Results tagged ‘ heath bell ’

The TinCaps Report: 7/16

Pitching coach Willie Blair updates us on the progress of the TinCaps’ arms, then Fort Wayne wins a wild one in Burlington.

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Griffin Benedict: Big leaguer

No, another TinCap did not get traded yesterday. At least not that I know of.

Today when the Padres play the Cardinals (on national television, no less), you’ll want to pay attention when somebody starts throwing in the bullpen. Because one of the bullpen catchers is none other than former TinCaps catcher Griffin Benedict.

The way it went down (according to what I’ve heard from a couple of people) is this: Benedict was called into an office at the Padres’ complex toward the end of Spring Training and was told they didn’t have a spot for him on a minor-league roster. But the Padres like the way he catches, and with bullpen coach Darren Akerfelds fighting pancreatic cancer, they needed a second bullpen catcher. So Benedict accepted, and now he’s traveling with the big club, probably getting paid way more than any minor-leaguer (and I assume he gets tips on top of a salary). From what I heard, a lot of guys on the minor-league side were pretty jealous when they found out.

And that’s the story of how Griffin Benedict made the big leagues.

Random thoughts:

  • We’ve hit a lull in the minor-league articles… Camp is wrapping up and the official rosters aren’t out yet. I’d guess Friday or Saturday we’ll get an Opening Day roster.
  • If you haven’t heard about the TinCaps’ Open House and Meet the Team night, well… you’re just not paying attention.
  • Legendary author Ben Hill has decided to cave into the TinCaps’ demands and feature us (or, more accurately, our 3D glasses) in his MLBlogs profile picture. I’m trying to talk him into coming to Parkview Field this season to join the Bad Apple Dancers. If he plays his cards right, they might even temporarily change their names to the Ben Apple Dancers.
  • The San Diego U-T has (even) more questions about the Padres heading into Opening Day. They caught lightning in a bottle last year, and that usually doesn’t happen back-to-back years. Especially when 60 percent of your starting rotation is either coming off injuries or currently injured. But as Heath Bell says, it sure seems like, over the past year, the organization has put itself in a position to have more long-term success. I saw the 2010 Padres as a band-aid fix to the organization’s problems while the front office performed reconstructive surgery behind the scenes.
  • Former Padres RHP Edward Mujica had a nasty fall and landed on his right elbow/head. Between this and the Jake Peavy injuries, Padres GM Jed Hoyer is looking like the Bill Bellichick of baseball… once he trades them, they go down like flies.
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland remembers his first day as a minor-league manager; he put his shoes on top of a water heater and the soles melted.
  • Giants 1B Brandon Belt made the big-league team and was so overcome that he cried. Noted rally thong-wearer Aubrey Huff responded with, “”Why you crying? I’m the one who’s gotta play right field every day.”
  • For the Royals, the waiting is the hardest part. Somebody should write a song about that.
  • I wish more writers would share what the Diamondbacks’ beat writer did… Unabridged quotes from unnamed scouts about D-Backs players. Because while media types can watch every game and get into the clubhouse, our primary job is to write articles/broadcast games/etc. The primary job of a scout is to evaluate players. The more perspectives we get, the better chance we’ll get the whole picture.
  • Indians manager Manny Acta talked about his time as a minor-league player, eating fast food every day.
  • So you’re telling me that the six cities hosting MLB games today are Washington, Cincinnati, St. Louis, New York, Kansas City and Los Angeles? Why does MLB keep doing this to itself? Every team with a roof plus the Angels, Dodgers, Padres, Marlins, Braves and Rangers should open every season with a six-game homestand.That leaves three more teams (2 AL, 1 NL) to host outdoor games in northern-ish cities. Figure it out.
  • And then there was the exhibition game played in a near-blizzard in Columbus yesterday.
  • Speaking of Columbus… they have bigger problems than snow.
  • It’s becoming clear that MLB.tv is the greatest idea in the history of sports on TV. Not only can you choose between home/road feeds, you  can also turn the announcers’ sound off and just listen to the natural ballpark audio. Now if they could just shut those TinCaps broadcasters up, we’d really have something…

Musical guest… Michael Franti & Spearhead!

