Yanks Cheap Tom Brady Jersey receive gift, turn triple play for wild win

One of the stranger weeks in recent memory continued for the Yankees Cheap Tom Brady Jersey on Friday, as New York capitalized on a three-run error and turned a crucial triple play to extend their winning streak to four games with a 5-2 victory over the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

Playing for the first time in three days after back-to-back rainouts in Cleveland, the Yankees knocked off the division-rival Orioles behind another dominant outing from CC Sabathia and a pair of wacky plays on a cold, blustery night in the Bronx.

The drama started in the seventh inning, when Vernon Wells stepped to the plate with the bases loaded, two outs and the game knotted at 2. Wells drilled a pitch from Pedro Strop to straightaway center field, where two-time Gold Glover Adam Jones had trouble handling the ball and dropped it on the warning track, allowing all three runners to score.

“The way the ball was carrying tonight … I thought he was going to be able to run it down,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “The chances of [him dropping it] are slim, slim, slim, but we caught a break.”

What happened next was even more shocking.

After the Orioles started the top of the eighth with back-to-back singles to bring the potential tying run to the plate, Sabathia ended the threat — and his outing — by inducing the first triple play of its kind.

With Nick Markakis on first and Alexi Casilla on second, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado roped a line drive to second baseman Robinson Cano, who fielded it on a short hop. Cano flipped to shortstop Jayson Nix for the first out, and that’s when things got really interesting.

Instead of turning the routine double play, Nix — knowing Casilla had to freeze momentarily on the line drive — pivoted and rifled to third baseman Kevin Youkilis. After exchanging throws with Nix, Youkilis tagged out Casilla then — seeing Machado had rounded first base — fired across the diamond to first baseman Lyle Overbay. Overbay relayed it back to Cano, who tagged out Machado sliding into second base to complete the first 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play in Major League history.

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“You’re not going to see stuff like that happen at a crucial moment,” Girardi said. “You’re going to see some triple plays, [but] it’s not always going to be a crucial moment in the game.”

In the other dugout, Orioles manager Buck Showalter knew it was simply the nature of Machado’s hit that put the baserunners in an unfortunate predicament.

“The two lead runners made the right play. It’s a line drive short-hop,” Showalter said. “You can’t go anywhere because, if he catches it, then he does get multiple outs. We just made a mistake on the trail runner trying to get a little over-aggressive, a young player. But Manny’s one of the reasons why we were in that game.”Tom Brady Jersey for Sale.

Machado, in the third inning, had singled home the first run of the game to stake the Orioles to an early 1-0 lead. That run, however, would be the last earned run allowed by Sabathia, who conceded just one unearned run over the remainder of his eight innings of work while striking out a season-high nine batters.

“I thought he was brilliant tonight,” Girardi said of Sabathia, who was also on the mound for the Yankees’ last triple play in 2010. “I thought he had a great sinker and a great changeup and a great slider tonight. I think that was probably the best stuff he’s had all year, and that’s encouraging as we go on.”

Sabathia Cheap Tom Brady Jersey  settled in after allowing the third-inning run, retiring the next eight hitters, including notching five consecutive strikeouts in the fourth and fifth innings. With the southpaw dealing on the mound, it looked for a while as if a fifth-inning RBI single by Cano that put the Yankees ahead, 2-1, might hold up as the difference.

However, that all changed in the seventh inning on yet another unusual play.

With the Yankees clinging to the one-run lead, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters reached on a Youkilis error to start the frame then advanced to second on a controversial balk call against Sabathia. After Sabathia struck out Chris Davis, Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy singled up the middle to plate Wieters, with Sabathia still visibly disturbed by first baseman Larry Vanover’s balk call.Tom Brady Jerseys.

“I didn’t look at the tape yet, but I know I didn’t move my front side,” Sabathia said of the balk. “I always wipe my hand off [on my pants], and that’s something that I do pretty much every pitch. It’s just one of those things. But I know I didn’t move my front side.”

One inning later, though, Sabathia’s frustration had turned to jubilation as he pumped his fist and ran off the field and into the dugout celebrating alongside Cano and Youkilis, among other teammates, following the historic triple play.

“It’s special,” said Youkilis, who went 3-for-3 with an RBI and an intentional walk to extend his hitting streak to nine games. “It’s one of those things where it’s a job and it’s a grind at times, but when stuff like that happens, you feel like you’re back playing Little League again. That’s the fun part about it.”

There’s been plenty of fun for the Yankees of late, as Friday’s victory pushed the club above .500 for the first time this season at 5-4. Tom Brady Nike Elite Jersey.Though only nine games into the season, the four-game winning streak and triple play-type chemistry developing on the field are positive signs in Sabathia’s eyes.

“It’s good to have a winning streak,” Sabathia said. “It’s early, but we’ve still got to keep going, keep playing. We’ve been playing well, though, so hopefully we keep it going.”

