Mike Oz

  • Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija already giving Giants a boost

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The Giants have had their share of problems early: Madison Bumgarner's velocity is down and hasn't been at his best. The bullpen has been rough at times, in full-on crisis in others. And the Giants lost five straight games last week.

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    The saving graces for the Giants this April have been their two big offseason pitching additions; Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. It was Samardzija who snapped that five-game losing streak last Friday night at AT&T Park, beating the Marlins 8-1 and even adding two hits and three RBIs at the plate. On Tuesday night, it was Cueto's turn to impress. He threw a 1-0 shutout to beat the San Diego Padres, striking out 11 and earning his fourth win for his new team.

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  • The Walk-Off: Andrew McCutchen smashes three homers to beat Rockies

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

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    McCutchen was hitting .213 with two homers and five RBIs entering the contest and by the end, he had five homers, 10 RBIs and a .238 batting average. His OPS jumped from .684 to .826. That's one heckuva night.

    The Pirates won the game 9-4, also aided by pair of hits each from Jordy Mercer, Francisco Cervelli and Gregory Polanco. But Cutch is the story here. He struck out four times on Sunday, had the day off Monday and that seems to have helped.

    Here's a piece of trivia about his night that's sure to delight anybody who loves early-season numbers fun and/or hates the power-lacking Atlanta Braves.

    This is the best factoid of April baseball: Andrew McCutchen hit as many homers tonight (3) as the Braves' entire team has hit this season.

    And it's 100 percent true. Hard to tell whether to be impressed by McCutchen or just shake your head at the Braves, which, more on them in just a second.

  • You won't believe this barehanded catch by the Braves' Daniel Castro

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

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    Just ask Atlanta Braves second baseman Daniel Castro, who found himself in quite a position Tuesday night. One perfect and necessary adjustment had him leaving everyone in awe. It happened in the fourth inning of Atlanta's game against the Boston Red Sox with Mookie Betts at the plate. 

    Betts looped a ball into shallow right field, sending Castro after it. He slid, trying to make an over-the-shoulder catch that would make ex-teammate Andrelton Simmons proud. But the fall flung out of Castro's glove. Before you can say, "You gotta squeeze that," Castro reached back with his bare hand to grab the ball. Wowzers. Great reflexes.

    Here's a frame-by-frame breakdown that shows exactly what went into this catch:

    We wanted to crack a joke that Castro's play might be the highlight of Atlanta's entire season, but then we realized it might not be a joke. It might actually be true. 

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  • Chris Colabello speaks about PED suspension: 'I don't have answers'

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    There's one very familiar public-relations strategy that athletes who get busted or questioned about performance-enhancing drugs often use: Deny, deny, deny. 

    That isn't the case, however, for Chris Colabello, the Toronto Blue Jays first baseman/outfielder who was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball last week after testing positive for  dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, an  anabolic steroid more commonly known as  DHCMT or  turinabol. 

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    Speaking publicly Monday for the first time since his suspension, Colabello told his side of the story to Sportsnet, which, like the Blue Jays, is owned by Rogers Media. Colabello didn't deny failing a test. He owned the fact that  DHCMT was found in his system. Instead, he said over and over that he doesn't know how it got there.

    On his failed test:

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  • One man's quest to make MLB journeyman David Ross an All-Star

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    MLB All-Star voting is already underway (yes, for real and, yes, Opening Day was only a few weeks ago). One thing we’ve learned about All-Star voting in the past, both in baseball and in other sports, fans in the Internet era love to muck it up with shenanigans.

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    That’s the script Cubs fan Brian Dunigan is following by starting a campaign to get Ross into this July’s All-Star game in San Diego. This isn’t just a quest for online anarchy. His heart seems to be in the right place.

    “Basically, a couple weeks ago, I’m sitting at my friend’s house on a Friday night and we’re just hanging out,” Dunigan told Yahoo Sports. “I said, ‘What if we started this Twitter campaign, a John Scott-type of movement for a baseball player?’ ”

    Dunigan’s well aware this is a long shot. Even if it doesn’t, he thinks it’ll be fun. But if it does work?

