Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A's put Brett Anderson on DL, could miss up to six weeks

The next time Brett Anderson takes the mound for the A's, it could be June.

Anderson has landed on the disabled list and he could miss up to six weeks, per ESPN's Buster Olney. In order to help better determine a timetable for his return, he's scheduled for an MRI, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

With the exception of one bad five-earned-run outing, he had only allowed one earned run (over 18 innings pitched) in his other three starts.

In his five final starts last year, Anderson finished the season with a 4-1 record and 2.20 ERA and struck out 31 batters in 28.2 innings.

Per Spencer Fordin of MLB.com, the A's also optioned reliever Edwar Ramirez to Triple-A Sacramento and recalled infielder Steve Tolleson and catcher Landon Powell.

Rangers place Nelson Cruz on DL

The Texas Rangers have placed slugger Nelson Cruz on the 15-day disabled list, per T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

Cruz left Monday's game in the fifth inning due to a tight hamstring, but he missed either part or all of three games last week.

Proving last year wasn't a fluke, Cruz was off to a hot start in 2010: .323 average, seven home runs, 17 runs batted in and five stolen bases in 19 games.

He was (more than) on pace to back up his 30-30 guarantee.

Last season, he slowed down on the basepaths after suffering an ankle injury and he finished with only 20 steals. With the lingering effects of hamstring injuries, I'm curious to see how much he'll run once he returns.

To take the place of Cruz on the roster, the Rangers have called up Craig Gentry from Triple-A. Last September, Gentry was 2-for-17 with the Rangers.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ike Davis to be called up, soon?

Through 11 games, Mets pitchers are hitting .238 and nearly 100 points higher than Mets first basemen, who have a combined average of .143, as pointed out by ESPN's Adam Rubin.

In other words, it was time for the Mets, who have the National League's second-worst record at 4-8, to make a move.

The first part of the move involves adding a reliever to help their pen recover from their 20-inning game on Saturday.

To make room for an additional pitcher, the Mets have designated first baseman Mike Jacobs, who was hitting .208, for assignment and recalled pitcher Tobi Stoner from Triple-A Buffalo, per Andy Martino of the NY Daily News.

After their relievers are back at full strength, the Mets will likely call up first base prospect Ike Davis from Buffalo. The 23-year-old was the team's first-round pick in 2008.

“You have witnessed some of the young talents doing well so far here at the major league level,” [Mets manager Jerry] Manuel said, per David Waldstein of the New York Times. “So, he’s exciting.”

Davis, who hit .480 during the spring, is hitting .364 for Buffalo.

He’s definitely seeing the ball well,” Stoner said, per Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger. “He’s got such a pretty swing and he’s got a lot of pop behind it. He’s playing well down there. ... He’s locked in. He’s just a great hitter. He’s a tough out.”

According to Rubin, a successful start by Davis (when called up) could ultimately lead to a demotion to Buffalo for Daniel Murphy, who is rehabilitating for a sprained MCL.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Slow start for Teixeira creates buying opportunity?

Yankees' Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez celebrate during game 4 of the world series in Philadelphia

Ten games into the 2010 season, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has only three hits (and ten walks) in 36 at bats (.083 average).

Despite his struggles, Teixeira is trying to maintain a positive attitude.

"The competitor in you, you never accept failure. You never like not getting hits. But at the same time, I stick with my plan and I know that it's all about the team," Teixeira said, per Mark Hale of the New York Post. "And we're 7-3 right now. The team's doing great."

It's not uncommon for Teixeira to get off to slow starts. There are three things that seem certain in the month of April: taxes, showers and a slow start for Tex.

His April (through Friday's game) career .242 average, 22 home runs and 78 runs batted in are by far his lowest totals for any month. The next lowest splits are .277 (June), 39 HRs (May) and 119 RBI (July), respectively.

That said, Teixeira was hitting only .200 at the end of April 2009 with three home runs and ten runs batted in. He finished the season with a .292 average, 39 home runs and 122 runs batted in and in second place (behind Minnesota's Joe Mauer) in AL MVP voting.

If Teixeira is on your fantasy team, it's way too early to be concerned considering his typical slow starts, enormous skills, the great lineup around him and his home ballpark.

