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Articles filed under NL Baseball

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  • Hampshire star's major-league dream comes true with Padres Jul 24, 2014 6:26 AM
    There's talking about living the dream, and then there's actually doing it. Jake Goebbert is doing it. After over 2,000 at-bats in the minor leagues the Hampshire graduate finally got his opportunity to wear a major league baseball uniform a little over a month ago wtih the San Diego Padres. “For every child who has a dream I can say chase it and believe in yourself,” said Goebbert.

     
  • Young players key to Vanderbilt’s baseball title Jun 27, 2014 1:01 AM
    Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin figured last year was his baseball program’s best chance to win its first national championship. It was the 2014 team, though, that got the job done, starting four sophomores and two freshmen in the everyday lineup and relying on a young pitching staff. “There was never a crack in our strong foundation,” Corbin said Thursday. “This group grew together. They were consumed with one another the last month and a half. We started off the SEC 7-8 and having played three series at home. We were about to go through the gauntlet and I remember telling my coaches and my wife that I was concerned. The next thing you know, we finish the SEC 11-4, we started winning some close games and our pitching really started to grow.” The Commodores finished 51-21 after beating Virginia in a three-game College World Series finals. They won the school’s first national championship in a men’s sport and joined LSU (six), South Carolina (two) and Georgia (one) as Southeastern Conference teams to win baseball titles. The contributions seemed to come from everyone. Left fielder Bryan Reynolds was a freshman All-American after leading the team with a .338 batting average and 54 RBIs. Second baseman Dansby Swanson, limited to 11 games as a freshman because of injuries, batted .333 and was named the CWS Most Outstanding Player. Third baseman Tyler Campbell, a sophomore who came to Omaha with 15 at-bats in 14 games, was the feel-good story of the CWS. He made the all-tournament team after taking over for Xavier Turner, who was ruled ineligible last Friday for violating NCAA rules. Junior center fielder John Norwood, a backup his first two years in the program, hit his third homer of the season, and Vanderbilt’s first since May 16, to break an eighth-inning tie in Wednesday’s 3-2, title-clinching win. Sophomores Carson Fulmer and Walker Buehler and freshmen Hayden Stone and John Kilichowski turned in clutch pitching performances along with junior Adam Ravenelle. “I looked back last year, my first day here, and I knew that I got into something very, very special,” Fulmer said. “Words can’t describe this experience. It’s something that we’ve always dreamed of doing as a team, and we finally accomplished it.” Last year’s team featured the core of the 2011 squad that was Vanderbilt’s first to make the CWS, including SEC player of the year Tony Kemp and Tyler Beede, who won a school-record 14 games. The 2013 Commodores were ranked No. 2 in the nation in the preseason and won their first 13 games. They won an SEC-record 26 conference games and earned the No. 2 national seed for the NCAA tournament. They survived an elimination game in regionals but were swept by Louisville in super regionals. “Last year,” Corbin said, “we were perfect for a long period of time and then at the end of the year we faltered.” The 2014 Commodores never lost more than two games in a row — a streak that started two years ago. For Corbin, the championship came in his 12th year as head coach. He had been Jack Leggett’s right-hand man at Clemson from 1994-2002 and didn’t know for sure what he was getting into when he took over a program that hadn’t finished above .500 in the SEC since 1980. “I can remember the first game we played: East Tennessee State, and it was raining, 40 degrees, no one up in the stands,” Corbin said. “My wife got there and she said, ‘I thought the game started at 4 o’clock.’ I said it does. She said there’s no one here. I said that’s right, there’s no one here. She goes, ‘You want to go back to Clemson?’ She was joking, but it was just different.” Three of Corbin’s recruiting classes since 2005 have been rated best in the nation, and nine of his players have been drafted in the first round, with Beede the latest. “Certainly had visions of this someday,” Corbin said, “but they were so far distant at certain times.”

