Dodgers Encouraged as Greinke Throws From 90 Feet
The Dodgers have been encouraged by Zack Greinke’s recovery from a broken left collarbone, and the right-hander is already throwing less than three weeks removed from surgery.
Greinke threw from 90 feet before Monday’s game against the Rockies. He had surgery on April 13 and had a metal plate inserted into his clavicle to stabilize the fracture. But that’s not prevented him from beginning a throwing program.
“It’s still a little achy here and there, but nothing worse than what you would expect, I think,” Greinke said. “You try not to have setbacks but at the same time do what you can.”
Greinke is likely to be sidelined until mid-June, but the Dodgers are still pleased with his progress.
“I was pretty excited when he walked through the weight room today,” manager Don Mattingly said before Monday’s game. “He’s feeling better. We’re getting closer. We’ll see if he’s sore tomorrow or feels good again.”
Greinke suffered the injury during a benches-clearing incident against the Padres on April 11. After Greinke hit Carlos Quentin with a pitch, the outfielder charged the mound and chaos ensued.
Quentin returned from an eight-game suspension on April 23. He said he spoke with Greinke about the incident. Greinke declined comment on Monday.
Greinke also declined to comment on Padres president and CEO Tom Garfinkel, who recently said Greinke hit Quentin on purpose and made remarks connecting Greinke’s social anxiety order to a movie character who suffered from autism. Garfinkel compared Greinke to “Rain Man,” the autistic character Dustin Hoffman played in the movie. Garfinkel has since apologized for his remarks.
Sandoval Leaves Early With More Elbow Discomfort
CSN Bay Area
Pablo Sandoval left Monday night’s game in the sixth inning with recurring discomfort in his right elbow, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy hoped he’d only be without his World Series MVP for one day.
The Panda hopes he misses even less time than that.
“I don’t think so!” shouted Sandoval, when told that Bochy was leaning toward starting Nick Noonan at third base on Tuesday.
Sandoval said he felt pain in his elbow while hitting his tying single in the fifth inning. It was his ninth hit in 13 at-bats. When he reported it after the top of the sixth, head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner didn’t give Sandoval a choice.
“I wanted to keep playing,” Sandoval said.
His elbow already had quieted down a bit by the time the Giants sealed up their 6-4 victory to break a five-game losing streak.
Sandoval has a team-high 20 RBIs, which is tied for fifth in the National League. Among major league third basemen, only Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera has knocked in more runs.
Wright Out of Mets Lineup With stiff Neck
New York Post
David Wright is not in the Mets lineup on Monday night against the Marlins because of a stiff neck.
“It bothered me yesterday during the game,” Wright said Monday before the game. “Ideally I would have woke up today and it would have gotten better, but it got worse, so you figure hopefully one day and be back in there [Tuesday]. I wouldn’t be any good to anybody going out there today, so we’ll get checked out and get some treatment on it.”
Manager Terry Collins hopes the star third baseman is day-to-day. It’s the first game he has missed all season. Wright dealt with a rib issue during the World Baseball Classic and spring training, but was in the Opening Day lineup on April 1 and has played every game since. Justin Turner will get the start at third base in his absence.
Wright said the pain started early in Sunday’s loss to the Phillies.
“The first or second inning I felt some spasms and it just got progressively worse,” he said.
Limited by their inability to compel people to cooperate with their investigators, Major League Baseball officials will open a new front in their battle against doping. They plan to file a lawsuit on Friday against a number of people connected to a South Florida anti-aging clinic, alleging that the individuals damaged the sport by providing some of the game’s biggest stars with performance-enhancing drugs, according to two people briefed on the matter.
The suit will seek to recoup money from its targets — including the clinic’s owner and a person who worked for two prominent baseball agents — and baseball officials also hope it will produce cooperation with their investigation into the clinic’s activities.
