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Old 06-23-2002, 10:26 PM   #1
cubfan33
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This one’s for Daryl and Jack. Thank you.

This is going to be a big week in UTK history. I had an amazing visit to Chicago and have several features coming up. What features, you ask? Another in our series of interviews with trainers, this time with Cubs trainer Dave Tumbas, who has some great insight into pitchers; A longer piece I’m calling “Kid in a Candystore” about a Cubs fan walking into the Cubs clubhouse and trying not to act like a blubbering fool; and a piece on Texas outfielder Gabe Kapler I think you’ll enjoy reading about. I’ll also be taking a short day trip to tiny Roanoke, Indiana to see the mythic “Red Book” – the guide to all injuries in baseball compiled by MLB’s insurance company. No other writer has been granted such access to this annual study and I’m excited to share it with you later this week.

In an injury saga getting odder and odder, MANNY RAMIREZ should end his Pawtucket vacation this week and return to Boston. Ramirez reportedly declined traveling to Los Angeles with the team and has indicated to the team that his finger has rendered him a DH for the rest of the season. What? I could understand that statement if it were a toe or a knee, but how does a finger stop you from playing the field?

RICH “EL GUAPO” GARCES is also likely headed back to Beantown. Alert the restaurants – happy days are here again!

Huh? AUSTIN KEARNS was sent down before today’s game, despite an 867 OPS and a strong candidacy for Rookie of the Year. This despite having guys like Reggie Taylor (643 OPS) and Brady Clark (460 OPS) on the roster. How this helps the ballclub is beyond me and the media explanation of “we need a lefty reliever” seems pretty weak. Worse, KEN GRIFFEY pulled up lame again with a tight hamstring during the game. I’m betting that Kearns shouldn’t get used to Louisville.

[Quick note here. Some have asked me why I don’t use the decimal point when reporting averages such as batting, slugging, or OPS. I just don’t like how it looks and I think everyone can still understand it. There’s no big reason why.]

We made a call to one of our favorite doctors after Griffey pulled up lame, looking for an explanation. This doctor – let’s call him “Dr. A” – explained the chronic nature of Griffey’s hamstring: “When he had the massive tear, what his body did was rebuild the muscle with scar tissue. While this is enough to hold it together, it will never – no matter what – be as strong as it was. At best, scar tissue is only 85% as strong as normal muscle. With his cycle of tear, repair, tear, repair, the scar tissue is now beginning to tear and rebuild based on scar tissue rather than muscle. The part of his hamstring that is ‘muscle’ is getting less and less and the part that is scar tissue is more and more. I don’t see any way that this isn’t going to happen over and over.” Dr. A went on to suggest that Griffey may need to move to first base or even look at becoming a DH.

No, GABE WHITE did not have flesh eating bacteria, which is good for him, but bad for me. I LOVE flesh eating bacteria and ebola … but that’s me. What White did have is an exceptionally odd staph infection in his hand. Reports indicate he really might have lost the hand had it not been treated when it was. He’s likely headed to the DL, but it should only be for fifteen days.

The Mariners are very concerned with the injury of EDGAR MARTINEZ during his pinch hitting late last week. The surgery he had is so experimental that no one knows how significant a setback this is or how much the hitting and running contributed. We warned that there was no need to rush Martinez back during interleague play, but this injury/condition is so odd, we can’t yet say we told them so.

MARK MULDER pitched Sunday with a strained oblique. The strain is mild and affected his velocity but not his control. Mulder actually asked if the radar gun that displayed the pitch speed could be turned off. This injury is somewhat concerning, but Art Howe sounds like he may juggle the rotation to get Mulder some extra rest with the ASB coming up.

I asked MOISES ALOU if he thought GEOFF JENKINS would be back this season after dislocating his ankle. Alou got a pretty good laugh out of the question and managed to say “no.”

There’s a calendar in TOM GORDON’s locker at Wrigley Field. The date July 10 is circled … that’s the first game after the ASB. It could be his wife’s birthday or something but I doubt it. Gordon is currently in Class A Daytona rehabbing. Keep your eye on the KGPR for reports.