     
  • Alvarez’s 3-run homer helps Pirates beat Rays 8-1 Jun 23, 2014 9:59 PM
    Pedro Alvarez hit a three-run homer to back the pitching of Edinson Volquez and lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

     
  • Radio move from WGN fouls up 'Go, Cubs, Go' anthem Jun 4, 2014 5:47 PM
    Like all Cubs changes in my lifetime, the radio move from WGN to WBBM doesn't change the team's sorry record. It does, however, mess up they lyrics to my second-favorite Cubs song.

     
  • Crack open a cold one: Samardzija gets a win at last May 26, 2014 9:13 PM
    Drenched and reeking of the cheap beer his teammates sprayed on him, Jeff Samardzija stood at his locker soaking in a long-awaited win. “I smell great,” Samardzija said Monday, smiling. “I’d rather just drink the beer than them pour it on me.” Samardzija struck out a season-high 10 for his first victory since last August, leading the Cubs past the San Francisco Giants 8-4.

     
  • Huntley woman honored by Cubs May 3, 2014 4:26 PM
    At 16, Huntley resident Margaret “Midge” Donahue moved to the big city looking for a secretarial job and some excitement. Donahue found just that when she was hired in 1919 as a bookkeeper and stenographer by Bill Veeck, club president for what would later become the Chicago Cubs. On Saturday, the Cubs honored the late Donahue's 39-year career with the organization as part of its 100 years at Wrigley Field celebration.

     
  • Cubs at Reds game postponed because of rain Apr 28, 2014 8:25 PM
    The Cubs lost a game to the weather but got a step closer to having their rotation back in form. The opening game of their series with the Cincinnati Reds was postponed on Monday after a 57-minute delay to the first pitch. It was the eighth postponement in 12 years at Great American Ball Park. The game wasn’t immediately rescheduled. Reds manager Bryan Price said the game won’t be made up during this series. The Cubs visit for a four-game series from July 7-10. “There’s no way we’ll make it up in this series,” Price said. “The way it works out, we’ll probably be able to make it up during that series in July before the All-Star break.” Rain has been a problem in Cincinnati this season. The Reds have had one game postponed and another suspended overnight because of rain. They’ve had rain delays for four of the 10 games totaling 8 hours, 57 minutes. The teams will stay on schedule with their starters. Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija will face the Reds’ Alfredo Simon on Tuesday night. Samardzija is trying to break a streak of 11 straight starts without a win since last Aug. 30. Samardzija has pitched well — quality starts his last eight games — but the Cubs have scored only 21 runs while he was on the mound in the last 10 games. Last Wednesday, Samardzija left with a 5-2 lead before Arizona rallied for a 7-5 win. Manager Rick Renteria said that right-hander Jake Arrieta will be activated off the disabled list later this week. Arrieta threw on Monday without problem. He’s been sidelined since March 21 with tightness in his pitching shoulder. Right-hander Carlos Villanueva will move into the bullpen. “Jake was slated to start with us,” Renteria said. “It’s nice to have him back. He’s still working his way back in terms of trying to get his feet back under him.” Renteria planned to give struggling outfielder Nate Schierholtz a day off on Monday, with Ryan Kalish starting in right field. Schierholtz is in a 2-for-11 slump. “He hates to come out of the lineup,” Renteria said. “It’s not really physical. It’s more mental when you’re pushing yourself on a daily basis.” It will be Simon’s first scheduled start since an unidentified woman filed a civil lawsuit against him in a Washington, D.C. court last Thursday, claiming he sexually assaulted her in a hotel one year ago. “I take him at his word that nothing happened and he’s assured me that he’s ready to pitch and his focus is on pitching,” Price said. Simon has been one of Cincinnati’s best starters while filling in for the injured Mat Latos, who had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee on Feb. 14. Simon is 3-1 with a 1.30 earned run average in four starts. Latos had a setback in his recovery from the knee problem when he developed soreness in his pitching forearm near the elbow. He has resumed playing catch and could get back to throwing off the bullpen mound later this week. “Once we get him on the mound a couple of times, then we go out there and do a simulated game and then get him into rehab games,” Price said. “He’s not like starting from square one, even though he’s just playing catch now. “If we don’t have any setbacks, we should be able to progress pretty quickly through this rehab.” Closer Aroldis Chapman is scheduled to throw to Reds batters again on Tuesday before the game. If that goes well, he could start a rehab stint in the minors. Chapman was hit on the forehead by a line drive on March 19 and had a metal plate inserted in his forehead to help fractures heal. “If everything goes well with that (on Tuesday), then we anticipate getting him out on a short rehab and then having him back with us pretty quickly,” Price said. NOTES: The Cubs haven’t fared well against the Reds overall. They dropped two of three at Wrigley Field this month and haven’t won the season series against Cincinnati since 2009. They’re 6-16 against Cincinnati over the last two seasons and 10-28 over the last three. ... The Reds’ Skip Schumaker started a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Monday. He’s recovering from a separated left shoulder suffered during spring training.

