Thursday, March 30, 2006
Pickoff Moves, Lunchtime Edition
Angels 8, Cubs 4The Angels -- and Brandon Wood, in particular -- got a bunch of wind-assisted balls, some of which ended up over the fence. Wood's homer was of the inside-the-park variety, while Mike Napoli blasted one into the bleachers that just bounced clear of the wall. Bartolo Colón didn't get knocked around very hard, despite giving up three runs over six innings; the hardest-hit ball against him was a double by Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano. Colón's not taking his responsibilities on opening day for granted:
"It is always special to take the ball when your teammates and manager are counting on you to get things started," Colon said through an interpreter. "I always think when you make your first start, it is your Opening Day. But it will never be routine; it is always special."Friend of 6-4-2 Al Yellon wrote a much more detailed account of the game. Tonight, the Angels will play the Giants in a split-squad game in San Francisco, a game featuring Jered Weaver as the team's starter. A nice big, dank park next to the ocean -- ought to remind him of his old home park.
Dodgers 4, Nationals 3The thing that pops out at you in the line score is Kenny Lofton's 1-3 line, because he's having such a terrible spring -- .159/.196/.182 in 44 at bats.
- Thanks to Jon for pointing out Rafael Furcal has an annular strain. Here's Will Carroll:
Everything’s connected. Rafael Furcal has been rehabbing from "minor" knee surgery and was behind schedule. Whether his gait changed or he rushed back, he’s now dealing with a disc problem in his lower back. Called an "annular strain," the injury is minor, unpredictable, and the first sign of degenerative disc disease. Furcal’s pain tolerance and response to treatment will determine when he returns, though this is definitely an injury that will need to be watched and managed for the rest of the year, and beyond that, for the rest of his career. Back injuries are perhaps the most unpredictable injuries to baseball players. This is definitely a major concern for the Dodgers.
- Reader Bobby Bran asked me about something Jon pointed out yesterday: Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus was concerned about Matt Kemp's home and road splits:
(Split) AB HR AVG SLG ======================= Home 219 22 .361 .749 Away 199 5 .246 .372
This brings up some fairly old information that unfortunately hasn't been updated in a while. The late, lamented blog Mariners Wheelhouse ran an article a couple years ago based on park factors originally published in Baseball America that corrected the individual park factors for league biases. The point I wanted to make here is that while Kemp is undoubtedly benefiting from hitting in a severe hitter's park (Vero Beach) relative to the rest of the league, it's still a pitcher's park overall, as are all of its sister parks. (Vero's park factor is two standard deviations above the average!) I wouldn't necessarily be too worried about Kemp's progress unless he has problems at Jacksonville.
- The Angels sent down Chris Bootcheck to minor league camp. "[P]itching coach Bud Black said the 27-year-old right-hander has 'thrown as well as I've ever seen him.'"
- Mike Scioscia says it's now unlikely the Angels will make a trade for a left-handed bat.
- Brendan Donnelly thinks he won't retire in an Angels uniform. He's about to get expensive at arbitration, and at 34, the Angels are unlikely to bring him back beyond 2006.
- Former Dodger Giovanni Carrara has been demoted to the Pirates' minor league camp. The Pirates also sent down former Dodger Mike Edwards.
- Commissioner Bud Selig is expected to make a major announcement about a possible investigation of Barry Bonds' use of steroids.
Update: Selig has launched his investigation, to be headed by former Senator
Joseph McCarthyGeorge Mitchell.
"I hope nobody is making judgments about the inquiry before it's done," said [union executive Don] Fehr, who met with Bonds at his Scottsdale Stadium locker for 20 minutes on Monday after the union's annual spring session with the Giants players. "Bud will make whatever decision Bud makes and we'll go from there."
- The Marlins released former Dodger Lenny Harris from their spring training camp. Harris holds the career record for most pinch hits; with 212, he has 62 more than second-place Manny Mota.
Karros To Provide Color For Dodgers OpenerJerry Crasnick says Eric Karros will be in the broadcast booth in the Dodgers' opening game at home, versus the Braves.
Angels Break Off TV Negotiations With FoxThe Angels have broken off negotiations with Fox over their next TV contract.
The deal is dormant, though, after Moreno decided negotiations had reached an impasse. Although both sides agreed long ago on the basic terms — 10 years and $500 million — sources said the parties could not resolve issues surrounding emerging technologies.Arte didn't rule out an Angels channel, and other sources from within the organization say that the negotiations could be restarted at any time. Recall that the Angels had broken off negotiations with Jered Weaver and signed him at the 11th hour, too.
And it was not all that windy against the Cubs. Wood's homerun owed as much to his speed and to the practicalities of the way the ball bounced off the fielder's glove. I wasn't on the field, so I guess I can't testify to the wind levels there. But I'd have categorized the wind level in the 3rd row as average or less-than-average for Tempe Diablo.