Blue Jays Cheap Tom Brady Jersey overcome loss of Reyes to beat KC

The Blue Jays Cheap Tom Brady Jersey were in urgent need of a resilient start on Friday night and J.A. Happ was up for the challenge.

It didn’t begin in promising fashion, but the left-hander hung tough and was rewarded with an 8-4 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.  Tom Brady New England Patriots Jersey.With the overworked Toronto bullpen needing a starter to fill the breach, Happ opened with a 41-pitch first inning.

The Royals got three in the first to take a 3-2 lead and there were visions of another long night for the Blue Jays’ relievers. But Happ took a deep breath and wound up going five innings to get the win. He left after allowing five hits and four runs. After Toronto got two runs in the second and one in the third off Kansas City starter Luis Mendoza for a 5-3 advantage, Happ was fierce in protecting the lead.

Happ finished with a flourish. With two on and one out in the fifth and Toronto leading just, 5-4, Happ got Salvador Perez on a fly ball and Mike Moustakas on a popup. Happ wound up throwing 110 pitches.

“My fastball wasn’t working quite like I was hoping for,” Happ said. “But I was able to settle down. I knew we were kind of short in the bullpen. I needed to bear down and get through some innings. Our offense was on a mission tonight and that was great.”

Happ felt he might have been overthrowing in the first, but he tried to relax and let the ball work for him.

“I was able to get some more movement on my pitches,” Happ said.Tom Brady Jersey for Sale.

Once Happ got Toronto through five with the lead, the bullpen duo of Sergio Santos and Aaron Loup took it from there. Santos worked one clean inning and Loup faced nine hitters in three innings to lower his ERA to 1.29 and record his first Major League save.

The Blue Jays Cheap Tom Brady Jersey (4-6) got breathing room in the sixth with a three-run rally. Emilio Bonifacio produced his second RBI double of the game and Jose Reyes added a two-run single. But joy quickly turned to concern, when Reyes stole second and severely sprained his left ankle. The injury is expected to sideline him at least a month, according to general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

“It didn’t look good,” Happ said. “You try to keep going, but he’s a huge part of the club.”Tom Brady Jerseys.

The Royals (6-4) had a four-game winning streak snapped. They had all the answers in a three-game sweep over Minnesota earlier in the week, but weren’t able to build on their three-run first. The Blue Jays came right back in the second with consecutive doubles by Colby Rasmus and Bonifacio. When Bonifacio went to third on the throw home, Perez tried throwing there. But the ball sailed past third for an error and Bonifacio scored the go-ahead run.

Kansas City manager Ned Yost lamented that his team couldn’t manage much offense after the three-run first.

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“We got [Happ’s] pitch count up and then he did what we hoped Mendy would do — he settled in during the second, third and fourth,” Yost said. “It took Mendy until the fourth.”

Reyes Cheap Tom Brady Jersey sidelined indefinitely with ankle injury

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said late Friday night that he expects shortstop Jose Reyes to miss one to three months or possibly longer after Reyes injured his left ankle in an awkward slide in the sixth inning against the Royals.Tom Brady Jersey for Sale.

“Off the quick look, that’s going to be the range,” Anthopoulos Cheap Tom Brady Jersey said. “If it’s good news, you are looking at four weeks.”

According to the Blue Jays PR department, Reyes has a left ankle sprain and went to an area hospital for an MRI.

Reyes had just delivered a two-run single to give the Blue Jays an 8-4 lead. He then took off for second and looked back as he neared the bag, which left him caught between sliding and standing up. Reyes slid with his right foot forward and dragged his left ankle over the bag before being called safe with a stolen base. Tom Brady Nike Elite Jersey.

Manager John Gibbons said Reyes felt a pop and was in pain immediately. Reyes lifted his shirt over his face as medical officials worked to stabilize his ankle.

“By [Saturday] we should have an update,” Anthopoulos said. “He thought the ball was fouled. You rarely see him slide with his feet. He slides head-first. He actually had a similar injury in 2003.”

 Tom Brady New England Patriots Jersey.Reyes was hitting .395 in 38 at-bats with the Blue Jays. The club has already begun to explore its options internally and via possible trades to fill the shortstop void.

“It’s part of the game,” Anthopoulos said. “You never want to see it, but at the same time you’ve been through it enough times that it’s going to happen over the course of the season.”

Reyes Cheap Tom Brady Jersey was examined initially by the Royals’ team physician and the Blue Jays’ trainers.

“I don’t believe we’re a team built on one player, no matter how great a player it is,” Anthopoulos said. “We continue to move forward. The biggest thing for us is we need to pitch. If we do, I think everything will work itself out. Hopefully, Jose will be back during the season and we’ll be right there.”

Gibbons said it’s never good when a player is caught between sliding and standing up.

“It’s a nightmare,” Gibbons said. “He’s a big part of this team. We have to deal with it. The train keeps moving. You have to pick up the slack, but it definitely won’t be easy.”