     
  • Baseball/Fox Valley roundup Apr 3, 2014 9:03 PM
    Burlington Central 15, East Carter (S. C.) 5: Despite committing 6 errors, the Rockets (4-1) were able to put up enough offense for their fourth win in the Palmetto State. Bryan Cynova (2-for-3, 2 2B, 4 RBI) and Mike Lee (4-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 3 RS) paced the offense while Parker Boron picked up the win in relief. Lake View North 12, Elgin Academy 2: The offense could not get it done once again for the Hilltoppers (0-4), who are still looking for that elusive first win. Ian Wilson had the best day at the plate with a pair of singles while Gannon Cottone and Alex Wiedemann picked up RBI. Andrew Wilson took the loss. Jacobs 9, Woodstock 3: After getting 4 runs in the first inning, the Golden Eagles (5-2) cruised to victory on the road in the Fox Valley Conference crossover matchup. Grant Kale (2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI) and Owen Oreskovich (2-for-3, 2B, RBI, 2 RS) powered the offense to an 8-0 lead after four innings. Reilly Peltier got the win, striking out 8 and allowing just 2 hits in 4 innings of work. Grayslake Central 7, Dundee-Crown 2: Mark Waldron and Chase Bloch knocked in the only runs on singles for the Chargers (2-4), while Vince Damato suffered the loss in the FVC crossover game.

     
  • 10 Things to Know about Wrigley Field Mar 31, 2014 10:13 AM
    The Cubs and the Phillies played the highest scoring game in Major League Baseball history, a 26-23 affair the Cubs won, at Wrigley on Aug. 25, 1922. The Phillies only used two pitchers the entire game.

     
  • In a century at Wrigley, innovations abound Mar 31, 2014 10:05 AM
    It’s hard to think of Wrigley Field as anything but a place of heartbreak — a place where fans wait, season after season, for an elusive World Series title that never comes. Yet in the century without a championship, the ballpark has been in first time and time again in changing the way America watches baseball.

