June 2009

Guillen takes a look at baseball internationally

Here are some thoughts that Jose Guillen had when asked about some aspects of international baseball.

On which international player is the best in the game:  “We have some good ones but overall I’d have to take Albert Pujols because he’s pretty much the complete package right now. You cannot go wrong with him. He’s a winner and plays the game the right way, plays hard.”

On whether Major League Baseball is tougher or easier for international players: “I think it’s a little tougher on us because we come from a different country, a different culture, different language. And this is an American game, this is not a Latin game. When a Latin player comes here, it’s learn the language, learn the culture and understand the game when the coaches are talking about it. This game is not just about pitching and hitting, it requires a lot of other things the players have to understand. Coming from a different country, you have to adjust to an American style, not a Dominican style – a different type of life to lead. There are things you can do in the Dominican you can’t do over here so it’s thoroughly different. So I guess the Americans have an easier time.”

On which foreign country produces the best players: “Right now it’s the Dominican and Venezuela. It used to be the Dominican but right now Venezuela is getting there with some really good ones. But I’ve got to go with my country because it’s all baseball, that’s all we play there. It’s the only big sport there and you can see how people go crazy about baseball there. It’s a different atmosphere than any other Latin American place so I’ve got to go with my country but Venezuela is right behind. There’s a lot of great ones from there but a lot of great ones from the Dominican, too.”

–Dick Kaegel

Crisp to have surgery, out for rest of season

Royals center fielder Coco Crisp will undergo right shoulder surgery on Wednesday and will miss the rest of the season, manager Trey Hillman said on Tuesday.

Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery to repair a labrum tear at Birmingham, Ala.

“So he’s out for the season and, obviously, that’s not what we were looking for but it’s something that needs to be done,” Hillman said. “They don’t know exactly what they’re going to have to do until they get in there but they’ve got a pretty good idea.”

Crisp was hampered swinging, particularly from the left side, and was hitting just .228 in 49 games. As the leadoff batter, though, he drew 29 walks and had a healthy on-base percentage of .336 along with 13 stolen bases.

He’s been replaced in center field recently by Mitch Maier although Willie Bloomquist could see action there as well.

Crisp is expected to spend at least two or three days in Birmingham after the surgery and then his program will depend on the exact nature of the procedure, Hillman said.

–Dick Kaegel

Some Royals thoughts on top power hitters

For the MLB.com feature called “Around the Cage,” we asked some of the Royals about power hitting. Here’s what they had to say:

Who’s the best power hitter in the game today?

Trey Hillman:  “I’d have to say Pujols. He has the ability to use all fields, hit ’em on all counts, certainly one of the most feared hitters. I would say Albert.”

Willie Bloomquist: “Pujols. I haven’t seen him play a lot but he doesn’t miss. You either walk him or he’s going to hit something hard somewhere. He’s an absolute pure hitter with a ton of pop behind it. So everything I’ve heard is pretty much on a par for what I see. He’s legit.”

Who could hit the most and the longest home runs?

Mark Teahen: “I’m gonna go with Carlos Pena, because I’ve seen him hit a couple of balls (at Kauffman Stadium) that were ridiculous.”

Hillman: “I’d say Pujols fits into both of those. Distance, I’d put Jake (Mike Jacobs) in there. We’ve seen him hit a couple that have knocked our socks off but I think we’re going to see more that have more distance than most home runs have.”

Bloomquist: “(For longest) probably Josh Hamilton. His swing is kind of made for it, especially playing in Texas which is kind of a launching pad. (For most) They don’t pitch to Pujols enough; if they’d pitch to him, no problem. I would say probably Alex Rodriguez because of the protection he has in the lineup, he’s going to get pitched to. And that stadium is kind of a band box from what I understand. So I would go with him.”

–Dick Kaegel

Farnsworth suffers bite breaking up dog fight

 Royals reliever Kyle Farnsworth was bitten by one of his dogs on Tuesday morning and had four stitches taken in his left index finger but said he was able to pitch.

“I’m just glad it wasn’t my other hand,” said Farnsworth, a hard-throwing right-hander.

Farnsworth’s left index or forefinger was wrapped in tape which was protruding from his glove as he went through batting practice shagging balls in center field. The dog’s bit reached a tendon but did not cause serious damage, he said.

“My dogs got in a fight this morning and I just tried to break it up and they bit me in the process,” he said.

Farnsworth said he owned two American bulldogs, one about 80 pounds and the other about 90 pounds. They’re named Strike and Rambo. The incident happened about 7:30 a.m. CT Tuesday morning at his Leawood, Kan., home  when the dogs got into a scrap apparently over sharing the affections of Farnsworth’s children.

He’s not sure which dog bit him.

“I think it was Rambo. I don’t know. I reached in there and started grabbing dogs and throwing dogs. And one of them got me,” he said. “One of those things that happens. It’s never pretty. I’ve had to do it a few times and it’s ugly.”

The dogs were current on shots so he has no rabies concerns.

“It hurts a little bit but no big deal, just a flesh wound,” he said.

Royals manager Trey Hillman said that Farnsworth was not expected to miss any time.

“Not planning on it, planning on wrapping it up and having him available today,” Hillman said.

Farnsworth at least was able to grin about the incident.

“That’s how I start my mornings off,” he said. “Wrestling with bulldogs.”

