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Friday, August 12, 2011

Posnanski: Why Hitting Streaks Matter (Sort Of)

Yeah, just to give Waldling another chance to say…“Who’s Heinie Manush?”

Which brings us to: Hit streaks. Obviously hit streaks are on the mind these days because Dan Uggla is doing something so utterly unlikely that we can’t help but be drawn to it (or repelled by it, I suppose). Uggla was well on his way to the lowest batting average in the history of the National League when he began this hitting streak. And the streak is at 31 games now, more than halfway to the magic number, 25 games away from Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio.

In my mind, Joe DiMaggio invented the hit streak in 1941 It is probably his enduring contribution to baseball. Every single time you hear an announcer say that Neifi Perez is on a modest six-game hitting streak, every ...

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Repoz Posted: August 12, 2011 at 10:50 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: history, miami, projections, sabermetrics

Yahoo: Phillies sign Cust to minor-league deal

The Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a minor-league deal with Jack Cust.

Cust, a left-handed hitting outfielder, was released by Seattle earlier this month after hitting .213 with three homers and 23 RBIs in 225 at-bats. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
...
Cust is a career .242 hitter with 105 homers and 323 RBIs in 10 seasons with six teams.

NTNgod Posted: August 12, 2011 at 10:43 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, mariners, phillies

Hollandsworth rips Ramirez for lack of effort

I believe it was French tragedian turned Chicago tragedian, Juan Pierre Corneille, that said…“The greater the baseball effort, the greater the baseball glory.”

Todd Hollandsworth, who played in two seasons (2004-05) with the Cubs as part of a 12-year major-league career, serves as a Cubs studio analyst for Comcast SportsNet. Despite Ramirez’s improving statistics (.287 average, 21 homers, 71 RBIs), Hollandsworth took the veteran third baseman to task Friday for failing to be a positive influence on the team.

“When you’ve got your best player—he’s your best hitter, we’ve watched it for years now—and you can’t seem to have a positive effect on the guys around you in your clubhouse, getting them to step up or play to a different level, it’s ...

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Repoz Posted: August 12, 2011 at 09:11 PM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, cubs, fantasy baseball, history, media

CStB: Cosloy: Mushnick Accuses ESPN, MLB Of Exploiting 9/11 (Less Successfully Than The NFL)

Conflict records!

For the New York Post’s sports media critic Phil Mushnick, few social issues have raised his ire over the years nearly as much as sporting events being played in prime time, particularly those that might actually end after 10pm eastern time.  With only the deepest concern for the ticket holders and viewers in their 80?s teens, Mushnick once again attempts to flog this particular dead horse, except this time he can do so against the backdrop of the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001.  The Mets are hosting the Cubs this coming 9/11 at Citi Field, and with ESPN’s announcement said game will be moved from an 1pm start time to an 8pm commencement to accommodate a national TV audience, Mushnick declares the decision to ...

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Repoz Posted: August 12, 2011 at 09:02 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: business, cubs, history, media, mets, television

Grantland: The Architecture of Disaster

I’m still holding out hope the next wave of baseball stadiums - Five Hour Energy Drink Park in Oakland, Godaddy.com Stadium in Miami, and Mountain Dew Field in Tampa - will emphasize beauty over revenue.

My guess is that in the rest of the world, when someone decides to commit billions of municipal bucks to building a stadium for their city their first thoughts generally go immediately to the architecture….

So what did the New York/New Jersey big-sports collective give the world in a once-in-a-millennium public works project whose cost exceeded the annual GDP of Barbados, wherein not one but three new stadia arose within two years?

The Yankee Clone, Ebbets 2.0, and The Jersey Lump.

How can the former architectural capital of the globe ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 12, 2011 at 08:13 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: business, mets, yankees

College World Series gets OK for instant replay

The NCAA has given final approval for the use of instant replay to review certain calls at the 2012 College World Series.

Reviewable plays would be limited to deciding if an apparent home run is fair or foul, whether a batted ball left the playing field for a home run or a ground-rule double, or whether there is fan interference on apparent home runs.

The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee proposed the rule, and it was approved Thursday by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

Instant replay won’t be used in regionals and super regionals because not all venues will have access to the same technology as TD Ameritrade Park, the new home of the CWS.

Thanks to Jed.