MARCUS GILES’ rehab was again set back by the death of his infant daughter. Our condolences go to Giles and his family and kudos to the Braves for allowing Giles to deal with the important things in life over baseball.

Several pitchers joined the “Boy, I’m glad this isn’t Omaha” club when they took comebackers off various portions of their bodies. ROGER CLEMENS took a nasty shot off his pitching arm. Clemens had a Hasim Rahman-esque swelling that looked frighteningly like what happens with a fracture, but he played the tough Texan and rubbed some dirt on it or something and shouldn’t miss a start. TONY ARMAS pitched today after a comebacker got him earlier this week and showed no ill effects. SIDNEY PONSON also got pegged, but shouldn’t miss a start.

MARIANO RIVERA should be activated on Tuesday and reports that he feels better than he has all season. I’m sure the Red Sox are excited to hear that bit of news.

The Marlins are starting to get healthy – BRAD PENNY will not get a rehab start after having a game rained out in the minors. Oddly, they will start him on Thursday which is a bit off plan. JOSH BECKETT is healing well and will NOT have any rehab starts. He’ll likely be back just before the ASB.

CARL EVERETT walked by me at Wrigley. He still had a bit of a limp. When asked how he was doing, Carl said “I’m doing better. I want to get back and help this team soon.”

UTK’s Tiger source indicates that this season is in the mail for the team and that there will be no rush to get BOBBY HIGGINSON back in the lineup. He’ll be given time to completely heal in order to see if he becomes a trade commodity come July.

SHAWN WOOTEN will restart his rehab in Salt Lake and will be a valuable addition to the Angels stretch run. Reports from Anaheim indicate that Wooten makes it more likely that the Angels will acquire a pitcher or two rather than a hitter.

Our secret source, a MLB player known here as “Morpheus” comes in with this: “Someone quit trying to hit Clemens and plunk MATT MANTEI. He’s going around the Arizona clubhouse campaigning for his job. Didn’t he notice how the vets closed ranks around BK KIM in the World Series? Didn’t he notice he didn’t have nasty stuff before he got hurt and that Kim and MEYERS and the rest of that pen have been f***in’ solid all season? Guys like that need to get some sense knocked into them – or some time in El Paso might shrink his ego some.” Mantei is apparently just days away from returning and some reports indicate that he and TODD STOTTLEMYRE might be used as setup men. Again, I’ll say huh? If Stottlemyre needs extra rest as a starter, how will he be useful in relief? I once asked Tom House, then Texas pitching coach, if he’d ever considered using NOLAN RYAN as a closer, a la DENNIS ECKERSLEY. House was polite to the youngster I once was and said “A reliever that can go every fifth day or so isn’t very useful.”

SEAN BURROUGHS was seen taking some grounders at 2B. Interesting. The Pads experimented with a couple of their hot-hitting 3B prospects up the middle, but this move would also help protect Burroughs’ injured shoulder. Despite this development, surgery on that impingement still hasn’t been ruled out.

And so, an odd week closes. Funny UTK schedule, far too much real world intrusions, and yet, life goes on. Tomorrow, there will be the normal UTK @ FOX – be sure to check it out – it will be more news than recap this week – and I’m planning on getting out “Kid in a Candystore” late tomorrow. Until then … see you at Netshrine.com
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"I was pulling for Pete and agreeing with (commissioner) Bud Selig that Pete should be eligible for the Hall of Fame," said Giles, now chairman of the Phillies. "Bud was close to making him eligible right after his meeting with Pete (November 2002). Right after that, Pete got into tax trouble (in California), and that delayed the process."
- Phillies Chairman Bill Giles in the Dayton Daily News, January 25th, 2004.
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Old 06-24-2002, 03:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: 57

