Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup (Reuters)

April 23 (The Sports Xchange) – Los Angeles Dodgers righty Chad Billingsley will have Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday and is likely out for at least a year, the team announced. Billingsley, 28, first experienced elbow pain last July and had platelet-rich plasma injections in August and September and tried to rehab. He made two starts this season before the elbow injury resurfaced. The right-hander joined fellow starters Zack Greinke (broken collarbone) and Chris Capuano (strained calf) on the disabled list two days ago. …

Posted under Mlb

Capuano Hurls two-hitter as Mets wait for Irene to pass

Some of the New York Mets coaching staff and players who live in low lying areas of the New York metropolitan area planned to stay at Citi Field the next few days as Hurricane Irene approaches New York City. Hours before the Mets started a scheduled three-game series with the Atlanta Braves, the club announced that afternoon games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoon had been postponed because of the approaching category 1 hurricane. The two games will be rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on September 8.

“I am going to head inland a little bit and head to high ground,” said Chris Capuano moments after he pitched a career best game, shutting out the Atlanta Braves 6-0 in the one game suspended series. New York hopefully will resume play Monday afternoon at Citi Field against the Florida Marlins, a twin-bill from a previous rain out, a four-game series in three days.

As the Mets made plans heading to higher grounds, there was a buzz in the clubhouse. Capuano (10-11) struck out a career high 13 Braves, retired 22 of the first 23 Braves. He threw 122 pitches and did not allow a walk, a two-hit shutout and best pitching effort from a Mets pitcher this season.  It was the Mets first win on a home stand this season, after going 0-10, a big league record.

“A fun game to watch, he certainly deserved it,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. The manager was watching the pitch count. Had Capuano got a man on in the ninth he was ready to remove him. The 33-year old, and All-Star with Milwaukee in 2006 has recovered from two previous Tommy John surgeries, and Collins did not want to do anything to ruin the evening. Capuano did not allow a runner get on base until Dan Uggla got a broken bat single leading off the fifth inning.

He was asked about the pitch count. “I purposely kept not looking,” said Capuano who had great command of his off-speed pitches all night. “It was exhilarating to get that last out,” he said about the last pitch, ending the game that saw Michael Bourn strike out a fourth time. “I wasn’t conscious of the no-hitter,” he said before Uggla got the hit.

New York, as has often been the situation this season with two-outs, scored two runs in the fifth inning on a single from Nick Evans and on two-run doubles by Justin Turner and one from Lucas Duda in the eighth, one of his three hits. “He’s earned it,” commented Collins about Duda and his role in the lineup batting cleanup in right. “The confidence is there. He’s grown into a player we all thought he would be.”

But the talk was about Capuano who faced one batter over the minimum. “He’s been a good pitcher for us,” stated Collins. However, Capuano has been a hard luck pitcher having quality starts in seven of his last 14 outings, is third best in strikeouts per nine innings, and had another no-decision in a Mets 11-0 loss against Milwaukee On August 20th.

“The first two innings he made a statement and he had good rhythm tonight,” said catcher Josh Thole who was packed and ready to ride out the impending storm upstate in upstate Binghamton with his wife. Starter Dillon Gee was also planning to take the ride with him.

Ruben Tejada had three hits, and scored on the Evans single in the fifth that broke a scoreless tie, followed by a Thole RBI single. Tejada was going to wait out Irene at a nearby Holiday Inn by the ballpark with family in town from his country of Panama. The starting shortstop has become a consistent hitter since getting the start when Jose Reyes went down again with an injured hamstring on August 8th.

“Better safe than sorry,” said Capuano regarding the next two games being cancelled because of the storm, “you can’t take any chances.”  The Mets can only hope the high pitch count did not hurt their starter as Collins took a chance.

NOTES: Braves starter Tim Hudson (13-8) lost to the Mets for the third time this season and allowed 11 hits, the most since 2008… Jason Bay sat out the game with a jammed right shoulder and is expected back in the lineup Monday…Reyes is also expected back in the lineup Monday after going 1-for-3 in another rehab start up in Binghamton and Collins said he would rest Reyes often to keep the hamstring healthy for next season…

Before the game New York selected the contract of Right hander Miguel Batista from Buffalo (AAA) and placed outfielder Scott Hairston on the 15-day disabled list. Batista, the 40-year old veteran started the season with St. Louis and is widely remembered as being a major part of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks World Series championship team that defeated the New York Yankees.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Afternoon Games, Atlanta Braves, Category 1 Hurricane, Fifth Inning, Florida Marlins, Fun Game, Game Series, Higher Grounds, New York Mets, Rich Mancuso, Shutout, Tommy John, Top Story, Two Games

Peterson Learns Off the Field, Aims to Return to the Field Soon

The trading deadline has now come and gone, and it is usually the time of year when Rick Peterson can finally settle in and know fully the hand he has been dealt with a pitching staff. However this year has been a different one for the former Mets pitching mentor, a year spent away from the ballpark for the most part, and in a sort of “pitching lab,” working in the development of tools and techniques to help clubs and individuals attain their best performance, just not with one club.

