This Great Game Comebacker

The Week That Was in Baseball: April 22-28, 2013
Who Will be the Next Commissioner? Jeffrey Loria Channels Jerry Jones
Bryce Harper, One Year Later Rick Camp, in Memoriam

Best and Worst of the Week

BEST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Nate McLouth, Baltimore Orioles

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
22 10 12 3 0 1 6 4 0 0 3

At long last, the one-time All-Star appears to have come full circle to the top of his game—thriving in the leadoff role for the Orioles, who wanted him back after a sound resurgence late last year. That renaissance continues this year, and it seems to get better with each passing week. After his career dragged to a near-death in Atlanta and Pittsburgh over the last three years, McLouth truly appears to have found his home—and gotten his grove back—in Baltimore.


BEST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
22 6 8 1 0 3 8 3 0 1 0

The sleeping giant has awakened. The Marlins’ lumbering strongman had been mighty weak to start the year, with many pinning the blame on his unhappiness with the organization following the departure of his fellow Marlin stars from last year. Then came this past week—and especially this past weekend at home against the Cubs, where Stanton really came to life, knocking out his first three homers of the year and finally bringing his average back over the .200 mark.


WORST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Tyler Flowers, Chicago White Sox

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

A.J. Pierzynski’s departure from Chicago was music to the ears of the 27-year-old catcher from Georgia, but he’s been singing the blues after an awful start that grew only worse this past week. A hitless ledger brought his career average down to an even .200, and his six strikeouts on the week give him a nasty sum of 25 in just 62 at-bats. Throw in a lack of success throwing out attempted basestealers (only two of 16 nabbed), and it may not be long before Flowers finds himself wilting on the bench again.


WORST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
24 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

One of the majors’ most notoriously bad April hitters has certainly lived up to his reputation to start 2013, but this week was especially brutal for the veteran slugger. LaRoche’s hitless sessions included 11 strikeouts and a double play grounder, and after Sunday’s loss to the Reds, he’s hitting a paltry .135 for the year. For the record, LaRoche is a career .213 hitter in April; in all other months, he’s at .277. Chin up, Adam; MayDay is just around the corner.


BEST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
1-0 8 5 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 17

In a year where MLB looks to be on pace to destroy all existing strikeout records (we mean, everyone’s striking out), nobody racked them up more than the Venezuelan native on Friday against the Braves at Detroit. Sanchez’s 17 strikeouts were three more than his previous career high, and he was in position for 20 had he been allowed to pitch the ninth—but Tiger manager Jim Leyland’s heart was overruled by his head after seeing the pitch count at 122.


BEST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
1-0 9 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4

If you look at the Washington roster and get confused between Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmermann, know that the pitcher’s the one with the extra ‘n’, as in “nothing”—which is pretty much what he gave up against the Reds this past Friday in the best start of his five-year career to date. The 26-year-old righty allowed a single hit and threw just 91 pitches in putting together his first career shutout, improving his 2013 numbers to an impressive 4-1 and 2.00 ERA.


WORST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Brad Peacock, Houston Astros

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-2 7.2 15 12 12 6 0 0 1 0 4

Much of the Astros’ story this year is to throw anything at the wall and hope that something sticks. But it’s been a gradual slippery slope back down to the ground for Peacock, the rookie righty who got beat up in two outings this past week. Three homers allowed in a Monday loss against the otherwise toothless Mariners really ‘stuck.’ Having just made it past the fifth innings in one of five starts so far, Peacock will need a quick about-face or he’ll be given a one-way ticket to Triple-A Oklahoma City.


WORST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Paul Maholm, Atlanta Braves

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-0 3.2 10 8 8 3 0 0 1 0 3

It all went wrong for the Braves on Friday against the Tigers; there was Anibal Sanchez’s mastery from the Detroit mound, but on the other end was Maholm, so good to start 2013 before imploding against the Tigers’ bats. He was lucky not to allow any runs through the first two innings, but then the dam broke and Maholm was flooded by hit after hit, run after run, before finally being removed in the fourth. He had entered the game having allowed just three runs over his first 26.1 innings.


BEST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Boston Red Sox (6-1)

Charged by the return of David Ortiz, the rampaging Red Sox are doing their best to make the last rotten few years a distant memory with one of their best starts in team history. Take away a 13-0 rout by Oakland on a dreary rain-shortened Tuesday at Fenway, and it’s a perfect week; but the Sox will clearly take it given how lousy they had it just a year ago at this time. As for Ortiz, he’s batting .516 in eight games since making his belated season debut.


