Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
Well, the Yanks snapped a five-game losing streak today. The Reds won their third in a row, and go for the sweep tomorrow. Wow. I'd almost forgotten what it's like to win.
And the Bats won in a big way. They hit three home runs in the first inning, and never looked back. Josh Hamilton is now 3 for 8 in Triple-A, with all three hits home runs.
There was some bad news about Phil Hughes. Peter Abraham reports that his ankle sprain is very, very bad. He likely will be back in August at the earliest. Tough news for the Yanks, and for the kid. I don't know if Pete is right, and it was bringing him up too soon that's the root cause of these injuries. It's possible. I think the Reds are probably right to be cautious with Homer Bailey.
And Jim Kelch said tonight that Bubba is very close to getting off the DL. As reported yesterday, Bubba is in Sarasota to play in some extended spring training games. Jim thinks Bubba might eventually play with the Sarasota Reds, Cincinnati's high-A team, until he's ready, and/or a roster spot opens up with the Bats.
I e-mailed Jim and asked him about the extended spring training games. He said they are open to the public, though they are played on a practice field, not the main ballpark. He said there was no schedule, but I figure there has to be one, somewhere. Extended spring training games are played against other teams, so there must be a schedule, if only so each team knows where to show up when.
Judging from other teams' extended spring training schedules, most games start at around noon.
Bubba is back in Sarasota. He left the Bats today, heading to Florida to play in some extended spring training games.
This is good news. He's getting close, and they want him to play in some actual games.
Why extended spring training in Florida, instead of Triple-A with the Bats? Bats radio announcer Jim Kelch said it was the warmer weather. (Warmer weather supposedly keeps the muscles looser. Bubba did say cold weather bothered his shoulder.)
Also, extended spring training games are very informal - even more so than regular spring training games. They don't keep records. And the rules are often bent to accommodate rehabbing players. For example, they may throw the batting order out the window, and let a player lead off in every inning, just get him at-bats. They may not want Bubba to play a full game yet; that won't be a problem in extended spring training.
I believe extended spring training games are usually open to the public, but I haven't been able to find a schedule.
Just as I suspected, Trent reports that Freel's on the DL and Larry got the call. That's Larry Dewayne Wise, who has a good glove but not a very good stick.
Many Reds fans are upset, but Wise is the kind of player who gets called up in this situation. Just like Enrique Cruz earlier this year. Basically, a throwaway player. No one cares if the clock starts, because he's not going to contribute much on the big league level. Similarly, it's no big deal if his development is slowed by sitting on the bench for a week or two. And he's got options, so it's easy to bounce him up and down as needed. Basically, he's an emergency backup. They aren't going to use Votto or Bruce that way.
Presumably, Josh Hamilton will be taking Wise's spot on the Bats roster. They're rather short of outfielders, with both Bannon and Bubba on the DL.
Meanwhile, MLB.com has an article about high schools known for their baseball programs. It mentions both Bubba and his high school, Bellaire:
Texas: Bellaire High School
Bellaire has produced more pro talent than just about any school in the state and that's saying something considering the vast quantities of players who tend to come out of the Lone Star State every year. The Houston-area school has had seven first-round picks. Chuck Knoblauch started there before evolving into a first-rounder at Texas A&M. Jose Cruz Jr. was a Bellaire kid before heading to Rice. Chris Young, the Diamondbacks outfielder, was a 16th-rounder who signed out of the school and made it to the big leagues.
All of those players are obviously impressive, but the one who really stands out as an example to Matt West, Bellaire's top pro hopeful in 2007, is Bubba Crosby, most recently of the New York Yankees.
"Our coach talked about how he didn't really have the talent when he first got here, but he worked and worked and got better throughout the years and got good enough to make it to the Majors," West said. "The coach talks about them to give you motivation personally. He talked about what they did, how they stayed after it, how hard they worked."
Bellaire's reputation helps in a couple of ways. Sure, scouts are constants at games, but West thinks it's more helpful being a Bellaire product in terms of the competition they get and the opportunities they receive to play in other areas. That gets them seen by more scouts, who, if they like what they see, will come back to Bellaire for more. It's kind of a "circle of life" thing.
