Could Mike Lowell Become a Cardinal?

It all started by a scout with a scout making this comment.

“The Twins, Angels, and Cardinals [if they feel David Freese isn’t ready] could have a fit for him. The Giants, with Brian Sabean in the Yankee organization years ago when they signed him, could always use someone who can hit. The Mets could use him at first base. I’ve got to believe there’s a place for someone with Lowell’s righthanded power if Boston picks up the majority of the contract.’’ Then Rob Rains of the St.Louis Globe Democrat picked up the notion and ran with it in his article I recall the Cardinals having interest in him during the winter of 2009. Lowell would make a great fit for the Cardinals if Freese isn’t able to live up to his expectations. Lowell would also be a great back up for Pujols. Mike Lowell does expect to be traded before the beginning of the 2010 season. Mike was also quoted by saying “If I was on the trading block before, I can’t imagine all of a sudden I’m not now,” Lowell said. “I think my health is something I obviously something I need to show, not only the Red Sox but every other team. If that opens the door to something else, I’ll go wherever I go, or stay wherever I stay.”

Cards Sign Lopez


Felipe Lopez bounded into the St.Louis Cardinals clubhouse following his early morning physical Saturday prepared to work in the batting cage before the rest of the squad took to the fields. He’s just that happy to be back with the Cardinals.
Lopez signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Cardinals, returning him to the team he played for briefly in 2008. Lopez could earn $1.2 million in performance bonuses this season.
“This has been my first choice since I played here in ’08,” Lopez said. “It’s a great organization. I’m proud to be here. They treated me, like always, with open arms.
Lopez hit .385 with four home runs in 43 games after coming to St. Louis from Washington in 2008. Splitting time between Arizona and Milwaukee last year, he hit .310 with nine home runs.
St. Louis General Manager John Mozeliak wanted to give manager Tony La Russa more options in the lineup and infield.
“The idea of why we went down this path was to just give Tony more flexibility in his lineup,” Mozeliak said. “When you look at what Felipe is capable of doing, he really has the ability to play every position on the field other than pitcher and catcher, and he’s a switch hitter.”
Depending on the development of David Freese(notes) and Joe Mather(notes), Lopez could see significant time early at third base. He could also be part of the solution at shortstop if Brendan Ryan(notes) doesn’t recover as quickly as expected from offseason wrist surgery.
“We all thought we were a little thin,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “We just got a little heftier as far as depth. If he (signed) with us he knew he could play multiple positions and he’s fine with that.”
Following a solid 2009, Lopez expected to be in some team’s camp much earlier than this. Upset by his status, Lopez changed his representation two weeks ago from Scott Boras to Beverly Hills Sports Council.
A first-round selection by Toronto in 1998, Lopez reached the majors with the Blue Jays in 2001 and was an All-Star for Cincinnati in 2005.
“I don’t know that he would have been (available) if we had waited through the weekend,” Mozeliak said. “We either had to do it now or relegate ourselves to, if we thought we needed that left-handed bat somewhere else, we would have had to pursue it in a trade.”
Mozeliak added that Lopez’s attitude during his two-month stretch with the club in 2008 factored in the decision to bring him back.
“I’m excited,” Lopez said. “It’s been tough just waiting around. I hate it. What matters is that I’m here. I’m in a good place with people I can learn a lot from.”

Source: AP

Slugger the Royals Mascot in Trouble?


The Kansas City Royals are being sued by a man over a hot dog incident in the stands last summer.John Coomer alleges he suffered a detached retina and the development of cataracts in his left eye after he was hit by a hot dog that was thrown into the stands by the Royals’ mascot Slugger.The lawsuit said that during a break in the game on Sept. 8, 2009, Slugger climbed on top of the third-base dugout and shot hot dogs into the stands with an air gun. After using the air gun, Slugger then started throwing hot dogs to fans, and one hot dog hit Coomer in the face.The lawsuit alleges negligence and battery.Coomer has undergone two surgeries and is seeking $25,000 in damages.The Royals said they are aware of a report about a lawsuit, but they have no comment on pending legal matters.Royals spokesman Toby Cook said there has been several personnel changes, and there will be a different person playing Slugger this season. Cook said the change is not related to any particular incident.