Repoz Posted: August 12, 2011 at 06:12 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: college

International Baseball Update (August 12, 2011)

WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC:

Contradictory reports from Japan on the quest by the NPB and it’s players to get more money from the WBC. The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that negotiations will continue in the US. But another report says that the demands have been outright rejected. The Japanese have reportedly said they wouldn’t take part if some sort of deal isn’t reached. The primary point of contention seems to be around the money that the Japanese team gets from sponsorships and merchandising. The various MLB-related stakeholders, of course, don’t want to give up any sort of revenue that they are already getting, so are stonewalling the Japanese. In other words, typical negotiations.

LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES:
The LLWS is approaching, with the ...

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Gamingboy Posted: August 12, 2011 at 06:01 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: international, japan

Schoenfield: Who delivers from the cleanup spot?

There’s another major flaw with using this method of evaluation—it doesn’t account for walks. Take Cabrera, for example. According to this statistic, he’s only the 97th-best “RBI guy” in the majors. Here’s the thing though: He’s hitting .373 with runners in scoring position and .348 with men on base. But pitchers will pitch around him whenever possible. With runners in scoring position, Cabrera has had just 102 at-bats, but 31 walks (giving him a .507 on-base percentage), meaning he draws a walk more than 20 percent of the time when a runner is already in scoring position. You think pitchers fear Cabrera?

Compare that to Howard, who has 132 at-bats with runners in scoring position and just 21 walks. (Howard is actually hitting .311 with ...

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Repoz Posted: August 12, 2011 at 12:45 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Daugherty: Blame Baseball if Votto leaves

Break out the gravitational beam emitter if he dares to pull away!

He’ll be 28 in a month. He’s in his prime. He’s the Reds best player. And they will have to consider trading him over the winter.

There is something fundamentally messed up about a sport which doesn’t allow all its teams to keep their best players. Joey Votto will make $17 million two years from now. It says more about baseball economics than about snarky sportswriters that trading Votto is a conversation topic already.

No one is clamoring for an NFL-style socialism. That might encourage the sort of subsidized mediocrity we’ve endured at Paul Brown Stadium. But there ought to be a way Baseball can spread enough wealth so trading a player like Votto is an ...

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Repoz Posted: August 12, 2011 at 11:12 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, reds

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-12-2011

Providence Evening Tribune, August 12, 1911:

Philadelphia, Aug. 12—Because he “knew” Ty Cobb, Raymond Cobb, who was arrested with 39 alleged “hoboes” in a raid along the waterfront, was allowed by Magistrate Carey to go free yesterday.

...

[Raymond Cobb] stated that he hailed from Detroit.  “Are you related to Ty Cobb?” asked Magistrated Carey.

“No, but I know him well,” answered Raymond.

“Discharged,” said the Magistrate.

He’s lucky he didn’t have to face Magistrate Morris.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 12, 2011 at 09:02 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, dugout, history

Yahoo.com: How Jose Bautista Went From Baseball Vagabond To The Game’s Best Slugger

In his free time, Bautista reads books on exceptionality. “I’m trying to understand why mediocre people become good at what they do,” he says, “and why good people become the best.” So he mixes other players’ post-career musings on success with real mental protein. He’s gotten into Malcolm Gladwell. He recently finished “Outliers.”

The Baltimore Orioles selected him as a Rule 5 pick in December 2003 and replaced him in late May with 27-year-old Jose Leon, who had 66 at-bats that year and never played in the major leagues again. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays held onto Bautista for three weeks before discarding him for Joey Gathright, who would go on to have the worst slugging percentage of any player with at least 1,000 at-bats in the 2000s. ...

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Tripon Posted: August 12, 2011 at 06:51 AM | 79 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, history, international, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting

Brazil: The A’s tipping point

Can’t…get…past…The Stinkiness Factor chapter.

In the year 2000, author Malcolm Gladwell wrote a bestseller titled “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”.  While the book explores compelling observations of sociological behavior, it’s main emphasis is the phenomena of how epidemics begin.  Specifically, the one tangible which can be retrospectively credited as the beginning of mass change.  In other words, the tipping point.

This is exactly what the Oakland Athletics are searching for right now: The tipping point.

Looking back, it likely was not the addition of Josh Willingham, the maturation of Gio Gonzalez, or the impact of Bob Melvin ... however those things all help.  They have primed the franchise to ...

