Written by Daniel Paulling
Published: 16 June 2007
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.
This updates what can only be known as a “You Gotta Hope for Him” story. Jon Lester, who missed the majority of the 2006 season because of lymphoma will be heading to Class AAA Pawtucket for the Boston Red Sox. Since their starting rotation has been so good and healthy (Josh Beckett missed only two turns), there has been no need for Lester. The Red Sox are letting him fully rehab from a left forearm cramps suffered early in the year, but he may be up soon to replace the struggling Tim Wakefield. He went 7-2 last year.
Heritage Auction Galleries has removed its $1 million bounty on Barry Bonds’ potential 756th home run, citing safety concerns of fans. Of course, the threat to fans’ well-being should have been considered earlier. If you’re going to throw a million dollars into a pack of people, there’s going to be a skirmish or two. Add the fact that this would be a record-breaking home run, and there’s even more chance for a fight. This whole stunt was most likely an attempt at publicity. And they got it.
Former ESPN analyst Harold Reynolds has found himself a new job with MLB.com. He was fired from ESPN for allegedly sexually harassing a female intern, but is suing his former employer. Reynolds seemed to be a good baseball guy, with a knack for speaking on air. Isn’t this the same ESPN that kept Michael Irvin after the former football player was found with marijuana paraphernalia in his car?
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander threw a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers, the first pitcher to do so against a team that had 22 hits the previous night. In the ninth inning, the right hander was throwing in the triple digits. An interesting fact: the very next day, Verlander took a drug test. Every great outing by Verlander is another slap in the face to San Diego Padres John Moores, who mandated that his team take local product Matt Bush with the first overall pick. Bush, a shortstop, never hit upon reaching professional baseball and has recently taken to the mound. This is why you spend a little bit of money in the amateur draft: It’s the easiest and cheapest way to improve your major league franchise.
Jason Giambi and Bud Selig just aren’t the best of friends right now, it seems. Commissioner Selig is threatening to suspend the New York Yankees designated hitter, if he doesn’t comply with Selig’s mandate of speaking to the Mitchell investigation. If Giambi doesn’t talk, something he has been known to do throughout his career, then he may face a suspension. The Player’s Union will fight such a punishment, but the outcome should be rather interesting. Stay tuned to this.
Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez was placed in the disabled list retroactive to June 7. This move opened a spot for outfielder Clifford Floyd to return from the bereavement list. Ramirez’s absence affects the Cubs greatly; they are losing their most consistent and biggest bat for the season to knee trouble. Early reports say the disabled list stay won’t take too long.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays placed second baseman BJ Upton on the disabled list and recalled outfielder/designated hitter Jonny Gomes. Upton has a strained left quadriceps, but he should be ready to play once his 15 days pass. He has been hitting .330 with nine homers and 30 RBIs, but has been a little less than steady at second. The highly touted Upton received playing time in the outfield and seemed all right there defensively.
The Texas Rangers lost starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy to the disabled list, due to a blister on his right middle finger. Kameron Loe gets the call to replace him. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of the situation: McCarthy is 4-4, his ERA is 5.90 in 12 games, and that’s the lowest ERA in the Rangers’ rotation.
It took the Milwaukee Brewers a little longer than expected, but they called up super stud pitcher Yovani Gallardo. Remember that name. The right hander was 8-2 with a 2.98 ERA in over 71 innings for Class AAA Nashville and held a share of the minor league strikeout title with 98. Chris Capuano left his start on Thursday due to a strained groin, and it figures that Gallardo will start on Tuesday.
Player of the Week: 3B Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees – If there’s been a streakier hitter in the major leagues this year than Rodriguez, I haven’t heard about him. The New York Yankees third baseman hit .355 in April with 14 homers in April before not being able to hit his way out a paper bag in May. Over the last week, he began hitting, putting up a .368 average and three homers. Perhaps the Yankees announcers said it best when Rodriguez belted a two-run shot off Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Livan Hernandez: “Another A-Bomb for A-Rod.”
Pitcher of the Week: SP Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers – My apologies go out to Brad Penny, who would’ve won had Verlander not put together a no-hitter. The right handed Verlander threw nine innings of dominating baseball against the Brewers, striking out 12, a career high. In fact, he only allowed four baserunners the whole night. Dominance.