Tag Archive | "Nelson Cruz"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cruz maintains lead, Derek Norris closing on Wieters in AL All-Star voting

Posted on 22 June 2014 by WNST Staff

Cespedes, Norris vying to join A’s teammate Donaldson among American League leaders in latest balloting update for 85th All-Star Game

Jeter Holding Off Ramirez in Bid to Start His Final Midsummer Classic; Four Different Teams Represented Among Leading Infielders

 

Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and catcher Derek Norris of the Oakland Athletics continue to climb the American League rankings in fan balloting for the 85th All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 15th at Target Field in Minnesota. The latest A.L. results were announced earlier this evening on ESPN as part of its “Baseball Tonight” telecast. The next National League balloting results will be announced at 7:30 p.m. (ET) tomorrow night after local rightsholder broadcasts announce the leaders.

Cespedes and Norris, two players who have filled pivotal roles in leading Oakland to the best record in the Majors at 47-28 (.627), are aiming to join their teammate Josh Donaldson among the A.L. leaders. The Athletics have not had a fan-elected starter since Jason Giambi earned a fan election at first base for the 2000 Midsummer Classic in Atlanta. In addition, Oakland has not featured multiple fan-elected starters since 1992, when first baseman Mark McGwire and outfielder Jose Canseco earned starting assignments. The Athletics have had at least three fan elections in a single season on five occasions since fan balloting began in 1970, including 1975 (Bert Campaneris, Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace); 1988 (Canseco, McGwire, Terry Steinbach); 1989 (Canseco, McGwire, Steinbach); 1990 (Canseco, McGwire, Rickey Henderson); and 1991 (Dave Henderson, R. Henderson, McGwire).

Cespedes has received 1,511,838 votes, which ranks fourth among A.L. outfielders behind leaders Jose Bautista (3,665,208) of the Toronto Blue Jays, Mike Trout (3,286,511) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Melky Cabrera (1,674,232) of the Blue Jays. Cespedes, who won the 2013 Home Run Derby at Citi Field, is attempting to make his first All-Star Game. The Cuban native is batting .325 (25-for-77) in June and has seven home runs and 27 RBI over his last 32 games. Entering Sunday, he was tied for sixth in the A.L. with 36 extra-base hits and three triples, tied for eighth with 49 RBI, ranks 10th with a .509 slugging percentage and is tied for 10th with 19 doubles. In addition, the 28-year-old leads the Majors with nine outfield assists on the season, including eight over his last 23 games in the outfield. Three-time All-Star Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles remains close behind Cespedes in fifth with 1,490,000 votes, while Michael Brantley (1,284,901) of the Cleveland Indians, 2011 All-Star Jacoby Ellsbury (1,264,746) of the New York Yankees, Nick Markakis (1,170,304) of the Orioles and eight-time All-Star Carlos Beltran (1,081,686) of the Yankees are all within striking distance.

Norris, also bidding for his first All-Star appearance, surpassed Brian McCann (1,344,076) of the Yankees for second place among A.L. catchers. The 25-year-old backstop, in his third Major League season, trails Baltimore’s Matt Wieters (1,852,770) by less than 400,000 votes. Wieters, who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery last week, batted .308 with five home runs and 18 RBI over 26 games played. Wieters, a two-time All-Star would join Terry Kennedy (1987) as the only catchers in Orioles history to earn a fan election, while Norris would join Steinbach (1987-88) as the only catchers in Athletics history to accomplish the feat. Norris, who is batting .342 (13-for-38) in June, entered play on Sunday tied for first among A.L. catchers on the season with eight home runs and 34 RBI, and ranks second with a .301 batting average. His 34 RBI have already matched his career-best set in 2012 and his eight home runs are one shy of his career-high of nine hit in 2013.

Donaldson, who has hit safely in six of his last seven games, is in line for his first All-Star selection. He has accumulated 2,436,771 votes to hold a comfortable lead over three-time All-Star Adrian Beltre (1,346,957) of the Texas Rangers. Donaldson, who finished fourth in A.L. Most Valuable Player voting in 2013, would become the first Oakland third baseman to earn a fan-elected start. He entered Sunday second in the A.L. with 55 runs scored, is tied for second with 15 go-ahead RBI, tied for fourth with 55 RBI, fifth with 18 home runs, tied for ninth with 142 total bases and tied for 10th with 31 extra-base hits.

Bautista, who remains the A.L.’s top vote-getter, is seeking his fifth All-Star selection and fourth consecutive fan election. The Dominican Republic native, who also led the Majors in fan balloting in 2011 (7,454,753), could become the 10th different A.L. outfielder in history to earn four consecutive fan elections, joining Hall of Famers Jackson (four from 1972-75 and five from 1980-84); Dave Winfield (six from 1983-88); Henderson (four from 1985-88); and Kirby Puckett (four from 1992-95); as well as Ken Griffey, Jr. (10 from 1990-99); Manny Ramirez (eight from 1999-2006); Vladimir Guerrero (four from 2004-07); Ichiro Suzuki (four from 2001-04 and five from 2006-10); and Josh Hamilton (five from 2008-12). Bautista would also become the second player in franchise history to earn four fan-elected starts, joining Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar (1991-94). Entering play today, Bautista has reached base safely in 71 of his 76 games played this season, and leads the A.L. with a .432 on-base percentage and 59 walks, ranks third with 54 runs scored, seventh with a .524 slugging percentage, tied for eighth with 49 RBI, tied for ninth with 142 total bases, 10th with a .303 batting average and tied for 10th with 15 home runs.

Trout, who has the league’s second-highest balloting total, has reached base safely in 37 of his last 39 games and has 33 RBI in his last 33 contests. Trout has played in 405 career games and is the first player in Major League history to record at least 300 runs scored, 75 home runs and 75 stolen bases in his first 400 career games played. The two-time All-Star, who was a fan-elected starter in 2013, is bidding to become the fifth player in Angels history to earn consecutive fan-elected starts, joining Hall of Famers Rod Carew (1979-84) and Jackson (1982-84), as well as Fred Lynn (1982-83) and Guerrero (2004-07). At 21 years old last year, Trout became the youngest A.L. position player to start a Midsummer Classic since Ivan Rodriguez in 1993. Over his last 24 games, Trout is batting .393 batting average (35-for-89). On the season, he ranks fourth in the A.L. with a .595 slugging percentage and 157 total bases, seventh with 54 RBI and tied for seventh with 16 home runs.

