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Tag:Mike Cameron
Posted on: July 5, 2011 6:37 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 6:42 pm
 

Marlins acquire Mike Cameron from Boston

Faced with a fading career and no playing time, veteran outfielder Mike Cameron got his Get Out of Jail Free card Tuesday: A deal to the Florida Marlins.

The Red Sox, who designated Cameron for assignment on June 30, will receive either cash or a player to be named later.

Cameron, 38, signed a two-year, $15.5 million deal with Boston before the 2010 season as the Red Sox were looking to boost their "run prevention" after the club's defense wasn't nearly as tight in 2009 as general manager Theo Epstein and his staff expected.

Problem was, Cameron suffered an abdominal strain shortly after opening day last summer and never fully integrated himself back into Boston's plans. He missed significant time in '09 with two different stints on the disabled list, which limited him to 48 games.

When Boston signed free agent Carl Crawford last winter, with Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew already on hand, it essentially relegated Cameron to a full-time bench player in Boston. At the time Boston whacked him last week, Cameron was hitting .149 with just two doubles, three homers and nine RBIs in 33 games.

He joins a Marlins team reeling from a staggering 5-23 June that knocked them into the NL East cellar. Within that, the Marlins have serious holes in part because center fielder Chris Coghlan has seriously regressed from 2010. Currently, Florida has Dewayne Wise playing center.

Cameron is expected to replace him and be given significant playing time by manager Jack McKeon. This will be Cameron's eighth team, following his time with the White Sox, Cincinnati, Seattle, the Mets, San Diego, Milwaukee and Boston.

Posted on: July 1, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Short Hops: All-Star Soria back on track (& more)

This isn't about Mariano Rivera. It's about the Royals' Joakim Soria. But as with so many other things regarding closers, it makes Old Man Rivera look even more sensational than he already is.

OK, here goes: If I were to ask you coming into this season whose save conversion rate since July 31, 2007, is second in the game to Rivera's, whom would you say?

Yes, the answer is Soria, a two-time All-Star whose 92.4 rate since that date is second among all major-league closers to Rivera's 92.9.

Now, here's just one more piece of evidence that Rivera is superhuman: In late May, Soria suddenly fell into a hole and blew five of his first 12 save opportunities. It got so bad that after he blew consecutive save opportunities in late May, he admirably went to manager Ned Yost and essentially removed himself from the role. Something that in all of these years Rivera has never had to do.

Yost handled the situation superbly: He gave Soria a few days off to clear out his mind, eased him back into non-save situations in which he could pitch two innings at a time (to work on his fastball command) and then plugged Soria back into the ninth in early June.

The results, again, have been spectacular: Soria has worked 12 shutout innings in his past 10 games and is six-for-six in save opportunities, while holding opponents to an .098 batting average (4 for 41).

"It was not a big change at all," Soria says. "It was just a mind-set, getting my confidence back. Mechanics-wise, there was nothing to change. I looked at video, and I'm not doing anything different."

Soria isn't a closer with overpowering stuff, nor does he have one lethal weapon like Rivera's cutter. Instead, he throws all of his pitches -- fastball, curve, slider and change. Because he depends on location, problems can arise if he goes four or five days between outings.

"He's a command-guy closer," Yost says. "Command guys rebound so much better from that than stuff guys do.

"I've never had stuff guys who have gone through this rebound -- Derrick Turnbow, Danny Kolb, even Eric Gagne."

Soria, 27, right now is reinforcing Yost's history.

"Bad things make you stronger," Soria says. "If you've always been good, maybe you don't realize what it takes to be good until you go bad."

As for Rivera, who mostly has been immune to slumps throughout his Hall of Fame career, Soria, like everyone else, just marvels.

"He's the best," Soria says. "He's done everything in his career, and I don't think he's ever struggled."

-- Soria and Rivera have met once, at the All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium in 2008. But they did not exchange trade secrets. "We didn't talk about the game," Soria says. "We just talked about life."

