Results tagged ‘ midwest league ’

Some Like it Hot, Questions, Baseball to Biology and Back

SOME LIKE IT HOT

No, the TinCaps haven’t been watching Marilyn Monroe films on their bus rides, but they have played exceptionally well in temperatures north of 100 degrees the last two nights. July 4th yielded an 8-1 victory, and last night Fort Wayne exploded for eight more runs in an 8-3 defeat of the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

The start of the game was delayed about an hour as pop-up storms (no relation to pop-up video) swept through the area and brought some wind and rain to the ballpark. That didn’t seem to bother the TinCaps very much.

“After a long rain delay, they never hesitated. They went up there and threw the first punch,” said Manager Jose Valentin.

Starter Adys Portillo earned his sixth win of the year, throwing five innings of one-hit baseball. His Midwest League-leading ERA dropped to 1.65 from 1.76. It was also a monumental game in respect to his win total. Entering this season, he had picked up six victories in 46 starts. This year he has matched that win total in just 16 starts.

“It’s scary, but he didn’t have his best stuff, which is incredible,” said catcher Matt Colantonio. His fastball was a little up, and towards the end of his outing he started to look a little out of sync, but it was a great outing.”

The TinCaps provided four first-inning runs for Portillo, after they had given Frank Garces seven runs of support in the fourth inning on Wednesday.

“When you know that your offense is in the game and it doesn’t matter how many runs you give up, you can keep your confidence and make the pitches when you need them,” Valentin added.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear postgame comments from first baseman Zach Kometani, who drove in two runs in his first start for Fort Wayne since April 28th:

SAYS IT ALL

It may be hot here in Fort Wayne, but it’s not the only place experiencing brutally uncomfortable heat:

Caliente, to say the least.

YOUR QUESTIONS

Hmmm…Well, I don’t really think there’s a prank player in this locker room–at least not that I’ve seen or heard about. I will say that whenever I head down to the clubhouse, it’s probable that I may run into someone–particularly Cody Hebner, in an impromptu dance.

If you ever hear “Teach Me How to Dougie” playing on the Parkview Field sound system, turn your eyes to the video board in a hurry. You just might see a video clip of him showing off his dance skills…

If you’ve got any questions you’d like answered on the blog, please send them in–Couzens@TinCaps.com or @MikeCouzens on Twitter.

FROM BASEBALL TO BIOLOGY AND BACK

If you’re able to make it out to the ballpark, you might’ve noticed that I write a feature piece for each edition of our Game Day magazine. I’d like to share with you the latest, which features former Fort Wayne Wizard and current TinCaps Strength and Conditioning Coach Cliff Bartosh. Here’s the full text:

How a former Fort Wayne Wizard made his way back to the Summit City

It took two weeks for the phone to ring. Nearly 14 days had gone by before Cliff Bartosh found out he had been selected in the 29th round of the 1998 Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres. Bartosh had aspirations of playing professional baseball, but wasn’t sure he’d be headed down that road. A phone call from late Padres scout Jim Dreyer changed Bartosh’s plans. He was scheduled to head to Texas Tech on a baseball scholarship, but instead chose to follow his dream and report to the Padres training complex in Peoria, Arizona.

“I started out as a first baseman and pitched a little bit (in high school). My junior year I might’ve thrown 12 or 13 innings for our varsity team. My senior year, maybe about 20 innings,” Bartosh said one afternoon while sitting in the home dugout at Parkview Field. “(Dreyer) said he never saw me pitch in high school, he only saw me take infield. So he only saw me throw the ball from first base, and he drafted me off of that. I didn’t know when the draft was.”

Cliff Bartosh’s life in baseball has revolved around other people dictating his path.

He made his way through the minor leagues with the Padres, and played at Memorial Stadium with the Fort Wayne Wizards in both 1999 and 2000. Although he was in the organization from 1998 until 2003, he didn’t make the big leagues with the Padres.

“After the ’03 season, (the Padres) sent me to the Arizona Fall League. I probably had the worst Arizona Fall League that anybody’s ever had in the history of that league. I just did absolutely terrible. (The Padres) end up with maybe a week left in the Arizona Fall League, and they take me off the 40-man roster and I’m picked up by Detroit. I go into the off season a Detroit Tiger. About December, I get a call from the Cleveland Indians saying, ‘We just claimed you off of waivers.’ I didn’t even know I had been placed on waivers,” Bartosh vividly recalls.

