Mark Townsend

  • Billy Butler gave Josh Reddick an X-Box for his uniform number

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    When free agent Billy Butler made the jump from the Kansas City Royals to the Oakland A's this winter — signing a three-year, $30 million deal — he wondered the same thing all players wonder when changing teams: Who has my uniform number, and how can I get it?

    As he quickly realized, his No. 16 belonged to outfielder Josh Reddick, which he figured could be a problem. Though baseball tradition dictates the player with more service time has first dibs — Butler has a little more than seven years compared to Reddick's four years — Butler understood the respect Reddick has in the A's clubhouse and the popularity he enjoys with A's fans. In fact, Reddick's No. 16 jersey can be spotted frequently at A's games, and it would be difficult to expect him to simply part with that number.

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    It turns out Butler underestimated Reddick. Soon after his deal was official, Reddick reached out to offer his number and the two quickly reached a deal.

    So was it a winch, X-Box or both? That is the question.

    We need answers!

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  • Man to walk from Steinbrenner Field to Yankee Stadium for charity

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    While baseball fans anxiously await the day when their favorite team breaks camp and heads north, one man will be getting a head start when he begins a 1,200 mile walk from home plate at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., where the New York Yankees hold spring training, to home plate at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y.

    Richard J. Albero, a former naval officer and retired teacher, will begin his journey up the east coast on Monday, March 2, at 10:00 a.m. and he'll be doing so primarily to honor his nephew, Gary Albero, who died in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York.

    In conjunction with that effort, Albero also intends to raise $25,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project as a nod to Gary, who he describes as a charitable man who always put in the effort to raise awareness and funds for causes that were close to him.

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    So far, he's off to a pretty good start, as he's already been able to raise $9,000.

    You can find more information on how to donate at Richard's Yankees Walk of Honor.

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  • Max Scherzer reveals details of injury insurance policy

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    After turning down a six-year, $144 million extension from the Detroit Tigers last March, many wondered if Max Scherzer was taking a gamble that could backfire terribly if he went down to an injury or just simply lost his way ahead of free agency. As it turned out, injury was never once a concern for Scherzer, because not long after rejecting the deal, he took out a massive insurance policy that would reportedly cover lost potential earnings. 

    We first learned of Scherzer's insurance plan last June, though at that time no details were provided. However, on Saturday, Scherzer finally shed some light on the security the policy gave him before he signed a monstrous seven-year, $210 million deal with the Washington Nationals in January. 

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

    No wonder Scherzer was so calm.

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  • MLBPA keeping close eye on how Cubs handle Kris Bryant

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days 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 2 days 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 http://t.co/DHbmn79sRP

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

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days 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

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  • Blue Jays add Dayan Viciedo to replenish outfield depth

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days 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.

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    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 3 days 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 3 days 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. pic.twitter.com/HEthx3ZkrH

    [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 3 days 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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