If you missed the hot topics from the week that was, here is your chance to get up to date. Every Saturday, I’ll rehash the major events from the previous week, and offer an opinion.
If you happen to watch “The Young and Restless” on June 20, you’re going to get a chance to watch some major league players. Milwaukee Brewers shortstop JJ Hardy, center fielder Bill Hall, and pitchers Chris Capuano and Jeff Suppan are making their acting debuts. The ballplayers earned $375 each for their hard work.
The Atlanta Braves (finally) released starting pitcher Mark Redman. The left hander mixed mostly bad starts with one good one against the Chicago Cubs. He signed with the Braves during Spring Training and was immediately ready to start, after having worked out in the basement of his home. He finishes his year with the Braves at 0-4 with an ERA of 11.63.
Former Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim closer Troy Percival, who retired following a severe arm injury in 2005, is looking to make a comeback. The right hander asked the Angels to release him from his contract as a minor league coach, so he could attempt to make the majors once again. The Angels have expressed no interest in re-signing Percival, who has 324 career saves.
Elijah Dukes, a Tampa Bay Devil Rays player, got into trouble once again. His soon-to-be-former wife filed a restraining order against Dukes after he threatened to kill her in a cell phone message and sent a picture of a gun via text messaging. The 22-year-old has found himself in trouble, and it seemed as if that was all behind him this Spring Training, when he made the ballclub. Sadly, that does not appear to be the case.
Roger Clemens, making a start for the Yankees’ Class AA farm team, did not look so good. He allowed three runs to score in 5 1/3 innings pitched. While he struck out five, the Rocket also walked four, which showed his control was not quite where it needs to be. Perhaps most telling was that he threw 102 pitches to get 16 outs. Clemens will make his decision on Friday (yesterday) whether or not to start at Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Penn.) or against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 28.
The Milwaukee Brewers wised up and called up third baseman Ryan Braun. The highly touted prospect was hitting .342 with 10 homers in Class AAA Nashville. He should provide a drastic offensive upgrade over the duo of Craig Counsell and Tony Graffanino, who combined to “hit” .214. He should spark a Brewers offense that has been struggling as of late.
Outfielder Josh Hamilton was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday with inflammation to his digestive tract. He was doing fine in center field, and at the plate was hitting .261 with eight homers and 18 RBIs. This move comes at a bad time for the Cincinnati Reds, who are sinking lower and lower in the standings. To replace Hamilton on the roster, they called up third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who was hitting .413 with three homers in 11 games at Class AAA Louisville (Ky.).
There was another huge blow to the Oakland Athletics, as relief pitcher Justin Duchscherer was placed on the disabled list with a right hip strain. His has been battling arthritis in his hip for some time now. The team also lost Huston Street to the disabled list, as well as eight other players. Alan Embree figures to get the save opportunities, while both pitchers are out.
Player of the Week – OF Magglio Ordonez: There was a huge outcry from the experts within the media over Ordonez’ five year, $75 million contract he signed with the Detroit Tigers. However, he’s been performing very well. He vaulted the team into the World Series last year, with a walkoff home run against A’s closer Huston Street. In the last week, Ordonez hit four bombs, drove in eight, all the while hitting .542.
Pitcher of the Week – SP John Smoltz: The Atlanta Braves’ ace spent this week winning his 199th games, making him the first pitcher to win 200 and save 150. Both of his outings from the week that was were stunningly similar: seven innings of shutout ball. The first came against the Boston Red Sox and the second against good buddy Tom Glavine on the New York Mets. and 200
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