Sean Williams:

Thought this was funny…

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Here are the official press releases from seven of today’s 13 suspended Biogenesis players. These are words coming straight from the heart, let me tell you.

Antonio Bastardo:

Today, I was notified by Major League Baseball that I have been suspended for 50 games for violation of the Joint Drug Agreement. I have decided to accept this suspension and will not exercise my rights under the Basic Agreement to appeal. I made significant errors in judgment during the 2012 season and I accept full responsibility for those errors. I look forward to regaining the trust and respect of the Phillies’ organization, Phillies’ fans and my family, and look forward to helping the Phillies win a championship in 2014.

Fautino De Los Santos:

I was notified by Major League Baseball that I am to be suspended for 50 games for violation of the Joint Drug Agreement. I willingly accept this suspension…

View original 545 more words

Brian Wilson, the cooky former All-Star closer of the San Francisco Giants has signed a minor league contract with his former team’s archrival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.

He will initially report to Camelback Ranch, the spring training and minor league complex that the Dodgers share with the Chicago White Sox, before being assigned to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the Class-A Advanced California League. If all goes well there, he is expected to join the Dodgers’ bullpen in around mid-August.

Wilson, 31, appeared in two games last season before undergoing Tommy John Surgery on April 19, 2012; the second such surgery of his career (the first was done while he was a Junior at Louisiana State University). Several other clubs were in attendance for his recent workout at UCLA, and the Pirates, Giants, and Diamondbacks were considered to have been the other finalists to obtain the former All-Star’s services.

Ten years ago the Pirates and Red Sox made a pair of unusual deals with each other. On July 22nd the Red Sox shipped Brandon Lyon and Anastacio Martinez to the Pittsburgh for Mike Gonzalez and Scott Sauerbeck. Nine days later, after having some concern over Lyon’s elbow, the Pirates shipped him and Martinez BACK to Boston along with starting pitcher Jeff Suppan in exchange for Gonzalez, Freddy Sanchez and cash considerations; essentially morphing the exchange between the two teams to Scott Sauerbeck and Jeff Suppan for Freddy Sanchez.

Lyon didn’t appear in a single game for the Pirates, nor did he ever even suit up in their uniform, before heading back to Boston; instead spending most of his stay in the Steel City in a motel. “It was kind of a crazy time,” he told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal yesterday. “I really had no idea what was going on.”

In the nine days between deals, Anastacio Martinez threw four innings in three games for the Pirates’ Double-A affiliate, the Altoona Curve; giving up 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, and striking out 1 of the 16 batters he faced while property of the Pirates.

Mike Gonzalez appeared in two games for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, pitching a scoreless inning and two thirds, securing one save, giving up two hits, one walk, and striking out one of the eight batters he faced for the PawSox.

Sanchez, who was Boston’s top prospect at the time, ended up becoming an All-Star for the Pirates while Suppan pitched to a 3-4 record and 5.57 ERA in 10 starts and 1 relief appearance for the Red Sox, giving up 70 hits in 63 innings pitched, 41 runs, (39 earned), 12 home runs, and 20 walks. He also registered 32 strikeouts, hit 2 batters, and hurled 4 wild pitches during his tenure in Boston before moving on to the Cardinals as a free agent the following offseason. Sauerbeck appeared in 26 games as a lefty specialist with an 0-1 record and an ERA of 6.48, giving up 17 hits and 14 runs (12 earned) in 16.2 innings. He struck out as many batters as he walked, 18, although 3 of those walks were issued intentionally. He also hit 4 batters and tossed a wild pitch for the Wild Card winning Red Sox. He became a free agent and underwent rotator cuff surgery following the season, which caused him to miss all of the 2004 season recovering, although the Indians did sign him on April 12th, securing him for their bullpen in 2005.

Former major league pitcher Frank Castillo drowned on Sunday afternoon at the age of 44 while spending time with family and friends at Bartlett Lake, northeast of Phoenix.

According to family and friends, Castillo was not a very good swimmer, but that didn’t dissuade him from jumping off of a pontoon boat, which he and a friend had taken out on the lake, for a leisurely afternoon swim. After he failed to resurface from the water, his friend immediately called for help, prompting police divers from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to scour the lake unsuccessfully for a few hours before suspending the search until Monday, when the body was eventually found.

