Mark Townsend

  • MLBPA keeping close eye on how Cubs handle Kris Bryant

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 hrs ago

    Chicago Cubs prospect Kris Bryant is one of those truly rare and special talents. Recognized by ESPN's Keith Law and Baseball America at the No. 1 prospect in baseball, Bryant is a major-league ready hitter with at least All-Star upside. Nothing he's done during his time in the minor leagues has cast any doubt over those expectations either. In fact, he delivered a minor-league best 43 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A last season, which has actually raised the expectations.

    [Baseball is back! Check out Yahoo For Spring Training for great spring training pics.]

    That can mean the difference of millions of dollars, which is why clubs often try to work around this rule by holding out top prospects until later in the season. It's a business decision and once again it's within the parameters, but it's a strategy that's also gaining more attention recently, in particular from MLBPA executive director Tony Clark.

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  • Taking a look at Minnie Minoso's Hall of Fame case

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 hrs ago

    With the news that baseball pioneer and Chicago legend Minnie Minoso died early Sunday at the age of 92, comes obvious sadness. Not only for the brilliant man lost, whose energy and passion for life and baseball may only be matched by another Chicago legend we recently lost, Ernie Banks, but also for the big heartbreak we know he lived with for so many years over his exclusion from baseball's Hall of Fame.

    Minnie Minoso wanted nothing more than to be honored by his peers and recognized by the game he loved. As he stated many times, it was his final dream in life. Just to have that moment and know he truly belonged among baseball's elite.

    “'My last dream is to be in Cooperstown, to be with those guys,”' Minoso said. “'I want to be there. This is my life's dream.”

    Making Minoso's disappointment even more disheartening is that it's an honor he deserved.

    During the 1950's, two players had 100 HR & 100 SB while hitting .300 Willie Mays & Minnie Minoso

  • Ronald Belisario fractured his left shoulder climbing out of his pool

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 14 hrs ago

    When veteran reliever Ronald Belisario inked a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays this winter, he knew he'd have to earn his way on to the roster following a disappointing 2014 campaign with the Chicago White Sox. In 62 appearances, Belisario posted a 5.56 ERA while allowing a career worst 78 hits in 66.1 innings. The innings total was actually his fourth lowest in five full seasons, so that confirms it was a real struggle.

    Still, a real opportunity awaited Belisario when he arrived to Port Charlotte, Fla., for Rays camp, but unfortunately he didn't make it there in one piece. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Belisario suffered a fractured left shoulder in a freak accident while climbing out of his swimming pool, and that all but guarantees he'll be on the outside looking in on opening day.

    #Rays say RH Belisario has a fractured left shoulder, won't do anything on field for 2 weeks. Happened in accident before reported to camp

    [Baseball is back! Check out Yahoo For Spring Training for great spring training pics.]

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  • Blue Jays add Dayan Viciedo to replenish outfield depth

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 18 hrs ago

    Following a freak injury to outfielder Michael Saunders that will keep him sidelined around 5-6 weeks, the Toronto Blue Jays added some depth on Saturday by agreeing to a minor-league contract with veteran Dayan Viciedo.

    Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the deal. Rosenthal previously reported that both the Blue Jays and Oakland A's were showing interest in Viciedo, but apparently not enough to extend major league offers.

    The signing comes 24 days after Viciedo was released by the Chicago White Sox. During his five-year stint on the south side, Viciedo was a .254/.298/.424 hitter. He hit .231/.281/.405 in a career high 563 plate appearances last season, while adding 21 home runs and 22 doubles.

    [Baseball is back! Check out Yahoo For Spring Training for great spring training pics.]

    If they use him exclusively against left-handers, Viciedo could prove to be a more valuable addition. Against southpaws, his career averages rise to .291/.331/.507.

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  • Paul Molitor places restrictions on mobile devices in Twins clubhouse

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 21 hrs ago

    Baseball clubhouses are no different than the local coffee shop, an airport lobby or the subway train. Wherever large groups of people gather, you're bound to see a high percentage of them messing around on their phones, laptops or other electronic and mobile devices while blocking out all of the commotion that exists around them.

    However, there's supposed to be one major difference between a baseball clubhouse and those public places, and that's the atmosphere. While it may be acceptable to tune others out in public, where you're most likely surrounded by strangers, in the clubhouse you're supposed to be teammates with common interests, collective goals and countless reasons to be engaged with one another.

    [Baseball is back! Check out Yahoo For Spring Training for great spring training pics.]

