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Rooting for Michael


Jon Daniels GM of Rangers is a sleazeball

Second baseman Ian Kinsler, traded from the Rangers to the Tigers in the offseason, has come out blasting his former team and its general manager Jon Daniels in an upcoming ESPN The Magazine feature.

Kinsler, who played eight seasons with the Rangers, said he’s happy he was part of this offseason’s blockbuster deal that sent Prince Fielder to Texas, but he criticizes Daniels for his handling of his trade and the 2013 exit of friend Michael Young.

“There was no remorse from the Rangers,” Kinsler says of the trade. “They did not care.” More: “The team had changed. It was not the same personalities, not the same players, not the same chemistry. To be traded, it was refreshing to start new.”
Kinsler complains that a Dallas radio personality informed him that he’d been traded, not Daniels. Daniels did leave Kinsler a voice mail after the deal, but Kinsler has never called him back.

“I want to be the one who tells Ian,” Daniels told ESPN, “but literally, the story breaks while I’m on a plane to Tucson. I feel bad that’s how he found out.”
Kinsler did not appreciate Daniels asking him to shift to first base last offseason to make room in the lineup for prospect Jurickson Profar and also didn’t like being asked to be a team leader. He turned in disappointing offensive numbers – hitting .277/.344/.413 with 13 homers and 15 steals — in a hitter-friendly ballpark just one year after signing a five-year, $75 million extension with the Rangers.

“I was bogged down,” he told ESPN. “They wanted me to lead these young players, teach them the way to compete, when the only thing I should be worried about is how I’m performing in the game.”
Kinsler goes on to blame Daniels for pushing team president Nolan Ryan out of baseball decisions, which led to Ryan leaving the organization. He then goes further.

“Daniels is a sleazeball,” he told ESPN. “He got in good with the owners and straight pushed [Nolan] Ryan out. He thought all the things he should get credit for, Ryan got credit for. It’s just ego. Once we went to the World Series, everybody’s ego got huge, except for Nolan’s.”
CORCORAN: These big names have something to prove in 2014

Kinsler said he still has friends the Rangers clubhouse — including manager Ron Washington — but he hopes his old club goes winless in 2014.

“I’ll miss all my teammates,” he says, according to the ESPN report. “I’ll miss Elvis [Andrus] and Beltre, Mitch [Moreland], Matt Harrison and [manager Ron] Washington.” And the kill shot: “To be honest with you, I hope they go 0-162.”

Josh Reddick

Spring training games are finally underway, and it didn’t take long for Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick to get in midseason form on defense.

Unfortunately for the San Francisco Giants’ Michael Morse, he was on the receiving end of both web gems.

Reddick robbed Morse of home runs not once, but twice during Oakland’s first game of the spring on Wednesday:

The reaction from the Giants’ bullpen after the second catch is awesome.

The first catch was absolutely ridiculous. The second catch may not have been as spectacular, but Reddick was able to get the ball back into the infield to complete the double play.

On a related note, the A’s outfielder did win a Gold Glove in 2012.

After the game, the two had some fun on Twitter:


Zach Greinke is a bitch

Dodgers starter Zack Greinke told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles on Saturday that he “can’t think of one reason to be excited” for his club’s season-opening showcase against the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 22-23 at the Sydney Cricket Grounds in eastern Australia. Those comments have not gone unnoticed down under.
A few excerpts from the Sydney Morning Herald:
Organisers in Sydney are far from thrilled with Greinke’s outburst but are holding off on making comment until they’ve spoken to relevant parties in America.
The opening series at the SCG has been planned in close consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association and the Dodgers and Diamondbacks clubs, and Australian baseball representatives have now asked for a please explain.

Arizona pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Patrick Corbin have spoken of their desire to be a part of history in Sydney, but it seems big brothers the Dodgers may feel the venture is beneath them.

The Dodgers are also reportedly considering leaving their No.1 pitching ace Clayton Kershaw back in the United States, with their March 22-23 opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney looking more like a chore for the powerhouse side than a historic chance to spread the baseball gospel.
Greinke is celebrated for being open and honest, but he was probably too open and honest in this case. A trip to Australia is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for most U.S. citizens and spreading baseball passion is a worthy pursuit. Nobody wants to hear a $147 million pitcher whine about being slightly inconvenienced.
Greinke is tentatively scheduled to start the second game of the two-game Australian series


Veteran left-hander Barry Zito is taking a break; he isn’t retiring

Jon Heyman
Baseball Insider
February 17, 2014 07:25 PM

Philip Humber

Wild swings of fortune aren’t unusual in sports, and Philip Humber is Exhibit A of extremes, experiencing the highest of highs and lowest of lows in baseball.

— Less than two years ago, Humber threw the 21st perfect game in major-league history, punctuated with a chaotic on-field pileup of teammates.

— Last year with the last-place Astros, Humber had the worst ERA in baseball among pitchers with at least 50 innings of work, a 7.90 mark.

“It’s been interesting,” said Humber, who signed with Oakland as a minor-league free agent and is in camp as a nonroster invitee. “If you’d have drawn it up like this after I’d been drafted, it’s not what I would have dreamed up. But I wouldn’t change it. There isn’t a season where I feel like if I’d gone after it a little bit harder, things would have been different.”

The right-hander believes his issues, particularly last season, were twofold: a lack of confidence and trouble with left-handed hitters, who hit .433 against him. The A’s believe both can be rectified; minor-league pitching instructor Bob Welch, who was awfully hard on himself as a big-leaguer, has spoken to Humber about taming the mental side, and pitching coach Curt Young has talked to Humber about improving his location against lefty hitters.

Humber admits he has put too much pressure on himself at times. “I get in my own way,” he said. So it’s interesting that his biggest moment came in one of the most pressure-laden situations imaginable, his perfect game April 21, 2012, in Seattle.

“It was kind of a microcosm of my career, because I was doing whatever I wanted with the baseball until I started thinking too much,” he said. “The first batter of the ninth, I started off 3-0, and I don’t think I’d had a three-ball count the whole game. You can see the tension building in me. So I decided to stop trying to grab it, because when you try too hard, that’s when things go wrong.”

He came back and threw two strikes to Michael Saunders, one called and one swinging, and then struck him out with a slider. He got ahead of the next batter, John Jaso, 0-2, and Jaso flied out “on a pitch he probably should have hit a long ways,” Humber said with a grin.

“I was pinch hitting, and oh, man, his slider was working so well that day,” said Jaso, now Oakland’s catcher. “But he’s right: I should have hit that.”

Finally, Humber struck out Brendan Ryan on a pitch in the dirt, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski threw to first to complete the play. “It felt like it took forever to happen,” Humber said.

He sank to his knees and was engulfed by teammates. “Suddenly, there were 20 grown men jumping on top of me. You don’t get to dog-pile much during the regular season,” Humber said. “It was just disbelief. It was the coolest thing ever to share with my teammates, and I knew for the rest of my career, whatever happens, they can’t take that away from me.”

The success evaporated quickly, though. He gave up nine runs his next start, and two starts after that, eight more. Consistency was tough to find until moving to the bullpen last summer. After a stint in the minors, Humber put up a 4.74 ERA and .250 opponents average in relief the final two months.

So he’s in Oakland’s camp as a reliever – no more 27-out games for Humber. He thinks he is in a good spot, despite the A’s packed bullpen; he likes Oakland’s track record of rewarding strong minor-league performances with big-league jobs.