Quote:
Originally posted by cubfan33
No, GABE WHITE did not have flesh eating bacteria, which is good for him, but bad for me. I LOVE flesh eating bacteria and ebola … but that’s me. What White did have is an exceptionally odd staph infection in his hand. Reports indicate he really might have lost the hand had it not been treated when it was. He’s likely headed to the DL, but it should only be for fifteen days.
so much for bursting a 'pimple', huh....
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Old 06-24-2002, 05:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by cubfan33
Huh? AUSTIN KEARNS was sent down before today’s game, despite an 867 OPS and a strong candidacy for Rookie of the Year. This despite having guys like Reggie Taylor (643 OPS) and Brady Clark (460 OPS) on the roster. How this helps the ballclub is beyond me and the media explanation of “we need a lefty reliever” seems pretty weak. Worse, KEN GRIFFEY pulled up lame again with a tight hamstring during the game. I’m betting that Kearns shouldn’t get used to Louisville.
Not to blow my own horn but I believe I called this one exactly not too long ago. And no, he wont be here long, but long enough for me and the kids to go see him a few times. Good times.
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Old 06-24-2002, 05:51 PM   #4
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Before I start in on this, I just want to say that I'm not a huge Mantei fan by any means, and didn't agree with the trade that brought him to the DBacks in exchange for Penny, Abraham Nunez, and Vladimir Nunez. I thought the team gave up too much for him

Quote:
“Someone quit trying to hit Clemens and plunk MATT MANTEI. He’s going around the Arizona clubhouse campaigning for his job.


Now Mantei could be the biggest jerk in the world, but I didn't know that having the desire to get your job back warranted a beaning. Seeing how when he left he was the closer, is it unreasonable for him to expect to at least get a chance to reclaim his job on the team? And it's not like Mantei is playing for a contract. He's currently signed through 2003 with a player option for 2004. That $21 million contract should alleviate any concerns that he just wants his job back to fatten his wallet. It's already bulging quite nicely.

Quote:
Didn’t he notice how the vets closed ranks around BK KIM in the World Series?

And those same teammates don't have any empathy for a guy who blew out his elbow? How would Morpheus feel if he got injured and when he tried to come back from that injury, he wasn't even considered for getting his old job back?

Quote:
Didn’t he notice he didn’t have nasty stuff before he got hurt and that Kim and MEYERS and the rest of that pen have been f***in’ solid all season?


1. Really Mantei hasn't been 100% healthy since 1999. In 2000 he spent time on the DL with biceps tendinitis, and did another 15 days with weakness in his right shoulder. In 2001, he blew out his elbow and had Tommy John surgery. That could be why "he didn't have his nasty stuff".

2. I don't know which team Morpheus has been watching, but the Diamondbacks bullpen HAS NOT been getting the job done outside of Myers and Kim. Prinz has been tried twice in the RH setup role and failed miserably both times, Jose Parra had more walks than strikeouts and was sent down to AAA. Swindell has an ERA over 6, Eddie Oropesa has an ERA over 7, Mike Morgan's ERA is around 5 and a half. Yep, that's some solid pen.

Quote:
Guys like that need to get some sense knocked into them – or some time in El Paso might shrink his ego some.”


Um, Mantei DID spend some time in El Paso as part of his rehab assignment. In fact, he's been pitching for the last month or so in the minors. Btw, something tells me that Morpheus isn't going to be the one "knocking some sense" into Mantei. If he thinks Mantei is out of line, he should either take it up with the clubhouse leader, or do it himself, not talk to some columnist about it, IMO.

Stottlemyre may or may not be useful in the bullpen, but to say he can only pitch 1-2 innings every 5 days is ridiculous. There's a huge difference between making 35 starts/200 IP a year averaging 100 pitches per start, and throwing around 70 IP per year like your average reliever with 15-30 pitches per appearance. Which one takes the most stamina? My money is on the starting pitcher. Matt Morris was put in the pen after he came back from a major arm surgery with the Cards, and he didn't seem to be hurting the team. In fact, some teams take this very tactic when returning starting pitchers to MLB duty after a major injury. Maybe that's why Tom House has the designation "former" when talking about him being a pitching coach for Texas.

But back to Mantei. Now I'm not saying he deserves to be handed the closer's job immediately upon his return to the DBacks, but if he can prove over 1-2 months time that he can pitch like he did in 99, then I don't see why he shouldn't close. This would free up Kim to pitch in more critical situations during close games in the 7th-8th inning. Currently Koplove is doing the job quite well, but I think the team would be even stronger with a vintage 99 Mantei pitching with a bases empty lead in the 9th, and Kim setting him up for 1-2 innings when he has to come in with runners on in a tight game.
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Old 06-24-2002, 11:02 PM   #5
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Sal - you're holding on the old theory that the designated ninth-inning pitcher is the most important pitcher in the pen.

