MLB In Full Bloom – Welcome To The Bronx Chase Headley – 7/23/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

On Tuesday, the New York Yankees acquired Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres for infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-handed pitching prospect Rafael De Paula to San Diego in the deal. It didn’t take long for Headley to get on the good side of Yankees fans. After getting to Yankee Stadium in the middle of the game, Headley struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and then grounded out in his next two at-bats. It didn’t matter because Headley was a hero after delivering a walk-off single in the 14th inning of a 2-1 victory over the Rangers. It will be interesting to see whether Headley can revive his career over the next two months before he hits free agency. He finished fifth in the National League MVP voting in 2012 after batting .286 with 31 homers and 115 RBI, but he’s battled injuries since then and going into Tuesday’s game, has hit just .243.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

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MLB In Full Bloom – Ortiz Belts Two Homers As Red Sox Offense Explodes – 7/22/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

The trade deadline is fast approaching and the Red Sox are holding their horses. The hitters who weren’t hitting — Stephen Drew (three-run homer, four RBIs Monday night), Xander Bogaerts (three hits), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (two hits, two RBIs) are now hitting. In addition, David Ortiz slammed a pair of two-run homers off Brad Mills in the Red Sox’s 14-1 drubbing of the Blue Jays on Monday. Ortiz has long been known as one of baseball’s premier power hitters, and last night, the Red Sox slugger continued to climb through the ranks in the game’s record books. In the fourth inning, Ortiz hit his 452nd career homer to deep center field and for a moment, he was tied with Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski at No. 36 on the all-time home run list. Then in the fifth, he broke a tie with Yastrzemski as he went deep for a second time, his team-high 22nd of the season to right field to give Boston a 13-1 lead. It was his third multi-homer game of the season and 44th of his career. The Red Sox have won eight out of nine and are just 7 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. They have 63 games remaining and a second half surge is certainly possible for the defending World Champions.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Cliff Lee returned from the disabled list on Monday night and struggled through 5 2/3 innings. Lee gave up six runs and 12 hits in a loss to the Giants in Philadelphia. Lee’s velocity is typically in the 89-92 mph range when healthy, but he was working more at 86-89 mph last night. Combine that with the fact that he still has some rust and the result turned out to be that Lee was very hittable in his return. He will face the Diamondbacks in his next outing, so keep him active in mixed leagues for now.
  • Adam Jones went 2-for-4 with a couple of two-run homers in Monday’s 4-2 win against the Angels. Jones’ first inning shot off Matt Shoemaker put the Orioles on top 2-0. Five innings later, Jones hit a 443 foot moon shot over the left center wall to give Baltimore a 4-2 lead. Jones has two homers and nine RBI over his last three games. He is now batting .300 is on pace for 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI.
  • Ian Desmond went 5-for-5 with three runs scored, two RBI and a home run Monday night against the Rockies. Desmond is now has an eight game hitting streak and has gone hitless in only two games during July. The shortstop is slashing .357 with 13 RBI so far in July.
  • Dee Gordon was 2-for-5 in Monday’s victory over the Pirates and he collected his 45th base as well. Gordon now has seven hits in his last three games and is batting .297. He’s now stolen three bags in his last five games.
  • According to Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, the club has no plans to temporarily shut down Garrett Richards in order to limit his workload. Richards is already at 131 1/3 innings, just short of the 145 innings he threw last season. He has never thrown more than 157 innings in a season before in pro ball, but Dipoto said there haven’t been any discussions about giving him a break.
  • Matt Cain (elbow) was placed on the disabled list on Monday with elbow tendinitis. Cain underwent an MRI on Monday that revealed no structural damage. Inflammation can often make MRI results difficult to view, however, so Cain may not be out of the woods just yet. The Giants remain optimistic that he’ll be able to avoid season-ending surgery, and will likely take another scan after the inflammation clears up. Cain has landed on the disabled list three times this season and is on pace to post the worst ERA of his career (4.18). Despite all the good news, he remains without a timetable to return to throwing.
  • Tommy Milone has asked the Oakland Athletics to be traded after being demoted to Triple-A earlier this month. Milone was sent to Triple-A. He lost his rotation spot following the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade. Milone was 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 16 starts for the Athletics this year. He is 31-22 with a 3.74 ERA for Oakland over the last three seasons since being acquired from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade. Several teams have contacted Athletics GM Billy Beane about the left-hander, but the team does not want to trade him at this time.
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MLB In Full Bloom – Astros Unable to Sign Brady Aiken – 7/21/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

