Around the NL East - Oliver Perez sighting, Phillies injury-plauged but still first, Mets, Fish, Nats all prepare for cross-town Interleague rivalries

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Earlier in the season when I went to both the home openers for the Gwinnett Braves as well as the Turner Field home openers, I noticed something. If you want another veiled reason to why it's a pretty safe bet that we'll never see Kenshin Kawakami in a Braves uniform ever again, look no further than the Turner Field Tomahawk Team, as well as the Heavy Hitters. They've all taken Kawakami's #11 for themselves!

So I have to wonder which came first - the decision to extradite Kenshin Kawakami, and snub him by giving all Turner Field entertainment staff his old jersey number, or if after they jettisoned him off to Pearl, Mississippi, they realized that they had a lot of Kawakami jerseys left over, found it conveniently coincidental that his #11 goes perfect with the year, and gave it to all the staffers? I guess we'll never know.*

Anyway, I'll be heading to the sticks of ROVA, Virginia to see the kids in High-A Lynchburg this weekend. Hopefully they will fare better than when I saw them at the Beach last weekend. Welcome back to The Basement.

NATIONALS

Oliver Perez sighting - NY Post
You know, Oliver Perez's existence made it easier for a lot of people to digest the Derek Lowe contract. And even though he's long gone from the Mets, I think this news might make some people feel better about the Kenshin Kawakami situation. Still owed $11M by the Mets organization, Oliver Perez is pitching AA-ball for the Nationals out in Harrisburg right now. Now $6.67M doesn't seem so bad after all.

*is aware that all through 2010, staffers wore Chipper's #10, but is not willing to let "facts" stand in the way of lame, tasteless jokes.

GM Mike Rizzo rules out Bryce Harper in 2011, indefinitely - The Bog
Come September, the Nationals lose a crucial series to the Marlins, and it ultimately puts them out of the playoff picture. Strasburg is not ready yet, so there's no hope of seeing him. Attendance dwindles, and dwindles, and even Braves fans feel sympathetic to them. What's going to help boost ticket sales and increase attendance for the droll final month?

Speaking of Rizzo, he's trying to pull a Mark Cuban by jawing with officials - Nats Insider
After getting the screws turned to them in a close loss to the Mets, Mike Rizzo apparently had some words to say with the officiating crew post-game. If it weren't likely bad, I don't think MLB would be putting an investigation on towards it.

Updates on the dead - Nats Insider
From superstars like Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg, to Rick Ankiel, and oh yeah, he's on the Nats Chien-Ming Wang.

Adam LaRoche slowest of the slow starts - Nationals Journal
Take most everything said here about Dan Uggla, but then replace Dan Uggla's name with Adam LaRoche. Happens to pretty much everyone at one point or another.

Todd Coffey line-drived in the elbow, X-rays negative - MASN
Talk about a scary way to end up needing TJS - getting drilled by a comebacker to the pitching elbow. Fortunately for the big Coffey, this isn't the case.

 

PHILLIES

Shane Victorino to DL, Domonic Brown called up - High Cheese
Don't you love general managers? "Domonic Brown will not be up." And then Domonic Brown is getting called up to replace the hamstring-strained Shane Victorino. I was really hoping to read stories about Michael Martinez and Pete Orr sharing 2B and OF duties, too.

Joe Blanton to the DL too - The Good Phight
Yeaahhh, I didn't think it was a good idea either to be pitching a guy who was having elbow troubles, and not to mention "still feeling something" even when he came back up.

Trifecta - Mike Stutes injures back - Phillies Zone
The young effective reliever felt "burning" in his lower back. It's obvious he's strained something, but not quite sure until he can visit a doctor.

More injuries than runs - Phillies Zone
It goes without saying that the Phillies are being decimated by injuries right now. Why there's nobody passing them yet goes to show just how tough still they are. Victorino, Utley, Ruiz, Oswalt, Lidge, Romero have all seen DL time, but still nobody has been able to capitalize.

I must have a very fine culinary pallet - The Fightins
Since Ruben Amaro is determined to get Utley as many at-bats as possible before bringing him back up, he's stuck in Clearwater. Apparently, my eating habits must be vastly superior than A-ballers, because I see ribeye steak and potatoes and don't bat a lash. But apparently, to these guys, Utley's a demi-god for providing it.

Pros and Cons of re-signing Roy Oswalt - Phillies Nation
Honestly, it really boils down to this: Pro - keep a really, really good pitcher. Con - requires money.

Are the Phillies unnecessarily taxing their pitchers? - Crashburn Alley
Seven times Roy Halladay has hit or exceeded 110 pitches, with once throwing 130. Pitch counts are arbitrary to begin with, but in today's game, they're still scrutinized when it comes to late-season fatigue or dead-arms. I wouldn't mind seeing such circumstances happen to the Phillies rotation if this were the case. Not seeing Roy Oswalt's name on the list should maybe become a "pro" from the preceding link.

