Things Read in Other Moms' Basements - Around the NL East 03.19.11

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My best friend and I had an interesting conversation earlier this week, in regards to minor league baseball. So the Braves two lowest levels are, from lowest, to highest, the GCL Braves, and then the Danville Braves. Both are short-season, and are both integral rungs on the ladder to becoming an Atlanta Brave. The GCL Braves are obviously a part of the Gulf Coast League, and the Danville Braves belong to the Appalachian League. My friend is a Nationals fan, and the Nationals' two low-level teams are the GCL Nationals, and the Auburn Doubledays, of the NY-Penn league. The D-Braves are classified as a rookie team, but the Doubledays, as are all NY-Penn teams are classfied as short-season A. Considering both fulfill the needs of short-season squads for both organizations, I was wondering why the disparity in classification? Does this imply that short-season A is a higher level than rookie? If the Doubledays played the D-Braves, would they rout them? I'd like to think not.

Wikipedia states that Appy League teams are "hybrids," to have talent that of rookies, as well as short-season A level. Such implies that SS-A ranks slightly higher than rookie, but consider this also: The White Sox organization has teams in both the Appy League, as well as the Pioneer League, yet another short-season rookie league. In their hierarchy, their Pioneer team sits higher than the Appy team. But then the Kansas City Royals, who also have teams in both leagues, classify their Appy League team as their rookie-advanced, with their Pioneer team being just rookie.

Color me confused.

Welcome to another week of Things Read in Other Moms' Basements.

NATIONALS

The swarm is over - Bryce Harper sent to minors camp - Nationals Journal
As if anyone should be surprised, Bryce Harper was assigned all the way down to Low-A Hagerstown.

Ryan Zimmerman strains groinEVERBODY PANIC - MLB
He's going to miss at least a week, but the rest is essential. Groin strains, if rushed back, will linger.

Danny Espinosa fouls ball off foot, fortunately okay - MASN
The starting second baseman for the team has his own scare for the week, as a foul ball off the foot shelved him, but fortunately, x-rays revealed no breaks.

LHRP Sean Burnett struck by foul ball - MLB
Not a very good week for the Nationals and injuries, as lefty Sean Burnett was struck by a comebacker to the knee by Nyjer Morgan. He's reportedly fine, but that's certainly a scare nobody needs to hear, considering the extension he signed during the offseason.

Jayson Werth has a fanboy teammate - Nats Insider
Mike Morse is a big admirer of Jayson Werth, and wants to be just like him - blossom late in his career, and somehow manage to get a big money contract that people will dissect and debate ad nauseum for years. Well hey, the Phillies are interested in him, why not lobby?

Rick Ankiel potentially front-runner for starting CF - MLB
I speculated that this could be a likely possibility, since between the two lefty CFs, Ankiel and Morgan, Ankiel's arm is better, he can take walks when he's not feeling like swinging at everything, and he has a lot more potential for power. And apparently, Ankiel could start, mostly because Morgan's sucking, and speaking of the latter, if he keeps it up, he might start the season at AAA.

Drew Storen's crappy spring could lead him to AAA - The Nats Blog
Speaking of starting in AAA, Drew Storen isn't doing himself any favors by getting obliterated this spring. The Nationals have a lot of relief options right now, some guys are guaranteed money (Coffey), and some guys are simply out of options (Clippard), so the odd man out, really could be the closer of the future, especially if he's simply not ready yet.

The dreaded C-word - Nationals Journal
And since it doesn't pertain to the Braves, I'll go ahead and say it, but the Nationals could employ the dreaded closer by committee due to the fact that Storen is stinking, and might not be up to task of being responsible for saves on his own.

Sooner rather than later? - MLB
Ivan Rodriguez is nursing a sore calf, but it's really not that big of a deal, since catcher of the future, Wilson Ramos is playing like he wants to be the starting catcher. And if the season were to start today, he would be.

Could Ian Desmond be a leadoff hitter? - Nationals Journal
Not a very traditional one, but he's a great athlete, with good speed, but he really just needs to improve his OBP. But it's kinda moot, because it would only really be for days in which Nyjer Morgan or Rick Ankiel aren't playing.

One step closer to patting myself on the back - Hardball Talk
Earlier this spring, Nyjer Morgan talked about how he grew up, and matured more over the off-season. After getting plunked by Ricky Nolasco, Morgan had this to say:

No question, without a doubt. It’s obvious because of what happened last year. Obviously, they haven’t turned the page. But I’m going to be a stronger player, better person. I’m not going to react to it.