Cabrera, who represented the N.L. at the 2012 Midsummer Classic in Kansas City, ranks second in the Majors with 94 hits on the season and he is tied for sixth in the A.L. with 26 multi-hit games. He is aiming to become the fourth different Blue Jays outfielder in history to receive a fan election, joining Bautista, Joe Carter (1993-94) and George Bell (1987). Along with Bautista, the teammates are trying to become the first pair of Blue Jays to start a Midsummer Classic since 1994, when Alomar and Carter were elected to start by the fans. In addition, they would become the first pair of teammates to start in the A.L. outfield since Boston’s Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez in 2005, and it would mark the 17th All-Star Game in history to feature starting teammates in the A.L. outfield. Cabrera also ranks among A.L. leaders with five outfield assists (T-5th), 149 total bases (T-5th) and 47 runs scored (8th).

Thirteen-time American League All-Star Derek Jeter of the Yankees, bidding for his ninth career fan election, has totaled 2,353,336 votes to remain ahead of Alexei Ramirez (1,933,117) of the Chicago White Sox. Jeter, who is hitting .271 with 16 RBI and 24 runs scored in his final season, would become the seventh player in A.L. history to earn at least nine fan elections, joining Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. (17 with Baltimore), George Brett (11 with Kansas City) and Carew (nine with Minnesota); as well as Griffey (10 with Seattle); teammate Suzuki (nine with Seattle); and Ivan Rodriguez (nine with Texas). Over his last 11 games, Jeter is batting .356 (16-for-45) with three doubles, four RBI, seven runs scored and a .388 on-base percentage. Jeter, who ranks eighth on the all-time hit list with 3,385 hits, is one of three players in Major League history with at least 3,000 hits, 250 home runs and 350 stolen bases, along with Craig Biggio and Hall of Famer Henderson. Ramirez, who is attempting to become the first White Sox shortstop to make the All-Star Game since Ozzie Guillen in 1991, is tied for the A.L. lead with 26 multi-hit games, is tied for fifth with 84 hits and ranks eighth with a .311 batting average.

Forming a familiar tandem, Jeter is joined up the middle of the infield by second baseman and former teammate Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners. Cano, a five-time All-Star, who has been elected the starting second baseman in each of the last four years, has received 2,007,055 votes as he remains in front of three-time All-Star Ian Kinsler (1,338,272) of the Detroit Tigers and four-time All-Star Dustin Pedroia (1,264,329) of the Boston Red Sox. Over his last 31 games, Cano is batting .373 (44-for-118) with three home runs, 20 RBI, eight doubles and 19 runs scored. The stretch has propelled Cano to a .332 batting average, which ranks second in the A.L. on the season. With a fan election this year, he would become the third second baseman in A.L. history to earn five consecutive fan-elected starts, joining Hall of Famers Carew (six straight, 1970-75) and Alomar (five straight, 1996-2000). In addition, Cano would join Bret Boone (2001) as the only fan-elected starting second basemen in Mariners history, and he could become just the fourth Seattle infielder to receive an election from the fans, joining Boone, John Olerud (1B, 2001) and Alex Rodriguez (SS, 1997-98; 2000). Cano is tied for second in the A.L. with 28 multi-hit games, ranks third with a .392 on-base percentage and is tied for third with 91 hits.

Joining Cano on the right side of the infield is Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who has garnered 2,645,000 votes to remain ahead of White Sox rookie Jose Abreu (1,420,294). Cabrera, an eight-time All-Star, leads the A.L. with a .403 batting average with runners in scoring position and 26 doubles, while he is third with 58 RBI and 38 extra-base hits, tied for fifth with a .320 batting average and 149 total bases, and sixth with a .548 slugging percentage. The reigning two-time A.L. Most Valuable Player is seeking his second fan election after earning his first career fan-elected start in 2013 as a third baseman. He would become just the fifth player in Tigers history to earn multiple fan-elected starting assignments at the Midsummer Classic, joining catchers Bill Freehan (1970, 1972), Lance Parrish (1984-86), Rodriguez (2004, 2006-07) and second baseman Lou Whitaker (1984-86). In addition, the 2012 Triple Crown winner would join former teammate Prince Fielder as the only fan-elected starting first basemen in Tigers history.

Designated hitter Nelson Cruz, aiming for his first fan-elected starting assignment, has received 2,457,349 as he continues to hold off Boston’s David Ortiz (1,652,470), a nine-time All-Star who has earned each of the last three fan elections at designated hitter. Cruz, a two-time All-Star, is tied for first in the Majors with 23 home runs and ranks second with 60 RBI. He would become just the fifth different fan-elected starter at the position, joining Edgar Martinez (1997, 2001, 2003), Jose Canseco (1999), Ortiz (2005, 2008, 2011-13) and Guerrero (2010). Along with Wieters, who currently leads at catcher, the duo would give the Orioles multiple fan elections in consecutive years (Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones in 2013) for the first time since 1997 (Alomar, Ripken, Brady Anderson) and 1998 (Alomar, Ripken).

With four different teams currently represented in the A.L. infield, the 85th All-Star Game could mark the first time since 2003, and the 19th time overall since fan balloting began in 1970, that the four A.L. fan-elected starting infielders come from four different teams.

MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports. The last two years represent the two highest totals in balloting history, including a record 40.2 million ballots cast in 2012. More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at MLB’s 30 ballparks, each of which will have 23 dates for balloting.

In addition, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian. The All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian is available in English and Spanish, and offers audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Banco BHD sponsors online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.

Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than May 12th. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes no later than June 26th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, July 3rd at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2014 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events, and VIP on-field access to watch batting practice before the All-Star Game with an MLB legend.

For the sixth consecutive year, the ballot features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans have the opportunity to select three players in each League who they would most like to see participate in the Gillette Home Run Derby. The Fan Poll is also available online at MLB.com. The 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT) on Monday, July 14th. The 10 American League candidates are Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; Carlos Beltran of the New York Yankees; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers; Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners; 2013 Home Run Derby Champion Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics; Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles; Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers; All-Star Ambassador Joe Mauer of the Twins; David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox; and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The 10 National League candidates are Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds; Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves; Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants; Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins; Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies; and David Wright of the New York Mets.