Cleveland, under then-General Manager Mark Shapiro, called Bartosh up from Triple-A Buffalo to make his major league debut on May 15, 2004, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In March of 2005, Bartosh was traded to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Ronald “Bear” Bay, who currently pitches for the Padres Triple-A affiliate in Tucson, Arizona. Once again, Bartosh’s destiny fluttered in the wind.

Bartosh pitched in the big leagues for the Cubs in 2005, but eventually underwent surgery for a torn labrum and rotator cuff, and by August of 2006 he hadn’t thrown a baseball in a year.

“I went home to Texas and my wife got a job teaching. I had no college at that point, and started going to school,” Bartosh says. “It’s weird because to that point, I had done (the baseball routine) for eight to nine seasons. It was the only quote-unquote job I had to that point. I had a wife and a son at that time, and I felt like I can’t just sit and wait for my arm to get better.”

While staying at home to be with his son, Bartosh took online classes at Dallas (Texas) County Community College. He studied government and history, and later transferred in 2008 to the University of Texas at Arlington, enrolling in the exercise science program.

“I got that degree when I was 30, and most guys (in school) were 18 to 22,” Bartosh says. “I got that degree and then decided, ‘Maybe I don’t want to be a strength coach.’ I got an alternative teaching certification. I took some tests to get a science endorsement, an ESL endorsement and a health endorsement.”

He became Mr. Bartosh, teaching at a middle school in his hometown of Duncanville, Texas.

“I taught a class called ‘Skills for Success’. I really don’t know what it was about. I had a set curriculum that I was supposed to teach and I did. My wife made fun of it because there was a chapter in the book that was on how to use a microwave. I didn’t have to teach that one; I didn’t feel it was necessary,” he remarks with a grin.

It was after that stint, and some time spent as an 8th grade science instructor, Bartosh decided to pack up his house, his belongings and his life, and head in a different direction.

“I’m sitting there teaching, and I’m feeling like I’m not really making an impact on these kids. I have a house and I’m living very comfortably. The more I read the gospels, the more I realized we’re maybe not supposed to be that comfortable. In the book of Mark, there’s the parable of the rich, young ruler. Christ says, ‘Sell everything, give to the poor and follow me.’”

“I’ve got a good house, a great job that pays the bills and all that, and we decided that we’re gonna sell our house and I started reaching out to people in baseball and I was fortunate that the big league strength coach here in San Diego, Jim Malone, was a minor league coordinator in Cleveland. I sent them my resume and they were crazy enough to hire me,” he says, mesmerized.

In his first year as the strength and conditioning coach with the TinCaps, Bartosh has a connection with the players that not many do—he’s one of their kind. He knows what it’s like to give up the game-tying home run, or to feel like your pitches just don’t work. He’s been there time and time again, but on someone else’s calendar. He’s now deciding his own fate, and making a difference on his time. No longer Mr. Bartosh, he’s just Cliff.

“It was very refreshing to get rid of everything that ties you down to an area. So now that I have no ties anywhere, really. Someone asked me where I was going to live in the off-season. I have no idea. I really don’t know where I’ll end up. I’m enjoying this. This is great. You get to develop relationships with players, with coaches, with other staff and hopefully that leads to lifelong friendships.”

MUSICAL GUEST

James Taylor…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

The Avenger, Hambone, News Quiz

Monday night’s game didn’t have the same irregularities of extreme weather like Sunday’s game did, but it still featured a good amount of excitement. Duanel Jones connected on his second home run of the second half, and the TinCaps bullpen stole the show, as Fort Wayne rolled to its third consecutive win, and fourth straight series victory.

Cody Hebner went just three innings, his shortest outing of the year, but Dennis O’Grady had no trouble picking up the slack and he earned the win with three scoreless innings of relief.

A story that I found to be of particular intrigue was the appearance of Matt Stites out of the bullpen. It marked his fourth outing of the second half, and his first save opportunity since a June 4th game at Lake County. On that night, Stites faced MLB rehabber Carlos Santana, who hit a game-tying home run to right field, and the Captains went on to win 4-3 in 13 innings.

Monday night was a chance for Stites to avenge that June evening–and he did just that, earning his first save since June 1st. It was a 1-2-3 ninth for the righty, who’s  one of the best relief pitchers in the Midwest League. He has a 0.73 ERA in 21 games, with 24 2/3 innings of work under his belt. He’s given up only two earned runs, walked two and has struck out 29 batters.