BEST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Pittsburgh Pirates (5-2)

Here come the Buccos again, making the early-season tease after a generation of sub-.500 finishes. Strong pitching (save for Jonathan Sanchez’s Friday night meltdown against the Cardinals) set the tone for an impressive week with series wins on the road at Philadelphia and St. Louis; the hitting was equally worthy, but they’ll need to pick up a .239 season batting average to maintain a winning mark and, quite possibly, first place—which, by the way, they own possession of at week’s end.


WORST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Toronto Blue Jays (1-6)

It’s early, but the whole “we’re gonna buy the pennant” thing appears to be headed for an early crash-and-burn in Toronto. It’s not the Blue Jays were that bad this past week; of their six losses, four were by a run, and the other two by two runs. But a 1-6 week is still 1-6; for a team beating their chest after making numerous player moves during the offseason, a 9-17 start is clearly what Toronto did not have in mind.


WORST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
New York Mets (1-5)

The week got off to a promising, raucous start as Citi Field buzzed with young phenom Matt Harvey taking on the Dodgers—a Wednesday matchup that ended in triumph thanks to Jordany Valdespin’s tenth-inning grand slam. But the buzz fizzed quickly afterward, as the Mets lost the rubber match of the Dodger series and then laid an absolute egg in a weekend ambushing by the Phillies, who outscored New York 18-5 in three losses. The Mets’ 10-13 record as of week’s end is no surprise—and that’s a shame, given the way the week began.


 

 

 

Best and Worst of the Week

Monday, April 22
Felix Hernandez had failed in each of his last three attempts to win his 100th career game—so leave it to the lowly Houston Astros to finally accommodate him. Hernandez breezes through six shutout innings, striking out nine, and the Mariners—who’ve continued to support him with runs—collect early and defeat the Astros at Minute Maid Park, 7-1. Among active pitchers, the 27-year-old Hernandez is the youngest with 100; Jered Weaver is next at age 30.

Longtime Angel nemesis A.J. Pierzynski (remember 2005?) foils Los Angeles of Anaheim once again, hitting a tie-breaking, ninth-inning home run to give the Texas Rangers a 7-6 win at Anaheim. Former Ranger Josh Hamilton has four hits (all singles) in the loss for the Angels.


Tuesday, April 23
In the second game of a doubleheader in frigid Denver, B.J. Upton and Justin Upton become the first pair of brothers to hit back-to-back homers since Paul and Lloyd Waner back in 1938, helping the Atlanta Braves to complete a sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a 10-2 rout. Justin also homers in the Braves’ 4-3 win to start the twinbill, which begins with the thermometer at 23 degrees—breaking the (since 1991) record for the coldest first-pitch reading set just a week earlier for another game at Coors Field.

Adam Wainwright is masterful for the St. Louis Cardinals, finishing the evening two outs shy of his second shutout of the year, striking out nine and walking one (his first after not issuing one for 34.2 innings to start the season) in a 2-0 win over the slumping Nationals at Washington. The Nats can only collect five hits off of Wainwright, who’s now 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA.


Wednesday, April 24
The first game of the year between the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals—two teams expected to fight it out for the AL Central title—is settled in the ninth by the one player who looked ready to be left out of it all: Jose Valverde, who returns to the Tigers with a 1-2-3 ninth to close out a 7-5 Detroit win. Valverde had started the season as an unwanted free agent before the Tigers, in desperate need of a closer, brought him back.

Two streaks are snapped in the San Diego Padres’ 2-1 win over Milwaukee at Petco Park. Over is the Brewers’ nine-game win streak, as well as the Padres’ seven-game slide at home. Carlos Quentin hits a homer in his second game back for the Padres following an eight-game suspension, and a ninth-inning Milwaukee rally is snuffed out when Martin Maldonado’s grounder in front of the plate hits him as he leaves the box, making him an automatic third out.

The Baltimore Orioles lose an extra-inning game for the first time in 17 tries when Toronto’s Maicer Izturis draws a bases-loaded walk off of Oriole closer Jim Johnson in the 11th inning, leading to a 6-5 Blue Jay victory. The overtime streak was the majors’ longest since the Pittsburgh Pirates won 16 in a row between 1959-60.


