Around the NL East - David Wright is a Superstar, Wilson Ramos done for season, Cole Hamels wants seven, Ozzie wants the DH

Gregor Blanco and this skinny rail of a baseball player who claims to be Melky Cabrera are some former Braves I'll likely see while out by the Bay this weekend.

By the time you read this, I'll probably be right above Mississippi or just getting into Arkansas skies, passed out on Tylenol PM, en route to California for one of my wacky, yearly baseball road trips. I will be crossing off ballparks #22 and #23 off of my list of MLB cities as I will be going to games at both San Francisco and Oakland (as well as some MiLB in Modesto). Long-time readers of the site should expect some gigantic, picture-laden, commentaries about my journeys in coming weeks, that have little to do with baseball, and more to do with typically food, pop-culture references and occasional ballpark observations.

But for the most part, mentally, I've pretty much already checked out. And not to put any added pressure on my trip, but if I'm unable to locate a discontinued Oakland A's David DeJesus shirsey anywhere in Oakland or the Bay Area, I'm going to consider it a tragic failure. Welcome back to the basement.

2012nym_medium

Mets expected to offer David Wright long-term extension - Amazin' Avenue
I don't find this the least bit surprising, and frankly I think it's great news for Mets fans. Using Ryan Zimmerman's extension as a template, it would be safe to assume that Wright would be seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of six-years and $100M.

Fred Wilpon finally admits that David Wright is a superstar - NY Daily News
After declaring all the superstars on the Mets not superstars just a year prior, Fred Wilpon rescinds his statement for David Wright this year. He's only hitting .408/.497/.598. My guess is that it's a cheap ploy to try and soften up Wright for the expected extension offer that should soon be coming.

Is there tangible value in naming David Wright captain? - MetsBlog
Honestly, is there anyone out there that didn't think he already was, officially or unofficially?

Teammates enjoy seeing Wright get mad - NY Post
I have to admit as well, it's hard to not appreciate the 2012 Mets. They're playing good baseball, seemingly in spite of absolutely everyone's predictions and expectations, and doing so with a lot of position players and starting pitchers not many were expecting much from. And it's actions like this in which it really looks like David Wright is embracing a genuine leadership role and trying to lead by example on the field and in the dugout. Like vehemently arguing with Terry Collins about being pulled out of a blowout loss after Ryan Braun was plunked, because Collins feared that the Brewers would retaliate on Wright, and possibly inadvertently injure him.

D.J. Carrasco DFA'd - Amazin' Avenue
After more or less sucking throughout the Brewers series, capped off with the aforementioned plunking of Ryan Braun, the overwhelmed reliever is sent back to the minors. Carrasco himself says it best:

"It was pretty self-explanatory. I would have done the same thing if I was GM."

Ike Davis though, unlikely to get DFA'd - NY Post
Jason Bay is due to be coming off the DL in the next few days, and the guys taking his roster spot are doing an effective job currently, whereas Ike Davis is not, hitting .167. Terry Collins states Ike's not going to get sent down, but it's going to be a tough choice to send Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Justin Turner or Mike Baxter down. They could always do what the Phillies did with Shane Victorino and what the Nats are doing with Chien-Ming Wang, and absolutely milk and abuse the rehab tour rules to their fullest until they decide, however.

Jason Bay says Nieuwenhuis belongs - MetsBlog
That's always a noble gesture from the veteran, to give the young kid personal endorsement. But it probably coincides with the fact that Bay is probably going to reporting to a complete rehab assignment to the very last date of eligibility.

Mets to host the 2013 All-Star Game - NY Times
This really isn't news, since the rumor has been thrown around loudly over the last two years, but this week, it becomes official. New York becomes home to the 2013 All-Star game, landing in front of other new parks like Washington and Miami.

A look at the Mets' bullpen problem - Amazin' Avenue
The picture alone says everything you need to know.

Maybe the Mets should consider going to the committee - NY Post
I can't be the only one that saw this kind of situation happening. Getting a whole bunch of mediocre relievers, and paying one of them more than the others does not make that one the closer. But for whatever reason, Frank Francisco keeps getting trotted out to close games despite his shoddy consistency.

Banner Day rules - The Mets Police

The Mets reserve the right to deny access to the field to any banner or person that is deemed inappropriate

Aw man, way to kill all the potential fun that could come out of the sarcastic present times.

The Mets should have just ended their season while they were on top - The Apple
And by on top, I mean, and the Apple means, right after sweeping the Phillies in Philadelphia. Karate Kid references never get old.

