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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Houston Astros Lose Tenth Straight Game

By David

After losing tonight to the Reds 4-2, the Astros lost their tenth game in a row.

It's hard to imagine that a lineup loaded with so much power and talent could go eleven days without a victory. Since defeating the Texas Rangers on May 19th, the Astros were swept by the Giants in a three-game series, swept by the Diamondbacks in a four-game set at Chase Field and have now lost the first two games of their series at home to the division rival Reds.

On Sunday, May 20th Houston was shellacked by their interstate rivals 14-1, and since then they have been unable to resolve their struggling offense and mediocre pitching. Only twice during their eleven game slid did the offense manage to score at least four runs and on five occasions they scored one run or less.

Hitting coach Sean Berry must be scratching his head and wondering what do I need to do differently to get my players out of their funk. It's not everyday that all-stars like Craig Biggio, Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman, and rising stars Hunter Pence and Luke Scott fail to drive in runners.

Manager Phil Garner was quoted as saying ''there's no question we're not swinging the bats well. It's a team wide-funk.'' The ten straight loses by his ball club are the most since 1995 and if they are not able to right the ship in a weak division Garner's job could be on the line.

Owner Drayton McLane expects a winning product on the field and he has spent the necessary money to make sure the Astros' are a winner. It wouldn't be a shock to see general manager Tim Purpura get the axe if his team doesn't start to improve their play.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Video - SF Giants Barry Bonds Hits Home Run # 746 Against The Rockies

This is SF Giants slugger Barry Bonds hitting it out of the park on a 2-1 count against the Colorado Rockies one week ago in San Francisco. This is home run number 746, placing him just nine away from Hank Aaron's record.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Arizona Diamondbacks on a Five-Game Winning Streak

At 30-23, Bob Melvin has his hitters and pitchers playing exceptionally well to begin the season.

Cleveland Indians Complete Three-Game Sweep of Detroit Tigers

By David

The Cleveland Indians entered Friday's game with the division rival Detroit Tigers .5 games back, but after sweeping the AL champions they leave Comerica Park 2.5 games ahead in the division race.

Eric Wedge and his ball club will face their biggest test starting today as they square off against the red hot Red Sox' who are running away with the AL East. Both teams are regarded as the super powers in the American League, but this three-game set at Fenway Park will go a long way in determining which team has the upper hand.

At 31-17, the Tribe have not experienced this kind of success since back in 2001 when they last won the division.It's interesting to note that six years ago last nights winning pitcher Fausto Carmona was only seventeen years of age and most of his teammates were either in their late teens or early twenties.

After sweeping the Tigers on the road, Detroit will look to return the favor starting Thursday night as both clubs begin a four-game series at Jacobs Field. If the Indians are able to salvage a split they will have to feel pretty confident about themselves and their ability to compete with one of the best teams in baseball.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Colorado Rockies' Trade Rumors

By David

With the trading deadline two months away, there are several teams in need of an extra bat or pitcher that will put them over the top.

The Denver Post reported Thursday that the Rockies' are willing to part with three of their best players: third baseman Garrett Atkins, first baseman Todd Helton and closer Brian Fuentes.

Atkins, 27, has been stuck in a slump throughout the first two months of the season, but would provide the Angels with the much needed power bat that they have been seeking for years. Even though he's batting .220 with three home runs and 19 RBI's, the UCLA graduate enjoyed a breakout season in 2006 hitting .329 with 29 homers, 120 runs batted in and 48 doubles.

At 21-27 and 12.5 games back of the AL East leading Boston Red Sox', the Yankees need all the help that they can get. Two Rockies', closer Brian Fuentes and veteran first baseman Todd Helton could be headed to the Bronx to right the sinking ship.

If the deal is completed between now and the end of July, beleaguered general manager Brian Cashman would be forced to trade away young talent and that's something I'd hate for him to do.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tigers' Outfielder Magglio Ordonez For AL MVP

By David

After running away with the AL MVP race in April and being one step away from having his name engraved on the award, Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez is the not the clear cut favorite to take home the hardware.

Instead, Tigers' right fielder Magglio Ordonez is having a torrid month of May and is quietly distinguishing himself as the premier slugger in the American League. Through 45 games Magglio is hitting .361 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI's.