Fort Wayne is now 8-3, alone atop the standings in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division. The TinCaps have either been the only team in first or tied for first for seven straight days. They’ve now secured four straight series victories in a row to open the second half. The last time Fort Wayne won four consecutive series was last August. If the TinCaps can keep this up, they’ll find themselves contenders down the stretch of the second half.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from Matt Wisler as he tells us what book he’s reading, and how it’s helped him forge his approach on the mound:

HAMBONE

You’ve got to read this story on Josh Hamilton. No, really–you must. It includes anecdotes from his childhood, like this one:

“Eventually Josh had to be moved from shortstop to the outfield because his first baseman so feared catching Josh’s bullet throws that he began ducking out of harm’s way. Whenever Josh pitched, batters backed out of the box before he even began his windup and whenever Josh came to bat, all of the infielders retreated into the outfield, until finally complaints from opposing players’ parents prompted Josh’s promotion to a league of older kids. Josh and Landon played on a team sponsored by Mitchell’s Hair Styling and wore purple jerseys. They won three state championships in a row.

In one of those state tournaments, Josh pitched a total of 24 innings and never allowed a hit. The next season Josh won a Home Run Derby against a bunch of boys nearly twice his size. At that time, Josh was still scrawny, but he was so athletic and coordinated that he could run backward faster than the other kids could run forward.

Powell has never forgotten a conversation he had with Bob Sanderford, the father of one of Josh’s teammates. “Bob was a former college basketball player who knew youth sports really well and knew sports at a high level,” Powell says. “One day after a game when Josh had done something only Josh could do, Bob leaned over to me and he said, ‘That kid’s going to be the first player picked in the major league draft when he’s a senior in high school.'”

Josh was 10.”

ARE YOU UP TO DATE?

If you’ve been keeping up with current events, you’ll do well on this 12-question current events quiz from The New Yorker. If you haven’t been paying attention, well, you’ll score poorly.

Hint: The Supreme Court had a big week.

I got eight questions right.

Good luck.

MUSICAL GUEST

Led Zeppelin…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

Late Errors Prove Costly, Mayer Goes Public, Radar Watch

Wednesday night’s game was a played under crisp, cool conditions at Parkview Field. You could tell that it was going to be different than the past four days had been. The Bowling Green series brought hot weather and high run totals to Fort Wayne, but Wednesday’s game was a low scoring affair.

Great Lakes scored in the first inning against Frank Garces, who worked five innings and struck out eight. The run he gave up was unearned because of an error in left field by Mike Gallic. Headed into that start, Garces had surrendered 12 hits in his prior two outings. It took him five starts as he opened the year to give up 12 hits. This was definitely the bounce-back outing that the lefty needed.

The TinCaps tied the game in the second with an RBI single from Yeison Asencio, and got a lead off double from Kyle Gaedele in the third. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t get another hit for the remainder of the game. Fort Wayne scored in the seventh with the help of a Loons error, but two TinCaps errors in the top of the 10th cost them the game. Duanel Jones made a throwing error with two outs, and Yeison Asencio failed to catch a fly ball in right field, allowing the two go-ahead runs to score. The errors came at a crucial point in the game, and cost the TinCaps in their third straight loss.

“As soon as we went down, we pretty much gave up on it,” Manager Jose Valentin said after the game. “I didn’t see any fire in the guys to try to go back there and forget about the two mistakes we made in the 10th.”

Fort Wayne needs a win tonight to make it above. 500 for the month of May. Right now the team is 14-14, and that’s following a 10-15 mark in April.

Fortunately, reigning Midwest League Pitcher of the Week Adys Portillo starts in the middle game of this series. Last time out he allowed just one hit in six innings against South Bend.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear Manager Jose Valentin give insight into what he thought was an overall good game, until the latter frames:

MAYER GOES PUBLIC (RADIO)

If you haven’t heard the new John Mayer album “Born and Raised”, I suggest you check it out. It’s a little bit of a different sound that what you might’ve been used to with his prior work, but I’ve found it really enjoyable. On the bus rides to and from South Bend last week, I probably made it through the entire track list about four or five times. I’ve found that it takes several listens to an album for me to really appreciate it.

A friend of mine sent me this link in which Mayer sits down with NPR for a 30-minute interview about his creative process, and the struggles that he endured in trying to re-find his voice after he felt a little burned out following his last album. He shows a very human side–meaning he explicitly talks about his nervousness, fears and insecurities–that you wouldn’t get when you listen to an interview with someone like Lady Gaga…if you can make it past her outfit to even hear what she’s saying.