     
  • MLB toughens drug agreement provisions Mar 28, 2014 9:06 PM
    Baseball players suspended during the season for a performance-enhancing drug violation will not be eligible for that year’s postseason under changes to the sport’s drug agreement announced Friday. In the most significant toughening to the drug rules in eight years, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association said the penalty will increase from 50 games to 80 for a first testing violation and from 100 games to a season-long 162 for a second. A third violation remains a lifetime ban. Baseball started testing with penalties in 2004, established a 10-day suspension for a first testing violation in 2005 and increased the discipline to 50 games in 2006. While there were two-to-four major league suspensions annually from 2008-11, the number increased to12 in 2012 and 14 players were penalized following last year’s investigation of the Biogenesis of American anti-aging clinic. Among them were All-Stars Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz, former NL MVP Ryan Braun and three-time AL MVP Alex Rodriguez, who is suspended for the entire 2014 season. “Our hope here is that the adjustments that we’ve made do inevitably get that number to zero,” said new union head Tony Clark, a former All-Star himself. “In the event that that doesn’t happen, for whatever reason, we’ll reevaluate and move forward from there. But as I sit here, I am hopeful that players make the right decisions that are best for them, for their careers and for the integrity of the game.” Peralta and Cruz returned from their suspensions in time to participate in the playoffs, which angered some of their colleagues. Clark said the union membership wanted to make sure “a player is not coming back and affecting a change in the postseason as a result of the decision that particular player made earlier in the year.” In addition to the postseason ban, players who serve PED suspension will not be eligible for automatic postseason money shares but may be given cash awards at the discretion of their teammates. A player serving a season-long suspension will lose all his pay. Under the previous rules, Rodriguez gets 21-183rds of his salary this year, or $2,868,852. “Although we had the strongest program in professional sports before these changes, I am committed to constantly finding ways to improve the program in order to eradicate performance-enhancing drugs from the game,” baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. An arbitrator would be allowed to reduce a suspension for a first or second testing violation by up to 50 percent if a player proves by “clear and convincing evidence” that a positive test was not caused by his “significant fault or negligence.” However, penalties may not be cut for muscle-building substances such as testosterone, human growth hormone, Boldenone, Nandrolone and Stanozolol. In-season random urine tests will increase from 1,400 to 3,200 overall in addition to the minimum two for each player, and offseason tests will rise from 250 to 350. There will be 400 random blood collections used to detect human growth hormone in addition to the mandatory one for each player during spring training. Players with PED violations, other than those who penalties are reduced for mitigation, will receive six additional random urine tests and three more blood tests annually for the rest of their careers. Foreign players entering the major leagues and those not subject to the major- or minor-league testing program for at least a year will be required to take urine and blood tests before signing contracts. “There are certain considerations we need to make in an effort to put guys in a position where the guys who are doing it correctly aren’t being adversely affected any more than necessary,” Clark said.

     
  • Wood’s arm, Sweeney’s bat lead Cubs over White Sox Mar 27, 2014 5:41 PM
    MESA, Ariz. — Travis Wood pitched three scoreless innings, Ryan Sweeney homered and the Chicago Cubs beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3 Thursday. Wood gave up two hits, striking out four with one walk. Sweeney began the day hitting .119 with two RBIs in exhibition play. He homered off Felipe Paulino to start the second inning. Paulino went four innings, allowing three runs and five hits. He will start the second game of the season for the White Sox. Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo hit back-to-back home runs, the first of the spring for both of them, off Wesley Wright in the White Sox ninth. The crowd of 15,170 pushed the spring total to 213,815 at Cubs Park for a single-season Cactus League record. In their first season at the ballpark, the Cubs broke the mark of 203,105 they set at HoHoKam Stadium in 2009.

     
  • Cardinals sign Cuban free agent to contract Mar 9, 2014 3:42 PM
    The St. Louis Cardinals signed Cuban free agent shortstop Aledmys Diaz to a major league contract and he’ll report to spring training on Monday. The Cardinals were among a number of teams, including the Yankees, who held private workouts for the right-handed hitting Diaz and the deal is believed to be for $15-20 million for four years. The team planned a news conference for Monday. “We have been following Aledmys for quite some time,” general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “His signing marks a significant benchmark for the Cardinals in the international arena and we are excited to have reached this agreement.” The deal came a day after St. Louis signed third baseman and leadoff man Matt Carpenter to a six-year, $52 million contract. During the offseason, the Cardinals committed $53 million over four years to sign free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta, so they could face a position logjam in the near future. The 23-year-old Diaz batted .315 with 12 home runs and 11 steals in 270 at-bats in 2012 for Los Naranjas de Villa Clara, Cuba’s highest professional league, which has produced Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig and Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman. The Cardinals anticipate the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Diaz will start the year at the high minor league level. Diaz has represented Cuba in several international tournaments, including the 2010 World University Championship games in Tokyo, Japan, and lives in Mexico City.