Source: KMBC News

Manny’s Last Year As Dodger?


Manny Ramirez has never been one to bite his tongue, and today was no exception. Ramirez told reporters that he expects this season with the L.A. Dodgers to be his last.

“I won’t be here next year, so I just want to enjoy myself,” said the 37-year-old Ramirez, speaking to reporters in the Dodgers clubhouse, according to ESPN.

Ramirez, who turns 38 in May, went on to say he doesn’t even know if he’ll play baseball for any team in 2011.

“I don’t know. I just know I’m not going to be here. When the season is over, I will see where I’m at.”

He added, “I’m just speculating, but I’m not 23 anymore.”

On paper, Ramirez logged a pretty good season last year, batting .290 with 19 home runs and 63 RBI’s. But he was suspended for 50 games for violating the league’s drug policy. In July, he resumed playing, and performed pretty well for a couple months. But he fell into a slump in September, and from that point to the end of the season he batted a disappointing .218.

Some commentators have also questioned whether the Dodgers — which are currently smarting from financial issues — can afford Ramirez, who will be paid $20 million this upcoming season. This season will be the second of a two-year, $45 million contract.

Torre Signs Fourth Year with Dodgers


Joe Torre said Saturday he has committed himself to a fourth year with the team, ending speculation about whether or not he will return in 2011. Torre’s current contract runs through the upcoming season, but talks are underway to extend his deal one more year. After 2011, the 69-year-old with four World Series titles as a manager said he would call it quits.
“Right now we’re just talking about the one year and what the number’s going to be,” Torre said, referring to what he will be paid in 2011.
When Torre originally signed with the Dodgers before the 2008 season there was a two-year offer on the table. But not wanting to be a lame duck manager after just one season in Los Angeles, he requested a third year.
Torre still intended on retiring after those first two seasons with the Dodgers.
“As it turns out, I’m still enjoying it,” he said. “But I’ve never been this age before. At some point you’re going to dread going to spring training and that day hasn’t come and I’m happy about that. It means I have the energy and feel good. Everything is good with me.”
Heading into his 29th season as a major-league manager, Torre has a career record of 2,246-1,915. His teams have reached the postseason 14 consecutive seasons, tying Atlanta’s Bobby Cox for the major-league record.
“When I first came over here I was just curious myself how I would like it,” Torre said. “I never anticipated after being in New York my first eight or nine years that I would go somewhere else and start over again. It’s been a great decision on my part to continue doing this because it’s been fun.”
General manager Ned Colletti has said there is no rush to finalizing Torre’s extension.
“I don’t have a deadline on it; that’s not a priority for me,” Torre said. “The priority now is spring training and putting the club together.”