The Houston Astros became the first team in 31 years to fail in signing the No. 1 overall pick (Tim Belcher, 1983) when they couldn’t come to terms with Brady Aiken by Friday’s deadline. The high school left-hander and his representation had a public argument with the Astros front office, accusing team officials of negotiating in bad faith. Houston also failed to sign Round 5 pick Jason Nix. According to Tony Clark, union executive director, said the MLBPA and the players’ representatives are considering legal action against the Astros. The Astros messed up the Aiken negotiations from the start of the process. They rescinded a $6.5 million offer after their medicals revealed a slight abnormality in Aiken’s left elbow ligament, amending to a $3.1 million minimum proposal that guaranteed the No. 2 pick as compensation next year if he didn’t sign. It’s quite possible the Astros will end up with two top 5 selections in the 2015 MLB draft. The ligament isn’t torn and will not require surgery. Aiken is pondering heading to junior college next year instead of honoring his commitment to UCLA, so he can opt into the 2015 draft.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • The Los Angeles Angels acquired Huston Street on Friday evening (and little-known relief prospect Trevor Gott) from the San Diego Padres on Saturday for minor leaguers Taylor Lindsey, R.J. Alvarez, Jose Rondon and Elliot Morris.  This trade makes so much sense that many several media outlets predicted it over a month ago. The Padres are once again cellar dweller’s and don’t need a stud closer. They get a handful of intriguing prospects. Lindsey, the No. 37 pick in the 2010 draft was rated by a few services as a top-100 overall prospect this spring and he was also the top prospect in the Angels’ system. It’s far too soon for an offensively-bereft organization to pull the plug on a keystone talent like Jedd Gyorko, but Lindsey could press him for playing time beginning next spring.
  • C.J. Cron took over as the Angels’ full-time designated hitter after they released Raul Ibanez in June. But, he was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday to make room on the roster for Huston Street. Cron should be back with the club before the season is over, but the curious move makes his fantasy value non-existent in the near term.
  • C.C Sabathia (knee) will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery which officially ends his season. There was some good news on Saturday, however: Sabathia won’t require microfracture surgery, which means he’ll be ready to go at the start of spring training. With his velocity plummeting and his body letting him down, Sabathia is a very risk option in dynasty formats.
  • The beginning of the second half means we’ve officially entered trade rumor season. FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi kicked things off with gossip that the Seattle Mariners are trying to get the Tampa Bay Rays to trade them left-hander David Price and infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist. If Price is headed to Seattle, you can bet Taijuan Walker will be given a one-way ticket to Florida as the package headliner.
  • Saturday was a dangerous day to be at the ballpark, as Brandon Belt and outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Holliday all hit the showers early. Belt was hit in the face during batting practice. The Giants decided to start him anyway, and Belt left the game against the Marlins early due to dizziness. On Sunday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed that Belt will be placed on the disabled list. NL-only leaguers will want to pick up Tyler Colvin. Puig was hit in the left hand by a Joe Kelly pitch. X-rays were negative, but is considered day-to-day. As for Holliday, his fifth inning exit was only a delayed precaution after he ran into Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez at second base in the first inning. He returned to the Cardinals lineup on Sunday night.
  • The Chicago Cubs have filed a lawsuit against a group of people they claim have been dressing in a bogus mascot costume and participating in “inappropriate and unsavory actions” near Wrigley Field, which includes charging fans for pictures and getting into bar fights. Yes, the Cubs are indeed suing the men behind the “Billy Cub” unofficial mascot.
  • The New York Yankees announced that they will honor Derek Jeter on September 7th. This surprise announcement sent ticket prices soaring on the resale market. The average list price for the home game in the Bronx against the Kansas City Royals went from $139.24 before the announcement to $497.98 by Saturday afternoon. On StubHub, the cheapest ticket went from $26 to $328 within a matter of hours.
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MLB In Full Bloom – 10 Predictions For the Second Half of MLB Season – 7/17/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

The 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field was always going to be about Derek Jeter. The Yankees’ legend went 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored to help lead the American League to a 5-3 win over the National League on Tuesday night. Angels star and All-Star Game MVP Mike Trout added an RBI triple in the first inning and a go-ahead double in the fifth, while Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first to pace the offense for the AL, which won home-field advantage in the World Series for the second straight year. Now the All Star Game is over and its time to turn our attention to the second half of the MLB season. Here are my 10 predictions for the second half!

