Tag Archive | "Third Baseman"

Pass the Cannoli! Italy is here to play some Baseball!

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Pass the Cannoli! Italy is here to play some Baseball!

Posted on 11 March 2013 by Trish Vignola

I write this article as Italy is prepared to go up 2-0.

TeamItaly

Che?

They beat the spaghetti out of Mexico and are about to beat the manicotti out of Canada.

Chi poteva aspettarselo? (Who saw that coming?)

The Italian contingency is feeling pretty good. They did not advance past the first round in the first two World Baseball Classics. However, this time around is different. They scored an early upset this year by rallying for two runs in the ninth inning Thursday to defeat Mexico, 6-5, in their WBC opener at Chase Field in Phoenix. Now, they invaded Canada.

Is it ironic that their uniform is Dodger blue? A franchise whose origin is beset in Italian-American lore (i.e. Brooklyn)? A couple of Dodgers — and another with a Dodger connection — were right in the middle of the action of Italia’s 2013 WBC journey.

Dodgers utilityman Nick Punto ignited Italy’s rally with a one-out double against Mexico (and San Francisco Giants’) closer Sergio Romo. However, even in the loss, Mexico (and Dodgers) first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had a big game. He reaching base in all five plate appearances with two hits, a pair of walks and by getting hit with a pitch. Gonzalez’s older brother, Edgar, didn’t fare as well. Playing left field, he got a poor jump on Punto’s double, which should have been caught. Anthony Rizzo‘s game-winning, two-run double also should have been caught, going off Gonzalez’s glove.

Mexico Manager Rick Renteria lamented to the Associate Press afterward that both plays “would have just been typically fly-ball outs.” Edgar Gonzalez had a hit in four at-bats, but also struck out three times. He wasn’t the only one to blame. Mexico (and Dodgers) third baseman Luis Cruz was 1 for 4 with a walk hitting third, in front of Adrian Gonzalez.

Italy wasn’t that much better for most of the game. Punto was 1 for 5 batting lead-off for Italy, which has former Dodgers slugger Mike Piazza as its hitting coach. However, they still eeked out the win. This afternoon, Italy played Canada at Chase Field. (Mexico will try to seek redemption against the United States later on today.) Nevertheless, Italy came out swinging even stronger. With folks like Pat Venditte, born in the beautiful Italian Villa of Omaha, Nebraska, Canada (Italy’s opponent) was looking straight into the barrel of a mercy rule. Let’s face it. Even with the controversial home run turned ground-rule double call, it was still a certainty.

I wonder if Russell Martin is sitting in Pirates’ camp somewhere, pretty excited…excited he missed out on this mess.

Somewhere, even Joe DiMaggio is pretty excited. My family lineage is finally in the news for something more than the lack of Pope or “Big Ang” from Mob Wives.

Seriously, Italy deserves credit. It wasn’t like they were knocking off Team France. (Sorry, they didn’t make the preliminary round. If any country is rife to be made fun of, it’s France.) Team Canada isn’t a bunch of stiffs. This might not be hockey but Canada is pretty good at our national past time. Canada features strong major-league talent, including the Reds’ Joey Votto, Justin Morneau of the Twins, and pitchers John Axford, Philippe Aumont and Shawn Hill. However, this time around, Italy was just a little better.

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Ryan Braun – Here we go…again?

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Ryan Braun – Here we go…again?

Posted on 12 February 2013 by Trish Vignola

Major League Baseball’s investigation into the widening Biogenesis scandal has become more complicated. Tuesday, four more players, including Brewers superstar Ryan Braun, were linked to the now-defunct Florida clinic alleged to have distributed performance-enhancing substances.

RyanBraun2

Here we go again.

Yahoo Sports named Braun, Orioles’ third baseman – Danny Valencia and Yankees’ catcher – Francisco Cervelli in a report as being included in handwritten logs of clinic operator Anthony Bosch. Mariners’ catcher (and former Yankees’ farm hand) Jesus Montero also appears in the clinic’s records as the New York Daily News reported.

At the rate the Yankees are going, I’ll be behind the dish this year.

Is it me or is inclusion of Braun, the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player, on this list as frustrating as Alex Rodriguez? Braun won last season an appeal of a positive test. An arbitrator ruled his urine sample had not been handled properly. Although it may or may not be significant that, unlike the previous names surfaced, there were no specific illegal substances listed next to Braun’s name. Nonetheless, can’t these guys stay home and stay out of trouble? There was a number next to his name which many have interpreted as dollar amounts he might have paid or been billed for undisclosed reasons.

I don’t want someone to be guilty until proven innocent, but come on.

