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Entries in Dodgers (5)

Monday
Mar182013

David Wright plans on playing opening day plus more

"David Wright is refusing to make a public decree about Opening Day, but his words to his manager yesterday upon returning to the Mets revealed the third baseman’s mindset.

“He reassured me he’ll be ready,” Terry Collins said after the Mets’ 2-1 exhibition loss to the Braves at Tradition Field. “I’m not doubting him, but we certainly have to have a contingency plan in case he’s not. But he said, ‘I’ll be out there.’ ”

Wright was still sore after receiving a cortisone shot in his left rib cage area two days earlier, and physical activity remains off limits. It likely won’t be until the middle of this week that Wright will receive an idea of what activities he can resume after team doctors diagnosed him with a “moderate” intercostal strain on Friday."

Source: NYPost.com

Dice-K, Matt Capps wont make Indians opening day roster

"Not long after five players were sent back to the minor-league camp this morning, manager Terry Francona and General Manager Chris Antonetti had more player personnel news.

Catchers Brian Jeroloman and Omir Santos, infielder Luis Hernandez, outfielder Matt Carson, plus reliever Matt Capps and starter Daisuke Matsuzaka were informed they would not make the team out of spring training but were being kept in major-league camp.

""We talked to all those guys and told them that as of now they will not be breaking camp with us and going to Cleveland, but that they're staying in our camp,'' Francona said. ""We didn't want raise unrealistic expectations, and we thought it was respectful to tell them.''

Source: Ohio.com

Teixeira's injury more serious

"The injury that will keep New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira out of the lineup until May at the earliest is not a wrist strain, as originally reported, but a partially torn tendon sheath that could potentially require season-ending surgery.

As of now, the Yankees are still expecting Teixeira to heal without needing an operation and to rejoin the club after about 8-10 weeks of healing time. 

But Teixeira, who arrived at spring camp Sunday morning with his right wrist in a cast-like splint and will rehab there for the rest of the spring, raised the possibility that his absence could be longer than that."

Source: ESPN.com

Farrell still searching for DH

"David Ortiz did not take batting practice on Monday, at one point a hope for the Red Sox designated hitter who's battling right heel inflammation.

"I haven't been able to play and do what I'm supposed to do. It's not fun," Ortiz told reporters in Fort Myers. "Just trying to deal with it. The setback is what pretty much frustrates me the most, because you think you're doing the right thing to get better. It's like walking backwards. That's the part of this game I don't like. We're approaching it different and hopefully we get to the point we don't have to worry about it anymore."

Source: MLB.com

Kershaw has smooth but painful outing

"To Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly,Clayton Kershaw looks ready for his opening-day assignment — that is, unless his leg swells up overnight.

Kershaw was struck on his left Achilles tendon by a batted ball during what were otherwise six near-perfect innings Saturday against the Texas RangersDavid Murphy's fourth-inning line drive accounted for one of only two hits Kershaw gave up.

"It might be a little sore tomorrow," Kershaw said. "I'll ice it tonight. It should be fine."

Kershaw didn't give up any runs or walks in the Dodgers' 4-0 defeat, lowering his spring earned-run average to 3.79. His pitch count was set at 90, but he completed his six allotted innings in only 70. He finished his workday with some extra throws off the bullpen mound."

Source: LAtimes.com

Yu Darvish scratched from start

"Right-hander Yu Darvish will not start on Monday night as scheduled for the Texas Rangers because of neck stiffness.

Darvish strained a neck muscle during workouts on Sunday. In a statement issued by the club, Darvish said the strain was “very minor,” and he would have started if this were a regular-season game. With nearly two weeks remaining before the start of the regular season, the club and Darvish decided to take the conservative route.

“This is precautionary on my part,” Darvish said.

Manager Ron Washington said the club is not concerned about the injury. Darvish, who joined the club for pre-game work, probably will have a bullpen throwing session before his next start."

Source: Dallasnews.com

As Stephen Drew recovers, Red Sox need to pick starter

"The Red Sox didn’t think anything was wrong when Stephen Drew was hit in the head by a pitch from Minnesota’s Caleb Thielbar March 7.

The ball seemed to glance off his helmet and Drew went to first base without any delay. He later scored and stayed in the game for another two innings.

“That? It was nothing,” Drew said that day as he left the park."

Source: Boston.com

Sandoval doesn't think elbow injury is serious

"Pablo Sandoval moments ago said of his elbow injury, “I don’t think it’s something serious.”  It was serious enough for hi, m to be scratched from today’s lineup, and he said he’s sore when throwing and batting left-handed.