10 PREDICTIONS FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE MLB SEASON

10. Will a Team Lose 100 Games? For the first time since 2007, it looks as if baseball may finish the season without having a team reach triple digits in the loss column. According to FanGraphs, not only is no team in baseball on track to lose 100 games, but only two—the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros—are projected to crack the 90-loss plateau, with the Astros edging out the Cubs by one loss (71-91) for the worst record in baseball.

9. Edwin Encarnacion Will Hit the Most Home Runs in 2014: Encarnacion hit 16 home runs, which tied Mickey Mantle for the most ever by an American League player in that month. On the season, the right-handed hitter has gone yard 24 times. After hitting 36 home runs a season ago, look for Encarnacion to lead all of baseball with 42 home runs in 2014.

8. Gregory Polanco Will Win National League the Rookie of Year Award: Polanco has played just 32 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, during his brief big league career, the right fielder has already produced an 11-game hitting streak. There’s also the consideration that he’s up against a weak rookie class in the National League. The most noteworthy players that Polanco is competing against are shortstop Chris Owings of the Arizona Diamondbacks and center fielder Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds.

7. Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton Will Both Steal More Than 70 Bases: It’s no surprise that Billy Hamilton has been racking up steals for the Cincinnati Reds. What is somewhat unexpected is that the center fielder isn’t leading baseball in that category. That honor belongs to Dee Gordon of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who has 43 steals compared to Hamilton’s 38. Both players have the speed to swipe more than 70 bases this season, but Gordon will maintain his early advantage and finish with 76, while Hamilton will end with 71.

6. Kirk Gibson Will Be the First Manager to Get Fired: It’s been a rough season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are already buried in the NL West. The central issue for the club is the terrible performance of the rotation, which has the third-worst ERA in baseball. Ultimately, though, the disappointing campaign can’t end well for Gibson. It seems inevitable that Tony La Russa, the club’s chief baseball officer, will want to clean house. That makes Gibson the overwhelming favorite to become the first manager to lose his job in 2014. Bud Black of the San Diego Padres and Terry Collins of the New York Mets could be next in line after Gibson.

5. The San Diego Padres Will Score Fewer Than 500 Runs: The Padres offense has been unbelievable unproductive in the opening months of the season. Through 95 games, they have scored 279 runs, which is by far the lowest total in baseball. For some context, the Los Angeles Angeles, who lead MLB in that category, check in at 478 runs. Last year, the Miami Marlins produced the fewest runs in MLB with 513. This season, the Padres won’t even hit the 500-run mark.

4. Bob Melvin Will Win the AL Manager of the Year Award: Melvin presses all the right buttons for the Oakland Athletics. He utilizes his entire 25-man roster than any other manager in baseball. That ability to use every single player of the squad has helped Melvin guide the club to the top record in MLB. Melvin will win his league’s Manager of the Year Award this season, which will mark the third time in his career that he will receive that honor.

3. The Los Angeles Dodgers Will Acquire David Price: The Los Angeles Dodgers clearly don’t need another starting pitcher. Then again, the addition of Price would be a game-changing move for the club. A top three of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Price would provide a playoff rotation that would shred the opposition in October.

2. Johnny Cueto Will Win the NL Cy Young Award: There are quite a few contenders for the National League Cy Young Award in 2014. Adam Wainwright, Julio Teheran, Tim Hudson, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw are all in the conversation. However, none of those pitchers can match the season that Johnny Cueto has produced this year.

1. The Houston Astros Will Win More Games Than the Boston Red Sox: Last year, the Boston Red Sox were the World Series champions. However, this year, the Sox have been spending its time near the cellar along with the Tampa Bay Rays. While the Red Sox are trending downward, the Astros are on the rise. The Astros have received an infusion of young talent this year and are clearly on the upswing. Right now, the Red Sox have three more wins than the Astros. However, by the time Game 162 is complete, Houston will be higher in the standings than Boston.