2012was_medium

Stephen Strasburg's poor outing blamed on an Icy Hot incident - Nats NQ
I know a lot of people really like to make excuses for why a pitcher didn't have his best stuff on any particular given day, but the 'ol Icy Hot on the junk excuse? That's definitely a first, and not necessarily a great one either, because it takes a team of buffoons to bother pranking their best pitcher in the midst of a division race. Although the NQ references the scene from Revenge of the Nerds, personally I go back to Corey Haim as Lucas.

Wilson Ramos tears ACL, done for rest of season - Nats Insider
While attempting to corral a bouncing pitch, Ramos' knee buckled, and he didn't get back up under his own power. Surgery is required for the torn ACL, and he's likely out for the rest of this year, and possibly trickling into next season too.

Ramos replacers - The Nats Blog
The obvious choice is the disgruntled Jesus Flores who once again gets to be an everyday catcher, and has a golden opportunity to showcase his talents. I figured his replacement would have been Carlos Maldonado, who was in AAA, but the Nats are opting to stay young, and leapfrogging Sandy Leon up from AA. Yet another catcher from Venezuela, Leon has been tearing up AA with a .319 average and .813 OPS.

And then promptly gets injured, resulting in Maldonado after all - Nats Insider
During a play at the plate, Sandy Leon was decked by San Diego's Chase Headley, and suffered a high ankle sprain. Just like that, the Nats just went from a McCann/Ross tandem to Brayan Pena/Corky Miller.

Chase Headley apologizes to Sandy Leon - Nationals Journal
A day after the incident, Chase Headley managed to bump into Sandy Leon while departing Nationals Park. In a gracious display of sportsmanship and camaraderie, Headley and Leon shake hands and make amends for the play at the plate gone bad.

Speaking of ankle injuries, prospect Anthony Rendon likely out for remainder of season - MASN
Although the organization expects him to return by season's end, Rendon himself doesn't think he's coming back, citing that there's really no point to try and impress anyone in an abbreviated time. That's the spirit, kid.

Mike Morse hopes to return in early June - Nats Insider
Shelved with the torn lat injury since Spring Training, Mike Morse wants to come back in a series against the Braves next weekend, but Davey Johnson is looking more at the start of Interleague month, where Morse could simply DH to transition back into playing again.

Ryan Zimmerman's power outage - Nationals Journal
He's slugging .160 points lower than his career average, and he has just six XBH in 104 plate appearances. Injury has something to do with this, but at this point, who are we to neglect the simple fact that Zim's just one of many who have down years immediately after signing a big money deal?

Adam LaRoche notches hit #1,000 - Nats Insider
With a bases-clearing double to bust open a game against the Pirates, Adam LaRoche gets a standing ovation when it's recognized as base hit #1,000 for the former Brave and nine-year veteran. Good job, Roachy.

Bryce Harper loves to get booed - Nationals Journal
Too bad Reggie Miller already released a book entitled "I Love Being the Enemy." But he's got the right attitude about it, and obviously isn't letting it get to him.

He apparently also loves self-inflicted wounds - Nats Enquirer
I just don't get teenagers today. What, does he need to feel alive? Release the poison? Or does making an out really making him that mad?

Was he embarrassed by it? - MASN

"No, I'm not embarrassed."

Of course there are jokes about it - The Bog
I especially like the one about former Redskins QB Gus Frerotte. I remember watching that game when it happened.

But he also hit his first major league homer this week - Nats Enquirer
And for some reason, he took a curtain call for it.

Drew Storen on schedule to return by all-star break - MASN
After removing bone chips from his elbow, the closer for the Nats is still on pace to be back in the bullpen by All-Star break.

Chien-Ming Wang would rather pitch in the bullpen than in the minor leagues, at this point - Nationals Journal
Although the Nationals probably might not attempt it, Wang is okay with the idea of coming out of the bullpen. I'm sure the Nationals bullpen seems like a stellar place to be, compared to the lengthy rehab schedule he's been on in Hagerstown, Harrisburg and Syracuse.

How close was Stephen Strasburg to not being a National? - MASN
I remember this vividly, because I actually attended two of the three games mentioned in this story. But in what seemed like a pointless three-game series between two basement dwellers turned out to be a very pivotal one, as the Padres swept the Nationals, and the Nationals ended up getting the number one draft pick, which turned out to be San Diego's own Stephen Strasburg.