He said he’ll have tests tomorrow and wouldn’t give a possible timetable for his return. He felt something in the elbow, he said, when making a throw to second base on Saturday."

Source: SFgate.com

Chris Carpenter still unlikely to pitch again

"It took his wife and young son to convince Chris Carpenter to do what his Cardinals teammates could not.

On his way back from a family vacation in Puerto Rico, Carpenter stopped by this afternoon for the game and he plans to spend the rest of the week in the Jupiter area and around the Cardinals' spring training facility. He was resistant to visit — this is first spring without a training to attend since he was 18 — and text messages and invitations from teammates and coaches wouldn't lure him into town.

But his wife suggested the stop on the way home."

Source: Stltoday.com

Headley out a month with fractured thumb

"Padres third baseman Chase Headley, coming off one of the best seasons in franchise history, will miss the first month of the season after fracturing the tip of his left thumb on Sunday.

Headley, who won National League Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards in 2012, sustained what the Padres' medical staff initially termed a jammed thumb trying to break up a double play Sunday against the Angels in Tempe.

After an X-ray on Sunday, Headley visited a hand specialist in San Diego on Monday.

"You hate to see it happen," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It's unfortunate for Chase and the Padres."

The Padres open the regular season on April 1 against the Mets at Citi Field."

Source: MLB.com

Thursday
Jan102013

Who Are The Best Players To Fall Off The HOF Ballot In Year One? 

Lofton's all-around game failed to impress BBWAA voters during his first -- and unfortunately last -- year of Hall of Fame eligibility. The 2013 Hall of Fame vote will long be remembered as the year that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were denied entry into Cooperstown. Lost in the raging PED debate, however, is the fact that some noteworthy players fell off the ballot entirely during their first year of eligibility. Kenny Lofton, David Wells, Steve Finley, Shawn Green, Julio Franco and Reggie Sanders, among others, won't be in play in 2014 because they failed to garner the five percent of the vote necessary to stay on the ballot (Bernie Williams also got axed during his second year of eligibility).

Lofton's lack of Cooperstown love got us thinking: Who are the best players to fall off the ballot in their first year of eligibility since the 5% vote minimum was implemented in 1979? Here's a closer look at the top five players to fall short of 5%  BBWAA vote threshold in year one -- plus one guy who was initially snubbed but got the Hall call thanks to the Veterans Committee. The players are ranked by Baseball-Reference's Wins Above Replacement, which considers offensive, defensive and pitching value.

Lou Whitaker, 2001

Sweet Lou was a complete player, combining rangy defense at the keystone with superb strike-zone control and sneaky power for a player listed at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds. According to Baseball-Reference's Total Zone defensive system, the three-time Gold Glove Award winner saved 77 runs more than an average second baseman during the course of his career. At the plate, Whitaker had more walks (1,197) than strikeouts (1,099) and hit 244 home runs, sixth all-time among second baseman. With 71.4 career Wins Above Replacement, Whitaker trails just Eddie Collins, Joe Morgan, Nap Lajoie and Charlie Gehringer and bests recent Hall of Fame inductees at the position like Ryne Sandberg (64.9) and Roberto Alomar (62.9).

Despite that resume, Whitaker garnered a paltry 2.9% of the vote during his first and only year on the ballot. Perhaps voters focused on his so-so batting average (.276) and wheels (143 steals, 65.6% success rate) instead of his strong secondary skills and defense. Whitaker was a quality top-of-the-order hitter, but he didn't fit the speedy, slap-and-dash archetype.

Bobby Grich, 1992

Everything just said about Whitaker applies to Grich, too. Like Sweet Lou, Grich was an up-the-middle player with plus defense (+82 Total Zone runs, mostly at 2B but also with solid marks in limited time at shortstop), a good eye (.371 on-base percentage) and pop (224 career home runs) despite playing his home games in Memorial Stadium and Anaheim Stadium, both pitcher-friendly parks. The six-time All-Star's 67.8 WAR rank seventh all-time among second baseman.

Grich, who got just 2.6% of the HOF vote, also likely suffered from not playing the "little man's game." His career batting average was .266, and he stole 104 bases with a 55.6% success rate.