"Scouts definitely know Bellaire and the talent. I guess it could help," West said. "But we definitely get exposure. We play in Georgia over the summer -- Arizona and Florida. You showcase your talent, if they see you and like you, they'll follow you."
When Hopper and Freel collided in the outfield, and Freel ended up crumpled at the base of the wall, it was a miracle that he managed to hang on to the ball.
Turns out the miracle had a name, and it was Norris Stephen Hopper. It seems he quickly slipped the ball into Freel's glove when he ran over to check on him.
I am in the Pittsburgh area tonight, and watched Savran on SportsBeat. The first caller he got complained that Freel didn't make the catch, Hopper put the ball in his glove. Savran agreed that the video was suggestive, but said since you can't actually see the ball, he considered it "inconclusive."
But Trent has no doubt. He's got some great quotes from both the Reds and the Pirates today.
Meanwhile, the Bats are in Charlotte, North Carolina. Josh Hamilton is there, too, though he won't be added to the Bats roster until tomorrow. He was born and raised in the Tarheel State, so he's staying at home rather than in the team hotel.
Traveling with him is Jerry Narron's older brother Johnny. I guess he really was hired to be Hamilton's babysitter.
Bubba is still traveling with the team, but might not be for much longer. They said tonight that they may be sending him to Florida soon, to work with medical coordinator Richard Stark and the training staff there. I think it's a good sign - part of the rehab process.
Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper collided in deep right center today. It looked pretty bad, with Freel lying there looking like he was dead. He was carried off the field on a stretcher.
Fortunately, his injuries weren't serious. His scans were normal, and he was diagnosed with only a contusion (medical speak for a bruise). However, he may be headed for the DL.
With Hamilton already on the DL, the Reds may have to call up another outfielder. Someone on FSN thought it would be Bubba Crosby, but I doubt that. He's been on the DL for six weeks now. He's doing well and may be almost ready to return, but even if they activate him, he'll need some rehab games.
Plus, this is likely to be a short stint for whoever gets called up. Hamilton will likely be activated June 3, and Freel won't be out long, either. So they'll probably stick with a kid who still has options left, so they don't have to do the waiver wire thing when it's time to send him down again. Also, they'd probably prefer someone who bats right-handed.
It's too bad Jeff Bannon is on the DL. He'd fill the bill if he were healthy. A righty, plays infield and outfield, and was hitting well until he was injured. I guess Dewayne Wise is likely to get the call, even though he's a lefty. The only right-handed OFer with the Bats is Mike Edwards, and he's not hitting much.
What a season. I hate to say it, but I'm losing hope. For both the Reds and the Yankees. It's only May, but the post-season already seems like a long shot for both teams. Anything can happen, of course, but things are really looking grim. Fans of both teams are giving up, and I can't blame them. For the first time since I started following baseball, I'm officially pushing the panic button.
In both cities, fans are calling for the managers' heads. And maybe the GMs' too. Steinbrenner says that Torre is safe, but Cashman isn't. While Castellini said again yesterday that he wasn't going to make any changes in management.
I'm not sure what I think about firing the manager and/or GM. I think I'm against it. I'm not sure either team's struggles are due to their managers. Would it be worth firing Torre or Narron just to "send a message"? I'm leaning toward "no." It would just add to the overall chaos at this point. IMO, that kind of move has no chance of saving the season of either team, but could put the final nails in the coffin. Particularly in NY. The players reportedly really like Torre, and I suspect firing him would be disruptive enough to end the Yanks' chances of making the post-season, slim as they are. (Hey, Boston could collapse...again. You never know.)
As for firing Cashman...well, I'm not convinced that he's the genius many fans thought he was last year. Yeah, he cut Bubba, so I have a grudge against him. OTOH, he also traded for Bubba in the first place. I wish he'd given Bubba the starting CFer job, instead of overpaying for the creaky Damon. But Torre would probably have started Bernie in CF if Bubba was the CFer, so I can see why Cashman felt the need to sign a big name star.