He ranks third in the AL in batting average, on base percentage[.441] and home runs, while he leads the majors in runs batted in and slugging percentage[.710]. Unlike A-Rod's team, the Tigers' are twelve games over .500 and lead the AL Central by a half game over Cleveland.

Ordonez, 33, is hitting .380 this month and in his last ten games he's batting .415 with seventeen hits, 11 runs knocked in, fourteen runs scored and five long balls. Yesterday against the AL West leading Angels he went 4-for-4 with three RBI's and three runs scored.

Hancock's father sues over pitcher's death

I understand what Hancock's father is trying to do, but at some point he must understand that his son was an adult and he needed to invoke so personal responsibility on his part. In no way should the restaurant be liable for the horrific events that ensued on the interstate.

By JIM SALTER, Associated Press Writer
May 24, 2007

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The father of Josh Hancock filed suit Thursday, claiming a restaurant provided drinks to the St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher even though he was intoxicated prior to the crash that killed him.

The suit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court by Dean Hancock of Tupelo, Miss., does not specify damages. Mike Shannon's Restaurant, owned by the longtime Cardinals broadcaster who starred on three World Series teams in the 1960s, is a defendant in the case along with Shannon's daughter, Patricia Shannon Van Matre, the restaurant manager.

Other defendants include Eddie's Towing, the company whose flatbed tow truck was struck by Hancock's sport utility vehicle in the early hours of April 29; tow truck driver Jacob Edward Hargrove; and Justin Tolar, the driver whose stalled car on Interstate 64 was being assisted by Hargrove.

The Cardinals and Major League Baseball were not listed as defendants. In a brief statement, the Cardinals said, "We hope this matter will come to a swift and fair resolution for all parties involved."

Authorities said the 29-year pitcher had a blood content of nearly twice the legal limit for alcohol in his system when he crashed into the back of the tow truck. He was also speeding, using a cell phone and wasn't wearing a seat belt, Police Chief Joe Mokwa said after the accident. Marijuana also was found in the SUV.

Mokwa said Hancock went to Shannon's not long after the Cardinals played a day game against the Chicago Cubs on April 28. The lawsuit claimed that Hancock was a regular at the restaurant bar and was there for more than 3 1/2 hours.

"It's understood that for the entire 3 1/2 hours that Josh Hancock was there that he was handed drinks," Keith Kantack, a lawyer for Dean Hancock, said. "It's our understanding that from the moment Josh Hancock entered Mike Shannon's that night that he was never without a drink."

A person answering phones at the restaurant declined comment. A message left with Van Matre was not returned.

The lawsuit claimed Tolar was negligent in allowing his vehicle to reach the point where it stalled on the highway, and for failing to move it out of the way of oncoming traffic. A police report said the car became stalled when it spun out after being cut off by another vehicle.

Police said Hargrove noticed the stalled vehicle and stopped to help. The report said he told officers he was there five to seven minutes before his truck was hit by Hancock's SUV. But Kantack said the tow truck may have been there up to 15 minutes, yet failed to get the stalled vehicle out of the way.

"Were the police contacted?" Kantack asked. "Why weren't flares put out? Why was the tow truck there for an exorbitant amount of time?"

Tolar did not have a listed telephone number. Calls to the towing company were met with a busy signal.

Kantack said others could be added later as defendants in the suit. He declined to speculate on whether the Cardinals or Major League Baseball could be added to the suit, but said the Hancock family has been "overwhelmed by the support and respect the Cardinals have shown since Josh's passing."

Dean Hancock said in a statement that the "facts and circumstances" of Josh's death "have caused great pain to all of Josh's family." As administrator of his son's estate, Dean Hancock said he has an obligation to represent the family on all issues, "including any legal actions necessary against those who contributed to the untimely and unnecessary death."
Updated on Thursday, May 24, 2007 7:44 pm EDT

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Giambi meets with MLB

Please MLB, leave the Yankees' slugger alone. He needs to be rewarded for having the courage to come out publicly and admit to what he did. Maybe if the rest of the players did, the sport of baseball would have credibility and former fans would once again follow the games.

By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
May 23, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jason Giambi met with lawyers from the baseball commissioner's office Wednesday to discuss recent comments that some interpreted as an admission of steroids use.
Allegations that he flunked an amphetamines test, however, were not discussed.