A managerial change over the winter left Peterson, who had spent last season helping make John Axford into a closer and reshaping the delivery of Chris Capuano with the Milwaukee Brewers, a baseball nomad. The move came late for many teams solidifying staffs and left Peterson without a team for only the second time not in his career, but in his life. “It’s a little weird, but it has given me new perspective on the game and even on life, and I think it will help make me better when the phone rings again for whatever is the next job.” Peterson has not spent his time out of uniform idly sitting around and watching the waves crash in the shore near here is Manalapan, New Jersey home.  On the contrary, he has probably been busier with a multitude of tasks personal and professional than at any point in his storied career.

Trips to Italy (where he was married last month) and the Caribbean, attending school functions for his son, travelling across the country conducting seminars with Bloomberg Sports (whom he is advising on their analytic evaluation tools), helping run and manage his own company 3P Sports (which works with young players in technique and improving their game) and a great number of media appearances from Philly to Boston have kept the New Jersey resident engaged in baseball, and maybe learning more from a macro perspective than at any point in his career. “It has been great to talk to so many people, from players to agents to young developing talent, and really understand what they see as value in the game of baseball and how I can help them,” he added. “That has been really gratifying.”

What has also been gratifying to Peterson is seeing so many clubs embracing the use of data and technology to improve their on field play and protect the valuable investment they have made in players.  It is that type of data analysis that helped Peterson sculpt winning staffs with the Oakland A’s and the Mets, and helped get the Brewers back on track last year. “We have all this technology available today and companies like Bloomberg have made large scale investments into helping teams and players use technology to improve their performance, so seeing how the game is progressing is really impressive,” he added.  “Fewer guys are hesitant these days to use technology and data to improve, and that means we will hopefully see a better and more completely healthy player going forward.”

Even with his new scope of work, Peterson still longs to get back on the field, especially as summer turns to fall and the pennant races heat up. “Putting on that uniform is always a privilege, and it’s one I don’t think I ever took lightly, and I certainly take more seriously now than ever before,” he added. “This year has been one of continued growth, and now I want to take all of this work and help a club, should the opportunity arise and the situation is right.”

That situation could come this fall as clubs make their annual evaluation and changes of staff occur.  However Peterson adds, it has to be the right situation for it to work. “You need the right commitment and the right situation to be a success and what I have seen is that more and more clubs are willing to make more of an investment to win now and grow their player’s ability long term.  That is refreshing, and it makes me feel very good about where baseball is headed,” he added.

For Peterson, he hopes that he is headed back to the field sometime in the near future. It has been a year of growth and education, but for a guy who has spent so much time between the white lines and near the mound, the beach and the broadcast booth can still wait in favor of the day to day clubhouse activity, glove in one hand and laptop in another.

Posted under Analytic Evaluation, John Axford, Macro Perspective, Manalapan New Jersey, Media Appearances, Mentor, Milwaukee Brewers, Multitude, New Perspective, New York Mets, Rick Peterson, School Functions, Second Time, Staffs, Storied Career, Top Story, Trips To Italy, Watching The Waves, Waves Crash

This post was written by Jerry Milani on August 6, 2011

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Amazins Have Chance To Bury Bombers

Another day, another shutout by the Mets, who now have crawled back to one game under .500 before the Subway Series this weekend.

And what a great time to find their game as the club may be catching the Yankees at just the right time this year.

For those who have been under a rock or at least try to ignore what is happening north of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, the Yankees are a team in turmoil. Sure they won last night, but that came on the heels of a seven out of eight skid, which saw the Bombers throw their icons under the bus.

First Jorge Posada asked out of the lineup last Saturday after getting dropped to ninth in the batting order. After sitting out for a couple of days, he played on Tuesday in Tampa, but still is in Joe Girardi’s doghouse. His average is still on the Interstate at .179.

Then Derek Jeter irked Yankee officials by daring to defend his friend, instead of toting the company line and his got into the Yankee brass’s crosshairs.