     
  • Baseball managers to try out instant replay in spring Feb 22, 2014 4:56 PM
    Major league teams will each have at least five games this spring where managers can challenge plays as part of the major expansion of instant replay which begins this season. Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez is looking forward to getting acquainted with it and says he’ll “challenge everything, just to get a feel for it” in those five games. Gonzalez, Houston manager Bo Porter and officials from the Tigers and Nationals met with MLB executives Joe Torre and Tony La Russa for almost three hours Friday afternoon to go over the replay rules. The new rules allow each manager to challenge one call a game. If he wins the first one, he’ll earn another challenge. The crew chief can request a review after the seventh inning if the manager has used his challenges.

     
  • Obstruction call becomes talk of baseball world Oct 27, 2013 4:42 PM
    ST. LOUIS — By Sunday morning, most everyone had become an expert on the obstruction rule. “How can u make a call like that in the World Series,” rapper Lil Wayne tweeted. “Worst ending to a World Series game ever!” PGA golfer Hunter Mahan posted. “Obstruction of justice,” Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely wrote. No matter that the Official Baseball Rules have a slightly different take on what happened between the Cardinals and Red Sox in Game 3 at Busch Stadium. But anytime someone scores the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning without even touching home plate — called safe on an extremely rare ruling by an umpire — it’s bound to cause a little ruckus. On this point, all sides seemed to agree: Allen Craig’s wild trip over Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks likely made for the most crazy, chaotic October finish of all-time. And it gave St. Louis a 5-4 win Saturday night and a 2-1 edge. “As a baseball fan, you hate to see a game end like that,” pitcher Adam Wainwright said Sunday before Game 4. “Obviously I’m on the Cardinals, so I’m fortunate the rule is the way it is. And you hate to say it, but he impeded the process of running home.” “But I totally understand why Red Sox players would be upset about that. That is just a horrible way to lose a baseball game, no question about it,” he said. For more than a century, the World Series has delivered dramatic endings — Kirk Gibson’s homer, Carlton Fisk’s shot, David Freese’s drive on this very same field in 2011. There have been plenty of kooky plays — Reggie Jackson turning his hip to get hit by a throw, Roger Clemens throwing part of a broken bat toward Mike Piazza, an out in the 1970 Series when the catcher missed the runner and the runner missed the plate. But no one had seen anything quite like this. “Never,” umpire crew chief John Hirschbeck said. “Never,” third base umpire Jim Joyce said after making the call. Said Craig: “I didn’t know if I was out or safe or not.” Craig was awarded home after getting tangled with Middlebrooks. A wild throw set off the sequence, and Middlebrooks was sprawled in the baseline and kicked up his legs as Craig tripped over him. Running on a banged-up foot, Craig headed home and the throw by left fielder Daniel Nava beat him. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia made the tag in plenty of time and Craig never reached the plate. But umpire Dana DeMuth signaled safe, having seen Joyce’s call at third base. Both teams immediately rushed to the plate. Middlebrooks threw down his glove and joined the Boston argument. The Cardinals came out to celebrate. The fans took awhile to react, unsure of what they’d just witnessed. “I think maybe 75 percent of the guys didn’t know what happened,” Cardinals star Carlos Beltran said. “I wasn’t sure why he was called safe,” Middlebrooks said. Middlebrooks said any contact was accidental. Doesn’t matter, though. The play is covered by Rule 2.00 and Rule 7.06, and makes it clear that obstruction is called anytime a runner is impeded. “It does not have to be intent. There does not have to be intent. OK?” Hirschbeck said. Not OK, Boston pitcher Jake Peavy said. “It’s a joke,” Peavy groused. Saltalamacchia was more forgiving. “At the end of the day, if it was obstruction, you’ve got to call it. It’s part of the game,” he said. “I don’t know the rulebook in and out. To me, it didn’t look like it was obstruction.” How rare was it? The last time a big league game ended on an obstruction call was 2004, when umpire Paul Emmel said Seattle shortstop Jose Lopez blocked Carl Crawford’s sightline. Emmel was the first base umpire Saturday night. Longtime Red Sox fans remember a noncall that went against them in the 1975 World Series. In Game 3, Cincinnati’s Ed Armbrister bunted in the 10th inning and bumped into catcher Carlton Fisk. There was no interference called, Fisk made a wild throw and Joe Morgan hit a winning single. Watching from the dugout Saturday night, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny wasn’t sure what to think. Matheny had seen umpires reverse a call in Game 1 that cost the Cardinals. He’d seen Craig trip and was ready to argue. And he also saw Craig down in the dirt after re-injuring his foot. “We were wanting to celebrate, but we see a guy laying there and it’s all confusing,” Matheny said Sunday. “And we see the umpires come together, and that didn’t work out real good for us last time.” “We got inside the clubhouse, and it was still kind of that somber mood,” he said. “And Chris Carpenter yelled out real loud, `Hey, boys, we just won a World Series game!”’