Anyway, I like some of things Cashman is doing, like not trading the kids and nurturing the farm system. It's probably a good thing to have one person in charge, rather than the constant power struggle that has been the Yankees organization in the past. But when Cashman insisted on taking sole charge of the Yankees, he also took on sole responsibility. The buck stops with him. If the Yanks don't make the post-season this year, it's his head that will roll. And he asked for it.
Anyways...at least the news is brighter from Louisville. The Bats beat the Bisons like a red-headed stepchild.
And Jim Kelch, one of the Bats' radio broadcasters, had this report yesterday:
I talked to Bubba Crosby today. He says he's throwing at 90 feet now and making progress and he feels pretty good about things. So he's getting closer.
Trent reports that Todd Coffey has been sent down to Louisville, and Gary Majewski has been called up. Bob Hunter called it.
I know most fans wanted Stanton cut instead, but he's a veteran, and he's got a big contract. I expected it to be Coffey sent down. He's still got options left. And he can probably still learn a few things in Triple-A.
And in Trent's blog yesterday, a couple of the commenters reported that Josh Hamilton is off the wagon. They said they've seen him hanging out at bars at all hours, boozing it up with women not his wife. It's not a crime - he's of legal age - but drinking when you've got an addictive personality like he does seems unwise. Hamilton himself said he'd given up drinking because drinking made him want to do drugs.
I know, you can't believe everything you read on the net. And I don't. But Hamilton has also been put in the DL, supposedly with gastroenteritis. That seems rather odd. That's not an ailment players are usually DL'd for. And he's played well enough; I don't think this is an excuse to get him off the roster. Something seems out of kilter here.
I hope the rumors of his drinking are not true. If they are, he's playing with fire.
Sunday's Yankees-Mets game featured this hilarious moment, where one of the grounds crew finds a kitten inside a tarp. (The poor kitty was startled, but unharmed.)
Maybe that little black cat was a reverse jinx, because the Yanks' luck seems to have changed, and for the better. Young Tyler Clippard looked great in his big league debut, aside from one rough inning. Even better, he didn't break or strain anything. The Yanks beat the Mets on Sunday, then did the same to the nigh-unbeatable Red Sox last night. Many of the Yanks' slumping hitters seem to be waking up, including Robby Cano, Jason Giambi, and Bobby Abreu. It's about time.
Boston's lead is now only 9-1/2 games, and it's starting to look possible to win the division again. Hey, the Bombers came back from something like 6 games back in only a month a couple of years ago. It'll be a lot harder without Bubba, of course, but they could do it.
Yesterday was also a good day for the Reds. It was not a good day for Bronson Arroyo, who gave up 6 runs in two innings, and was pulled in the 2nd. (He threw 50 pitches in one inning. Oy.) With the Reds down 0-6, it looked pretty hopeless. But they clawed their way back for the win. Hallelujah! I know, the Nats are a bad team. A really, really bad team. But still, it was a good win.
The Bats also played well on Dime-A-Dog night in the Coop - though Kershner made it a little closer than it should have been.
There was also some good news about Bubba. The Bats trainer is very pleased with his progress. He did some long-tossing yesterday, and it apparently went well.
It's open season on Yankees' rookie pitchers. Last month, Jeff Karstens got hit by a comebacker after the first pitch he threw. It broke his leg.
Tonight, a similar fate befell Darrell Rasner. In the first inning, he was hit in the hand by a comebacker. He tried to throw some warmup pitches afterwards, and visibly winced. He didn't need to be told; he immediately ran off the mound and into the clubhouse.
Turns out he has a broken finger. He will need surgery, and will miss at least three months. What rotten luck. He made a good impression early last year, but ended up missing most of the season with shoulder tendinitis. Now this.
Add Phil Hughes' severe hamstring strain, and it seems like the Yanks' rookie pitchers are cursed.
The Yanks ended up losing to the Mets. They put up a decent fight, but it wasn't enough. Peter Abraham reports that the players were quiet and seemed stunned after the game.
Things went better for the Reds; they beat the Indians. Josh Hamilton didn't play; he was rushed to the hospital at 5am this morning. The diagnosis was gastroenteritis. Rotoworld is skeptical; they it might be drugs. Natural, I guess, given his history. And the fact that most people don't call an ambulance at 5am for stomach flu. But hey, baseball players are different.
