Archive for the ‘News And Notes’ Category

MLB: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels

Geovany Soto. Jurickson Profar. Matt Harrison. Derek Holland. Yu Darvish (potentially.) The Texas Rangers are not having the best final weeks of Spring Training.

The injuries for the Rangers are, on their own, nothing major. Missing Soto (torn meniscus, out 10-12 weeks) and Profar (tear in shoulder muscle, out 10-12 weeks) isn’t the end of the world – in a vacuum. But stacking all these DL stints on top of each other and the Rangers…well the Rangers have reason for concern. They still boast a great middle of the order with Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, and Alex Rios. Elvis Andrus is back after a shutting down for a week after a sore throwing arm. The Rangers are still good.

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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians

Public negotiations are never easy. What somebody says to the media (or to “sources”) isn’t always a fair representation of what really happens at the negotiating table. Players swear up and down that family considerations hold equal weight when planning their future but, as we’re told over and over, it’s all about the money.

Justin Masterson is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Earlier this winter, it appeared inevitable that the big righty would work out a deal with Cleveland. Masterson joined the Indians in 2009 and has four up-and-down seasons under his belt. Masterson’s public comments suggested he wanted to stay in Cleveland and was willing to take a shorter deal to facilitate it.

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

Tommy John surgery is not an oil change for pitchers. It is not a routine cleaning at the dentist. It is a major surgery that is incredibly complicated and requires one full calendar year of rehabilitation before patients are ready to throw baseballs once again.

Brandon Beachy looks as though he needs a second Tommy John surgery. Kris Medlen also appears resigned to a second trip under the knife – both are scheduled for ominous meetings with Dr. James Andrews at his famous clinic in Birmingham. It’s scary for these two pitchers as coming back from two TJs is about as daunting a task as a big leaguer can face.

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MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

There is no substitute for good luck. Unfortunately, baseball teams cannot purchase good luck on the free market. There is no international spending pool on good luck and good fortune is not represented by Boras Corp.

When it comes to constructing a baseball team, one to survive the rigors of six weeks of Spring Training plus 162 games and beyond, there is no discounting the role of good luck. Especially when it comes to assembling a pitching staff. Peril lurks around each and every corner.

The Atlanta Braves had a good thing going in their rotation. After losing Tim Hudson to free agency, their staff was young and cheap and, at times, quite good. The Braves management liked their group enough to decided against upgrading this winter. The rolled into camp with Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy, Alex Wood, And Julio Teheran at the top of their depth chart. That could totally work. For a team that won more than 90 games and features a high-powered offense, you could do much worse.

But insurance companies are billion dollar entities for a reason. Things happen, necessitating the existence of Freddy Garcia. You might need some cover for a few starts and Garcia can fill that void, if needed.

After two days of worrisome signs from counted-on starting pitchers, Freddy Garcia becomes more than a necessary evil. Suddenly Freddy Garcia is a savior, the glue holding the entire Braves enterprise together.

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Does a surgeon belong in baseball Hall of Fame? Does a man who never set foot on the field and never filled out a lineup card or engineered a big trade deserve enshrinement in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown?

As far as people who changed the face of baseball, you could look long and hard without turning up a single soul whose actions more directed changed the face of baseball. Doctor Frank Jobe, who died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 88, is that rare innovator. Dr. Jobe pioneered, developed, and disseminated the revolutionary ligament transfer surgery best known as “Tommy John surgery”, named after his first successful patient. This terrific 30-for-30 short tells their story.

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Minnesota Twins catcher Joe  Mauer takes fielding practice at first base before Dodgers game in Minneapolis

Catching is a tough gig. The abuse heaped upon your body – just about every part of your body – is difficult to fathom. Knees and legs tire from the innumerable squats performed each game. The weakening of the catching hand after repeated exposure to fastball after fastball. To say nothing of the foul tips bombarding the body at a moment’s notice, deflecting off the face mask or otherwise unprotected joints and digits.

It’s a grind and it is not for the faint of heart. On top of the physical difficulty of the job, it is an increasingly demanding defensive role as the ability to frame pitches, call games, and eliminate running threats on the bases are prized by keen baseball decision makers.

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MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins

One of the most awkward feelings in the world is having a friend play you a song on the acoustic guitar in small room. This is especially true if they aren’t a particularly skilled player. It’s one of those things, for me, I just never knew where to look. Especially when they look up from their fretboard to gauge your reaction. To I look this person in the eyes as they strum some corny chords? Stare at their fingers? Gaze out the window while trying to decide if the fall would break my ankles? Needless to say, few phrases freeze me in terror quite like “here, I’ve been working on something, check it out!”

Watching the umpire crews go through their video replay machinations felt vaguely like watching somebody play the guitar. Actually, it felt like watching somebody watch someone else play the guitar, knowing how uncomfortable they must be standing around waiting for the sick spectacle to be over.

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