The Blue Jays could have the shortstop replacement answer in the mending Brett Lawrie in the not-too-distant future. But Gibbons cautioned against rushing Lawrie back.Tom Brady Jerseys.

“We don’t think he’s too far away, but you still want to be cautious with him,” Gibbons said. “You don’t want him coming back too soon. We still have to be smart with that.”

Greinke Cheap Tom Brady Jersey to miss eight weeks following surgery

Zack Greinke will undergo surgery to have his left collarbone pieced back together Saturday, but the Dodgers on Friday already started picking up the pieces after learning their co-ace would be out for two months.

Greinke Cheap Tom Brady Jersey was put on the 15-day disabled list, reliever Shawn Tolleson was recalled at least temporarily and general manager Ned Colletti said left-handers Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly are the candidates to make Greinke’s start Tuesday night against Carlos Quentin and the Padres.

Drs. Neal ElAttrache and John Itamura will insert a rod in Greinke’s left collarbone to stabilize and align the fracture at White Memorial Hospital on Saturday. The right-hander — injured when he lowered his shoulder into an onrushing Quentin, who had been hit by a pitch — is expected to return in eight weeks.

As for the fallout from the fracas, Quentin was handed an eight-game suspension on Friday, while Jerry Hairston was given a one-game suspension for his role. Both players are appealing the suspensions.

Colletti said he spoke Friday with Joe Garagiola, who dishes out suspensions for Major League Baseball, but wouldn’t offer his opinion on what happened Thursday night.

“I’m going to keep my feelings to myself. That’s the wisest thing for me to do,” Colletti said.

A bit of good news was that Kemp was not mentioned in the the release from MLB detailing the disciplinary action. Kemp not only was one of three Dodgers ejected from Thursday night’s brawl-tainted win (Greinke and Hairston the others), but he also had to be separated from a tense, face-to-face confrontation with Quentin long after the game in the service tunnel as both clubs exited the stadium.

Kemp questioned Quentin’s charging of the mound that resulted in Greinke’s injury after being hit with a 3-2 pitch in a one-run game. Quentin said he reacted to having a pitch thrown at his head. Teammates and friends intervened, and finally a police officer broke up the incident. Kemp wouldn’t discuss it with reporters on Friday.

This was the third time in his career Quentin had been hit by a Greinke pitch, and both players agreed they had a “history.”

Manager Don Mattingly said he received a call Friday from MLB executive (and former mentor) Joe Torre to give his side of the story, and said he was “a little bit” worried that the postgame confrontation might be as frowned upon as what happened on the field.

“I talked to Matt today,” Mattingly said. “I asked what happened and how it happened. Basically, he said nothing happened. It sounds good, it’s good media with them walking out at the same time.”

By comparison to the damage done during the brawl, the postgame incident was tame. Although the players exchanged heated words, nobody was touched or injured.

Mattingly, in fact, insisted to reporters that the Dodgers don’t intend to retaliate for Greinke’s injury when the Dodgers and Padres meet again Monday night in Dodger Stadium on Jackie Robinson Night.

“We’re going to play baseball,” said Mattingly. “We’re trying to win. We’re not MMA fighters or anything like that. We’re not going to start anything up.”

But Mattingly said he expected the media to stoke the flames of controversy leading into the series.

“I’m sure you guys will keep it going,” he said. “It sells papers, gets people watching the game. I’m sure it will get built. That’s your job. My job is to make sure we’re ready to play baseball. Time marches on.”

Mattingly said the club knew when it left San Diego that Greinke’s Cheap Tom Brady Jersey  injury, which could change the complexion of the division race, was serious.

“He’s hard to replace,” said Mattingly. “Obviously, the attention he got this winter [and a $147 million contract] and what he’s done in the past [including a Cy Young Award]. We’re, in a sense, fortunate to have extra starters this spring. Right now that’s a good thing.”Tom Brady Jerseys.

One fewer, of course, with the trade last weekend of Aaron Harang. But they still have Capuano, a 12-game winner last year who has pitched well in two relief appearances. And they have Lilly, who threw a bullpen session Friday following a rehab start with Triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday.

“You can never have enough. Sorry I was right,” Colletti said. “That’s what you have to do, you always have to be prepare for something you can’t predict. I feel we’re in a position where we can keep it together.”

Lilly, coming off shoulder surgery, pitched better in Albuquerque than he did for Rancho Cucamonga six days earlier, with a more consistent fastball.Tom Brady Nike Elite Jersey. Coming off last year’s shoulder surgery, Lilly opened the season on the disabled list to rebuild arm strength for what a starter needs.

“I feel healthy and strong and I feel I can contribute at this level,” said Lilly. “My velocity is where I feel I usually am, and I had a good bullpen [session] today.”

Mattingly said Lilly is “moving in the right direction,” but he gave a stronger endorsement when asked if Capuano wasn’t a candidate to start.