Take care!

DW

The greatest idea in food history

pizza-cookies.jpgIf you know anything about anything, you know pizza is always good. You should also know that chocolate-chip cookies are my junk food of choice (in moderation, of course – this chiseled physique doesn’t just happen on its own). So you can imagine my excitement when I heard DiGiorno, fresh off the “pizza/breadsticks in one box” revolution, was branching out with its best idea ever: Cookies and pizza, baked in your own oven at the same time. It’s so brilliant, I can’t believe nobody thought of it before now.

Well, consider this idea a complete success. I was more than a little skeptical that the cookies would go from cubes of dough to round cookies, but they did. And they’re outstanding. And the pizza was good, as usual.

So just add this to the list of things I would include in my book, “Good, affordable food any single idiot can make with nothing but a normal kitchen and a Foreman Grill.” But that’s more of a working title… Nothing set in stone.

Full disclosure: KRAFT/DiGiorno Pizza is a sponsor of the TinCaps, so you could make a strong case that this is just a not-so-subtle sales pitch. Guess what… it’s not. I really did eat the food and I really did like it. A lot.

In other food news, I ate French Freedom toast at restaurant this weekend. And it wasn’t as good as the kind I made from “Chef to the Stars” Scott Kammerer‘s recipe. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re not putting orange zest in your batter, you’re not only cheating yourself, you’re cheating everyone who’s eating that toast. Everyone deserves orange zest. Also, it’s nice to be able to say you can cook food at home that tastes better than what you’d get at a restaurant.

Random thoughts:

  • It has not been a good weekend for guys who used to pitch in Fort Wayne. Just when they thought RHP Jake Peavy would be good to go for the White Sox when the season starts, he had shoulder soreness bite him. Maybe it’s nothing serious, but when your goal is to be full-go by Opening Day and it’s in jeopardy, it stinks. And it looks like manager Ozzie Guillen doesn’t trust Peavy’s injury judgment anymore.
  • The Mets released LHP Oliver Perez, another Fort Wayne alum. That happened right after they dumped 2B Luis Castillo, with a combined $18 million left on their contracts. That’s a lot of money to pay people to NOT play baseball. But I suppose the new regime (including some former Padres employees) needed to change the guard at some point.
  • In the Padres’ game against the Mariners yesterday, former TinCaps OFs Daniel Robertson and Everett Williams got some playing time. Robertson is one of my favorites: Late-round draft pick, smaller guy, hustles his tail off, good guy. Not as many minor-leaguers are getting into the big-league spring training games anymore, mostly because minor-league camp is underway and the big leaguers are stretching themselves out to play more innings.
  • Positive things in this notebook about former Fort Wayne OF Will Venable, along with RHP Aaron Harang. Also, LHP Joe Thatcher will start the year on the DL, but it doesn’t look horrible.
  • The Padres picked up former Twins RHP Pat Neshek. He throws completely sidearm and may be the only MLB player who is also an autograph collector.
  • Heath Bell (still) wants to stay in San Diego. He wants a three-year deal, according to the story.
  • Padres prospect RHP Casey Kelly threw four scoreless innings in his debut in minor-league camp.
  • Midwest League alum Brett Lawrie has impressed at Blue Jays camp. Just keep him in Triple-A through mid-July so we can see him at Parkview Field, am I right?
  • The Dodgers like former MWLer Rubby De La Rosa a lot. He throws hard.
  • Every year, there are a slew of players who are “out of options,” meaning they either make the major-league team out of Spring Training or get released (as opposed to getting sent to the minors). As Baseball America has found, last year’s crop of “out of options” guys didn’t do much.
  • Twins 1B Justin Morneau is wearing a helmet that can withstand a 100-mph fastball. Makes sense, right? Well, the vast majority of MLB players wear helmets that only protect against pitches up to 70 mph. Unbelievable.
  • One of the legitimately important decisions from this spring centers on MWL alum Neftali Feliz. While the statistical viewpoint is that starters are far more valuable than closers, that doesn’t mean a good closer is easy to find. Rangers president Nolan Ryan has figured out a perfectly reasonable solution: Clone Feliz. Think of all the possibilities, Norm!
  • Rays manager and fashion mogul Joe Maddon has changed his signature glasses.
  • Just about the only pitchers in the world who aren’t on pitch counts are batting practice pitchers. Seriously interesting article about the art of pitching BP.
  • The basketball Buckeyes looked pretty good yesterday. On a Fort Wayne-related note, I can’t get enough of Luers alum DeShaun Thomas jacking up three-pointers with Ohio State up by 18. He knows he’s too good of a player to be getting just 14 minutes a game, but darnit, he’s going to make it rain for those 14 minutes.
  • Today when I logged into the MLBlogs system, I noticed The Watson Files was one of the featured blogs along with
    several far-more-reputable prospect blogs. I can only imagine the disappointment from people clicking here for the first time hoping for in-depth analysis of which prospects to draft late in their fantasy leagues… the first thing they saw was an ode to pizza and cookies in the same box. Sorry, folks. If nothing else, you can still enjoy the music video.