The 2014 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5th-6th, with further details to follow. The A.L. All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the N.L. All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – N.L. skipper Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals and A.L. manager John Farrell of the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over the balloting period. Now in its 13th season with more than 430 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15th. The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

AMERICAN LEAGUE ALL-STAR VOTE LEADERS

FIRST BASE
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers — 2,645,000
Jose Abreu, White Sox — 1,420,294
Chris Davis, Orioles — 1,087,112
Albert Pujols, Angels — 1,040,316
Mark Teixeira, Yankees — 718,367

SECOND BASE
Robinson Cano, Mariners — 2,007,055
Ian Kinsler, Tigers — 1,338,272
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox — 1,264,329
Jose Altuve, Astros — 932,978
Brian Dozier, Twins — 841,980

SHORTSTOP
Derek Jeter, Yankees — 2,353,336
Alexei Ramirez, White Sox — 1,933,117
J.J. Hardy, Orioles — 1,259,268
Jose Reyes, Blue Jays — 871,633
Jed Lowrie, Athletics — 629,686

THIRD BASE
Josh Donaldson, Athletics — 2,436,771
Adrian Beltre, Rangers — 1,346,957
Manny Machado, Orioles — 1,182,098
Evan Longoria, Rays — 1,118,453
Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays — 758,043

CATCHER
Matt Wieters, Orioles — 1,852,770
Derek Norris, Athletics — 1,486,850
Brian McCann, Yankees — 1,344,076
Kurt Suzuki, Twins — 812,865
A.J. Pierzynski, Red Sox — 810,050

DESIGNATED HITTER
Nelson Cruz, Orioles — 2,457,349
David Ortiz, Red Sox — 1,652,470
Victor Martinez, Tigers — 1,418,509
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays — 1,276,851
Brandon Moss, Athletics — 796,159

OUTFIELD
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays — 3,665,208
Mike Trout, Angels — 3,286,511
Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays — 1,674,232
Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics — 1,511,838
Adam Jones, Orioles — 1,490,000
Michael Brantley, Indians — 1,284,901
Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees — 1,264,746
Nick Markakis, Orioles — 1,170,304
Carlos Beltran, Yankees — 1,081,686
Torii Hunter, Tigers — 989,715
Coco Crisp, Athletics — 748,013
Alex Rios, Rangers — 742,780
Brett Gardner, Yankees — 737,736
Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers — 699,751
Josh Hamilton, Angels — 696,991

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cruz, Wieters continue to lead All-Star voting at respective positions

Posted on 08 June 2014 by WNST Staff

Bautista takes overall American League lead in latest balloting update for 85th All-Star Game

Jeter, Ramirez in tight battle for start at shortstop; Bautista followed by Trout, Miguel Cabrera for overall league lead 

Toronto Blue Jays four-time All-Star Jose Bautista, who was Major League Baseball’s leading vote-getter for the 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona, has surpassed Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout for the overall American League lead in the third balloting update for the 85thAll-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 15th at Target Field in Minnesota. The latest A.L. results were announced earlier this evening on ESPN as part of its “Baseball Tonight” telecast. The third National League balloting results will be announced at 7:30 p.m. (ET) tomorrow night via press release and local rightsholder broadcasts.

Bautista, who has been a fan-elected starter in each of the last three seasons, has received 2,135,223 votes as he looks to become the 10th different A.L. outfielder in history to earn four consecutive fan elections, joining Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson (four from 1972-75 and five from 1980-84); Dave Winfield (six from 1983-88); Rickey Henderson (four from 1985-88); and Kirby Puckett (four from 1992-95); as well as Ken Griffey, Jr. (10 from 1990-99); Manny Ramirez (eight from 1999-2006); Vladimir Guerrero (four from 2004-07); Ichiro Suzuki (four from 2001-04 and five from 2006-10); and Josh Hamilton (five from 2008-12). Bautista is also bidding to become the second player in Blue Jays history to receive four fan-elected starting nods, joining Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (2B, 1991-94). Bautista, who has reached base safely in 61 of his 64 games, entered play on Sunday as the A.L. leader with a .438 on-base percentage and was tied for fifth in the league with 15 home runs.

Bautista is joined in the outfield by Trout, who has garnered 1,945,170 votes, and his Blue Jays teammate Melky Cabrera, who has totaled 1,096,784 votes. Trout, who last year at 21 years old became the youngest A.L. position player to start the All-Star Game since Ivan Rodriguez in 1993, is bidding to join Hall of Famer Rod Carew (1979-84), Fred Lynn (1982-83), Jackson (1982-84) and Guerrero (2004-07) as the only Angels in history to earn consecutive fan-elected starts. Entering Sunday, the 2012 A.L. Rookie of the Year had hits in 14 of his last 15 games and had reached base safely in 26 of his last 27 games. Cabrera, a 2012 N.L. All-Star, would become the fourth different Blue Jays outfielder in history to receive a fan election, joining Bautista, Joe Carter (1993-94) and George Bell (1987). Cabrera and Bautista are trying to become the first pair of Blue Jays to start a Midsummer Classic since 1994, when Alomar and Carter were elected to start by the fans. In addition, they would become the first pair of teammates to start in the A.L. outfield since Boston’s Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez in 2005, and it would mark the 17th All-Star Game in history to feature starting teammates in the A.L. outfield. Cabrera, who entered Sunday second in the Majors with 81 hits, is followed in balloting by Baltimore Orioles three-time All-Star and 2013 starter Adam Jones (820,336); 2011 A.L. All-Star Jacoby Ellsbury (813,357) of the New York Yankees; and Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (799,123), bidding for his first All-Star selection.

At shortstop, 13-time A.L. All-Star Derek Jeter of the Yankees, who has garnered 1,376,054 votes, is trying to hold off Alexei Ramirez (1,212,362) of the Chicago White Sox in the A.L.’s closest race for a starting assignment. Jeter, who ranks eighth on the all-time hit list with 3,370 hits, is seeking his ninth fan election, which would make him the seventh player in A.L. history to earn as many fan elections, joining Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. (17 with Baltimore), George Brett (11 with Kansas City) and Carew (nine with Minnesota); as well as Griffey, Jr. (10 with Seattle); Suzuki (nine with Seattle); and Ivan Rodriguez (nine with Texas). Ramirez, who is attempting to become the first White Sox shortstop to make the All-Star Game since Ozzie Guillen in 1991, entered Sunday tied for the A.L. lead with 24 multi-hit games, tied for fourth with a .321 batting average and ranked fifth with 77 hits.

Joining Jeter up the middle at second base is his former teammate and five-time All-Star Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners. Cano, in his first year with Seattle, has accumulated 1,111,880 votes as he continues to lead three-time All-Star Ian Kinsler (887,544) of the Detroit Tigers and four-time All-Star Dustin Pedroia (778,700) of the Boston Red Sox. Cano, the A.L. starting second baseman in each of the last four seasons, is aiming to become the third second baseman in A.L. history to earn five consecutive fan-elected starts, joining Hall of Famers Carew (six straight, 1970-75) and Alomar (five straight, 1996-2000). Cano, who entered Sunday with an A.L.-best .332 batting average, would join Bret Boone (2001) as the only fan-elected starting second basemen in Mariners history. In addition, Cano, who was also tied for first in the A.L. with 24 multi-hit games and ranked seventh with 75 hits, could become just the fourth Seattle infielder to receive an election from the fans, joining Boone, John Olerud (1B, 2001) and Alex Rodriguez (SS, 1997-98; 2000). Since May 3rd, Cano leads the Majors with a .375 batting average, going 45-for-120 in that span.

Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who entered play on Sunday leading the Majors with 21 home runs and 55 RBI, continues to hold a slight advantage over David Ortiz of the Red Sox. Cruz, a two-time All-Star, has tallied 1,404,275 votes while Ortiz, a nine-time All-Star and seven-time fan-elected starter (including two at first base), has received a total of 1,036,055 votes. Entering Sunday, Cruz had hit safely in 20 of his last 24 games since May 13th, batting .364 (32-for-88) during that span with eight doubles, 11 homers, 19 runs scored and 25 RBI. He is attempting to end Ortiz’s run of three consecutive fan-elected starts at designated hitter, and would become just the fifth different fan-elected starter at the position, joining Edgar Martinez (1997, 2001, 2003), Jose Canseco (1999), Ortiz (2005, 2008, 2011-13) and Guerrero (2010).

At the corner infield spots, first baseman Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and third baseman Josh Donaldson of the Athletics continue to lead at their positions. Cabrera has received 1,477,420 votes, which ranks third overall in the A.L., while Donaldson has collected 1,470,544 votes, good for fourth overall in the Junior Circuit. Cabrera, an eight-time All-Star and the A.L.’s 2013 starting third baseman, leads the A.L. with a .418 batting average with runners in scoring position. In addition, he entered play on Sunday second in the league with 51 RBI, tied for second with 20 doubles, tied for third with 31 extra-base hits, fourth with a .321 batting average and seventh with 125 total bases and a .545 slugging percentage. The reigning two-time A.L. MVP (also 2012) would become just the fifth player in Tigers history to earn multiple fan-elected starting assignments at the Midsummer Classic, joining catchers Bill Freehan (1970, 1972), Lance Parrish (1984-86), Ivan Rodriguez (2004, 2006-07) and second baseman Lou Whitaker (1984-86). In addition, the 2012 Triple Crown winner would join former teammate Prince Fielder as the only fan-elected starting first basemen in Tigers history. Cabrera is followed at first base by Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu (845,059). Donaldson, in search of his first All-Star selection, is batting .296 (29-for-98) with 26 runs scored, two doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 26 RBI over his last 26 games. He would become the first A’s third baseman to earn a fan-elected start, and the first Oakland player overall to receive a fan-election since first baseman Jason Giambi in 2000. Entering the day on Sunday, Donaldson leads the Majors with 51 runs scored, ranks third in the A.L. with 132 total bases, is tied for third with 50 RBI and 17 home runs, is sixth with 30 extra-base hits and is ninth with a .543 slugging percentage. He is followed at the hot corner by three-time All-Star Evan Longoria (729,092) of the Tampa Bay Rays. With four different teams currently represented in the A.L. infield, the 85th All-Star Game could mark the first time since 2003, and the 19th time overall since fan balloting began in 1970, that the four A.L. fan-elected starting infielders come from four different teams.

Orioles catcher Matt Wieters continues to pace the field behind the plate, drawing 1,235,369 votes to lead seven-time All-Star Brian McCann (827,200) of the Yankees and Athletics backstop Derek Norris (813,053). Wieters, a two-time All-Star, is seeking his first fan-elected start and would join Terry Kennedy (1987) as the only catchers in Orioles history to earn a fan election. Wieters, who is batting .308 with five home runs and 18 RBI on the season, is currently on the disabled list with a right elbow strain. Along with Cruz, the duo is aiming to give the Orioles multiple starters in consecutive years (Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones in 2013) for the first time since 1997 (Alomar, Ripken, Brady Anderson) and 1998 (Alomar, Ripken).

MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports. The last two years represent the two highest totals in balloting history, including a record 40.2 million ballots cast in 2012. More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at MLB’s 30 ballparks, each of which will have 23 dates for balloting.

In addition, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian. The All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian is available in English and Spanish, and offers audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Banco BHD sponsors online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.

Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than May 12th. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes no later than June 26th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, July 3rd at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2014 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events, and VIP on-field access to watch batting practice before the All-Star Game with an MLB legend.

For the sixth consecutive year, the ballot features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans have the opportunity to select three players in each League who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The Fan Poll is also available online at MLB.com. The 2014 Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT) on Monday, July 14th. The 10 American League candidates are Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; Carlos Beltran of the New York Yankees; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers; Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners; 2013 Home Run Derby Champion Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics; Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles; Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers; All-Star Ambassador Joe Mauer of the Twins; David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox; and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The 10 National League candidates are Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds; Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves; Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants; Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins; Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies; and David Wright of the New York Mets.

The 2014 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5th-6th, with further details to follow.   The A.L. All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the N.L. All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – N.L. skipper Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals and A.L. manager John Farrell of the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over the balloting period. Now in its 13th season with more than 430 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15th. The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Comments (0)

Cruz Homers In Return To Arlington, Orioles Take Series Opener

Tags: , , ,

Cruz Homers In Return To Arlington, Orioles Take Series Opener

Posted on 04 June 2014 by Brandon Sacks

The third of June was the day that was probably circled on the calendar of Orioles slugger Nelson Cruz.  This was the day that he finally returned to his former team, the Texas Rangers, to play for his new team.  Many wondered if the Rangers fans would give him a warm welcome back or if they would boo him.

That question was answered in the first inning, as Cruz was batting third in the lineup.  When he walked up to the plate for his first appearance of the night, the fans all applauded.  After the game, Cruz told reporters that it felt good that everyone was happy to see him.

They probably weren’t happy to see that he has not changed at all.  Cruz drove in his league leading 21st home run in the top of the 8th inning to put the Orioles out of reach.  His 3-run homer was part of a six run inning that led to the Orioles’ eventual 8-3 victory in the series opener against the Rangers.  Even though Cruz went 1-4 at the plate, his three run bomb made the game quite the homecoming for Cruz.

Let’s hope that his run production continues.  The birds will need two more high scoring performances if they want to keep beating the Rangers in Texas.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Cruz named American League Player of the Week

Posted on 02 June 2014 by WNST Staff

Nelson Cruz of the Baltimore Orioles named the American League Player of the Week

Baltimore Orioles outfielder and designated hitter Nelson Cruz has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending June 1st. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

Cruz batted .476 (10-for-21) with three doubles, four home runs, four walks, eight RBI and five runs scored in seven games to grab his second career weekly honor, last accomplishing the feat for the week ending May 23, 2010 while with the Texas Rangers. Nelson led all Major League hitters in slugging percentage (1.190) and was second overall with 25 total bases. Amongst his A.L. counterparts, Cruz was tied for second in batting average and homers, and was third in RBI and on-base percentage (.556).

