Friday, December 21, 2007

Allen Iverson Practice Video

This may be old and over "played", but you have to love it.

What are you talkin about AI?

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Homer Bailey Debut

Homer Bailey will make his major league debut Friday night against the Cleveland Indians. Bailey is the Reds top pitching prospect and was their No. 1 pick in the June 2004 draft (the seventh pick overall). He was the Reds minor league player of the year last season while at Class A Sarasota and Double-A Chattanooga.

In 07, Bailey has been at Triple-A Louisville and is 6-1 in 10 starts with a 2.31 earned run average and 51 strikeouts and 24 walks in 58 innings.

Bio: (
Given name is called Homer after his 2004 graduated from La Grange (TX) High his prep career went 41-4, 0.98 with 536 strikeouts in 298.0 innings...led La Grange to Texas state baseball titles in 2001 and a freshman outdueled former Red Ryan Wagner in the championship game...also led La Grange to the state title as a senior, when he was named National High School Player of the Year by USA Today, Baseball America, Louisville Slugger and the National High School Coaches' Association...also in 2004 was the Tri-County and Texas' 3A Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the district and state tournaments...participated in the 2007 Reds Winter Caravan.

2006 Highlights: (
Entered the season as the organization's top prospect and received the Sheldon "Chief" Bender Award as its Minor League Player of the Year...combined to go 10-6, 2.47 in 26 starts split evenly between Class A Sarasota and Class AA Chattanooga...was a Baseball America Minor League and Class AA All-Star... in a Baseball America in-season poll was voted Best Pitching Prospect and Best Fastball in the Florida State League...was the winning pitcher in Major League Baseball's All-Star Futures Game in Pittsburgh...pitched an inning in the Florida State League All-Star Game (12 pitches, 10 strikes)...was the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June (4gs, 3-0, 0.56, 26ip, 9h, 28k)...didn't allow a run in 11 of his 26 starts...3 times threw 6.0 hitless innings and in another start allowed 1 hit in 7.0 innings...began the season with the FSL Reds and made his 13 starts there before he was promoted in June...on 6/22 vs Carolina threw 6.0 scoreless innings in his Class AA that start, his 96th and final pitch was clocked at 98mph...didn't allow a run in his first 3 starts at Chattanooga (17ip)...was Southern League Pitcher of the Week for 6/26-7/2...twice recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts, on 5/8 at Jupiter (6ip) and 8/13 vs Tennessee (5ip) his last appearance of the season, on 9/2 at West Tenn, allowed 4 runs without retiring a batter (3h, 4bb)...his ERAs excluding that final appearance drop to 1.06 for Chattanooga and 2.21 for the season...following the season was voted by Baseball America as the top prospect in both the Southern League and Florida State League.

Scouting Report:
Bailey has all the tools to be a number one starter for years to come. He’s tall (6-4, 185 lbs) with a big league frame and superb arm action. His mid-90s heat is nasty, especially when combined with a tremendous curveball. He has a 3/4 slot motion that allows him to stay tall along with two plus pitches (fastball at 89-97 mph with good movement and a curveball at 75-80 mph with a dominant 12-to-6 break) which when he has working makes him virtually untouchable. He has been trying to develop his changeup which is currently below average. The only concern scouts have had with this youngster is his lack of control at times. Bailey has the makeup of a stud pitcher and once he is able to improve his changeup, he could be close to unhittable.

Thursday, June 7, 2007 close in bid for no-no

Don't shake off your catcher...especially Varitek.

The Red Sox 40 year-old starting pitcher Curt Schilling came within one out of his first career no-hitter Thursday, losing his bid when Shannon Stewart lined a clean single to right field in Boston's 1-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Schilling retired Mark Kotsay and Jason Kendall on grounders to shortstop for the first two outs of the ninth. Then Stewart stepped up and lined the first pitch through the hole between first and second for Oakland's only hit. Schilling said he shook off catcher Jason Varitek on that pitch, going with a fastball instead of a slider.

"We get two outs, and I was sure, and I had a plan, and I shook Tek off," Schilling said. "And I get a big what if for the rest of my life."

It's not the first time a Boston pitcher shook off Varitek in the ninth inning only to see a no-hitter get broken up. Pedro Martinez did it in 2000 against Tampa Bay, giving up a single to John Flaherty on a fastball instead of the curve that Varitek called for.

Hopefully the Red Sox pitchers have learned a lesson: if you are pitching a no-no into the ninth, don't shake off Varitek.

"Hindsight is always 20-20," Varitek said. "It wasn't the first time he shook off all game. We had like a half-dozen. It doesn't really matter. He made a quality pitch."