Thursday, April 25
Gio Gonzalez allows just one hit—a fourth-inning Joey Votto homer—and the Nationals break out of their slide with an easy 8-1 home win against Cincinnati. Bryce Harper goes deep for the eighth time this year.

No A-Rod, no Jeter, no sellouts. For the fourth time since the start of the year, the New York Yankees lower the bar for their smallest crowd at new Yankee Stadium (which opened in 2009), defeating Toronto 5-3 before a crowd of 31,445. The losing pitcher for the Blue Jays is Mark Buehrle, who now has a lifetime 1-9 record in 14 starts against the Yankees.


Friday, April 26
The Nationals limit the Reds to a single hit once again, this time with Jordan Zimmermann going the distance and throwing just 91 pitches in Washington’s 1-0 win. It’s the first time a team has been held to one hit in consecutive games since 2008—and the first time it’s happened to the Reds since 1900.

Anibal Sanchez sets a Detroit record with 17 strikeouts in eight innings of shutout work, and the Tigers swarm over Atlanta with ten runs over the third and fourth innings to defeat the Braves at Comerica Park, 10-0. Only Randy Johnson had previously struck out as many batters in eight or fewer innings.

After Pittsburgh starter Jonathan Sanchez gives up two home runs and a sharp single to start his outing against St. Louis, he beans Allen Craig with a pitch and gets the hook—not from manager Clint Hurdle but from home plate umpire Tim Timmons. Hurdle is also ejected in the ensuing argument, and it all goes downhill from there for the Pirates, who are hammered by the Cardinals, 9-1.


Saturday, April 27
Matt Moore becomes the first pitcher in Tampa Bay history to win five games in April, striking out nine batters over six solid innings while being supported by 19 hits as the Rays easily handle the White Sox at Chicago, 10-4. The Rays also don’t make an assist on defense until the ninth inning; only four times in major league history has a team gone the distance without one.

Minnesota rookie Aaron Hicks, who began the Twins’ series with Texas batting just .073 in 16 games, knocks in two runs for his first extra-base hit of his career to help put the finishing touches on the Twins’ 7-2 win over the Rangers.

Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton hits his first home run of the season, and it’s a blast: The 472-foot drive is the longest since Marlins Park opened a year ago. But it’s still not enough for the Marlins, who drop a 3-2 decision to the Cubs to drop themselves to a major league-worst 5-19 on the year.


Sunday, April 28
In his third major league start, Cincinnati southpaw Tony Cingrani strikes out 11 Nationals in six innings—including four in the fourth, thanks to a third-strike passed ball that allows Denard Span to safely reach first. Cingrani is only the fourth Reds pitcher to strike out four in an inning, and he’s now struck out 28 batters in 18 innings on the year. The Reds win, 5-2.

After failing to win in each of his first five starts—and thus becoming the first reigning Cy Young Award winner since Frank Viola in 1989 to do that—David Price finally picks up his first victory as the Rays win at Chicago, 8-3. Price is however not a happy man after the game, as he tweets his displeasure at home plate umpire Tom Hallion for telling him to “throw the ball over the f**king plate” after Price complained about a non-strike call in the seventh inning. Hallion calls Price a liar; Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson is ejected early after the initial confrontation for verbally going after Hallion from the Rays’ dugout.

For the first time this year, the Seattle Mariners win a series as they take two out of three games from the Angels at Safeco Field, defeating former Mariner Jason Vargas (who goes the distance), 2-1.


Life After Bud
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman called commissioner Bud Selig this past week and asked him if he really, truly, absolutely seriously means it that he’ll step away from baseball when his current term expires in January 2015, some 23 years after he grabbed it away from the ousted Fay Vincent. “I really am (retiring),” Selig said, “I know the owners are having a tough time with it.”

The owners are brooding the day Selig leaves. A lot of fans may be ready to say “good riddance,” but the owners love him. He’s one of their own, presiding over an unprecedented economic growth of the game; he’s gotten along with virtually every owner who’s ruled a team during his time; and he was basically forced not to retire a few years back when it appeared he was ready to step down, because the owners simply couldn’t think of anyone else to replace him.

Which brings us to this: If Selig really, truly, absolutely seriously means it and does retire for good in 2015—some aren’t sure he will—then who would be his successor? Here’s ten candidates to consider, in alpha order:

Sandy Alderson. The perfect no-B.S. choice, Alderson has served exclusively for numerous teams (Oakland, San Diego, New York Mets) and within MLB Central. He’s tough, experienced and busted a bullying umpires union in 1999 with a single response to their cry to quit in protest: “It’s either an offer to be accepted or a threat to be ignored.” Owners may find him too edgy and opinionated, but he’d be far from the dumbest commissioner in history.