On Tuesday, Cruz went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and two runs scored as the O’s were edged out by the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-6, at Miller Park. The right-handed-hitting Cruz was also issued a free pass in the loss. On Wednesday, the 33-year-old slugger launched a pair of solo homers, his second two-homer game of the season (also April 23rd at Toronto) and the 12th of his 10-year career as Baltimore fell to the Brewers, 8-3. It was the fifth time this season that Cruz launched blasts in back-to-back games. Moving onto Houston on Thursday, the Dominican Republic native continued to swing a hot bat for the Orioles with his third consecutive two-hit game, but the Houston pitching staff kept the Orioles in check as the Astros won, 3-1, at Minute Maid Park. On Saturday, the two-time A.L. All-Star went 2-for-2 with a double, a homer, a walk and three RBI to lead the Orioles to a 4-1 victory over Houston, snapping a four-game losing skid for Baltimore and extending his season-long hitting streak to 12 games (snapped on Sunday). Over the string, Cruz batted .476 (20-for-42) with six doubles, eight homers, 15 RBI and 14 runs scored.

Cruz has started off his first season with the Orioles in stellar fashion, leading the Majors in slugging percentage (.672), total bases (137), homers (20), RBI (52) and fewest at-bats per home run (10.2), and he is second overall with 33 extra-base hits. Cruz, who leads A.L. designated hitters in All-Star balloting for the 85th All-Star Game, is fifth in the league with 39 runs scored, sixth with a .384 on-base percentage and seventh with a .314 batting average. At the start of the season, Cruz became just the fifth Oriole to homer in his first two games with the Club, and in addition set new Baltimore records for RBI through the month of May (52) and home runs during the month of May (13). Cruz’s power display has helped him reach the 20-homer plateau for the sixth straight campaign.

Other noteworthy performances in the A.L. last week included Oakland’s Josh Donaldson (.393, 4 HR, 12 RBI) and Scott Kazmir (CG on 5/28 vs. DET); Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion (.417, 5 HR, 10 RBI) and Mark Buehrle (2-0, 1.84 ERA, 6 SO); Seattle’s Roenis Elias (first-career SHO on 6/1 vs. Detroit) and Chris Young (2-0, 2.19 ERA, 11 SO); and Chicago’s Chris Sale (CG on 6/1 vs. San Diego).

In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Nelson Cruz will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cruz passes Ortiz in All-Star voting among American League DH’s

Posted on 02 June 2014 by WNST Staff

Cano overtakes Kinsler, Cruz passes Ortiz in second American League balloting update for 85th All-Star Game

Bautista Gains on Trout for Overall League Lead; Melky Cabrera Surpasses Ellsbury, Beltran to Join Outfield Leaders

Seattle Mariners five-time All-Star Robinson Cano, who has been voted the American League starting second baseman in the Midsummer Classic in each of the last four seasons, and Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz, a two-time All-Star, have joined the A.L. leaders in the second balloting figures for the 85th All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 15th at Target Field in Minnesota, it was announced today. The second National League balloting results will be announced tomorrow.

In the closest battle for a starting assignment, Cano, who has drawn 726,158 votes has pulled in front of Detroit Tigers second baseman and three-time All-Star Ian Kinsler, who has accumulated 649,926 votes. Cano, in his first season with the Mariners, is aiming to become the third second baseman in A.L. history to earn five consecutive fan-elected starts, joining Hall of Famers Rod Carew (six straight, 1970-75) and Roberto Alomar (five straight, 1996-2000). In addition, Cano would join Bret Boone (2001) as the only fan-elected starting second basemen in Mariners history, and could become just the fourth Seattle infielder to receive an election from the fans, joining Boone, John Olerud (1B, 2001) and Alex Rodriguez (SS, 1997-98; 2000). Cano currently ranks third in the A.L. with a .327 batting average, is tied for third with 22 multi-hit games and is tied for seventh with 67 hits.

Cruz, who leads the Majors with 20 home runs and 52 RBI, has received a total of 888,855 votes to surpass nine-time All-Star David Ortiz (766,631) of the Boston Red Sox at designated hitter. Cruz, who is attempting to end Ortiz’s run of three consecutive fan-elected starts at designated hitter, would become only the fifth different fan-elected starter at the position, joining Edgar Martinez (1997, 2001, 2003), Jose Canseco (1999), Ortiz (2005, 2008, 2011-13) and Vladimir Guerrero (2010). Cruz, who set an Orioles record for RBI before the end of May (52), has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games since May 13th, batting .403 (27-for-67) during the stretch with 10 walks, seven doubles, 10 homers, 22 RBI and 16 runs scored.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim two-time All-Star Mike Trout remains the overall leader in the A.L. with 1,361,649 total votes, but Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays has closed the gap and narrowly trails for the top spot with 1,351,896. Trout, who last year at 21 years old became the youngest A.L. position player to start the All-Star Game since Ivan Rodriguez in 1993, is currently riding a season-best 11-game hitting streak in which he is batting .417 (15-for-36). The 2012 A.L. Rookie of the Year, who is bidding to join Carew (1979-84), Fred Lynn (1982-83), Reggie Jackson (1982-84) and Guerrero (2004-07) as the only Angels in history to earn consecutive fan-elected All-Star starts, has reached base safely in each of his last 23 games. Bautista, a four-time All-Star and a three-time fan-elected starter (2011-13), is seeking to become the second player in Blue Jays history to receive four fan-elected starting nods, joining Alomar (2B, 1991-94). The 2011 MLB leading vote-getter, who is tied for fifth in the A.L. with 14 home runs, has hit the most homers in the Majors since 2010 (166) and his 116 home runs prior to the break in that span are 19 better than the next closest player. Bautista has reached base safely in 56 of his 58 games played this season and he leads the A.L. with a .442 on-base percentage. Bautista’s Blue Jays teammate Melky Cabrera (743,208), a 2012 N.L. All-Star, has joined the outfield leaders after surpassing New York Yankees teammates Jacoby Ellsbury (625,206), a 2011 All-Star, and Carlos Beltran (565,554), an eight-time All-Star. Cabrera, who ranks second in the Majors with 74 hits, would become the fourth different Blue Jays outfielder in history to receive a fan election, joining Bautista, Joe Carter (1993-94) and George Bell (1987). Bautista and Cabrera are trying to become the first pair of teammates to start in the A.L. outfield since Boston’s Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez in 2005, and it would mark the 17th Midsummer Classic in history to feature starting teammates in the A.L. outfield.