The suit is an attempt to solve the longstanding problem that Major League Baseball has faced in trying to discipline players who have been linked to doping but have not tested positive for a banned substance. After a 2007 report by former Senator George J. Mitchell detailed widespread use of performance enhancers by major league players, Commissioner Bud Selig created a department of investigations — composed of former law enforcement officials — to better police the sport.
But to make a doping case against players who have not tested positive, the investigators need documentary evidence or witness testimony. And because the investigators do not have law enforcement privileges, like subpoena power, they have had little leverage in trying to build cases against players that would lead to suspensions.
So now baseball is trying a new tactic. A lawsuit, if allowed to proceed, would give the sport the ability to subpoena records from the clinic, which is now closed, and compel depositions. Some of the information uncovered could then conceivably be used by baseball to justify disciplinary actions against players.
Attention, Mets: This is your captain speaking.
“This is probably one of the proudest days of my career so far,” David Wright said yesterday after the Mets named him the fourth captain in franchise history. “For me, it’s a dream come true to say the least.”
Not that anyone has questioned the identity of the Mets’ true leader over the last several years, but the team finally got around to making it official.
Wright joined Keith Hernandez (1987-89), Gary Carter (1988-89) and John Franco (2001-04) as the only Mets to hold the captain’s title.
But forget about Wright wearing a “C” on his uniform to billboard his status: After consulting with manager Terry Collins, general manager Sandy Alderson and COO Jeff Wilpon, he’s decided against such a measure.
“We’re all in agreement that it will be without,” Wright said. “Part of it is just my personality where I don’t like to stick out too much. I think the uniform is uniform for a reason. Everybody is kind of in agreement that we’re going to do without.”
Derek Jeter (Yankees) and Paul Konerko (White Sox) are the only other active players with the title of captain. Jeter received his designation in 2003 and Konerko in 2006.
The thumb injury that caused Hanley Ramirez to leave the World Baseball Classic championship game turned out to be a significant one, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Dodgers shortstop has a torn ligament that will require surgery.
The word of the day is “relief.”
Isn’t it a relief that MRIs revealed no damage to David Ortiz’s Achilles? Isn’t it a relief that Ortiz now knows why he’s feeling inflammation in his heels? Isn’t it a relief that with some rest, Ortiz may finally be able to return to the diamond?
All of that relief is great, except the one person who doesn’t look particularly relieved is David Ortiz himself.
The big designated hitter, franchise icon and lineup linchpin answered questions yesterday for the first time since shutting it down for at least a week with soreness in both heels. Ortiz is now almost assured of missing Opening Day, and there is still no timetable on his return.
So pardon Ortiz for not embracing that peace of mind others wish to ascribe to him.
“Well, Opening Day was my goal,” Ortiz said. “You guys heard me talking about it when I first got here. I was feeling good and pushing things the way I was being told. Right now, Opening Day seems like it’s not the case. The case is get me healthy for five or five and a half good months. That’s what we’re looking for now.”
With few obvious options available to replace the injured Mark Teixeira at first base, the Yankees are becoming creative in their search. They have asked the retired first baseman Derrek Lee whether he would come out of retirement, according to a person with knowledge of the talks who asked to remain anonymous.
As of Sunday night there was no deal pending, the person said, but Lee was interested and the situation could always be revisited.
Lee, 37, last played in the major leagues in 2011 for the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite being hit by a pitch that broke a bone in his left wrist, Lee had a decent season, batting .267 with 19 home runs in 113 games.
Lee was the 2005 National League batting champion, hitting .335 with the Chicago Cubs, and hit .281 over his 15-year career with 331 home runs. He helped the Florida Marlins beat the Yankees in the 2003 World Series.
The Yankees are in a bind because Teixeira strained a tendon in his right wrist last week and is expected to miss at least two months. The Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista strained the same tendon last year and eventually had season-ending surgery.
Although it’s still unclear what cooperation that entailed, Gonzalez had blood and urine samples taken two days after the New Times report was published on Jan. 29, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.MLB is allowed to test players under a “reasonable cause” provision in the joint drug prevention agreement. If MLB believes it has a reasonable cause to believe a player in the previous 12 months used, possessed or distributed PEDs, officials notify the player and can subject him to drug testing, starting within two days. It’s immediately unclear how long it takes for results to come back, and a player is only notified when he fails.