— Dick Kaegel

Crisp goes on 15-day DL with sore shoulder

Center fielder Coco Crisp’s continuing battle with a sore right shoulder finally put him on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday.

The Royals placed Crisp on the list retroactive to Saturday because of a right rotator cuff strain. His spot on the roster was taken by infielder Tug Hulett, recalled from Triple-A Omaha.

Crisp has been in and out of the lineup since May 26 when he was removed during a game because of shoulder soreness. It has been particularly affecting his swing from the left side of the plate and his ability to throw.

Manager Trey Hillman was hoping the shoulder would heal during a six-game hiatus during which Crisp missed four games because of the shoulder and two more to attend his great grandmother’s funeral. Since rejoining the team at Tampa Bay on June 4, he has played in five of nine games.

Crisp is batting .228 but had proven especially adapt at drawing bases on balls; he has 29 walks for a .336 on-base percentage. Batting in the leadoff spot in 47 of his 49 games, Crisp was leading the Royals with 30 runs scored and 13 stolen bases with five triples.

This is Hulett’s second stint with the Royals. He with with them for 10 days, May 24-June 4, and went 0-for-4.

–Dick Kaegel

First replay review at Kauffman results in no change

The first replay review at Kauffman Stadium resulted in no change to the umpire’s decision on Saturday night.

The incident came as the Royals’ half of the fourth inning began against Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo.

Billy Butler’s line drive down the left-field line into the  seats was ruled a foul ball by third-base umpire Tony Randazzo. Royals manager Trey Hillman, watching from the first-base dugout, came out to question the call.

After a brief huddle, crew chief Jerry Layne and two of the other three umpires went to the tunnel next to the umpires’ room near third-base to view a replay from Major League Baseball offices in New York.

After a brief delay, Layne emerged and indicated the call was correct and play resumed.

Umpires supervisor Steve Palermo, observing from the press box, said the umpires executed the review by the book.

The replay rule was put into effect last year to aid umpires ruling on boundary calls such as fair-foul balls and fan interference.

–Dick Kaegel

Heres how Zacks ERA got all the way up to 1.72

A reader wanted to know how in the how Zack Greinke was charged with two runs in the eighth inning on Thursday night at Cleveland. He thought the second run should have been charged to John Bale.

Here’s what happened: With one out, Mark DeRosa singled and Victor Martinez walked. At that point, Greinke was relieved by Bale. Shin-Soo Choo hit a possible double-play ball to first baseman Billy Butler, who threw to second for the force. But shortstop Tony Pena Jr.’s return throw got past Bale covering for an error, DeRosa scoring. On that play, second baseman Alberto Callaspo, after chasing down the ball, threw poorly to home for another error that let Choo take second. Then Joakim Soria relieved Bale and Jhonny Peralta blasted a double off the top of the left-field wall, Choo scoring.

Greinke is charged with both runs because he put the first two runners on base. And even though Martinez was retired on Choo’s fielder’s choice, the fact that there was a runner on at all still reverts to Zack. It might be a bit unfair but that’s the way it is.

Even though DeRosa scored on Pena’s throwing error, that came on a double play attempt in which you cannot assume the second out which would have ended the inning. So the scorer ruled that DeRosa would have scored along with Choo on Peralta’s double, hence both runs were earned and charged to Zack.       

In the case of the second run charged to Zack, I suppose the scorer could have ruled that Choo would not have reached second base except for Callaspo’s error and therefore would not have scored on Peralta’s double. However, there were two outs when the double was hit so Choo would have been running all the way if he were still at first base and the ball hit high off the wall anyway so he’d probably have scored from first regardless.

–Dick Kaegel

Farnsworth: You cant beat Bombers-Bosox rivalry

There’s a feature on MLB.com called “Around the Cage” that focuses on various topics each day during the week. Here’s what some of our Royals had to say recently.

Kyle Farnsworth on if the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is the best in baseball: “The ones I’ve been involved in, I think it is.  Definitely the fans get into it a lot. The Cubs-Cardinals, that’s a good one, too, but Boston-New York it’s intense. And the games always seem to last four, four-and-a-half hours, they always seem to be marathon games and exciting. I enjoyed them a lot. I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just one of those things that’s fun to play in. Both of them are, but the Yankees-Red Sox just seems to be more intense and everything for some reason.  It might be (the northeastern mentality), just the hard-nosed stuff like that.”
Mitch Maier on his feelings about being drafted in the first round by the Royals: “I was excited and nervous. I was pretty sure I was going to get drafted where I was. . . . I had my college coach with me at home and my family. It’s definitely exciting and kind of nerve-wracking because everything is out of your hands at that time. You’re kind of just sitting there waiting to find out where you’re going to go. . . . (When the call came) I was ecstatic. I was thrilled. It’s hard to explain. It’s what you, as a kid growing up, dream about. Getting an opportunity to have that fulfilled is a huge moment.”

Brian Bannister on whether suspended Manny Ramirez, if voted in by the fans, should be allowed to play in the All-Star Game: “Honestly I think it should be a fan vote. The game is for the fans and if the fans support a player enough to elect him, then it’s almost like a jury in a courtroom, I think. The fans should be allowed to vote on whether he plays or not. I think that’d be a fair way and it’d really show what the fans are leaning toward. That’s the way we decide it in a courtroom and that’s the way we should decide it on a baseball field.”

–Dick Kaegel