Thirteen-time All-Star and eight-time fan-elected starter Derek Jeter of the Yankees leads all A.L. shortstops in balloting and ranks third in the league overall with 1,007,968 total votes as he looks to join his former teammate Cano up the middle at the Midsummer Classic in his final season. Jeter, who ranks eighth on the all-time hit list with 3,367 hits, would become the seventh A.L. player in history to earn at least nine fan-elected starts with one team. The others include Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. (17 with Baltimore), George Brett (11 with Kansas City) and Carew (nine with Minnesota); Ken Griffey, Jr. (10 with Seattle); Ichiro Suzuki (nine with Seattle); and Ivan Rodriguez (nine with Texas). Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, bidding for his first career All-Star selection, trails Jeter with 867,156 votes.

Rounding out the A.L. infield at the corners is Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson. Cabrera, an eight-time All-Star, has garnered 962,138 votes as he vies for his second consecutive fan-elected start following his start across the diamond at third base last year. The reigning two-time A.L. MVP (also 2012), who is currently third in the A.L. with 49 RBI and ranks fourth with a .325 batting average, would become just the fifth player in Tigers history to earn multiple fan-elected starting assignments at the Midsummer Classic, joining catchers Bill Freehan (1970, 1972), Lance Parrish (1984-86), Ivan Rodriguez (2004, 2006-07) and second baseman Lou Whitaker (1984-86). In addition, the 2012 Triple Crown winner would join former teammate Prince Fielder as the only fan-elected starting first basemen in Tigers history. Cabrera, who leads the A.L. with a .418 batting average with runners in scoring position, is followed at first base by Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu (602,628) and nine-time All-Star Albert Pujols (569,211) of the Angels. Donaldson (956,811), who is bidding for his first All-Star nod, continues to lead three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Evan Longoria (589,621) of the Tampa Bay Rays. Donaldson, who is batting .325 with 23 runs scored, eight home runs and 24 RBI over his last 21 games, would become the first A’s third baseman to earn a fan-elected start, and the first Oakland player overall to receive a fan-election since first baseman Jason Giambi in 2000. Donaldson leads the Majors with 48 runs scored, is tied for third in the A.L. with 15 home runs and ranks fourth in the league with 48 RBI. With four different teams currently represented in the A.L. infield, the 85th All-Star Game could mark the first time since 2003, and the 19th time overall since fan balloting began in 1970, that the four A.L. fan-elected starting infielders come from four different teams.

Behind the plate, Orioles backstop Matt Wieters (842,775), maintained his lead over Yankees catcher Brian McCann (605,941). Wieters, who is bidding for his third All-Star selection and first starting assignment, would join Terry Kennedy (1987) as the only catchers in Orioles history to earn a fan election. Wieters, who is currently on the disabled list with a right elbow strain, is batting .308 with five home runs and 18 RBI on the season. Along with Cruz, the duo is aiming to give the Orioles multiple starters in consecutive years (Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones in 2013) for the first time since 1997 (Alomar, Cal Ripken, Jr., Brady Anderson) and 1998 (Alomar, Ripken).

MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports. The last two years represent the two highest totals in balloting history, including a record 40.2 million ballots cast in 2012. More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at MLB’s 30 ballparks, each of which will have 23 dates for balloting.

In addition, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian. The All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian is available in English and Spanish, and offers audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Banco BHD sponsors online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.

Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than May 12th. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes no later than June 26th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, July 3rd at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2014 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events, and VIP on-field access to watch batting practice before the All-Star Game with an MLB legend.

For the sixth consecutive year, the ballot features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans have the opportunity to select three players in each League who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The Fan Poll is also available online at MLB.com. The 2014 Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT) on Monday, July 14th. The 10 American League candidates are Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; Carlos Beltran of the New York Yankees; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers; Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners; 2013 Home Run Derby Champion Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics; Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles; Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers; All-Star Ambassador Joe Mauer of the Twins; David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox; and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The 10 National League candidates are Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds; Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves; Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants; Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins; Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies; and David Wright of the New York Mets.

The 2014 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5th-6th, with further details to follow. The A.L. All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the N.L. All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – N.L. skipper Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals and A.L. manager John Farrell of the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over the balloting period. Now in its 13th season with more than 430 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15th. The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Comments (0)

Cruz leaves Sunday’s game after being hit on left hand

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cruz leaves Sunday’s game after being hit on left hand

Posted on 01 June 2014 by Luke Jones

The month of June got off to a scary start for Orioles outfielder Nelson Cruz as he left Sunday’s game against the Houston Astros after being hit on the hand with a pitch.

Former Orioles starting pitcher Scott Feldman hit Cruz on the left hand with a fastball clocked at 87 miles per hour in the top of the third inning, causing the 33-year-old slugger to fall to the ground in pain. After being examined by head athletic trainer Richie Bancells, Cruz temporarily stayed in the game before manager Buck Showalter replaced him with Delmon Young in field in the bottom of the third.

A club official announced in the Minute Maid Park press box late during Sunday’s 9-4 win over the Astros that X-rays came back negative and Cruz is listed as day-to-day. The Orioles are off on Monday before beginning a three-game set with the Texas Rangers in Arlington on Tuesday night.

Cruz entered Sunday’s game leading the major leagues in home runs (20) and runs batted in (52) as he set a franchise record for RBIs through the month of May, eclipsing Chris Davis’ 50 from a year ago. He had a 12-game hitting streak entering Sunday and was 20-for-42 during the streak with eight homers, nine walks, six doubles, 15 RBI, and 14 runs scored, making his departure a scary development for the Orioles and their fan base.

The Orioles have been without starting catcher Matt Wieters for the last three weeks as he continues to recover from right elbow soreness, making Cruz’s exit on Sunday alarming for an offense already struggling more than expected so far in the 2014 season.

 

Comments (0)

Buck

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Showalter’s past–Baltimore’s Future?

Posted on 01 June 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Don’t look now, but the past might be repeating itself.

There’s something to be said for being comfortable in your own skin—or in this case, you own spot in the batting order.

During the Buck Showalter era, the Orioles are no stranger to a lineup that has seen more shakeups than the Old Bay Crab Shuffle.

Nelson Cruz, the Major League Leader in home runs has yet to have a clear-cut spot in the order.

He’s batted in the two-hole, which is typically reserved for slap-hitters, table-setters, and guys who can spray the ball around the field while being able to run fairly well and steal a base or two.