Gonzalez’s name surfaced over two weeks ago in the New Times report, which cited notebooks kept by Anthony Bosch, the chief of the Biogenesis clinic. His name appeared five times, including a specific 2012 annotation that referred to an order of “Zinc/MIC/…and Aminorip” for $1,000. In records later divulged, Gonzalez’s name appears next to a substance called “pink cream,” described as a “a complex formula that also includes testerone.” Gonzalez said this week he had never used any of the products.
Gonzalez’s father, Max, also appeared in the clinic’s documents, according to thereport. Gio Gonzalez denied being a patient of the clinic and had no explanation for why his name appeared in the records. Max Gonzalez told the New Times that he went to the clinic for weight loss. Gonzalez said the only reason for his name to appear in Bosch’s records would be his bragging proud father.
Outside of what appeared to be a very slight gimp jogging from one mound to another late in yesterday’s program, Rivera and his surgically repaired right knee looked fine.
He ran in the outfield, threw 25 bullpen pitches to catching prospect J.R. Murphy, fielded sponge balls hit by David Wells on the mound and participated in pitcher’s fielding drills.
When it was over, Rivera flashed the trademark smile.
Asked to rate how the knee feels on a scale of one to 10, Rivera said it was a lot closer to the top of the scale than the bottom and would be at the ceiling soon.
“I feel good. I would say around nine for sure,’’ Rivera said. “The other point, the 10 [will come] from the running I do here, the ground balls and covering first base. I will be at 10 when I pitch.’’
“The Arizona Diamondbacks announced they have agreed to a four-year contract through 2016 with infielder/outfielder Martin Prado, according to D-backs Executive Vice President & General Manager Kevin Towers.Prado, 29, hit .301 (186-for-617) with 42 doubles, 10 home runs and 70 RBI in 156 games with the Braves in 2012. He led the National League with 60 multi-hit games, ranked fourth in hits and fifth in doubles while playing five different positions (left field, third base, second base, first base and shortstop).Prado was named to the 2010 NL All-Star Team and received NL Most Valuable Player consideration in 2010 (9th place) and 2012 (T-20th). He has hit at least .300 in three of the last four seasons, joining Joey Votto, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez as the only four NL players to accomplish that feat (min. 200 plate appearances).Since 2009, Prado ranks among NL leaders in multi-hit games (T-2nd, 193), doubles (3rd, 146), hits (5th, 651) and average (12th, .294).The Venezuela native is a career .295 (752-for-2546) hitter with 168 doubles, 52 home runs and 286 RBI in 683 games with Atlanta. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-handed hitter has made 222 appearances in left, 209 at second, 191 at third, 56 at first, 15 at shortstop and 1 in right.Prado, who was named to Venezuela’s provisional World Baseball Classic roster, was acquired by Arizona on Jan. 25 with right-handed pitchers Randall Delgado and Zeke Spruill and infielders Nick Ahmed and Brandon Drury in exchange for outfielder Justin Upton and infielder Chris Johnson.”
“The New York Yankees are on the verge of signing free agent designated hitter Travis Hafner, according to Chad Jennings of The Journal News.
The Yankees are close enough to a deal with Travis Hafner that it could be announced later today or tomorrow. Sources have indicated that the deal is in place, just waiting for the contract language to be agreed upon.
Jennings adds that the Yankees plan to use Hafner as a platoon DH, limiting his appearances to match up with right-handed pitchers. While no dollar figure has been confirmed, Hafner’s contract is believed to be in the neighborhood of the $1.1 million New York gave Raul Ibanez last winter.
Hafner hit the free agent market following the season when the Cleveland Indians declined his $13 million option for 2013. Rather than retain Hafner, the Indians elected to buy him out for $2.75 million. Cleveland was willing to discuss a return on a lesser deal, as they continue to search for their regular DH.”