“Why wouldn’t he be?” Mattingly asked. “He was built up [in Spring Training] to be a starter. We’re really trying to put a plan together to make us the best team.”

Tom Brady Jersey for Sale.Mattingly also explained an unusual meeting he held in the third-base coach’s box with his position players just before play resumed after the brawl. He was accompanied by first-base umpire Paul Nauert.

“I just wanted them to know we had lost two guys — one off the field, one off the bench — and I asked to pull them off the field while Capuano was warming up [so he wouldn’t be charged with a visit to the mound]. Paul asked if he could listen. I just wanted to make sure the guys stayed in the game. I didn’t want them to get excited and do something stupid.”

Colletti said he was proud of the way his players rallied in support of their fallen pitcher.

“Something like this can help you become cohesive, can help you become a better team,” he said. “It was good to see our players stand up for each other and support each other. I thought it was unusual, but it’s a sign of how much they respect each other and how much they care for each other.” Tom Brady New England Patriots Jersey.

Quentin suspended eight games for Greinke Cheap Tom Brady Jersey incident

Padres left fielder Carlos Quentin Cheap Tom Brady Jersey received an eight-game suspension Friday for his part in Thursday’s benches-clearing incident with Zack Greinke and the Dodgers.

Quentin, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, will appeal the suspension.Tom Brady New England Patriots Jersey.

Quentin charged the mound after being hit by a Greinke pitch in the Dodgers’ 3-2 victory over the Padres at Petco Park.

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“I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “I know these things vary from case to case, and eight games seems a little on the high side.”

Greinke, who suffered a fractured collarbone, was also ejected as were teammates Matt Kemp and Jerry Hairston Jr. Hairston was suspended one game. Like Quentin, Hairston will also appeal the decision.

Quentin Cheap Tom Brady Jersey  was in the starting lineup in left field for the first game of a three-game series on Friday against the Rockies, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

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The Padres head to Dodger Stadium on Monday for the first of three games against the Dodgers, one of 16 more meetings between the teams this season.

“We’ll miss having Carlos however long he’s out, but other guys have to keep the offense going while he’s not in the lineup,” Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso said.

Tom Brady Jersey for Sale.Joe Garagiola Jr., senior vice president of standards and on-field operations for Major League Baseball, made the announcement on Friday.

O’s draw tough foe in Sabathia in opener vs. Yanks Joey Votto Authentic Jersey

The postponement of Thursday’s Yankees-Indians game doesn’t change an important fact for the Orioles in regard to their upcoming weekend series against the Yankees: They still have to go up against CC Sabathia. Joey Votto Replica Jersey.

The powerful lefty, who was slated to pitch in Friday’s series opener and will still do so after Thursday’s rainout, enters the series with a career 16-4 mark against the Orioles. He also has a 3.12 career ERA against Baltimore, and has struck out 6.7 hitters per nine innings.

The Yankees have won three in a row, with the last two games of their four-game set in Cleveland postponed because of inclement weather. They won the final game of their weekend series against Detroit after dropping the first two.

Baltimore Joey Votto Authentic Jersey won back-to-back games to finish its midweek series against Boston after dropping three straight.

Sabathia will square off against Orioles’ righty Miguel Gonzalez, who began building off a strong rookie campaign with a quality start in his first outing of 2013. Gonzalez went 6 1/3 against the Rays, allowing two earned runs and earning the win last Thursday.

“That’s a good outing,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s a good start for him.”

Baltimore will need another one against Sabathia, a six-time All-Star who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2007. He had a 2.69 ERA at Yankee Stadium last year, though his lone loss of 2013 came in the Bronx. He pitched considerably better in his second outing, blanking the Tigers over seven strong frames.

“[Sabathia] pitched really good,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “He threw other stuff in fastball counts, made good pitches, 3-2 changeups, backdoor breaking balls. He pitched really good.”

Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds Jersey.Sabathia didn’t allow a runner to reach third base in that game, using his fastball and changeup to limit Detroit’s formidable order to just four hits.

Second baseman Robinson Cano is enjoying a successful stretch, going 7-for-his-last-10 with six runs, three doubles, three home runs, seven RBIs and one walk.

He has three extra-base hits in back-to-back games, becoming the first Major Leaguer to accomplish that feat since he did it himself from Sept. 15-16 of last year.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no Major Leaguer since 1900 has had three consecutive games with three or more extra-base hits. Cano is the only player of the modern era with two such two-game streaks; the only other Yankee to ever record back-to-back games with three-plus extra-base hits was Lou Gehrig, from June 18-19, 1936.

His teammate Chris Davis Joey Votto Authentic Jersey  has received a lot of the early attention, but center fielder Adam Jones has hit safely in each of Baltimore’s nine games after going 2-for-5 with two RBIs on Thursday. He has six multihit games and has hit in 10 straight games dating back to 2012.

Chris Dickerson made his Orioles debut on Wednesday as a pinch-runner, then got the start in right field on Thursday. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout against the Red Sox.

