THE NEWBERG REPORT — May 16, 2008
Some quick hits today.
Hank Blalock was scratched last night from the kickoff of
his rehab assignment with Frisco when his hamstring — partially torn just
three weeks ago — tightened up during pregame warm-ups. Good.
There’s no sense in rushing things, regardless of what you think the
big-picture plan should be with the veteran third baseman.
Righthander Luis Mendoza had to cut his own Frisco rehab
outing short on Wednesday due to a blister on his pitching hand.
David Murphy leads the American League with 15 doubles.
Baseball Prospectus’s reputable VORP formula ranks Josh
Hamilton as the top center fielder in the American League. Torii Hunter is a distant third.
righthander Tommy Hunter is second in all of minor league baseball in innings
pitched, with 58.1 over nine starts.
He’s 5-4, 3.55 with 50 strikeouts and eight walks — and five straight
quality starts. He won’t be in the
California League when this season ends.
But he may not get the chance to play alongside Chris Davis
this season (though they might share a uniform in Arlington at some point in 2009). In the Frisco slugger’s first 27 games this
year, he hit an impressive .306/.345/.595 with seven walks and 30
strikeouts. In the 10 games since then
he’s hit an otherworldly .436/.489/.641 — with five walks and only seven
doesn’t have an extra-base hit in 21 trips against left-handers this season. With the first base situation what it is in Texas, and with the news that Max Ramirez is taking ground
balls at first in pregame warmups for the RoughRiders, is it out of the question
that the two of them are platooning at first for Texas in September? Ramirez (who doesn’t discriminate on the
basis of pitcher-handedness) gets additional at-bats at designated hitter and
backup catcher. Conceivable?
Frisco outfielder Ben Harrison, having a terrific
bounceback season after his 2007 was hampered by a shoulder injury, is not only
hitting .354/.444/.659 but also has seven home runs and 28 RBI in 82
at-bats. Last year, between Bakersfield and Frisco, Harrison
totaled seven homers and 30 RBI in 246 at-bats.
Your votes on the Newberg Report message board resulted
in Ramirez and Oklahoma outfielder Nelson Cruz
sharing minor league player of the month honors for April, and Clinton righthander Kennil Gomez earning pitcher
of the month recognition. Eleanor Czajka
has posted the overall voting results at http://www.dickiethon.com/eczajka/april_2008.htm.
It was reported this week that Fresno State
righthander Tanner Scheppers has a stress fracture in his shoulder and will be
sidelined for six weeks. While Scheppers
wasn’t likely to be available when the Rangers pick at the 11th slot, this
probably means someone else who would have been there for Texas no longer will be.
One player whose availability to the Rangers could be
directly impacted by the Scheppers injury is Tulane righthander Shooter Hunt,
who figures to go in the vicinity of the Rangers’ pick. Texas
drafted Hunt in the 34th round in 2005 but couldn’t dissuade the New Jersey high schooler from attending the University of Virginia (where he pitched in 2006
before transferring to Tulane).
Dish Network dropped Rave HD from its channel lineup. I may not only be the only person upset by
this — I may be the only person who noticed.
The Mets purchased the contract of 33-year-old infielder
Fernando Tatis from AAA New Orleans, where he was hitting .242/.345/.592 with
12 homers in 120 at-bats.
signed outfielder Victor Diaz to a minor league deal.
The Quebec Capitales of the independent Can-Am League
signed lefthander Eric Cyr.
The red-hot Astros show up tonight to take on the red-hot
Rangers. Good stuff.