Well, at least Mariano Rivera kept quiet over the past week, and there is no truth to the rumor Reggie Jackson was flown in for a tongue lashing, just for good measure.

And all of this turmoil, losing, and Bronx Zooery up there at the House that Jeter Built may be a good thing for the Mets, as the Amazins are playing their best ball of the year without the services of Ike Davis and David Wright, and relying on – of all things – strong starting pitching and solid relief.

Add to that a few rookies that just don’t know any better and things seems nice in Queens.

“We got to get to .500 and that’s all we are thinking about right now,” said pitcher Jason Irsinghausen, who was on the Mets back in 1998 and 1999 when the Subway Series was in its infancy. “It’s a May series. It’s just another baseball game for all of us. It’s nice to go to Yankee Stadium, though.”

A sweep by the Mets would be even nicer as the Yankees could be pushed over the edge. With R.A. Dickey, Chris Capuano, and Mike Pelfrey going for the Mets against Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and Ian Nova, the pitching matchup is there.

Add to that Jose Reyes being Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran playing for a contract and Frankie Rodriguez pitching like there’s $17 million dollars on the line, you have to at least give the Mets a better than average chance.

Imagine what would happen if the pass the hat Mets sweep the mighty Yankees. Posada would probably be released. Players would be demoted. Derek Jeter would be dropped down in the lineup and maybe a coach or two would get whacked.

Although George Steinbrenner is no longer with us, over the last week, we have seen the Bronx Zoo alive and well on 161st Street.

And the Mets will get a chance to make a statement. For a team so desperate to sell tickets and so e desperate to remain relevant, this is their weekend to get back in the good graces of their disillusioned fan base and maybe change the tide of New York Baseball for both teams.

Two shutouts against the Nationals were a nice start, but now this is their chance to shine.

Posted under Baseball Game, Bombers, David Wright, Derek Jeter, Doghouse, Good Measure, Infancy, Joe Girardi, Joe Mcdonald, Jorge Posada, Kennedy Bridge, Last Saturday, Mariano Rivera, New York Mets, Reggie Jackson, Robert F Kennedy, Rookies, Shutout, Subway Series, Top Story, Yankee Brass, Yankee Stadium

This post was written by Joe McDonald on May 19, 2011

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Audio: Mets Break Losing Streak

The Mets finally bounced out of the funk and best the Astros 9-1. Terry Collins got tossed the second batter of the game. Chris Capuano pitched seven strong innings and David Wright broke out of his slump. Jason Bay finally returned after missing most of the first month of the season with a rib cage strain.

Here are Bob Trainor’s postgame sounds:

David Wright

Chris Capuano

Jason Bay

 

Posted under Bob Trainor, David Wright, Game Chris, Jason Bay, Losing Streak, Mets, Mp3 Audio, Nbsp, New York Mets, Sounds, Top Story, Trainor

This post was written by Bob Trainor on April 22, 2011

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Long day for Mets in Twin Bill Loss to Rockies

The four-game series for the New York Mets at Citi Field with the Colorado Rockies is one that could epitomize where the season is going. New York had leads of two runs in all four that would not last long which contributed to a Colorado sweep.

And the Mets are glad they won’t see Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki until the two teams meet again at Coors Field next month. He homered in four consecutive games at Citi Field, a record at the three-year old park for a visiting or home player. The 26 year old finished the series with a .625 batting average (10-16) with five runs scored, one double, four walks and eight runs batted in.

That was one of the contributing factors that led to New York dropping a twin bill to the Rockies concluding a losing first home stand of the season. They have lost eight of nine, including five straight.  Pitching and defense has not been what manager Terry Collins envisioned as the team embarked on a brief three-game road series in Atlanta.

“We are going to Atlanta and think about what needs to be addressed,” said Collins after a long day at Citi Field .The Mets dropped the first game 6-5, and the nightcap 9-4. The second game was in reach after another two run lead. Then a chopped ground ball to Brad Emas at second, one he could not handle allowed a run to score.

That would lead to more opportunity for the Rockies, who managed to get many of them in the series because of costly miscues by the Mets. Dexter Fowler got a single giving Colorado the 5-4 lead, starter Chris Capuano (1-1) was lifted. And then Taylor Buchholz allowed Jonathan Herrera to hit a three-run homer to right, second of his career.

So the first seven home games at Citi Field have had a recurring theme. The bullpen leaves a lot to be desired, and on the field the Mets are making too many costly mistakes that allowed the opposing team to score and get the win. Earlier this week, Collins admitted it was frustrating. It got worse when he was asked about the losing streak, and how his team played before the home fans the past week after starting the season with a 3-3 road trip at Florida and Philadelphia.

