John Smoltz refused a minor league assignment, which leaves the Red Sox with two alternatives – trade the aging legend or release him. All too rarely does an athlete leave on his own terms – sadly, it’s usually forced upon him/her through injury or failed performance. Smoltz may get one more shot, but that’s probably it. Ken Rosenthal suspects it may be the Dodgers… [FoxSports]
Pedro Martinez won his start, lasting five innings but getting tons of run support as the Phillies bombarded the Cubs last night. Glad to see that I’m not the only one warning people to watch this with some level of caution. I mean, three runs in five innings isn’t really stopper material – and Jamie Moyer would have likely won that start and lasted another innning or two… [SI]
Milwaukee is trying to overhaul the roster in hopes of a late pennant run. They put in a waiver claim on Diamondbacks starter Doug Davis, and also shook up things at home by firing pitching coach Bill Castro in favor of former starter Chris Bosio. Then, the struggling J.J. Hardy was dispatched to AAA Nashville while Bill Hall was designated for assignment – which means he’ll be released and the Brewers will be eating about $11 million in Hall’s contract. Coming up from AAA Nashville are two prospects, SS Alcides Escobar and OF Jason Bourgeois. [SI/ESPN]
Alcides Escobar is a burner, a guy who makes contact, gets hits, steals bases and can cover ground in the field. He’s not a leadoff guy – doesn’t really work the count and doesn’t have much power. However, he can help – and J.J. Hardy isn’t helping by hitting .229 with 11 homers… Baseball America ranked Escobar as Milwaukee’s top prospect, and has worked his way up the prospect ladder. Jason Bourgeois isn’t going to take the world by fire – unless you need steals on your fantasy roster. Originally an infielder in the Texas chain, he’s worked his way all over the minors for the Rangers, Braves, White Sox, and Seattle. As best as I can tell, he’s a 27-year-old Willy Taveras – contact, speed, okay batting average and little else. If he hits .270 and plays okay defense, he’ll be better than Hall, but he isn’t going to make anyone forget Mike Felder… Unfortunately, he’s not a long term answer.
Boston’s Kevin Youkilis and Detroit’s Rick Porcello were suspended for five games following the bean/brawl. Having watched it eight to ten times, Porcello doesn’t have a reason to be suspended and is challenging the decision. Youkilis took the day off and Mike Lowell hit another homer in his place… [ESPN]
Joba Chamberlain’s innings will be even more closely monitored as he shifts to a seven day rotation. [ESPN]
Erik Bedard will have exploratory surgery to determine the source of the pain in his shoulder, and address the fraying already there. What is open to debate is whether or not he’ll be back with the Mariners next year. Seattle has an option, or could let Bedard become a free agent. [ESPN]
Another pitcher going under the knife is Washington prospect Jordan Zimmermann, who gets Tommy John surgery and will likely not pitch until 2011. [ESPN]
It doesn’t get better for the Mets. Carlos Delgado’s hip recovery was stalled by a strained oblique muscle. [FoxSports]
Kaz Matsui is one hit away from having 2000 combined hits in Japan and MLB – which would put him in a rather exclusive club among Japanese ballplayers. He would join the Meikyukai, an elite group of players with 200 hits, 250 saves, or 200 wins – whether in Japan, the US, or both. Others you may have heard of? Ichiro Szuki, Hideki Matsui, and Hideo Nomo… [MLB]
A couple of players got hit yesterday and had to leave games… Yankee captain Derek Jeter was hit in the right instep by a pitch last night and couldn’t run the bases well, so was pulled in the third inning. And, Reds starter Homer Bailey was struck by an Albert Pujols liner in the left foot and had to leave in the first inning. Both are day-to-day.
Hurry Back! Rich Aurilia (Giants) heads to the DL. Evan Meek (Pirates) has a strained obligue – gets a DL stint. Wesley Wright (Astros) has a strained left shoulder – gets a DL stint, too.
Welcome Back! Other than Pedro, Lance Berkman (Astros) returned from the DL and helped slaughter my Marlins… Another Astro – LaTroy Hawkins, also came off the DL yesterday. The Giants returned Nick Hundley from the DL, as well as outfielder Nate Schierholtz…
Afterthoughts… Colorado had signed Adam Eaton to the minor league deal and yesterday recalled Eaton from AAA. Do they want to know how high of an ERA Eaton can get? I mean, what’s the goal here?
Yesterday’s Trivia: How to get from Tom Gordon to Rube Waddell in six steps?
When Gordon arrived, one of his teammates was the aging Billy Buckner, whose rookie team in 1972 included Hoyt Wilhelm. Wilhelm played in St. Louis in 1957 with Stan Musial, whose 1941 teammate was future Hall of Famer Eppa Rixey. Rixey’s career started in Philadelphia many, many moons earlier when he was a teammate of slugger Gavy Cravath. Cravath’s career came together when he was an outfielder for the Minneapolis Millers from 1910 to 1911, where he was a teammate of Rube Waddell – who had joined the Millers prior to the 1911 season and would win the American Association.