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MLB In Full Bloom – Cespedes Repeats As HR Derby Champion – 7/15/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes became the first repeat winner of the All-Star game home run derby in 15 years on Monday night in Minneapolis. Cespedes became the first player to win back-to-back trophies in the Derby since Ken Griffey Jr. did it in 1998 and 1999. But unlike last year, when Bryce Harper fell one short of Cespedes’ mark in the final round, he cruised past Frazier 9-1 to earn his second title. Cespedes saved his best for last, a 452-foot blast to the third deck above left field that officially measured as the longest of the night. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. In the first round, Cespedes needed a swing-off against teammate Josh Donaldson to advance to the next round. He then took care of Adam Jones as he got into the swing of things. On the National League side, Frazier took down Troy Tulowitzki after sliding past Tulo’s teammate and fan favorite Justin Morneau in the first round.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Adam Wainwright has been named the National League starter for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. There was a strong argument to be made for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but National League manager Mike Matheny will go with his own guy. Wainwright owns a sensational 1.83 ERA in 138 innings this season for the Cardinals. Kershaw has also thrown 40 more innings than Kershaw has to this point in the season and that was also a factor in Matheny’s decision.
  • Felix Hernandez will start for the American League in Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Target Field. American League skipper John Farrell made the announcement Monday with not as much anticipation as there was when National League manager Mike Matheny made his announcement for his starting pitcher. Hernandez earned his 11th victory of the season last Friday against the A’s and owns a 2.12 ERA in 144 1/3 total innings this year.
  • Cliff Lee (elbow) surrendered eight runs, just three earned, on eight hits and a walk in just 4 2/3 innings in his final rehab start for High-A Clearwater on Monday. It was an ugly performance for the left-hander and certainly raises concerns moving forward. There’s been no word on Lee’s velocity or how he felt, but clearly these weren’t the results the Phillies were looking for in Lee’s final tune-up before rejoining the rotation on July 21.
  • Carlos Beltran (concussion) will likely be activated Friday. Beltran has not experienced any lingering symptoms, and felt fine after physical activity on Sunday. It is still likely he will continue to be the Yankees’ DH upon return, but it’s obviously an encouraging sign if he can come back immediately following the All-Star break.
  • Alfonso Soriano was officially released by the New York Yankees on Monday. Soriano was designated for assignment a week ago and, not surprisingly, cleared waivers. Soriano has returned to the Dominican Republic, but would be open to playing for another club for the remainder of the season. He was batting just .221 with six homers over 67 games for the Yanks before losing his roster spot. Soriano is relaxing at home collecting on his $18 million salary this season, which is mostly being paid by the Chicago Cubs.
  • According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Red Sox were prepared to offer Jon Lester  approximately $100 million over five years before Lester ceased negotiations. Lester is set to become a free agent after the season, and he will be paid handsomely by the Red Sox or someone else if he’s allowed to reach the open market.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Andrew Velazquez set a new minor-league record by reaching base in his 72nd consecutive game on Sunday. The previous record was shared by Kevin Millar (1997) and Kevin Youkilis (2003). Mookie Betts also reached base in 71 straight games spanning 2013-14 when you include the postseason. During the 72-game streak, Velazquez hit .314 with 94 hits, 41 walks and two hit-by-pitches.
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MLB In Full Bloom – MLB History Made in Grand Style – 7/14/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

