Billy-Ball Daily: 2006-5-8

5/8/2006
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Top of the 1st
HURTIN’
On this Monday morning, I’m not trying to be lazy but I thought I would just share with you folks some of the injuries and injury reports accrued over the weekend. I find it simply amazing how many injuries there are each day.

These are normal injuries not something stupid like when John Smoltz burned his chest while ironing a shirt that he was wearing. Or odd like Kevin Mitchell strained a muscle while vomiting. Or clumsy like when Odibe McDowell cut his finger buttering a roll at the Texas Ranger’s welcome home luncheon or when George Brett hit his foot on a chair and broke his toe while running from the kitchen to the TV to see Bill Buckner hit.

Some injuries sound like me. For example, Ricky Bones hurt his lower back getting out of a chair while watching TV in the clubhouse or when Wade Boggs hurt his back when he lost his balance while trying to put on cowboy boots or when Brent Mayne missed an entire month in the 2002 season because he turned his head to check traffic as he was crossing the street – and wrenched his back or when Rich Harden strained his shoulder turning off his alarm clock.

Some don’t sound like me like when Nolan Ryan was bitten by a coyote or like when Jeff Juden missed a start because a tattoo he got prior to the season opener got infected or when Steve Sparks dislocated his shoulder while trying to tear a phone book in half or when Clint Barmes fell down some stairs and cradling a package of venison given to him from teammate Todd Helton.

Some occur doing everyday things like when Rick Honeycutt injured his wrist while flicking sunflower seeds in the dugout or when Chris Brown injured his eye by sleeping on his eye wrong or when Phil Niekro injured his hand shaking hands too hard or when Bret Barberie missed a game because he mistakenly rubbed chili juice in his eyes.

Here’s the report from this weekend. They are all pretty normal, it just seems like a lot:

St. Louis righthander Sidney Ponson left yesterday’s game against Florida after three innings because of discomfort in his right elbow. He’ll be examined by a doctor today in St. Louis and will likely miss at least one turn in the rotation.

New York Mets righthander Victor Zambrano will miss the rest of the season after tearing a tendon in his pitching elbow. The Mets placed Zambrano on the 60-day disabled list yesterday, and said he could be ready to pitch by spring training.

The Houston Astros placed outfielder Chris Burke on the 15-day disabled list with a dislocated left shoulder.

The Oakland Athletics placed their right fielder, Milton Bradley, on the 15-day disabled list because of strained muscle in his right side.

The Giants placed Moises Alou on the DL with a severe right ankle sprain.

The Pittsburgh Pirates placed infielder Joe Randa on the 15-day disabled list because of a bruised right foot.

Yankee Gary Sheffield could be headed to the disabled list early this week with wrist pain.

Brewers’ first baseman Prince Fielder left yesterday’s game in the 4th inning after straining his groin. There is no immediately report on how long Fielder may be sidelined and he’s being considered day-to-day.

Nagging pain in his right forearm still bothers Nationals starter John Patterson, who probably won’t pitch for another week and hasn’t pitched since April 21. I have nagging pain (I’ll let the rest of you husbands finish that joke).

Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood struck out 12 in five scoreless innings during a rehab appearance yesterday with Chicago’s Class A affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs.

Cubs pitcher Mark Prior, who has been sidelined by a strained muscle in his right shoulder, continues to make progress despite a stomach virus that slowed his progress last week. Prior threw 30 pitches in Arizona on Saturday in a bullpen session and will keep to that routine again this week to see when he’ll be ready to pitch in a simulated game.

New York Yankees starter Carl Pavano allowed three unearned runs and four hits in five innings for Single-A Tampa in a minor league rehabilitation start.

Red Sox left-hander David Wells threw 60 pitches off a mound as he rehabilitates a right knee injury.

Cleveland reliever Rafael Betancourt threw his first bullpen session yesterday as he recovers from a back injury.

Despite repeated denials by Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost over the past week that right-hander Ben Sheets was experiencing shoulder problems, Sheets was scratched from his scheduled start yesterday against Los Angeles with what was described as “shoulder tightness.”

White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye could be ready to return to the lineup tomorrow or Wednesday after missing five games with a strained left calf.

Eric Gagne is making significant progress in his recovery from surgery to remove a nerve in his pitching elbow. Manager Grady Little told the Los Angeles Times that Gagne would begin throwing from a mound in the next few days and will begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment “some time this month.”

Reds outfielder Ken Griffey continues to make progress in his recovery from a strained tendon in his right knee. “He’ll run for us Tuesday,” trainer Mark Mann told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We’ll see how he feels.” The Reds open a three-game series with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday and there is a chance Griffey could be activated for the game.

Athletics reliever Justin Duchscherer was forced from Saturday’s game after throwing just three pitches due elbow soreness. Duchsherer told the Contra Costa Times after the game that the soreness was due to elbow tendinitis that he’s been pitching through since spring training.

Top of the 2nd
STILL STREAKING
The Phillies defeated the Giants, 9-5 yesterday and pushed their winning streak to eight games for the first time in 15 years. The last time Philadelphia won eight in a row was a 13-game run in 1991.

