St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter is expected to miss the entire 2013 season and may be forced to retire due to a series of injuries.
The 37-year-old was bothered by a nerve issue in his shoulder that limited him to five games last season. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Carpenter currently has health concerns in his right shoulder, arm and neck.
Significantly for the Dodgers, who have a surplus of starters one week before pitchers and catchers are expected to report for spring training, the GM added that he’s “comfortable” with his starting rotation as it’s composed. Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller are the right-handers; Jaime Garcia is the lone left-hander but he’s questionable to start the season because of an elbow injury.
Free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse went 16-3 for the Cardinals last season and would be a sensible replacement. If Mozeliak decides one lefty starter isn’t enough, he might end up calling Ned Colletti, who has two veteran southpaws (Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly) entering camp with no assurance of a spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Lilly has health concerns too – he’s 37 and hasn’t pitched a major-league game since May 23 of last year – and is coming off arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September.
The circumstances seem ripe for a trade, but it will hinge on both GM’s sense of urgency. Publicly, Colletti and Mozeliak say they’re in no rush to resolve their rotation situations, but we’ll see if that changes.
Jackie Robinson was born 94 years ago today in Cairo, Georgia. To commemorate the occasion, Google baked a birthday cake with 94 candles on top made Robinson the “doodle” on its home page today.
We’ll be writing a lot about Robinson this year. The 66th anniversary of his major-league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers is April 15. Three days earlier is the planned release date of “42,” the biopic starring Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. You can view the trailer here.
An often-overlooked local landmark is the plaque commemorating Robinson’s boyhood home at 121 Pepper Street in Pasadena. (There’s no home there now, just a plaque, as the home was torn down in the early 1970s.) Feel free to leave a present there today. Or a doodle.
What does Alex Rodriguez’s reported PED connection mean for his future with the Yankees? (AP Photo)
Alex Rodriguez was one of several major-leaguers linked to a Miami PED distributor in a report today by the Miami New Times. At least so far, he’s the only player whose team is attempting to void his contract as a result.
The three-time American League MVP is owed $114MM over the next five seasons. An industry source says the Yankees “are looking at about 20 different things,” including whether A-Rod breached the contract by taking medical treatment from an outside doctor without the team’s authorization, and the possibility that he may have broken the law by purchasing controlled substances from the clinic.
If the Yankees do take action to 86 the remainder of the third baseman’s deal, they can’t do anything until the MLB investigation is concluded, according to a source. For his part, Rodriguez has issued a statement denying the allegations.
If his contract is voided, could Rodriguez find his way to Chavez Ravine?
Juan Rivera‘s days as a Dodger seemed over from the moment the final out of the season was recorded. The 34-year-old was a free agent and Ned Colletti already had a backup corner outfielder under contract in Jerry Hairston Jr. (and later, Skip Schumaker).
It became official Monday, with multiplereports out of New York that Rivera signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees, the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela 17 years ago.
In 109 games last season, Rivera batted .244 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs. It was a disappointing follow-up to his 62-game audition as a Dodger in 2011 (.274/.333/.406) in a year the Dodgers could have used him with injuries befalling Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, and Shane Victorino, Bobby Abreu and Tony Gwynn Jr. doing little with their playing time.
The Dodgers purchased Rivera’s contract after he was designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays on July 12, 2011, then got a one-year $4 million contract after the season. The Dodgers chose to buy out Rivera’s contract for $500,000 rather than exercise his option for 2013.
The Dodgers have agreed to terms with Dominican shortstop Carlos Aquino, according to DPLBaseball.com. According to the website,
Aquino was eligible in 2012 but lacked the strength and ability he is presently showing. He has smooth fielding actions with solid average arm strength and runs average (6.9 60 yard dash). Aquino is a switch hitting line drive gap hitter with more pop from the left side. The Dodgers and Aquino agree to a contract value of $75,000. The contract is pending MLB approval, he will more than likely start his professional career in the Dominican Summer League.
Medina, who is from Santo Domingo and trained with Amauris Nina, is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds and played in the International Prospect League all-star game last week. He showed a projectable frame with good bat speed from the right side, power and the ability to use the opposite field. He most likely projects as a corner outfielder, with a solid arm that could fit in right field.
Medina was one of the youngest players who became eligible to sign in 2012, as he didn’t turn 16 until Aug. 24. Had he been born a little more than a week later, he wouldn’t have been eligible to sign until July 2, 2013.
We found a YouTube clip of Medina taking batting practice at his International Prospect League tryout. Note that his date of birth here is listed as Aug. 12, 1996, 12 days earlier than Badler reported. Given that birthdate is such a sensitive issue in Medina’s case, this is not a minor detail. With or without batting gloves, you have to like this swing:
If you’re Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson — who among us hasn’t had that thought, if not since 1988 — your 2013 lineup just took an interesting turn.
Justin Upton is out. Martin Prado is in. There’s room for Adam Eaton, whose arm and foot speed and ability to hit for average brings the promise of being the team’s everyday center fielder for years to come.
But something’s undeniably missing. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports identifies it toward the end of today’s eye-opening column, which was heavy on quotes from anonymous players slamming the D-Backs’ seven-player trade with the Braves: “Who is the most feared hitter in the Arizona lineup now,” Rosenthal asks. “Prado? [Cody] Ross? Jason Kubel? Miguel Montero? Not good enough.”
I personally feel good for the younger Upton, who’s been the subject of trade rumors on and off for three years — particularly this off-season — without getting a lick of assurance from the Diamondbacks about his future. At least that’s how it seemed publicly.
For Arizona, the 2013 lineup begets more questions than hope. That’s a good thing for the Dodgers, and I’ll explore it in more depth in my next blog post.
The rest of today’s news, still waiting on that Dodgers cable deal …
Jesus Flores is 28 years old and has caught 263 major-league games. That makes him younger and more experienced than the Dodgers’ starter, A.J. Ellis.
The Washington Nationals granted Flores free agency in November and the Dodgers signed him to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training on Tuesday.
Flores figures to compete with Tim Federowicz for the backup job. Considering Federowicz’s lack of experience (10 major-league games), it could make for an interesting competition.
Flores’ career batting numbers aren’t much to look at, though he did hit eight home runs and drive in 59 in only 90 games in 2008. The Venezuela native batted .301 in 2009, when surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right shoulder limited his season to 29 games. Flores hasn’t been the same since.
He didn’t play at all in 2010 and worried whether his career was over. He came back to play 30 games in 2011 and 83 last season, all in a backup role for the Nationals. His slash line since the surgery: .212/.249/.325. Even Flores’ defense seems to have suffered; since the surgery he’s thrown out only 13 of 67 attempted base stealers – 19.4 percent.
Flores is currently playing for Navegantes del Magallanes of the Venezuelan Winter League.