Johnny Be Good (cont.)
Posted: Friday April 4, 2008 12:07PM; Updated: Saturday April 5, 2008 2:15AM
Around the Majors
Mike Hampton's press plaudits this spring were overblown. Hampton, who continues to physically fall apart, failed to start for the Braves on Thursday night due to a "strained pec,'' and will be of no help this season, just like he's been for six of the previous seven years of his $120-million contract. One scout predicted he wouldn't be anything more than ordinary even if he remained healthy, noting that the only remarkable thing about him this spring was that "he looked smaller.''
By default, Grady Sizemore now has the longest consecutive games streak, at 361 games. Juan Pierre lost his 434-game streak when he lost his job (not that the Dodgers made a mistake, because Andre Ethier deserves to be in left field).
After saying this spring he wanted to protect Alfonso Soriano by dropping him out of the leadoff spot, all it took was two losses before Lou Piniella moved Soriano back to leadoff. The reason Soriano moved him out this spring probably had something to do with the expectation that Brian Roberts was on the way. Either that, or Piniella has even less patience than we thought.
Ryan Zimmerman was considered a fabulous defensive third baseman when he was drafted out of the University of Virginia in 2005, but a lack of power (he hit just five home runs in his final season there) gave some teams pause. (But as one scout pointed out, Virginia plays in a "pasture.") Zimmerman has already hit two big home runs this season for the Nats.
Some scouts were surprised the Mets let Ruben Gotay go. Though he's a very good hitter, the Mets thought he was pretty limited defensively and preferred a righty swinger. What the Mets really need is someone to play shortstop and back up Jose Reyes, who wore down late last year, and Gotay isn't that person.
The Boston Globe reported that both Chicago teams have been the hottest pursuers of Coco Crisp. Crisp's $5 million salary is a detriment, and I was surprised to see the White Sox already had the fifth highest payroll, at $122 million. I also heard the Cubs backed off a little once they signed Reed Johnson.
New Reds manager Dusty Baker made a strange call to have Edwin Encarnacion bunt with runners at first and second and down two in the ninth Wednesday night. When Encarnacion, who has zero sac bunts in his career, got behind 0-2, Baker took off the bunt sign and Encarnacion homered.
Sometimes when Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa has a point, he takes it too far. Umpires were allowing coaches to work from out of their boxes in spring, but when ump Ed Montague directed Bowa into the box, there was no good reason not to comply.
Brian Bannister may turn out to be a bigger loss to the Mets than Scott Kazmir.
Time for the Tigers to wake up, eh?
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