Around the NL East - Carlos Ruiz DL'd, Jason Bay platoon'd, Giancarlo return'd, Astros get Natitude'd

Creative cropping helps elaborate the empty seats that do in fact, exist in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park

Still don't have internet at the house for another entire week. I don't like you anymore, Comcast. :-(

Welcome back to the basement.

2012phi_medium

Carlos Ruiz put on DL with foot injury - Beerleaguer
Turns out the heel pain was worse, as a partial tear was discovered in an MRI. The one consistent positive throughout the season will now miss 4-to-6 weeks on the DL, and depending on the fortunes of the Phillies, could very well just sit out the remainder of the year. That probably won't happen, though. On a slightly different topic, I was looking over the contract of Carlos Ruiz; he has been paid under $5M over the last two years, in which he delivered 8.2 WAR; I don't know where this stands in history, but that's a ridiculously lucrative bank made by the Phillies, regardless of what he does this year.

Phillies fake sellout streak officially ends at 257 games - Deadspin
Many are making a bigger deal about this than it really is, but personally, I don't put a lot of stock into it, because the definition of "sellout" is subjective in the first place. Turner Field can hold up to around 56,000 people, but they'll declare anywhere upward of 48,000+ as sellouts. The only real satisfaction I get out of this is that it solidifies the notion that like pretty much every fanbase, Philadelphia is not immune to being accused of being front-running fairweather fans, in spite of their own beliefs, and that it happened on a night where the Braves were in town to handily beat them.

Roy Halladay might be more closely monitored as the season progresses - Phillies Zone
I guess a lot of this really has to do with the mathematical playoff odds, but there's already been some discussion about reducing, to even prematurely shutting Roy Halladay down in what's turning out to be a dismal season. Naturally, the workman/robot-like Halladay doesn't wish to do such, but I also think some of that might possibly be related to contractual milestone aspirations.

Let the disturbing thoughts of Michael Bourn possibly going back to the Phillies pervade your minds - Phillies Nation
Unless Domonic Brown or John Mayberry, Jr. knock some magic PF Flyers off of some power lines, it's a pretty foregone conclusion that the Phillies will be in the market for a centerfielder after 2012. Like many teams, the Phillies will also be likely on the phone with Scott Boras and salivating at the idea of securing some Michael Bourn to patrol their outfield in the near future.

Predictably, now that he's gone, there are Phillies fans that realize Joe Blanton wasn't that bad after all - TGP
Anyone else see this coming? I did. Too much was made with the "Four Aces" claims, even before Roy Oswalt made a cameo in Philly, and for years, there had been a ton of negative things said about Joe Blanton. But now that he's gone via waivers to the Dodgers, suddenly, peoples' tunes are changing. And that when you look at the numbers, he wasn't necessarily an ace, but he wasn't a terrible pitcher at all. And despite the aces that have pitched for the Phillies, at least Blanton walks away with a championship ring.

So now they move onto Kyle Kendrick - High Cheese
With media like this, who needs opposing fans?

2012nym_medium

Mets to put Jason Bay in platoon role, have no intention to eat contract - NY Post
Although Jason Bay takes it in good stride and acceptance, the sad thing is that he hasn't even been good against LHP this season. At the time I'm writing this, he's batting .140/.279/.260 against lefties, versus .167/.228/.298. Oddly enough, the Mets' reluctance to eat the remaining $21M (2013 + 2014 buyout) on Bay's deal is perplexing, considering this is pretty much the same managerial group that cut both Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo (~$20M combined). Sometimes, the roster spots are more valuable than the staunch reluctance to keep trying with a dead weight.

Tim Byrdak put on DL with shoulder injury - AA
Torn anterior capsule in his throwing shoulder, to be specific, which AA is quick to point out is the exact same injury that shelved Johan Santana for almost two seasons' worth of DL stints. The difference is that Byrdak is 39, and the time it takes for him to recover will really put the theory that lefties will always find work, to the test in maybe a year or two. Tim Collins admits that the Mets did probably overuse him, considering he had made 56 appearances, the most in baseball.

Johan Santana set to return on Saturday against Braves - NY Post
Well some good news this week for the Mets is that Johan Santana is expected to return to the Mets this weekend, from an ankle injury. Unfortunately, that comes against the Braves, who will be without the services of Johan-killer, Matt Diaz. Good news is that Reed Johnson has a .516/.545/.839 line against Santana in 33 plate appearances. If Bobby Cox were still managing, he'd be cleanup hitter for a day.

Jose Reyes makes no regrets about leaving New York - NY Daily News
Since the Marlins were up in New York this past week, a slow news week leads to yet another story on about how heartless and money-grubbing Jose Reyes is, complete with conveniently clipped quotes such as:

"It doesn’t get me frustrated at all because my job is to play baseball,’’ Reyes said. "The other stuff I can’t control it. They brought me here to play Jose Reyes’ game and that’s what I’ve been doing."

And of how Ruben Tejada's seemingly superior play over Reyes - NY Post
Whenever the Mets aren't playing the Fish, it's stories about how he doesn't put enough effort, he's often hurt, or other veiled jabs at Ruben Tejada. But when Jose Reyes is in town, Ruben Tejada is the second coming.

New York resorts to hotel sabotage to hopefully stunt Chipper Jones' tyranny over Mets - AA
The Grand Hyatt in New York has no remorse for picking on the elderly, but they make a light attempt to demoralize Chipper Jones before the Braves even take the field against the Mets by messing with his air conditioning and denying his Skinemax.