"The commissioner requested that Jason come in in response to the USA Today piece. Jason was interviewed this morning," union general counsel Michael Weiner said.

The Daily News on Wednesday reported Giambi failed an amphetamines test within the last year.

However, a person familiar with what went on at the meeting, said it only dealt with the remarks quoted in USA Today. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because those attending agreed not to make details public.

The meeting, at baseball's main office, lasted less than an hour.

The New York Yankees' designated hitter was quoted last Friday as saying:

"I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up -- players, ownership, everybody -- and said: 'We made a mistake.' We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. ... Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it."

The meeting included Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations, senior vice president Frank Coonelly and Howard Ganz, an outside lawyer.
Giambi brought along agent Arn Tellem, lawyer Brian O'Neill and Weiner, who represented the players' association.

Management and players did not agree to ban steroids until late 2002. Testing with penalties did not begin until 2004.

An agreement was reached before the 2006 season to also ban amphetamines. An initial positive test subjects a player to counseling and six additional tests for one year.

Names of players who test positive for amphetamines for the first time are not made public.

Updated on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 3:19 pm EDT

Friday, May 18, 2007

First Baseman Ryan Garko and The Cleveland Indians Continue To Play Well

By David

Ryan Garko, 26-year old first baseman for the surging Cleveland Indians, continued his success Friday night against interstate rival Cincinnati.

After thumping Cinci by the final score of 9-4 this evening, the Indians have improved to 25-14 on the season. They are now one-game ahead of the Tigers in the AL Central and 2.5 games behind the Red Sox for the best record in the American League.

The Tribe are an amazing 15-3 at Jacobs Field and 9-2 against their division foes. Center Fielder Grady Sizemore and designated hitter Travis Hafner headline the group of youngsters who have re-energized the city of Cleveland. A credible argument can be made that the Indians have the best young position players in the majors and will be among baseball's best teams for several years to come.

Last night in the battle of Ohio, Ryan Garko went two for three with a three-run home run and improved his average to .321. All-star center fielder Grady Sizemore went four for five with a two-run dinger, three runs batted in and three runs scored. A recent Sports Illustrated article by Tom Verducci stated that ''he's without a doubt one of the greatest players of our generation.'' If Sizemore can continue on his torrid pace he will in deed live up to the hype.

The rest of the Indians offense includes Travis Hafner who belted 42 home runs and drove in 117 runs last season while sporting a .659 slugging percentage and .439 on base percentage, all-star catcher Victor Martinez who consistently ranks among the best hitting catchers in baseball , 24-year old shortstop Jhonny Peralta who is mounting a strong comeback season after struggling last year, and 23-year old third baseman Andy Marte who has a bright future with the club.

When you sprinkle in veterans like Trot Nixon, David Dellucci and Casey Blake Cleveland's offense is a recipe for success.

Pitching wise the Indians starting rotation will not over power you, but they'll get the job done when counted on. Left-hander C.C. Sabathia is the ace of a staff that has combined to go 17-8 on the young season. C.C. has started off the season strong going 6-1 with a 3.65 ERA.

23-year old righty Fausto Carmona who went 1-10 with a 5.42 ERA last season, is now 5-1 with a 2.55 earned run average in seven games. In his last victory Thursday against the Twins he pitched a complete game shutout against baseball's best pitcher Johan Santana.

Still, for the Indians to win the division this year and advance far in the playoffs they will need to resolve their bullpen woes. Closer Joe Borowski is 0-2 this season with a nine ERA and twelve saves. Look for general manager Mark Shapiro to make a trade by the end of July if his pen continues to pitch ineffectively.

Giambi's reported remarks to be investigated by baseball

Finally, a MLB player has come out of the shadows and said something sensible regarding the steroids issue.

Owners, players and the commissioner's office should be embarrassed by their actions during the steroid era and they haven't made their case any better by not taking the offensive to clean up their sport.

The example they set for young players just beginning their careers and who look up to these players as their role models is deplorable.

Yankees slugger Jason Giambi should not be quieted by MLB for telling the truth. There needs to be more players and executives who come out and tell the truth about what really happened in the last decade. A formal apology to all fans would be appropriate.

By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer

May 18, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- The baseball commissioner's office intends to investigate reported remarks by Yankees slugger Jason Giambi that the sport should apologize for use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Rob Manfred, executive vice president for labor relations in the commissioner's office, spoke Friday with Yankees president Randy Levine about the matter, a baseball official with knowledge of the conversation said, speaking on condition of anonymity because baseball officials didn't want the matter publicly discussed.