“Here’s one way to make national news as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Holliday, talking on satellite radio recently, came out in favor of blood tests and 162-game suspensions for steroid users. (Via BTF.) He joins Frank Thomas on the list of terrifyingly enormous sluggers to come out recently against PEDs. (Thomas was vocally against them his whole career, but has wisely resumed talking about it as his date with the Hall of Fame voters comes up.)
Personally, I don’t think the suspensions he suggests here are tenable, given the specter of false positives, but I can’t begrudge a guy who’s actually playing against steroid users his opinion. And I get it—knowing that people are getting caught once and then going right back to it has to be both frustrating and a little inexplicable to someone who isn’t using. But there are two peripheral points that I think are worth untangling:
1. He—and the interviewer, more particularly—mention a little disappointedly that teams continue to sign players coming off steroid suspensions and fans continue to watch them play. Holliday, rightly, relates this to his belief that steroid suspensions should be longer, including a possible lifetime suspension after a second positive test.
I don’t think the interviewer is seeing the same nuance, though—he seems to believe that Melky Cabrera should, in addition to the league-mandated suspension, be ostracized or pelted with tomatoes or made to register as a steroid user on a government website. As individuals we can react however we want to Melky Cabrera, but I think it’s unhelpful to suggest that official suspensions should, broadly, be supplemented by additional unofficial sanctions. He paid his debt to baseball society; if you think it’s insufficient, join Holliday in suggesting the price itself be higher.
2. I’d like to register—again—my discontent with the pervasive fan image as it relates to steroid use: A father having to tell his son It Ain’t So, and that baseball isn’t clean, etc. My dad has not had a favorite baseball player since Warren Spahn retired, so your mileage may vary, but I don’t think it adds much to these conversations.”
“A legendary body of work had been smashed apart by a report. A post-baseball life expected to be filled with gala receptions instead couldn’t even earn him an invite to an Old Timer’s Day. So an iconic player with his reputation shattered decided to fight.
Roger Clemens fought and fought, all the way to the Supreme Court. He put his freedom on the line to assert he did not use performance-enhancing drugs. Whether you believe him or not, he tried everything to prove his 4,672 strikeouts had nothing to do with PEDs. ”
“The pool of candidates for the Pirates’ 2013 starting rotation continued to grow Monday, as did the team’s projected opening-day payroll.
Free-agent left-hander Francisco Liriano agreed to new terms with the Pirates, according to a report from Fox Sports, after an injury to Liriano’s non-throwing arm disrupted the original contract negotiations.
Liriano and the Pirates were close to agreeing to terms on a two-year, $12.75 million contract in late December, but a broken right arm suffered before Liriano took a physical slowed the process.
Liriano, 29, must pass a physical before the signing is announced. The deal is expected to take some time before becoming official.
According to Fox Sports, Liriano still can make all the money owed him on the original contract if the arm injury does not force him to miss any time in 2013, but if it does, his salary could shrink.
Liriano walked at least five batters per nine innings and had an ERA of more than 5.00 in each of the past two seasons.
The Minnesota Twins removed him from their rotation early in 2012. In 2010, he pitched 1912/3 innings with a 3.62 ERA and struck out 201 batters.
If the deal becomes official, Liriano will join a rotation featuring A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald and Jeff Karstens.
The signing likely would force Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson to start the season at Class AAA Indianapolis.
” The Indians today signed Ben Francisco and Ryan Raburn, two utility players, to minor-league contracts with invitations to major-legue spring training camp.
Raburn, 31, has spent all of his career in the Tigers’ organizaton. Last year, he batted .171 with one home run and 12 RBI in 66 games. He also plyed 15 games at Triple-A Toledo, batting .250.
Injuries to his thumb and right quad put him on the disabled list twice.
Raburn plays all three outfield positions plus second and third base.
Francisco came up in the Tribe organization but was part of the 2009 deal with the Phillies that brought Carlos Carrasco and Lou Marson to Cleveland for Cliff Lee.
