Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

FORE!

The Timber Rattlers are hosting a golf outing on Monday, June 13.  Proceeds will go to The Miracle League of the Fox Valley.

A foursome may register for $275 and will have the opportunity to golf with a Timber Rattlers player or coach.  Individuals may register for $75.  Lunch is included with registration and will be served at the turn.  Snacks will be available following golf from 2-4pm.

If you wish to participate in the 2011 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Golf Outing, please contact Ryan Cunniff at (920) 733-4152 or rcunniff@timberrattlers.com.  Registration forms are available at timberrattlers.com and at Time Warner Cable Field.  Registration deadline is Friday, June 3.

The event will take place at Eagle Creek Golf Course and start at 9am with a shotgun start.

Good News

MiLB.com made this announcement yesterday.  It’s good news for the Timber Rattlers, the Midwest League, and all of minor league baseball.

Major League Baseball and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL) have reached an agreement on a new six-year Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA), extending through the 2020 season, it was announced today.

The NAPBL leagues unanimously approved the agreement in January, followed by the unanimous approval of Major League Baseball owners.

The agreement guarantees that Major League teams will field at least 160 National Association teams through the life of the extension by means of Player Development Contracts (PDC) and/or ownership of National Association teams.

Once more….with FEELING, Ben Hill!

The relationship between Major and Minor League Baseball can be summed up by Frank Sinatra’s ruminations on love and marriage — You can’t have one without the other.

The arrangement that binds the two entities is called the Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA), which, most crucially, provides industry stability with its assurance that Major League Baseball will field at least 160 Minor League teams. This guarantee is formalized through Player Development Contracts (PDCs), the two or four-year agreements that bind Major League teams and Minor League affiliates.

On Tuesday it was announced that Major League Baseball and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL, the governing body of Minor League Baseball) have reached a new agreement that will extend the PBA through 2020.

Comment bait

I’ve been stuck on 28 comments for too long.  This story will get the comment count up to 29 inside of 2 hours.

Matt Tuiasosopo might face his last chance with Mariners

I should just leave that headline out there, but that would be cruel.
 

One of the biggest attributes Matt Tuiasosopo has provided the Mariners the last two years is versatility. He played at six different positions for Seattle in 2010.

But in what looms as a potential make-or-break season for the player who was the team’s top pick in the 2004 draft (in the third round), the Mariners have asked Tuiasosopo to focus for the rest of the spring on left field and first base.

Tuiasosopo said he was informed of the new plan in a recent meeting with manager Eric Wedge.

“They just talked to me the other day and told me that they wanted me to concentrate on those two positions,” he said.

Tuiasosopo said he will still take a few balls at third base, but that the goal now is to get “more confident and comfortable over there in covering those two positions.”

Tuiasosopo, younger brother of former UW football players Marques and Zach Tuiasosopo, has been a standout of the past two Mariners spring trainings but has struggled to translate that success to the regular season. He has a .176 average in 71 career games — .173 in 50 games and 127 at-bats last season.

With the team again starting over, under Wedge, and the Mariners not seeming to lack for veteran options to fill the utility player role, many observers have surmised this might be Tuiasosopo’s last chance to make a mark.

He has one option left on his contract, meaning he can be sent down to Tacoma and brought back up to the big club. But if the option is used, then he has no more contract flexibility with the Mariners beyond 2011 (meaning he couldn’t be sent down without being exposed to other teams).

Notes about social media numbers

The Timber Rattlers twitter account has inched up to 1,499 followers.  It was above 1,500 for a time yesterday, but…you know…SPAM followers.

The Timber Rattlers facebook page has now reached 2,830 fans.

Fang T. Rattler has 1900 friends on his facebook page.

Meanwhile, my twitter followers are stuck at 199.  Maybe I should ask the Timber Rattlers to follow me to get me to 200…

Anyway…

If you are on any of those social networks, think about following, liking, or, ‘friending’ soon.  There will be a lot of updates and news coming up over the next four weeks and you do not want to miss any of it.

