Archive for the ‘ Mike Lowell ’ Category

MLB’ Midseason Report: 2009 Latino Awards


The All-Star Game is almost here and the 2009 season have reached its historically midway point of its schedule, making the perfect moment for this year Midseason Awards.

Disregard the predictions written back in April. Both The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated had the Yankees, Twins, Angels and Red Sox making October . Both publications went Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers and Mets in the National League.

Honestly, not bad at all. Except in both Central Division, the Tigers and the Cardinals at the moment are changing the spring prognosis.  Also,  the Angels have to be careful with the surprising Rangers  in the American League West. Moreover,  in the National League wild-card race unless the Mets get a miracle as the famous New York expression “Forget About It!”. At the moment the Giants, Marlins and Brewers look best for the coveted prize in the old circuit.

I will not give any forecasts. After all, who said back in 2007 the Colorado Rockies would make it to the World Series. Nobody crystal ball predicted the Phillies and the Rays last season in the October Classic.

Let’s have fun. Here are my midseason award winners:
American League

Best Team: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees (tie)
Surprise Team: Texas Rangers
Disappointing Team: Cleveland Indians
Best Latino Player: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Best Latino Pitcher: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
Best Latino Rookie: Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers
Best Boricua: Mike Lowell, Boston Red Sox
Best Latino Surprise Player: Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers
Dissapointment Latino Player: Magglio Ordoñez, Detroit Tigers
Forget About Him!: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

National League
Best Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Surprise Team: San Francisco Giants
Disappointing Team: Chicago Cubs
Best Latino Player: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Best Latino Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers
Best Latino Rookie: Omir Santos, New York Mets
Best Boricua: Carlos Beltrán, New York Mets
Best Latino Surprise Player: Joel Piñeiro, St. Louis Cardinals
Dissapointment Latino Player: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs
Forget About Him!: Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers

My Midseason Latino All-Star Team:
C Victor Martinez (Indians); 1B Albert Pujols (Cardinals); 2B Robinson Cano (Yankees); 3B Mike Lowell (Boston); SS Hanley Ramirez
(Marlins); OF Carlos Beltran (Mets); Carlos Lee (Astros); Juan Rivera (Angels); P Felix Hernandez (Mariners); PR Mariano Rivera (Yankees).

This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook

Yadier Molina: The Lone Boricua in the Majors


This  upcoming 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Yadier Molina will be the lone boricua shining with the best of the best .

There is no doubt, the younger of the Molina brothers deserved the accolade from the fans to be the starting catcher in the National League lineup. Not because the fans wanted to award him with his first All-Star experience playing at home.  The 2009 All-Star Game will be played at Busch Stadium in his Cardinal nest in St. Louis on July 14. Neither a gift because he will be celebrating his 27th birthday the night before the big mid-summer classic game.

Yadier is validating he is the best defensive catcher in the National League. At midway point of this season he has thrown out 44 percent of would-be basestealers and picked off four baserunners as well. He’s second in the league in innings caught.  Numbers that are in pace to help him win his second career Gold Glove Award.

Do not misremember either his batting. The Bayamon native is hitting for a .284 average with 5 homers and 28 RBI’s.

Of course, we can not forget that Carlos Beltran was also selected to be a starter outfielder in the National League. However,  the Manati native at present is receiving a second treatment in his ailing right knee and would be re-evaluated during the All-Star break.

At this moment,  the New York Mets have informed if doctors cleared him, he could resume baseball-related activates, like hitting and running after the All-Star Game break.  For now, he is exercising on a bike and in a pool. Beltran publicly have acknowledged he does not have a timetable how long it would take to return to the Mets.

For the rest, after 85 games, I keep asking que pasa boricua ? Besides Molina and Beltran whom this season deserve to be an All-Star. Possibly in the National League older Yadier’s brother Bengie and in the American League Mike Lowell before getting re-injured again with hip problems. That’s it !

No longer are the hey-days of full of boricuas All-Star Games. See the accompanied chart below this decade. Make your own conclusions. I know we can do better again. Hopefully soon.

Puerto Ricans in All-Star Games (2001-2009)
2001 (Seattle): Roberto Alomar, Juan González, Edgar Martínez, Jorge Posada, Iván Rodríguez, Bernie Williams
2002 (Milwaukee): José Hernández, Mike Lowell, Jorge Posada, Benito Santiago, José Vidró
2003 (Chicago): Carlos Delgado, Javier López, Mike Lowell, Edgar Martínez, Jorge Posada, Jose Vidró
2004 (Houston): Carlos Beltrán, Mike Lowell, Iván Rodríguez, Javier Vázquez
2005 (Detroit): Carlos Beltrán, Felipe López, Iván Rodríguez
2006 (Pittsburgh): Carlos Beltrán, Alexis Rios, Iván Rodríguez
2007 (San Francisco): Carlos Beltrán, Mike Lowell, Jorge Posada, Alexis Rios, Iván Rodríguez
2008 (New York): Geovany Soto
2009 (St. Louis): Yadier Molina

This column was published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook

Mike Lowell: Time For A Break

For the first time this season Mike Lowell is accepting a break. Not because he is pulling one of those Alex Rodriguez ‘fatigue’ stories  as the ‘A-Rod’ did when the Yankees came to Miami. Lowell’  hip had grown stiff and sore lately and his Manager Terry Francona have offer him to take longer breaks.  Not good news for the Puerto Rican four-time All-Star.

