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  • 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.

     
  • Jeter could return to slumping Yankees Sunday Jul 27, 2013 6:07 PM
    It’s no mystery the slumping New York Yankees could really use their captain. They could get him back Sunday. Derek Jeter passed one final test of his strained right quadriceps Saturday, playing a simulated game at a location the Yankees kept secret until after they lost 1-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays in the Bronx.

     
  • Cubs blow 6-0 lead, then win it in the 12th Jul 25, 2013 1:56 AM
    Nate Schierholtz lined a two-out double into the left-field corner in the top of the 12th inning to drive in the go-ahead run and the Chicago Cubs held on to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6 Wednesday night -- or early this morning Chicago time.

     
  • Ryan Braun suspended for rest of season Jul 23, 2013 12:07 AM
    Former National League MVP Ryan Braun was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason Monday in the first penalty of baseball's investigation of players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs. Braun accepted the penalty. “I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions,” he said in a statement.

     
  • Go figure: No all-star pie in the face for Puig Jul 12, 2013 6:59 AM
    Puig, Phegley, Garza, Crawford - you name 'em and Spellman's Scorecard has them all covered this week.

     
  • DuPage County trying to land Chicago Cubs Jun 12, 2013 7:06 PM
    DuPage County is working quickly to develop a plan to bring the Chicago Cubs to the Western suburbs after being approached by an unnamed intermediary of the Ricketts family, county board Chairman Dan Cronin said. Cronin said Wednesday the county will “have something to propose within 10 days.” “We’d be thrilled and delighted if the Cubs wanted to move to DuPage,” he said. “We are going to make a pitch.”

     
  • Cubs chairman threatens to move team from Wrigley Field May 2, 2013 9:21 AM
    The owner of the Cubs for the first time publicly threatened to move the team out of Wrigley Field if his plans for a big, new video screen are blocked, saying Wednesday he needs new advertising revenue to help bankroll a $500 million renovation of the storied ballpark.

     
  • Braun ejected, but not before hurting Cubs Apr 21, 2013 5:13 PM
    Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer in the fifth then was ejected three innings later, and the Milwaukee Brewers won their seventh straight, 4-2 over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Scott Feldman (0-3) gave up four runs on three hits in five innings in the loss. Anthony Rizzo drove in both of the Cubs' runs with a homer in the third inning.

     
  • Oh no, shoddy fielding Cubs’ downfall against Brewers Apr 20, 2013 10:08 PM
    Associated Press MILWAUKEE — Jonathan Lucroy homered, Hiram Burgos pitched five innings in his major league debut and the Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of shoddy fielding by the Chicago Cubs in a 5-1 win Saturday night. Burgos held the Cubs to one run and five hits with a strikeout and no walks to help the Brewers win their sixth straight game. The Brewers scored first when Lucroy hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot to left center field in the second inning off Cubs starter Edwin Jackson (0-3). Jackson lost to the Brewers for the second time this season. Burgos faced the minimum number of batters through the first three innings and the only run he allowed was on Alfonso Soriano’s single in the fourth. Three Brewers relievers combined to hold the Cubs scoreless over the final four innings. Jackson, who lowered his ERA to 4.84 from over 6, held the Brewers to two hits through four innings. Two Cubs’ errors in the fifth led to a pair of unearned runs, giving the Brewers a 3-1 lead. The Brewers extended the lead to 5-1 with two more unearned runs in the sixth. Ryan Braun singled. After Rickie Weeks struck out, Lucroy hit a bouncer back to the mound that Jackson cleanly fielded but his throw to second base sailed into center field, allowing Braun to advance to third. Braun scored on a sacrifice bunt by Logan Schafer. A single by Martin Maldonado drove in Lucroy. Jackson pitched six innings, giving up four hits and five runs, only one of them earned, with one walk on four strike outs. Notes: With the win, the Brewers joined the 1977 Yankees as the only teams ever to start 2-8 and climb to .500 by winning their next six games. The Yankees won the World Series that season. . The Brewers have won 17 of their last 19 games against the Cubs at Miller Park, including the last seven. . Cubs SS Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest active streak in the majors, with a bloop single to right field in the fourth inning. . The Cubs were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and are now 17-for-115 — .148 — this season.

     
  • Images: Cubs lose home opener Apr 8, 2013 5:32 PM
    The Chicago Cubs opend their home season on Monday at Wrigley Field with a game against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs made a 9th inning charge but lost 7-4.

     
  • Is Marmol's time coming to a close? Apr 7, 2013 12:04 AM
    Carlos Marmol failed to convert a save for the second time in three chances this week — this time giving up solo homers in the ninth inning to brothers B.J. and Justin Upton as the Cubs blew a four-run lead and lost 6-5 to the Atlanta Braves. "I'm trying, I'm trying," Marmol said. "I don't lack confidence. They're hitting my pitches, though."

     
  • Senate approves naming new bridge in honor of Musial Mar 12, 2013 5:57 PM
    The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill to name a new Mississippi River bridge at St. Louis in honor of St. Louis Cardinals great Stan "The Man" Musial. The measure to name the new structure the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge now goes to the U.S. House.

     
  • Carpenter hasn’t given up on pitching again Feb 11, 2013 6:07 PM
    St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter hasn't ruled out pitching again, including this year. If that seems remarkable, remember that it's Carpenter, whose sporadically brilliant career has included several comebacks from injury.

     
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