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B.J. Upton Swings Hard Enough to Knock Himself Out of a Game

by November 30, 1999 @ 12:00 am (Category : Blogs )

May 1st 2008 5:55PM by Josh Alper

From Bobby Ojeda trimming off the tip of his middle finger with hedge clippers to Glenallen Hill falling down a staircase because of a nightmare, there’s a long history of odd off-field injuries in baseball. During games, though, the injuries are more run of the mill which made what happened to B.J. Upton this afternoon all the stranger.

Upton swung at a 1-1 offering from Brian Burres in the fifth inning and fouled it off, a routine occurrence. His reaction, flinging his bat away and clutching his left shoulder, was anything but normal. Trainers came out and Upton was removed from the game and replaced by Nathan Haynes. Jim Palmer, calling the game for the Orioles, was baffled saying that wrist injuries on swings were somewhat common but could only think of one other instance, involving Bob Bailor, with a shoulder injury from a swing.

He doesn’t follow the Rays, obviously, because Upton’s been down this road before.
“I feel good. It’s happened five of the six seasons I have played, and once in high school. It’s not a big deal. This is the best it’s ever felt afterward. Should only be a day or two.”
The only lasting damage, in fact, may have been to his batting average. Haynes looked at a called third strike and, based on the rules governing such a situation, it goes down as a strikeout for Upton.

Rays Must Answer the Eternal Question - What to Do With Excess Meat Products?

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Blogs )

May 1st 2008 1:30PM by Josh Alper
We’ve already spent some time this week discussing the unprecedented April record compiled by the Tampa Bay Rays. Now, as May begins and Scott Kazmir’s return from the disabled list looms, we find the Rays in more uncharted water. They’ve got too many starting pitchers for the five spots in their rotation.

Andy Sonnanstine allowed one run in eight innings in Baltimore last night to win his team-record fourth game of April and is 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his last three outings. Yet he might be the player sent to the minors to make room for Kazmir because the other two possibilities, Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel, are out of options. Each of them’s pitched well enough that they’d be unlikely to get through waivers, leaving the Rays with baseball’s version of Sophie’s Choice.

Or baseball’s version of trying to fit excess meat in too small a bag. That’s how Rays owner Stuart Sternberg sees it anyway.
“I think it’s unfortunate we only have 25 slots,” he said. “When these guys come back, it’s like two pounds of bologna in a one-pound bag.”
I get the analogy but why such a low-level meat, Stu? You’ve got a couple of pounds of prosciutto or, at the very least, pepperoni on your hands. It’s a good time to be a Rays fan. After years of understocked picnics, their basket is overflowing.

(H/T )

On Deck: Yovani Faces a Firestorm

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Blogs )

May 1st 2008 10:00AM by Mullet

So I’m flipping around my MLB extra innings package late last night and I see that they’re still playing baseball in Chicago … and I have to squint because the number on the screen can’t be right: 19 runs? Really? The Cubs put up 19 against the Brewers? Alas, it was true. It shouldn’t be that surprising. The Cubs were 13th in baseball in batting average last season and 18th in runs. This season, thanks in part to the acquisition of Kosuke Fukudome, and in part to the Cubs dedication to taking more pitches, they were second in both categories last night’s 19 run shenanigans.

The Brewers haven’t been hitting as well this season, but they did win the first game of this series in Wrigley 10-7. So who better to calm down all this offense than Yovani Gallardo, who was injured to start the season but has a 0.64 ERA in his first two starts this season, and Carlos Zambrano, who’s 4-1 so far with a 2.21 ERA? Maybe the wind will blow in too.

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Geremi Gonzalez Killed By Lightning Strike

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Blogs )

May 26th 2008 1:15PM by Mullet
What tragic news out of Venezuela as former major leaguer Geremi Gonzalez was struck by lightning on a beach in Venezuela and killed at the young age of 33.

Geremi, when he was known as Jeremi, won 11 games for the Cubs back in 1997 before bouncing around the league for the next ten years until ‘06 … when he had brief stints with the Mets and Brewers. Gonzalez also pitched for Tampa and Boston, and finished with a career record of 30-35. (Gonzalez also had a brief stint with the Yomiuri Giants during the 2007 season.

There really is nothing to say except that its sad, sad news to see a young man struck down in the prime of his life by an accident as freakish as a lightning strike. Usually, we come here and look at things in the sports world and give out our attempts at an explanation or an opinion … but there are none here. Our best to Geremi’s family.

James Shields and Evan Longoria Make the Rays Look Smart

by vuhalohax @ 12:00 am (Category : Blogs )

May 10th 2008 10:15AM by Josh Alper
At the end of April, I took a look at the growing trend of teams locking up young players to long-term contracts long before free agency. The Tampa Bay Rays have been at the forefront of the movement and their decision to seal a deal with Evan Longoria six days into his big league career is the most extreme one to date.

Last night against the Angels, the team’s theory of team building looked like a can’t miss. Longoria hit a two-run, walk off ninth-inning home run to support James Shields’s one-hitter in a 2-0 win against the AL West frontrunners. Shields also received a long-term deal from the Rays and he’s pitched complete game shutouts in two of his last three starts.

Longoria hasn’t been so productive of late, 6-for-35 over his last 10 games, but the homer was the latest in a series of big late-game hits he’s gotten in his short career. Even with his struggles, Tampa’s won 11 of 16 and, at three games over .500, continue to navigate their way through uncharted waters of success.

They’ll stay there with pitching. Scott Kazmir’s back to join Shields in front of a rotation that’s been impressive all season. But the order of their importance, thought to be Kazmir-Shields, may be the reverse.

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