Last year, Francisco played for three teams –Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay — batting a combined .240 with four homers, 15 RBI dn 14 run in 82 games.
He has played mostly left and right field but has also played center.”
“Don Larsen, who pitched the only perfect World Series game, is recuperating from a broken hip at a rehabilitation facility in Idaho, where he lives.
The Yankee legend, 83, slipped on ice on New Year’s Eve, according to Andrew Levy, Larsen’s agent at Wish You Were Here Productions. Larsen had surgery on his right hip, Levy said in an email. The news was first reported by the Bergen Record.
“He is doing physical therapy and anything else the doctors instruct him to do for a full and speedy recovery,” Levy wrote. “He is a tough guy, however, and I anticipate him being ready in time for spring training.”
Larsen tossed the perfecto against the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.
The Mets and the Yanks checked in on free agent OF Ben Francisco, but the 31-year-old signed a minor-league deal with the Indians that includes an invitation to spring training.
“It seems this is the week of scouting aging former Yankees for the Red Sox. On Monday, news surfaced that Boston had worked out Bobby Abreu in Venezuela, and on Friday, the team is attending Javier Vazquez’s start in the Puerto Rican Winter League playoffs to scout the right hander, according to WEEI.com. Vazquez surprisingly sat out the 2012 season after having a solid 2011 campaign with the Marlins. He recently told ESPN Deportes that he would like to return to Major League Baseball to compete for a World Series title. The 36-year-old has 165 wins in his 14-year career with 2,536 strikeouts and a 4.22 ERA. With three more seasons under his belt, Vazquez could easily reach the 3,000-strikeout milestone during his career. He’s No. 29 all time in strikeouts in MLB history.
“The Rays avoided arbitration with left-handed pitcher David Price by agreeing Tuesday to a one-year contract that is worth a little more than $10 million.
The deal is expected to be announced later this week after Price completes a physical.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick was the first to report the news.
Price, 27, won the American League Cy Young Award in 2012 after becoming the first pitcher in Rays history to win 20 games.
The deadline for both sides to exchange arbitration figures is Jan. 18.
Price, who also led the American League last season with a 2.56 ERA, made $4.35 million in 2012. That contract came during Price’s first year of arbitration eligibility.
The Rays cleared more than $33 million off the payroll after trading pitchers James Shields ($10.15 million in 2013) and Wade Davis ($2.8 million in 2013) to Kansas City in December and by not re-signing center fielder B.J. Upton ($7 million in 2012) and first baseman Carlos Peña ($7.25 million in 2012), and by declining the $6 million option for 2013 on designated hitter Luke Scott.
Knowing Price would command at least $9 million had he gone through the arbitration process is one reason the Rays were forced to trade Shields for four prospects, including outfielder Wil Myers.
With Price making more than $10 million this season, it is unlikely the Rays will be able to sign him to a long-term deal.
Like Shields, who has one club option left on the contract he signed with the Rays in 2008, Price likely will soon be too expensive for the Rays.”
“When the free-agent market opened following the World Series, Brian Cashman prioritized pitching over any other position.
Eventually, the Yankees general manager signed Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Hiroki Kuroda to one-year deals. In part, Cashman’s focus on arms played a role in catcher Russell Martin leaving for the Pirates and a two-year, $17 million deal after not receiving an offer from the Yankees.
Now, after signing Kevin Youkilis to play third in Alex Rodriguez’s absence and close to announcing Ichiro Suzuki’s two-year contract, Cashman is looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder and a DH.
“I’m open to whatever, whether talking to [free agents] or other clubs,” Cashman said when asked if one position took priority over the other. “Whether it’s now or June, at some point we’ll have it.”
Cashman also said, “We are talking to Raul Ibanez and his agent.”
Ibanez, who hit 19 homers in the regular season and three more in October, is drawing interest from the Rangers, Mariners and Phillies. The 40-year-old left-handed hitter would strictly be a DH if he returned to the Yankees, whose projected starting outfield will be all left-handed hitters in Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro.
