The last round of opening day games featured a couple of interesting games (Go Rays! Weaver deals for Halos, Cards pound Brewers) and another new record. Adam Dunn – coming off of an absolutely miserable season – launched a homer on opening day. It’s the eighth time he’s done that, tying Ken Griffey, Jr. and Frank Robinson for most homers on Opening Day in baseball history.
Okay – I admit that I watched a little of the Masters yesterday, but anyone who watched it must have felt that only Tiger Woods and the two guys he was playing with were the only ones even playing in the tournament. That’s when I switched over to watch the Rays make that comeback and beat Mariano Rivera and the Yankees. It seemed like the last day of the 2011 season all over again.
Visa Issues Halt Villalona
Giants Prospect Angel Villalona, a kid who has spent more time in the legal system than in the Giant’s system, was placed on the restricted list as Villalona hasn’t been able to resolve issues obtaining a work visa.
You may remember Villalona – he was a big kid signed at 16 out of the Dominican Republic who, in the off-season in 2009, got entangled in a bar fight that wound up with someone getting shot. Villalona was jailed for two months before the family of the victim accepted a settlement and dropped the charges. [MLB]
Aches and Pains…
The Cardinals placed pitcher Scott Linebrink on the 15-day DL with what was listed as “right shoulder capsulitis”. To cover the roster spot, St. Louis recalled Victor Marte, a former KC Royals pitcher, who had a nice spring but hasn’t really shown to be a top prospect yet.
With Kyle Farnsworth‘s trip to the DL official, the Rays called up reliever Josh Lueke. Lueke has a world of talent and a rap sheet that has made him expendable to the teams that have had him before (Texas, Seattle). The Mariners used Lueke to get catcher John Jaso from Tampa.
Houston infielder Jed Lowrie sprained his thumb at the end of spring, leading to the recall of Brian Bixler. Bixler has had MLB time before and I wouldn’t bet money that he’s on the roster in June. He can play most infield positions though, he just hasn’t hit much. I’ll have to check to see if he’s gotten a Topps baseball card yet…
Finally, the Mets recalled outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis to fill the roster spot vacated by the injured Andres Torres. Nieuwenhuis has shown some power in the minors – hits a lot of doubles and a few homers – and some speed, too. The Mets like his hustle.
Those celebrating with cards, cake, and remembrances include:
(1873) John McGraw, HOF Manager and great third baseman
(1874) John Ganzel
(1884) Jake Daubert
(1918) Bobby Doerr, Red Sox HOF Infielder
(1942) Tom Phoebus
(1979) Adrian Beltre
Tom Phoebus came up with the Orioles and threw shutouts in his first two major league starts. Instead of spending a year in long relief (maybe this was what taught Earl Weaver this lesson), Phoebus was immediately put into the rotation where he was pretty good for two seasons, even tossing 240 innings in 1968. However, something changed in 1969, his third season as a rotation anchor, and he lost his ability to strike people out. His career degenerated pretty quickly after that. I remember him having a brief stay in Chicago in 1972, right before his career ended.
I am reading the book 1921 – local SABR member Lyle Spatz is one of the authors – and it’s the story of the year the Yankees and Giants were on top of the baseball world, right on the heels of the Black Sox scandal. The new world Yankees featured Babe Ruth, while the Giants were old school led by McGraw. The book does a good job contrasting the two teams and showing how the future was going toward the Yankees.
After reading this, though, you find that McGraw is one of those angry gruff guys with a decent heart. Hard to like – really hard sometimes, but easy to appreciate.