Results tagged ‘ american league ’

Albert Pujols y Carlos Peña: A Homerunazo Limpio

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Tiempo atrás buscaba entre mis archivos y encontre un escrito que realize en el 2003 cuando Alex Rodríguez conectó por seis campañas consecutivas sobre 40 cuadrangulares en los uniformes de los Marineros de Seattle y Rangers de Texas.

Estaba en la busqueda de ese articulo leyendo que gran diferencia ha sido desde que el conocido como “A-Rod” arribó a las huestes de los Bombarderos del Bronx.

Es verdad que Rodríguez fue electo en el uniforme Yankee en el 2005 y 2007 a Jugador Más Valioso de la Liga Americana pero es muy cierto a su vez que los Mulos no han llegado a una Serie Mundial desde el 2003 cuando cayeron frente a los Marlins de Florida. vale recordar que sín Rodríguez en aquel entonces.

Su figura luce olvidada entre los grandes latinos en este cierre de decada. Solo un Clásico de Octubre lo pudiese poner nuevamente en la palestra de muchos una vez más.

Este año el más hablado, el más comentado y de quien más probablemente se ha escrito es sobre Albert Pujols.

La temporada no ha terminado y el dominicano inicialista de los Cardenales de San Luis es el favorito a ganar una vez más en su carrera el galardón de Jugador Más Valioso de su Liga Nacional.

Entre muchas de sus hazañas esta campaña es que va  en ritmo de obtener su primer título en cuadrangulares en su carrera. De logarlo se uniria a Sammy Sosa y Adrian Beltré en ser los únicos dominicanos en ganar un reinato de vuelacercas en la historia de la Liga Nacional.

Por cierto, puede que pocos se hayan dado cuenta pero sí Pujols gana el reinato de jonrones continuaria una racha de diez temporadas consecutivas que un latinoamericano obtiene ese titulo ofensivo en las Mayores.

Al paso que va Pujols no solo ganará el título sino también lo hará en grande. Muy probablemente terminará la campaña con sobre 40 bambinazos convirtiendolo en uno de pocos latinos con sobre cinco temporadas con sobre 40 jonrones conectados en su carrera.

Pujols conectó sobre 40 para la calle con su madero entre las temporadas del 2003 al 2006 consecutivamente.

Vale ser interesante también si Pujols pudiese tambien quedarse con la corona de la categoria de carreras impulsadas. El último latino en obtener ambos reinatos en una temporada lo fue precisamente en el 2007 Alex Rodríguez en la Liga Americana. El último latino en obtener el reinato de ambos departamentos en una campaña en la Liga Nacional lo fue en 1996 el venezolano Andrés Galarraga en la franela de los Rockies de Colorado.

También será super interesante sí el actual lider, a estas fechas de este escrito, el dominicano Carlos Peña de los Rays de Tampa Bay se queda también con la corona de jonrones en su Liga Américana.

La última ocasión que el liderato de cuadrangulares de ambos circuitos se quedó en maderos latinoamericanos fue en el 2004 gracias a los quisqueyanos Manny Ramírez en la camisa de Boston y Adrian Beltré en el uniforme de los Dodgers de Los Angeles.

El tiempo dirá…Veremos…

EXTRA DEL AUTOR:
Latinoamericanos con 40 ó más cuadrangulares en una temporada en las Grandes Ligas.
LIGA AMERICANA
Tony Armas
Tony Batista
George Bell
José Canseco
Carlos Delgado
Juan González
Ben Oglivie
David Ortiz
Rafael Palmeiro
Carlos Peña
Manny Ramírez
Alex Rodríguez

LIGA NACIONAL
Carlos Beltrán
Adrian Beltré
Vinny Castilla
Orlando Cepeda
Andrés Galarraga
Vladimir Guerrero
Richard Hidalgo
Javy López
Tany Pérez
Albert Pujols
Alfonso Soriano
Sammy Sosa

 

MLB’ Best Latino Players Last 20 Seasons

Ivan Rodriguez.jpgESPN is celebrating 20 years of covering Major League Baseball and the network asked fans to vote for their all-time team of the last 20 seasons.

At this moment, fans are being asked to pick the winners for each position.

Not surprisingly, winning names in this national poll have been Edgar Martinez as the top DH, Albert Pujols top first baseman, Ivan Rodriguez as top catcher, and Mariano Rivera as the top closer in the last 20 years.

All players from Latin America.