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Repoz Posted: August 12, 2011 at 04:22 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, books, media, sabermetrics

Curt Flood

Here’s a brilliant post, or rather essay, celebrating Curt Flood’s heroism and his legacy.

The author concludes with a rousing endorsement for Flood’s selection to Cooperstown.  All I can say is “Here, Here!!!”

It’s worth the read.

Posted: August 12, 2011 at 04:04 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Royals Review: Kyle Davies Has Not Had a Good Week

Kyle Davies’ mugshot is historically awful.

Fired by the Royals and popped with a drunken & disorderly within 24 hours. Not a banner week for now former Royal Kyle Davies.

If the veritable Florida Arrests website is to be believed, Davies was arrested for “disorderly intoxication” at 3 AM on August 9… He was officially released by the Royals the next day.

Two schools of thought on this one: 1) he found out he was going to be released and had himself a night 2) he had himself a night and earned his releasin’.

The District Attorney Posted: August 12, 2011 at 03:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

NY Times: The Struggles of [Mariano] Rivera Cast a Pall Over a Win

On a normal day, a late tie-breaking grand slam by Robinson Cano, another big home run from Curtis Granderson and a record-tying save by Mariano Rivera would leave Yankees fans with feelings of joy and satisfaction.

But this was no normal day, and although the Yankees came away with an important 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday thanks to a critical mistake by the Angels and Cano’s ability to capitalize, Rivera did nothing to allay fears about his recent slump.

Rivera encountered serious problems for a third consecutive outing. Trying to protect a four-run lead, Rivera surrendered a three-run homer to Russell Branyan on the first pitch he threw, turning what had appeared to be a comfortable victory into a narrow ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 12, 2011 at 03:05 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, game recaps, yankees

ESPN: Tigers end 13-game losing streak in Cleveland

Justin Verlander gave Detroit exactly what it needed, becoming baseball’s first 17-game winner as the division-leading Tigers avoided being swept by Cleveland and opened a three-game lead in the AL Central with a 4-3 win over the second-place Indians on Thursday night.

Verlander (17-5) allowed three hits and struck out 10 in seven dominant innings to earn career win No. 100 as the Tigers ended a 13-game losing streak in Cleveland. He was also on the mound for Detroit’s previous win at Progressive Field on May 8, 2010.

The Tigers fell far short of the recent 22 game losing streak of the ‘07-‘10 Pirates against the Brewers at Miller Park, much less the 27 game losing streak of the ‘52-‘54 Browns/Orioles against the Indians. ...Read More...

NTNgod Posted: August 12, 2011 at 03:03 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: game recaps, indians, tigers

Thursday, August 11, 2011

STL Post-Dispatch: Cards land veteran lefty Rhodes

Veteran leftthander Arthur Rhodes, 41, has elected to sign with the Cardinals and will be activated Friday for the opener of the series against Colorado at Busch Stadiuim.

Rhodes’ agent, Dan Horwits, said this afternoon that the lefty had accepted the Cardinals offer. And general manager John Mozeliak a few moments afterward confirmed that Rhodes had been added as a second lefthander in the bullpen, to go with Marc Rzepczynski, recently acquired from Toronto.

“Given our bullpen, I think it would be a nice lift to have that second lefty,” Mozeliak said, “We’ve always had interest in (Rhodes).”
...
Rhodes was released by the Texas Rangers, and he will be paid the remainder of his contract by the Rangers minus a pro-rated portion of the ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 11, 2011 at 11:21 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, rangers

LAT - Do not adjust your Internet: Mike Marshall and Tony Phillips fight

(Mike) Marshall, the former Dodgers outfielder now managing the Chico Outlaws of the independent North American Baseball League, was suspended three games for fighting Monday with Tony Phillips.

Yep, that Tony Phillips, the one who played in the major leagues for 18 seasons. And is still playing for the independent Yuma Scorpions—managed by Jose Canseco.

Don’t worry if it feels a tad surreal. It should.

Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: August 11, 2011 at 10:19 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur, athletics, dodgers, minor leagues

Tech-savvy players use iPads to gain edge over opponents - MLB News | FOX Sports on MSN

Just wait until the iPad goes 3D.