Larry Baer. The top gun in San Francisco’s front office has emerged as one of baseball’s most highly admired execs; his transformation of the Giants into a monster success, on the field and off it, his near-flawless communication skills and his exceptional way of connecting with the community are all ideal bullet-pointed facts for a commissioner’s resume.

George W. Bush. The former president is a strong possibility given that he’s also a former owner (he ran the Texas Rangers from 1988-94) and tends to delegate rather than leading with an iron fist, which would appeal to the power-hungry ownership circle—although the deep political abyss that developed from his presidency might rub some of baseball’s more left-leaning insiders and fans the wrong way.

Kent Conrad. A dark horse thought, the former Senator from North Dakota has an in with MLB since his wife is employed as one of its lobbyists. As someone with ties to Congress, he could also lay his own influence on any attempt to de-activate the sport’s antitrust exemption, an issue that yet again might arise with territorial issues such as the one being fought between the Giants and A’s over San Jose.

Bob Costas. The fans’ choice (if not that of the zealous gun lobby), the erudite, knowledgeable baseball broadcaster is so sharp that The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart recently told him, “I wish I could write the way you speak.” He would also fully embrace the best interests of baseball over those of the owners—which is why his chances of actually getting a call from the Lords is less than zero. More pointedly, Costas admits that he lacks the basics of law and economics demanded of anyone running a billion-dollar enterprise such as MLB.

Rudy Giuliani. The former Hizzoner of New York City has shown a solid skill set in the art of leadership, and while his political ties may be more metro than national, understand that running Gotham is a challenging animal all of its own. Because if he can make it in New York, he can make it anywhere—so it’s up to you, MLB, MLB.

Derrick Hall. A rising star in baseball, the president of the Arizona Diamondbacks has been lauded for his tremendous executive skills and his effortless ways of reaching out to the baseball public. Hall is well liked and also young (44) and thus could bridge any generation gap to keep the future of the sport on a progressive path.

Andy MacPhail. No candidate has more baseball blood in him than MacPhail, whose father (Lee) was American League president and grandfather (Larry) was a groundbreaking general manager for Cincinnati, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Yankees. The 59-year old recently stepped down from the Orioles’ front office and therefore is available—but does baseball want to look back in time, or look ahead?

Rob Manfred. A name often discussed, baseball’s second-in-command obviously would toe the current party line and seems a logical choice on paper—but he lacks charisma and might be too tightly wound to be the executive face of a major sports league.

X, the Unknown. Roger Goodell (NFL), David Stern (NBA) and Gary Bettman (NHL) all serve as commissioners with law degrees from prestigious universities after being brought in as virtual no-namers. MLB might recruit someone with a similarly high pedigree to look after the sport from a purely business and legal perspective.

Full Mettle Strait Jacket
Another week, another round of controversy for the Miami Marlins centered around everyone’s favorite punching bag, owner Jeffrey Loria. On the day of a Tuesday doubleheader at Minnesota, it was reported that Loria insisted that the pitching matchups be changed so that young 20-year-old phenom Jose Fernandez started the first game and veteran Ricky Nolasco—the team’s highest-paid player and all-time winningest pitcher—got the call for the nightcap. This flew in the face of baseball tradition in which the more veteran pitcher usually gets to call decide which game of the double-dip he gets to play. Nolasco was alerted of the switch just a few hours before the start of the first game, and he—and quite a few of his teammates—was angered by the decision. (Fernandez and the Marlins lost the first game to the Twins, 4-3; Nolasco won the nightcap, 8-5.)

Part of Nolasco’s ire was built out of the cold weather that created the doubleheader in the first place; he was in no way thrilled at the prospect of having to perform in colder conditions in the second game. And although the second game was actually a little warmer (42 degrees, as opposed to 38 in the first game), trying to stay warm waiting for a late-day pitching assignment wasn’t exactly ideal for Nolasco.

Loria later told Fox Sports that he had nothing to do with the switch, saying the front office made the decision. Mike Redmond, the Marlins’ rookie manager, grumbled about the move before Friday’s game back home against the Chicago Cubs: “We were all on the call and it was an organizational decision and I’m going to leave it at that.”