Let’s remember this season is one he does not want to finish hurt. Lowell pointed us out back during spring training that he very well know he needs a healthy season and finish with good numbers.

He really wants to demostrate Boston’ management he can still play and would like to be a Red Sox longer than his signed contract through 2010.

“This season is very important to me. I love Boston and I want to stay here. If not I play in Mars along their is big league baseball. After all I’m a major leaguer,” Lowell said.

For the veteran Gold-Glove third baseman, up until few weeks ago it look his numbers were amazing hitting over .300 and taking him to the path for a run for American League Comeback Player of the Year. Some Boston media were even talking All-Star Game in St. Louis. However, the last two weeks his hitting has gone down faster than the Titanic. At this moment he’s hitting .281, 10 homers with 41 RBI’s.

According to Lowell, 35,  the pain is not constant but some days his hip would feel “locked up”.

For Red Sox Nation fans this is not good news either. Specially right now that they are in command of their East Division pennant. Nonetheless, they have not forgotten that it could be déjà vu all over again as last season.

Last year Lowell went down as they were fighting the surprising Tampa Bay Rays. For most of the 2008 campaign he was hurt to the point he was left off from the Red Sox roster for the American League Championship Series. And in October 20th he decided on to go to surgery for a torn labrum in his right hip with well catalogued Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York.

Remember the Rays won and were the one with the ticket to the World Series. And this year the Red Sox besides the Rays they also have the Yankees and the Blue Jays  in their back very close too.

At this moment the Red Sox are planning to put Lowell on a maintenance program starting next week up to the All-Star break where he’ll receive at least one day off a week and receive occasional lubricating injections to ease the friction in the cartilage in hip and they want to make sure he’s rested accordingly. After the All-Star Game they will check on Lowell’s progress.

The Red Sox acknowledge that they need a healthy Lowell to win it all again. In the other hand, Lowell wants to be healthy enough to go back to a post-season and who knows if he can repeat again his 2007 World Series MVP performance. And of course, stay as a Red Sox.

Last Minute Note: Lowell probably will not play this weekend against the Atlanta Braves according to various reports.

This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook

Boricuas As Cold As Ice in the Majors

beltran 2.jpg

Two months of the 2009 Major League Baseball season are in the books and the first phrase that comes to my mind is the much famous local enquiry que pasa boricua ?

Over 50 games have been played and it is very difficult to find much names of our local stars in the top of the hitting and pitching statistics charts. By now it is well known that golden years of such past as future hall of famers Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martínez and others such as Bernie Williams, Juan González, Rubén Sierra, Sandy Alomar Jr.,Javier López and many others are all gone however we ponder sometimes what’s happening with the current crop.

It is very feasible we are concern with the health of Carlos Delgado and when he will come back to play with the New York Mets or as many are following very closely Ivan Rodriguez probable last ride in the Majors with the Houston Astros.  It is very genuine they have a huge army of baseball fans watching them day to day but we much need as a pueblo a little more than nostalgia. We also want to see our ballplayers be hot.

If we were going to call this date this season Puerto Rico’s MVP in the Majors it should be Carlos Beltrán. The New York Met outfielder  is top among the best hitters in the National League and among the best in other three offensive categories. His over .340 average constant pace have kept him at the top among the first five batters in the old circuit with fellow latino Albert Pujols and Miguel Tejada in his tail.

If the Manati native continues his hitting stride there is a good chance it can be seen the first Puerto Rican to win a batting title in the Majors since 1998. That year Yankees’ Bernie Williams hit .339 to win the American League batting crown. Before him was Edgar Martinez with the Seattle Mariners who won the batting champion crowns in 1992 and 1995. The last boricua to win it in the National League was the late Roberto Clemente with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1967. His last of four batting titles.

In the National League other only fellow natives that truly are standing out at this moment of time are D’ Backs second baseman Felipe Lopez and brothers Bengie and Yadier Molina of the Giants and Cardinals respectively.

In the American League no boricua is among the top ten in any offensive category however the leader of the pack exceeding many of the expectations that were written for him this season is Mike Lowell. Many in Boston were not completely sure if he was going to be fully recover from his medical procedure from last season. Lowell missed post-season action and underwent arthroscopic surgery last October 20 to repair his right hip which was said  at the time to be a complete success.