The Miami New Times had previously named Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez and Cesar Carrillo, as well as three players who have previously been suspended for use of illegal substances: Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal.

At that time, MLB confirmed that it had been independently investigating Biogenesis and that it planned to attempt to interview any player whose name surfaced in connection with the lab. The Commissioner’s Office released a statement Tuesday night, saying: “We have an active ongoing investigation in Florida. Until that is completed we can’t comment on any of the details or information that has surfaced.”

Yahoo reported that it had been given three documents by a former Biogenesis employee with Braun’s name attached. One matchef a list the New Times posted online with Braun’s name redacted and Cervelli and Valencia cut off. Another showed Braun on a line connected to the notation “RB 20-30K.” That is similar to how Bosch listed the amounts owed by other players, although, in this case, the number was markedly higher than most.

Added by Yahoo, “Later in the document are multiple mentions of Chris Lyons, one of Braun’s attorneys during the 2011-12 offseason when he fought a positive drug test. While Braun never contested the findings of the test, which found elevated testosterone levels in his urine, a 50-game suspension was overturned after chain-of-custody issues arose from the test-taker keeping the specimen in his basement over the weekend instead of immediately shipping it to a testing lab. Braun denied use of testosterone publicly. … When reached by Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday evening, Lyons declined comment.

The third record is a letter from Bosch that appears to be Juan Nunez, a former runner for the ACES sports agency that represents Cabrera, Cruz and Gonzalez. Though undated, it congratulates ‘Juan’ on ‘the MVP award’ – a possible reference to Cabrera’s All-Star Game MVP – and continues: ‘This smells like the ‘Braun’ advantage.’”

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Is there trouble on River Ave?

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Is there trouble on River Ave?

Posted on 28 January 2013 by Trish Vignola

Is there trouble on River Ave?

Or is there celebration?

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Although Alex Rodriguez hopes to return from hip surgery sometime after the All-Star break at Citi Field, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman claims that the veteran third baseman could miss the entire season. Cashman dropped this bomb in an interview with WFAN in New York on Friday.

Rodriguez, who is now 37, underwent surgery on his left hip on Jan. 16. He was initially expected to miss about six months. On Friday, Cashman revealed that he is actually prepared for the possibility that the third baseman might not suit up at all this summer.

Cashman says that he remains optimistic. Nonetheless, when asked if there was a chance of Rodriguez missing the entire season, he told WFAN, “Yeah…I think because [of] the serious nature of the surgery and the condition that he’s trying to recover from, you know, there is that chance.”

Rodriguez hit .272 with 18 homers and 57 RBIs during the regular season last year. However, he drew attention when he struggled mightily during the postseason. The three-time American League Most Valuable Player Award winner was 3-for-25 in postseason play. He was only able to muster a devastating .120 batting average. That included a 0-for-18 stretch with 12 strikeouts against right-handed pitchers. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter, including Raul Ibanez, on multiple occasions before eventually being replaced in the starting lineup.

Are the Yankees looking for a way out of this dysfunctional marriage with Alex Rodriguez?

Could their patience with an ailing star have worn thin? Especially after pretty girls in the front row were garnering more of Rodriguez’ attention than the game?

Earlier this offseason, the Yankees signed veteran third baseman Kevin Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million contract to step in for Rodriguez while he recovers from the injury. Youkilis hit .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs in 122 combined games with the Red Sox and White Sox last season.

Although not a permanent fix, it’s interesting to note that if Rodriguez misses out on the year, the Yankees can recoup some of its losses through the team’s insurance. The insurance kicks in only after the player has missed at least four months of the season. It’s minimal unless the misses the entire season. The Yankees would hit the biggest macabre jackpot if Dr. Bryan Kelly, who performed the surgery to repair the labrum and an impingement in the left hip, had the wrong prognosis. If the ability of Alex Rodriguez to resume his career as long as he does the rehabilitation turns out to be wrong, the Yankees win…big time.

From the Yankees’ standpoint, that would effectively get them out from under the remaining five years, $114 million on his contract. The insurance would kick in for 85% of that. Rodriguez would become a voluntarily retired player with a paid-up contract that comes off the Yankee books (and subsequently would lessen their luxury-tax burden).

It would be the same sort of welcome windfall the Baltimore Orioles reaped in 2000. Two years into a five-year, $65 million contract, Albert Belle was forced to retire from the game at 34 with a degenerative hip condition.

Belle disappeared from baseball. Nobody missed him.

Are the Yankees hoping for lightening to strike twice?