Brewers 15, Reds 2

FOX Sports Wisconsin picked a good day to broadcast the Brewers in Cactus League play.  The Brewers beat Cincinnati 15-2.

Ex-Rattlers in the game for the Crew:

Hunter Morris (’10): 0-for-1
Martin Maldonado (’09): 0-for-1
Taylor Green (’09): 1-for-1, RBI

Morris and Maldonado both got a chance to face Aroldis Chapman…you know, Aroldis Chapman.

Milwaukee faces the Dodgers in Maryvale today at 2:05pm CST.

Pineda and Hernandez

A couple of former Timber Rattlers got into action for the Mariners yesterday.

First, the story on Felix Hernandez (’03)

This wasn’t exactly how Felix Hernandez expected life as a reigning Cy Young winner to begin.

There Hernandez was, on the second pitch of his first live action since being voted the American League’s best pitcher in 2010, sprawled on the ground, forced to hit the deck.

“I was like, ‘Wow, first game, man? You’ve got to do that?’ ” Hernandez said he told Oakland leadoff hitter David DeJesus, who singled hard up the middle. “It was scary.”

But Hernandez survived to tell the tale with a smile, and while there were a few other slight wobbles throughout his 2-2/3 innings, he pronounced his first game of 2011 a success.

“It was fun,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve pitched in a big-league game and I felt pretty good, throwing a lot of strikes, down in the zone. Breaking ball was good too, feel pretty good now.”
Then, Larry Stone recaps the day for Michael Pineda (’08) with a little help from former Rattlers pitching coach Jaime Navarro.

It was hard not to envision a day in the future — perhaps the not-so-distant future, for the most ardent dreamers — when the Mariners might have not one, but two dominating pitchers in their rotation.

Pineda is still raw, not yet two months past his 22nd birthday. Yet he exudes potential, from the huge frame to the electric stuff. Before the game, Jaime Navarro, the Mariners’ new bullpen coach, dared to say what many were thinking Monday as Hernandez and Pineda were showcased back-to-back in Seattle’s 6-3 victory at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

“You have Fifi (Hernandez) and you have Michael, who can become a great pitcher,” Navarro said. “That will be beautiful to watch. That will be one of my best days, seeing those two guys together.”

Navarro, as much as anyone, has witnessed firsthand the growth and nurturing of Pineda since his signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2005 at age 16.

Navarro was his pitching coach at Class A Wisconsin in 2008, Pineda’s first year in the United States. They were together again in 2009 at High Desert in the Class A California League.

When Pineda was elevated to Tacoma in 2010 after destroying Class AA competition (8-1, 2.22 earned-run average, 78 strikeouts in 77 innings for West Tennessee), Navarro — by then the Rainiers’ pitching coach — witnessed Pineda’s dazzling AAA debut as he blanked Salt Lake on one hit over six innings.

“From day one, I saw something in that kid not too many pitchers have,” Navarro said. “With Michael, it’s just a matter of time. He’s getting mature, getting comfortable. He’s going to be one of those guys — another Hernandez. It’s just a matter of how he’s going to handle it.”

I have the feeling that Pineda may be the next former Timber Rattlers player to make his major league debut.

A little dirt

That’s what I see right around where the mound should be in this picture.
TWCField0307.JPGThat picture above. It was taken from the centerfield camera position.  The snow goes all the way to the bottom.  Yes, the thumbnail above is 450 wide by 253 high.

There is a lot of work to do between now and…31 days from now.  Please start thinking warm thoughts.

Three Pitchers

News on three former Timber Rattlers who are on three different teams.

Felix Hernandez (2003) has faith:

Felix Hernandez was getting ready to hit the field for his morning workout Saturday at the Peoria Sports Complex when a reporter’s question stopped him in his tracks.