Source AP

                                            Dodger News

Eric Gagne is pretty sure this is his last shot at a major league comeback. He’s glad to be getting it with the Los Angeles Dodgers. “I always wanted to come back. It was a matter of the timing,” Gagne said Saturday at spring training. “If I’m healthy and can throw the way I can throw, it shouldn’t be a problem to make the team.”
The 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner rejoined the Dodgers when he agreed to a minor league contract Friday. He was given an invite to big league camp and will make $500,000 if he’s added to the 40-man roster. Another $500,000 is available in performance bonuses.
The reliever was the toast of Los Angeles when he converted a record 84 consecutive save chances, including all 55 during the 2003 season. He won the NL Cy Young Award that year and his lively entrances from the bullpen were a spectacle that managed to keep typically early-departing Dodgers fans in their seats.
On his first day back inside the Dodgers’ clubhouse Saturday, Gagne pulled on a fresh, blue cap and tugged at the bill. He said it was perfect.
He could have been referring to more than just the fit. The right-hander has pitched for three big league teams (Rangers, Red Sox and Brewers) since leaving the Dodgers after the 2006 season. But it was in Los Angeles where he became a star closer, and he said the Dodgers never left his heart.
“I had my best memories here,” Gagne said. “I wish I never left. I wish I stayed here. I never wanted to leave. I don’t know if you know about it, but in the minor leagues, they breed you to be a Dodger. That’s what I am.”
General manager Ned Colletti didn’t have to take much of a risk on Gagne with a minor league deal. And if it works out, the pitcher will be back in the Dodgers family.
“He was the face of this franchise for a while,” Colletti said. “We know how he competes and how strong that part of his game will always be. If he can transfer that into his stuff, who knows? We’re curious to see if he can reinvent himself.”
Gagne departed after elbow and back operations limited him to a combined 15 1-3 innings over the 2005 and 2006 seasons. In 2007, he was named in the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
“There are a lot of regrets,” Gagne said, without confirming details in the report. “You have to accept it and just go on. You have to keep going and enjoy baseball. Get people out and get back to basics.”
The Mitchell Report said Gagne received human growth hormone in 2004. He apologized to Milwaukee teammates for “a distraction that shouldn’t be taking place” but didn’t directly address the allegation.
“I’ve said it 150 times—it’s always going to be on my resume for the rest of my life. People will second-guess everything I do, and if I have a good year they’ll all second-guess that,” he said Saturday. “That’s normal. I’m not expecting anything else. But for me, it’s over. I have to go on. I can talk about it every day, but it doesn’t matter. I still have to go out and pitch and perform.”
Looking much thinner than he was at his peak of 242 pounds during his Dodgers days, Gagne first said he’s probably seven pounds lighter. Later he amended that to 10-12 pounds lighter.
Gagne was released by the Brewers last spring and spent the year in his native Canada, rehabbing a slight tear in his shoulder while pitching in the independent Can-Am League.
Now, he figures this is his last chance to win a major league job.
“Health-wise, yeah,” Gagne said. “I’ve given it about a year and a half of just working hard and taking care of my body. If it doesn’t work out, I can’t take three years off and do it again. It gets to a point where you can’t keep rehabbing every year.”

Source: AP

Mitchell Page New Hitting Coach for Quad Cities

The Cardinals also hired Mitchell Page, formerly their hitting coach, as hitting instructor at Class-A Quad Cities. Roger LaFrancois was hired as hitting coach at rookie league Johnson City.
Page was the Cardinals hitting coach from 2001-04 and had been in the Washington Nationals organization the past two seasons.

Rangers Looking at Jose Molina

Yadier Molina’s brother Jose was offered a minor league contract by the Texas Rangers. The funny thing is that the Rangers have three catchers on the 40 man roster already. The starting Catcher job is up for grabs between  Saltamacchia, Teagarden and Toby Hall. Jarrod seems to be the frontrunner but he may still have shoulder problems. This is why the team want to bring Molina on board. This is a wait and see deal. Personally I would love to see Molina signed with the Rangers. His personality would fit well with the starting five pitchers.

Images of Spring Training


                                                                        Ruben Gotay
Photos by Jeff Robinson

McGwire’s First Day of Spring Training

This morning was the first start of Spring Training for the Cardinals, and of course there was a brief McGwire media frenzy. 

Saying that his admission was a “big, big release,” he chatted amiably and spoke casually about the steroid issue for 17 minutes, devoid of the emotion that marked a January news media blitz. In those interviews, McGwire admitted that he was a longtime steroid user during a 16 year career that peaked in 1998 with 70 home runs, breaking Roger Maris record of 61 set in 1961. Soon after McGwire went to work. Some of the other players that have come early are Rueben Gotay, Colby Rasmus and Joey “Bombs” Mather. I am just giddy with excitement.

Felipe Lopez Fires Boras


Free-agent infielder Felipe Lopez has fired his agent, Scott Boras, and signed on with the Beverly Hill Sports Council, a source told Friday.
The 29-year-old Lopez was reportedly disgruntled over still finding himself without a team, just days before the beginning of spring training.
Lopez batted .310, with a .383 on-base percentage, last season for the Diamondbacks and Brewers. The only other free agent on the market this winter who matched or beat him in both of those categories was Matt Holliday.
The Cardinals are the only club known to still have interest in Lopez, who was also on Colorado’s shopping list before the Rockies signed Melvin Mora. Source: Jayson Stark

I want to applaud Lopez for having the guts to fire Boras. We don’t see this very often. Looks like lopez wants work and Boras was not representing him properly. As of late the Cardinals do have interest in him to fill in the infield and outfield. I think Lopez would be a nice fit once again to play off our bench which needs help at this time.