While in Birmingham last weekend, I decided to drive by the offices of Dr. James Andrews. I didn't really expect that it was part of a bigger hospital, but to be honest, I didn't really know what to expect anyway. I've been calling him Doctor Doom for so long, that I half expected that it would be an isolated business, like an ominous castle in the hills or something, with a revolving door of luxury cars going in and out of it, with athletes to get their elbows and shoulders examined. But alas, it's a pretty nondescript looking hospital, where the specific offices of Dr. James Andrews are somewhere within, and there's a McDonald's at the corner of the property. Not really what I was expecting.
I'll be headed back to Alabama again this weekend, as I will be driving down to Montgomery to see Biscuits taking on the Birmingham Barons on Sunday. If anyone's down there, look for me in an Arizona Fall League shirt and/or a Portland Beavers hat. Unfortunately no Braves affiliates, but hey, it's a park I've never been to before. Ironically, I've yet to even get out to the Ted yet; thankfully that is rectified no later than Monday.
I feel like I'd be remiss if I didn't say something about Jair Jurrjens; frankly, I also believe the move was the right move, but I think all of the problems are pretty much in his head. Two straight years where his seasons were cut short due to leg injuries, it seems evident to me that there's a little bit of doubt in his head in regards to trusting his legs. He even admitted it in Spring Training, but acknowledging it doesn't fix it. He's in the right place, at AAA to right the ship, and hopefully he hasn't forgotten the magic of the Venters Grip that led to a lot of his early season success in 2011.
Perhaps he should consider the 'ol sports psychiatrist or something - it worked like a charm for John Smoltz, and frankly I'm surprised players who don't do it, try it, and those who do and benefit from it, why they don't speak up about it more often. Welcome back to the basement.
Mike Pelfrey and Jason Bay both go on DL - NY Times
Jason Bay as a fractured rib, but the previously reliable Mike Pelfrey was discovered to have a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament. Yikes. These days, all you have to really say is "Birmingham," which is exactly where Pelf's MRI was sent, and he may go there himself in the very near future.
Yep, he's gettin' Tommy John - MetsBlog
I'm kind of reminded in that scene from Knocked Up, where a completely stoned Jonah Hill is ranting about how he hated hospitals and how a guy went for a physical and ended up dead or something or other. It's like baseball players going to Birmingham for even the most routine of checkups and precautionary examinations always somehow end up needing Tommy John Surgery in the end.
Who needs Jose Reyes when we have Ruben Tejada? - NY Daily News
In light of the Reyes-led Marlins' first visit to Flushing, cue the emotional anti-Reyes articles. It's kind of ironic that the leading picture is of Tejada flinging his bat after striking out, and them captioning it as "showing fire," when there's probably like 40 pictures of Tejada teeing off on the Braves they could have used instead.
Amazin' Avenue thinks he should play every day - AA
And why shouldn't he? Shortstops are typically the best athletes on the team anyway, why not ride them when their legs are young? A blessing in disguise to Ronny Cedeno likely to be put on the DL is that Tejada just might now get his chance to play every day.
David Wright obviously benefitting from pulled in fences - NY Times
A two-run homer that would have been a double or a flyball out in the old dimensions makes David Wright feel good. And officially, he passes Darryl Strawberry for the Mets' all-time RBI record, which is a great accomplishment.
Citi Field looking worse than Pro Sun Life Shark Robbie Player Stadium ever did - The Mets Police
I know I'm cherry picking these pictures from a rain-makeup game one of a doubleheader here, but I've been to my share of rain makeups, even on weekdays; I've never seen anything this desolate, even behind home plate and behind the dugouts.
Warriors and Whiners - Amazin' Avenue
An interesting take on the oft-debated theories of umpire bias. Is Ike Davis whining himself into subconsciously getting a few more called strike threes?
Phil Humber's perfect game for Chicago White Sox NY Daily News article just another reminder to NY Mets' history of no no-hitters - NY Daily News
Ain't nothing like getting trolled by the home rag, as the Daily News makes a point to take a feel-good occasion like a perfect game and turn it into a reminder that the Mets don't have any no-hitters.
Leave the trolling to SNY - Deadspin
I know Mets fans can't like ever hearing this, but sometimes I just feel really bad that the Mets get picked on so hard like this.
Harsh, FOX Sports South takes a shot too - Metstradamus
I've been a crappy fan, and not really watching all these late-night west coast games like I used to, so I can say that I totally missed this when it came on screen.
What other Mets players would look like with facial hair - The Apple
And something light-hearted to bring us back from all this passive-aggressive trolling of the Mets. Totally digging the Wright pornstache. Maybe he should really go with one - such a tactic seemed to raise even the OBP monster, Nick Johnson to new heights - before he snapped his fibula. Nevermind then.