If he's not on your team, however, consider making a buy-low offer to the owner that does and reap the benefits. Hurry up while values are deflated.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A's lock up Brett Anderson through 2015

He's one of baseball's best young pitchers.

And today the A's signed Brett Anderson to an extension that could keep the 22-year-old in Oakland through the 2015 season. The extension is through the 2013 season, but there are club options for both 2014 and 2015.

The first four years are worth $12.5 million while the total deal could reach a maximum of $31 million if Oakland exercises their option in both years.

The 2015 season would have been Anderson's first year of free agency.

"Let's face it, it's not only having him for that length of time, but also, given his talent, it provides us with some cost control," A's general manager Billy Beane said, per MLB.com. "Premium starting pitchers, guys who can pitch in that No. 1 slot, which we think Brett will be doing very shortly, become very expensive very quickly. We think Brett's a pretty unique talent. The more we saw of him and the longer we waited, the more expensive it was going to become. We jumped early."

In his final 17 starts in 2009, Anderson finished with an 8-4 record and 2.96 ERA. So far this year, Anderson has pitched 12 scoreless innings and struck out ten batters.

In the American League, the only young pitcher (under 25 years old) better than Anderson is Seattle's Felix Hernandez. This is a great move for the A's to lock up their future ace at a reasonable cost.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jimmy Rollins lands on 15-day DL

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins got off to a bad start in 2009 hitting .207, .238 and .167 in April, May and June, respectively.

His start in 2010 was different.

Through the first seven games, Rollins was hitting .391 and scored eight runs. He also hit one home run and stole two bases.

That said, Rollins, who suffered a calf strain during warmups on Monday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list today, retroactive to Tuesday.

It’s unfortunate,” Rollins said before Wednesday night’s game against Washington, per the Associated Press. “From Monday to today, it’s much better. I thought it was torn.”

Juan Castro will replace him at shortstop and Shane Victorino will leadoff while Rollins is out.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Night Links

Phillies closer Brad Lidge says not to worry about allowing four runs in his first Single-A rehab appearance of 2/3 of an inning.

Texas outfielder Julio Borbon was benched after starting the season 1-for-21. Returning to the lineup, Borbon went 0-for-4.

Meanwhile teammate Joaquin Arias has four straight multi-hit games filling in for injured second baseman Ian Kinsler.

The Giants won't pitch Matt Cain against the Dodgers over the weekend.

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is being more selective at the plate.

I just can’t pay any attention to any of this crap going on around me,” Red Sox DH David Ortiz said, per the Boston Herald. “Just play the game. The game is hard enough for people to be talking trash about you and you paying attention to it. You can’t listen to it.”

A's reliever Tyson Ross got his first-ever save last night.

It might be a while before Orioles 'closer' Mike Gonzalez gets another save opportunity.

The Twins beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the first-ever game at Target Field.

Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester said of today's performance: “Today I just stunk. Didn’t make pitches. I don’t really know what else to say.’’

Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz hit his fifth home run of the season.

The Royals had 15 hits against the Tigers today.

Scott Rolen homered twice as the Reds beat the Marlins today.

The Padres scored 17 runs against the Braves today.

Dodgers pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley have added a slider and changeup, respectively, to their pitching repertoires, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Texas will start Ryan Garko at first base on Thursday.

The Pirates scratched pitcher Ross Ohlendorf for tonight's start against the Giants.

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts might need more time after he's eligible to return from the DL.

Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore misssed his second straight game.

FYI: Follow us on Twitter @EDSBaseball.

Aaron Hill put on the DL

The Toronto Blue Jays have placed second baseman Aaron Hill on the 15-day disabled list (DL), per Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star.

The move is retroactive to April 8th, which means Hill will be eligible to return on April 23rd.

It’s not the way I wanted to start off,’’ Hill said. “Like I told them, ‘I know in the back of my mind you guys are making the right decision’ – even though I fought ’em on it. Obviously, I want to be out there.’’

While Hill is out, John McDonald and Mike McCoy are splitting the second baseman duties.