“Depressing,” was the word now used by Collins. “We’re better than this and we’ll play better than this. I still believe we are going to straighten this out. We showed too much promise in spring training. This is not or how we wanted to show our fans.”

However there were some positives in an otherwise dismal Mets clubhouse. Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a fourth inning two-run single to center field in the second game. He had two triples in the series and is getting on base with the extra base hit.

“We need to play better baseball,” said Reyes when asked if there was any sign of panic with the Mets heading to Atlanta with a 4-9 mark. “We have a better team. A loss is a loss. We need to turn this around.”

The four-game home run streak tied the longest stretch of Tulowitzki’s career. He had a similar streak from September 15-19 in 2009. “I definitely had a good series,” he said. The Rockies doubleheader win extended their best 12 game start (10-2) in franchise history and it was their first road series win on the road against the Mets since May of 2002.

“A lot of times you come on the road, you get down late, sixth, seventh inning,” commented Tulowitzki, “and you shut it down, get ready to go home. This team does not do that at all. We’re a bunch of guys who don’t quit.”

“When he gets hot, he’s a very talented player,” said Rockies manager Jim Tracy about Tulowitzki.  Reyes and the Mets also know that Tulowitzki is a talented player who can make an impact as three of the four games were lost by one run.

New York lost the opener Thursday afternoon, a game that opened the twin bill caused by a Tuesday rain out that was supposed to open the series. In that game Reyes homered closing the gap to 6-3, but Huston Street closed the win for Colorado as R.A. Dickey dropped his second consecutive start after going six innings.

For the Mets, now it is frustration and according to Collins,” We can win 10 in a row, five in a row. That’s baseball. The object is to play better, that’s my job.” It has to get better soon or quickly in April this season will be meaningless come June.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring766@aol.com

Posted under Bullpen, Colorado Rockies, Consecutive Games, Coors, Coors Field, Costly Mistakes, Dexter, Emas, First Game, Game Road, Game Series, Home Games, Miscues, New York Mets, Rich Mancuso, Second Game, Shortstop, Starter Chris Capuano, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on April 15, 2011

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Sports Beat 4/1/11

Rip Van Winkle would have loved the Yankees based on their Opening Day roster. Seeing the names of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia on their pitching staff makes you feel as if you have been asleep for 20 years and have just woken up. Andy Pettitte has to be wondering if he retired too soon when he sees their names on a major league roster.

Things are picking up where they left off for the Mets. Jason Bay started off the year on the disabled list after straining his rib cage during batting practice in Port St. Lucie.

The Mets may not have the best starting pitching staff but they certainly have the brightest. Only 26% of major leaguers possess college degrees. Chris Young (Princeton), Chris Capuano (Duke), RA Dickey (University of Tennessee) and Mike Pelfrey (Wichita State) all have their sheepskins.

It is too soon to tell how the Carmelo Anthony trade will work for the Knicks but his presence has certainly helped the local economy around Madison Square Garden. An employee at the Borders bookstore adjacent to the Garden told me that business is way up since Carmelo came to the Knicks. Of course we don’t know things will be next year when the Knicks drastically raise ticket prices assuming that the NBA does not lock out its players.

Former Knicks forward Malik Rose, now an MSG Network commentator, has shown that he is unafraid to criticize his old mates after bad losses.

The stars of the WWE visited the Hard Rock Café in Times Square at the end of March to kick off attention for Wrestlemania XXVII. Mike “The Miz” Mizanin showed why he has the charisma and mike skills to be the biggest WWE star since Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was in his heyday.

Paul “Triple H” Levesque told me last month that he is moving away from being in the ring to taking a more active role in WWE business affairs (he is, after all, Vince McMahon’s son-in-law). Levesque claims that Wrestlemania provided Atlanta a $50 million economic stimulus, and that cities now bid for the annual WWE extravaganza the way they do for political conventions and Super Bowls.

Don’t look for Wrestlemania to ever return to the New York area anytime soon. “We are committed to doing Wrestlemania the first Sunday in April and we are using football stadiums. Weather is a factor so we’ll either use outdoor ones in warm weather climates (such as Miami Sun Life Stadium in 2012 ) or domed ones in colder climates,” Levesque said.

As for that other ring sport, 46 year-old Bernard Hopkins returns to action on May 21 as he takes on Quebec native son Jean Pascal at Montreal’s Bell Centre. Hopkins will probably still be boxing when he is forced to collect social security.