The Scottsdale, Arizona resident and native of El Paso, Texas was drafted in the sixth round of the 1987 draft by the Cubs, and went on to spend parts of 13 seasons in the big leagues with the Cubs, Rockies, Tigers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Marlins from 1991-2005. He also pitched in the minor leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland A’s, and Atlanta Braves organizations; and was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training in 1999.

The Castillo family released the following statement to KVIA-TV, the El Paso area’s ABC affiliate:

“Frank Castillo died on Sunday in a drowning accident while with his family at a lake near his home. Frank was a wonderful son, terrific brother, and an extraordinary father to his two beautiful girls.

“Everyone who knew Frank loved Frank . We are devastated by this loss.

“It is impossible to express in words the level of sadness we feel due to this tragedy.
All of those who counted Frank as a personal friend, and to all those wonderful fans
who cheered for him during his major league career, we genuinely appreciate your prayers and kind words during this extremely difficult time.

“While we may not be able to thank each of you in person, it is very comforting  to know that you are with us in spirit.

“We will provide information about the funeral once we are able to make all of the arrangements.

Castillo Family”

A moment of silence was held at Fenway Park on Monday night prior to game between the Red Sox and Rays.

Castillo ended his career with a record of 82-104; 1,101 strikeouts and 506 walks in 1,595 and a third innings pitched; and an ERA of 4.56.

Tino Martinez was back in a big league uniform full-time this season for the first time since retiring following the 2005 season, in which he spent with the Yankees. Martinez was hired to guide the anemic offense of the Miami Marlins as their new hitting coach following the Marlins’ hiring of Mike Redmond as their new manager. But amid allegations of abuse towards players, Martinez resigned from his position following today’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and will be replaced by minor-league hitting coordinator John Pierson on an interim basis.

According to an unnamed player, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, Martinez has displayed abusive behavior — both physical and verbal — since the start of spring training. “He uses intimidation. It’s been a problem since day one,” said the player.

The former All-Star first basemen — who spent time with the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays throughout his 16 year big league career — has been accused of outbursts of excessive anger towards outfielders Derek Dietrich and Justin Ruggiano, first baseman Casey Kotchman, and infielders Chris Valaika and Matt Downs, among others. The incident with Dietrich is the only reported physical outburst by Martinez, as he was accused of grabbing Dietrich by the neck and neck chain in a fit of rage after Dietrich ignored Martinez’s request to pick up baseballs following a session in the batting cage.

The altercation, which allegedly took place in May, wasn’t reported to Marlins brass at the time, and was only brought to light by Dietrich’s agent, Mark Meter, following Dietrich’s demotion to the Double-A Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League this past week; at which time Martinez offered his resignation. However, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria — who personally hand-picked Martinez to replace Eduardo Perez as the team’s hitting coach — refused to accept the resignation, and according to Tino, thought that “there were other options.” But once news of the abusive behavior was made public, Martinez immediately resigned, forfeiting the following two years of his contract.

“It’s been building for a few days,” Martinez said. “I thought I made some mistakes along the way, but I didn’t know this was going to come out publicly at all. So when this came out [during Sunday’s game], I thought [resigning] was the right thing to do.”

Following his decision, Martinez also offered an apology and an explanation, saying, “I want to apologize to the Marlins organization for my behavior. I think I was frustrated at times, the way players were behaving and, certain ways they were doing things. When I asked them to do something and they wouldn’t do it, whatever it may be, I thought the way to get through was by being firm with them, and I probably used some four-letter words.”

And while he acknowledged the incident with Dietrich, he flat out denied that he grabbed the young outfielder by the neck.

“That only thing I’ve done is, I did grab Dietrich — we had a little thing in the [batting] cage one day — by the jersey,” Martinez said. “That was it. I never touched his neck. I never grabbed his neck. If anything else, [I want] his parents to know that because I have a 20-year-old son and I would be very upset if someone grabbed my son’s neck. That never happened.”

Players have apparently made complaints about Martinez to Redmond all throughout the season, although no action was taken against him. However, Redmond did imply that Martinez’s lack of coaching experience could have factored into his behaviors.