In eight at bats this season, Hill has only one hit.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Night Links

Cleveland's Grady Sizemore was a scratch from Sunday's game with back stiffness. And he might miss Monday's home opener.

Indians prospect Carlos Santana hit his fourth home run for Triple-A Columbus already.

To make room for Gil Meche's return, the Royals have sent Mike Aviles down to Triple-A Omaha.

Phillies ace Roy Halladay threw his first N.L. complete game as the Astros dropped to 0-6, which is their worst start since 1983.

The Mets called up Raul Valdes to fill in for Sean Green, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list (DL).

It doesn't look like Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler will return from the DL before the Red Sox series that begins on April 20th.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said about today's performance, “We appeared unprepared. And I have to take responsibility for that.”

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez says of the team's defense, "We need to tighten up."

Boston's Mike Lowell is considering retirement when his three-year contract expires at the end of the season.

"I have a really good friendship with Mark McGwire. I'm proud of him," Bonds said Sunday, per the Associated Press. "We've had a great relationship throughout our entire lives and throughout our career. I'm proud of what he did. I'm happy for him."

Pittsburgh manager John Russell moved Garrett Jones to the cleanup spot while moving Lastings Milledge to third (from fifth).

In today's fourth inning against the Diamondbacks, the Pirates tied a franchise record by allowing 13 runs.

Part of the 13-run outburst came from pitcher Edwin Jackson's first career home run.

Through two starts, Tigers ace Justin Verlander has an ERA of 9.00.

The earliest return (barring setbacks) for Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly is April 24th, per Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

John Hester will back up D'Backs catcher Chris Snyder, who will replace the injured Miguel Montero.

In his pro debut for Triple-A Louisville, Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman hit triple digits on the radar gun three times.

The Angels lead the majors in home runs allowed so far this season.

Shameless plug(s) of the day: Check out my latest post at The Daily Blitz and my latest post at FootBaltimore.com.

Brian Roberts headed to the DL?

According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, it looks as though the Orioles will place second baseman Brian Roberts on the 15-day disabled list with an abdominal strain.

The Orioles have recalled second baseman Justin Turner from Nolfolk, their Triple-A affiliate.

When told about Turner, Roberts responded, "Well, I guess I am going on the DL then."

Roberts, who suffered the injury on a stolen base on Friday, has two stolen bases in four games, but he was hitting only .143 (2-for-12).

Meanwhile, Julio Lugo, who will likely fill in while Roberts is out, is 2-for-14 in his four games played including Sunday.

Miguel Montero to have knee surgery

The Arizona Diamondbacks have placed catcher Miguel Montero, who will require knee surgery, on the 15-day disabled list (DL), per Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic.

Montero has a torn meniscus and additional tests will be performed to verify whether there is any additional damage to the knee.

"I don't think it's fair to throw out too many timetables until we get the final tests on Monday," [manager A.J.] Hinch said.

In four games, Montero was batting .500 (6-for-12) with three runs batted in. While he is out, Chris Snyder will take his place.

Snyder, who is 1-for-6 this season, hit a career-high 16 home runs with 64 runs batted in during the 2008 season.

Feliz (not Francisco) to close for Texas

I can't say that I didn't see it coming.

In one of our Fantasy Baseball Weekly podcasts in late-February, we discussed relief pitchers (and catchers). Fearing a potential implosion and subsequent replacement by Neftali Feliz, I mentioned during that podcast that I would avoid Rangers closer Frank Francisco on all of my fantasy baseball teams.

That said, it's happened quicker than I thought although manager Ron Washington implied that the transition is temporary.

That just didn’t look like Frankie,” Washington said Sunday, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We haven’t seen that [closer] guy … and there’s no way we can go through this year without Frankie Francisco.”

If Feliz has more success than Francisco, who has blown two of three save opportunities, however, it's easy to imagine this move being more than just temporary for the 2010 season.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cliff Lee to miss all of April

Seattle Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee, on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 26th, isn't expected to pitch at all in the month of April.

Lee, who should begin a minor league rehab assignment after a simulated game on the 16th, said Friday's 25-pitch bullpen session was "normal, felt good."