At this moment, the Red Sox third baseman is hitting so well for average and power and playing again as a gold glover that he is a strong candidate for American League Comeback Player of the Year. Other islander that is starting to wake up offensively lately is Blue Jays’ Alexis Rios.

Among hurlers, best news so far among leaders in the National League are Javier Vazquez (Atlanta Braves), Kiko Calero (Florida Marlins) and Pedro Feliciano (New York Mets). Let’s keep a watch on Joel Piñeiro that if he continues his course could be a strong candidate for National League Comeback Player of the Year.

This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Commentary

Aplausos A Nuestros Latinos en las Grandes Ligas


Un cuarto de la temporada de las Grandes Ligas está en los libros de historia y que mejor momento para  las primeras evaluaciones de esta joven temporada 

Por equipo si estuviesemos en el mes de Octubre grandes sorpresas estarian ocurriendo en la Liga Americana. Al momento que escribimos estas lineas, si fuese epoca de post-temporada los tres lideres en cada uno de los banderines de cada división practicamente nadie los predijo a estar en el tope del mundo. Ellos son los Azulejos de Toronto, los Tigres de Detroit y los Rangers de Texas. Los tres conjuntos han comenzado con un gran arranque y ver si se mantienen en ruta a mayores conquistas.

En la lucha del wild card, en el circuito joven estan en la cima los Medias Rojas de Boston. Estos nos deben ser sorpresa de nadie ya que tienen el equipo para ganarlo todo este año. Detras estan bien de cerca los Yankees de Nueva York, los Rays de Tampa Bay y los sorprendentes Reales de Kansas City.

En la Americana dos conjuntos que se esperaban estuviesen haciendo mucho mejor en la tabla de posiciones son los Medias Blancas de Chicago y los Indios de Cleveland. Si siguen como van no seria sorpresa que tuviesen cambios de dirigente en un futuro muy cercano.

En la Liga Nacional a estos momentos si fuese finales de campaña los equipos de post-temporada serian por banderileros los campeones defensores Phillies de Philadelphia, los Cerveceros de Milwaukee y los Dodgers de Los Angeles. No hay sorpresa aqui porque todos se esperaban estuviesen en contienda. Por el wild card la batalla al momento es campal entre los Cachorros de Chicago y los Mets de Nueva York. Ambos se esperaban tambien a ser dignos contendorers este año. Sorpresivos andan los Cardenales de San Luis y los Gigantes de San Francisco.

Un equipo que se esperaba mucho más pero anda resbalando ultimamente son los Marlins de Florida. De la tropa de Fredi González  al momento el bateo se les ha caido y su rotación de abridores que hasta es considerada por muchos como la mejor de la liga ha sufrido grandes bajas por lesiones.

De nuestros jugadores  latinos al momento en la Liga Americana los venezolanos Victor Martínez y Miguel Cabrera están dando muy bien que hablar por sus excelentes números ofensivos. Igual el dominicano Carlos Peña por sus numeros de poder.

Otros tres que merecen reconocimiento por su buena arrancada de temporada son los intermedistas Asdrubal Cabrera, Alberto Callapso y Robinson Canó. Tambien merecen buen ojo Bobby Abreu y Mike Lowell quienes al momento van como buenos candidatos a Regreso del Año en su circuito.

En la Nacional el homber grande a otro reconocimiento de Jugador Más Valioso va con buen paso una vez más Albert Pujols por sus numeros ofensivos. Cercano  en el camino de Pujols tambien van Carlos Beltrán y Carlos Lee.

Por sus numeros ofensivos hay que destacar al momento tambien a los torpederos Cristian Guzman, Hanley Ramirez y Miguel Tejada. Otros de gran valor para sus franquicias por sus buen arranque lo son Jorge Cantú, Adrian González, Bengie Molina y Alfonso Soriano.

Pronto el mes de Mayo esta a la vuelta de la esquina tambien a desaparecer del calendario. Veremos quienes se mantendran en la cumbre y quienes no. Y ver que mas sorpresas nos trae el beisbol. Y que no sean las tipo Manny Ramírez y Alex Rodríguez. Esos no merecen nuestros aplausos.

Los Mejores Latinos Ultimos 20 Años en las Grandes Ligas

Por mucho tiempo se ha discutido quien es el mejor pelotero de todos los tiempos. Unos dicen Babe Ruth, otros Ted Williams o Joe DiMaggio.  La lista es larga y así mismo es la discusión sobre los mejores peloteros latinoamericanos de todos los tiempos.

De nombres como entre otros Roberto Clemente, Tany Pérez, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew y Orlando Cepeda no se pueden dudar mucho de su grandeza ya que todos ellos están inmortalizados en el salón de los más grandes en Cooperstown.

