Mike Oz

  • Mets invite families of slain NYPD officers to spring training

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 hrs ago

    Justin and Jaden Ramos lost their father in December when he was ambushed and killed while sitting inside his NYPD patrol car. The killings of Rafael Ramos and his partner Wenjian Liu made national headlines at the time, a tragic story that had the country talking about how much police officers' lives matter.

    Three months later, and neither the New York Mets nor their captain David Wright have forgotten about the Ramos boys or the other family members affected. Justin, 19, and Jaden, 13, visited Mets training camp Friday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., as special guests of Wright. The brothers had lockers and uniforms waiting for them, plus jobs for the weekend — they'll be Mets ball boys.

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  • Matt Harvey returned to the mound for the Mets and it was glorious

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 5 hrs ago

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    Matt Harvey, returning to game action for the first time since Tommy John surgery, wasted no time in showing the world that he still has his dominant stuff. Hello, 99 mph fastball.

    Harvey, starting for the New York Mets in Friday's spring training game against the Detroit Tigers, didn't allow a hit in two innings. More importantly: He struck out three and consistently hit 96-98 mph on the radar gun, topping out at 99. 

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    After the game, Harvey said his curveball was sharper after the time off. And that showed in his performance. Harvey also said his slider was moving well. That's encouraging too. He drew rave reviews, even from fellow MLB pitchers, like Brett Anderson of the Los Angeles Dodgers:

    Matt Harvey doesn't seem to know he had Tommy John...filthy.

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  • Hunter Pence has a broken forearm and the Giants are in trouble

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

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    After finishing the 2014 MLB season on the highest of highs, the defending champion San Francisco Giants now face another challenge as the get ready for 2015. Hunter Pence, their starting right fielder, iron man and walking-talking energy drink, will miss the start of the season

    Pence was hit in the left forearm by a pitch Thursday in the Giants' spring training game against the Chicago Cubs. Team doctors diagnosed that Pence had a broken forearm, and x-rays later confirmed it's a "non-displaced fracture in left forearm."

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    Here's the clubhouse view on things, from Henry Schulman at the San Francisco Chronicle

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  • Players' union angered by 'cowardly' leaks in Josh Hamilton saga

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The Major League Baseball Players Association sprung to the defense of Josh Hamilton on Thursday, lashing out about "cowardly" leaks of confidential information regarding Hamilton's pending punishment.

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    Here's the statement from MLBPA:

    "It is regrettable that people who want to see Josh Hamilton hurt personally and professionally have started leaking information about the status of his treatment program and the confidential processes under our Joint Drug Agreement. These anonymous leaks are cowardly, undermine the integrity of our collectively bargained agreements and in some instances have been wholly inaccurate.

    "The Major League Baseball Players Association will use every right we have under the collective bargaining agreement to make sure Josh gets the help he needs, and the fair and confidential process to which he is entitled."

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  • You have to see Tigers pitcher Alfredo Simon's flashy chrome car

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    You've already enjoyed Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar's gold SUV, the first of our ridiculously pimped-out MLB rides this spring. Well, Alfredo Simon, the new Detroit Tigers pitcher, sees Escobar's gold SUV and raises him a chrome Mercedes.

    Here it is, via Chris Iott of MLive.com:

    Your car, what do you call that color? Alfredo Simon: "Chrome." pic.twitter.com/uZjFxRNJKl

    If you had missed it, here's Escobar's eye-catching mode of transportation:

    Now if we can only get our shortstop a Rawlings Gold Glove to put inside his car. pic.twitter.com/XTFScA1nLk

    It figures that Escobar and Simon will face each other a few times this year, since they both play in the AL Central. Perhaps they should wager paint jobs on the results. Loser goes tan.

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  • Yankees GM says Derek Jeter should be team's last captain

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    You'll hear this many, many times during the 2015 season, but it's important here: There's no replacing Derek Jeter. Not in the hearts of New York Yankees fans. Not at shortstop. And not as the team's captain.

    Well, about that last one, that's what Yanks GM Brian Cashman believes. He said Thursday that the team should never have another captain. Cashman believes now that Jeter is retired, so too should be the role of Yankees captain. 

    You mean they're not giving it to A-Rod?!? We were really looking forward to that press conference.

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    Anyhow, here's what Cashman had to say about Captain Fo2ever Derek Jeter on the Mike Lupica Show, via the New York Daily News:

    There's no replacing Derek Jeter.

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  • This is why we already love MLB's new batter's box rule

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    David Ortiz has already said he doesn't care for the new MLB rule that says he and his big-swinging buddies have to keep one foot in the batter's box between pitches to help improve the pace of play. No surprise there. Big Papi has his very own pace of play.

    But after the first few days of spring training games, The Stew is here to profess that we love the new rule. Not necessarily because it's sped up the game (maybe it will, we'll see, too early to tell right now), but because we've been entertained by players who aren't used to the new rule yet. Like Ryan Howard:

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

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  • D-backs unveil the Churro Dog, featuring 1,117 calories of sweetness

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The Arizona Diamondbacks won the title for most ridiculous stadium food in MLB last season with their $25 mega corn dog, the D-bat. Now, they're trying to make sure that title stays in Phoenix.

    The D-backs on Wednesday introduced their Churro Dog, a dessert that takes the shape of a hot dog, but instead is a churro in a donut bun, then topped with frozen yogurt, plus caramel and chocolate sauce. That's 1,117 calories of sweetness.

    D-backs CEO Derrick Hall told ESPN's Darren Rovell:

    "We've found that desserts work really well in the heat we have here," Hall said. So team chef Michael Snoke got together a focus group of eaters and tested out his Churro Dog idea, and it was immediately loved.

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  • A-Rod singles in first spring training at-bat and seems pleased with himself

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

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    An MLB star's first spring training at-bat is 100 percent meaningless. If there's anybody in spring training this year whose first at-bat means more than most, it's Alex Rodriguez, who is returning from a yearlong PED suspension. So A-Rod's first spring training at-bat, which happened Wednesday as the DH for the New York Yankees, was just 99 percent meaningless.

    But it's A-Rod, so we simply can't look away — not after all the drama, not after 18 months without playing in a game. So A-Rod stepped to the plate Wednesday, against veteran pitcher Kevin Slowey, who is trying to catch on with the Philadelphia Phillies, and knocked an 0-2 pitch into left field for a single.

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    He at least looked pretty happy afterward. (That's what Happy A-Rod looks like, right?)

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  • Joel Hanrahan needs Tommy John surgery again, so Tigers release him

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The news was doubly bad Wednesday for Joel Hanrahan, the ex-All Star closer who was trying to prove himself to the Detroit Tigers: He needs another Tommy John, so the Tigers released him.

    Hanrahan had elbow surgery early in the 2013 season when he was with the Boston Red Sox. While he was in the middle of rehabbing, he signed a one-year deal with the Tigers for 2014. They thought Hanrahan would be ready toward the end of the 2014 season, but he wasn't.

    As he prepped for 2015, still with the Tigers on a minor-league deal, Hanrahan never got to point of pitching pain-free, so now he's set for his second Tommy John surgery in less than two years. He knows this swings the odds against him in a major way, telling Jason Beck of MLB.com:

    Hanrahan was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He's 33, so it's not entirely out of the question that he could pitch again, but coming back from two Tommy John surgeries is much more daunting that coming back from one.

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