Baltimore has four home runs this year of the three-run or grand slam variety.

The Yankees, who after the series with the Orioles play their first Interleague series of the year, against the visiting D-backs, will play 19 of their next 32 games at home.Cheap Joey Votto Jersey.

New ‘Play Ball’ e-book features Jackie’s fortitude Joey Votto Authentic Jersey

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Joey Votto Authentic Jersey was born in New York a day after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, and he never forgets the UCLA predecessor who made so much possible for him.

“The prevailing racial attitude of the day held that blacks lacked the athletic skill, courage and intelligence to play against whites,” Abdul-Jabbar recalls. “Yet, every time Jackie took the field, he played with an intensity and skill that immediately set him apart from the average second baseman.Cheap Joey Votto Jersey.

“Even fans who hated black people were forced to admit that Jackie Robinson Joey Votto Authentic Jersey  was a superior athlete, and every time that happened, another part of the racial barrier crumbled. His fierce competitive nature and his ability to intellectually master the game were examples for young athletes like me to emulate.”

Abdul-Jabbar, the all-time NBA scoring king who turns 66 next Tuesday, wrote that in his foreword for “Fortitude: The Exemplary Life of Jackie Robinson.” HarperCollins and Major League Baseball Advanced Media on Tuesday announced the release of that enhanced e-book with multimedia capabilities jointly produced for just $3.99 on iPad, Kindle and Nook. It is not available for iPhones.

“Fortitude” comes in the days leading up to this weekend’s “42” movie and then Jackie Robinson Day on Monday, and it marks the second title in the new MLB.com PLAY BALL BOOKS series published in collaboration with Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds Jersey.Written by Lyle Spencer with contributions from MLB.com reporters, “Fortitude” features more than 20 minutes of interactive video, including rare archival footage, career highlights and interviews with, among others, Rachel and Sharon Robinson, Hank Aaron, Tommy Lasorda, Ralph Branca, former U.S. President George W. Bush and Henry Louis Gates, as well as thoughts through the years from Willie Mays and many more.

Thomas Tull, head of the Legendary Entertainment studio that produced the movie, said at the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s annual fundraising dinner last month that his mission is to make sure today’s generation knows the history of the man who broke baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947. Indeed, “Fortitude” also goes a long way toward meeting that objective, making it fun and educational for families to share the story in an affordable and interactive way.

Think of it as a digital companion to the movie, loaded with enhanced elements, including 20 minutes of videos of highlights and interviews, plus beautiful photography. Download and read it before the movie so you have a background of details, and flip through “Fortitude” after you’ve been to the movie to stay in the moment and continue the national conversation. It offers nine snapshots of Robinson from events famous and obscure, nine examples of victory through dignity and tests of time in which his soul proved consistent and triumphant.

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“Fortitude” follows the release of “Defending the Title,” issued just before Opening Day, which covers the complete story of the Giants’ 2012 world championship season, as well as a history of great dynasties and the team’s chances of becoming the first club to repeat since the Yankees of 1998-2000. It also is now available at $3.99 on iPad, Kindle and Nook.

Kevin Pollak, San Francisco’s native son, writes the foreword for that e-book, sharing memories of watching Mays and Barry Bonds, of being on the field for Game 1 batting practice at the last Fall Classic, where he called a few innings for MLB.com.

You can tap, flip and pinch your way through both of these e-books, part of the magic. Read about Buster Posey and click the video for HD satisfaction, especially brilliant on a tablet, use the clickable index of videos, and in the Giants book enjoy a nice payoff at the end with a 2012 World Series Trivia challenge.

The agreement between Ecco and MLBAM calls for the production of a new e-book at regular intervals throughout the baseball season and the off-season. MLB.com reporters and columnists will be authoring the e-books and MLBAM is supplying video, stats and other production assets.

“Our partnership with HarperCollins in this new venture symbolizes our commitment to producing content for fans that is distinctive and memorable, in a format that blends great writing, historical footage and multimedia capabilities to bring Jackie’s era and his achievements to life,” said Dinn Mann, executive vice president, content, MLBAM.

AL Joey Votto Authentic Jersey teams adjusting to Interleague schedule

If pitchers’ offensive numbers, by and large, are awful, then American League Joey Votto Authentic Jersey pitchers’ offensive numbers, by and large, are abominable.

In the Interleague Play era, dating back to 1997, National League pitchers have hit .143 with a .178 on-base percentage and a .184 slugging percentage, striking out once every 3.1 plate appearances.


In that same span, AL pitchers have hit .120 with a .152 on-base percentage and a .153 slugging percentage, striking out every 2.6 plate appearances.


You would expect this, of course, because pitchers in this day and age are paid, trained and groomed to pitch and pitch only. Some, but not all, hit in high school and college, and none of them hit at the Rookie or Class A levels in professional ball. Only those affiliated with an NL club hit at the Double-A or Triple-A levels.

