Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Little League to pay Elijah Dukes $500 fine

Washington Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes was late for Saturday's Marlins' game. Since he was late, the Nationals benched him and fined him $500.

Dukes was late after making an appearance at a Little League event.

By baseball-player standards, Duke is getting paid a paltry salary of $415,500. But he can certainly afford a $500 fine.
"The point is, this guy gave back to our community, and now he's in a hard spot. We need to help him," said Jim Mraz, the Great Falls LL president, according to The Washington Post. "It's not a question of whether this guy can afford the 500 bucks. We're just trying to send a message to our kids: He was here for us. Now we've got to be there for him."

Said Mraz: "You're a little stunned. Like, 'Whoa, wait a minute.' Here's the game of baseball -- it's got steroids hanging over it, all these issues. ... Needless to say the Nats kind of need help with what they're doing. I could see if he was out trying to do something small or private, but he just came into my community and gave us a shot in the arm."
What a surprise! The Great Falls Little League is run better than the Washington Nationals. No wonder the President invited the Chicago White Sox for a visit -- not the local team.

The Hot Corner, 4/21 edition

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann is back in the lineup after seeing a specialist about his blurry vision. He was fitted with a contact, but still says: “Lasik surgery is the best thing I ever did.”

Yankees outfielder Xavier Nady won't need season-ending surgery and his rehab is being measured in "weeks" not "months."

Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit will have wrist surgery on Thursday and miss 8-10 weeks.

Oakland A's reliever Joey Devine is out for the season (probably more) after having Tommy John surgery.

After their 5-7 start, Texas Rangers' GM Jon Daniels says Ron Washington's job is safe. "Ron's our manager. I read about some of the stuff, but there have been zero discussions internally to the contrary. We believe in this team. We believe in this staff."

Through Monday's game, Houston's Lance Berkman is hitting just above the Mendoza line. So, he's taking in more BP.
“Anytime you’re not hitting the ball like you’d like it’s always a good idea to try to figure out what’s going on to try to get some extra swings,” Berkman said.

Doc Gooden's signature on the Ebbets Club wall will be removed kept removed from where it is and placed in a more "public" part of the stadium. The men's room, after all?

''The first three games of the season in Miami was a lot like spring training for him,'' [Marlins manager Fredi] Gonzalez said [of closer Matt Lindstrom]. "He [is getting stronger] and by the end of the month he should be good to go.''

Tom Browning, dead-beat Dad and pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Reds, is out of jail (for missing child support).

Home-plate umpire Kerwin Danley, who was hit in the head with a broken bat, left the Texas-Toronto game on a stretcher.

Doug Waechter was placed on 15-day DL and Brian Bannister was recalled by the Royals.

The rain delays were worth the wait. Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman got his first career win.

Last but not least, Bob Feller will be throwing some high heat at the Inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame Classic game in Cooperstown, N.Y. in June. "About 10 miles an hour," he said in a statement. "I'll be throwing just as hard as ever, but the ball probably won't be going quite as fast."

Matt Kemp reminds Torre of A-Rod

Per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp reminds his manager, Joe Torre, of Alex Rodriguez.

For Kemp's sake, hopefully nicknames like K-Fraud won't follow.
"The ball doesn't come down when he hits it," Torre said. "He's one of those guys that doesn't have to hit it on the screws."
Hitting coach Don Mattingly says that Kemp reminds him of Bo Jackson, because of the "stupid stuff they are able to do."

Kemp definitely has the tools that give him "super-superstar potential" as teammate Doug Mientkiewicz says.

When asked about the type of numbers Kemp might someday put up, Torre didn't want to put undue pressure on the kid.
"That's not fair for me to put that on him," Torre says.
Although Torre and the Dodgers don't want to put pressure on him, I have no qualms about doing so as Kemp not only plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers but for "Rays Nation" as well. [Not as funny of a fantasy team name now that the Rays are actually good.]

In any event, as owner of "Rays Nation," take a quick look at the "stupid" pace Kemp is on.

So far this season, Kemp has hit safely in all 13 Dodgers games for an average of .383 and an OPS of 1.157. His 3 HRs, 14 RBIs and 4 SBs puts him on a pace of 37 HRs, 174 RBIs and 50 SBs.

No pressure Matty.