Tagged: Players

“Honey I blew up our catcher …”

Mauer keeps growing, and growing …. 

"Joe Mauer is getting a little old for a growth spurt.

But the Twins catcher, who was 6-4 last season, has pushed past 6-5 and is approaching 6-6.

team lists him at 6-5 in the media guide, but Mauer acknowledged that
he is actually 6-6 "wearing shoes."I’ve been growing ever since last
year," he said Wednesday. "I don’t want to get too big, or I might have
to move [positions]."


$5 says its a spiked Gatorade growth hormone plot by Ozzie Guillen, so that the Twins have to move Mauer from behind the plate, where he has the most offensive value.


Pinheaded decision-making?

Biggio can’t wear charity pin on his cap

"Craig Biggio was angry at the commissioner’s officeThursday night after he was told to stop wearing a pin on his cap that bears the
logo of a foundation that helps children with cancer.

The Houston Astros star said he has worn the bright yellow, sun-shaped pin,
featuring the logo for the Sunshine Kids foundation, on his hat during spring
training games for the past 20 years without a problem. He is the national
spokesman for the foundation and is very active in its work. "I’m not a disrespectful person and I don’t disrespect the game," Biggio
said. "But I’ve been wearing this pin for 20 years because it puts smiles on
20,000-something cancer patients’ faces."

Biggio said someone in the commissioner’s office contacted the Astros about
instructing him to remove the pin, but he wasn’t sure who it was. He said
Houston general manager Tim Purpura was sent a fax with a picture of Biggio from
Wednesday night’s game.

"Major League Baseball does a lot of good things, but this is one of the
stupid things," Biggio said.

The 41-year-old second baseman, who is 70 hits shy of 3,000, said he wears
the pin in spring training because many of the pictures for baseball cards are
taken during those games and the children like seeing the pin on those cards.

"That’s what it’s about," he said. "If somebody wants to sit in an office
and feel good about themselves, they should feel real bad about this one. They
didn’t think about all the cancer kids that get enjoyment out of it."

Biggio said he was told before the game that he couldn’t wear the pin, and
the umpires approached him on the field to make sure it was gone.

Astros manager Phil Garner was also unsure who contacted the team about the

"The league has a code where they watch what’s on the uniforms and I don’t
know the full extent of it, but evidently the Sunshine Kids pin is not part of
it," he said."


Now …. I can sort of see a need for SOME standards as to what you can and can’t wear on the field.  If Biggio was wearing a "Ku Klux Klan" pin on his cap, there would certainly be some uproar.  Legally speaking, Biggio is at his "job", and there is a "dress code" for the job.  But this smacks of pettiness and over-regulation.

Let’s also remember that a few years ago, MLB was willing to deface the bases during regular season games with Spiderman logos in a promotion for the movie, till they got enough negative publicity about it.  So there seems to be a bit of a double-standard.

Anyhow …. if you’d like to contribute to Biggio’s cause, visit The Sunshine Kids website.

Will (should) Mauer stay at C?

Joe Mauer, the Twins All-Star catcher and reigning AL batting champ, has been diagnosed with a stress reaction (the pre-cursor to a stress fracture) in his left leg.  Given his special talents with the bat, and his height (6’4"), there has been talk of eventually moving him out from behind the plate.  The wear and tear of the position is bad enough for anyone, but the toll is greatened based on the height of the backstop.

Add to those considerations the unforgiving artificial turf in the Metrodome (which certainly hasn’t helped players like Torii Hunter and ex-Twins Shannon Stewart and Cristian Guzman), and the injury risk is heightened further.  Given that the Twins will be moving into their new stadium in a couple of years, its doubtful that the present turf will be replaced.

So, can the Twins afford to leave Mauer behind the plate?  History seems to say "no".  Below is the list of most games appeared in for players 6’4" or greater.













































G    HT
Johnny Edwards 1392    6’4"
Sandy Alomar Jr. 1353    6’5"
Tom Haller 1199    6’4"
Jody Davis 1039    6’4"
Eddie Taubensee 871    6’4"
Paul Casanova 811    6’4"
Jim Pagliaroni 767    6’4"
Larry McLean 761    6’5"
Bob Tillman 725    6’4"
Bob Melvin 627    6’4"

Not the most auspicious list … is it?

Mauer has been behind the plate for 268 games to this point.  The clock is ticking.

Veres returns with a prosthetic hip

Dave Veres, who retired from baseball two years ago due to a degenerative condition in his hip, is attempting a comeback this season after undergoing hip replacement surgery.

Veres passes first test with artificial hip


"On the eve of the 1-year anniversary of his operation, Veres threw well,
didn’t favor his fake left hip, fielded a bunt cleanly and covered first
flawlessly twice in an inning of work during the Colorado Rockies‘ intrasquad

"How about that?" general manager Dan O’Dowd said. "The very first play
he’s got to cover a bunt. Then he’s got to cover first on the next one."

Veres, who was Colorado’s closer in 1998-99, made his last major league
appearance on Oct. 15, 2003, for Chicago in the NL championship series against

"That old saying, you don’t realize what you’ve got until it’s gone? In my
case it was true, in my case, sitting at home, miserable, can’t walk or move,"
Veres said. "It feels good just to jog out to the mound or do everyday stuff.
Pitching is a bonus."

