Said Johnny Damon, minutes after C.J. Wilson shattered his bat with a 96-mph fastball on the hands to end last night’s game: “The sense of urgency is now. We’re facing some pretty good teams. The Rangers, we know they can swing the bat and now we’re finding out we can’t hit their pitchers.”
A thought on Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has had his ups and downs defensively on this trip. The media is focusing on his throwing, and that shouldn’t be discounted, but doesn’t it need to be pointed out that he just caught a 2-1 win and a 3-2 win in Yankee Stadium?
Said 16-year-old Dominican righthander Michel Inoa, who will reportedly sign with Oakland today for a bonus of $4.25 million: “After careful thought, my parents and I decided that Oakland has a better pitcher development program, and that will be more important for my career in the long haul.” Make what you want out of that comment, as well as the apparent facts that A’s general manager Billy Beane (several times) and owner Lewis Wolff traveled to the Dominican to see Inoa – fishy – but it’s worth noting that, according to ESPN, the Rangers offered Inoa $5.2 million and the Reds offered him $5 million. The Yankees ducked out with an offer under $3 million.
Prior to this, the largest signing bonus ever paid to a Latin American free agent not from Cuba was $2.44 million, paid by the Yankees in 1999 to outfielder Wily Mo Pena (who is represented by Adam Katz, the agent for Inoa).
Baseball America reported three days ago that the Rangers and Reds “were told in recent weeks that the deal was done” – despite the fact that signing period for international free agents doesn’t open until today.
Sports Illustrated’s mid-season awards: Josh Hamilton is the runner-up for AL MVP (Ian Kinsler is sixth, Milton Bradley seventh). Edinson Volquez is the runner-up for NL Cy Young. Justin Duchscherer is the runner-up for AL Cy Young.
David Murphy isn’t in the top three for AL Rookie of the Year.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, Vicente Padilla (another Katz client) is drawing interest from the Yankees, Mets, and Brewers, but Texas will not move the righthander unless it’s for quality young pitching.
Interesting: Apparently Clinton righthander Neftali Feliz was originally tabbed to appear in the Futures Game, but was pulled by MLB because the league felt that Texas already had too many players in the game and there’s an effort to make sure each franchise is represented. Chris Davis, Max Ramirez, Elvis Andrus, and Taylor Teagarden were selected, giving Texas the most players in the game (along with the A’s and Phillies).
I suspect that if Ramirez is pulled from the World roster by virtue of remaining on the big league roster as of the July 13 event, the league will find a catcher to replace him, which doesn’t help Feliz’s cause, but maybe another organization’s pitcher will be dropped due to big league status or injury, and Feliz can rightfully take his place in New York on the 13th.
Speaking of rightfully take his place in New York, today is the final day to vote (up to 25 times each) for the All-Star Game starters. I would encourage you to head to http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2008/ballot_reg.html right away and vote with the same measured abandon that your second baseman is playing with.
Looking forward to Ian Kinsler stepping in against Sidney Ponson to kick off tonight’s game, as Texas goes for the sweep.
Kinsler belongs back on the field in Yankee Stadium in two weeks.
In the first inning.