Kyle Kendrick's 2008 World Series Ring found in swamp - Big League Stew
Inside of an intricate Mentos container, no less. My first thought mostly is, how in the heck did someone find it in the muck of a swamp unless they were wandering around in a swamp in the first place?

Charlie Manuel's iPod adventures - Zoo With Roy
Whoa now, now that kettle Bobby Cox is out of the picture, looks like all the old jokes can go towards the pot Charlie Manuel, who looks every bit as 102 as Phillies fans claimed Bobby Cox was now.

 

METS

David Wright put on disabled list with stress fracture in back - MetsBlog
Lesson learned: try not to collide with 378 lb. men like Carlos Lee on the base paths.

A sign of the times - The Mets Police
Firstly, with the economy in the stinker as it is in, it comes as no surprise that the cost for Subway Series tickets have fallen this much. Secondly, I wouldn't have guessed that Citi tickets cost more than new Yankee Stadium tickets, I assumed it was always the other way around.

We're not the only ones - Amazin' Avenue
You know who else loves to bunt? Terry Collins. You know who else loves to gripe about excessive bunting aside from Talking Chop? Amazin' Avenue.

We're not the only ones, here too - The Mets Police
People like to give the Braves and Atlanta flack for not showing up to games, but what do these people have to say about New York? I cringe when I think about it, but it's pretty obvious that the Phillies have better attendance than the rest of the division, possibly close to even combined.

Josh Thole in awe of Logan Morrison's Twitterati - NY Daily News
Thole, tired of negative fans, potshots, and insults, closed his Twitter account. But he is in awe of the Marlins' Logan Morrison for being so popular. The difference? Maybe it's Morrison's 1.010 OPS and almost 1:1 K/BB ratio that makes him easy to not heckle on Twitter aside from the daily nonsense.

Alex Rodriguez could have been a Met in 2000 - The Mets Police
Does anyone else remember this? I sure don't. But to think about a potential infield of Wright, Rodriguez, and Reyes playing second base certainly seems like it could've been very profitable for quite some time.

[HUMOR] Maybe pre-printed lineup cards aren't a great idea - The Apple
So on days in which Carlos Beltran needs a day off, that means that the raw 22-year old Fernando Martinez is suddenly batting cleanup! Then again, suddenly, I'm reminded of days when Mark Teixeira took a day off, and Bobby Cox put Greg Norton in the cleanup spot. Suddenly, this isn't so funny anymore.

 

MARLINS

Josh Johnson is okay - MLB
Considering a good portion of the Marlins' fortunes in 2011 rests on the arm of Josh Johnson, good news after getting struck in the throwing arm by a Carlos Beltran drive, that it's just a bruise.

The other Marlins ace, lurking in the shadows - ESPN
Josh Johnson might be the superstar, but Anibal Sanchez is quietly putting up some very good numbers in his own right. And he's the one with a no-hitter already on his resume with another one barely narrowly missed this year. With Johnson, Sanchez, and Nolasco going strong so far, this is kind of reminiscent of 2006 all over again.

Hanley Ramirez's goals, and the stat-heads that shine light on them - Marlin Maniac
Slumping Hanley has said that he will be hitting .290 with seven homers by June. The Maniac breaks it down to just what will have to happen in order for him to achieve such goals. Put away your checkbooks, because I wouldn't bet on these things happening.

Trust is why Leo Nunez is sucking less this year - Miami Herald
I don't often get into the "unsustainable" and "it won't last" pessimism that sometimes exists here when a player is doing very well. But as someone who is amused by relievers and reliever stats, I have to look at Leo Nunez's 14-for-14 saves streak as something that most certainly won't last.

Why is Javier Vazquez still making starts? - Fish Bytes
Long story short - the Marlins don't really have anyone better to replace him. It's almost unbelievable just how quickly and how much he's fallen since his amazing year with the Braves.

Why is Javier Vazquez so bad this year? - Marlins Diehards
Long story short - when he makes bad pitches (which is pretty often this year), they're getting obliterated. And, his velocity is down, by almost 3mph off his fastball this year.

Omar Infante copies a move he saw on TV to score a run - Fish Stripes
Hopefully he'll try a mimic the awful slide Chipper made at third base before getting thrown out by Parra out in Arizona, in a game against the Braves, with the exact same results.

Putting twitter followers to the test - Fish Bytes
Logan Morrison really wants to get Gaby Sanchez to the All-Star Game this year, and is calling on all his followers to help make that happen. The votes will be surprisingly cute, but anyone with a brain knows it'll end up being Pujols winning at first.

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