Having that more “human” connection with an artist makes me like their music a bit more, since I feel invested in them as an individual. This may be far too deep an analysis of a public radio interview, but I feel like it’s worth the time for good music. Just like with sports, music is a method to take your mind off track from every day life, so I find the nitpicking to be enjoyable.

If you’ve got any music suggestions for the blog, or for my iPod for upcoming road trips (this weekend to Lake County) please feel free to share. I’m open to anything.

RADAR WATCH

Here’s a tweet from INC’s Chief Meteorologist (and TinCaps pre-game weather forecaster) Curtis Smith:

The TinCaps broadcast booth (which doubles as an amateur meteorology department) will be locked on the weather today, as it does appear to be a bit threatening.

MUSICAL GUEST

Jefferson Starship…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

The TinCaps Report: 5/22

Manager Shawn Wooten discusses the TinCaps recent turnaround on the road and Fort Wayne rattles off its fourth straight road victory.

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The TinCaps Report: 4/22

TinCaps OF Wande Olabisi, one of the most interesting men in the Midwest League, stops by for a chat about biomechanical engineering, plus highlights from Thursdays game at South Bend.

UPDATE: Friday’s game is postponed – Doubleheader Saturday at 4:45 p.m. at Coveleski Stadium in South Bend.

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The TinCaps Report: 4/21

West Michigan broadcaster Ben Chiswick tells us about his first job in baseball as a vendor at Wrigley Field, plus highlights from the TinCaps-Whitecaps doubleheader.

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Quasi-TinCaps Report: 4/19

Today there’s so much going on that a typical audio podcast just won’t suffice. So first, here’s the rest of the Mike Couchee interview:

Now, here’s what happened at Fifth Third Ballpark today… Three inches of snow were on the ground in the morning, but you would’ve have known it by game time. However, it was still brutally cold. TinCaps lost, 7-3. I feel bad for the players because they have to be out in this every night. I also feel like their opinion of the Midwest will forever be negative because of how bad the weather’s been. I promise, in the three years I’ve been in this league, this is easily the worst it’s been for the longest period of time in any season.

Anyhow, MWL Pitcher of the Week Keyvius Sampson pitches on Tuesday. Game time is 6:35 p.m. Hupe Insurance Services Pre-Game Show at 6:20. Be there, listen in or be square.

Random thoughts:

  • I can’t find a link to it, so you’ll just have to take my word for itBaseball America did a story on TinCaps RHP Zach Cates. Good luck finding it. We’re all counting on you.
  • Apparently a behind-the-scenes lackey on Good Morning America is a TinCaps fan. Good for us, I guess, although probably three people probably noticed. Do you think Robin Roberts stole that shirt and acoustic guitar look from Neil Diamond? Nah… not enough sequins.
  • Former Midwest Leaguer Jerry Sands got called up to the big leagues, doubled in his first at-bat, hit a sacrifice fly, then got a pitch thrown behind his head which prompted a revenge pitch-behind-head incident. How did your first day at your job go?
  • Come on, Reds RHP Mike Leake.
  • I just got back from watching the movie “Limitless.” I had no idea it was based on the meteoric rise of my buddy Dave Hutte.
  • Seriously, I give the movie a B-plus. Good concept, good story, bonus points for having The Black Keys on the soundtrack, extra bonus points for me watching it alone in an otherwise empty theater (maximum lounging with minimum weird looks from fellow moviegoers). Points deducted for a young millionaire still using a land-line telephone in 2011 and for a somewhat unsatisfying ending. I won’t ruin it for you. Check it out yourself. It’s not a waste of your money.

That’s it for now. Bed time. Musical guest… The Romantics!

DW

Ludicrous speed… GO!

Yesterday was the day everything starts to speed up. The team got to the ballpark for the first time, got their uniforms, had media day (interviews, photos, etc.) and a workout. And an acoustic guitar session in the clubhouse. Same old stuff.

In the “not-same-old-stuff” category, unbeknownst to me (but knownst to MiLB.com), this year our streaming audio will apparently be available on your favorite iProducts in addition to computers. So we’ve got that going for us, I guess.