-- Though they clearly could use reinforcements for a beat-up bullpen, and manager Charlie Manuel wants a right-handed bat (the Padres' Ryan Ludwick? The Twins' Michael Cuddyer?), the Phillies are telling teams that they they're tapped out financially. They're close to the luxury tax threshold and do not want to cross it. Of course, they were also telling rivals the same thing last winter before they shocked everyone by signing free agent pitcher Cliff Lee.

-- Emphasizing Philadelphia's need for a right-handed bat: The Phillies are hitting .196 in their past 13 games against lefty starters.

-- The Red Sox, too, say they do not want to push their luxury tax any higher than it already is, which suggests no pricey mid-season reinforcements. But recent history under general manager Theo Epstein also suggests the Red Sox get what they need and, right now, their internal discussions are centering on a hitter. They're not getting much out of right field, which led to the release of Mike Cameron this week.

-- Mariners officials are scheduled to talk via conference call next week to discuss final strategy leading into the July trade deadline. Though Seattle has done a nice job of staying competitive, the recent 3-7 tailspin could spur the M's to deal Erik Bedard. Though Bedard landed on the disabled list this week with a knee sprain, he could be a very good trade chip.

-- Thanks to Milwaukee's road woes, the Cardinals are back in a tie for first place in the NL Central entering the weekend. But one scout who has watched St. Louis recently remains unimpressed. "Colby Rasmus is so inconsistent," the scout says. "Sometimes it looks like he's not even there at the plate." Then there are the times when Rasmus looks like he is there, like when he homered Tuesday and Wednesday in Baltimore.

-- In St. Louis' defense, the Cards have been so beat up this year, but while Albert Pujols is out, at least third baseman David Freese has returned from the disabled list. "Daniel Descalso was playing third base when I saw St. Louis," the scout says. "And I'm thinking, 'These are the St. Louis Cardinals?'"

-- This is the Phillies' rotation we expected: Philadelphia starters compiled a 1.96 ERA in June. Which, according to STATS LLC makes the Phils the first team since July of 1992 to go a full month under 2.00. Both Atlanta and the Chicago Cubs did it back in July, '92.

-- Quietly, Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick is resurfacing and showing why he will be in demand on the July trade market. He's at 51 RBIs in 78 games after finishing April with a .198 batting average and a .294 on-base percentage. That followed his miserable debut in San Diego last summer when he hit .211 with six homers in 59 games after his acquisition from St. Louis. There have been differences between this year and last: A calf injury nagged at him last year, while this April he was hitting the ball hard, just right at people. "I played terrible last year," Ludwick says. "I wouldn't say I've been playing great this year, but I've been doing what I've been known to do and what they brought me over to do. Drive in runs. Last year, every time I came to the ballpark I was stressed out, wondering if I was going to be able to make contact."

-- Know what's funny? The cover of Florida's media guide is a collage of small photos of historical highlights in Marlins history. And right there front and center, albeit at the bottom, is a photo of Jack McKeon in uniform. No need for updating there. Well, except he's wearing No. 15, and this time around, he's No. 25.

-- Angels manger Mike Scioscia, by the way, is still marveling about McKeon's enthusiasm for managing at 80. Scioscia and the Angels saw McKeon in his 2011 debut a couple of weeks back.

Likes: All-Star voting results coming soon, with the game soon to follow. ... Derek Jeter nearly set to resume his chase for 3,000 hits. ... Kerry Wood off of the DL and back in the Cubs' bullpen. ... From rocky NFL labor talks to rocky NBA labor talks to ... baseball labor talks still quiet and positive. ... The smell of neighborhood grills over the Fourth of July weekend. ... Modern Family boxed set, season 1. I'm just catching up to a show I haven't watched. Very funny. ... My sister's frozen key lime pie. Delicious.