“I know going from a player to a coach, it’s hard,” Redmond said. “Part of the grind is learning how to deal with different situations with different players, different personalities — all of that stuff is a challenge. Some people can do it, some people can’t.”

Prior to this season, Martinez had never coached at the professional level, although he was named a special instructor for the Yankees in 2008, helping the team’s first basemen with their defense. He was also later named Special Assistant to the General Manager, and served as a part-time broadcaster for the YES Network in 2010. He also previously served as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of South Florida Bulls, beginning in 2007 under then-newly hired head coach Lelo Prado, who also happens to be Martinez’s brother-in-law; and in 2008 was quoted as describing Martinez as a calm influence for his players, saying “He’s not like a college guy like me that goes crazy over the little things, he’s calm. He’s great for me, because he’s a guy all the time. But he just brings so much to the table.”

USF players also praised Martinez’s presence.

Charles Cleveland, 1B/3B: “You can’t put a price tag on it. You get to learn from a guy whose been there and done that, won four World Series. He was a star in the major leagues and so you just always want to be a sponge and just listen to everything he says.”

Dexter Butler, 2B: “Being a hitter, if Coach Martinez comes to tell you, yeah, that’s a good hit, you know, something like that, you’re really like, yeah. I maybe can hit. So, it’s a lot of fun having him out here.”

As a player, Martinez was considered a fan-favorite (especially with the Yankees) and often displayed a stoic, yet intense demeanor that endeared him to fans, coaches, and teammates alike who appreciated the gritty, all-out style of play he was known for. Strictly speaking from a fan’s perspective (as I grew up watching and idolizing Tino during his time with the Yankees during their late ’90’s-early 2000’s dynasty run), he always appeared to be a very personable and well-liked member of the clubhouse. You knew he was a fiercely competitive player, so the news of his intense approach to coaching doesn’t come as a too much of a shock to me. What does shock me, especially given his track record working with younger players, is his lack of patience and angry outbursts with the Marlins’ young talent.

Not to excuse these appalling actions in the least bit, but I can’t help but wonder if there was something else, perhaps in his personal life, that contributed to his unacceptable behaviors. One thing is for certain in the wake of this disturbing news; his reputation as a coach has been completely tarnished, and I highly doubt he’ll have an easy time securing another potential coaching gig anytime soon; although people who have committed more heinous acts have been granted second chances. I just can’t see any right-thinking club entrusting the development of their players with a man who has displayed such abusive behaviors; at least not until he finds a way to address and deal with whatever issues may have led to such outbursts.

All-Star Game Lineups Announced

Managers Bruce Bochy and Jim Leyland have announced their lineups for tomorrow night’s All-Star Game at Citi Field. The starting pitchers will be Matt Harvey for the National League and Max Scherzer for the American League.

The Tampa Bay Times reported last night that former major league pitcher Justin Miller was found dead shortly after 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. What we don’t know is where the body was found or what the cause of death was; as the Sherriff’s Office has yet to disclose any of that information while their investigation is still underway.

Miller leaves behind his wife of 15 years, Jessica, and their two sons, Joseph, 18, and Johnnie, 7.

Originally selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 34th round of the 1995, Miller chose not to sign, opting to go to Los Angeles Harbor College instead. Since he had attended a junior college, Miller was eligible for the draft again in 1997 (as opposed to if he had gone to a typical four-year university, in which case he wouldn’t have been draft eligible again until either his junior year or when he turned 21). As a Junior College All-American was selected by the Rockies in fifth round. After playing at Portland (SS-A), Asheville (A), and Salem (A+) for the Rockies in 1997, 1998, and 1999, respectively, Miller was traded to the Oakland A’s along with Jamey Wright and Henry Blanco for Scott Karl and Jeff Cirillo.

After starting 18 games at Double-A Midland in 2000, he was promoted to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats where he pitched to a 4-1 record and a 2.41 ERA in nine starts that season. The following year he found himself back in Sacramento, and following an unspectacular season was traded along with Eric Hinske to the Blue Jays for flame-throwing closer Billy Koch.