“For me [Matt Diaz], film study makes baseball a lot more fun. There’s another level of intellect involved. That’s one of the beautiful things about this sport. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest athlete to succeed at it. I’ve been doing film study since eighth grade, when my mom would film my swing from the bleachers so I could watch it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 11, 2011 at 09:21 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, scouting

Paul Lukas: Uni Watch on the Confederate flag

More great work by Lukas here…

Roy White has good reason to remember 1965. He was called up to the Bronx that September, his first cup of coffee in the majors. Over the next 14 seasons, he put together a solid if unspectacular big league career, all of it spent with the Yankees.

White is now 67 years old and runs a charitable foundation. As I prepared to call him, I imagined what it must have been like for a black man to be forced to wear the Confederate flag in the mid-1960s. I figured the episode would be seared into his memory. But when I asked him about it, he had no recollection of having worn the sleeve patch.

“Really?” he said. “Truthfully, I don’t remember that. I was just a kid out of high school. At that age, you know, you’re ...

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Repoz Posted: August 11, 2011 at 06:08 PM | 1504 comment(s)
  Beats: history, memorabilia, yankees

S.I.: Will Carroll: Under The Knife

Just wanted to point out this nifty “Boog” Sciambi riff by Carroll…

The Moneyball movie is coming out soon and with a trailer that makes the story seem like a cross between Seabiscuit and Hoosiers, a whole population of people who haven’t read the book, seen the term used and misused for the better part of a decade, and don’t know much about the Oakland A’s during the Billy Beane era will learn.

Unfortunately, they’ll learn the Hollywood-twisted version of advanced baseball statistics, the same way that NFL fans saw a brilliantly written book about offensive tackles turned into a Sandra Bullock tearjerker. If there’s a real chance for the truth—the real heart of the story—to come out, it won’t be on the big screen. Instead, it’s going to ...

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Repoz Posted: August 11, 2011 at 02:29 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, media, projections, sabermetrics

Melewski: The Orioles are hitting a lot of home runs, but it hasn’t translated to wins

Jumpin’ Jakucki’s! The O’s are next to last in walks…..(pant/pant pass dem temazies!)

But all those homers have not translated into wins. While the Orioles rank fourth in the AL in home runs, they rank last in the AL in wins.

...Hitting homers is not a bad thing. But I do think homers can be overrated. The Orioles are scoring a little more this year, averaging 4.1 runs per game, up from last season’s 3.8 mark.

But I prefer an offense that has variety. It has some players with speed, some gap-to-gap hitters that crank out a lot of doubles and has some high on-base percentage players that draw walks and work the count. A good offense features solid situational hitting.

The Orioles offense could definitely use more players that work the ...

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Repoz Posted: August 11, 2011 at 01:44 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles, projections, sabermetrics

Jack O’Connell: Granderson adds to MVP resume

Here’s a few quarters…go make some phone calls.

Chants of “MVP” could not be detected both times Curtis Granderson circled the bases on home runs Wednesday night, but it shouldn’t be long now before the chorus becomes a regular feature at Yankee Stadium.

Granderson surely belongs in the conversation for American League Most Valuable Player. Some media types seem ready to just hand the trophy over to Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who is the favorite at this point, but after watching them last weekend at Fenway Park it seems to me that center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury may take a few votes away from his teammate. After all, you have to be the MVP of your team to be considered MVP of your league, and right now in Boston that is ...

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Repoz Posted: August 11, 2011 at 01:32 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, sabermetrics, yankees

ABQ Journal:  Little League’s Antics Spur Uproar

Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was unimpressed with Caesar Garcia on Tuesday, never mind the Altamont Little Leaguer’s three-run home run Tuesday in a nationally televised Southwest Regional game from Waco, Texas.
Garcia and his father, in turn, are unimpressed with Strasburg.

Twitter “journalism” at its finest, and further proof that not much of newsworthy consequence occurs in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

frannyzoo Posted: August 11, 2011 at 12:22 PM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur, nationals, summer leagues

Lauber: Power outage for Adrian Gonzalez

When Adrian Gonzalez agreed to compete in the Home Run Derby, he shrugged off the notion that his swing might be adversely affected. But he has only one homer since the All-Star break.

Coincidence?

“No, I completely buy that,” Red Sox [team stats] hitting coach Dave Magadan said before Gonzalez was 0-for-4 in last night’s 5-2 loss to the Twins. “He’s a guy, when he takes batting practice, he doesn’t hit too many balls to the pull side (right field). To go in there in the Home Run Derby and take 120 swings or however many they take, and everything’s pull, pull, pull, now it’s kind of hard to back the ball up and go the other way again.”