"Safely, I think we're looking at, hopefully, the first week in May,'' said manager Don Wakamatsu, per Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. "Again, anything before that, I don't think he'll be built up and we won't feel comfortable.''

Although the injury is related to abdomen -- and not his arm or shoulder, it makes sense to take a cautious approach.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mike Gonzalez blows another one

Going one out of three is good. If you're a hitter, that is. It's not so good when you're the closer.

For the second time in three appearances, Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez has blown a save opportunity.

To make matters worse, today's 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays came during the largest home Opening Day crowd (48,891) at Camden Yards. His first blown save came on Opening Day in Tampa.

That said, Orioles manager Dave Trembley says of Gonzalez that “he’s the closer.”

If you have a glass-half-full perspective, there won't be any more Opening Days in his future until 2010.

Either way, it might be wise to add Jim Johnson to your fantasy roster as a handcuff.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Brewers, Gallardo agree to extension

The Milwaukee Brewers have signed Yovani Gallardo, who turned 24 years old in February, to a five-year contract extension, per Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

This deal, which guarantees Gallardo $30.1 million, will keep their young ace in town through the 2014 season. There is a club option for a sixth year (2015).

Gallardo would have been eligible for arbitration after this season and eligible for free agency after the 2013 season.

"We are thrilled to sign one of our top young players to a long-term deal," said Melvin in a news release. "We view Yovani as a top of the rotation performer who has a chance to become one of the elite pitchers in the game. He is the cornerstone of our starting rotation and the ideal pitcher to build our staff around for future seasons."

Last year, Gallardo became the fourth Brewer pitcher to have struck out 200 batters in one season. He finished the year with a record of 13-12, 3.73 ERA and 204 strike outs in 185 2/3 innings.

After signing Gallardo and outfielder Ryan Braun to long-term extensions, the Brewers will continue to work on signing first baseman Prince Fielder to a long-term deal next, despite placing blame on a team like the Yankees for the economic imbalance in baseball.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mid-May return for Huston Street?

It was confirmed, by Dr. James Andrews, that the shoulder of Colorado Rockies closer Huston Street has inflammation but no structural damage, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Meanwhile, Renck's best guess for Street's return is roughly May 15th as trainer Keith Dugger will have Street work on conditioning before resuming his throwing program.

"We fear if I ramp up the throwing, I'll keep getting inflamed and it'll be a long, circular process, so Dugger has me on a program to build it up," Street said, per MLB.com.

Despite giving up one run in one inning on Monday, Franklin Morales, Street's injury substitute at closer, is one-for-one on save opportunities so far.

Note: you can follow us on Twitter @EDSBaseball.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Night Links

''He said, 'Good luck. Sincerely, Ozzie.' And couple more phrases,'' said [Cubs manager Lou] Piniella [of a note left by Ozzie Guillen]. ''It wasn't twitted, and I'm appreciative of that.''

Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee had a pain-free catch for a second day in a row.

Giants ace Tim Lincecum threw seven scoreless innings in tonight's win over the Astros.

Albert Callaspo might start at third base for the Royals on Wednesday.

In his first at bat of the season, Mets third baseman David Wright homered.

And Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones homered twice.

Meanwhile, Braves rookie phenom Jason Heyward crushed a home run in his first-ever at bat in the big leagues.

Blue Jays closer Jason Frasor said of his blown save today: “Unfortunately, I have 48 hours to think about it. I’m six years older than I was when I first started blowing games, so it’s a little easier.”

The Red Sox will give Josh Beckett $68 million over four years.

Meanwhile the Pirates have the lowest payroll ($35.4 million) in baseball in 2010.

Shameless plug(s) of the day: Check out our 2010 fantasy football (quarterback) rankings or weigh in on a McNabb-versus-Kolb discussion on our football forums.

Amazing play by Mark Buehrle

White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, who started his eighth season opener, pitched seven scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians today.

More impressively, one of those 21 outs could "end up being the Sox' defensive play of the year," as pointed out by Kyle Koster of the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Unbelievable," said Cleveland right fielder Shin-Soo Choo. "I think that was the best play I've ever seen. I thought he had no chance."