"I was wrong for doing that stuff," Giambi was quoted as saying in Friday's editions of USA Today. "What we should have done a long time ago was stand up -- players, ownership, everybody -- and said: 'We made a mistake.'

"We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. ... Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it."

Giambi told a grand jury during the BALCO investigation in December 2003 that he used steroids and human growth hormone, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in December 2004. Before the start of spring training in 2005, Giambi made repeated general apologies at a news conference but wouldn't discuss whether he used steroids or admitted to the grand jury in 2003 that he did.

"The commissioner's office, I think, is going to be looking into this, and so at this point I just can't comment," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before Friday's game against the Mets. "Let the commissioner go through the process he needs to go through, and we'll go from there."

Giambi refused to talk about the USA Today story on Friday.

Cashman was troubled by the notion that fans are owed an apology by Major League Baseball.

"There's an implication that there was a lot of people that were involved that would know that, what was going on, and I can tell you that's false," Cashman said. "We've spoken to that in the past, so I do have a problem with that, without a doubt, because I can tell you -- I can speak from being right there, too -- that whatever goes on individually with these guys, is really on them."

Giambi, whom USA Today said was interviewed on Wednesday, was quoted by the paper as saying he's thankful for baseball's testing program for steroids and amphetamines that was revised before the 2006 season. MLB does not test for human growth hormone and Giambi said he does not use the drug.

"Unfortunately, (the rumors) are going to be a part of it. But that's OK. I'm probably tested more than anybody else. I'm not hiding anything," he was quoted as saying. "That stuff didn't help me hit home runs. I don't care what people say, nothing is going to give you that gift of hitting a baseball."

Updated on Friday, May 18, 2007 7:20 pm EDT

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Braves sale is approved

Liberty Media taking control of franchise from Time Warner
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The sale of the Atlanta Braves from Time Warner to Liberty Media was unanimously approved by Major League Baseball's owners at a special meeting on Wednesday.

The complicated stock-for-franchise deal had a deadline of midnight ET because of a change in the federal tax code affecting such transactions, that Commissioner Bud Selig said was far too complicated to explain. That change occurs on Friday.

The 30 owners met in a late-afternoon session to vote on the deal, which was in the process of being closed by the appointed hour. The ownership committee and the executive council had earlier in the day also cleared the deal. All the owners or their representatives are together this week for the second quarterly meeting of the year, one that has become a May staple at MLB's New York offices.

"There are a lot of reasons that I'm happy today, but one of the things I said right from the outset was we wanted to preserve what I thought was a great management structure," Selig said at a press conference almost immediately after the special vote. "They certainly have the record to prove that. A lot of (Braves) fans should be happy tonight because we've not only created great stability here, but it's in the best interest of the Braves and baseball."

The owners will still meet to take care of other business at their regularly scheduled joint meeting on Thursday morning.

Asked if he had any doubt that the deal would close by midnight, Selig said, "I would be stunned if it doesn't. I would say the chances are better than excellent. That was the reason we had the special meeting."

Under terms of the transaction, in which the franchise itself was valued at $450 million, Terry McGuirk will remain as president, John Schuerholz as general manager, Bobby Cox as manager and Hank Aaron, the Hall of Famer and current Major League Baseball home run leader with 755, will have an increased role in his position of senior vice president.

City-owned Turner Field will remain under the Braves control and the name will not change.

McGuirk said it was stipulated in writing that new ownership could not go below the team's current player payroll of $87.3 million, but was certainly encouraged to invest in the franchise. Under Ted Turner and Time Warner, the Braves won 14 division titles in a row -- a streak that ended last season -- captured five National League pennants and were victorious in the 1995 World Series over the Indians.

"Continuity seems to be the word that has triumphed here," McGuirk said during the press conference. "The championship level baseball that has been played here for the last 15 years, the management, all of that continues on unabated, thanks to the Commissioner and the owners and their confidence in this group. So we think it's a great day for the Braves. We're ready for the job and we're looking for many more championship seasons."