Atras en el mes de marzo cuando estuve en el Clásico Mundial de Beisbol un día en una tertulia en Fort Myers junto a Bernie Williams y Mike Lowell vacilabamos un poco del tiempo que llevabamos en el deporte del guante y el bate y como a ellos les llaman veteranos y amigablemente “viejos” en los diamantes. Precisamente bien recuerdo cuando en 1986 tuve la oportunidad de hacerle una de las primeras entrevista como profesional a Williams y no fue hasta 1991 que hizo su debut con los Bombarderos del Bronx.

En tal tertulia ambos peloteros de origen boricua y que vistieron la franela de los Yankees de Nueva York en sus carreras coincidieron que en el caso de los periodistas deportivos parecia que los calendarios no nos pasaban por encima.

Entre año y año son sobre 20 que me han pasado por encima y desde aquel ratito se me quedó quienes eran los mejores latinos que he visto en mi carrera como cronista deportivo en el béisbol de las Grandes Ligas.

En mi carrera he visto a muchos pero la tarea de resumir en un listado los mejores latinos en los ultimos 20 años no es nada de facil pero me arrriesgo a compartir mi listado con ustedes. En la lista veran algunos ya retirados y otros más jovenes que van con buen paso. Y ellos son:

Receptores-Santos Alomar Jr., Javier López, Jorge Posada, Iván Rodríguez, Benito Santiago

Primera Base-Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Delgado, Andrés Galarraga, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols

Segunda Base-Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Julio Franco

Tercera Base-Vinny Castilla, Mike Lowell, Alex Rodriguez

Campo Corto- Hanley Ramírez, José Reyes, Miguel Tejada, Omar Vizquel

Jardineros-Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltrán, José Canseco, Juan González, Vladimir Guerrero, Magglio Ordoñez, Sammy Sosa, Bernie Williams

Lanzadores-Pedro Martínez, Johan Santana

Relevistas-Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodríguez

Bateador Designado-Edgar Martínez, David Ortiz

Quienes serán los proximos en los venideros años….el tiempo dirá….veremos….

A Votar Por Los Latinos para el Juego de Estrellas 2009!

Ya comenzaron las votaciones para elegir los abridores al Juego de las Estrellas que este año se celebrará el 14 de Julio en el Busch Stadium en la ciudad de San Luis.

Como en años anteriores esperamos grandemente que el partido de las luminarias este repleto de jugadores latinoamericanos. El año pasado en el ya ido Yankee Stadium 11 latinos estuvieron presentes en el gran Clásico de Verano.

A estas fechas un sin numero de jugadores latinos merecen su voto y son muchos.

El primero de la Liga Nacional que merece su apoyo lo es Albert Pujols. El inicialista dominicano ha comenzado una vez más con números ofensivos impresionantes y por tal fue nombrado el Jugador del Mes de Abril en su circuito. Pujols al paso que ha comenzado esta campaña va con son para otro Más Valioso en su resumé. Y bien merece Pujols estar en su propia casa de los cardenales para esta edición de las estrellas. Por cierto Pujols ya se comprometió a ser uno de los participantes este año en el Derby de Jonrones.

Por sus actuales numeros ofensivos otros que merecen su voto lo son los tambien inicialistas Jorge Cantu y Adrian González; el segunda base Felipe Lopez; el tercera base Aramis Ramirez y los jardineros Carlos Beltrán y Alfonso Soriano.

A este grupo debió haber pertenecido el toletero Manny Ramírez pero su erronea decisión de utilizar una sustancia controlada y por tal dar positivo en una prueba de dopaje lo ponen al Dodger de Los Angeles en la lista de los que no merecen el apoyo de su fanaticada.

Parece ser que hay peloteros no han aprendido la lección despues del caso de Alex Rodríguez.

En la Liga Americana el limpia bases Carlos Peña de los Rays de Tampa Bay esta caliente con su madero en especial en jonrones y remolcadas y merece su apoyo. Otro que bien merece su consideración para la misma posición lo es Miguel Cabrera quien tiene el potencial para lograr la triple corona ofensiva.

Los otros que merecen su voto por su buen comenzar esta temporada lo son el receptor Victor Martínez; el.antesalista Mike Lowell; los intermedistas Alberto Callaspo y Robinson Cano y el bosque Bobby Abreu.

Al momento, Abreu y Lowell son buenos candidatos a Jugador Regreso del Año.

Este año los jugadores abridores serán anunciados el 5 de Julio. Tal día los dirigentes Charlie Manuel y Joe Maddon nombrarán también los jugadores reservas y lanzadores a sus respectivos conjuntos.

Al momento, los serpentineros que merecen estár entre las estrellas lo son Johan Santana y Francisco Rodriguez en la Liga Nacional.

En el circuito americano al presente buenos merecedores de selección lo son Felix Hernandez, Armando Galarraga y Frank Francisco.

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