Bryce Harper called up, Ryan Zimmerman put on DL - Nats Insider
Interesting, I would never have guessed this was going to happen like this. Ryan Zimmerman goes to the DL due to shoulder problems (link below), and leapfrogging over everyone, is none other than Nats' top prospect, Bryce Harper. Now in the gamesmanship of service time accrual, we must ask, will he be creatively kept in check to prevent Super Two status, or are the Nats really going all-in this year, and going to unleash the kid?
Ryan Zimmerman has inflammation in his shoulder, MRI results "not favorable" - Nationals Journal
This could very well be the bummer of all bummers, for all parties involved. Ryan Zimmerman gets his big fatty extension and the Nationals are sitting pretty atop the National League, and then this happens. Despite the fact that Zimmerman himself claims it's nothing, as I've been harping for months now, shoulder injuries are probably way worse than blown-out elbows these days. Zim's not a pitcher, but reoccurring shoulder inflammation is what essentially ended John Smoltz's career, and shortened the seasons of Tommy Hanson and Josh Johnson, among many, many others. It's not something to take lightly. Obviously, he may require a DL stint, but it would be retroactive to last weekend.
Nats success is absurd!!!111! - Nats Insider
Remember back in 2008 when PECOTA, Baseball Prospectus and all the other projection systems predicted a largely successful season from the Tampa Bay Rays? But then people were shocked and surprised when the Rays actually did well and lived up to the educated guesses? Yeah, it's sort of the same thing here - most anyone with half a brain would have been able to deduce that the Nationals would at least be a team with a winning record, but it seems like a lot of people seem to not be capable of getting around the name "Nationals," and so it's still a surprise that they're doing so well.
Part of the secret to their success: strike everyone out and keep balls in the yard - Nationals Journal
This is about as revealing as a secret than that one time John Madden told a national audience the secret to football - score more points than the other team.
Henry Rodriguez one of the more surprising names thought - MASN
Everyone knew that Strasburg and Zimmermann were good pitchers, and most were aware of the book on Gio Gonzalez. You know what you're getting with Brad Lidge, and Tyler Clippard is apparently bulletproof except in save situations. But not many would have guessed that it would be young Henry Rodriguez who would be the saves leader on the team in the absence of the injured Drew Storen. The righty with the ball and chain of big-fastball-no-control seems to have found a modicum of restraint in his pitching, and isn't the weak link to the bullpen that some may have assumed, due to lack of experience.
Decision time soon coming, Detwiler vs. Wang - The Nats Blog
Chien-Ming Wang is currently on the minor league circuit, in the midst of his rehabilitation program. But even that has a finite amount of time, and when he's out of time, he kind of has to come up to the big club, or there are some ramifications. The problem is, Ross Detwiler is pitching well, and he has no options. I want to say Wang has an option or two left, which means there's a small chance a $4M pitcher could end up in Syracuse with a $5.5M pitcher in John Lannan. But maybe having Wang up in New York isn't such a great idea.
Ian Desmond's good start - Nats Insider
I just remember when flipping between games on Opening Day, every time I clicked onto the Nationals game, Ian Desmond was always on base. He's still not walking nearly enough compared to his strikeouts, but his batting average is at its best since his cup of coffee in 2009. If you were to ask me between Desmond and Danny Espinosa, which one would be expendable, I would have said Desmond ten times out of ten, but evidently, Espinosa is going through the dreaded sophomore slump currently.
Davey Johnson now only has 1,300 less wins than Bobby Cox - Nationals Journal
Surpassing the 1,200 wins mark, Davey Johnson is the 38th manager to reach that plateau. He's also the only manager with a substantial game count to actually helm the Nationals to a .500+ record. He's apparently so happy about it, he's declared Redskinsland "a baseball town." lawl.
Sloth has himself a day - Nats Enquirer
On Wednesday's blowout win over the Padres, Tom Gorzelanny got some playing time. In the process of his outing, he got to bat for himself, and collected both a hit and an RBI. Additionally, he pitched the last three innings of the game, so yes, he did indeed also earn himself an old-school save in the process. Everything going right for the Nats right now.
Rick Eckstein's interesting training method - Nats Insider
He stands 40-45 feet away from the hitter and lobs pitches in the cage to whomever is looking for some practice. Works on hitters who believe the first-AB of the day is inconsequential, so they get out of the way when it actually is, and on guys who need to stay sharp, like Chad Tracy.
Ball in the groin, ball in the groin! - Nats Enquirer
Can the Nationals be any more obvious? - Beer Mug Sports
The Nationals are winning a lot of one-run games. Instead of shaving cream pies or dirt baths, the Nationals' tradition seems to be "dumping Gatorade on the guy who hit the game-winner but really trying to get Kristina Akra's top wet"
Nationals possibly to move spring training complex to Fort Myers - MASN
They'll have to stay in Viera for one more year, but they're able to get out of their current agreement afterward. The Nationals can't seem to get out of it soon enough, as they've already begun talks with Lee County, Florida officials on moving the Nats' spring training facilities to Fort Myers.
