- David Brown at Big League Stew44 mins ago
Baseball's back! Stop by periodically for headlines from around spring training.
Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon took top prospect Taijaun Walker away from prying eyes for his bullpen session Thursday, and both emerged pleased with how he performed. Walker, a 21-year-old right-hander who was hoping to begin the season in the major league rotation, had been experiencing shoulder soreness and was completely shut down for a week Feb. 28. Walker had been building up strength ever since, but he also had been building uncertainty.
Greg Johns at MLB.com reports that Walker is feeling relief and happiness after throwing in a tightly controlled session:
“Today was a great relief,” said the 21-year-old, who is the No. 6 ranked prospect in baseball by MLB.com. “I finally feel normal again. I can finally go out and just be normal and play catch and not worry about anything.
“I’m excited. It kind of feels like I just got here. It feels really good.”
- David Brown at Big League Stew19 hrs ago
There is another.
Infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena advertises himself to be similar to longtime friend and new Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Yasiel Puig. He plays with lots of flair and emotion — which is "typical of Latinos,” Arruebarrena is quoted as saying by reporter Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
It's certainly typical of Puig, whose rollicking rookie season was celebrated and bemoaned simultaneously while he pushed the figurative envelope, or pushed buttons — depending on how you took it.
Two Puigs = twice the fun! A shortstop by trade who figures to reach the majors at some point this season, Arruebarrena reported to camp Thursday after visa snags. He recently signed a five-year, $25 million contract. Hernandez writes:
- David Brown at Big League Stew20 hrs ago
One of the reasons fans love Wrigley Field is because it appears to have been dropped into an otherwise typical neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago. The rooftop apartments beyond the ivy-covered bleachers add character and charm to the ballpark setting. Chicago Cubs ownership should have purchased those properties along Waveland and Sheffield avenues long ago. Too bad for them.
The Lansing (Mich.) Lugnuts and the city that owns their ballpark want to take a page from Wrigley's book and construct perhaps 100 apartments literally inside of the stadium. By way of a $22 million project split down the middle with public and private funds, the Midwest League's Class A club for the Toronto Blue Jays and the city seek to expand and upgrade Cooley Law School Stadium in downtown Lansing, the state capital. The plan, called the "Outfield," would be part of a bigger plan to upgrade parts of downtown as a whole. The stadium itself was opened in 1996 and needs upgrading regardless, ownership says. Major league star Carlos Beltran played there when the Lugnuts franchise belonged to the Kansas City Royals.
- David Brown at Big League Stew23 hrs ago
Manny Ramirez admitted to reporter Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports during an interview published Thursday that he "made mistakes" with performance-enhancing drugs, but he's learned from them and — nearing age 42 and three years removed from the big leagues — wants one more chance to play Major League Baseball.
Ramirez was suspended by MLB for 50 games in 2009, when he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, after testing positive for a female fertility drug. It would be a much bigger deal if Ramirez had admitted to Rosenthal that the drug worked and that's why he has a 4-year-old son. But a 40-something ex-ballplayer who wants another shot, finally admitting what we already had surmised?
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The Seattle Mariners usually air the best TV commercials, or they're up there with the Minnesota Twins. This cannot be disputed. (OK, it can. It's all subjective. But the M's are the best.) They have put their commercials for 2014 on the team's website — starting with "Old School Kyle Seager" — and they're all good. The players always get into their roles.
Jimmy Rollins spoke to reporters in Florida on Thursday about being benched for the Philadelphia Phillies' past three spring training games. While unhappy, he doesn't sound too worried about it, actually. And though he disagrees with manager Ryne Sandberg, he also doesn't quite know what's bugging Sandberg about how he is conducting himself.
Rollins added that if player and manager need to speak, it will be Sandberg who initiates the conversation, says reporter Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The first hint of any issue came after Wednesday's game in Sarasota, Fla., when Sandberg offered no explanation for Rollins' three-day benching. Unprompted, Sandberg praised Freddy Galvis' "energy and his positive influence." When asked about Rollins in that regard, Sandberg said, "No comment."
- Big League Stew1 day ago
Among the consequences of slugger Ryan Braun admitting he lied about taking performance-enhancing drugs was a loss of trust, and some of it vanished in a very material sense. Braun lost about $3.3 million in salary from the Milwaukee Brewers because of his 65-game suspension from Major League Baseball related to Biogenesis, but his side income was affected as well. He lost business partnerships, even with good friends. Restaurants took his name off their establishments. Product endorsement deals dried up. Nobody wanted to be associated with someone who lied about cheating.
While it's still not like the old days when Braun was a walking billboard for Nike baseball cleats — and was paid handsomely to strut his stuff — he has resurfaced this spring with a small company called 3N2. Something to think about the next time Braun steps in with a full count.
Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg might be trying to send a message to the club's longtime shortstop, Jimmy Rollins. Despite checking out as healthy, Rollins has not played the past two days and is not scheduled to play Thursday in Grapefruit League action. Instead, the Phillies are going with Freddy Galvis at shortstop.
Rollins was supposed to be in the lineup Tuesday for a game at Orlando, but he stayed back at the team's spring headquarters in Clearwater, Fla. The same thing happened Wednesday when Philly made an hour-long trek to Sarasota. Sometimes a team's veterans don't make road trips in spring training, which can be relatively long days. But that's not what seems to be going on with Rollins.
Chris Branch of Delaware Online writes:
Galvis played well Wednesday, going 1 for 2 with a triple and a RBI. Asked about Galvis afterward, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg gushed.
Immediately after, Sandberg was asked about Rollins in that regard.
"No comment," Sandberg said.
- Big League Stew1 day ago
They call it the Cactus League for a reason. Right-hander Francisco Rodriguez probably knew why already, but he got reminded in a most prickly way Tuesday after he stepped on a cactus.
Ow, ow, OWWWWWW!
To repeat: Ow, ow, OWWWWW!
That means, apparently, that Rodriguez didn't go the emergency room on Tuesday , when he stepped on a cactus . He was sitting around for hours with spines in his foot. Sleeping with spines in his foot. It's likely we won't learn the circumstances of how cactus spines ended up in K-Rod's foot until Thursday, the next time he'll probably speak to reporters. However, Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said it wouldn't shock him to see Rodriguez try and pitch Wednesday. No kidding, with that pain threshold.
- Big League Stew1 day ago
"He who gambles lives in a shambles" — famous bettor
People who gamble figure it's time for Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout to win AL MVP after he finished as runner-up in the voting the past two seasons to Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers. This time, they say, Cabrera will be the bridesmaid.
Wagerers also figure that Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates will win the NL MVP again, with Joey Votto of the Reds finishing second and Paul Goldschmidt, McCutchen's runner-up in 2013, finishing third.
Bovada.lv released its MVP odds for both leagues Wednesday, along with some fun proposition bets. For the AL, Trout is listed at 5 to 1, with Cabrera 6 to 1 and Jacoby Ellsbury and Albert Pujols (interesting!) at 12 to 1. On the NL side, McCutchen is 6 to 1, with Votto a second choice at 7 to 1 and Goldschmidt 9 to 1.