We couldn’t resist but go straight to the bloggers’ responses after reading the online story that broke the news, courtesy of Loria’s most poisonous pen, Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan. We were surprised to find a lot of this: “If it’s his team, he can do what he wants.”

True. Loria can do whatever he wants with the Marlins, and has. And look where it’s got him. The local politicos are ticked off at him for hiding the truth about his wealth as he demanded government pay for his nice new ballpark. MLB and the union have been ticked at his refusal to use that wealth (save for his ill-advised, one-year spending experiment of a year ago). Fans are ticked off at him for gutting the roster—again. The few stars left on the team are ticked off at the talent drain as well, and now this.

Loria can do what he wants with the Marlins. The fans can choose to stay home. Passan and others can choose to blast him in print. Free agents can choose to ignore Loria and play elsewhere.

And if Loria keeps this up, MLB can choose to strip him of the franchise.

Life Father, Unlike Son
On September 11, 1983, Jay Pettibone was called up from the minors to make his major league debut for the Minnesota Twins. He pitched well, but lost—giving up three runs on six hits in a complete-game effort against the Kansas City Royals, who beat the Twins, 3-1. Pettibone started three more games and lost them all—and never appeared in the majors again.

This past Monday, Jonathan Pettibone—Jay’s son—was called up under similar circumstances by the Philadelphia Phillies for his first taste of major league action. But that’s where the similarities ended. Pettibone took the mound, pitched 5.1 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates and didn’t lose—but didn’t win either, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out six against no walks in a 3-2 win. For his second start on Saturday, victory did come his way, pitching the minimum five innings necessary for the W as the Phillies steamrolled over the Mets at New York, 9-4. .

Should Security Escort Him Out of the Ballpark?
There’s fan interference, and then there’s…well, bullpen interference. In Wednesday at San Francisco, the Diamondbacks were trailing the Giants 1-0 in the eighth inning when Eric Hinske roped a liner past third base and down the line. The ball ventured into foul territory, where it immediately was picked up by the Giants’ Santiago Casilla. But Casilla wasn’t in the game; he was warming up on the bullpen mound, saw a ball come at him and instinctively gloved it. What’s really funny is watching an indecisive Casilla try to figure out what to do with the ball after Hinske was awarded with a ground rule double. The Diamondbacks went on to defeat the Giants in ten innings, 3-2.

The Full Bryce
Washington’s 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday was the one-year anniversary of Bryce Harper’s major league debut; all too neatly, it was also his 162nd career game. For the very few of you still unconvinced of Harper’s skills, this is what he’s done over the equivalent of a full season: A .284 average, 115 runs, 31 doubles, ten triples, 31 homers, 77 RBIs, 68 walks and 19 steals. We think he’s made the grade.

Don’t Try This at Home—Or Anywhere, For That Matter
Fortunately, we don’t have video for this one: Friday’s game between the Phillies and Mets at New York was halted for ten minutes because umpire Brian O’Nora got ill from accidentally swallowing his tobacco chew. He went into the Mets’ dugout and made it halfway down the clubhouse tunnel before he succumbed to some lovely tobacco vomit. Mets manager Terry Collins apparently witnessed the whole episode and came back into the dugout shaking his head to his teammates, saying, “That wasn’t good.”

You Jinxed it!
No sooner had a graphic appeared during a telecast of the San Francisco Giants’ game on Tuesday boasting of closer Sergio Romo’s 38-game streak in which he had not walked a batter…when Romo did just that. His pass to Arizona’s Cody Ross ended up not hurting Romo and the Giants, who got out of the tenth inning without yielding a run (they lost in 11, 6-4), but it did end his streak three shy of the major league record held by Dennis Eckersley.

Rick Camp, 1953-2013
When the Atlanta Braves made a brief surge toward the top of baseball in the early 1980s, Rick Camp was there to help. He entered spring training in 1980 without a roster spot and ended up taking the closer’s role from established veterans Al Hrabosky and Gene Garber, and proved the Braves that they made the right choice by saving 39 games over the next two years with ERAs under 2.00. He was converted into an occasional starter from 1982-84 and became a basic .500 pitcher, but the 1985 campaign—Camp’s last in the majors—provided fans with their most lasting image of the right-hander from Georgia.