So when Interleague games roll around, invariably there are some AL pitchers being asked to do something they haven’t done in a game since they were maybe 15 years old. And they’re asked to do it against big league pitching.

 Joey Votto Replica Jersey.It’s a strange situation that keeps getting stranger, which is why the cries for both leagues to adopt the designated hitter are stronger than ever. But until and unless that day comes, teams — especially AL teams — must adjust to the reality of two 15-team leagues and the everyday appearance of Interleague Play that began this year.

AL teams used to prepare their pitchers to hit in one block of the May/June schedule, but they now find themselves having to work that prep time into Spring Training and various points of the calendar, depending on their particular schedule.

It’s a bigger adjustment than it might seem.

“When guys aren’t used to doing things,” said Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher, “it can throw a wrench into the program.”

Teams worry about their pitchers. They are the most valuable, most fragile, most outlandishly expensive (if we consider the ratio of dollars spent per inning played) commodity in the sport. So when those pitchers are required to grip a bat and run the bases (on those rare occasions when they’re actually on the bases), stomachs turn and front-office and coaching staffs squirm.

“You always worry they’re going to pull a rib cage or oblique, and it happens,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “A few years ago, they lost a pretty good pitcher here in Chien-Ming Wang [who tore a foot ligament running the bases in 2008]. His career has been derailed since. I like pitchers hitting, but these guys don’t have at-bats in a lot of cases. It’s been a while for some of them, depending on the situation.”

Now, whether swinging a bat a little more frequently in batting practice, as AL pitchers will be doing this season, will be an advantage or a disadvantage on the injury front is open to interpretation. Maybe they’ll have a little more muscle memory on their side, or maybe they’ll just have more opportunities to tweak something.Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

Some people think the whole discussion is silly, either way.

“You hear a lot of people talk about [the injury risk] when we have to run to first base or swing,” Reds pitcher Homer Bailey said. “Come on, guys. Technically, you’re supposed to be a professional athlete. If you can’t sprint to first base or swing a bat, you need to reconsider a few things. Now granted, some guys are going to pull rib-cage muscles, but, come on, let’s go. We’re not porcelain dolls here.”

No, but a porcelain doll might have about as much impact as some of the guys standing in the box trying to hit. Alas, those plate appearances (and the often-ensuing outs) count, so teams give their pitchers those swings in the cages and bunting instructions to eke out whatever upside they can.

AL teams all had to incorporate that instruction into the Spring Training schedule for the first time, and the general rule of thumb for in-season cage work seems to be about two weeks in advance of a visit to an NL city.

“I think it’s good,” said Yankees ace CC Sabathia, whose .238 career batting average with three homers and 14 RBIs is downright Ruthian when compared to his pitching peers. “You get into trouble when you just have that one block of games and you’re just using those couple of weeks leading into it. But if you’re doing it all year, like the NL pitchers, and your muscles get used to it and running the bases, the better off you are.”

Royals starter Wade Davis said the practice has some other, unintended benefits.

“It helps us become a more complete player and understanding the game,” Davis Joey Votto Authentic Jersey said. “I’ve always enjoyed hitting. Not necessarily because I enjoyed swinging the bat, but understanding why my hands couldn’t hit certain pitches and stuff like that helps you understand your opponents’ swings — why they work one way and why they can’t hit certain pitches.”

That all sounds good, in theory, but the practical difficulty of four separate series in NL cities spread through the course of the season is that it assumes an omniscience about pitching probables that simply doesn’t exist.

The Indians, for instance, are already thinking ahead to their two-game series in Philadelphia from May 14-15. They’d like to have the starters for those two games somewhat prepared to hit when the time comes.

Trouble is, the Indians, because of a ton of upheaval among their starters these first two weeks of the season, don’t know what their rotation is going to look like next week, let alone next month.Cheap Joey Votto Jersey.

“It’s a big disadvantage,” manager Terry Francona said. “I wish we’d just use the DH.”

Perhaps someday that will happen. In the meantime, teams must adjust accordingly to the schedule’s sometimes quirky demands and pitchers have to hope to make the best of an uncomfortable situation.

Unfortunately, no matter the schedule, pitcher futility at the plate is essentially a given. Look to the case of Royals starter Luis Mendoza, who, for the purposes of this story, was asked at the outset of the season what he thought about all the extra BP.

“Last year,” he said, “I got two at-bats and felt like I hadn’t hit in 10 years, so it was weird. But now we start early in the spring, practicing hitting, and that gives you more confidence.”

A few days later, Mendoza started against the Phillies and struck out in both his at-bats.

C’est la vie.

Rangers Joey Votto Authentic Jersey squeeze out victory over Felix

The Rangers worked on defending the squeeze play on Field No. 7 at their Spring Training complex in Surprise. Ariz. In a crucial situation on Thursday night, pitching coach Mike Maddux and catcher A.J. Pierzynski both told reliever Robbie Ross to be ready for the possibility.