Musical guest… Charles Wright!

Take care!

DW

It’s spring – deal with it

First of all, have some of this.

Secondly, have some of that:

http://www.facebook.com/v/855054701568

Thirdly, pitchers and catchers reported to spring training yesterday. The world feels like a better place because of it. That is all.

Random thoughts:

  • There’s a ton of new pitchers in Padres’ camp. Which is good. It’s the baseball equivalent of diversifying your stock portfolio… You never know who’s going to have an unexpected good or bad year, so it’s a good way to stabilize things.
  • Why do you need to diversify? In case of injuries. Like this one. Better to have it happen now than in July.
  • This article says Fort Wayne alum Mat Latos will have no innings limitations this year. Which isn’t exactly true; every pitcher in baseball has innings/pitch limitations, otherwise we’d go back to four-man starting rotations and Old Hoss Radbourne throwing complete games every time out. To be more precise, Mat’s pitch/innings limits will be the same as everybody else’s this year.
  • Fort Wayne alum Jake Peavy was part of a new medical procedure. His injury sounds pretty gross the way it’s described.
  • Fort Wayne alum Oliver Perez arrived at Mets camp. This is the second story that suggests that the Mets can’t stand him but stops short of actually saying it.
  • Local native Jarrod Parker is trying to hit the ground running as he recovers from Tommy John surgery at Diamondbacks camp.
  • Ask BA says this year’s draft class is pretty much head and shoulders above last year’s.
  • Several people (including Tony Kornheiser and Bobby Valentine) made this point yesterday: If the Cardinals came to Albert Pujols’ agent in May and gave him exactly what they wanted, do you think they’d turn the Cardinals down? Doubtful. Which makes this whole contract deadline buildup a little… lame.
  • Indians manager Manny Acta shares his lineup-making philosophy: Put the best hitters at the top so they get more at-bats. Makes sense to me.
  • Carlos Santana (the catcher) is good.
  • Marlins monster Mike Stanton put on eight pounds this off-season. “All fat,” he says.
  • Carlos Zambrano is making no promises when it comes to his behavior. All Gatorade machines in the Chicagoland area just shivered in terror.
  • Brian Wilson keeps the ball he threw to end the World Series in a candy jar and Giants fans are going to taunt Dodger fans. If these stories came from anywhere other than San Francisco, they would seem out of place.
  • A Japanese player joining an MLB team makes for a lot of work for the media relations staff. Just ask the Twins.
  • Here are six ways teams mess up in the off-season.
  • Tigers RHP Joel Zumaya is throwing again, which is kind of a miracle, and RHP Jacob Turner is really good. Turner was in the MWL last year and had command of his curveball, which you don’t usually see out of a guy that young who throws that hard.
  • There are some really good young players making league-minimum salary in the National League. And, to a lesser extent, in the American League.
  • Quote of the day from yesterday: “I think we haven’t thrown a single pitch as a group yet. So it’s kind of early to say we’re one of the best rotations in the history of the game.” – Cliff Lee
  • Cal-Berkeley’s baseball program is going to be cut and Title IX (referred to by non-Romans as Title 9) is being partly blamed. A controversial story, for sure.
  • Meanwhile, Cam Newton is taking a pay cut and signing on with Under Armour. Did I say that out loud?
  • This whole “computer playing Jeopardy” thing is bogging the show down. Yesterday they needed an entire half-hour to play what amounted to half a game because they were too busy advertising for IBM. We get it. It took a lot of work to make a computer that can do this. Sometimes it gives the wrong answer. Let’s watch it play.