Madison Bumgarner became the first pitcher in 48 years to hit two grand slams in a season, and Buster Posey also hit a slam Sunday that boosted the San Francisco Giants over the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-4. Never before Sunday afternoon had a starting pitcher-catcher tandem each hit a grand slam in the same game, but that’s precisely the history Bumgarner and Posey made with their twin slams at AT&T Park. The last pitcher to launch two slams in a season was Tony Cloninger, who hit both in the same game for Atlanta on July 3, 1966, against the Giants at Candlestick Park. The Giants lost 22 of their last 32 games to close the first half, but enter the break on a high note and just one game behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Thanks to a torrid start to the season, they’re among a pack of eight NL teams separated by just four games atop the league standings.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Brock Holt went 5-for-6 with a home run and two runs scored against the Astros on Sunday. Holt put an exclamation point on a breakout first half, hitting his third home run of the season to go with four singles. The 26-year-old has been tremendous for the Red Sox this season, batting .327 and serving as the team’s primary leadoff hitter. Look for him to continue his strong season in the second half.
  • Todd Frazier finished the first half of the season the way he started it as he hit his 19th home run of the season. It was a two-run homer as the Reds defeated the Pirates 6-3 on Sunday. His 19 home runs are fourth-most in the National League at the break, and he’s also among the league leaders in runs scored (57) and slugging percentage. Perhaps no player had a bigger breakout in the first half than Frazier who will take a .290 BA with 14 stolen bases and 53 RBI into the second half.
  • Sonny Gray allowed one unearned run over 7 2/3 innings in the Athletics’ 4-1 victory over the Mariners on Sunday. Gray gave up six hits and struck out five. Gray has now won four straight to improve his record to 10-3. The right-hander is emerging as a front-of-the-rotation pitcher this season. He owns a 2.79 ERA in 19 starts and he should continue to pitch well in the season’s second half.
  • Dan Uggla’s future in Atlanta was in question Sunday after the Atlanta Braves suspended the struggling second baseman for their final game before the All-Star break. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez would only say it’s an internal matter, however it was reported that he arrived at the ballpark to close to the start of a game on Saturday. Uggla is making $13 million this season and another $13 million next year in the final season of his deal. It would not be surprising for the Braves to cut the struggling second baseman right now even though Uggla has another year remaining on his contract. He has not been productive and has only two starts in the last 40 game.
  • All eyes will be on the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby tonight as the event will kick off the All-Star Week extravaganza back to the Twin Cities where it first began 29 years ago. The American League team is led by Jose Bautista (captain), Josh Donaldson, Brian Dozier, Adam Jones, and Yoenis Cespedes. The National League team is led by Troy Tulowitzki (captain), Todd Frazier, Yasiel Puig, Justin Morneau, and Giancarlo Stanton. Cespedes is the defending champion of the derby and he will be tested tonight. The favorite to win is Stanton who should be on a show! MLB is offering fans the chance to predict the winners of the derby and if you complete the perfect bracket, you can win $25,000! The odds to predicting the perfect bracket is slightly less than 500,000 to 1.
  • Carlos Gomez did not enjoy striking out against Adam Wainwright during Saturday’s game. In frustration, Gomez tried to break his bat over his knee multiple times, but couldn’t accomplish his goal and he eventually just smashing it on the ground.
  • Babe Ruth’s contract with the Boston Red Sox in 1918 was for only $5,000, but at an auction Saturday night, the document itself sold for $1.02 million. The contract was signed by Ruth, American League president Ban Johnson and Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, who famously agreed to sell Ruth to the New York Yankees in December 1919. The contract is in perfect condition and it sold the highest price ever paid for a sports contract, surpassing the record previously held by the document that sent Ruth to the Yankees, which sold for $996,000 in 2005.
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MLB In Full Bloom – Will Tanaka Need Tommy John Surgery? – 7/11/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

Masahiro Tanaka has been a great story in baseball during the first half, but it’s that story has taken a turn for the worst. The Yankees are now faced with the very real possibility that they will have to make do without their new ace for the rest of this season and the majority of 2015. That’s the major takeaway after Thursday’s update from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. Tanaka was seen by three doctors, all of whom agreed that he’s dealing with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. A decision on surgery will wait, as he will go the rest and rehab route for now. Tanaka will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow before he will begin a throwing program. If there are no setbacks, Tanaka could return to game action within six weeks. However, if the elbow fails to respond, Tommy John surgery is possible. Tanaka’s tear is considered small, but there haven’t been many success stories with pitchers attempting to rehab.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Clayton Kershaw’s scoreless streak ended at 41 2/3 innings when he gave up a home run to Chase Headley, but the Los Angeles Dodgers ace pitched a complete game three hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead the Dodgers over the Padres 2-1 on Thursday night. Kershaw’s scoreless streak was the longest single-season scoreless streak since Brandon Webb hurled 42 straight in 2007. Orel Hershiser has the most in the major league divisional era with 59. Kershaw is on his way to another Cy Young award with a 10-2 record and 1.83 ERA in 14 outings.
  • Steve Pearce singled and hit a solo home run in four at-bats as the Orioles defeated the Nationals on Thursday. Pearce has been unstoppable this season. He singled in the Orioles’ first run in the third inning, doubled in another run in the fifth, and stole two bags on the evening just for good measure. Pearce, 31, is slashing .322 with 11 home runs, 31 RBI, and four stolen bases. Fantasy owners should enjoy the ride that seems to have no end in sight for Pearce.
  • Mike Trout went 4-for-5 with a home run, four RBI, and three runs scored as the Angels routed the Rangers on Thursday. Trout singled in a run in the second, then blasted a three-run home run in the third inning. Shortly into the season’s fourth month, Trout has been making a strong case to win his first career AL MVP award. Trout has 21 home runs, 68 RBI, 10 stolen bases, and a .310 batting average.
  • Torii Hunter went 3-for-6 with two RBI singles and a solo home run as the Tigers blew out the Royals in a win on Thursday. Hunter has turned his season around with a hot start to July. Thursday’s three-hit performance marked his sixth multi-hit game in nine games this month. The outfielder now has 12 home runs, 52 RBI, and a .276 batting average.
  • Brandon Phillips (thumb) has been diagnosed with a torn left thumb ligament and will undergo surgery today. He’s expected to miss the next 8-to-12 weeks as a result. While X-rays after Wednesday’s game cleared Phillips of a fracture, he wasn’t able to escape without any ligament damage, and is now facing a long-term absence. Cincinnati will try to get by with Skip Schumaker and Ramon Santiago at the keystone in the interim, but neither player provides anywhere close to the offensive upside that Phillips does. With Phillips’ long-term DL stint and  with first baseman Joey Votto (quadriceps) also facing an uncertain return timetable.
  • Yadier Molina (thumb) was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb injury. Molina has been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his thumb and will undergo surgery today. He’s expected to miss 8-12 weeks, which could put him out of the mix for the rest of the regular season. Tony Cruz will receive the playing time for now, but the Cardinals will need to figure out other options for the second half.
  • On this date in 1914, Babe Ruth made his major league debut as a 19-year-old pitcher with the Boston Red Sox. Ruth held the Cleveland Naps to three runs (two earned) in seven innings to earn the win at Fenway Park. Ruth made two more starts and one relief appearance with the Red Sox the rest of the 1914 season, finishing with a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings.
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MLB In Full Bloom – Simon Gets NL-Leading 12th Win – 7/10/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