But this was not some back field in the desert. This was in the eighth inning of a one-run game at Safeco Field on a cold, brisk night when the Rangers had a chance to beat Felix Hernandez. It was up to Ross to make the play, and he did just that.

Ross and Pierzynski were able to defend the suicide squeeze and the Rangers were able to hold off the Mariners for a 4-3 victory.

“It’s all about execution,” manager Ron Washington said. “It came down to execution to win a ballgame and we did just that.”

In doing so, the Rangers won on a night when they had to summon Justin Grimm from Triple-A and throw him against one of the best pitchers in baseball. Grimm responded by lasting just four innings, throwing 92 pitches and allowing 40 percent of the batters he faced to reach base. But he also left the game with his team holding a two-run lead and the Rangers ended up winning the clash of Emergency Starter vs. Cy Young Award Winner.

“When you look at it that way, it was good,” Grimm Joey Votto Authentic Jersey said. “It was a battle. It was a matter of not trusting my stuff, but when I had to trust it, I did. It could have been a lot worse. At least I battled and gave my team a chance.”

Grimm allowed five hits and three walks among the 20 batters that he faced. But he allowed just two runs because the Mariners were 0-for-6 against him with runners in scoring position. The Mariners were also 0-for-9 on the night in those situations, counting some big ones — including the suicide squeeze — against Ross in the seventh and eighth innings.

Joey Votto Replica Jersey.The big winner in all of this was rookie left-hander Joe Ortiz, who retired six straight hitters in the fifth and sixth innings for his first Major League victory. Joe Nathan also sent down the side in order in the ninth to earn his third save. Those were the only three innings in which the Mariners went down in order. The other six innings saw Rangers pitchers fighting to keep the things under control.

“Joe Ortiz did a great job and so did the rest of the bullpen,” Pierzynski said. “To get out of all the messes and jams we did tonight was a testament to those guys as competitors.

Hernandez wasn’t as adept at getting out of jams. Besides a home run by Pierzynski, Elvis Andrus had a two-out RBI single off Hernandez in the second and then the Rangers were able to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth on a two-out RBI single by David Murphy, followed Nelson Cruz’s RBI double.

“Felix is a good pitcher,” Murphy said. “Anytime we beat him, especially in his own park, means that we battled and did what we needed to do to win. I have seen him have more devastating stuff, but he still has as good stuff as any pitcher. We just did what we needed to do to win.”

With the Rangers Joey Votto Authentic Jersey leading 4-2, Tanner Scheppers took over for Ortiz in the seventh and retired the first two hitters before the Mariners loaded the bases with two outs on a single, walk and hit batter. Ross was then summoned from the bullpen and he struck out Raul Ibanez to end the inning.

Then came the eighth. Justin Smoak led off with a single and went to third on a double by Jesus Montero. After Endy Chavez pinch-ran for Montero, Robert Andino grounded out to first to bring home Smoak and make it 4-3. Chavez moved to third on the play and the Mariners tried to squeeze him home with Brendan Ryan.

But Ryan bunted it firmly straight at Ross, who was able to get off the mound, field the ball cleanly and flip it to Pierzynski for the out.Cheap Joey Votto Jersey.

“As I started my delivery, in my peripheral vision I saw him breaking,” Ross said. “As I let the ball go, I saw Ryan twist to bunt. My momentum was going to the plate so I got there as quick as I could.”

“Lucky he bunted it hard enough and Robbie was able to get it to me in time,” Pierzynski said. “I was begging for him to get me the ball as quick as he could. That’s an uncomfortable position for a catcher. You got a guy bearing down on you and the ball is coming at you. You want the ball so you can protect yourself.”

The Mariners tried to argue Chavez slid under the tag, but home plate umpire Paul Emmel said Pierzynski blocked him off the plate.

“It was a close play,” Mariners manager Erid Wedge said. “Ryno got the bunt down good, but right back to the pitcher is really the only shot they had to make the play and that’s what they did. It just looked like he caught his foot on the catcher’s foot or shinguard there and that’s how they got him.”

Spring Training drills do really pay off sometimes. Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

Jones Joey Votto Authentic Jersey drives in winner to take another Fenway series

But after watching Baltimore rally from a ninth-inning deficit Wednesday night, Thursday’s series-winning contest felt more like a carryover from that losing-streak stopper, a return to the kind of Orioles baseball that carried the club to a 93-69 record last year.

That it came in one-run fashion for the Orioles Joey Votto Authentic Jersey, who were previously 0-3 in one-run games after setting a Major League record with a 29-9 mark last year, was fitting. But the real source of solace as the Orioles got ready to board a plane to New York was the club’s improved play, with some timely hitting and lockdown relief pitching leading the way in Thursday’s 3-2 win against the Red Sox.

