Big Baseball Night; Valencia Promoted!

2 Jun

Also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

It has been a busy night of news in the baseball world and I wanted to blog my immediate responses to some of the stories. Admittedly, part of the reason is to get a new blog post out there in case I am unable to handle my third straight 9:00 p.m. start time for the Twins. The Twins will send Kevin Slowey to the mound to face Cliff Lee in what should be a very good matchup. But here are some stories from the night:

CONDOLENSCES TO CUDDYER

…and to his wife Claudia. Apparently Cuddyer’s father-in-law passed away and after tonight’s game, Cuddyer will leave the team and be put on the Bereavement List. According to Joe Christensen, Cuddyer is expected to be back on Wednesday. First and foremost, best wishes to Michael and his wife, Claudia, who just lost her father. There are so many stories that remind us to put baseball into perspective, and this is one of them. So best wishes to the family, and return when you and your wife are ready.

On the baseball side of this unfortunate situation, someone will be promoted to the Twins following the game to take Cuddyer’s roster spot while he is away. With Cuddyer unavailable, the only other outfielders on the 40 man roster are Delmon Young, Denard Span and Jason Kubel. There is not another outfielder on the 40 man roster. Therefore, it is my belief that they should add an outfielder to the 40 man roster and to the 25 man roster, even if for just four days. Who? Ben Revere? No way. This will be a spot where the player will play one, maybe two games, so I’d just leave Ben Revere in AA New Britain. Jacque Jones? It would be a great story to see him come back. However, the time when this player would play would be against a left-handed pitcher so that Jim Thome and Jason Kubel would not both have to be in the lineup. A right-handed bat would be ideal. Dustin Martin? Maybe if it was three weeks ago, but he has slumped. And, he’s left handed too. The easy choice in my mind is Jason Repko. He is playing very well in Rochester. He can play all three outfield positions. He bats right-handed. He could give Denard Span a day off. 

So how do the Twins make room for him on the 40 man roster? Again, very easy. I would put Clay Condrey on the 60 Day Disabled List, retroactive to late March. Condrey isn’t going to be coming back in the next week, and the 60 days are already past, so if Condrey did get called back up, it wouldn’t be an issue. Repko has enough skills that they could keep him on the 40 man roster even after he would be sent down, or he could clear waivers and be sent back to Rochester. I am pretty certain he is better than Matt Tolbert!

UPDATEDANNY VALENCIA PROMOTED TO THE TWINS. Seth is thrilled!!! Absolutely thrilled. I’m not sure I understand it, with the Twins need for an outfielder. What it tells me is that Orlando Hudson must be out longer than we’ve been told (shocking, right?). This makes sense if Valencia is now the Twins starting 3B with Nick Punto moving over to 2B for the time being, or to the utility spot for good! In my book, the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook, I wrote an article called On the Cusp: Danny Valencia… now, the article could be Danny Valencia: Big Leaguer!!

GOOD BYE TO GRIFFEY

We all knew this was coming. He wasn’t hitting at all, and the time had clearly come. Today, Ken Griffey, Jr. retired from Major League Baseball. He is a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Famer. He has 630 home runs, fifth all time. He was never mentioned in any steroid talk (which, of course, means nothing). He was incredible defensively early in his career. He had a strong arm. He was so fast. He had one of the most pure swings that I have ever seen.

As you can tell, “KGJ” was a personal favorite of mine. I remember figuring out the pattern of the 1989 Bowman baseball cards, you know, those larger sized cardboard cards. I figured out who the three or four players who were always before Griffey. I remember the Donruss Rated Rookie. I remember getting TWO 1989 Upper Deck Griffey card, Card #1 in their inaugural set.  Obviously Kirby Puckett was my all-time favorite player. Chuck Knoblauch was certainly up there too. But of non-Twins players, there is no doubt the Griffey was my favorite (with Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin close behind).

Called up to the Mariners in 1989 at the youthful age of 19. His father often played left field for the Mariners that year while Junior was in Center. He made some of the most amazing catches. And that smile. At that time, he truly loved playing the game, and you could tell. The smile was a constant. It was infectious. I remember when he would take batting practice with his hat backwards and the older generation of fan thought it was such a travesty. I thought it was cool. Some thought it was disrespectful. Come on, Ken Griffey Jr respected the game. How could he not?

By all accounts, Griffey was not only a first-ballot Hall of Fame player, He was also a Hall of Fame caliber person and parent. That matters too.  In my mind, there is absolutely no reason to not vote for Griffey the first year he becomes Hall of Fame eligible. Griffey and Greg Maddux are two guys from my generation that should receive (but won’t) 100% of the vote.

It’s always unfortunate when a player of that magnitude goes out a year or two too late. Regardless, his 2010 struggles should not detract in any way from his amazing career.

28 OUT PERFECT GAME AND ONE IMPERFECT CALL

I guess we have found a way for Twins fans and Tigers fans to unite. Starting pitcher Armando Galarraga had a perfect game going into the 9th inning against Cleveland this evening. Austin Jackson made an absolutely incredible catch in deep centerfield for the 1st out of the inning. Mike Redmond grounded out to the shortstop for the 2nd out. That brought Jason Donald to the plate. The infielder hit a roller between first and second base. Miguel Cabrera ranged far to his right to field the ball. Galarraga covered first. Jason Donald was out by about three-fourths of a step. Only… 1B umpire Jim Joyce called Donald safe. Clearly a missed call. Galarraga played it cool and got the next batter for the final out.

After the game, Joyce watched the replay and saw that he was wrong. He went to Galarraga and admitted his mistake. He apologized. Very classy.