Much of the attention this year has been focused on Johnny Cueto as the ace of the Reds rotation. However, Alfredo Simon picked up his National League-leading 12th win, allowing one run over 6 2/3 innings as the Reds defeated the Cubs 4-1 on Wednesday. At 12-3 in 18 starts this season, he has overtaken Adam Wainwright and Zach Greinke for the NL lead in victories and tied the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka for the Major League lead. Simon hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since May 27. When the NL All-Star team was announced on Sunday, Simon’s name was one that was left off. His chances to be a roster replacement could improve if another pitcher — such as Cueto — starts this Sunday ahead of Tuesday’s game at Target Field. Simon’s numbers are making it harder to deny him a ticket to Minneapolis.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Doug Fister improved his record to 8-2 after limiting the Orioles to two runs over seven innings on Wednesday. Fister put together his fourth consecutive quality start, holding the Orioles to seven hits, which included Manny Machado’s solo home run, and two walks while striking out three. When the Nationals return from the All-Star break, Fister will take the hill against the Brewers at home.
  • Mark Teixeira went 2-for-6 with two home runs as the Yankees won in extra innings against the Indians on Wednesday. Teixeira hit a solo shot off of Josh Tomlin in the fourth inning, and then hit a two-run shot off of Tomlin in the fifth. The first baseman now has 17 on the season along with 47 RBI and a .241 batting average.
  • Roberto Hernandez needed only 84 pitches to hold the Brewers to one run over eight innings in Wednesday’s victory. Hernandez very easily could have pitched inning, but Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg opted to let closer Jonathan Papelbon pick up the save. Hernandez limited the Brewers to three hits and two walks while striking out three in his most dominant start of the season. Hernandez will face the Braves in Atlanta when the Phillies return from the All-Star break.
  • Yadier Molina (thumb) had an MRI on his sprained right thumb last night to determine the severity of the injury. Molina will underwent tests Wednesday night, with the results being announced today. Once the extent of the injury is known, it will shed some light on how much time he will miss. Tony Cruz will start in Molina’s place tonight and perhaps through the weekend. Molina suffered the sprain Wednesday on an awkward slide into third base.
  • Jered Weaver (back) is expected to make his next scheduled start Saturday against the Rangers. Weaver left early from his outing Monday against the Blue Jays with tightness in his lower back, but he played catch Tuesday and felt fine.
  • Carlos Rodon and the Chicago White Sox have agreed upon a deal for more than $6.45 million, pending a physical, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The third overall selection in the 2014 MLB Draft will be assigned to High-A Winston-Salem. He should be a fast-moving prospect who could be in Chicago at some point in 2015.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals appear to be the most well positioned to land David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays in a trade. The Rays have been looking for top young position players in their discussions with teams, but suddenly the team has played better lately (the Rays have won 14 of their last 21), interested teams are noticing no urgency on the part of Tampa to make a trade. The Rays are just 8 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles as play begins today. The American League East is the weakest in recent memory and the Rays feel that a strong second half can put them in contention to win the division. If the Rays do decide to make a deal, the Dodgers and Cardinals make the most sense because of their depth of prospects. The Rays have shown interest in the Dodgers top two position prospects, shortstop Corey Seager and outfielder Joc Pederson. Seager, one of the best prospects in baseball, is hitting .353 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI at Rancho Cucamonga, and Pederson is hitting .319 with 17 home runs and 42 RBI for Triple-A Albuquerque.
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MLB In Full Bloom – Tanaka’s Takes 3rd Loss of 4 Starts – 7/9/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