The NL West remains a mystery division to me. From week-to-week it’s hard to figure out who will rise to the level of acceptable mediocrity and this week it appears that it is the San Diego Padres who are better than lousy.

Khalil Greene went 4-for-4 and drove in four runs to help the Padres beat the Chicago Cubs, 6-3 yesterday for their eighth straight win. Woody Williams threw eight strong innings as the defending NL West champs went over the .500 mark (16-15) for the first time since beating San Francisco on opening day.

Since their five run 9th inning comeback last week in which they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 in 10 innings, the Padres won a four-game trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles and have won the first three of this four-game series against the Cubs.

The Cubs have lost six straight and nine of 11 and have been outscored 54-9 in their last nine games.

The leaders of the NL West are the shocking Colorado Rockies. Yesterday, Aaron Cook pitched into the 9th inning, Todd Helton, seemingly recovered from his intestinal distress, hit a three-run homer and the Rockies beat the Houston Astros 5-3 to complete a three-game sweep. It was Colorado’s first series sweep at home this season and its third overall. The Rockies (19-13) also improved to six games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 14, 2000, when they were 76-70.

Top of the 3rd
ROYAL WATCH
With yesterday’s loss at Chicago, the Royals’ record dropped to 7-22 this season, including a 3-6 mark against the White Sox. The Royals are the first team since the 1932 Pirates to face the defending World Series champion at least nine times during the first 29 games of a season. (Pittsburgh played 10 of its first 29 games that year against the Cardinals.)

After 29 games, the New York Mets were 10-29.

Top of the 4th
JO-EL SHOWS SUPER POWERS
Saturday, the Seattle Mariners’ Joel Pineiro (4-2) defeated the Indians, 4-1. He allowed only four hits against the Indians, who came into the game leading the majors with an average of 6.6 runs per game and batting .311. The four hits equaled Cleveland’s season low.

While he had six strikeouts and no walks, Piniero was taken out of the game after eight innings and having thrown 100 pitches, 69 for strikes. He said he would have liked to have had a complete game, like he had his last time on the mound when he faced the Twins.

In that game, Piniero pitched a complete game without a walk or a strikeout, the first major-league pitcher to do so since Pedro Astacio of the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 24, 1994. An AL pitcher had not done so since Milwaukee’s Bill Wegman on July 11, 1992.

Top of the 5th
WEIRD DOUBLE PLAYS
Over the weekend Barry B*nds facing an overshift from the Phils banged into two short to third to first double plays (6-5-3). These would not have been peculiar if there had been runners on first and second, but what made these odd was with the overshift, the DPs were the equivalent of a 6-4-3 but shortstop jimmy Rollins was playing on the second base side of second and third baseman, David Bell was playing in the shortstop slot.

B*nds hit career homer #713 yesterday. For the season, he has 5 homers and is hitting .262.

Top of the 6th
MR. MANAGER
On this date in 1973, Cubs manager Whitey Lockman was ejected from the game. Coach Ernie Banks, lovingly known as Mr. Cub, filled in as manager for the last couple innings of the 12-inning 3-2 win over the Padres. Thus, he was technically, if not officially, MLB’s first black manager, predating Frank Robinson’s hiring by almost two years.

Top of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM – 5/7/2006
This Hall of Fame birthday boy sat out the entire 1930 season in a salary dispute.
SHROUDED

BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA – 5/7/2006
Yesterday, Joe Torre picked up his 1,000 win as the manager of the Yankees, name the current Hall of Famer who earlier this season reached the 1,000 career win plateau as a manager.
Send your answers to Bill@billy-ball.com

Bottom of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM ANSWER – 5/7/06
This Hall of fame birthday boy was a member of the Chippewa tribe and a graduate of the Carlisle Indian School.
RICH BEEN FED – CHIEF BENDER

BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA-ANSWER – 5/7/06
Who is the all-time Cleveland Indian saves leader?
Doug Jones.

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
At age 24, Dontrelle Willis (47 wins) is already within three victories of becoming Florida’s franchise leader. A.J. Burnett, who left for Toronto in free agency in the offseason, is No. 1 with 49. The way he is pitching he may never achieve this goal.

Saturday, facing the Cardinals, Willis (1-3) lasted only 4 2/3 innings while giving up a career-high 12 hits — including four doubles and a triple — and seven runs, six earned. In his past two starts he has allowed 14 earned runs, hiking his ERA to 5.15.

Willis’career record fell to 47-30.

Top of the 9th
NO NO-NO’S
Johan Santana didn’t allow a hit until the 7th inning of the Twins’ 4-2 victory over the Tigers. According to Elias, American League pitchers have made 9,184 starts since April 27, 2002, when Derek Lowe hurled the league’s most recent no-hitter. That’s the longest streak of consecutive starts without a no-hitter in AL history, almost 2,000 more than the longest previous streak (between Bert Blyleven’s no-no in 1977 and Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981). Since Lowe did it more than four years ago, no AL starter has held a team hitless through the first eight innings of a game.

Bottom of the 9th
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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports, espn.com, sportsline.com, mlb.com and numerous other e-sources. Opinions expressed in Billy-Ball are obviously solely the opinions of the author of Billy-Ball and do not reflect those of source material no matter how off the wall they may be.