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  • Twins calling up top pitching prospect Jose Berrios

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Berrios is a 21-year-old from Puerto Rico who has racked up plenty of strikeouts in Triple-A this season and represents the club's ace of the future. Along with centerfielder Byron Buxton and slugger Miguel Sano, Berrios is expected to form the Twins' core for years into the future.

    [Fantasy spin: You should add Jose Berrios]

    The call-up, reported by LaVelle Neal of The Star Tribune among others before the Twins confirmed it, comes with a start Wednesday at Target Field against the Cleveland Indians. The Twins' rotation needs help, with Ervin Santana and Tyler Duffey hurting, plus Kyle Gibson carrying a 6.10 ERA.

    Berrios will certainly add some excitement. Thus far in three Triple-A starts this season, he's struck out 20 batters in 17 innings with a tiny 1.06 ERA.

    GUYS. If you're even waffling on a player, you should just drop him for Jose Berrios. This is not a time for Q&A and hand-wringing.

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  • A's minor-leaguer Sean Murphy dead unexpectedly at age 27

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Oakland Athletics minor leaguer Sean Murphy died unexpectedly on Monday, the club announced.

    The 27-year-old pitcher spent six seasons in Oakland's minor-league system after being drafted in the 33rd round in 2010 out of Keystone College in Pennsylvania. He showed the most promise in 2013, going 10-9 with a 3.94 ERA.

    He worked his way up to Triple-A in 2014, but didn't pitch well and things got tough from there. Murphy was sent back down, eventually settling in Double-A. In September of that season, he needed Tommy John surgery. He then missed all of 2015 while rehabbing his elbow. In February, Murphy was suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games following a second positive drug test. It wasn't a performance-enhancing drug, rather what MLB deems a "drug of abuse." That list includes marijuana, cocaine and opiates such as oxycodone, heroin and codeine. 

    No cause of death has been announced. The A's only said he died unexpectedly. Here's their full statement:

    Sean Murphy, who played six seasons in the Oakland A’s farm system, passed away unexpectedly on Monday in Arizona. He was 27 years old.

    Twenty-seven is far too young.

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  • Twins change their walk-up music to nothing but Prince songs

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

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    Every player in the Twins starting lineup for their game against the Cleveland Indians has changed their walk-up song to Prince — even rookie Korean import Byung-ho Park, whose selection was "Uptown." Either they get down with Prince's catalog over there in South Korea or Park got some help with that one. 

    Here's the full list:

    Here's tonight's #PurpleForPrince lineup, complete with Prince walk-up songs selected by each player. #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/Utl1ETzNbM

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  • Bryce Harper takes Smithsonian selfie with unsuspecting fan

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    A day after the Washington Nationals needed 16 innings to beat the Minnesota Twins, Bryce Harper was right where you expected him to be on his day off. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

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    Yes, Bryce haters, your boy enjoys soaking up knowledge about the origin of the human species and African wildlife and whatnot the day after hitting the game-tying homer in the ninth inning.

    Anyhow, the shared-with-the-public highlight of Harper's visit is this selfie he took with a fan in wearing his shirsey. The kid, as you can see, is just the unsuspecting co-star in this photo, the one at whom you want to yell "turn around!"

    But 23-year-old Bryce gets the cultural points for snapping his inside a museum.

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  • Michael Brantley ready to rejoin Indians after shoulder surgery

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    Brantley had shoulder surgery in November, which made Indians fans fear the worst, particularly when it sounded like there could be a possibility he wouldn't make it back in April. But Brantley worked hard this spring to get back, starting a minor-league rehab stint earlier this month and playing back-to-back games in Triple-A before getting the call from the Indians.

    On Monday afternoon, Brantley was officially activated from the disabled list. You can see his return to action live, right here on Yahoo Sports. The Indians and Twins play in our MLB Free Game of the Day, which begins at 8:10 p.m. ET. You can stream it at Yahoo's Sports Home, MLB index and video home.

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