Masahiro Tanaka (12-4) gave up season highs of five runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings as the Yankees lost 5-3 to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday. With the loss, the right-hander missed a chance to become the major league’s first 13-game winner. Tanaka has anchored a shaky Yankees rotation missing CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.  The Yankees are 13-5 in Tanaka’s 18 starts, but he has lost three of his last four outings. In his last start on Thursday, Tanaka allowed four runs for the first time in his major league career. On Tuesday, Tanaka allowed five for the first time. The right-hander surrendered two home runs (Nick Swisher and Michael Brantley) while allowing ten hits, walked one, and striking out five. Tanaka still owns an impressive 12-4 record with a 2.51 ERA. He’ll try to get back in the final game before the All-Star break and get back into the win column in Sunday’s start against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Jose Reyes was batting just .227 over his previous 10 games before Tuesday’s 4-for-5 outburst that included a home run in a Blue Jays victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Reyes admitted before Tuesday’s game that he’s been playing with a right shoulder injury for the past month. Reyes is not sure what triggered the injury and it appears to bother him one day, but not necessarily the next. The injury has caused Reyes to make a several throwing errors of late.
  • Chris Carter hit two home runs as the Astros defeated the Rangers 8-3 on Tuesday. The two home runs give him four bombs in his last four games, and he’s 7-for-20 with six runs scored and seven RBI in his last five. Carter has 17 home runs this year and that is about all he does well. He’s batting just .194 this season, but in AL-only leagues where power is tough to find, Carter is a decent source of power.
  • Phil Hughes struck out eight while throwing 7 1/3 shutout innings in Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over the Mariners. Hughes scattered eight hits and did not walk anyone as he looked more like the elite May pitcher (3-0, 1.62 ERA). Hughes needed a positive outing after going 1-2 with an 8.05 ERA in his past three starts, a stretch that probably cost him a chance to pitch in his home ballpark in next week’s All-Star Game. Hughes improved to 9-5 with a 3.70 ERA and he will pitch in Colorado on Sunday to close out a first half renaissance.
  • Kolten Wong hit a walk-off home run, the second in as many nights for the Cardinals, to defeat the Pirates 5-4 on Tuesday. Those sort of theatrics expected from Matt Adams, who hit a two-run walk-off shot on Monday, but it’s more surprising from Wong, who had two career home runs in 223 at-bats heading into Tuesday’s game. Wong has struggled to a .238  in an injury-plagued first half, and he’ll look for better days after the All-Star break.
  • Arismendy Alcantara will be recalled by the Chicago Cubs from Triple-A Iowa today because Darwin Barney was placed on paternity leave. While it will be nice to get a look at Alcantara, he will be sent right back to the minors on Friday was Barney is activated from the paternity list. Alcantara entered play Tuesday batting .308 with 10 homers, 41 RBI and 21 stolen bases at Triple-A Iowa. Alcantara is certainly a guy fantasy owners need to keep an eye on as we move into the second half of the season. The Cubs could certainly recall him and take a longer look as he is part of the rebuilding process as Barney is not.
  • The Oakland Athletics and O.co Coliseum and local officials have been discussing a new 10-year contract that will keep the A’s in Oakland. It is also public information that the negotiations have not gone smoothly and according to Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid, he doesn’t believe the A’s are bluffing in their threat to leave the city if they don’t get a 10-year lease extension at the Coliseum, and he pointed to a pair of possible destinations — Montreal and San Antonio, Texas. There are certainly questions about both cities and whether or not they could support the Athletics, but at the end of the day the A’s have options.
  • A Colorado Rockies fan, Michael Ferguson took his family to a game on July 4, and he was treated to the Rockies bad play as they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0. Ferguson was disappointed by the experience, so he decided to fill out a feedback form and left it in a comments drop-box. He comments reached the owner, chairman, and CEO of the Colorado Rockies Dick Monfort. Monfort responded to Ferguson by saying, ““If product and experience that bad don’t come!” Nice job Monfort with the customer relations. The Rockies won on Tuesday night for just the 4th time in their past 22 games and sit 15 games under .500 in the NL West. Fans have every right to voice their disappointment to management especially if comment cards are there for fans to complete and submit.
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MLB In Full Bloom – James Shields Strikes Out 10 In Win – 7/8/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

