Yu Darvish should be back and pitching on Sunday against the Rays. He has been on the DL with a stiff neck, but he’s been throwing comfortably in rehab and bullpen sessions. [FoxSports]
Speaking of the Rays (sort of), Tampa gave a six-year, $25.5 contract to Chris Archer. It took Archer a long time to become a hot commodity, having been drafted out of high school in 2006 and bouncing around a couple of teams before finding himself and his success with the Rays. The Rays do this a lot – lock up young pitchers before they can become free agents – and it has worked out pretty well for them. [SI]
Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt thinks that the odd travel schedule given to the Dodgers, including a season starter with Arizona in Australia, has contributed to the team’s pitching injury collection. The Dodgers were forced to cut spring training short, and players had odd off days around the travel schedule. [ESPN]
It’s time to start the Derek Jeter gift set… From Houston, the shortstop received custom Yankees cowboy boots, a stetson hat, and a nice set of golf clubs. [FoxSports]
From the Transaction Wire…
Mets infielder Daniel Murphy has been added to the paternity list – he will return once his baby arrives.
A few official DL moves – Wilson Ramos, Bobby Parnell, Brian Wilson, and Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwell, who has an injured left hamstring.
A lot of moves on 4/2 – mostly teams moving around their twenty-fourth player or compensating for late injury moves.
From Baseball 365:
(1856) Guy Hecker
Hecker was a pretty important figure in the development of baseball in Western Pennsylvania after a pretty impressive major league career. He threw a no-hitter as a pitcher, went 52 – 20 with the 1884 Louisville Colonels throwing 670.2 innings, and was a very good hitter, too, batting over .300 a couple of times and winning a batting title. When his major league and minor league career was over, he was the player-coach for a number of great semi-pro teams in Oil City, PA. The team, nicknamed “Hecker’s Hitters” would regularly play exhibitions against major league teams and occasionally win. I ran across his name several times when researching my biography of Rube Waddell.
Somewhere, there is a pretty good 40-page biography of Hecker and I’d like to read it.
(1926) Alex Grammas
(1930) Wally Moon
(1958) Gary Pettis -Something tells me he STILL looks like he is 25 and can fly.
(1963) Chris Bosio
(1975) Koji Uehara
(1987) Jay Bruce and Jason Kipnis
(1952) Phenominal Smith
Born John Francis Gammon, Smith was a New Hampshire native who spent a couple of years in the Majors as a left-handed fireballer in the 1880s. He got his nickname, not from an early version of Jim Rome, but for a 16-strikeout performance as a promising prospect playing in Pennsylvania. He once claimed he could win without teammates – so his Brooklyn teammates proceeded to bungle plays in a loss to St. Louis, resulting in fines for the fielders and Smith’s earning his release from the team.
The book Major League Profiles – 1891 – 1900 contains a very interesting biography – the tale of a headstrong prospect who confounded owners who tried to bring him into the fold only to find he likely wasn’t worth his salt. Smith matured, however, becoming a scout, owner, and player-manager until the early 1900s – winning minor league batting titles and having a hand in discovering Nap Lajoie and Christy Matthewson. At one point, he even coached a college basketball team – a sport that didn’t even exist when he was a professional athlete. Smith moved to Manchester, NH, where he joined the police department until his retirement in 1932.
(1966) The Mets sign Tom Seaver, after having won a lottery for his rights. Seaver had been drafted by Atlanta, but his contract (and $50,000 bonus) was voided because he had signed a contract while still pitching for USC.
(1974) The Dodgers acquire teenaged outfielder Pedro Guerrero from Cleveland for pitcher Bruce Ellingsen. That worked out okay…
(1987) Chicago trades away Dennis Eckersley to Oakland for three minor prospects… Having lost his touch as a starter in Chicago, Oakland received the best closer of the next decade.
(1964) A line drive off the bat of Gates Brown caroms off the chin of Mets pitcher Carl Willey, breaking Willey’s jaw and, for the most part, ends Willey’s career. Willey had been a top prospect in the Braves chain, was traded to the Mets in 1963 and was actually a serviceable pitcher for a horrible team.