Mark Townsend

  • Marcus Semien already has five hits, seven RBIs in two spring games

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 hrs ago

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    It's our duty to remind you that spring training stats mean little in the grand scheme of things. They're a small sample size collected against mostly inexperienced minor leaguers and fringe major leaguers battling it out for the final open spots on the 25-man roster. Little is to be truly learned or extracted from said numbers, although players would obviously rather come out looking impressive than having to answer questions about performance in March.

    With that mind, it's also our duty to point out when a player is flat out raking, and so far Oakland A's shortstop Marcus Semien is doing just that to the tune of five hits, two home runs, one walk and seven RBI in his first six plate appearances this spring.

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

    Here's a quick rundown of his plate appearances so far.

    1. Hit two-run homer against Madison Bumgarner to score Craig Gentry and give Oakland a quick 2-0 lead. The A's would add one more to make it a three run first. 

    5. Walked against Ty Blach.

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  • Cubs seriously considered moving 2015 home games to Milwaukee

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 hrs ago

    Miller Park in Milwaukee is often referred to as "Wrigley Field North" because of the large numbers of Cubs fans who make the 90-mile drive north and take over the ballpark whenever Chicago visits the division rival Brewers. However, as we learned on Wednesday,  Wrigley Field North nearly became a real thing this season with the Cubs beginning renovations to the original.  

    According to CBS Chicago, the Cubs realized their plans to renovate Wrigley Field with a four-phase, $375M project were ambitious. That complications could easily arise during the unpredictable winter months in Chicago that would delay progress and leave them unprepared. And it was with that in mind that  the Cubs seriously considered a contingency plan that would have seen them move all 81 of their scheduled home games in 2015 to Miller Park.  

    The Cubs are instead gambling on the renovations going smoothly and all four phases being completed without too much overlap into the MLB season. However, as they've already learned in phase one, there are no guarantees that mother nature and other complications won't arise. 

    Just kidding. We hope. 

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  • Report: MLB panel 'deadlocked' on treatment for Josh Hamilton

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 hrs ago

    The fate of Josh Hamilton will rest in the hands of a single arbitrator, according to Mike DiGiovanna and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

    The four-person panel put together to decide whether Hamilton should enter a rehabilitation program for substance abuse following his recent admitted relapse reached a stalemate on Wednesday and remained deadlocked as of the Times' report. The original panel was reportedly made up of two attorneys and two physicians, one of each appointed by the commissioner’s office and the players’ union. It's unclear how the fifth and decisive arbitrator will be selected. 

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

    There are wide-ranging implications for all involved. It's important that Hamilton receives the attention he needs and is able to move forward with a healthy state of mind. But there's always a business side.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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  • Bean and Murphy's exchange offers hope for better days ahead

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 7 hrs ago

    Billy Bean, who was named the league's first ambassador of inclusion by former MLB commissioner Bud Selig in 2014, is making several planned visits to camps this spring to share his story and provide guidance for players and team employees in support of the gay, bisexual and transgender community.

    The most recent stop came on Tuesday, when Bean visited the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla, and in that one stop, it may have already been proven just how important Bean's role will be to the league going forward.  

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

    For this visit, general manager Sandy Alderson wanted to put Bean — who played in parts of six seasons and for three different teams from 1987-1995 — in uniform so he could spend the day truly embedded with the team, allowing him to interact with players in the clubhouse and on the field. It was a decision that was universally embraced by Mets players, including veteran Daniel Murphy, who afterward didn't hide the fact that he disagreed completely with Bean's sexual orientation.

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

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days 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.

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

    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 3 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.

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

    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 3 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 3 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.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 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

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

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 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

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

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