With Cliff Lee back on track, will Cleveland hit trade market? (cont.)
Around the majors
Mets decision-makers discussed a possible promotion for top outfield prospect Fernando Martinez (3 HR, 17 RBIs, .273 batting average at Triple-A Buffalo), but it appears they will stick to their original plan, which was to give him until at least June, even if Carlos Delgado (hip) has to go on the disabled list in the next couple days. They do ultimately see Daniel Murphy as a potential "heir apparent" for Delgado at first base. But for now, they have decided they don't want to complicate Murphy's assimilation to left field by having him play a lot at first. It's good they have Fernando Tatis (2 HR, 8 RBIs, .328), who in the words of one scout is "better than ever."
Struggling Mets setup man J.J. Putz told WFAN's "Boomer and Carton" show, "I'm still trying to get used to pitching in the eighth inning and trying to find some adrenaline, because it's not like pitching in the ninth, I'll tell you that." Well, turns out the Mets agreed he needed a shot of adrenaline, and they gave it to him in the form of an actual cortisone shot in his elbow. Mets manager Jerry Manuel suggested the problems of Putz (4.05 ERA) are World Baseball Classic related. But Mets ninth-inning man Francisco Rodriguez, who's been great, was a WBC guy, too.
Johnny Damon, who had an extra-base hit in 10 straight games, has told a media member how much he wants back with the Yankees about that many days in a row, too. Damon has played superbly, but it's tough to see them repeating his $13 million salary.
Gerardo Parra became the 100th player to homer in his first at-bat. It won't be his last, either. Parra, 21, is a big-time outfield prospect for the D-backs. "He's the real deal," one NL exec says.
Good call not having David Ortiz (no home runs in 130 at-bats) do the "Called Shot" homer exhibition at the All-Star Game this year. Albert Pujols makes much more sense, especially in St. Louis. The next question would be when to drop Ortiz in Boston's lineup. Personally, I'd give him a little more time.
Nice to see Rockies owner Charlie Monfort give manager Clint Hurdle public support. Now it's his players' turn to support him. Few teams have underachieved like them, or shown less energy than them.
It almost isn't fair. The Red Sox, which already has the best 'pen in the league, recently called up 100 mph thrower Daniel Bard.
Scary stuff seeing Reds star Joey Votto helped off the field with a bout of dizziness the other day. His batting average (.374 at last count) is up in the clouds, that's for sure.
Jamie Moyer is one of the most amazing athletes I've ever seen, a non-steroid guy contributing into his mid-40s. (He remains stuck at win No. 249, though.) I've said I'm never going to declare who might not have used, but I've seen this guy up close in the locker room, and I'd be shocked. So congrats, Jamie, for hanging in there under impossible circumstances.
Rays star Evan Longoria's 45 RBIs in his first 35 games is fairly historic. Here are the best RBI starts for 35 games: Roy Campanella (51, 1953); Manny Ramirez (47, 1999); Juan Gonzalez (46, 1998); Stan Musial (45, 1954); Barry Bonds (45, 1996). So Longoria gets extra credit for doing it on talent alone (though Campy's record is crazy good).
Can we please stop asking Pete Rose who belongs in the Hall of Fame, and who doesn't? I actually think Pete belongs. I just am past the point of caring what he thinks.
Angels rookie right-hander Matt Palmer looked like Jim Palmer in shutting out the Red Sox, 4-0. Can you say late bloomer? He's 30.
Good to see Justin Verlander get his act back together. He has got the best stuff of any starter in baseball, and it was hard to watch him waste it. (Though a depleted Tigers bullpen wasted his 13-strikeout performance in a 6-5 defeat to the Twins Thursday.)
Also nice to see good guy Dontrelle Willis get back onto the mound, too. Though, I wouldn't say his 4 1/3-inning comeback performance on Wednesday that included eight hits and four runs (but only two walks) proved too much.
Ryan Zimmerman didn't get a full complement of at-bats when his hitting streak ended at 30, as he was walked twice (once intentionally) and was 0 for 3, all on groundouts. But that's what makes 56 in a row impossible.
Five position players have gone to the mound this year. Paul Janish, Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, Jonathan Van Every and Josh Wilson all have pitched, and according to MLB.com, 107 position players have pitched since 1979.
Rare draft note not involving phenom Stephen Strasburg: Word is getting out the Orioles are seriously considering USC shortstop Grant Green, an excellent hitter.
And another draft note: The D-backs have the most picks within the first 111 (eight), followed by the Angels (seven), Brewers (six) and Rockies, Blue Jays and White Sox (five each).
And another. "It may be best year ever for players from New York," according to one scout. Here are the main ones fro the NYC area: Steve Matz, LHP, Ward-Melville High School in East Setauket; James Jones, OF/LHP, Long Island University; Kyle Hanson (6-foot-8 brother of Craig), RHP, St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay; Robert Whitenack, RHP, Old Westbury College.
Best of luck to longtime umpire Rick Reed, who's begun his comeback with minor-league rehab games and is hoping to return to the majors May 21 in Chicago after suffering to two strokes this winter.
After seeing the way Mavericks owner Mark Cuban taunted Kenyon Martin's mother, suggesting her son is a "thug" (apparently a term that's thrown around the NBA rather easily), baseball is lucky Cuban didn't wind up bidding too hard for the Cubs. The NBA can have him.
MLB Truth & Rumors