It took place during one of baseball’s wackiest games, a Fourth of July epic at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium that survived two long rain delays and lasted 19 innings before finally ending just before dawn. Camp had pitched a scoreless 17th but gave up an unearned run an inning later; with the trailing Braves down to their last out, Camp came up to bat because there was no one left on the Atlanta bench. Unbelievably, the career .074 hitter sent went over the fence for his own major league homer, and the game continued into the 19th—where Camp, perhaps overwhelmed by the euphoria of channeling Babe Ruth, gave up five runs. Lo and behold, the Braves bounced back with two runs and put two on with two outs, and up again came Camp as, once more, the tying run. Did lightning strike twice? Alas, no. Camp struck out, and the Braves, lost, 16-13.

Camp’s post-baseball career was marred by a three-year prison sentence in 2005 after he attempted to steal $2 million from a mental health facility. He died at the age of 59 this past Thursday at his Georgia home; there were no details on the cause of death.

...And So Long, Gus
We weren't going to go too long without mentioning the passing of one of our favorites,
Gus Triandos, who died last month in San Jose. Triandos was a outstanding catcher who was behind the dish for two no-hitters: One by knuckler Hoyt Wilhelm in 1958, the other the perfect game tossed by Jim Bunning in 1964. But in retirement, he became one of our more entertaining interview subjects, as Ed Attanasio got together with him on several occasions and received the honest, profane truth as only Gus could. He told Ed that we were not to publish any of our interviews with him until after his death. That day has come. Rest in peace, Gus.

Oops
Yahoo! Sports headline from this past Saturday: “Maddon strikes out nine as Rays defeat White Sox 10-4.” Gee, and we thought
Pete Rose was the last player-manager…

Garage Sale of the Week
In what appears to be a continuing trend among former major leaguers,
Bret Saberhagen has decided to auction off most of his memorabilia he collected while pitching his way to two Cy Young Awards and the Royals’ lone World Series title, because he said it was doing nothing more than collecting dust in his storage shed. (Gosh, so there’s no trophy room in Bret’s retirement home?) Saberhagen will use the funds collected from the sales of his memorabilia—which includes his 1985 Cy and his World Series MVP award—to go to his own charity as well as his four kids.

Save a Piece of the Cake For Us, Senor Marrero
Happy birthday to Connie Marrero, who turned 102 this past week in Cuba; the former pitcher (did you think he was active?) is the oldest living ex-major leaguer, gave a short but very sweet interview a few years ago by our own Ed Attanasio.

League vs. League
With a split in Minnesota between the Twins and Miami Marlins and a weekend sweep by the Detroit Tigers over Atlanta, the American League has caught up to the National League after a weak start and is now even in the interleague wars, with each circuit having won 13 games thus far. The AL is trying to maintain its run of dominance over the NL, having won the majority of games between the two leagues dating back to 2004.

This Week’s Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
The Diamondbacks’
Gerardo Parra ends this past week with the majors’ longest active hitting streak at 13 games; the run doesn’t include a cameo role on April 20 at Colorado in which the outfielder walked in his only appearance, thus not counting against the streak. Parra is hitting .314 during his career-long streak.

Wounded of the Week
wounded of the weekIt was a somewhat light week on the MLB injury front, but don’t tell that to the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose pitching staff continued to be hit hard—not by opposing batters, but by the limits of the human body. Chad Billingsley decided to undergo Tommy John surgery and won’t be seen again until sometime in 2014; his replacement, Stephen Fife, then went down with shoulder problems and will be out at least 15 days to mend. The Dodgers have already used nine starting pitchers before April’s close.

Also entering Baseball’s World of Hurt this past week were a couple of New York Yankees in catcher Francisco Cervelli (broken hand, six weeks) and pitcher Ivan Nova (triceps, 15 days), Houston outfielder Justin Maxwell (broken hand, six weeks), Colorado first baseman Todd Helton (forearm, 15 days), Chicago White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd (elbow, 15 days), Seattle outfielder Franklin Guiterrez (strained hamstring, 15 days) and Atlanta’s Jason Heyward, who had to undergo an emergency appendectomy while the Braves were in Denver; he’ll miss 15 days as well.

TGG’s 2013 Season Preview
Lock the doors, batten down the hatches and head for the hills, because TGG’s Eric Gouldsberry and Ed Attanasio are stormin’ through with their picks for the coming baseball season. Check it out now in our Opinion section!


The Comebacker's Greatest Hits: Click here to look at the TGG Comebacker archive going back to the start of the 2008 season.


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