Musical guest… Jeff Beck and B.B. King!

Take care!

DW

Heat wave

Today I went outside and the temperature was above freezing. It may as well have been 70 degrees. Also, spring training officially opens today. Today is a good day.

Random thoughts:

  • There’s a bonanza of Padres links today… First up, Kyle Blanks has learned to eat. Well, he already knew how to eat, but you know what I mean.
  • Brad Hawpe is using Todd Helton’s glove at first base. This kind of thing happens more often than you think.
  • Manager Bud Black says (rightly) that the Padres are more balanced than they were last year.
  • The obligatory “(Arbitrary number) questions as (team) opens Spring Training” story.
  • Heath Bell may want to pull the Elaine Benes and force everyone in Padres camp to wear name tags. There’s that many new guys.
  • Across the parking lot at Mariners’ camp, they’re figuring out who will be the closer while David Aardsma gets healthy. Which is important, as the Brewers proved last year when Trevor Hoffman struggled early.
  • The White Sox might only need four starting pitchers early in the season, thanks to the way their schedule sets up. Which could ease the pressure on Fort Wayne alum RHP Jake Peavy to hurry back from injury.
  • Former MWLer Mike Trout will start this year in Double-A, but he probably won’t get to the big leagues. That could change if he goes bananas, I bet.
  • The Rockies are enjoying their new spring training park.
  • What’s this? The Yankees focusing on drafting?
  • Homer Bailey, Mike Leake and Travis Wood are three guys competing for two spots in the Reds’ rotation.
  • Jim Edmonds is hobbling. Good thing the Cardinals only gave him a minor-league deal. Meanwhile, Albert doesn’t have a contract extension going into camp. So we can enjoy that story lingering all summer. Welcome to 2009-10 in Cleveland, Cardinals fans. In the Cardinals’ defense, I’d be pretty hesitant to give anybody a ten-year contract that runs through his age-41 season, too. But he’s one of the few guys who has “butts-in-seats” impact.
  • Yep, the numbers back up that last year was the Year of the Pitcher.
  • Josh Hamilton’s story has inspired a lot of people, including a Marlins prospect.
  • Fact: DVR is the only way to watch awards shows.
  • I don’t usually watch awards shows, but I couldn’t pass up the Mumford & Sons / Avett Brothers / Bob Dylan set on the Grammys. And I know I could be put to death for saying this, but if I had to rank the performances, it would go Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Dylan. And whoever ran the audio board for Mumford & Sons needs to get with the program. The banjo playing is what makes “The Cave” jump out of the stereo and it was almost inaudible on the show.
  • Mick Jagger’s Blues Brothers set was good too.
  • The awards part of the Grammys is as bad as ever. Fact: Lady Antebellum isn’t that good. Fact: Muse winning anything other than a 40-yard dash over Jeff Beck, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam and Neil Young is so utterly ridiculous that I don’t even know where to start.
  • I’ll have to do the photo work tomorrow, but am I the only one who noticed that John Mayer, Johnny Depp and Jack White could be the same person?
  • The French Freedom toast experiment was a huge success. Cinnamon was good, but adding orange zest to the batter was like adding rocket fuel to a… rocket. I don’t know how I lived without it.

Musical guest… The Avett Brothers!

Take care!

DW

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