The approval effectively ends an era of Braves ownership, which began when the franchise was purchased in 1976 by Turner, who also had taken over the NBA's Atlanta Hawks. The cable television mogul used the ballclub as a national tool to bring attention to his burgeoning cable empire that eventually evolved into CNN, Turner South and TBS.

Originally the home of old movies, TBS has carried Braves games nationally for the last 31 years, a relationship that will expire at the conclusion of this season.

Turner remained associated with the ballclub and his cable product when Turner Broadcasting merged with Time Warner in 1995. He was vice chairman of the company, which eventually also merged with AOL, until his resignation in 2003. Three years later, Turner severed his relationship with the board of directors and hasn't been involved since.

Time Warner has been shedding itself of its sports properties, previously having sold the Hawks, the NHL's Thrashers, and Philips Arena, the downtown home of both indoor teams.

For a large block of Liberty stock, Time Warner is reportedly exchanging the Braves, a number of craft magazines and $1 billion. Liberty owns about four percent of Time Warner.

As has become a pattern in recent years, MLB was concerned about leaving the operational control of the team in familiar hands and wanted to make sure McGuirk remained with the club. The owners had previously been assured of that condition when the deal was formally announced in February.

"There are no changes," McGuirk said. "There will be a continuation of past practices."

Last year, as a condition of selling the Nationals to the Lerner family, MLB insisted in the last phases of the deal that Stan Kasten be brought in as part of the group. Kasten, at one time the president of all the Time Warner sports properties, was made a minority owner and was placed in charge of running the team.

Since late 1999, 18 MLB franchises have either been sold or have experienced a change in control of majority ownership, including the Expos/Nationals twice. The sale of the Cubs by the Tribune Co. is next on the table.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cincinnati Reds' Struggling To Begin The Season

By David

At 16 and 24, the Cincinnati Reds are dead last in the porous NL Central. Through forty games last season the Reds were 23-17 and two games behind the Cardinals for the division lead. Boy, what a difference a year makes.

Cincinnati possesses one of the best one-two punches in baseball with right-handers Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang guiding the pitching staff. After breakout season's last year, both pitchers have stumbled out of the gates. Despite a 5-1 record, Harang is sporting a 4.42 ERA in nine games this year.

Conversely, Arroyo has pitched well, but his offense has provided him with no run support. The 30-year old is 2-4 so far with a 2.64 ERA and one complete game thrown. The remaining three starters, Kyle Lohse, Matt Belisle and the injured Eric Milton have been ineffective to start this season.

All three starters have ERA's over four and have combined for eleven losses. The only bright spot in the Reds bullpen has been veteran closer David Weathers who has an impressive 1.89 ERA and seven saves through the first seven weeks of the season. The rest of the pen has been disappointing, ranking as one of the worst in the majors.

Offensively, only one hitter, 37-year old Ken Griffey Jr., has a batting average over .300. On the season the ten time all-star is hitting .311 with eight home runs and 25 runs batted in. Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion entered the season with a pool of high expectations, even being regarded by many analysts as a potential sleeper player who will have a breakout season, but he is now back in the minors after struggling with the bat. In thirty-one games he batted .218 with one dinger and 14 RBI's.

Although the Reds batters have not hit with great success, by no stretch of the imagination are they struggling. Five out of the eight hitters in their lineup have at least six home runs, but when they are called upon in the big situation they have all come up empty.

Cinci is 6-13 in games decided by two runs or less and are 4-12 in the month of May. They were 1-5 on their recent West Coast swing and have not won a series since the end of April when they took 2 out of three from the Pirates at PNC Park. To make matters worse, the Reds have not won a home series since they took two out of three from the Bucs during the first weekend of the season.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Remarkable Run By Milwaukee Brewers Shortstop J.J. Hardy

By David

Thirty-seven games into the 2007 season, Brewers slugger J.J. Hardy is hitting .327 with 12 home runs and 37 runs batted in.

In the last two seasons combined [159 games] Hardy blasted 14 homers and drove in 64 runs, while batting .245. The question remains: where did the 24-year old acquire this much power and why did no one expect this entering the season?

It's not often that a shortstop who is primarily known for his defense is leading the NL in home runs mid-way through the month of May. Many analysts expected the Brew Crew to have a solid season, but they did think their man power source would come from a player who has never hit more than nine home runs in a season.