The Bats beat Columbus like a red-headed stepchild, 13-3. Dewayne Wise homered twice. I couldn't follow the game, though, except on Gameday. There was no video, and the audio link was screwed up. It was airing Nascar instead of baseball.
Yesterday was the kind of day that makes you glad you're a baseball fan...if you're a masochist. Three games, three ways to lose.
Let's see...first up, the Cincinnati Reds. Lohse was awful. He got the hook in the second inning, but it was too late. The Reds were down by a ton, and the rest of the game was just a formality. It made for a long, awful game.
Next up, the Yankees. The game was close throughout, but given the Yanks' recent performance, it seemed out of reach. And it was. It was an almost playoff-like game, with superior pitching and defense giving the Mets the 3-2 win.
Then we have the Bats, perhaps the most heartbreaking of all. They were up 7-0 in the 4th. The game seemed well in hand. Hah. Livingston impoded in the 5th, giving up five runs. The Bats' lead was a slender one run by the 9th. Toledo strung together enough singles to tie the game. Unbelievably, the once 7-0 game went to extra innings. And in the bottom of the 10th, with two outs, a wild pitch let the game-winning run score. The Bats somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
The radio announcers did mention Bubba's name a few times during the game. They remembered his walkoff fielder's choice on opening day, and his home run off the same pitcher who was on the mound last night.
The medical news is unchanged. It doesn't sound like they expect Bubba back any time soon. They said it would be "weeks" before he's back in the lineup.
And on a personal note...I probably won't be posting quite as often over the next two weeks. No, I'm not giving up on baseball, or Bubba. I'm going on vacation Monday. I'll be toting my laptop, and should have access to free wireless most of the time, but I probably won't be spending as much time following baseball as usual.
I'll be driving out to the midwest to visit friends. I just hope I'll be able to get enough gas. There have been reports of spot gasoline shortages. Mostly in the middle of the country, places like Colorado and Iowa. But the high prices in those areas are drawing tankers from the rest of the country. I heard this morning that some stations in Dallas are out of gas, because their usual suppliers decided to sell for higher prices in Chicago instead.
Our trusty Trent reports that after tonight's game (another loss), Jeff Keppinger and Bobby Livingston were sent back to Louisville. Chad Moeller and Marcus McBeth were called up.
Sounds like they are trying to fix the bullpen, the weakest link. Moeller is the kind of catcher that pitchers love. And McBeth is projected to be a closer, just the kind of pitcher they need.
But jeez, it leaves them a little short of infielders. This can't last long. They're going to have to make another move, probably sooner rather than later.
I have to think Norris Hopper will be sent down (even though he's right-handed, and hitting well), and another infielder called up. Encarnacion? He's kind of struggling in Louisville. Three errors in four games, batting .235. And he has stay in the minors for at least another week.
Aaron Herr might be a good choice. He's hitting very well - the best on the Bats team. He's right-handed, and has some power.
Jeff Bannon is another possibility. He's also hitting well, though without much power. He's also right-handed, and he can play both infield and outfield positions - a useful quality for a team that's carrying three catchers.
Pretty disappointing that the Yankees didn't make up more ground against the mediocre Rangers and Mariners. But I think they'll catch the Sox before season's end. The Sox have a truly insane .703 winning percentage now. That is simply unsustainable. They'll fall back to earth eventually. Probably with a very loud thud.
The poor Reds are a different story. It's still early yet, but it's sure not looking good. They are 10 games back of the Brewers, and in the division cellar. I really thought they'd do better. The starting pitching is good, the hitting is fine. It's the bullpen and defense that blow chunks. I think the Reds are better than their record, but many fans, and maybe the players, too, seem to be giving up.
Meanwhile, in Louisville...Bubba was mentioned in yesterday's game. He got hit in the hand by a foul ball, while standing at the dugout rail. Ouch. Well, they said he was standing between the trainer and the strength and conditioning coach; I guess that's where you want to be, if you have to get nailed by a foul ball. (I assume he was okay; they didn't seem too concerned, and they only talked about his shoulder today. It was a bouncer, so it probably didn't hit him too hard.)