Didn't they see Bull Durham and learn from Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh? You don't shake off the catcher when you are going good.

[Crash calls for a curve ball, Ebby shakes off the pitch twice]
Crash Davis: Hey! HEY!
[walks to meet Ebby at the mound]
Crash Davis: Why are you shaking me off?
Nuke LaLoosh: [Gets in Crash's face] I want to give him the heat and announce my presence with authority!
Crash: Announce your fucking presence with authority? This guy is a first ball, fast ball hitter!
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: Well he hasn't seen my heat!
Crash: Allright meat, show him your heat.
[Walks back towards the box]
Crash: [to the batter] Fast ball comin'.


Crash Davis: Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well.

Mechanized bull noises in background]Crash Davis: Well, he really hit the shit outta that one, didn't he?
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: [softly, infuriated] I held it like an egg.
Crash Davis: Yeah, and he scrambled the son of a bitch. Look at that, he hit the fucking bull! Guy gets a free steak!
Crash Davis: You having fun yet?
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: Oh, yeah. Havin' a blast.
Crash Davis: Good.
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: God, that sucker teed off on that like he knew I was gonna throw a fastball!
Crash Davis: He did know.
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: How?
Crash Davis: I told him.

Maybe Schilling should have been wearing a garter (the rose goes in the front big guy) or breathing out of his eyelids. Still, a solid performance for Schilling, not bad for a 40 year old. Schilling would have been the third-oldest pitcher to pitch a no-hitter. Nolan Ryan did it as a 43- and 44-year old, and Cy Young was 41 when he pitched a no-hitter for the Red Sox in 1908.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

MLB Player Notes

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - MLB Player Notes

American League

Rich Harden - SP - Athletics
The A's reportedly called the Red Sox to gauge interest in Rich Harden, according to Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown. After he got hurt? No word on what the conversations entailed, but if they progressed it all, it can be assumed the A's asked about both Wily Mo Pena and top pitching prospect Clay Buchholz. A healthy Harden is about as dominant as any pitcher in baseball, but the A's wouldn't be able to get equal value for him unless he comes back this month and then blows AL hitters away for a month or so. An in-season trade is quite unlikely.
Source: Yahoo! Sports

Vernon Wells - OF - Blue Jays
Vernon Wells, out Monday with the flu, is back in the lineup for Tuesday's game. He's batting second against left-hander C.C. Sabathia. Wells will probably remain in the third spot versus righties, but usual No. 2 hitter Adam Lind has been dropped to seventh tonight.

Luis Castillo - 2B - Twins
Luis Castillo, who had been out since April 19 with a quad strain, is finally back at second base on Tuesday.

J.D. Drew - OF - Red Sox
J.D. Drew was scratched from Tuesday's lineup because of an illness. Eric Hinske will start in his place in right field.

Frank Catalanotto - OF - Rangers
Rangers placed outfielder Frank Catalanotto on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 30, with a strained right shoulder. An MRI revealed no tears, so Catalanotto might be back in the minimum 15 days. Brad Wilkerson and Nelson Cruz are in line for more at-bats while he's out, and Victor Diaz will also get some starts in the outfield.

Ryan Shealy - 1B - Royals
The Royals reassigned Ryan Shealy to Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday. This was long overdue, as the first baseman was mired in a season-long, 6-for-53 slump (.113 AVG, 19 strikeouts, three walks). Ross Gload figures to get most of the playing time at first base.

Bobby Kielty - OF - Athletics
Athletics placed outfielder Bobby Kielty on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 29, with a strained left calf. Danny Putnam apparently will stick around until either Kielty or Milton Bradley comes off the disabled list. Dan Johnson could get additional starts against left-handers with Kielty sidelined.

Eric Gagne - RP - Rangers
Eric Gagne (hip) played catch Monday and said afterward that he hopes to return in about a week. "It feels pretty good," Gagne said. "I've worked it pretty hard, hitting the weights and things the last couple of days. I'm just going to have to strengthen it the way I do my back."
Source: Dallas Morning News

Johnny Damon - OF - Yankees
General manager Brian Cashman said Monday that he's not considering placing Johnny Damon (back) on the disabled list. Damon spent Monday visiting a chiropractor in Florida and the Yankees may decide he's best off with some time to rest.
Source: New York Times

Carlos Guillen - SS - Tigers
Manager Jim Leyland said Monday that he's concerned about Carlos Guillen's sore shoulder, but added that "I think it is getting better." "I'm a little concerned about it," Leyland said. "It does feel better, and I think it is getting better, but there are certain times, he told me yesterday, that when he throws it feels like it's pinching. That concerns me a little bit, but it is getting stronger." Guillen is expected to play through the injury.
Source: Detroit Free Press