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World Baseball Classic Team USA Rosters

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World Baseball Classic Team USA Rosters

Posted on 15 January 2013 by Press Release

TEAM USA PROVISIONAL ROSTER FOR 2013 WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC TO BE ANNOUNCED THURSDAY ON MLB NETWORK’S HOT STOVE

All 16 World Baseball Classic Provisional Rosters to be Announced on World Baseball Classic Roster Special Thursday Live at 4:00 p.m. ET

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Secaucus, NJ, January 15, 2013 – The Team USA Provisional Roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic will be announced on MLB Network’s Hot Stove this Thursday, January 17 live at 10:00 a.m. ET. Co-hosted by Matt Vasgersian and Bill Ripken, who was part of the 2009 Team USA coaching staff, Hot Stove will begin at 9:00 a.m. ET and break down Team USA and feature an interview with Team USA manager Joe Torre.

Later in the day, the remainder of the Provisional Rosters for the 16-team field will be announced on MLB Network during a World Baseball Classic Roster Special live at 4:00 p.m. ET. Co-hosted by MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger and Heidi Watney with Dan Plesac andBill Ripken, the one-hour special will analyze the entire 16-team field, look back at the history of the World Baseball Classic and feature interviews with Team USA pitching coach Greg Maddux and Team USA member and New York Mets third baseman David Wright. The show will also preview the tournament schedule as MLB Network will be the exclusive English-language broadcast partner for all 39 games of the 2013 World Baseball Classic in the United States from March 2-19.

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Jacob Ruppert is Headed to the Hall of Fame

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Jacob Ruppert is Headed to the Hall of Fame

Posted on 08 December 2012 by Trish Vignola

Umpire Hank O’Day, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th Century catcher/third baseman Deacon White have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Pre-Integration Era Committee. This week O’Day, Ruppert and White were each named on the necessary 75 percent of all ballots cast by the 16-member Pre-Integration Era Committee. The ballot considered of six former players, three executives and one umpire whose contributions to the game were significant and dated from organized baseball origins through 1946. The Pre-Integration Era Committee held meetings on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn., site of Baseball’s Winter Meetings. O’Day, Ruppert and White will be joined in the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 by any nominees that emerge from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting. The rest of the class, if any, will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 9.

The 16-member Pre-Integration Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick, Phil Niekro and Don Sutton; major league executives Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gary Hughes and Bob Watson. It also included veteran media members and historians Jim Henneman, Steve Hirdt, Peter Morris, Phil Pepe, Tom Simon, Claire Smith, T.R. Sullivan and Mark Whicker. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Pre-Integration Era Committee. Jacob Ruppert and Hank O’Day each received 15 votes (93.8%). Deacon White received 14 votes (87.5%). The next closest in voting was Bill Dahlen who received 10 votes (62.5%).

O’Day, who passed away on July 2, 1935, umpired in the first modern World Series in 1903, one of 10 times that he worked the Fall Classic. O’Day was a National League umpire for 30 years and made the defining call in the famous 1908 Giants vs. Cubs contest that featured Johnny Evers forcing out Fred Merkle at second base after what appeared to be the game-winning hit. O’Day becomes the 10th umpire elected to the Hall of Fame.

Ruppert bought a struggling Yankees franchise in 1915 and quickly changed the team’s fortunes by purchasing Babe Ruth from the Red Sox and building Yankee Stadium. While Ruppert owned the Yankees, New York won 10 American League pennants and seven World Series titles. Ruppert passed away on Jan. 13, 1939.

White played 20 seasons for teams in the National Association, the National League and the Players League, compiling 2,067 hits in only 1,560 games. White led his league in batting average twice and RBI three times, and was a standout bare-handed defensive catcher before switching to third base later in his career. White passed away on July 7, 1939.

The Pre-Integration Era Committee will next consider candidates in 2015 for the 2016 Induction year, as the process to consider candidates by era repeats on a three-year cycle. In 2013, the Expansion Era Committee – which met previously in 2010 – will consider candidates whose main career contributions came from 1973 through the present. In 2014, the Golden Era Committee – which met previously in 2011 – will consider candidates whose main career contributions came from 1947-72. Committees will continue to meet at the Winter Meetings.

Hall of Fame Weekend 2013 will be held July 26-29 in Cooperstown, NY, with the Induction Ceremony slated for Sunday, July 28, 2013. The BBWAA election results will be announced at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The election of O’Day, Ruppert, and White brings the total number of Hall of Famers to 300.

Also this week at the Winter Meetings, two Hall of Fame award winners will be announced, with the BBWAA selecting its annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award on Tuesday, Dec. 4 for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the Museum will announce the Ford C. Frick Award winner, given for excellence in baseball broadcasting.

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