Berkman has knee drained ... again

It's Opening Day at Minute Maid Park and pitcher Roy Oswalt has made his franchise-record eighth consecutive Opening Day start.

Houston Astros vs St. Louis Cardinals

Despite beginning the season on the disabled list (DL), teammate Lance Berkman received a "big round of applause as he gingerly walks onto field..." as tweeted by MLB's Brian McTaggert.

Berkman, who missed 26 games in 2009, is eligible to return from the DL Saturday, however, that may be overly optimistic.

According to Bernardo Fallas of the Houston Chronicle, Berkman had his knee drained for a fifth time today and he's expected to get a cortisone shot.

Ron Washington's job security?

There are some Texas-sized expectations for the Rangers in 2010, especially from those in the organization.

In fact, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton predicted "96 wins."

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram asks in his column in the Dallas Morning News this morning, "Is Ron Washington on the hot seat?"

Washington, who is the fourth and final year of his contract, led the Rangers to 87 wins last year and has improved the club in each of his three seasons. (He won 75 and 79 games in his first two seasons, respectively.)

Despite internal debate over whether to fire Washington after he had failed a drug test last year, the Rangers decided to keep him as their skipper. That said, Wilson mentions the "lingering belief" that the Rangers could be looking to fire Washington, at the earliest convenient opportunity (i.e., losing streak, managerial error, etc.)

"That's silly," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Trust me: Nobody here is looking for something like that. We're all trying to work together to help this team win."

Barring a second failed drug test, which seems unlikely, or something else equally embarrassing for the franchise, it's hard to envision Washington being replaced mid-season.

Perhaps if the Rangers take a step back from 87 wins, Washington may not be back in 2011. Otherwise, a fourth straight year of improvement would seem to guarantee his continued stewardship of the club.

(Note: Win #1 is in the books.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Night Links

Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson says of the comparison to Curtis Granderson, "I get that all the time. I've been compared to him, and that is a real compliment."

Granderson homered in his first at bat as a Yankee.

With Cody Ross and Dan Uggla, the Marlins had two (of the seven) players under 6'0" to hit 20+ home runs.

Orioles president Andy MacPhail said to "not read too much into" Nolan Reimold fielding ground balls at first base.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Gordon Beckham's move to second base: 'He's got a great chance to be a good one. I think the move to second will make it easier for him. He's more comfortable. He can just worry about his hitting.''

The four-year extension for Toronto's Adam Lind could be worth as much as $38.5 million, per Morgan Campbell of The Toronto Star.

Jason LaRue will be the Cardinals' Opening Day catcher.

Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune names B.J. Upton, David Price, Sean Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano as his players to watch in 2010 in addition to prospects Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson.

Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez has returned to the Mets after his brothers' automobile accident in Venezuela.

Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal says the Dodgers are capable of reaching the World Series.

Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez focused on slowing down his delivery.

Padres second baseman David Eckstein said, “This team is definitely headed in the right direction with a lot of good, young talent. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people, maybe ourselves.”

The Red Sox added Scott Schoenweis to their Opening Day roster after placing Daisuke Matsusaka and Junichi Tazawa on the disabled list.

Giants outfielder John Bowker, who led the team this spring with 23 RBIs, won the starting right field job.

Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is tired of losing.

Braves phenom Jason Heyward wears number 22 in honor of Andrew Wilmont, his former high-school teammate and the son of his favorite high-school teacher. Wilmont passed away after a car accident.

Marlins closer Leo Nunez said, "Finding a song [for a closer] isn't easy. You are supposed to have something intimidating.''

Eric Chavez is now the Athletics designated hitter.

Shameless plug: Get our Twitter updates @EDSBaseball.

Giants catcher Bengie Molina said of ace Tim Lincecum, "... some of the starts he won, he won because of his name. He wasn't always feeling the best. He wasn't throwing as hard, and his breaking ball wasn't as good. He was beating them because the hitters knew who they were facing. Obviously, I'm not trying to put Timmy down. Everybody knows how nasty he is. Even if he doesn't have his good stuff, he knows how to pitch a good game."

The Rockies left fielder on Opening Day will Seth Smith, per Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Some (more) shameless plugs for our latest posts at our other blogs: NCAA Championship prediction, Ravens' consensus draft pick and Donovan McNabb dealt to Redskins.