     
  • Obstruction call gives Cards win in World Series' Game 3 Oct 27, 2013 12:21 AM
    Allen Craig slid home and it sure looked as though he was out. But a rare obstruction call by an umpire let Craig score with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, finishing off a mad-cap play that sent the St. Louis Cardinals over the Boston Red Sox 5-4 for a 2-1 lead in the World Series. “I'm in shock right now,” Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said. “Wow, it's unbelievable.”

     
  • Dodgers rout Braves 13-6 Oct 6, 2013 11:19 PM
    Carl Crawford hit a three-run homer, Juan Uribe added a two-run shot and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the Atlanta Braves 13-6 on Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five NL division series. Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig each had three hits and scored three times on a big night at the plate for the Dodgers, who matched a franchise record for runs in a postseason game. Brooklyn beat the New York Yankees 13-8 in Game 2 of the 1956 World Series. Los Angeles can advance to the NL championship series with a victory at home in Game 4 on Monday night. Ricky Nolasco pitches for the Dodgers against veteran Freddy Garcia.

     
  • Pirates edge Cardinals, take 2-1 lead Oct 6, 2013 6:56 PM
    Pedro Alvarez hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 on Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in best-of-five NL division series. Alvarez pulled a grounder into right field that scored pinch-runner Josh Harrison from second base. Russell Martin followed with a sharp RBI single against reliever Kevin Siegrist, who took over after Carlos Martinez (0-1) faltered. Mark Melancon (1-0) picked up the win despite allowing Carlos Beltran’s tying home run in the top of the eighth. Jason Grilli worked the ninth to move the Pirates within one victory of winning a postseason series for the first time since the 1979 World Series. Charlie Morton is set to start for the Pirates in Game 4 on Monday against rookie Michael Wacha.

     
  • Red Sox jump on Rays miscues, win ALDS opener 12-2 Oct 4, 2013 10:26 PM
    One ball fell between two outfielders. Another took a bad hop off the Green Monster standings. One batter reached safely on a dropped third strike and another when the pitcher was slow to cover first. By the time it was over, the Boston Red Sox had scored five runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of Tampa Bay’s bad luck and bad defense to beat the Rays 12-2 on Friday in Game 1 of the AL division series.

     
  • Schierholtz’s 2 HR, 6 RBI power Cubs past Nationals 11-1 Aug 19, 2013 10:05 PM
    Nate Schierholtz homered twice and drove in a career-high 6 runs, powering Jeff Samardzija and the Chicago Cubs to an 11-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Monday night. Schierholtz connected for a three-run shot in the first and a two-run drive in the seventh in his fourth career multihomer game.

     
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