Gonzalez repeatedly has denied that the Home Run Derby had any impact. In fact, he has ...

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Repoz Posted: August 11, 2011 at 12:01 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: projections, red sox, sabermetrics

Moment #55: Jim Bouton’s ‘Ball Four’ TV show includes gay ballplayer

That Barton was no fink..as Outsports’ continues its series on the 100 most important moments in gay sports history.

Major League pitcher Jim Bouton had caused quite a stir with his 1970 book, Ball Four. The book chronicled his 1969 season in the Major Leagues and brought to the public eye the rampant womanizing and drug use taking place in Major League Baseball. Bouton was spurned for the book by many in baseball.

In 1976 he co-created and co-wrote a sitcom for CBS with the same name as his book. The series included one of the first regular gay characters in TV history: A gay rookie ballplayer. While the series was short-lived (only five episodes aired), it was an important break into national television. Even today, you could count on ...

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Repoz Posted: August 11, 2011 at 11:45 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: books, history, media

Lamberts: Catching up with former Detroit Tiger Steve Kemp

Nothing left to spill, I guess.

When I was looking up information about you on the internet, Wikipedia.com listed you as Steven “Ashtray” Kemp.

“That just goes to show you you can’t believe everything you read on the ‘net. My kids asked me about that once. Maybe some fan was mad at me about something and decided to give me a nickname. But I have no clue. I never smoked, so I have no idea where that came from.”

Have you read Stephen King’s book “Cujo” or are you familiar with the book or the movie? In the novel, but they left it out of the film, the lead female character (Donna Trenton) and her son (Tad) are trapped inside a car by a rabid St. Bernard. Her husband (Vic) is away on a business trip so she and her son go ...

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Repoz Posted: August 11, 2011 at 11:12 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: history, tigers

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-11-2011

100-year-old newspaper war!

Youngstown Vindicator, August 10, 1911:

East Liverpool, Aug. 10.—Hugh Tate, first baseman for the Youngstown ball team playing here Wednesday afternoon, had his right wrist shattered by being struck with a fast shoot pitched by Richie of the local team.  Dr. J.L. Pyle…declared the bone in Tate’s wrist had been broken into at least ten pieces.

Not so fast, my friend.

Youngstown Vindicator, August 11, 1911:

The town of East Liverpool must be a wonderful place.  They fix shattered wrists down there in less time than it takes to shatter them.  They have some accurate and reliable newspaper men there too.  If they are asked for a story 20 hours after an incident happens they can supply you with more horrible details ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 11, 2011 at 09:16 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Slate: Why Are They Using Baseball Bats Instead of Cricket Bats in the U.K. Riots?

It’s the fault of all those baseball hooligans!

Many people in the U.K. seem to associate baseball bats with violence, perhaps on account of the long association between the two in American films (like The Warriors), television shows (like The Sopranos), and video games (like Grand Theft Auto). The idea of baseball-related combat has become so common in England that theater companies regularly call BaseballSoftballUK, the country’s development agency for the two sports, seeking bats for staged beatings. In addition, one of the organization’s female members was once singled out on a bus by a police officer who demanded that she produce a softball to prove that she wasn’t carrying her bat as a weapon. There may be some logic to preferring a ...

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vortex of dissipation Posted: August 11, 2011 at 08:48 AM | 151 comment(s)
  Beats: international

Arizona Republic: Arizona Diamondbacks defeat Houston Astros to take NL West lead

And the Diamondbacks, by virtue of their 6-3 win at Chase Field on Wednesday night, really are a first-place team again. Coupled with San Francisco’s 9-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier in the day, the Diamondbacks leapfrogged the Giants, whom they now lead by a half-game in the NL West.

It was a game in which order was restored in the Diamondbacks’ universe. They had been hammered by these Astros on Monday and then needed every ounce of effort - and every inch of closer J.J. Putz’s reach - to eke out a win Tuesday.

But on Wednesday right-hander Josh Collmenter mostly had his way with the young Houston lineup, and the Diamondbacks pounced on Henry Sosa in the right-hander’s major-league debut, scoring three runs in the first ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 11, 2011 at 05:04 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, game recaps

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