Speaking of boxing, there are few outlets devoted to the world of pugilism. Boxinginsider.com is a terrific website that features some of the best writers in the business such as our own Rich Mancuso.

If anyone doubts that it makes a difference for an athlete plays here, consider this: Crain’s New York Business had Amar’e Stoudemire on its cover two weeks ago while Derek Jeter is on the front of this month’s GQ.

Two books that should whet your tennis appetite are Wimbledon by David Green (Stewart, Taboori & Chang) which recalls in breathtaking photos the great matches that have taken place in that venerable London stadium, and Bud Collins Encyclopedia of Tennis (New Chapter Press) in which the most famous tennis commentator of all-time provides a who’s who of the sport.

Expect to hear a lot about the Indy 500 this year as “The Brickyard” will be celebrating its centennial. Indycar driver, and past “Dancing with the Stars” winner, Helio Castroneves came into New York last week to promote the fact that he is hoping to get his fourth victory at Indy this Memorial Day weekend. That would tie him with AJ Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser for most career wins there.

Bicycling is a fun way not only to get from points A to B but it’s a terrific way to exercise as well. Schwinn and Cannondale recently unveiled their line of new bikes to the media just in time for the warmer weather. If you are a serious cyclist who likes to go up and down big hills and look forward to the Tour du France and the Amgen California Tour, then Cannondale’s Quick CX 2 is your baby. If you’re like me and haven’t ridden a bike in years then you should go with Schwinn’s Trailway and Avenue lines which have sturdy frames, wide tires with good tread, and most importantly, easy-to-find brakes that stop on a dime!

This is a smart time to visit Florida. The weather is great, it’s less crowded, and the prices drop considerably even at the toniest resorts as well as on always inexpensive JetBlue. If you want to sharpen your tennis game, spend a long weekend at the Boca Raton Resort which is known for its teaching pros. If you’re a golfer, the pros at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens will work on all aspects of your game. Finally if you want to devour low-calorie gourmet food, enjoy spa treatments, and exercise with top-notch personal trainers, the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami located next door to the Doral Country Club (yes, you can play golf there as well) makes for a productive getaway.

At the annual Search Engine Strategies trade show, a rep from Sedo, a Boston-based domain hosting service, told me that websites devoted to buying and selling tickets are incredibly popular but warns web entrepreneurs to stay away from anything resembling corporate names to avoid lawsuits. For example, if you want to buy or sell Yankee tickets, work off a name resembling “Bronx Baseball” as opposed to the famous team that plays there.

David Paterson may not have been a great governor but he has proven to be a pretty good entertainer. He nicely poked fun of himself last year in a “Saturday Night Live” skit with his doppelganger played to perfection by Fred Armisen. Om March 28, Paterson nicely handled his hour segment hosting a call-in show on WFAN. He knew his stuff even if he went a bit over the top in his monolog telling Mets fans why they should be optimistic about the 2011 season.

Unilever’s Dove brand has always been synonymous with women but last year the company started to go after guys with its “Men + Care” line of deodorants, soaps and body wash products. Among the endorsers for Dove on their “Journey to Comfort” TV ad campaign are Joe Girardi, Albert Pujols, Magic Johnson and Bobby Hurley.

Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White is getting into the clothing design business for Target. Ironically, the winter games athlete is creating flip-flops, graphic T-shirts, denim shorts, hoodies, and sneakers for the Minneapolis-based retailers.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are an American staple. If want to enjoy a dessert-like treat, substitute Lotus Bakeries’ Biscoff Spread, which contains gingersnap, for the Jif or Skippy.

Drinking red wine has proven to have benefits for heart health. A fun new wine that made its debut at the Choice Eats food festival at the Lexington Avenue Armory last month was Wines That Rock. The company’s gimmick is that the labels feature the artwork from classic albums such as the Police’s “Synchronicity” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” The grape quality is pretty good too given its fairly low sales price.

The New York International Auto Show gets underway at the Javits Center April 22. I can tell that the economy is improving. While I still can’t afford to even rent a Porsche for an hour, I can at least afford to buy Carrera sunglasses this year!

Posted under Andy Pettitte, Bartolo Colon, Borders Bookstore, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Economic Stimulus, Jason Bay, Lloyd Carroll, Madison Square Garden, Major Leaguers, Malik Rose, Mike Pelfrey Wichita State, Mike The Miz Mizanin, Msg Network, New York Mets, Paul Triple H Levesque, Ra Dickey, Rip Van Winkle, Sheepskins, Top Story

This post was written by Lloyd Carroll on April 1, 2011

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