Mets unveil 2013 All-Star Game logo - AA
I like it. I've often said that the Mets' logo is probably the most perfect logo in MLB, and this ASG logo isn't too far a stretch from keeping the identity intact. My only objection to it is the fact that come early July next year, we'll have to see whatever Braves players who make the ASG wearing Mets colors for a night or two.

2012mia_medium

Emilio Bonifacio suffers thumb injury - Fish Stripes
Initially, it was thought that he would miss the remainder of the season, but it turns out to not be that bad. Now it's been downgraded to possibly just 15 days, very convenient if the Fish want to DL him and bring someone up.

Giancarlo returns - Palm Beach Post
After a month coming back from arthroscopic knee surgery, the home run monster returns to the Marlins' roster to add some much-needed power and capability to get on highlight reels with monster moon shots. And wastes no time, hitting two blasts in first game back.

Carlos Lee wouldn't mind staying with the Marlins - Fish Stripes
lol
But truthfully, he hasn't been terrible, but certainly not worth $19M a year, and probably shouldn't expect to see that kind of salary again, much less from the Marlins.

Heath Bell about to be anointed closer. Again - Fish Bytes
That makes it three times now, that Bell has been named closer after a very short demotion. This time, he feels that he'll do well, because there was a pretty noticeable mechanical error, that nobody seemed to notice throughout the first four months of the season.

David Samson says that money was the most important factor in Hanley Ramirez trade. Well duh? - Fish Stripes
Like some Marlins fans, the immediate skepticism lies in the wondering if the Marlins (read: Loria) actually plan on doing anything with the supposed $38M freed up from trading Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers, or if this is just the early start to money hoarding.

Speaking of Hanley, guess who's visiting Miami this weekend? - Fish Bytes
Will the fans cheer for, or boo the now-current Dodger, Hanley Ramirez?

Mike Dunn has something in common with Roy Halladay and . . . John Rocker? - Sun Sentinel
Unfortunately, it's not something ironically amusing like overt bigotry, but after Mike Dunn allowed six unearned runs in less than an inning, he joins the club previously only occupied by the Good Doc and the Bad Rocker.

Bryce Harper rages, almost hits John Buck, causes massive drama. Just kidding, Harper apologizes, Buck accepts, brofist - Sun Sentinel
Harper strikes out, slams his bat on the plate, breaking it, and sending debris to almost hit John Buck. Instead of getting up in his grill later on, Harper apologizes and Buck accepts and commiserates, and then nobody has anything to write about it anymore.

2012was_medium

This is the kind of crap that happens during Nats games that keeps making them win - The Bog
In the span of one week, not once, but twice, some bunts by opposing players have led to some seriously watchable plays that have ultimately led to Nationals wins. The Astros commit like four errors on one play while Lucas Harrell goes nuts on the Braves just days earlier. But leave it to the NQ to deliver the version with the appropriate Benny Hill music.

Jake Peavy and Jeff Francoeur chime in this week about Stephen Strasburg's impending shutdown - The Bog
Pretty much, both seem to think that shutting down one of the best pitchers in baseball is akin to asking for a mutiny or death.

Nationals claim Cesar Izturis off of waivers - MASN
With Ian Desmond on the DL still, the Nats make a minor move to bolster their infield depth and bench, by straight claiming the way more glove than bat Cesar Izturis from the Brewers. They assume the remainder of his $875K salary.

A's raid Nationals farm further with trade of Kurt Suzuki - Nationals Journal
In order to bolster the catching depth, weakened by the loss of Wilson Ramos, the Nats trade a young promising catcher, David Freitas to the A's who will likely be the successor to another former Nats' young promising catcher, Derek Norris. Oh yeah, the Nats receive Oakland's favorite all-time player, Kurt Suzuki.

To no surprise, this does not sit well with Jesus Flores - MASN
I used to be a supporter of Flores, but the years of him complaining about being blocked by Wilson Ramos, and now his recent poorly-veiled unhappiness about the arrival of Kurt Suzuki has got me thinking that he's kind of ungrateful. The fact of the matter is that Jesus Flores was given the world of opportunity when Ramos went down, and really hasn't delivered. So he should be the last guy surprised when the Nats get some insurance, and now with Suzuki due guaranteed money next season, Flores now could be the odd-man out when Ramos returns.

Gio Gonzalez hits his first homer; kids who claim ball trade it in for Bryce Harper autographed baseballs - Nats Enquirer
What these kids need to learn is that they caved in too early. I'm not saying they should go all guerilla and hold out for free season tickets or anything, but they probably could have had a chance to meet Gio Gonzalez himself after the game, as well as gotten the two Bryce Harper autographed baseballs in the process.

Speaking of Bryce Harper, he's been slumping since the All-Star break - Nats Insider

The 19-year-old is batting .176 with a paltry .541 OPS in 26 games since the All-Star break and has seen his season average plummet to .251. Let's forget about any Rookie of the Year talk for now and simply wait to see if Harper can get himself back on track.

Mike Morse destroys a baseball to almost Albert Pujols territory - Nats Enquirer
Too bad they had already DFA'd Brad Lidge, I would imagine he would have chimed in after seeing this and claim it to be reminscent to the homer he gave up to Pujols in the 2005 NLCS.

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