Entering today, the Tuscon, Arizona native is first in the NL with 12 home runs and 37 rbi's, tied for first with Rockies outfielder Matt Holiday with 98 total bases, fourth in total hits with 51 and fourth in slugging percentage at .628. The only major leaguer who has been more effective with the bat up until this point in the season has been Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

To his credit, A-Rod is expected to put up insane statistics, Hardy is not. He is more of the conventional shortstop who is great with the glove and manages to hit around .250. For whatever reason, James Jerry Hardy has broken that trend and is quickly securing a reservation to San Francisco for July's all-star game.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Seattle Mariners Find Success Against The New York Yankees

Usually, West Cost trips are favorable to the Yankees, but not this weekend against the upstart Seattle Mariners.

After exploding for seven runs Saturday night against right-hander Miguel Batista, New York looked to win back-to-back series for the first time this year by roughing up lefty Horacio Ramirez who entered the game with a 7.62 ERA.

Unfortunately, Ramirez continued his success at Safeco Field by pitching lights out against the powerful Yankees lineup. The 27-year old surrendered five hits and one run over 6.1 innings to secure his third victory of the season.

Fellow south paw Andy Pettitte came up the hard luck loser as he pitched 7.1 innings and only permitted two runners to score. In the two loses for New York over the weekend they combined to score one run and provide their pitchers with zero run support.

Friday night the Yankees had trouble with left-hander Jarrod Washburn who pitched eight scoreless innings to lower his ERA to an impressive 2.64 ERA.

One glaring weakness for the Bronx Bombers in their series against the M's was their lack of success against left-handers. While the best teams in the AL, the Red Sox, Tigers, Indians and Angels have predominantly right-handed starting rotations, New York's weakness was exposed this weekend against two quality lefties.

Bobby Abreu and Robinson Cano, two integral parts of the offense, continue to struggle at the plate. Abreu, who is a career .301 hitter, is currently batting a dismal. 236, while Cano has his average at .237. If the Yankees are to win the division this season they will need both players to break out of their slumps quickly. Especially with the Yankees traveling to face the White Sox and cross town rival Mets in the next week.

As for Seattle, they continue to over achieve as they are now 1-game over .500 at 17-16. Predicted by many to finish dead last in the AL West manager Mike Hargrove has his guys playing exceptionally well through the first six weeks of the season. The longer the Mariners can continue playing well, the less likely it is for Hargrove to be fired. Still, if the M's start out struggling after the All-Star break, it wouldn't be surprising to see a change in the dugout.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

LHP Ryan has Tommy John surgery, out for season

Ryan's season-ending injury adds to the struggles the Blue Jays are experiencing.

May 10, 2007

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan will miss the season after having Tommy John surgery on his left elbow Thursday, a major blow to Toronto's hopes.

Ryan, who signed a $47 million, five-year contract before the 2006 season, is expected to ready for spring training next year.

Ryan was 0-2 with three saves and a 12.46 ERA in five games this season. Last year, he was 2-2 with a 1.37 ERA and 38 saves in his first season since leaving Baltimore as a free agent.

Dr. Timothy Kremchek, the Reds' team doctor, performed the ligament surgery in Cincinnati.
Ryan initially felt soreness in March during spring training. After two weeks of rest and rehabilitation, he resumed throwing.

Ryan felt worse after a game April 14 against Detroit. He was placed on the disabled list the next day for the first time in his nine-year career.

Later, Ryan flew to Birmingham, Ala., to see renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who confirmed there were no ligament tears in Ryan's left elbow. At the time, Ryan was expected to miss six weeks.

Updated on Thursday, May 10, 2007 3:30 pm EDT

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Report: Mitchell probe seeking medical records of Sosa, Palmeiro

May 9, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- The medical records of Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro are being sought by investigators in baseball's steroids probe, The New York Times reported in Wednesday's editions.
The investigation, led by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, is seeking the files of dozens of other players, an unidentified baseball official with direct knowledge of the request told the Times.

Sosa and Palmeiro both played for Baltimore in 2005. The Times said investigators have also asked the Orioles to send medical records pertaining to Jason Grimsley, David Segui and Fernando Tatis to those players, hoping they will release them to Mitchell.

The Daily News reported in Wednesday's editions that Mitchell's panel wants information from former Orioles player Jerry Hairston Jr., along with Palmeiro, Segui and Tatis.

