's as frustrated now as he has been all season. "It doesn't matter really how long I'm not hitting well," he said through an interpreter. "It's always frustrating to me whether it's a game or an at-bat. It doesn't make any difference."

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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The Pirates placed left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and recalled left-hander Mike Johnston from Class AAA Indianapolis. Manager Lloyd McClendon expects left-hander John Grabow to take Gonzalez's setup role, with Johnston moving into Grabow's spot. McClendon said Gonzalez (0-3, 3.21 ERA, one save) caught a cleat on the rubber in Cincinnati in April, then tweaked the knee Wednesday against Washington. Gonzalez had an MRI in Pittsburgh yesterday morning and, although no additional damage was found, he was placed on the DL because of persistent pain when he pitches. He drives off the injured knee.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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Already proven to be a quick healer, reliever Jason Grimsley will take the next step toward rejoining the Baltimore Orioles' bullpen when he begins a minor league assignment on Sunday with Class AA Bowie. "A lot of people blew me off for this year," said Grimsley, who had elbow ligament replacement surgery eight months ago. "I had other ideas." Pitching coach Ray Miller predicted Grimsley would probably spend 10 to 12 days with Bowie and hoped the pitcher would make at least five appearances.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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A return appears imminent. Jose Vidro's plan is to continue to work through this weekend, when the Nationals host the Toronto Blue Jays, and perhaps be ready for a rehabilitation assignment early next week. If all goes well, he could be back in the lineup for next weekend's series in Chicago against the Cubs, or perhaps just after that, when the Nationals return home to play the New York Mets. "I don't feel any pain," Vidro said. "I've been running a little out there, and I've been getting tired quick, but it's not pain, so that's good. I just need to get in shape." Nationals officials don't believe Vidro will need much time to get his bat in shape.

Posted June 24, by Ben Maller
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The numbers point directly to Chad Cordero, and he says it doesn't faze him. "I don't think about that at all," he said. The topic is baseball's All-Star Game, which will be held July 12 in Detroit. All but one member of each squad will be named July 3 -- including the entire pitching staffs -- and Cordero, the Washington Nationals' closer, has as good a chance as anyone. Just 23, he leads the major leagues with 23 saves, and has only blown two opportunities -- none since April 21. He also leads the National League relievers in ERA -- 1.00.

Posted by fookayooka @ 02:42 PM CST [Link]

050616

6-16-05

What a perfect day outside. As I sit here and stare into the window of the office I sit near by I think of how much fun it would be to not be at work. Le sigh.

At least I have a doctorís appointment and have decided not to come back to work afterwards. I think I might go get some lunch at a fun place and finish my book. Whoo hoo!

After about a month of complete inactivity Iím going to ask my doctor today as to what physical activities I can start doing. You know, so I donít mess up my shoulder. Iíve been such a lump the last month or so that I just want to do something to feel my heart racing.

Posted by fookayooka @ 10:59 AM CST [Link]

050613

6-13-05

Last night was our monthly poker night. I passed up Cubs/Red Sox tickets to play. Needless to say I was expecting a big night, not a night I was down $9. Our favorite part of the night was we created a new game, which has been done over the 3 years weíve played with different levels of success, called Duck Duck Goose. Mainly itís 7 card stud, and if an ace shows up you have to run around the table with the guy to your left chasing you. I of course am the only one who was dealt an ace which forced me to run. If caught I lose the ace, if I get back to my chair I keep the ace. Needless to say I was trucking. Of course the guy chasing me knocked his chair down so while I was running (mind you I did have surgery on my shoulder 4 weeks ago). This obstacle forced me to leap over the downed chair and I grabbed my chair just as the guy caught me. The ace was mine.

I ended up winning that hand.

Posted by fookayooka @ 01:32 PM CST [Link]

050609

6-9-05

There goes another $20. I blame it mostly on being a tired, but alas I lost in poker again. Iíve always enjoyed playing poker. Back in high school days we used to play penny poker due to the fact that no one had any money, but we always had pennies! 3 years ago I was invited to actually play real poker. You know with coins and dollar bills. Taking an estimate of how much Iíve spent, or lost depending on how you look at it, and won Iím actually ahead by quite a large margin. So next person who mentions I might have a problem will just have to look at my winningsÖwhich are not here currently. You know, bills and all.

Every work day should end with some form of ice cream. This should be a standard rule at all companies. I walk out of work and someone hands me ice cream. Morale would increase. People would look forward to the end of work with even greater anticipation. We would of course figure something out for those lactose intolerant people.

Cheese fries for lunch seemed like a good idea.

Posted by fookayooka @ 04:48 PM CST [Link]

050607

6-7-05

Full recovery? Letís just say about 93.46% recovery.

Iím finally moving around again and have been since Sunday. Letís rejoice!

Sunday was my day of just being out. I didnít care what I was doing I just wanted to be outside with some friends. The last couple of weeks I really feel like I havenít done anything. Everything I wanted to do was put on hold mainly because I would forget about it after a couple of minutes and continue to lay on the couch and watch bad afternoon tv. There really is come crap on.

This week will be the first 5 day week Iíve worked since my birthday. No on purpose mind you, it just happened to work that way. Itís like I just had a semi 5 month vacation.

I forgot that I had my first summer slurpee this weekend, and currently Iím slurping up a shake. Best part of summer!

Posted by fookayooka @ 08:55 AM CST [Link]

050602

6-2-05

I have been unable to get a real coherent thought out of my head for about a month.

Iím sick again. Again. All spring Iíve been laid up in bed for numerous reasons, and frankly Iím getting sick of it (no not intentional).

Iím now trying to sit through work because Iím quickly running out of days off, let alone days off I actually could use to do something fun, like take a trip.

I mostly just want that feeling of feeling ok. That first day you get over any sickness is the best. Iím still waiting for it.

Enough of my bitching. Out.

Posted by fookayooka @ 11:14 AM CST [Link]

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