- Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports1 hr ago
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The end of Sonny Gray's day arrived near the beginning of everyone else's, and then he flipped his glove to himself all the way across the outfield. Then he got to the fence and could not locate the door, like the day suddenly couldn't decide whether to keep him or let him go.
He was being limited to 45 or so pitches in his second spring start – his second, too, since Game 5 of the American League Division Series – and he used up all but 10 of them in a single inning. He arrived in the dugout, removed his cap and scratched his head. The catcher patted him with his mitt. He found a seat.
- Yahoo Sports8 days ago
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – When the Los Angeles Dodgers presented the week-long Australia trip for player approval, then-Dodger Peter Moylan must have voted, like, 11 times.
Because, you know, he's from Australia. And some of the remaining Dodgers don't seem particularly enthusiastic about the journey. And that doesn't seem to be going over very well in Sydney.
The morning paper there compared Zack Greinke, he of the "absolutely zero excitement" observation, to "England fast bowler Stuart Broad," which I'm guessing is the villainous equivalent in, say, San Diego to being compared to "Los Angeles fastballer Zack Greinke."
Now there appears a chance the Dodgers will hold Clayton Kershaw out of the Australia series, in part because Kershaw threw a career-high 259 innings last season, and the early schedule is a little funky, and Kershaw doesn't seem all that into it.
- Yahoo Sports9 days ago
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Chicago White Sox are trending younger. He's not.
Paul Konerko can see where this is headed, which is why a fantastical story about him loving this new hybrid role of designated hitter/first baseman/pinch-hitter, and being really good at it, and reconsidering retirement, and continuing with the White Sox or traipsing around the league chasing cool jobs in new cities draws from him a raised eyebrow.
"I'll stop you there," he says.
Konerko will be 38 next week. Other than what amounts to a half-season of games most of a career ago, he is a White Sox lifer. Maybe, hidden in the Derek Jeter clatter, you missed that Konerko will retire at the end of this season. This is it. The beloved Paulie will take one more lap, go home, raise the kids, work on that Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar riff that's eluding him, and leave the game to the next generation.
- Yahoo Sports10 days ago
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The brains and brawn of the seven easterly Cactus League teams arrived mid-afternoon Monday in groups large enough to fit in rented SUVs, here because replay is coming, and because catchers will be protected, and because the game is changing for the better.
Inside a theater in the Colorado Rockies' complex, men from Park Avenue would stand at the front of the room and explain for two hours, and soothe, and defend, and cajole, and whatever it would take to hoist the soul of the sport into the 21st century. Replay has broadened, and so have the technology and the mechanics of it, along with the choices left to a manager with already enough to think about.
And, just Monday, MLB and the players' union released a draft of their plan to save the catchers, which, in essence, said that catchers without the ball cannot block the plate and runners without conscience cannot go out of their way to bury said catchers. It is less a ban on collisions than it is a guideline for what can and cannot occur when two men and one ball arrive at about the same place at about the same time.
- Yahoo Sports10 days ago
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Barry Bonds is coming. He'll put on the uniform again, just for a week or so in March as a special instructor for the San Francisco Giants, and enlighten some of the impressionable young men on the art of the line drive. He has a chance to be good at it, too.
When Bonds was a player and the best hitter most had ever seen, the Giants would have him address their better prospects during spring training. Witnesses swore Bonds would go on for an hour or more, happy for the audience, eager to help and charismatic in his delivery, so not at all the cranky and self-absorbed character he projected in the clubhouse. None of those prospects ever became Bonds, of course, because there's more to hitting than theory and weight shift. A lot more, sometimes, as we came to understand.
- Yahoo Sports12 days ago
The Philadelphia Phillies, their front office, the human beings there, can't possibly be this small. They don't make small this small.
They do, however, make pettiness this small. And vindictiveness. That's pretty small. Bullies are often large, but their minds are small. So are their consciences.
The Phillies can't be all that. Just can't be.
By now you've heard the stories of Ben Wetzler and Jason Monda, the Pac-12 ballplayers who attend different schools but are related by last June's draft. The Phillies selected them in consecutive rounds – Wetzler from Oregon State in the fifth round, Monda from Washington State in the sixth. Neither signed. Both then received calls from the NCAA regarding their relationships with agents, or advisors, which is against the rules, because the NCAA believes complex, life-changing negotiations are best left to high school seniors or, in this case, college juniors.
- Yahoo Sports12 days ago
The Baltimore Orioles on Saturday agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract with free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz, according to industry sources. The deal is pending a physical and includes $750,000 in incentives based on time on the active roster.
After an idle offseason that appeared to threaten their momentum in the AL East, the Orioles signed right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez for $50 million over four years just three days ago. In Cruz, they added the power bat that would give them one of the better lineups in the American League, and at a bargain.
Cruz found his free agency dampened because he’d rejected a qualifying offer from the Texas Rangers, which meant he’d cost his new team a draft pick as well. Jimenez, along with the still-unsigned Kendrys Morales, Stephen Drew and Ervin Santana, carried the same designation. The qualifying offer was worth $14.1 million, so the loss for Cruz was extreme.
- Yahoo Sports13 days ago
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The pitcher they sometimes call crafty and inventive is at the moment crafting an inventive way to get a sock on his foot. A week into spring training his arms apparently have shrunk a few inches. He's gone the foot-on-the-floor-bend-at-the-waist method, the shoulders-rolled-foot-partially-raised standby, and now – victory! – the foot-hoisted-by-force-to-the-opposite-knee technique.
Tim Hudson is a couple hours from throwing to hitters for the first time since late July, when he'd broken his ankle at first base and had been carted away, which is no way to leave a baseball field or, especially, a very presentable baseball career. So he is here, with the San Francisco Giants, wedged into a corner of the clubhouse between Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, pulling on one black sock and then the other, at 38 years old.
- Yahoo Sports14 days ago
PHOENIX – Three years running, Ryan Braun has pushed the self-prescribed narrative, from outraged to evasive to contrite. Mow the grass, line the fields, oil the gloves, address the cheating, run the drills, hit the showers, must be the start of Milwaukee Brewers camp.
This time, so you know, he's sorry. He messed up. He wishes he hadn't. It's all been so difficult. He'll try to make it right.
"I take responsibility for the mistakes I made," he said.
Now, which way to the batting cage?
- Yahoo Sports15 days ago
TEMPE, Ariz. – When President Obama compared a piece of legislation to him, Mike Trout was in the woods, hunting rabbits, and his suddenly spirited phone hauled him briefly back to civilization.
When the president of the New York Yankees announced he – Trout – was worthy of a 10-year contract, Trout said, "Yeah, I saw it."
He arrived at the airport here to a crowd of a couple hundred fans, and spent Tuesday in a daylong national commercial shoot, and sat Wednesday before cameras and reporters, for whom he declined to address ongoing contract negotiations, which could bring him $200 million or more.
He is 22.
"It's just been crazy," he said.