Random thoughts:

  • The rosters for Triple-A Tucson and Advanced-A Lake Elsinore are updated on their sites. Double-A San Antonio doesn’t look like it’s updated yet.
  • Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos pitched a simulated game against minor-leaguers and looked good. Also, the team has three days off in the first week of the season. I wish the minor leagues had a week like that.
  • The San Diego version of Jeff “KoKo” Greer has been working for months on new stuff for the PETCO Park video board. Our version of KoKo has some new stuff up his sleeve, too.
  • Native San DiegooouanSan Diegoite… San Diegan RHP Aaron Harang will start the Padres’ home opener.
  • Tony Gwynn is making adjustments after his bout(s) with cancer.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy will rehab at Double-A on Friday.
  • I can’t find video of it anywhere (thanks a lot, MLB.com video editors), but former Fort Wayne 3B David Freese made a pretty incredible play for the Cardinals last night: dove toward the hole to snag a grounder, threw to first from the seat of his pants and got the runner at first.
  • There’s an article about the top prospects coming to the Midwest League this year, but at least two of them (Michael Choice, LeVon Washington) aren’t on MWL rosters. Odd.
  • Flavor Flav will appear at a Midwest League game. Why wouldn’t he?
  • When it comes to calling prospects to the big leagues, service time plays a big part in the decision-making process.
  • Rangers RHP Brandon Webb plunked three guys in a simulated game. I can’t remember the last time there was a positive report about him.
  • Kevin Millar had some things to say about Lou Piniella’s last Spring Training with the Cubs.
  • Joe Posnanski ranks the top 32 players in the big leagues.
  • The wife of the Marlins’ owner is writing a book about baseball players’ cooking abilities. She clearly stole my idea.
  • Can you remember a less-athletic (but still productive) Division-I basketball player than Butler’s Matt Howard? He probably spent half of the game last night sprawled out on the floor.

Musical guest… Blue Oyster Cult!

Take care!

DW

Another TinCap traded

Earlier this off-season, former TinCaps INF Cole Figueroa was part of a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. Yesterday RHP Erik Davis, another member of the 2009 TinCaps, was dealt to the Nationals for INF Alberto Gonzalez.

The trade makes complete sense – the Padres wanted to give SS Everth Cabrera more time in the minor leagues but also wanted a utility infielder who could play shortstop.

As far as Davis, he tied the Fort Wayne franchise record (held by LaTroy Hawkins) with 16 wins in 2009. At one point that season, he won five straight starts, not allowing more than two runs in any of those starts. He had a really nice season last year, topping out at Triple-A.

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos will open the year on the DL. Sigh. He’s supposed to play catch today. In other roster moves, former Fort Wayne OF Cedric Hunter and LHP Cory Luebke each made the big-league team.
  • INF Brad Hawpe had a hairline fracture in his ribs last year, but never went on the DL. He’s looking for a bounceback.
  • The Padres and Brewers combined to hit SIX home runs in a 5-4 game yesterday. Former Fort Wayne OF Will Venable accounted for two. Former TinCaps RHP Anthony Bass served up three of the homers, but give him a break – he was going against the Brewers’ MLB lineup. Ryan Braun hit two, Dick Weeks hit the other.
  • Here are the best- and worst-case scenarios for the new Padres.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy is ready to open the year in extended Spring Training… But that doesn’t mean he’s happy about it.
  • Fort Wayne alum Michael Cuddyer had an eventful off-season with a couple of health issues.
  • Legendary author Ben Hill tells us about the Tucson Padres’ “Name the Mascot” promotion.
  • Former Midwest Leaguer and now-Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez took a little while to tap into his potential.
  • Diamondbacks INF prospect (and 2010 South Bend Silver Hawk) Bobby Borchering is soaking up all the knowledge he can this spring.
  • I never thought I’d see Carlos Zambrano described as a “voice of reason” but it actually happened.
  • Peter Gammons reminds us that he’s still the man… by writing an excellent Spring Training update.
  • The Dodgers found Fernando Valenzuela by quasi-accident. If you ever watched the 30-for-30 documentary about Valenzuela you know how key he was to helping the Dodgers win the Latin-American community back after some craziness that happened when they were building Dodger Stadium.
  • O’s manager Buck Showalter is now directing his crotchetiness toward his own players instead of Derek Jeter. But when you swing at a 3-0 pitch in a blowout, you’re asking for crotchetiness.
  • Former Rockies slugger Dante Bichette is now a pretty good tennis player.
  • The Rays think Manny Ramirez has another big year in him.
  • A bunch of Rays had their apartment robbed, and apparently Evan Longoria had an AK-47 stolen. Uh, what?
  • I’m still sick. Voice sounds terrible. Many of you are probably thinking, “But it always sounds terrible!” You’re right, but shut up.

Musical guest… Kenny Rogers and The First Edition!

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

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