Veres spent 2004 rehabilitating from right shoulder surgery but his hip that
had bothered him for four years grew so painful that he retired, finishing his
career with a 36-35 record, a 3.44 ERA and 95 saves in 10 major league seasons
with Houston, Montreal, Colorado, St. Louis and the Cubs.

"At first it was easy for me to accept," Veres said. "I just physically
couldn’t do it. It’s not like I wasn’t good enough. My skills didn’t
deteriorate. My hip did. So, it was pretty easy for me to take the first year I
was home."

Veres had just wanted to be able to chase his three young children around
the house when he opted for the operation. But he felt so good playing city
league baseball in Castle Rock, Colo., afterward that he contacted the Rockies,
who brought him into camp on a minor league contract.

He said he had no trepidation when he took the mound for his first test and
the "first bunt was like the scariest" only because he had tweaked his right
hamstring fielding bunts last week.

He moved free and easy, displaying the same deceptive, herky-jerky motion
and mean split-finger fastball that were his trademarks. But he’s still trying
to break the habit of bending over straight-legged, which he did for years to
compensate for the pain in his degenerative hip.

"That’s how I tied my shoes. That’s how I did everything. It was a habit
for four years. I walked with a limp, I walked like this, I ran like this,"
Veres said, waddling a few steps. "So, it’s just breaking the old habits I

Veres, who isn’t scheduled to throw again until a "B" game on Monday, will
cherish the 1-year anniversary of his operation Saturday.

"I know I can pitch, that’s not the issue. It’s if the durability’s going
to be there," Veres said. "It’s going to be a year tomorrow. I’d like to think
if I haven’t had a setback yet, I’m not going to have one."

His surgeon told him after a year he’d be free to do whatever he wanted.

And what he wants is to go out on his own terms.


You go Dave!!!! I’m rooting for ya’!

Matthews’ career year … was it “helped”?

Gary Matthews Jr. had a career year in 2006, at the late-blooming age of 32.

Matthews, who career best BA/OBP/SLG figures were .275/.354/.436 (not all in the same season), posted a 2006 line of .313/.371/.495 for the Rangers.  He then signed a 5-year, $50 million free agent contract with the Angels.

Now comes word that he may have been in receipt of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

Albany Times-Union story on raid of Fla. steroids center


"A downtown pharmacy was raided by a law enforcement task force on
Tuesday, the climax of a large New York state grand jury investigation
into Internet drug sales that could expose widespread illicit steroid
use by professional athletes and thousands of people across the nation."

"The Times Union has learned that investigators in the year-old case,
which has been kept quiet until now, uncovered evidence that
testosterone and other performance-enhancing drugs may have been
fraudulently prescribed over the Internet to current and former Major
League Baseball players …."

"The customers include Los Angeles Angels center fielder Gary Matthews
Jr., according to sources with knowledge of the investigation."


Now … at this point, its just circumstantial and unconfirmed evidence … but its a bit suspicious and does cast a shadow on Matthews’ 2006 performance.

The Angels’ free agent offer to Matthews was fool-hardy to begin with, given the length of the contract, the age of the player upon its completion (38), and the one solid year on which it appeared to be based.

Now that the season may have been "helped" …. who knows what the Angels may have signed themselves up for.

Its not a Hummer …. its a “Lieber”


Jon Lieber showed up at Spring Training in a giant Ford F-650.
It cost him $211,000, which is cheaper than the same truck models owned
by Shaquille O’Neal, the King of Jordan and Sheik Mohammed of Dubai.

Some fun facts: Passengers must go up two steps to enter the
vehicle. It costs $500 to fill up (four 50-gallon tanks) and gets 12
miles to the gallon. The satellite service on the truck costs $4.99 a
month. Ford apparently sold 60 of these things to people.


Don’t you wish relievers were still shuttled to the mound in cars, just so you could see that thing motor across the warning track?

Did he say “billion”?

Dodger NRI literally sitting on billions ….

"White is a 29-year-old left-handed journeyman pitcher in camp on a
Minor League contract who’s pitched a total of 9 2/3 Major League
innings in nine professional seasons and he’s sitting on a gold mine.

Actually, it’s a rock quarry.

Four years ago, White bought a 50-acre piece of property in
Massachusetts from his ailing Aunt Josephine, who was going into a
nursing home. He planned to build a house on the property, but
discovered it to be absolutely covered with rock. A geologist
determined the property was loaded with mica schist, a slate-like shiny
metamorphic stone used for patio decks and other construction.

"I never built the house and instead started selling the rock,"
said White, whose father runs the business. "It turned out to be a
blessing in disguise. The geologist said I’ve got 24 million tons of it
and it sells for $100 a ton."

So, according to White’s math, he’s sitting on a $2.4 billion
mountain of rock. That’s billion, with a "B." The property cost him


To paraphrase a famous Bugs Bunny cartoon …. "My name is Matthew J. White … billionaire.  I own a fastball and some rock."

(Thanks to Jon Weisman for the heads-up on this one.)