James Shields sparkled in his return to the stadium where he earned a living for the first seven seasons of his career, limiting the Tampa Bay Rays to three hits and striking out 10 in seven innings to help the Royals beat his former team 6-0 on Monday night. Shields allowed singles to Ben Zobrist and James Loney in the first two innings, then worked through a jam in the third after giving up a one-out double. Shields retired 10 straight, six by strikeout, before hitting Evan Longoria with a pitch leading off the seventh. Going into this one, he had allowed 16 earned runs and struck out just 14 over 25 innings in his last four starts. Obviously, the Royals are hoping for many more outings like this in the second half of the season. The right-hander improved to 9-4.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Manny Machado went 5-for-6 with his eighth homer on Monday as the Orioles beat the Nationals 8-2 in 11 innings. The Orioles went homerless for 10 innings before Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Machado all went deep in the six-run 11th. It was Machado’s first career five-hit game. He’s 9-for-17 in three games since returning from a five-game suspension and he has four homers in his last seven games overall.
  • Jesse Chavez worked six shutout innings, in a 5-0 victory against the Giants on Monday night. The right-hander struck out nine scattered four hits and walked two to win his first outing since June 15, and just his third since May 19. Chavez owned a 2.78 ERA at the end of May, but he’d gone just 2-2 with a 4.11 ERA in six starts since the beginning of June prior to tonight. The A’s are going to manage Chavez’s innings over the second half of the season. He is scheduled to start Saturday in Seattle.
  • Jose Altuve went 2-for-5 with a stolen base and two runs scored during Monday’s 12-7 win over the Rangers. Altuve continues to impress as we approach the Midsummer Classic, leading MLB with 124 hits, while his .338 batting average and 39 steals rank first in the American League.
  • Joey Votto (quad) was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 6, with a strained left quad. Votto went through infield drills Monday before the Reds faced the Cubs, but he’s still feeling some soreness and will now get some extended rest. It’s unclear how long he’ll be out, but it’s important that the Reds get him healthy for the second half. Fantasy owners can expect to see a combination of Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Brayan Pena at first base during his absence.
  • Bronson Arroyo (elbow) will require Tommy John surgery, ending his 2014 season. This development comes out of nowhere, as Arroyo had resumed playing catch when an initial MRI revealed only a sprain of the UCL, but a re-evaluation of the elbow evidently showed something more severe. Considering that Arroyo isn’t a hard thrower and had never been on the disabled list in his career prior to suffering the elbow injury in June, an ailment of this extent is an extreme surprise. He signed a two-year $23 million deal with the Diamondbacks this past offseason. Arroyo is expected to miss the next 12 to 18 months.
  • Brian McCann has gotten off to a slow start this season with the New York Yankees and Terry Pendleton is not surprised. Pendleton, who spent six seasons as McCann’s hitting coach with the Atlanta Braves, said during an interview with the New York Post that the star catcher will “never be comfortable” playing in New York. McCann signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees this past offseason after spending his first nine seasons with the Braves. He is batting just .230, which is 44 points below his career average with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs in 79 games this year. Pendleton believes that McCann is putting too much pressure on himself to produce ant that is when the 30-year old catcher gets into trouble.
  • A New York Yankees fan is hoping that a mid-game nap could net him $10 million. Andrew Rector, 26, fell asleep during the April 13 game between the Yankees and the rival Boston Red Sox. It was nationally televised on ESPN, and Rector was noticed by cameras and talked about by commentators John Kruk and Dan Shulman. The video of Rector titled “Tired fan naps in the stands” was then published to MLB.com and YouTube. People on the Internet made fun of Rector and now he’s filed a defamation lawsuit against the Yankees, MLB, ESPN, Kruk and Shulman. Rector is seeking $10 million in damages after the “unending verbal crusade.”
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