But you already have, Nyjer. You already have.

This Bryce Harper at-bat, brought to you by Miss Utility - The Bog
Man, I remember Miss Utility, when I was still living up in Virginia. Spray painting lawns, marking where all the pipes and lines were, so that some idiot wouldn't stick a shovel in it. Anyway, for his tenure in Low-A Hagerstown, all of Bryce Harper's at-bats will be brought to us, by Miss Utility.

 

METS

ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO - TC Palm
Luis Castillo has finally been cut. The Mets will still owe him $6M, but $475k can be alleviated if someone picks him up. Now all eyes fall onto Oliver Perez. It's your choice whether or not you wish to disregard some of the Castillo-related links below, as they also pertain to Oliver Perez as well.

Anyone not surprised by the ambiguity? - Amazin' Avenue
Johan Santana will be ready to pitch by June. Johan Santana's rehab isn't going to well. Johan Santana's rehab might be shut down if this persists. Johan Santana might miss all of 2011 (MetsBlog). Johan Santana might not pitch beyond 2011 (Mets Today). It's a shame none of the guys the Twins got for Santana really blossomed into anything major to this point, because that would just be so very poignant.

No matter how many times you look at that card, you're still a Met, and still going to start on the DL - NY Post
When Carlos Beltran is feeling down, he likes to look at his earliest baseball card, to remind him that he was a good player at one time in his life. And in the very vital walk year, it really doesn't help your chances if you're going to be injured for most of it.

This is just begging for it - TSN
Zack Grienke is probably going to miss the start of the season, and the first season against the Braves, because of the injury he sustained playing pick-up basketball. Well, apparently such happenstance hasn't changed Opening Day Mike Pelfrey from deciding to stop playing basketball himself.

Maybe it's already beginning? - ESPN (h/t AA)
Big Pelf's got the infamous Spring Training dead arm. Maybe it's from heaving jump shots on the courts.

Are the Mets indecisive? - MetsBlog
I just took one look at that headline and hahahahahahahaha.

The benefits of being a professional baseball player - NY Daily News
It was my understanding that a rear-end collision is always the fault of the tailing driver, regardless of whatever egregious circumstances there are. Unless you're Ike Davis, who rear-ended a car in PSL, while also getting rear-ended in the process. And then in the police report, it states that Davis was not at fault? Hum. Well, he wasn't hurt, so that's good for him and Mets fans, but still, it's his fault.

Daniel Murphy out of the 2B running - SI
Instead, he'll look to go more the route of utility guy, despite the fact that his movement is limited, and has little experience in many other positions, and can't even really play second base.

More speculation that Jose Reyes is as good as gone - NY Post
I feel that this is coming too. With the Mets' financial woes, and The Sabr Friends shoring up the management of the team, it's only a matter of time for when Jose Reyes, having a great year, is shipped off to a contender for a boatload of good prospects.

Angel Pagan says he'll steal more bases than Reyes - MetsBlog
This, could be an interesting game of one-upsmanship to keep eyes peeled for. The most prolific thief in recent Mets history versus arguably the team's MVP last year. I like Pagan's emergence, but I can't bet against Reyes.

Nope, still no update - NY Times
Though signs are pointing to Oliver Perez being cut, Luis Castillo is still hanging around, because nobody else is really running away with their opportunities to be the starting second baseman.

Ouch, them are harsh words - NY Post
Leave it to the Post to tell it like it's seen - the focus on Perez and Castillo isn't so much about their production, it's simply because they're living breathing symbols of failure. Not sure if there really are worse things to be called.

Maybe you should have done it sooner, and not just to lefties - NY Daily News
Apparently, LOOGY Oliver Perez likes to utilize a side-arm delivery when dealing to lefties. Kind of like Orlando Hernandez, he's probably trying to use a bunch of different angles and deliveries to confuse hitters. Maybe if he mixed in the side-arm action when pitching to righties as well, maybe he would have been able to get some cheap strikes. Or maybe he would've gotten hammered, like Moylan versus some lefties.

MLB 2K11 is a little too real - The Apple
Much like in real life these days, virtual Oliver Perez is in the same place that real Oliver Perez is - at the very last spot of the bench, by himself. He actually reminds me of an episode of Married With Children, when people spy on what Al Bundy does at work all day.

 

MARLINS

You're doing it wrong - Marlins Diehards
Now that he's cut from the Mets, former Marlin Luis Castillo is possibly drawing some interest from the Fish. Diehards pretty much sums it up the best.