He’s batted in the six-spot, which is generally reserved for a guy who can’t quite carry the load in the four-or-five hole, but can still drive the ball.

And, in the same breath, he’s batted third, fourth, and fifth throughout the season.

If you look atop the AL East, to a team like the Toronto Blue Jays, you’ll find the exact opposite, where slugger Jose Bautista has batted third all-season-long.  Alas, Edwin Encarnacion played a few games early-on as the number-five hitter, but has settled in nicely as the cleanup guy during his record-setting home run tear during the month of May.

The same can be said for the majority of ML teams who boast consistent all-star quality talent like the Orioles.

Perhaps the issue is that Showalter doesn’t truly understand how to manage big-talent in the Big Leagues.

Taking a step back, you’ll find that Showalter’s track-record shows that he starts to falter when his team makes the turn into a legitimate annual contender.

After being fired by the New York Yankees after the 1995 season, he went on to turn the Arizona Diamondbacks into a force to be reckoned with in the NL West—then he was fired after his third season.

Upon his departure from Arizona, he led the Texas Rangers’ organization to a major turnaround, only to falter the following two seasons—leading to his firing after a mediocre 2006 campaign.

Four years later, Showalter comes to Baltimore, leading the Orioles to a turnaround that others like Bobby Valentine said was impossible due to a franchise that’s “unfixable.”

There’s no question that Showalter did the improbable by re-molding Baltimore into a legit contender, but there certainly should be a question over whether or not he knows what to do with the franchise once it’s reached that level.

Part of Showalter’s success is due to his ability to manage average-talent and utilize a plug-and-play type of system.

While he’s terrific with shuffling fringe starters in and out, and getting the most out of guys who don’t really have much of a clear-cut Major League future, he lacks the ability to appropriately manage superstars and legitimate Major League talent.

A perfect example is the continued shuffling of the lineup and the inability to give a player like Nelson Cruz a stable spot in the batting order.

Certainly this isn’t to say that there’s no room to change a lineup from time to time, even the best of managers sometimes rearrange things to keep players on-alert, but to do it game-in and game-out is sophomoric and a glaring weakness of a manager who has proven in three other cities that he simply can’t handle the type of talent that removes his power to micromanage every facet of the roster, lineup, and game.

When Showalter took over in 2010, the Orioles were an unmitigated disaster. Now, in 2014, they’re not.  They’re a team who should have some continuity and consistency.

While there’s no solid argument to question his ability to turn a franchise around, there’s certainly room for concern and debate over whether he’s the right guy to get the job done moving forward.

Sitting at .500, there’s plenty of room to question whether or not Showalter’s past is destined to become Baltimore’s future.

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

Fangraphs’ Minnix thinks moving Cruz up in lineup could help long term

Posted on 24 May 2014 by WNST Audio

Comments (0)

B&B Big Story Banter: Orioles Lineup Makeover

Tags: , , , , ,

B&B Big Story Banter: Orioles Lineup Makeover

Posted on 23 May 2014 by Brett Dickinson

The week in Orioles baseball has been a memorable one, for better and for worse. After last week’s difficult 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals in which Adam Jones and Chris Davis stranded the tying run at third, questions surrounded manager Buck Showalter’s stubbornness with his everyday lineup. With Manny Machado playing every day and batting second, the Orioles most consistent hitter, Nelson Cruz, has now been moved down to the fifth spot.

After a week in which the Orioles have actually put runs on the board with Showalter’s “stubborn” lineup, the team has won just once. Cruz continues to impress, while it appears that Jones has settled in to the three hole with 8 hits in his last 4 games. Which begs the question: Should the Orioles make major changes to their lineup? 

 

FOR By: Brett Dickinson 

Though the Orioles had a decent week at the plate, that does not change the long-term reality for some “stars” in this current lineup.  At the top, Nick Markasis has been steady getting on base as needed with some many run producers batting behind him.  Manny Machado has struggled through his first several weeks, coming off a serious knee injury and missing out on the entire off season.  It may be hindering the team now, but getting the young superstar comfortable is much more important for this team’s success later on.  Hopes are he can start to turn things around and be the same type of player that filled the two hole for the Orioles last season.

But the heart of the lineup is where I see Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter really struggling with his inner demons.  He is consistently not putting his best hitters in the best situations to succeed at their highest level.  Nelson Cruz is certainly an extremely early MVP candidate, yet is left batting in the fifth spot.  Showalter has been loyal to a fault in his tenure with the organization; clearly evident with his handling of Jim Johnson and the closer role last season. The same can be said with the team’s highest paid player (and supposed team leader) center fielder Adam Jones.

When everyone watching the game knows the scouting report on a player (including my own wife, who knows baseball, but doesn’t follow it as intently as most fans), then there is a problem. Just the other night Adam Jones came to the plate; her exact quote as a slider was thrown to the outside corner, into the dirt:

“I’m surprised he didn’t swing at that one…”

Adam JonesJones plate discipline this season has been down right despicable.  Yet he still bats third in a lineup that has struggled to consistently score runs all season.  Buck needs to stop worrying about hurting his feelings and tell the young man he is moving down a couple spots.  It should not matter that he is the “face of the franchise;” if that were true, he should do what’s best for the team without hesitation.  Ideally, Chris Davis should move into his slot, because though he does not have the massive power numbers of 2013, he is getting on base at an alarmingly high rate, taking an massive amount of walks in the process.

This would lead to Nelson Cruz batting cleanup, where he has the potential to come to the plate with runners on base each and every time.  Doesn’t that seem like the smart decision for a guy that among the tops in the entire MLB in home runs and RBI? Moving the free swinging Jones down to the fifth spot should not hurt his approach either, because he really doesn’t have one at this point.  Whether he bats third, fifth or ninth, he is going to swing and swing a lot.

Time to stop being loyal to a player’s past performance and looking at his current contributions Buck!

 

AGAINST By: Barry Kamen 

In the month of May, it is very easy to overreact to things that happen during the course of an entire baseball season. Sure, no Oriole fan likes to see the middle of the order fall flat in a close game. But every fan LOVES it when 3 Orange Crushes leave PNC Park. There are ebbs and flows to every season. The goal of the Orioles in May is consistency, ensuring that the peaks and the valleys are not drastically far away from each other.

Manny MachadoOne way to ensure is consistency is with the lineup. The criticism surrounding Adam Jones is largely unwarranted. The free-swinger is what he is; a .280 hitter with above-average home run and RBI numbers for his position. Jones doesn’t walk, and he is going to strike out more than he should. Fan frustration should not be with Jones, but with the injuries that have plagued the team all season. With Manny Machado’s bat starting to come around after joining the team at the beginning of May, the entire lineup has produced as a result. Assuming no other injuries occur, the Orioles have one of the best 1-5 lineups in all of Major League Baseball. Not only is the top and middle of the order talented, but there are very few mysteries associated with each player. The biggest question mark could very well be Chris Davis, as he works to ensure that last year’s production was not a fluke.