Major League Baseball and the players' union reached an agreement earlier this week that players will decide whether to release their medical records, unidentified baseball sources told the Daily News reported.

Under the compromise, when Mitchell asks for a player's history, the team will give it to the player. After that, the player will decide whether he wants to cooperate.

"We can't comment on any of that, the medical records," Mike Flanagan, the Orioles' executive vice president of baseball operations, told The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

Asked if he had been contacted by Mitchell's panel, Flanagan replied, "I have not."

Mitchell's staff has interviewed at least nine members of the Orioles' front office and training staff, and has checked at least six of their personal computers for evidence pertaining to performance-enhancing drugs, the Times said.

Mitchell told the Times on Tuesday: "While it is our practice not to comment on the investigation, any suggestion that the investigation is focused on any single team is incorrect."

Sosa, now with the Texas Rangers, declined to answer any questions after Tuesday night's game at Yankee Stadium.

Earlier Tuesday, Michael Weiner, general counsel for the players' union, told the AP there had not any developments in Mitchell's requests for interviews with active players or medical records.

Earlier this month, Mitchell said he expected interviews with active players to begin soon.

Mitchell, picked by commissioner Bud Selig last year to lead the investigation, does not have subpoena power and has faced resistance in his effort to interview players and get medical records.

Mitchell has not set a timetable for his report.
Updated on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 2:28 am EDT

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Toronto Blue Jays Struggling To Find Their Stride

By David

Thirty-one games into the 2007 season the Blue Jays find themselves 13-18 and in the cellar in the AL East.

I know what you're saying, how are the woeful Devil Rays not in last place? The answer is that through quality hitting and pitching by many of their young players Tampa is in third place in the division. Although that run of luck by the Rays will not continue, it is promising to see a team that has never won more than 70 games in a season experience minimal success.

Toronto's off season additions of Frank Thomas, Victor Zambrano and Tomo Ohka haven't exactly gone the way general manager J.P. Ricciardi envisioned it would when he signed all three veterans to mix in with a young core of players.

Injuries to players B.J. Ryan, Reed Johnson, Gustavo Chacin, John Thompson and Gregg Zaun have hampered the Jays ability to succeed. The left elbow sprain to all-star closer B.J. Ryan which has sidelined him since April 15th was the most crushing injury of them all.

Last season for Toronto Ryan saved 38 games and posted a 1.37 ERA. He had become a dependable arm for manager John Gibbons and without the left-hander Toronto's bullpen has spiraled into a complete mess.

After posting an impressive 87-75 record a season ago, Toronto was looking to add upon their success and reach the playoffs in the ardent American League. Although the 2007 season is long from being over, it doesn't appear as if the Blue Jays have the ability to compete in the AL East.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Yankees' Manager Joe Torre and Reliever Scott Proctor Suspended By MLB

By David

New York Yankees skipper Joe Torre and right-handed reliever Scott Proctor were suspended by MLB Monday after Proctor purposely threw inside to Seattle shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt.

After the Proctor-Betancourt incident, both benches cleared and members from both bullpens began to run onto the field. Fortunately, no punches were thrown, but because the umpires had already warned both teams, it was expected that the 30-year old reliever would have to pay for his actions. Not only will he have to serve a four-game suspension, but he will be mandated to pay a $1,500 fine.

As a result of Torre serving his one-game suspension Monday night in the series finale against the Mariners, bench coach Don Mattingly will receive his first opportunity at managing. There has been many rumors swirling around New York that when Joe decides to leave the Bronx Bombers Mattingly will step in as the new manager.

Roger Clemens might have signed with the Yankees at the perfect time because two current starters, Kei Igawa and Carl Pavano are both experiencing there own difficulties. Igawa, who was brought over in the off season from Japan for $46 million, was sent to the minors after going 2-1 with a 7.63 ERA in six games.

Pavano, who was the Yankees opening day starter at home, is once again injured and will now visit a fourth doctor this week to decide if he needs Tommy John surgery. He signed a four-year, $39.95 million contract before the '05 season and has been a bust so far in pinstripes.

While New York knew that they couldn't rely on Pavano in a big game situation, it was not expected that he would re-injure himself and possibly be sidelined for the next 12-18 months.