Josh Johnson: Is there cause for concern? - Fish Stripes
To anyone paying attention, the Marlins' Josh Johnson hasn't been very Josh Johnson-like this year. His result stats are not pretty, and his slider looks a little flat. Is it too soon to be concerned?
Jose Reyes is not happy with his fielding - Miami Herald
Still in April, Reyes has racked up five errors, which is just under a third of his career high of 18. He is not happy with it, and obviously wishes to rectify the problem.
Speaking of Jose Reyes, his return to New York was mostly a mixed bag - Palm Beach Post
Some boos, lots of cheers, the old Jose... Jose-Jose-Jose soccer chant. And a lot of jilted fans wearing mutilated Mets Reyes apparel. Other Marlins had other ideas of activities in New York, such as Josh Johnson playing catch with his son, Cash (yes, seriously, the PTBNL in the flesh), in Central Park. And Hipster Hanley seemed to forget that Jay-Z was a rapper, and hung out with him wearing his Nirvana t-shirt and studded belt.
Marlins make history in New York with embarrassing feat - Big League Stew
For the first time in the history of baseball, the Marlins become the only team to ever walk four straight batters with four different pitchers. Suddenly, Bobby Cox's strategy of "you'll get me one out, no matter what, damn it" doesn't seem so bad; it kept the Braves out of this record book.
Omar Infante cites improved grip, stance for power surge - Sun Sentinel
If anyone can recall, Omar Infante always wore one of those little plastic thumb guards, during his whole tenure with the Braves, and into last year with the Marlins. Well, he's ditched them, and began standing a little more upright in the box, and with April almost over, he's almost reached a third of the way to his career high of 16.
Will Marlins fans ever forgive Ozzie Guillen? - Marlin Maniac
If and when the wins start pouring in, of course they'll forget - that's the biggest benefit to being in professional sports. You can get away with rape, murder and countless other crimes as long as you win, or do something heroic in sport.
Mark Buehrle congratulates Philip Humber for joining the Perfect Game Club - Palm Beach Post
I'm pretty sure Humber would have rather have heard from Kate Upton about it instead of Buehrle, but no matter.
Edward Mujica struck in hand by line drive, may go on DL - Fish Bytes
As if the Marlins' bullpen weren't punchless enough, they might be losing a member of it, after Mujica was hit in the hand by a line drive off of the bat of Lucas Duda.
Cole Hamels has been a Padre for pretty much his whole life - Gaslamp Ball
How I enjoy the folks over at GLB. Did you know that when Cole Hamels was but one-month old, his mother signed him to a lifetime contract to the San Diego Padres for $1? It would actually be kind of riotous if something were to come out of this, because I'm sure when he was but still a grub, nobody had any idea that he'd actually become one of today's best pitchers, and on the verge of a nine-figure deal.
The 2012 Phillies: How Should I Feel? - TGP
An amusing piece, to say the least. Obviously, this doesn't apply to our snarky communities, and could easily be applied to any fanbase with high expectations, but as it pertains to the Phillies, well. I doubt any Phillies fans wants to hear about some dumb Braves blogger saying it, but I think they'll still be fine. As long as all the injuries clear up and don't come back in September, there's still plenty of time for hope that the ship will right. It's kind of like the Adam LaRoche hot second half concept, nobody really understands it, but it always seems to happen; the Phillies have historically been a killer second half team; the last time they didn't go .500+ was ten years ago, and the last time they didn't go .580+ was nine years. Until the Phillies aren't the team to beat anymore, they are, until proven otherwise.
Cliff Lee placed on disabled list with oblique strain - Beerleaguer
Welp, this certainly isn't going to help the plight.
Hunter Pence day-to-day with sore left shoulder - Philly.com
And this won't help either. He claims to have hurt it in San Diego, but there's some discrepancy that it may have happened when he hit an outfield wall in San Francisco. But also the outside chance that he's been playing through some pain, because his numbers have been absolutely dreadful. But despite the pain and the precautionary MRI, he's still in the lineup.
Michael Stutes put on DL with shoulder inflammation - TGP
It's a good thing Jose Contreras finally came off the DL, because I'm having a tough time naming Phillies relievers off the top of my head aside from Papelbon and Bastardo. But that dreaded shoulder inflammation - bites another one, this week.
This has got to be some sort of meme, right? Put X at first - Phillies Zone
And this time, it's Chase Utley. Provided he gets back to the Phillies active roster before Ryan Howard does, which could happen, or might not, given all the unknowns. But throughout the years, who hasn't been theoretically been moved to first base yet? Chipper and Heap have. Ryan Zimmerman, Hanley Ramirez. Who's next? Save Mike Stanton's knees? Utilize Jason Heyward's height at first?
The Phillies have gamed Dom Brown's service clock - TGP
And nobody's noticed? Seriously?