Mike Oz

  • Melvin Upton will miss the rest of spring training with foot injury

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    New name, same disappointment. Melvin Upton — the Atlanta Braves outfielderformerly known as B.J. Upton — got some unbossman-like news Friday. He's very likely to miss the rest of spring training and opening day because of a foot injury.

    Upton, 30, has hit .196 in two seasons since signing a five-year, $72.25 million contract with the Braves. Anybody hoping that 2015 might bring a role reversal for Upton has to be disappointed that his season is starting on the wrong foot. (Pun absolutely intended).

    Mark Bowman, the Braves' beat witer for MLB.com, has specifics:

    The #Braves announced Upton will be sidelined throughout Spring Training. He will be in a cast for 2 weeks and a walking boot for 4-6 wks

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  • Pirates say they're sickened by photo of Jihadi John in their cap

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The horrors brought upon the world by the man known as "Jihadi John" are much larger than baseball.

    But Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates found themselves tangled up in headlines with the notorious masked ISIS executioner who is responsible for beheading a number of hostages on video.

    "Jihadi John" has been identified by multiple news agencies as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwait-born man who moved to London when he was 6. On Friday, British TV station Sky News shared an unmasked picture of him, as a 26-year-old wearing a Pirates cap.

    JUST IN: Adult photo of "Jihadi John" Mohammed Emwazi revealed pic.twitter.com/LjPGV9LZDl

    Not that anybody had accused the Pirates of supporting "Jihadi John" or condoning his vicious acts, but the team's PR department had the PR savvy (or maybe obligation) to quickly release a statement denouncing the whole situation. The team said:

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  • Report: Josh Hamilton likely to be suspended 'at least 25 games'

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    We're still waiting for MLB to hand down a penalty regarding Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton's reported drug relapse. The two sides met in New York on Wednesday for what's been described on the record as a "disciplinary issue."

    Something is coming, we just don't know what form that punishment will take or when it will go public.

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosidove into the complicated issue of Hamilton's place on the drug-punishment timeline and MLB's next step. While nothing is official, the Fox Sports story makes a suspension sound almost certain, though it says MLB will possibly be lenient with Hamilton. From Rosenthal and Morosi:

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  • Johan Santana gets another chance, signs with Blue Jays

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    When you were once as good as Johan Santana was, it's a good bet some team will be there, waiting to offer you another chance. For 2015, that team is the Toronto Blue Jays.

    Santana has agreed to join the Blue Jays on a minor-league deal with an invite to major-league spring training. It's the first step in either a feel-good comeback story or another stalled attempt by Santana to reclaim his MLB glory. 

    Santana, 35, didn't pitch in the big leagues in 2013 and 2014, but not for lack of trying. Shoulder surgery prevented him from taking the field in 2013 with the New York Mets. He signed a one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles last year, but tore his Achilles tendon in June when the O's assigned him to extended spring training. Santana also missed the 2011 season because of shoulder surgery. He returned to pitch with the Mets in 2012, throwing a no-hitter but posting a 4.85 ERA in 29 starts.

  • Josh Hamilton should retire from baseball, says his close friend

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    There are still many unknowns in the Josh Hamilton story. Reports say he relapsed and started using cocaine again. We don't know for certain that's true, nor do we know what action MLB will take against Hamilton, though it has been confirmed that he met with league officials Wednesday in New York City.

    If the reports are true, then Roy Silver, a longtime friend of Hamilton's, says the Los Angeles Angels outfielder should just retire from baseball. Life is more important than baseball, as we'd all agree, and as Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown eloquently emphasizedin his latest column.

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  • Giancarlo Stanton will wear a custom helmet to protect his face

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    You can't blame Giancarlo Stanton for going the extra step to protect his face with a one-of-a-kind helmet he plans to wear for the 2015 season. And not because he recently signed a $325 million contractor because he's getting the model treatment from Sports Illustrated.

    In a scene that's still hard to shake, Stanton's 2014 season endedwhen he was hit in the face with a pitch. He sustained facial fractures, dental damage and was carted off the field. It was both gruesome and unfortunate, considering he was having an MVP-like season for the Miami Marlins.

    So this year, Stanton will wear a new custom helmet that will prevent a sequel. Check it out:

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  • California stars are dominating MLB merchandise sales

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    If you need more proof that California is the most interesting state in baseball these days, consider this: The top five merchandise movers in all of MLB play for California-based teams, according to new data from Fanatics.com, the top online retailer for sports merchandise.

    Couple that with the fact that four out of the five California MLB teams made the playoffs in 2014, and the sunny West Coast is doing quite well on the diamond these days. Even the San Diego Padres bumped up their Q rating this offseason.

    Fanatics' list isn't limited to just jersey sales, but all MLB licensed merchandise. Here's the top five:

    1. Madison Bumgarner 2. Mike Trout 3. Buster Posey 4. Clayton Kershaw 5. Yasiel Puig

    You can check out the rest of the top 10 list in the slideshow above. Spoiler alert: There are no additional California stars to be found.

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  • Report: Josh Hamilton meeting with MLB about 'disciplinary issue'

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    It sounds like trouble and Josh Hamilton might have found each other again.

    The Los Angeles Angels acknowledged Wednesday that their injured outfielder has been summoned to meet with MLB officials at the league office in New York City. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports Hamilton's trip is regarding a "disciplinary issue."

    From The Times' Mike DiGiovanna:

    “I can say that Josh is going to meet with league officials in New York,” [GM Jerry] Dipoto said. “At this point I have no other information to offer.” The Los Angeles Times learned the meeting involved a disciplinary issue through a person with knowledge of the situation.

    Hamilton has an injured shoulder, and he doesn’t have a locker in the Angels’ spring training clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Hamilton’s agent, Michael Moye, did not return several messages, and MLB spokesman Pat Courtney declined to comment.

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal adds:

    Asked a baseball executive if Hamilton’s discipline was for PEDs. His response: “Worse.” The executive declined to elaborate.

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  • Giancarlo Stanton and his muscles get body painted for Sports Illustrated cover

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Giancarlo Stanton became the first MLB player to sign a $300 million contract last November, and now he's following that up with another history-making feat: He's the first male athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in body paint.

    Him and his muscles, that is. Here's the newest SI cover in which Stanton gets anointed the "model slugger," a reference to both his hunky 6-foot-6 frame and his 37 homers last year. 

    This week's national cover: @Marlins slugger @Giancarlo818 is no paint-by-numbers star http://t.co/amCQTykcbw pic.twitter.com/RP7zt5DGep

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

    We're just happy no one at SI pushed to have Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria body painted too.

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  • Giants GM says California taxes make it harder to sign free agents

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Coming off an unspectacular offseason in the player-acquisition department, San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean identified a culprit you might not expect: the state of California and its taxes.

    The Giants failed to re-sign Pablo Sandoval, who left for Boston. They were runners-up for Jon Lester. They were rumored to be interested in James Shields and Yoan Moncada at various times of the winter, but landed neither.

    The Giants did sign Nori Aoki, traded for Casey McGehee and brought back pitchers Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong, but that wasn't exactly a top-flight offseason for the defending World Series champs.

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    "To entice a free agent to come to San Francisco, we're almost in an overpay situation, so why get involved in all those battles where you're not going to be able to go up the totem pole money-wise?" Sabean said.

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