ESPN2 to televise MLB's 2007 First-Year Player Draft-mlb.com

With the NFL, NBA and now MLB drafts on television, the NHL must follow up by having their draft on t.v. Also, it would be great for the NFL to institute baseball's rule by permitting each team five minutes decide on their first-round selection.

If this happened the first-round of the football draft wouldn't last six hours and eight minutes.

05/07/2007 1:58 PM ET
ESPN2 to televise MLB's 2007 First-Year Player Draft

Major League Baseball's 2007 First-Year Player Draft will be carried live by ESPN2 from 2:00-6:00 p.m. (EDT) on Thursday, June 7th, marking the first time that the Draft will be telecast. The Draft will be held at The Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

ESPN2 will air each Club's first round choice. Clubs will have a maximum of five minutes to make their picks during the first round. Following the pick-by-pick coverage of the first round, ESPN2's telecast will continue as the Draft is ongoing until 6:00 p.m. (EDT). After the completion of ESPN2's coverage, the first day of the Draft will proceed until approximately 8:30 p.m. (EDT). On Friday, June 8th, the Draft will resume at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) and then will continue to its conclusion.

"Major League Baseball is delighted that ESPN2 will provide live coverage of our Draft," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "I am glad that this agreement will give fans access to see this critical function of an organization's development. This is an idea whose time has come."

The selection order is determined by the reverse order of finish at the close of the previous championship season. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays will have the first selection of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. The San Francisco Giants will have three selections in the first round, while the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers will each have two first round choices. Supplementary selections are given as compensation to those Clubs that lost Type A or B free agents.

The Draft will have 50 rounds and will conclude after all 30 teams have passed on a selection or after the final selection of the 50th round, whichever comes first.

MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, will offer comprehensive coverage of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, highlighted by two days of live multimedia coverage from Orlando on The Baseball Channel and live interactive pick-by-pick results via the exclusive Draft Caster.

Please see the accompanying file for the complete order of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Best NL Pitchers In The Month Of April

By David

John Maine, Tim Hudson, Brad Penny and Rich Hill top the list of best pitchers in the month of April for the National League.

The criteria I use to determine the elite pitchers each month includes wins, ERA, K/BB ratio, hits allowed and quality outings. All four pitchers exemplified great skill in most categories and while some pitchers did not accumulate the most victories, they had the best quality performances.

New York Mets right-hander John Maine entered the 2007 season as the third starter in the rotation, but ended the month of April as the Mets' ace. In 33.1 innings pitched Maine surrendered a mere five earned runs and 18 hits against some of the leagues top offenses. The 25-year old ended the month 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA and captured the award as the NL's pitcher of the month. On top of that Maine is arguably baseball's best performing pitcher through the first five weeks of the season.

After a disappointing 2006 campaign where he went 13-12 with a 4.86 ERA, Atlanta Braves right-hander Tim Hudson is 3-0 on the season with a immaculate 1.40 earned run average. In 45 innings pitched this season Hudson has allowed seven earned runs, 29 hits and one long ball.

His most impressive stat might be that he has 32 strikeouts compared to 12 walks in the month of April. With a shaky starting rotation the Braves need stability and they have found that in the 9-year veteran who has gone at least seven innings in all five outings and has yet to permit more than three runners to score.

Dodgers hurler Brad Penny has continued the success that landed him as the starter in last years All-Star Game by going 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA. In give games started he has yet to allow more than three earned runs and in each outing has lasted at least six innings.

While the 28-year old's walk and hit count were high, he has been lethal at keeping opposing offenses at bay. With Jason Schmidt injured L.A. will need to rely on Penny for quality outings and so far the Oklahoma native has proven he's up for the test.

Lastly, Chicago Cubs youngster Rich Hill has been nothing but unhittable this season. He enters the month of May 3-1 with a 1.77 ERA and in four out of his five outings he has permitted two runs or less.

A bright spot for the left-hander has been that he's kept his hit total low and his K/BB ratio at nearly 3:1. In only his second full major league season the 26-year old is transforming into one of the elite left-handed pitchers in the NL. It might be the start of May, but there can be a serious case made for Hill to be an All-Star come the middle of July.

While the four starting pitchers mentioned had excellent first months of the season, there are several other hurlers that deserve credit for pitching outstanding. That list includes Brewers starter Chris Capuano, Padres ace Jake Peavy, Cubs right-hander Jason Marquis and Brew Crew closer Francisco Cordero.

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