And Trent reports that Homer Bailey has been put in the DL with a right groin straing. It's not serious, but they don't want to push him unnecessarily. I don't know if he'll make his start in Columbus next week. He might; he's eligible to come off the DL Saturday.
Crosby is a lefty-hitting outfielder who spent last summer honing his talents at San Bernardino of the Class-A California League. The one-time Rice standout has already drawn comparisons to former Philadelphia center fielder Lenny Dykstra. Bubba was the top Dodger draft pick in 1998.
For some reason, the Yanks and the Reds have similar schedules this year. It's rather aggravating. Same days off, same days for day games, trips out west at the same time. Which means their games are almost always on at the same time.
Tonight, the Reds game started at 10:40pm, while the Yanks game started at 10:05pm. The Bats were supposed to start at 7pm, but they had a two-hour rain delay. Sheesh.
The MiLB.TV broadcast did show Bubba briefly tonight, during the national anthem:
That's him in the middle. Sorry it's so fuzzy, but the quality of the MiLB.TV broadcasts just isn't very good.
It was a very exciting game. Jesse Gutierrez hit a walkoff homer in the 10th to give Louisville the victory. He had a great night. 3 for 5, with a double, the homer, and 3 RBI.
The Yanks are winning more games these days, but I suspect it's because they're playing four series against two very bad teams. Cano is a mired in a slump. Melky...I don't know if he's slumping or just returning to his mean. Abreu is perhaps the most baffling. He's not hitting well. Renowned for his patience and great eye, he's not walking, either. Even his fielding seems to be suffering. He's no Bubba Crosby, but I swear he used to have a better glove and a little more hustle than he's currently showing.
The Reds are in turmoil. After two errors that cost the Reds a game, Encarnacion was sent down to Louisville. Keppinger was called up to replace him. Keppinger's played well and deserves a shot, but yikes, sending down E^2 seems a bit drastic. Perhaps there are things going on in the clubhouse we don't know about.
And Trent reports that Bobby Livingston has won the "who gets to take over Milton's spot" sweepstakes. He says it came down to Livingston or Belisle. Eh. I'd rather see Dumatrait.
A screen cap from yesterday's game. It's the Bats during the national anthem. I think that's Bubba, fourth from the left.
Yup, you can now watch Bats games on the Internets. I think they did some kind of renovation while the Bats were on that long road trip, to make room for a TV crew. From now on, all Bats home games can be viewed live on MiLB.TV. It's a subscription service, but very reasonably priced. $9.95 for the season lets you watch every Bats home game, with no blackout restrictions. (It's $29.95 if you want access to all the available minor league games. Blackout restrictions do apply to that package.)
And no, you don't have to watch the games live. They are archived a couple of hours after the game ends, and you can go back and watch them whenever you want.
Don't want to pay? Gameday Audio is free (registration required).
Of course, watching the Bats play will be far more appealing when Bubba's off the DL. The Bats played really early today. (11am - yikes!) The medical report during the game said Bubba was working diligently with the training staff, and they were hoping he'd be ready to play again in a couple of weeks. Yesterday, they said he was in good spirits - happy he wouldn't have to have surgery.
And speaking of the DL, Josh, blogging for Trent, reports that fifth starter Eric Milton has been put on the DL with an elbow strain. (Many suspect it's a phantom injury.) Rule 5 pick Jared Burton will take his roster spot (though probably not his place in the rotation).
Bubba had an MRI in Cincinnati today, and was back in Louisville by game time. I guess the results were good. They said they decided against surgery, at least for now. Instead, they'll set up a rehab program for him, to strengthen his shoulder. No word on how long they expect him to be out.
Tyrell Godwin was sent down today, and Chris Dickerson was promoted. Godwin was batting .241.
There's a Rocket headed this way. I was watching the game on TV yesterday when they announced it. It was a total surprise. YES was caught flatfooted. They had gone to a commercial break, and had to rush back. ESPN was even more worse. Several minutes after everyone online was talking about it, ESPN still didn't have a clue.
I'm not a big fan of Clemens, but heaven knows, the Yanks desperately need a power pitcher.