Why should anybody care about the Seattle Mariners this year?
The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner thought about it for a moment and smiled.

“Because we could be a surprise, that’s why,” Hernandez said. “Baseball’s weird, man. You always see a surprise team every year. Hey, why not us?”



Hernandez, who went 13-12 last season with a 2.27 ERA, brought that subject up himself Saturday when he said, “My only goal this year is to stay healthy. If I do that, I could be part of some really good things.”

If the Mariners slide into the tank, however, don’t think teams such as the Yankees won’t be circling the water, sniffing out a possible trade for the Venezuelan right-hander.

“I don’t think I’m going to get traded,” Hernandez said. “I don’t want to be traded, either.”

Matt Thornton (2000) has a new contract:


Matt Thornton has signed a two-year extension with the Chicago White Sox, with a team option for the 2014 season, the club announced Sunday morning.


“[White Sox manager] Ozzie [Guillen] grabbed me [this morning] when it was official and said, ‘Hey, I really appreciate you being one of the core guys,’” Thornton said. “It means a lot to them that I want to stay here and be a part of this.”

The news came as a bit of a surprise here, on a sleepy Cactus League Sunday.

“We started talks a couple of weeks ago, and it went quickly,” Thornton said. “I’m more than satisfied. It’s an exciting situation, a substantial amount of money for my family and hopefully their children and on and on with my family.”

According to Thornton, there was little question of leaving the White Sox.

“It was an easy choice with an organization like this, with what they’ve done the last five months or so, retaining the core guys, adding the pieces, and expecting to win,” he said. “That’s my goal, to win at least one World Series.”

Brian Fuentes (1997) has a new team:


A’s reliever Brian Fuentes finds an unconventional way to get hitters out.



That’s fitting considering his baseball career has unfolded in unusual fashion, too.


Fuentes, a key newcomer to the A’s bullpen, didn’t even start pitching until he was a senior at Merced High. From there, he moved on to Merced Junior College, thinking a career in forestry was more likely than one in baseball.

Fuentes was drafted in the 25th round by the Seattle Mariners. But his career didn’t take off until he converted to a sidearm delivery, one that A’s teammate Brett Anderson describes as “funky.”


You can’t argue with the results.

Fuentes, 35, made four All-Star teams with the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Angels, and his 183 saves since 2005 are the most in the major leagues among left-handed relievers.



“I would have had different mechanics if I was able to,” he said. “It was a blessing in disguise, having an unorthodox delivery.”


As Fuentes pushes off the mound, his throwing arm lags behind his body before he whips the ball toward home plate. That makes it difficult for hitters to pick up the ball.


Fuentes had 24 saves and a 2.81 ERA during a 2010 season split between the Angels and Minnesota Twins.

Perhaps most important to the A’s, he didn’t allow a run in 15 outings against American League West opponents.

Video from Saturday. Audio from last week.

FOX 11 was at the ballpark on Saturday. They got some video, some audio and a quote from the boss.

Speaking of the boss, he was on the radio last week with Justin Hull of The Score.

Let’s see if this whole audio file posting thingy works on this:

rob_zerjav_-_home_stretch_030311.mp3

If this works…who knows…interviews and highlights during the season????  Let me know.

Brewers Cactus League action

Milwaukee lost a pair of Cactus League games on Sunday.

The majority of ex-Rattlers were in the game against Oakland.

Oakland 5, Brewers 4

MIL:
Scooter Gennett (’10): 1-for-2, 2B, RBI
Carlos George (’10): 1-for-1, RUN, RBI
Erik Komatsu (’09): 1-for-1, RUN
Carlos Maldonado (’09): 0-for-1
Dan Merklinger (’09): IP, 3H, 3R, 2BB, K

OAK:
Brian Fuentes (’97): IP, 2H, 0R, 3K

Texas 8, Brewers 1

MIL:
Hunter Morris (’10): 0-for-1
D’Vontrey Richardson (’10): 0-for-1

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