Jim Joyce’s name will be mentioned negatively for weeks. Fans in Detroit may never forgive it. I may be strange, but I am already feeling very bad for him. Think about this. Jim Joyce doesn’t want this. He wants to make the right calls. He doesn’t want his name dragged in the mud. He called what he saw. He was wrong, and he has since admitted it. But his job is to call what he sees.

No, his job is to make the right call. That’s right. But you know what? The pitcher’s job is to not give up hits or runs. The hitter’s job is to get on base or drive in runs. The fielders’ job is to make all of the plays defensively. I guarantee that umpires’ percentage of doing their job right is much, much higher than that of the players and the managers.

That said, Galarraga’s game will be forgotten with all of the one-hitters in baseball history rather than being one of 21 or 22 pitchers in Major League history to throw a perfect game. I was really impressed by Galarraga in the 9th inning. He seemed to be enjoying the moment. Consider he began this season in the Tigers AAA rotation behind guys like Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis. He showed great class after the game as well. Call me impressed!

MINOR LEAGUE SCOREBOARD

Here is a quick glance at what happened on Wednesday in the Twins minor league system:

SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jonathan Goncalves – Ft. Myers Miracle

SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dan Osterbrock – Ft. Myers Miracle

Red Wings Report   

Wednesday – Rochester 5, Norfolk 4 Anthony Slama came in with a two run lead in the 9th. He gave up a run, but held on for his 11th save. Matt Fox started and gave up two unearned runs in just 1.2 innings. He was hit in the foot by a comebacker and left the game. Tim Lahey came in and threw 3.1 scoreless innings. In fact, he didn’t allow a hit, walked two and struck out three to improve to 5-1. Kyle Waldrop threw two scoreless innings. Rob Delaney gave up a run in 0.2 innings before Jose Lugo got the final out of that inning before Slama closed the door in the ninth. Trevor Plouffe went 1-3 with a walk and his fifth home run. Brock Peterson added his seventh homer of the year.

New Britain Notes

Wednesday – New Britain 5, Altoona 10Carlos Gutierrez had a rough one on this day. He gave up seven runs on ten hits (two home runs) in five innings. Chris Province gave up two runs over the next three innings on four hits. Joe Testa gave up a run in his inning. Ben Revere went 2-5 in the game. Erik Lis had a two run double.

Miracle Matters

Wednesday – Ft. Myers 4, Dunedin 3 – Dan Osterbrock needed a good start, and he provided the Miracle with one. The lefty gave up one run on two hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out three. Pat Neshek came in for his first rehab appearance and struck out two in a perfect 7th inning. Jose Gonzalez came in and gave up two unearned runs in the two innings but it was enough for the save. Jonathan Goncalves had two fielding errors in left field, but he went 2-3 with a walk. Evan Bigley and Brian Dozier were each 2-4 in the game. Chris Parmelee was 1-2 with two walks .

Snappers Snippets

Wednesday – Beloit 1, Lake County 6Michael Tonkin probably deserved much better. The young right-hander gave up five unearned runs in 5.2 innings. He allowed just two hits and one walk, but he fell to 0-3. Peter Kennelly got out of the sixth inning although he allowed a run as well. Dakota Watts walked two and struck out one in his inning. Kane Holbrooks struck out two in a perfect inning. Aaron Hicks provided the offense for the team’s lone run. Hicks hit his fifth home run of the year. He was 2-4. Danny Rams had two doubles in four at bats. James Beresford was also 2-4.

If you have any thoughts, please feel free to comment here.

4 Responses to “Big Baseball Night; Valencia Promoted!”

  1. mini_tb June 3, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    Joyce’s call was horrendous. I, too, feel badly for him. Obviously he can’t make the right call all of the time, but man oh man what poor timing!!

    I heard something after Halladay’s perfect game that it was the first time since 1880 that there have been 2 perfect games in 1 season, and we should now have 3 of them!

  2. Beau June 3, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    Do you really feel that this one-hitter will be forgotten? Harvey Haddix’s game wasn’t forgotten. In fact, it’s more popular than most perfect games.

  3. Steve June 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    I felt the way many fans probably felt at first- near-rage at Jim Joyce and pain for Galarraga.

    Right now, I feel incredible sympathy for Jim Joyce and incredible admiration for Galarraga. I feel like both of them could not be handling the matter in a more classy way.

    Compare that to perfect-game pitcher Dallas Braden, who acted like a complete thug when A-Rod dared to cross “his mound”. If I recall correctly, Braden’s grandma was still poo-pooing A-Rod after Braden’s perfect game! I can’t say A-Rod handled it with total class, and at the same time I take A-Rod’s side in that argument. Fine if A-Rod broke an “unwritten rule”, but, yeesh, get over it a bit.

    Anyway! Not to focus on a negative aspect. Joyce and Galarraga are handling the matter with complete class. Joyce’s wife and kids have apparently received taunts and threats as a result of the matter, now that is just classless. I will try to remember that the next time I feel disgust for an umpire.

    What I also want to know is- why THREE perfect games in the span of a month!?? I am pretty sure baseball once had a stretch of something like 30 years with NO perfect games until Don Larsen’s in the World Series. Heck, weren’t there only like two, maybe three, between the years 2000 and 2008? Now suddenly (should be) FOUR in 2009 and the first two months of 2010? Three in less than a month’s span?? Statistical aberration or something going on with baseball? Probably a bit of both, but I would love to hear someone try to explain it. Certainly yet more proof that the age of the juiced slugger is (at least temporarily) the past.

  4. Steve June 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    …I would just like to add, regarding Braden, that I am no A-Rod fan. It takes pretty juvenile behavior for me to take A-Rod’s side in a dispute.

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