For the last 23 years I have been covering the Major League Baseball beat of the Puerto Rican and Latin American players, and over that time I have seen a bunch of great players.

I’ve also seen how appealing they are to their fans. I have seen how hall-of-famers Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Tany Perez, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, and Juan Marichal are perceived as never-gone heroes in the respective towns they played in in their hey-days.

Nowadays players like Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Manny Ramirez, Johan Santana and many others are closely watched and being regarded as the No. 1 players of their respective franchises.

Quite different to ESPN’ SportsNation Poll, I will share whom I believe are the best Latino players the last 20 years. Most possibly readers will have have a different opinion, but this is my own Latino All-Star team.

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

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

Second Base-Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Julio Franco

Third Base-Vinny Castilla, Mike Lowell, Alex Rodríguez

Shortstop-Hanley Ramirez, José Reyes, Miguel Tejada, Omar Vizquel

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

Pitchers-Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana

Closers-Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriguez

Designated Hitter-Edgar Martinez, David Ortiz

Hanley Ramirez y Pujols En Busqueda de La Historia

 
haab.jpgA solo mes y medio de lo que resta de temporada los dominicanos Hanley Ramírez y Albert Pujols estan cada día más cercanos a inscribir otra pagina en la historia latinoaméricana en las Grandes Ligas.

En estos momentos el torpedero de los Marlins de Florida continua comandando el liderato de bateo de la Liga Nacional. A menos que caiga en uno de esos llamados slump no veo como el joven Ramírez pueda perder tan preciada corona.

Por otro lado el inicialista de los Cardenales de San Luis continua de lider en las columnas de jonrones y carreras impulsadas en el más antiguo de ambos circuitos.

Para ambos a nivel individual seria un acierto historico en sus carreras.Para el joven Ramírez seria su primera corona en su carrera como tambien para Pujols seria su primer reinato en los departamentos de cuadrangulares y carreras remolcadas en las mayores.

Ahora bien, porqué un hecho historico. Seria la primera vez desde 1961 en la Liga Nacional que tres latinos se quedan como reyes de estos tres principales departamentos de bateo en una misma temporada. Y por primera vez que dos latinos realizaban tal hazaña en las Grandes Ligas.

En esa campaña de 1961 los hoy miembros del salón de la fama Roberto Clemente y Orlando Cepeda fueron los grandes lideres absolutos. Clemente, el eterno gran mariscal de los Piratas de Pittsburgh, se tituló como campeón bate con .351 de bateo.Mientras que en el uniforme de los Gigantes de San Francisco, el Peruchin de Borinquen fue el monarca
en bambinazos (46) e impulsadas (142). Todavia hoy en dia en el Museo del Deporte de Puerto Rico se pueden ver fotos del gran recibimiento que le dieron sus compatriotas en aquella época por el gran logro.

Tal hazaña de tres latinos quedarse en propiedad en las tres categorias mencionadas en un mismo año se volvió a ver por primera vez en 42 años en la Liga Americana en el 2002 gracias a los maderos de los quisqueyanos Manny Ramirez y Alex Rodriguez.

En la franela de los Medias Rojas de Boston Ramirez obtuvo el titulo de bateo con .349 de promedio. El “A-Rod” en el uniforme de los Rangers de Texas ganó la titularidad de los departamentos de vuelacercas (57) y remolcadas (142).

Alex Rodriguez volvió hacer historia en similar situación en el 2007 en la camisa de los Yankees de Nueva York al liderear ambos departamentos en la Liga Americana nuevamente  en jonrones (54) y empujadas (156) mientras que el venezolano Magglio Ordoñez de los Tigres de Detroit ganaba su primera corona de bateo en su carrera peloteril con .363 de promedio.

De Hanley Ramirez ganar el titulo de bateo seria el septimo dominicano en obtener un titulo de bateo en la historia en las Mayores y el cuarto en la Liga Nacional. Por cierto el ultimo de su pais en obtener una corona de bateo en el circuito más antiguo lo fue en el 2003 el propio Pujols.

Por su parte Pujols se uniria en los libros a Sammy Sosa como los unicos de la Tierra de Duarte en ser lideres en los departamentos de cuadrangulares y carreras impulsadas en la historia de la Liga Nacional.