That's going to hamper those center field plans - MLB
Rotator cuff inflammation has put Cogs4Christ in a position where he can't really throw right now. Which is kind of important, relaying throws back to the infield, if he can even run down flyballs in the first place. Bummer.

Jeffrey Loria blasts marlins after crappy spring - Palm Beach Post
Because they are not playing, what we call, inspired, the baseball.

E-Rod takes his side, but pleads for patience - Fish Bytes
There's one way to not get the players' back, Edwin.

Hanley wants to improve his glove, cure cancer, and breed unicorns - TC Palm
Obviously, he if wants to win what's called, the MVP, it'll help if he's not the errorfest he became last season.

Rookie Matt Dominguez possibly close to nailing down starting 3B job? - Marlins Diehards
This may be the case, but I still have a hard time believing that the Marlins will risk super-twoing a guy who's supposed to be an important cornerstone of the future of the team. Unlike Gaby Sanchez at first, who did manage to win out the first base job his rookie year, he had literally no internal competition to block him, but to this day, he could still be replaced by native first baseman, Logan Morrison, in the event the Fish want to move him for prospects.

If not Dominguez, then Mr. Fill-In - Miami Herald
How many of you thought I was talking about Omar Infante? Well, he'll likely be starting at second. This guy has been an opening day starter at third before, but frankly, his OBP sucks. But at least he's cheap!

Gaby Sanchez talks homers - Fish Stripes
Does Gaby care about homers? Not really. He'll never be a 30 HR threat, but he might still be capable of driving in a good bit.

Sean West tired of being AAAA player - Palm Beach Post
Well then, stop sucking and be more consistent. With the hurky-jerky injury nature of random Marlins starters, they need depth.

The game with no tickets available - Fish Stripes
Apparently, if you want to catch a Marlins home game, in Seattle, Florida, there's apparently no tickets for Safeco Field in Miami.

 

PHILLIES

Chase Utley leaves camp to visit rehab specialist - MLB
I won't complain if Utley doesn't see a single at-bat against the Braves, but I do commiserate for someone who can't play for a whole year. And Brandon Inge's words ring ominous to me when thinking about Chase Utley's fortunes.

And returns with a little optimism, and replacement grit - ESPN
Supposedly, some extra rehab exercises are going to help make it tolerable. But anyway, mentioned in the article is a link to Mr. Grit himself, as a possible replacement. The imagery alone is incredible - Mr. Tiny Eckstein, choking up four inches on his bat, gritting his way with slap singles and hustling, winning the hearts of Philadelphians, causing fans to boo when Utley returns because Eck has to sit.

Oh yeah, don't think the Phillies aren't interested in Castillo either lol - Phillies Nation
Wow. Pete Orr, David Eckstein, or Luis Castillo. Is it sad that Wilson Valdez looks like such a stud right now?

Phillies interested in Jon Jay - TGP
Yes, this is actually news in the land of the Phils. When The Rotation is pretty much concrete, and the only other things to talk about are injuries, the gaps are filled in with fluff about "adding depth."

Brad Lidge sits out with sore bicep - Phillies Nation
A part of me wants to just say "oh, that's just a nagging spring pain," but in the case of Brad Lidge who for the most part has had a barrage of nagging injuries and issues since becoming a Phillie, and has long been the popular target of someone on the decline, it just might not be. Ryan Madson is probably salivating at the thought of getting to close in his walk year.

Placido Polanco hyper extends elbow - MLB
This one, I'd chalk up as a nagging spring training pain, considering Polanco is more or less recovering from the elbow woes that nagged him throughout most of last year.

Why Spring Training injuries don't really matter - Crashburn Alley
CA brings the numbers of all the Phillies' injuries through Spring Training last year. Notice Brad Lidge led the pack back then, and remember that regardless, the Phillies still won 97 games.

Utley's injury causing increased competition for bench roles - MLB
Naturally, with Utley almost a lock to be on the DL for Opening Day, it's looking like Wilson Valdez will be the starting 2B in the interim. However, that also means that there's one more spot open for potential bench candidates, with guys like Pete Orr, Michael Martinez, and Josh Barfield seeking to get it.

Astros' Bill Hall calls Cole Hamels "marked man" - High Cheese
Somehow, I don't think Bill Hall is making Cole Hamels lose any sleep over his remarks, or the thought of future matchups. Hall is mad over being quick pitched, btw.

The cost of working in sports - Phillies Nation
Apparently, beat writers, and sports reporters can't show any bias, no matter whom they may or may not actually root for, and report on. I'm not sure I could give up fandom to work as a reporter.

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