Dislikes: Missed Jason Isbell coming through my town last week because of work commitments. His latest disc with his band, the 400 Unit, Here We Rest, is outstanding.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Driving in to Darlington County
"Me and Wayne on the Fourth of July
"Driving in to Darlington County
"Looking for some work on the county line
"We drove down from New York City
"Where the girls are pretty but they just want to know your name
"Driving in to Darlington City
"Got a union connection with an uncle of Wayne's
"We drove eight hundred miles without seeing a cop
"We got rock and roll music blasting off the T-top singing. ..."

-- Bruce Springsteen, Darlington County

Posted on: May 8, 2009 5:00 pm
 

Stories they could (and do) tell

Of course Manny Ramirez blames a doctor in Florida for prescribing him bad stuff for "a personal health issue."

Of course the doctor "gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me," Manny said in his statement.

Of course. Rare is the player who violates baseball's drug prevention program testing, or is shoulder-deep in circumstantial evidence, and is actually guilty.

Let's review:

Alex Rodriguez: Said his cousin in Florida got some stuff for him. "I didn't think they were steroids. Again, that's part of being young and stupid."

Paul Byrd: The pitcher, then working for Cleveland in the 2007 American League Championship Series, said he began taking Human Growth Hormone as part of treatment for a tumor on his pituitary gland. Said he took it under medical supervision. Later reports alleged that Byrd actually began taking HGH before any pituitary gland tumor was found and that one of the medical "professionals" to have prescribed Byrd's stash was a Florida dentist whose dental license had been suspended for fraud and incompetence. Don't know if that Florida dentist knows Manny's Florida doctor.

(I don't know whether Byrd's Florida dentist knows Manny's Florida doctor. Or whether the dentist and the doctor know A-Rod's Florida cousin. I do know this is all sounds like something hatched in a Carl Hiaasen novel.)

Rafael Palmeiro: "I did not do this intentionally or knowingly." He said he thought he was getting vitamin B-12 from then-teammate Miguel Tejada.

Alex Sanchez: The first major-leaguer suspended, back in 2004, under the drug policy. "I take stuff I buy over the counter," he said. "Multivitamins, protein shakes, muscle relaxants. That kind of stuff."

Barry Bonds: The Cream? The Clear? Bonds said he thought it was flaxseed oil.

Roger Clemens: Hey man, it was Vitamin B-12. And the injections were Lidocaine.

Sergio Mitre: Former Cubs pitcher suspended in January after taking banned substance "unwittingly" that was purchased from a legal supplement at a GNC store.

Mike Cameron: Tested positive for a banned stimulant twice. "I can only conclude that a nutritional supplement I was taking was tainted."

J.C. Romero: Phillies reliever has filed suit against nutritional supplement manufacturer alleging an unlisted ingredient in one of its products caused him to test positive for a substance banned by Major League Baseball.

Likes: Former pitcher Rob Dibble on SIRIUS XM satellite radio Thursday: "I almost believe that you should get a lifetime ban for idiocy because it's just so ridiculous that you could think 'I'm above it all, I'm Manny Ramirez, I'm Alex Rodriguez, I'm Rafael Palmeiro, I'm Roger Clemens.' How many more guys do I have to name before we run out of heroes and superstar players in the major leagues that you actually believe aren't doing this stuff?" ... And this from Dibble on SIRIUS XM: "To me, it's an embarrassment for all of these guys, more so for the people that didn't cheat and the guys that played, 20, 30, 40 years ago, including people like Roberto Clemente or Jackie Robinson or Willie Mays. Can you imagine these older gentlemen sitting at home and hearing about this?" ... Dontrelle Willis to start for Detroit at Minnesota on Wednesday. ... State of Play. Entertaining movie, though a little schmaltzy in places with the repartee between the Russell Crowe reporter character and the Rachel McAdams blogger character. ... KLOS, the venerable rock radio station in Los Angeles (95.5 on your dial). Good stuff.

Dislikes: Bob Melvin is a good man. Arizona's problems run way deeper than him. But it's right there in the manager's handbook: One day, you must go.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?
"A nation turns its lonely eyes to you
"What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
"Joltin' Joe has left and gone away"

-- Simon and Garfunkel, Mrs. Robinson

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com