Jeremy Bonderman - SP - Tigers
Jeremy Bonderman is pitching through a blister, which had to be trimmed during Monday's start. Bonderman has altered the grip on his two-seam fastball and the blister may have led to his leaving one batter into the sixth inning of Monday's win. "I've never had it before," Bonderman said. "It doesn't affect me. I'll be fine."
Source: Detroit News

Rob Mackowiak - OF - White Sox
Despite the presence of Ryan Sweeney on the roster, manager Ozzie Guillen said Monday that Rob Mackowiak will continue to start against right-handed pitching. With Jim Thome and Scott Podsednik out, Guillen has the option of starting both Sweeney and Mackowiak. ''I believe Mackowiak can hit,'' Guillen said. ''He's not the only one not hitting. The whole ballclub isn't. Mackowiak has hit in the past, and he has good at-bats. He's always in on the play and does things, and that's why we keep playing him.''
Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Julian Tavarez - SP - Red Sox
Julian Tavarez said Monday that Daisuke Matsuzaka has agreed to help him learn to throw a cut fastball, with the pair scheduled for a lesson twice per week. "I told him, 'I think you're one of the greatest pitchers I've ever seen,'" Tavarez said. "There are little things I want to learn. He's going to work with me twice a week on a cutter. That pitch has kept a lot of guys in baseball. Mike Timlin, Doug Jones. He says it's OK with him." Oh, to be a fly on the wall for those pitching lessons.
Source: Boston Globe

Jaret Wright - SP - Orioles
Placed on the disabled list with right shoulder soreness, Jaret Wright is expected to meet with Dr. Lewis Yocum regarding potential surgical options. "We'll decide from there whether it's a serious thing," manager Sam Perlozzo said. "I think what we saw was a guy that is a tremendous competitor, and his arm wouldn't let him compete. I'm sure there was a thought in the back of his mind that, 'Maybe I can't pitch anymore.' I don't know."
Source: Washington Post

Maicer Izturis - 3B - Angels
After leaving Sunday's game in the fifth inning, Maicer Izturis (hamstring) was out of the lineup Monday. According to manager Mike Scioscia, Izturis was available to pinch-hit or play defense. With out Izturis out, Robb Quinlan got his second straight start.
Source: Orange County Register

Garret Anderson - OF - Angels
Garret Anderson (hip) sat out his third straight game Monday. Manager Mike Scioscia said that he expects Anderson back in the lineup by the end of the Angels' current four-game series with the Royals.
Source: Orange County Register

Fausto Carmona - SP - Indians
Two days removed from his near complete-game shutout, Fausto Carmona was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday. With Cliff Lee slated to come off the disabled list Thursday night vs. Toronto, Carmona was simply the odd-man out of Cleveland’s rotation. And just when he started falling into a groove, having delivered three straight quality starts in a row. Talk about bad timing. Don’t expect a long stint in the Minors.

Roy Halladay - SP - Blue Jays
Roy Halladay was sensational on Monday against the Rangers, allowing one run on five hits with eight strikeouts in the complete-game victory. Halladay's record now sits at a perfect 4-0 to go along with a sparkling 2.28 ERA and equally impressive 0.89 WHIP. He'll take his 33/7 K/BB ratio to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for his next start.

National League

David Eckstein - SS - Cardinals
David Eckstein has been dropped to the eighth spot in the Cardinals lineup for Tuesday's game. Skip Schumaker is leading off. It's the first time in three years as a Cardinal that Eckstein has started a game outside of the leadoff spot. Eckstein is batting .226/.290/.262 in 84 at-bats so far this season. He'll go back to batting first as soon as he warms up.

Ricky Nolasco - RP - Marlins
Marlins activated RHP Ricky Nolasco from the 15-day disabled list. Nolasco will make his first start in more than three weeks tonight against the Mets.

Juan Encarnacion - OF - Cardinals
Juan Encarnacion (wrist surgery) is just 2-for-26 (.077) during his rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield. The Cardinals' plan on keeping Encarnacion on the rehab assignment for at least another week and his poor hitting shouldn't convince them to change their mind.
Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch

Chris Carpenter - SP - Cardinals
Chris Carpenter's elbow felt great after Saturday's bullpen session and he will throw a simulated game on Tuesday. "My elbow is doing good," Carpenter said. "No swelling. No nothing. ... There was no reaction." If all continues to go well, Carpenter could return to the rotation next Tuesday.
Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch

Xavier Nady - OF - Pirates
Xavier Nady felt "a little grab" in his hamstring while doing sprints on Sunday. Nady hopes to return to running on Tuesday after giving his hamstring a day off. He won't start the next two games, but remains available as a pinch-hitter.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Sergio Mitre - SP - Marlins
Sergio Mitre (finger) allowed two hits over six shutout innings during a rehab start with Single-A Jupiter on Monday. Mitre didn't walk or strike out a batter in the outing. He is scheduled to return from the disabled list to start Saturday's game against the Padres.
Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Micah Owings - SP - Diamondbacks
Micah Owings (hamstring) threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Monday. Owings is healthy and could be activated from the disabled list to start Thursday's game. Edgar Gonzalez is still listed as Thursday's probable starter, but that could change according to manager Bob Melvin. "We still have to iron out exactly what direction we are going in," Melvin said.
Source: East Valley Tribune

Conor Jackson - 1B - Diamondbacks
Conor Jackson (hand laceration) won't return to the starting lineup until Wednesday at the very earliest. Jackson could be used as an emergency replacement, but the team hopes to give him a few extra days to allow the cut on his finger to heal.
Source: Arizona Republic

Dave Roberts - OF - Giants
Dave Roberts didn't play in Monday's game against the Rockies because of an inflamed left elbow. Todd Linden started in his place. Roberts could be back on Tuesday.

Clint Barmes - SS - Rockies
The Rockies demoted infielder Clint Barmes to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday, and recalled infielder Omar Quintanilla to take his place. This just further solidifies Troy Tulowitzki’s job security at shortstop, as Barmes was seen as his main competition there despite going 2-for-20 (.200 AVG) in 10 games.

Rodrigo Lopez - SP - Rockies
Rodrigo Lopez (elbow inflammation) played catch on flat ground on April 29, but still hasn't thrown a bullpen session. It marked Lopez's first action since landing on the disabled list in mid-April. The Rockies aren't counting on him returning anytime soon.

Kazuo Matsui - 2B - Rockies
Kazuo Matsui (lower back) has started swinging the bat again, but running is still an issue. Having baserunning problems isn’t particularly good news for a player who relies on his speed. Matsui appears at least a few weeks away from returning to full strength.

Chris Young - OF - Diamondbacks
Chris Young drilled two solo homers in Monday night’s win over the Dodgers -- Nos. 3 and 4 of the year. The buy-low window appears to be shutting fast on Young, who’s gone 5-for-9 with two homers and a swipe in the last two contests. Another few games like this and you’ll actually have to pay full price for the 20-20 season he’s likely to deliver. The rebound is real.

Felipe Lopez - SS - Nationals
Felipe Lopez struck out in all four of his at-bats against the Padres on Monday. Lopez went 3-for-23 over the final five games of April to finish the month with an underwhelming .266 batting average and .613 OPS. The lack of offense wouldn’t be so bad if he were more active on the basepaths, but Lopez has only three swipes after stealing a career-high 44 bases last year. It may be time to bench the struggling shortstop and check out the other options available on the waiver wire.

Henry Owens - RP - Marlins
Henry Owens tossed a perfect ninth inning to record the save against the Mets on Monday. Owens has settled nicely into his role as Florida's new closer with a pair of saves in as many opportunities and a nifty 2.45 ERA.

Jose Reyes - SS - Mets
Jose Reyes continued his early-season MVP campaign on Monday, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs, a run and a stolen base. It was just another day at the office for Reyes, who is now batting .356 with a Major League-leading 17 stolen bases.

Marcus Giles - 2B - Padres
Marcus Giles was out of the Padres lineup Monday night with a rib injury. San Diego's second baseman was hoping that a day of rest would give his bruised ribs a chance to heal. "[Padres Trainer Todd Hutcheson] said to me that if I play [on Monday], there's a good chance that the ribs would tighten up or blow out," said Giles, "and that would definitely mean the DL and maybe even 3-5 weeks. Hopefully it will be just one day and I'll be in there [on Tuesday]." Utilityman Oscar Robles started in his place and singled in four at-bats.

Bob Wickman - RP - Braves
Braves closer Bob Wickman was placed on the disabled list Monday with a sore upper back. The odds of Wickman staying healthy all season were slim, especially considering his age (38) and checkered health record. Short term, look elsewhere for saves.

Mike Gonzalez - RP - Braves
While Bob Wickman is out with what is believed to be a minor injury, the Braves will use both Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez in the closer's role. If you have the roster space, obviously, both Soriano and Gonzalez are worth snatching up. It's unclear if one of the two young fireballers will see a larger share of save opportunities. The left-handed Gonzalez has fireman experience, with 24 saves for Pittsburgh last year, while the right-handed Soriano has pitched five scoreless innings in his last five appearances.