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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Pickoff Moves

Position Yoga

Robb Quinlan very nearly missed playing in the big leagues last year, but for an impulsive decision to take groundballs at third base in spring training:
Quinlan said he felt overlooked, so the first baseman/outfielder decided to gain attention by taking ground balls at third base. It was a decision that salvaged a career at a crossroads.

"Realistically, if I didn't do that, I might never have gotten called up last year," said Quinlan, who turns 28 this month. "It's kind of how I've always been, doing whatever it takes."


He's always fought getting typecast, fancying himself an outfielder until he was pigeonholed at first base. That changed in a hurry last year, when Quinlan received a May call-up, pinch-hit in the ninth inning of a June game against the Chicago Cubs and scored the tying run.

"I jogged into the dugout and Joe Maddon said, 'You're at third base',' Quinlan said. "My heart started beating a little faster.'

But he played a flawless third for six innings of the 15-inning loss and acquitted himself well there the rest of the season. This spring, he is working almost exclusively with infield coach Alfredo Griffin at perhaps the most demanding position to learn at the big-league level.

"He looks great. You can see the comfort level increasing,' manager Mike Scioscia said. "To make that transition last year, under the circumstances, was remarkable, at a time we desperately needed it.'

Byrd's Sinkerball

In that same article: Paul Byrd now says he has a sinkerball, which he attributes to a side-effect of elbow surgery. "'Now my arm feels great,' he said. 'Now I feel I can throw it.'"

Believe What You Want

When Paul DePodesta says something is important you just have no idea if he's squirting octopus ink or telling the truth. So, with this San Gabriel Valley Tribune story telling us the Dodgers want to long-term Brad Penny and Jeff Weaver, we can only guess whether DePo is being straight with us:
Right-handers Brad Penny and Jeff Weaver, who together comprise 40 percent of what probably is the deepest rotation in the National League West, will be eligible for free agency in the fall. Assuming Penny can prove he is fully recovered from the nerve injury that derailed him last season, DePodesta would like to sign both pitchers to extensions sooner rather than later.

"I have already expressed that to each guy individually,' DePodesta said. "I like both of them a lot and certainly have an interest in keeping them if we can work something out.'

Maya's Increasingly Frustrating Life

In a world where Jeff DaVanon will be fighting for at bats, what's a girl to do?

Werth May Miss Season Opener

Jayson Werth may miss the season opener, in which case Ricky Ledee will fill in. Yeah, like I was looking forward to that.

An Incomparable Talent, A Keen Mind

An example of the kind of baseball wisdom Tommy Lasorda was promoted for:
Jeff Kent hit screamer after screamer to the fence in left field during batting practice and former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda started bombarding the second baseman with compliments as Kent came off the field.

"You've got what the cowboys had," Lasorda said. "It's a quick, compact swing. Back in the Old West, (during quick-draw duels), the guys who had (long) draws wouldn't win. It was the guys who, bam!, had it out and shot (right off the hip) that won."

Grady Fuson Joins San Diego

Grady Fuson has joined the Padres, according to Baseball America. "Fuson was [the A's] scouting director his last seven seasons with the A's and drafted such stars as Eric Chavez, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito."

Fire Charlie Steiner

I haven't even managed to get through a whole game and the guy's talking about everything except the game, rambling on about his auto-mo-bile and its navigation system. He just called Rick Monday, "Mo". Gawd. Maybe this was acceptable in New York, where the only requirement in the broadcast booth is to be an unwavering homer, but here in LA we have higher standards. Maybe I should start a new blog, Fire Charlie Steiner, dedicated to every annoying tic and misstep the man makes.

I would!

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