And Saturday, Wang came within 5 outs of a perfect game. Alas, it was not to be. He gave up a home run, destroying the perfect game, the no-hitter, and the shutout.
I thought the pressure was getting to Wang, but maybe he was just tired. After the game, he said he didn't even know he had a perfect game into the 8th. He was wondering why no one was talking to him!
That's just hilarious, and so much like him. He's so cute. I can just imagine him wondering, "Why is everyone avoiding me? Did I forget the deodorant this morning?" I think Wanger is my favorite Yankee, now that Bubba's no longer in pinstripes.
Bubba's shoulder is still not improving. He is no longer traveling with the team. The Bats have sent him to Cincinnati, so the Reds medical personnel can examine him.
In other Bats news, Jesse Gutierrez came off the DL today. To clear space on the roster, Gary Majewski was put on the inactive list. It's sort of the minor league equivalent of bereavement leave. His 19-year-old sister was killed in an ATV accident on Thursday.
In addition the Mexican holiday, today is celebrated as Children's Day in Japan. It used to be Boys' Day. It is still celebrated as such in Hawaii, which has a large population of Japanese descent, whose ancestors came over before Boys' Day became Children's Day. (March 3 is Girls' Day.)
In Hawaii, a family will fly the koi-shaped windsocks on Boys' Day, with one fish for each son in the family. I gather in Japan, they fly three, one for the father, one for the mother, one for the kid(s). Or they fly one for each child in the family, boy or girl.
Well, yesterday was a rather dreary baseball day. The Bats lost. And there was no "home" broadcast on MiLB.TV, so there wasn't even a medical report on Bubba.
The Yankees also lost, in a pretty awful game. I had high hopes for Kei Igawa for awhile there, and maybe there's still hope he'll improve. But it looks like the reports on him are right: the issue with him is consistency. Sometimes he's great, sometimes he's terrible, and you never know which it's going to be.
And poor Colter Bean. He was awful. Just dreadful. He threw something like ten pitches before he threw a strike. (Yes, that means he walked two batters on eight pitches.)
Okay, I know Bean is no Cy Young. But he can't possibly be as bad as his major league record, either. He's rarely been given a chance, but when he is, he's been horrible. I don't understand it. He's a decent pitcher in AAA. You'd think he could at least find the strike zone in the big leagues.
The only thing I can figure is that he's something of a head case. The pressure is pretty intense for any young player, especially with the Yankees. And Bean must feel it even more, because he's gotten so few opportunities. He's been stuck in Triple-A so long he set a longevity record in Columbus. He must feel like his career is riding on every pitch he throws. Which it is, pretty much.
The Reds lost in overtime. Former Yankee Mike Stanton gave up a double, which became the winning run when "Stormy" Weathers gave up a single. Once again, the Reds bullpen crumbles.
The Yankees' pen isn't great, either. Last night, they said of the 15 Yankees losses, 13 were on the bullpen. Though I wonder how much of that is due to exhaustion.
The medical report on Bubba last night was basically unchanged:
Bubba Crosby's progress has slowed down considerably, according to Chris Lapole, the trainer.
Bats trying to get Jesse Gutierrez and Bubba Crosby healthy. Gutierrez is ahead of the pace of Bubba Crosby.
The Bats won tonight, but the medical report on Bubba isn't any better. From the radio broadcast:
"Bubba Crosby kinda stagnant right now, trying to get that left shoulder ready to go again.... [Bats Trainer] Chris Lapole concerned about Bubba Crosby, and that he's not able to make quicker progress. They're working with Bubba, trying to get him feeling better so he can get back in the lineup."
The Yankees fired their strength and conditioning coach. I'm not sure all the injuries are his fault, and certainly Hughes' injury doesn't seem to be, but given the Yankees' current situation, you knew someone's head was going to roll.
The Reds lost to Houston tonight, and the Yankees were rained out against the Rangers. They will be making it up with a doubleheader tomorrow.
Halo's Heaven has a two-part interview with Sam Walker, author of Fantasyland. He mentions "Bubba Crosby's big day" as one of his favorite moments. I assume he's talking about Bubba's first start.