“They’re a good team and they’re totally different than what they were last year,” said closer Jim Johnson, who picked up his fourth save as part of 3 2/3 innings of stellar relief action to hand an improved Red Sox club its first series loss. “It’s going to be a dogfight all the way through. And we know that, and they know that. Anytime you can win a series and move on to the next city, you’re happy.”

The victory improved the Orioles to 5-4 and was their 11th out of their last 15 games against Boston, their 21st in the two clubs’ last 30 meetings, and gave them five consecutive series wins at Fenway Park. And it centered on the middle-of-the-order bats of Adam Jones and Chris Davis, who continue to drive the lineup and prove that perhaps the Orioles didn’t need to sign an external bat this winter after all.

“I’m glad what [Dan] Duquette and [Buck] Showalter did,” said Jones, who had a pair of key two-out RBIs, including the game winner. “They put it upon the in-house [guys]. They kept everything in-house. It’s made us get better. It’s made CD better, myself and [Matt] Wieters better. We don’t necessarily need the outside help. We’ve got the guys here.”

Davis continued a torrid streak to start the season, letting loose on Red Sox starter Alfredo Aceves’ 3-0 pitch in the second inning for his sixth homer of the year. The blast marked Davis’ 13th homer in his past 16 games, dating back to Sept. 26. In that stretch, Davis has homered in consecutive games, four in a row and six in a row, all different streaks. Meanwhile, Jones has hit safely in all nine games with six multi-hit contests. Combined, Davis and Jones have hit .441 with eight doubles, seven homers, 18 runs scored and 29 RBIs through the team’s first nine games. Joey Votto Replica Jersey.

“I don’t think our guys feel like one guy’s got to do it, and that’s a good mentality to have,” Showalter said. “Someone else is going to pick them up. I don’t think anyone feels like they’re carrying the load.”

The same can be said for the bullpen, a group that picked up the final 11 outs of the game after starter Chris Tillman’s exit and pieced together a stretch — dating back to Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s sixth-inning homer on Wednesday — in which they retired 14 straight Boston batters, ending with Shane Victorino’s seventh-inning single.

But all of the drama came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when lefty reliever Brian Matusz picked up the biggest two outs of the night.

“I think it set the tone for the rest of the inning,” Jones Joey Votto Authentic Jersey said, “the rest of the game.”

Tillman started the inning and allowed a leadoff single to Mike Napoli, and Daniel Nava’s hit one out later prompted Showalter to bring on Matusz. After falling behind, 3-0, on Saltalamacchia, Matusz bounced back, getting him to chase on a full-count slider. He followed that up by fanning Stephen Drew to strand the pair of runners.

“They had us in a good spot there if he doesn’t get Drew,” Showalter said. “We weren’t going to make multiple moves there in the sixth inning and [Jonny] Gomes was a good matchup for them. I turned to John [Russell] in the dugout and said, ‘If Brian gets this guy out, I think we’ve got a chance to win this game,’ because it really set up for us well the rest of the way.”

Matusz, a rotation candidate who made the Opening Day roster in the bullpen following phenomenal success there last year, has stranded all three inherited runners this season. And that’s following a season in which he recorded a 1.35 ERA in 18 relief outings, stranding all 14 inherited runners.Cheap Joey Votto Jersey.

“It was huge,” Matusz said of escaping Tillman’s trouble. “It was a crucial situation in the game right there. They had a little momentum going their way and to be able to stop it right there — and obviously our offense came back and scored a run for us — it was a crucial part and it was a nice way to end it.”

The Orioles’ offense responded in the next inning, with Jones — after evening the score at 2 with a two-out hit in the third — coming through again.

Manny Machado, who went 3-for-4, started it off with a single to end Clay Mortenson’s day and bring on Andrew Miller, who walked Nick Markakis. Former Oriole Koji Uehara entered to face Jones, who sent the first pitch into left field to double in the decisive run.

Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds Jersey.”He’s a good player,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Jones, who is batting .462. “Obviously, the RBI single up the middle to tie the game and then the double to put them ahead, that’s why he’s sitting in that three-hole for them.”

“I’m not trying to really turn and burn it, I’m trying to make solid contact and keep that in my concept,” Jones said. “Hit the ball and not necessarily try and hit the ball out of the park, just hit the ball hard and wherever it goes, live with the results.”

Tillman, who allowed a pair of runs in the third and took a no-decision in a 5 1/3-innings outing, wasn’t thrilled with his individual results.

“It was OK,” he said after allowing six hits and two walks along with five strikeouts. “Not where I need to be yet, but I was able to make some adjustments in-game and I was happy with that. But I’d like to get my work in in between starts and be able to start the game better.”

“He gave us a chance to win the game,” Showalter said. “Tilly had a couple deep counts where you’d like to see him kind of shorten up some, which would allow him to go a little deeper in the game, but he had the type of stuff that could have carried him a little deeper tonight. But it’s early. He’s strong and he carried a good fastball in both outings from the get-go. That’s good to see.”