Sunday, May 3, 2009

Aramis Ramirez back in Monday's lineup?

Per the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Cubs will have their third baseman back in tomorrow's lineup against the San Francisco Giants.

When Aramis Ramirez returns to the lineup, manager Lou Piniella says he's "going to change the combo a little."

According to the Chicago Tribune, Ramirez will likely bat fifth behind Derrek Lee and in front of Milton Bradley.

Ramirez, who hasn't played since pinch-hitting on May 1st, is leading the Cubs in batting with a .352 average.

Cubs retire #31 for Jenkins and Maddux

Last month, the Atlanta Braves announced they would retire number 31 in honor of Greg Maddux on July 17th.

Today, the Chicago Cubs retired number 31 in honor of Maddux and Ferguson "Fergie" Jenkins.

Previously, the Cubs have retired four other numbers: 10 (Ron Santo), 14 (Ernie Banks), 23 (Ryne Sandberg) and 26 (Billy Williams).

Major League Baseball retired number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.
"It's a tremendous honor," Maddux said, "and it's pretty cool to have it up there with Fergie, too."

"The fun part of doing what we did is putting that uniform on, and you're at home on that field in the ballpark," Jenkins said. "It's your second home."

"I always felt like it was a privilege to wear the uniform," Maddux said. "Almost every day, when I was sitting there putting it on, I would realize it was a privilege and an honor to put on the uniform.

"Because I felt that way, I tried to do it right," Maddux said. "I just tried to do it right every day and didn't worry about what the score was in the ninth inning. As long as I did everything right before the game was over, I felt pretty good about myself."

Both pitchers had two separate stints with the Cubs. Jenkins pitched for the Cubs from 1966-73 and 1982-83. Maddux pitched for the Cubs from 1986-92 and 2004-06.

In his career, Jenkins won 284 games, struck out 3,192 batters and had an ERA of 3.34. He won the Cy Young in 1971 when he threw 30 complete games that year.

Maddux finished with 355 wins, struck out 3,371 batters and had an ERA of 3.16 in his career. He won four Cy Young awards consecutively from 1992 to 1995, the first of which was won with the Cubs.

Carlos Zambrano left today's game with strained hammy

Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano left today's game against the Florida Marlins in the fifth inning with a strained hamstring.

Zambrano allowed two runs and four hits in the five innings he pitched.

He was hurt after beating out a bunt in the bottom of the fifth inning. Rich Harden ran for him and scored on a Derrek Lee grand slam.

Per the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs will evaluate Zambrano over the next two days to determine the severity of the injury. His next scheduled start is Friday against Houston.

Six steals for Carl Crawford today

Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek should be ashamed of himself. It's as if he were giving bases away today.

Varitek allowed Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Carl Crawford to steal six bases in today's game.

In total, the Rays set a team record by stealing eight bases on Varitek.

Catcher Michel Hernandez got his first career steal and shortstop Jason Bartlett stole a base as well.

Royals place Tony Pena on DL

The Kansas City Royals have placed SS Tony Pena on the 15-day disabled list today.

Pena, who remained in the game, fractured a bone in his left hand during last night's game against the Minnesota Twins.

The Royals have called up Luis Hernandez from from Triple-A Omaha.
"He's been hitting pretty good," Royals manager Trey Hillman said before Sunday's game against the Twins. "From my understanding, he's been playing well. He gives us another switch hitter, which never hurts. He's got a little bit of experience."
Pena was hitless in his 11 at bats on the season.

Orioles to use closer-by-committee approach (for now)

Per the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Orioles manager Dave Trembley says that he will choose the O's closer based on the situation on a "day-by-day" basis.

In his first 24 save opportunities since being acquired from Seattle, George Sherrill converted 22 of those opportunities. Since then, he has blown six of his next 19 opportunities including last night's loss in extra innings.
"George will keep you on the tightrope more times than not," Trembley said. "There is not a whole lot of save opportunities for him that come rather easy, but I would admit that the location of some of his pitches haven't been as good as they were last year."
Trembley didn't specify which relievers would get save opportunities. Other options include Chris Ray, who was the team's closer in 2006 and 2007, as well as Danys Baez and Jim Johnson.

The Hot Corner, 5/3 edition

Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun is out of the lineup for a second game in a row with a stiff back.

Baltimore Orioles reliever Dennis Sarfate was placed on the 15-day disabled list and the team recalled Bob McCrory to take his roster spot.

Major League Baseball will investigate the statements made by Alex Rodriguez surrounding his usage of performance-enhancing drugs.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi questioned why the release of Selena Roberts' book on A-Rod was moved up to this Monday.

The Detroit Tigers are concerned about young pitchers Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry.

Colorado's Ryan Spillbrough had two homeruns and two stolen bases in yesterday's win over the Giants.

Phillies' ace Cole Hamels may not be able to pitch against the Cardinals. "He could probably pitch if he just stood on the mound and didn't do anything but pitch, but that's not how it works," said Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

Braves outfielder Garrett Anderson, who will be activated the DL on Tuesday, turned down the opportunity of a one-day rehab stint with Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday.

Cleveland Indians outfielder Matt LaPorta will make his MLB debut Sunday. "I was sitting in the whirlpool this morning, and the manager came in and told me I was in the lineup," said LaPorta, who was set to make his Major League debut. "I'm pretty pumped up about it."

The Cardinals scratched Kyle Lohse from Sunday's start against the Washington Nationals due to the weather.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsusaka will make a minor league rehab start on Tuesday.

Tony Gwynn, college coach of Stephen Strasburg, says he would select the SDSU ace with the 99-mph fastball with the #1 overall pick if he were making the selection for the Nationals.

With players like Chase Utley, Ian Kinsler, Brandon Phillips, Robinson Cano and others, is this the golden age of second basemen?

Is Oliver Perez heading to the bullpen or the minors?

Mariners place Brandon Morrow on DL

The Seattle Mariners placed Brandon Morrow on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. The move is retroactive to April 24th.

Morrow hasn't pitched since April 23rd and has five saves in seven opportunities.

The Mariners have recalled Denny Stark from Triple-A affiliate Tacoma to take Morrow's roster spot.

David Aardsma, who has three saves and an ERA of 2.61 through Saturday's game, should receive the bulk of save opportunities while Morrow is on the DL.

The Mariners currently lead the A.L. West with a 14-10 record.

Ryan Braun sits with tight back

Milwaukee Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun did not play in Saturday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Braun's back tightened in Friday night's game and he was a game-time decision for Saturday's game.

He is hitting .314 with five homeruns and 16 runs batted in this season.