Rather than tinker with the lineup, depth becomes the next issue for Showalter to deal with. David Lough has played himself out of the lineup, and the end might be nearing for the former Royal. With Delmon Young and Steve Pearce in the fold, there is very little reason to keep Lough. It will not be long before Steve Lombardozzi returns to the majors, and could make a significant impact at the bottom of the order. Until then, tread water in May, and prepare for the high tide in September.

Comments (2)

smith

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nelson Cruz and Steve Smith: An Oriole and a Raven searching for redemption

Posted on 26 April 2014 by johngallo

One man wants to forget his past; the other is motivated by it.

One man is sorry for the mistake he made; the other is adamant he did nothing wrong to be sent packing.

One makes a living hitting home runs; the other earns his paycheck scoring touchdowns.

One was a strike away from winning a World Series in 2011; the other was denied a championship on a field goal with four seconds left in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Nelson Cruz, the Orioles’ designated hitter and outfielder, and Steve Smith, who Ravens fans want to be the second coming of receiver Anquan Boldin, hope their futures in Baltimore are as bright as their pasts. Cruz made the All-Star Game twice as a Texas Ranger, while Smith was named All-Pro twice as a Carolina Panther.

Two players, two sports, two careers that took unlikely turns, yet both are connected by a single word in Baltimore: redemption.

Turbulent, yet successful pasts

Nelson Cruz is off to a strong start in Baltimore, as he led the Orioles in homers (6), runs batted-in (23), runs scored (16) and on-base percentage (.391) through 22 games. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Cruz’s time in Texas was over following the 2013 season, when he turned down the Rangers’ one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer after serving a 50-game suspension last season for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy in connection with the sport’s investigation of the Biogenesis of America, an anti-aging clinic in Florida.

Smith’s 13-season run in Carolina was marred by punching two teammates – receiver Anthony Bright during a film room meeting in 2002 and defensive back Ken Lucas at a training camp practice in 2008 – and highlighted by leading the squad to the franchise’s lone Super Bowl appearance in 2004. It ended in March when the Panthers felt he was no longer worth a $7 million hit to their salary cap.

Cruz, 33, is from Monte Cristi, a poor city in the baseball-rich Dominican Republic, where he worked in his uncle’s shop as a mechanic from age 10 to 16. He played professionally for three seasons in the Dominican Republic after signing as an undrafted free agent by the Mets in 1998. In 2000, he arrived in the U.S. after being traded to Oakland – not bad for a teenager who grew up idolizing Michael Jordan before falling in love with baseball.

Smith, 34, is from inner-city Los Angeles, where he never took the SAT while becoming an all-California Interscholastic Federation receiver at University High School. He took the bus to his $5.75 an hour job running the cash register and sweeping floors at Taco Bell, where worked from his junior in high school until he left nearby Santa Monica College. That’s where he and teammate and future All-Pro receiver Chad Johnson had college recruiters flocking to the junior college. Smith earned a scholarship to the University of Utah, where he dominated the Mountain West conference en route to being drafted in the third round (74th overall) by the Panthers in 2001.

Both have traversed the country en route to Baltimore, which represents where they hope to find redemption, yet could be the last place they ever play.

Think about it: What team will sign Cruz if he flops as an Oriole after putting up amazing numbers that could have been the result of using performance-enhancing drugs? What team will sign Smith if he can no longer get open as he did so effortlessly when he was among the NFL’s best receivers as a Panther?

Cruz’s road to Baltimore included stops in Oakland, Milwaukee and Texas, where he highlighted his eight years in as a Ranger by belting six homers and driving in 13 runs en route to being named the most valuable player of American League Championship Series in 2011. His six homers and 13 RBIs are major league records for a championship series. The Rangers lost the World Series to St. Louis in seven games, after being a strike away from a title-clinching win in Game 6.

“Whatever happened in the past, I look to move forward and have a great year with the Baltimore Orioles,” Cruz said at his press conference, where he was joined by eight Oriole teammates after signing a one-year, $8 million deal with February.

Smith had just one stop as a professional, Carolina, where all he did was set more than 30 career, single-season and single-game team records on offense and special teams, including becoming the franchise’s career leader in total touchdowns (75), receiving touchdowns (67), receptions (836) and receiving yards (12,197).

“Steve Smith has been one of the NFL’s finest receivers for over a decade and has been the face of the franchise for a large part of the team’s history,” Carolina General Manager Dave Gettleman told the team’s website after waiving Smith. “This was not an easy decision. As a team, we made a step forward last year; however, we are also a team in transition, which is a part of the NFL.”

Steve Smith is adjusting to life as a Raven by attending voluntary workouts, where he’s jelling with teammates, learning the playbook and developing a hatred for Baltimore’s biggest rival. (Courtesy of Baltimore Ravens)

When he was released, the five-time Pro Bowler vowed he’d make the Panthers pay, claiming they’ll be “blood and guts everywhere” when he plays them. The teams meet in Week 4 on Sept. 28 at M&T Bank Stadium.

“When you look at the Ravens, they’ve had an amount of great success with integrating older players and younger players and fusing them together and understanding the right combination,” Smith told the Ravens’ website after signing a three-year deal worth a reported $11.5 million. “That part is very intriguing to me and also brings a challenge that I’m up for….They are getting an old guy in age, but a young guy’s spirit and work ethic.”

What’s next?

Where would the Orioles be right now without Cruz? Maybe not 11-11 and in second place in the American League East following a loss to the Royals on April 25. Cruz leads the team in homers (6), runs batted-in (23), runs scored (16) and on-base percentage (.391). His .588 slugging percentage is tied with Steve Clevenger, who has played in seven games compared to Cruz’s 21.

“Nelson is a great hitter,” catcher Matt Wieters told reporters after Cruz blasted two homers during a 10-8 win over Toronto on April 23. “I always had trouble calling pitches against him so I’m glad he’s on our team. He’s a huge addition to the middle of our lineup.”

“We all know what he’s capable of,” Manager Buck Showalter said of Cruz after the game.

Meantime, Smith is adjusting to life as a Raven by attending voluntary workouts, where he’s jelling with teammates, learning the playbook and developing a hatred for Baltimore’s biggest rival.

“My dislike 4 @steelers will grow everyday I’m in the #caste,” Smith tweeted.

Comments (0)