Cliff Lee to start season on the DL

The Seattle Mariners have placed pitcher Cliff Lee on the 15-day disabled list (DL), per Jim Street of MLB.com.

The move is retroactive to March 26th.

Lee said today of throwing on flat ground, "I feel good. I virtually threw as hard today as I can throw and didn't feel anything. It's good."

In addition to Lee, the Mariners begin the season with three players on the DL: Lee, pitcher Erik Bedard and third baseman Jack Hannahan.

Facing a five-game suspension, which he is appealing, Lee could miss almost all of April.

Can the Mets stay healthier in 2010?

That's the stated goal.

According to Baseball Prospectus, as pointed out by Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger, Mets' players spent a combined 1,451 days on the disabled list (DL) in 2009.

And heading into Opening Day tomorrow, the Mets have already placed four of their players on the DL this season.

Hence, the team's 2010 slogan: “Prevention and Recovery.”

“Every time they see the sign, it’s a reminder to everybody, whatever they’re doing, to keep an eye on, ‘Are we at risk here?’ ” Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said. “Not to say we’re not going to prepare, but it just keeps it in your consciousness. The more people are talking about it and thinking about it, the less chance we’ll have of doing something that puts us at risk.”

That said, Mets' players aren't exactly sure what it means.

Mets third baseman David Wright said “... I’m not exactly sure what’s going on differently than in years past” while teammate Jeff Franceour said, “I have no clue what it means.”


I think what it means is that it could be déjà vu all over again for the Mets.

Matthews Jr. named Mets' Opening Day centerfielder

Earlier in the spring, opinions seemed to differ between Mets manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya as to whether prospect Fernando Martinez could become the Mets' Opening Day centerfielder.

In either case, F-Mart was sent down to Buffalo last week despite his .383 batting average this spring.

Therefore, in the battle to be Carlos Beltran's injury replacement to start the season, Gary Matthews Jr. beat out Angel Pagan, per Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger.

Matthews, who hit .250 with four home runs in 350 at bats for the Angels last season, will bat seventh in the order when the Mets face the Marlins tomorrow.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Brendan Ryan to hit second in Cards' lineup

Heading into the regular season, it looks as though Cardinals shortstop Brendan Ryan will bat second -- not centerfielder Colby Rasmus, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

As Goold points out, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa plans on using Friday's lineup as his regular-season lineup.

On Friday, Ryan batted second and Rasmus batted fifth.

Speaking of Ryan batting the No. 2 spot, La Russa said, "He's been there a lot this spring and he's continued to have good at-bats. He's done good things with it."

"I'm looking at the card, and I'm hitting in front of Albert Pujols. That's awesome," Ryan said. "I wouldn't tell him that. (But) I don't want to hit 13th in the lineup. I want to hit in the first inning."

In deep leagues or NL-only leagues, Ryan should plenty provide value as a guy who will hit for a solid average (.290 or so), steal bases (had 14 steals in 390 at bats last season) and score plenty of runs with Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday hitting behind him.

According to MockDraftCentral.com, Ryan is the 14th shortstop being drafted in NL-only leagues with an ADP of 215.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Nelson Cruz now a national pitch man

Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz is one of eight players featured in the national ads for 2KSports Major League Baseball 2K10, per Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"It definitely was exciting to be part of the commercial," said Cruz. "I got a chance to meet with those guys like Kendry [Morales], [Justin] Verlander and [Felix] Hernandez. I was really happy to have the chance and the opportunity to be there."

Cruz, who will bat fifth in the Rangers' Opening Day lineup, hit 33 home runs and stole 20 bases in 2009.

How to top his breakout season in 2010?

Cruz guaranteed a 30-30 season and considering his sprained ankle last August nearly halted his stolen base attempts, it at least seems possible provided he can stay healthy.

"I see a very confident Nelson Cruz,” [manager Ron] Washington said. "I see a guy that’s been going about his business like a veteran."

According to MockDraftCentral.com, Cruz is the 16th outfielder drafted with an average draft position of 62. Seems like a steal to me.