    "It's baseball time," Guardado said. "If your wife or kids or somebody needs to get hold of you for something important, they'll do that. I know times have changed. Technology is just crazy, but the game of baseball hasn't changed."

    That's not just baseball. That's life.

  • Giancarlo Stanton is fine after being plunked during intrasquad game

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Breathe easy, Miami Marlins fans. Superstar slugger Giancarlo Stanton is doing fine and was even able to finish Saturday's intrasquad game after being hit on the left hip by a pitch from Henderson Alvarez.

    Henderson Alvarez plunks Giancarlo Stanton with a pitch during #Marlins intrasquad game.

    [Baseball is back! Check out Yahoo For Spring Training for great spring training pics.]

    The helmet obviously couldn't protect his hip, but the good news is this is only a story because of what happened last season, and in no way will be an extension of that incident. In some ways it may even help Stanton to get that first hit by pitch out of the way so he can focus on preparing and adjusting to his new headgear. 

    "Feels good," Stanton said, afterward. "No thoughts, 100 percent fine. Didn't have one thought about it."

    In fact, once it was confirmed that Stanton was OK, the concern actually turned to the object involved in the beaning.

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  • Chris Sale sidelined three weeks with avulsion fracture of right foot

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The news isn't ideal for the Chicago White Sox, but apparently they feared much worse when ace left-hander Chris Sale hobbled into their spring training complex on Saturday morning. 

    According to a team press release, Sale suffered an avulsion fracture of his right foot in an accident at his home in Arizona on Friday. Initial reports suggest the injury will keep him sidelined for three weeks, which all things considered is far from a worst case scenario, but will put him in a race against the clock to be ready for opening day. 

    Sale underwent x-rays this am & will undergo further tests once swelling subsides. His status for Opening Day will be better determined then

    General manager Rick Hahn indicated the injury occurred while Sale was unloading something off the back of his truck. Sale himself did not confirm or deny how it happened, but was apparently in good spirits while meeting the media. 

    Chris Sale joked he was fighting off an intruder. No other details. Doesn't seem concerned about long term injury. #WhiteSox

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  • Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to debut funnel cake cheeseburger

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    As a whole, minor league baseball continues setting a very high standard when it comes to unique ballpark promotions. But let us not overlook another area of strength for many of its clubs: The concession stand menu.

    Somewhere below the standard baseball items, you're bound to find a few creative and ridiculously appealing items that wlll test your will and lighten your wallet. For example, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers — the Midwest League Class A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers — and team chef Tim Hansen unveiled a pair of new burgers this week that will instantly make you consider a trip to Appleton.

    First, we have all the makings of a delicious bacon cheeseburger packed inside a funnel cake bun, which naturally gives us the Big Mother Funnel Burger.

    Big Mother Funnel Burger @TimberRattlers Summer 2015

    Don't try saying that ten times fast, but do order it at least once if you're headed to a Timber Rattlers game this spring. It'll only set you back $20.

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  • Scooter Gennett helps stray dog at Brewers spring training

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    On Thursday, Milwaukee Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett was going about his business after the Milwaukee Brewers wrapped up workouts at their spring complex in Maryvale, Ariz. when he discovered a stray dachshund wondering the area. According to Gennett via his Twitter account, he was able to make friends with the dog, or at least made him comfortable enough to ride along to the local vet, and that's where Gennett says the the dog will be cared for.

    Just brought this poor guy to the vet..they assured me Dachshund Only Rescue would help him out!! #hank2? #stray

    If the story sounds familiar, that's because it is familiar. 

    You humans are all crazy. Obviously #TheDress is #blueandblack.

    Or maybe not.

    The dress, Hank? Really?

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  • Juan Pierre officially retires after 14 MLB seasons

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Veteran outfielder Juan Pierre has officially announced his retirement after 14 seasons in Major League Baseball, confirming a report from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

    Thanks for all the tweets keep them coming it's true today I'm officially retiring today.Blessed and grateful to have played the game I love

    The announcement comes as a mere formality, rather than a major surprise. The writing was on the wall for Pierre following a difficult year in 2013, which saw him hit just .247/.284/.305 across the board in 330 plate appearances. In fact, he seemed to be resigned to his fate in baseball following that season, understanding there wasn't much demand for aging outfielders with limited offensive upside.

    "They can come and take away my jersey right now, and I'll be fine. I'll be OK with it either way."

    Without a major league offer in hand, Pierre ended up sitting out the entire 2014 season. He didn't appear on anybody's radar this past winter either, so at 37 he's officially ending his journey after appearing in 1,994 MLB games and winning one World Series championship with the then Florida Marlins in 2003.

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