Asked if he were willing to talk about discussions with Scott Hairston, who would fill the right-handed hitting outfielder search, Cashman didn’t want to go there.
“Raul was one of our [players last year],” said Cashman, who has been careful to not violate the clause in the Basic Agreement that prohibits clubs and agents from discussing terms, dollars and negotiations when talking about free agents. “I don’t want to talk about outside guys.”
The Yankees and agent Casey Close talked early in the process, but Hairston, who hit 20 homers for the Mets last year, is seeking a two-year deal, which could be a stumbling block for the Yankees despite them not having an in-house candidate for the job. Hairston has a career .825 OPS against lefties and is a .276 hitter against them.”
“David Wright, who agreed to an eight-year contract with the New York Mets in early December, said he signed the extension mindful that reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey could be traded.
And while the All-Star third baseman acknowledges that the 2013 season minus Dickey could be an uphill battle for the Mets, he understands the ballclub faced formidable challenges anyway in the NL East given the strength of the Nationals, Braves and the Phillies.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson had visited Wright in the player’s native Norfolk, Va., early in the offseason. The trip to persuade Wright to remain a Met long term included reviewing the organization’s multiyear plan to restore the team into a contender.
Dickey, 38, was traded Monday to the Toronto Blue Jays for a package that included highly regarded catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud and Class A right-hander Noah Syndergaard.
“Going back to when Sandy came down here and we were having those honest conversations, I was well aware that not only was Sandy looking to better this team now, but that he also wanted to build a solid foundation for the future — and the not-too-distant future,” Wright told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday. “That definitely came up.
“I think it was important for us to get a little bit younger. I think it actually kind of works out well for both sides. You have Toronto, obviously, with their situation, and us with our vision. I spoke to R.A. earlier this morning, and he seems to be happy. The players we’ve gotten back, I’ve gotten a chance to speak to them. They’re excited. And I think it fills needs for both sides.”"
“Ichiro Suzuki enjoyed playing for the New York Yankees so much, he likely will be back with them again.
The Yankees are showing strong interest in re-signing the free-agent outfielder, according to major league sources.
“They are all over him,” one source says. “That (a deal with Ichiro) will happen.”
Ichiro, 39, would join two other left-handed hitters in the Yankees’ outfield, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner.
The Yankees then would need a right-handed complement, presuming they do not trade Granderson, an idea the team is exploring, sources say.
The return of Ichiro would not preclude the Yankees from re-signing free agent Raul Ibanez, another left-handed hitter who likely would get most of his at-bats as a DH.”
“One smart-aleck take on Tampa’s plans to give AL Cy Young Award winner LHP David Price a key to the city Tuesday was that he’d need permission from St. Petersburg officials to say thanks. The other was that it was a parting gift for when the Rays — whether this winter, in July or next offseason — inevitably deem Price too expensive and trade him.
But what about a long-term deal — however unlikely — to keep him beyond his 2016 free agency?
Price, 27, has said repeatedly he would love to stay, and agent Bo McKinnis has said that while “it becomes increasingly difficult” at this stage of Price’s career, “it’s not too late.”
But, McKinnis also suggested, it’s going to take quite some creativity. And lots of money.
Price, McKinnis noted, is driven to be the best in everything from pitching to golf to video games to Twitter.
“So in a similar sense,” McKinnis said, “he wants to have the best contract in baseball, however that may be defined. He expects to be the best in everything that he does. So hopefully we’re able to make that marriage between the Rays and that best contract. But we also recognize the economics of the game may not allow that.”"
“Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says “word is” the Dodgers may try for “another big free-agent starter.”
And it’s pretty easy to believe those whispers.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Dodgers have $210.1 million in salary commitments for 2013 and will pay another $22 million in luxury tax (for a total sum of $233+ million). But their new 25-year local television contract with FOX Sports West is going to bring in over $240 million per season and so they’re still — as amazing as it might sound — operating with great comfort financially.”