Will's source may have insight into how baseball players truly think in the room.

Stottlemyre's probably done. Mantei wasn't that useful even as a designated ninth-inning pitcher. Let Kim get the key outs and be done with it. I never would have trusted Mantei farther than I could throw him.
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Old 06-24-2002, 11:45 PM   #6
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No, I'm not holding onto that theory that the 9th inning pitcher is the most important, that's why I advocate Kim pitch the 7th and 8th inning since the first pitcher out of the bullpen in relief of the starter in a tight game often come in with men on base. Getting 3 outs with the bases empty is a relatively easy chore compared to that. Add in the fact that Kim has yet to prove that he has the stamina to last an entire season as the Dbacks closer, not to mention his World Series collapse, it should be clear that the Diamondbacks could use another option in late inning pressure situations late in the season.

Mantei has been relaible when healthy. In just half a season in 1999 with the Diamondbacks, he saved 22 games while striking out 49 batters in just 29 IP. If you add in his Marlins numbers for that same year, he struck out 99 batters in just 65 1/3 IP. There aren't too many pitchers around that can put up that kind of K rate. But like I said, using Mantei in critical situations isn't a given right now and he'll have to prove himself over the next 1-2 months before he can even think about earning his job back.

Why shouldn't I take exception to Will's source when Morpheus makes a ridiculous statement about the Diamondback's "solid" bullpen ? I think the numbers clearly speak for themselves, and really you don't even need the stats if you follow the team to know that outside of Kim and Myers, plus the recent addition of Koplove, the bullpen has been the weakest part of the team, especially from the right side. That fact alone has me questioning the credibility of all of Morpheus' remarks.
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Old 06-24-2002, 11:54 PM   #7
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I appreciate what everyone has had to say on this. What Morpheus does is give one players perspective. I think its interesting to hear this take and want to share it with you. Obviously, we won't always agree with it but that's the fun of UTK and this forum ... we can always argue intelligently here I'll see if I can get a response from Morpheus on this ...
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"I was pulling for Pete and agreeing with (commissioner) Bud Selig that Pete should be eligible for the Hall of Fame," said Giles, now chairman of the Phillies. "Bud was close to making him eligible right after his meeting with Pete (November 2002). Right after that, Pete got into tax trouble (in California), and that delayed the process."
- Phillies Chairman Bill Giles in the Dayton Daily News, January 25th, 2004.
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Old 06-24-2002, 11:57 PM   #8
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Sal -

The players probably aren't stat-a-holics like we are. The perception is Mantei should just shut his yap, same as Tom Gordon in Chicago. Shaddap and get healthy.
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Old 06-24-2002, 11:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sal Maglie
Really Mantei hasn't been 100% healthy since 1999.

Most pitchers who have battled an arm problem for going-on 3 years aren't very far from another surgery or injury. While I admire the competitive spirit and confidence Mantei is displaying, I think he ought to at least get a few outs and make a few appearances before being handed the useless-ninth-inning-stat job.

PLUS, he plays for the Keeper of the Unwritten Rulebook. Isn't popping off in the press against the unwritten rules?
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Old 06-25-2002, 09:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
The perception is Mantei should just shut his yap, same as Tom Gordon in Chicago. Shaddap and get healthy


I agree 100% with this. I too said that Mantei could be the biggest jerk in the world. And I pointed out that Mantei has a good 1-2 month timeframe where he has to show the Diamondbacks that he can be counted on in late inning pressure situations.

I just took issue with the way Morpheus put it(beaning, El Paso, state of the bullpen). Especially the totally inaccurate comment about the performance of the bullpen as a whole. If Morpheus had just said that Mantei was strutting around the clubhouse saying he deserved to have the closer 's job back upon his immediate return and that attitude stunk, then I wouldn't have had a problem with that opinion at all. But Morpheus went way past that and to me it just ended up sounding petty. Stats or no stats, the Diamondbacks haven't had a reliable RH setup man in the bullpen all season long. Even the most casual fan knows that.
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