Ron Santo, 1980

This injustice was made right -- albeit posthumously -- when the Veterans Committee elected Santo to the Hall of Fame in 2012. The first time around, however, Santo got only 3.9% of the vote even though his WAR total at third base (66.6) ranks behind just Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, Wade Boggs, Chipper Jones and Brooks Robinson. The BBWAA later petitioned to have Santo and two other players who fell below the 5% threshold in their first year on the ballot (Ken Boyer and Curt Flood) reinstated, and they were. While Santo stayed on the ballot for a full 15 years the second time around, he never got more than 43.1% of the vote. The third time was a charm, thankfully.

Santo played solid defense at third (+27 TZ runs) and was one of the better hitters at the position, placing seventh in OPS+ (125). Maybe Santo and other third basemen aren't given enough props for playing a more difficult position and are instead lumped in with other sluggers at first base. There are fewer hot corner players in Cooperstown (15) than at any other position on the diamond.

Rick Reuschel, 1997

A doughy fellow who had the misfortune of pitching at Wrigley Field when it truly was a bandbox (Wrigley boosted offense between three percent and eleven percent during his Cub years), Reuschel had neither the shiny-looking ERA nor the high win total (214) of an archetypal Hall of Famer. When you adjust for Wrigley's gusting winds, however, Reuschel's ERA was 14% better than the league average. He also surrendered the second-fewest home runs per nine innings pitched (0.6) among Expansion Era starters topping 3,000 frames.

Reuschel's career WAR total (66.2) actually tops that of Jim Palmer (63.2) and Don Sutton (62.9), and it's in the same ballpark as possible 2014 first-ballot Hall of Famer Tom Glavine (69.3). If Reuschel pitched the bulk of his career in a more hospitable park and got more run support, he would have gotten more than a mere 0.4% of the vote.

Kenny Lofton, 2013

If Tim Raines is the poor man's Rickey Henderson offensively, then Lofton is the poor man's Rock. That's far from an insult -- Raines' on-base ability and high-percentage prowess once he reached should have landed him in Cooperstown years ago. Similarly, Lofton was an on-base fiend (career .372 OBP) who wreaked havoc on the bases. While he didn't keep up the dizzying stolen base pace he set during his first stint in Cleveland (he led the league in steals each year from 1992-1996), Lofton retained his wheels into his early 40s, finishing with 622 steals and a 79.5% success rate. The four-time Gold Glove Award winner was also a breath-taking center fielder during the first half of his career and saved +108 runs. That's fifth-best all-time among guys covering the middle pasture, behind just Andruw Jones, Willie Mays, Paul Blair and Devon White. When you consider that Raines was mostly a left fielder, and not a particularly graceful one, Lofton might just be Raines' equal in terms of overall value.

Lofton ranks a surprising seventh all-time in WAR (64.9) among center fielders, just ahead of Brooklyn Dodgers legend Edwin Donald Snider (63.1). Even so, he got just 3.2% of the vote this year. Maybe Lofton could have used a catchy nickname -- is Duke taken? Or maybe it would have helped him if he didn't switch unis so often that he became the unofficial pitch man for a shipping company. In addition to the Indians, Lofton also played for the Astros, Braves, White Sox, Giants, Pirates, Cubs, Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers and Rangers. He never spent more than one year with any of those clubs, and he was traded six times during his career.

Kevin Brown, 2011

Brown deserved better than the 2.1% of the ballot that he received a few years ago. Among starting pitchers who threw at least 3,000 innings during their career, he ranks 15th all-time with a 127 ERA+. On a per-inning basis, he was as effective as Curt Schilling, Tom Seaver and Bob Gibson. Don't get the strait jacket out -- I'm not suggesting Brown was anywhere near the caliber of pitcher that Seaver or Gibson were. Seaver threw roughly 1,500 more innings than Brown, and Gibson about 600. But Brown's career WAR total (64.3) puts him in Palmer/Sutton territory. Surely that's worth more than a dozen votes.

Brown likely fell off the ballot because he was named as an alleged user of Human Growth Hormone in the Mitchell Report and made a godawful impression in the country's biggest media market. He had an ERA near five during two injury-riddled years with the Yankees. Some of those maladies were self-inflicted (he punched a wall in frustration in September of 2004), others were courtesy of the Sox (David Ortiz took him deep during a two-inning disaster start in Game 7 of the '04 ALCS). This sort of stuff, coupled with a low win total (211), draws the ire of sports writers.

Whitaker, Grich, Reuschel, Lofton and Brown aren't the only guys whose legitimate Cooperstown cases were short-circuited. Here are the top 20 players who fell off the ballot during their first year of Hall of Fame eligibility:

     Highest career WAR totals for players knocked off HOF ballot in Year 1

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