And aren't these cute?
Sports cupcakes! Though the recipe sounds like way too much work for me, involving things like fondant rather than things like a box of Duncan Hines.
Well, today was a good news, bad news sort of day. The Bats won a close game. But the news on Bubba was rather disappointing. During the "medical report" they gave during the 2nd inning, they said Bubba was "not making much progress," and that his injured shoulder was not responding as expected to treatment. That's a considerably less upbeat report than they gave yesterday. Poor Bubba.
Both the Reds and the Yanks blew out their opponents tonight. A-Gon, the NL Player of the Week, continues his hot hitting; he homered, as did Dunn and Griffey.
And Yankees fans were feeling positively giddy. Everyone was hitting, even the much-maligned Minky. Even better, Phil Hughes, in his second big league start, was just mowing them down. True, it was the Rangers, who aren't great hitters, but still. He looked looked like the future of the franchise, as well as the salvation of the season. He had a no-hitter going into 7th. Then disaster struck. On a pitch to Mark Teixeira, he pulled his left hamstring. Early reports say it's a pretty severe strain; he's expected to be out 6-8 weeks, and given the usual way hamstrings turn out, I expect it to be double that.
Prophetically, this article appeared today, questioning Hughes' mechanics and durability.
He'll be back, perhaps after the All-Star Break. And he's still the future of the franchise. But he's not the salvation of the season. They're going to have to find another starting pitcher.
Peter Abraham thinks Hughes may have been brought up too soon:
Hughes told us that he reached back on that 0-2 pitch to really bury a curveball to Mark Teixeira. He extended his left leg too much and that’s how he was injured.
Could this have happened in Scranton? Obviously it could have. But Hughes would not have been reaching back to try and make a great pitch to a hitter like Teixeira in Scranton.
There’s a reason prospects pitch in the minors. It’s to develop their bodies along with their skills. Hughes was pitching in high school at this point in 2004. Tonight he was in the majors trying to finish off Mark Teixeira. His arm was ready. His left hamstring wasn’t.
...Brian Cashman’s face was ashen after the game as we talked to him. Had this been the kid’s elbow or shoulder and not his hamstring, he would have had a lot of explaining to do.
Both the Yanks and the Reds are in Texas today. (Which means 8pm starts - mutter, grumble.) The Yanks play Texas, the Reds are at Houston.
Bronx Banter takes on the "should Torre be fired" issue. Among other things, the article suggests that the secret of Torre's success was his bench coach, Don Zimmer. Interesting idea. In-game tactics are certainly not Torre's strength. I also hadn't realize that Zimmer blames Cashman for the Yanks' failure.
The LA Times has an article about the lengths to which baseball players are willing to go to improve their sight. I recall hearing once that the average MLB player has 20-15 vision (they can see from 20 feet what someone with "perfect" 20-20 vision can see from 15 feet). They are doing everything from having Lasik surgery to wearing tinted contacts to doing six hours of eye exercises a day. Even if there's nothing wrong with their vision. The weirdest: "ocular machines," that pitch tennis balls at 150mph. There are words on the balls, and you're supposed read them as they fly by. This presumably improves your ability to quickly focus on a pitch.
AP ran another story today about the Cory Lidle plane crash. There's still a lot of mystery about it - and this point, it doesn't look like any of the mysteries will be solved. But lawsuits have been filed, by Lidle's widow, against the MLB insurance company, and by one of the residents of the building the plane hit, against the Lidle estate.
And it's starting to look like the Josh Hancock crash involved alcohol. What a senseless tragedy.
The Dugout says goodbye to Josh Hancock in their own inimitable way. I was afraid it was going to be tacky, but it's actually kind of sweet.
The Bat are playing in Ottawa tonight. Bubba is traveling with the team, but he's not quite ready to be back in the lineup yet.
On Saturday, the Bats radio announcers talked about the Virginia Tech hat auction. They named the top three; Bubba was #3. Bellhorn, as previously mentioned, was first at $510. Homer Bailey's hat went for $355. And Bubba's hat got the third-highest bid, at $160. (And no, for those of you who are wondering, it wasn't me who placed that bid. Too rich for my blood!)