He made his major league debut for Toronto on April 12, 2002 at Tropicana Field against the Devil Rays. After promptly hitting the first two batters he faced in his big league career — shortstop Chris Gomez and left fielder Jason Tyner — he proceeded to pitch 2 2/3 innings in relief of starter Brian Cooper, giving up one run on four hits while both walking and striking out two batters. Overall he threw 73 pitches to 15 batters before giving way to Corey Thurman in the Blue Jays’ 14-7 victory.

In parts of 7 major league seasons he appeared in 216 games, starting 33 of them; pitching to a 24-14 record and a 4.82 ERA for the Blue Jays, Marlins, Giants, and Dodgers. In 375 2/3 big league innings Miller gave up 377 hits, 201 earned runs (plus 16 unearned for a total of 217), 187 walks (18 intentionally), and posted 4 balks, 19 wild pitches, 23 hit batters, and struck out 300 of the 1,656 batters he faced in his career.

He also pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers organizations during his career, although exclusively in the minors. He also appeared in 12 games for Bobby Valentine‘s Chiba Lotte Marines in the Japanese Pacific League in 2006, and played in the 1992 Little League World Series for the Torrance, CA team.

After being before released by the Mariners and Rangers in 2011, Miller returned to the Dodgers organization (with whom he appeared in 19 major league games in 2010) by signing minor league contract on the fourth of July. Three Triple-A appearances and less than a month later Miller was released by the Dodgers, thus ending his professional baseball career.

Following his playing career Miller had developed quite a passion for coaching, according to his wife. “He was gifted at putting things in a language that kids could understand. That was something he was really proud of,” she said. Last year he founded Justin Miller’s Legacy Baseball/Softball and Personal Training in Clearwater, Florida, where he offered pitching and hitting lessons to young athletes.

Justin Miller might be most remembered for his heavily inked frame. Due to his colorful tattoo sleeves, hitters would sometimes complain that they were a distraction, which led MLB to force him to wear a long-sleeved shirt under his jersey. This practice is often unofficially referred to as the “Justin Miller rule.”

RIP Justin Miller (8/27/77 – 6/26/13)

Roy Oswalt made his Rockies debut tonight in Washington against the Nationals, and had a solid outing in the losing effort. He threw 101 pitches (70 for strikes) over 5 innings, giving up 9 hits including a solo home run to Ian Desmond, 4 runs, and no walks while racking up 11 strike outs; which is the second-highest strikeout total of his career. He was also struck out by Jordan Zimmermann in his only at-bat of the night.

After the game Oswalt said, “Tonight felt pretty well. Just need to work on command with my off-speed pitches a little more.”

The pitch that Desmond crushed into the left-field stands was a waist-high 83-MPH changeup.

“It’s hard to say this, but really (I threw) too many strikeouts,” he added, eluding to the fact that the 11 strikeouts seriously contributed to the rapid accumulation of pitches causing him to reach his pitch count (which was set at 100 coming into the game) so quickly.

Oswalt signed with the Rockies on May 2, and prior to being called up Oswalt had been pitching exceptionally well for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, posting a 2.16 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with 25 strikeouts (6.8 K/9) while giving up 7 walks (1.9 BB/9) and 5 home runs against Texas League hitters following a short stay at extended spring training.

Oswalt also reiterated after the game that injuries were not a factor in him not having a contract sooner than when he signed with the Rockies. “You read a lot of things when you come back,” he said. “They want to treat me like I was hurt. I never was hurt. I’ve always had pretty decent life on my fastball.”

It certainly looked like it tonight.

10 years ago today Miguel Cabrera made his debut for Jack McKeon‘s Florida Marlins in an 11 inning interleague game against Lou Piniella‘s Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphin/Dolphins/Land Shark/Sun Life Stadium.

Penciled into the eighth spot in the lineup and playing left field, Cabrera went hitless in his first four career at-bats before coming to the plate in the 11th inning and becoming only the third player in the modern era (since 1900) to hit a walk-off home run in their major league debut (the first two were Billy Parker for the California Angels in 1971 and Josh Bard for the 2002 Cleveland Indians) with his two-run home run off of Tampa Bay reliever Al Levine.

“It’s so gratifying to see this kid come in here and do that,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said after the game. “This kid wasn’t fazed at all. He had good poise all night long.”

For more, check out this ESPN.com game recap.