2012phi_medium

Cole Hamels wants seven-year deal - Baseball Nation
And he's got loads of leverage, because he's good, has always been good, is a lefty, and his biggest rival on the table, Matt Cain, is already off the board, having extended with the Giants.

Vance Worley to DL for elbow inflammation - TGP
No structural damage revealed in MRI, but still, I'm waiting for the follow-up where he's sent to Birmingham for a consultation with Dr. James Andrews, where something different is revealed.

Worry not, because Roy Oswalt just threw a bullpen session for the Phillies - Phillies Nation
Red Sox people were also there too, but let's face the facts, there's no way Oswalt would want to go to a team in as much turmoil and mismanagement like the Red Sox when the Phillies who have a lot more promise are waiting with arms wide open.

Charlie Manuel suspended for a game - Phillies Zone
Amazingly, the umpire he got into a heated argument with, "Balk-A-Day" Bob Davidson, also was suspended for a game as well.

Placido Polanco joins the 2,000 hit club with HR - Phillies Nation
He traded with a fan to get the ball back, for a commemorative signed bat. Unfortunately, Polly pre-dated the bat; whether it was deliberate or accidental, it doesn't really look good either way.

Phillies and Rays swap inconsequential outfielders - Phillies Zone
Or so it seems. Typically the rule of thumb is simple - if the Rays are offering, something is wrong with it. The Rays are willing to unload a 25-year old outfielder, Kyle Thompson, for a Rich Thompson, a 33-year old version of statistically, the same guy. Fortunately for the Phillies, this will pretty much only affect AAA, so no genuine harm to the organization.

Chase Utley's wife cleans up real well - Crossing Broad
A bunch of photos from Utley's All-Stars for Animals fundraiser event, meant to raise money for Pennsylvania SPCA. I'm all for the helping of animals.

2012mia_medium

Ozzie Guillen claims to quit Twitter - Fish Bytes
Essentially, way too many of Ozzie's 230,926 followers were being too mean too often to him, and frankly, he's sick of it. His parting shots:

"I hate Twitter. Everybody who follows me can go [expletive] their pants," Guillen said.

Marlins Park is a little too pitcher-friendly, not going to change - Fish Stripes
Regardless of the fact that home runs are a little too scarce in new Marlins Park, don't expect that to change. Team prez, David Samson claims that "they want players to earn their homers," but let's be honest here - the park was funded through some less-than honest ways, and Jeffrey Loria still runs the organization. If it's going to cost money, it won't happen.

Marlins will continue to Bat-Tussi, even if other teams don't like it - Palm Beach Post
As if a few plunkings and staredowns was going to stop it. Anyone else not surprised?

Giancarlo's diving catch to rob Braves could be costly - Fish Bytes
I'll be the first to admit that it was a very impressive play, disappointing as it was for Braves fans, but such repeated attempts at heroism could be costly in the long run. While trying to rob Eric Hinske later in the game he landed awkwardly, and had plenty to say after the game about how much his shoulder hurt.

Ozzie Guillen already leaning towards putting Heath Bell back at closer - Palm Beach Post
Yeup, one whole week of change. Lo viste?

Heath Bell promptly rewards Ozzie's faith by giving up lead, but vulturing a win - Sun Sentinel
He can thank Giancarlo's walk-off slam for helping people focus less on yet another poor late-inning showing that could have cost the Marlins a crucial game.

The (Slight) Misuse of Logan Morrison - Fish Stripes
This kind of reminds of the 2007 season for the Braves when the Braves had like five guys hitting .300 or better, but Bobby kept plugging the pressing Andruw Jones and his .184 batting average in the cleanup spot. Morrison's not playing as poorly as Andruw was, but frankly, there are better options to batting fourth than him at the moment.

Like Austin Kearns lol - Fish Bytes
Ozzie's explanation:

A lot of people criticize me because, 'How the hell is Ozzie batting Kearns fourth?' Well, if those people see his at bats, they're very professional at bats. And I need somebody, a veteran player

Unfortunately, it's like Kearns knew I was dogging him, based on how he obliterated the Braves on Wednesday. :(

Ozzie Guillen's idea for Interleague - Sun Sentinel
In short: switch the rules. AL parks have the pitchers hit, NL parks have the DH.

Ryan Webb's statistical oddity - Sun Sentinel
When John Buck threw out Jim Presley, Ryan Webb's night was complete, having pitched 0.1 innings. The thing is that since he didn't strike anyone out or induce a ground or a fly ball, he technically didn't face a batter.

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