Moonlight-Graham-card

The major league careers of pitcher Jake Hehl and catcher Jim Boyle both began — and ended — on June 20th. Hehl pitched a single inning for Brooklyn in 1918, while eight years later Boyle squatted behind home plate during one lone frame at the Polo Grounds for the Giants.

Hehl, a German-American, was born on December 10, 1899 and grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He attended Brooklyn Prep and was what the New York Times called “one of the best schoolboy pitchers that has been seen in Brooklyn this season.”

He was signed to the Brooklyn Robins by Hall of Fame manager “Uncle Robbie” Wilbert Robinson on June 18, 1918 and made his first and only appearance against John McGraw‘s Giants on June 20, 1918 at Ebbets Field.

With Brooklyn trailing 6-0, Hehl was called on to pitch the ninth inning in relief of Jack Coombs. He quickly retired Giants pitcher Red Causey, then proceeded to hit the legendary Jim Thorpe with a pitch before going on to retire right fielder Ross Youngs and shortstop Art Fletcher. The New York Times wrote that his “big league baptism was impressive,” but unfortunately for Hehl, he skipped the next five sacraments and proceeded immediately to the last rights, as the right-hander’s major league career was over just as quickly as it began, although it’s hard to tell the circumstances under which is had ended; especially considering he had pitched quite well in his debut.

He went on to play nine documented seasons in the minor leagues with the Jersey City Skeeters of the International League (1918), New Haven Weissman/Indians of the Eastern League (1919-1921),  Columbia Comers of the South Atlantic League (1922), Rocky Mount Tar Heels/Broncos of the Virginia League (1923-1925), and Jacksonville Tars of the Southeastern League. Over that stretch he went 95-108 while throwing 1,705 innings in 256 games.

Apparently, following his baseball career he also went on to be a successful bowler in various Catholic bowling leagues around Brooklyn, according to an e-book (which I did not read because I refused to pay even $3 for it after reading how poorly written the preview was) written by some guy Robert Grey Reynolds Jr.

Herman Charles “Jake” Hehl (I wonder where the nickname Jake came from) died on July 4, 1961 in Brookyn at the age of 61 (looks like Roger Maris wasn’t the only one to get to 61 in ’61).

Jake Hehl, pictured with the 1920 New Haven Weissman

________________________________________________

Jim Boyle was born on January 19, 1904 in Cincinnati, Ohio and went directly from college at Xavier University to play for John McGraw with New York Giants.

He caught one inning of one game for the Giants; on June 20, 1926 in an 8-0 loss against the Pirates at the Polo Grounds.

The Giants were already down 8-0 when McGraw called on Boyle in the ninth inning to catch the second of Chick Davies‘ two scoreless innings. By the time the game ended, Boyle was still six spots away in the batting order from coming up to the plate.

It’s not known how much longer he remained on the Giants roster, but because he never played in the minors, he has the dubious distinction of having had the shortest known professional baseball career in history.

He later went on to become the founder and owner of a New York City steakhouse called The Browntown Beefery.

Jim Boyle died on Christmas Eve in 1958 in his hometown of Cincinnati at the age of 54.

Jim Boyle, 1926 New York Giants

________________________________________________

Other players who played in their first and only major league games on June 20th were a right fielder named McRemer who went hitless in three at-bats for the Union Association’s Washington Nationals against the Boston Reds; Nick Wise of the 1888 Boston Beaneaters (the modern day Atlanta Braves), who caught and played right field while going 0-for-3 against the New York Giants; left-handed pitcher Fred Blank for the 1894 Cincinnati Reds, who started and pitched eight innings while giving up five hits, four runs, and nine walks with one strike out against the St. Louis Browns (who are now known as the Cardinals, not to be confused with the American League Browns who moved to Baltimore and are now known as the Orioles); and shortstop Tom Murray of the 1894 Philadelphia Phillies, who played in one game of a doubleheader in New York against the Giants and struck out in each of his two at-bats.

Note: Catcher Terry Connell appeared in a National Association game on June 20, 1874 for the Chicago White Stockings (the modern-day Chicago Cubs) against the Brooklyn Atlantics. The National Association was the precursor to the National League (which was established in 1876) and considered to be the first ever professional baseball/sports league, but isn’t technically considered a major league.

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