EXTRA DEL AUTOR:
Alex Rodriguez en 1996 ganó el titulo de bateo de la Liga Americana y el venezolano Andrés Galarraga fue el lider absoluto en jonrones y carreras empujadas en la Liga Nacional. En el 2003 el año que Pujols obtuvo el titulo de bateo en la Nacional en el otro lado Alex Rodriguez fue el lider en cuadrangulares y el boricua Carlos Delgado en remolcadas en la Liga Americana.

Hoy David Ortiz; Mañana Quienes Seran Los Proximos


david.jpgCuatro años atras cuando José Canseco admitió a ver utilizado esteroides anabolicos en su libro auto-biográfico titulado Juice: Wild Times, Rampant ¿Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big nadie se imaginó las consecuencias que le iba a traer a las Ligas Mayores.

 

En aquel entonces muchos pensaron que el toletero cubano andaba frustrado y buscando publicidad para ver de que manera revivia su carrera peloteril o al menos se colocaba nuevamente en la palestra pública. Lo que repito, nadie, se imaginó la caja de pandora que iba abrir su publicación.


Quienes hayan olvidado su libro fue el que trajo a la luz publica que sobre un 80 por ciento de los jugadores activos en las Ligas Mayores utilizaban esteroides. Canseco identificaba como consumidores de esteroides a jugadores que fueron muchos sus compañeros de equipo.

El libro causó tal conmoción que al poco tiempo el Congreso de Estados Unidos realizó una vista especial sobre el tema.

En aquella vista, el 17 de marzo del 2005,  tanto Canseco como un sin número de estrellas entre otras Palmeiro y Sammy Sosa comparecieron en la ciudad capital y admitieron que el uso de esteroides era real en las Grandes Ligas pero menos el propio Canseco todos negaron el uso de tales sustancias.

En esas vistas el Comisionado Bud Selig aprobó se comenzaran a realizarle pruebas a jugadores y el primero que cayó por uso ilegal de sustancias controladas lo fue el cubano Alex Sanchez.

Tiempo despues se complicó  el tema cuando el primero de agosto del 2005 Palmeiro, quien dias antes habia arribado a la marca ilustre de 3,000 hits, dió positivo a uso de estroides a cual habia negado a todo tren. Palmeiro fue suspendido del beisbol y hasta estas fechas pocos saben de su paradero.

Aunque el Comisionado Selig  prometió en esas vistas  realizar mayores investigaciones internas sobre el tema poco hicieron hasta que explotó el segundo bombazo. En marzo del 2006 dos reporteros del San Francisco Chronicle en un libro titulado Game of Shadows reportaron sobre el alegado uso de esteroides del hoy rey de los jonrones Barry Bonds.

A la misma vez ese libro abrió la puerta a una investigación federal de la firma BALCO quienes eran seguidos por ser la principal firma de la creación y distribucion de tales sustancias. En esa investigación de la firma BALCO jugadores entre otros Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield y los ex-grandes liga boricuas Benito Santiago y Armando Rios y el nica Marvin Benard admitieron a ver utilizado productos en forma  crema de esa firma.

El Comisionado Selig viendo que se le estaba complicando el bullpen de problemas le solicitó al ex-senador George Mitchell crear una comisión investigativa sobre el uso de esteroides y le dió el poder de suspender jugadores que dieran positivo al uso de drogas controladas.

A finales del 2007  la Comisión Mitchell identificó un sin número de jugadores por el uso de sustancias prohibidas. De sus resultados en la temporada del 2008 entre otros los latinoamericanos Rafael Betancourt, Guillermo Mota, Felix Heredia, Juan Rincon, Neifi Perez y José Guillén recibieron suspensiones por uso positivo.

Este año la historia de uso de sustancias controladas desafortunadamente continua acaparando los medios de noticias gracias a figuras como Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez y más reciente David “Big Papi” Ortiz.

Muchos entendidos del beisbol andan solicitando que es hora de un basta ya a todo este asunto. Alegadamente el rotativo The New York Times tiene el conocimiento que el beisbol organizado tiene una lista que identifica a 103 jugadores que dieron positivo en el 2003 a usos de esteroides.

Muchos entienden que aunque en aquel entonces no habia nada que dijera que utilizar sustancias controladas eran ilegales por otro lado el beisbol simplemente debe estar limpio de drogas.

Un sin numero de criticos, jugadores  y Juan Fanatico estan hartos de no más listas negras. La famosa lista de los implicados en aquel entonces sea revelada y punto. Ese seria muy probablemente el final del tema y no seguir dañando la imagen del beisbol y los peloteros. Las consecuencias que sean las que sean pero no más.

Es tiempo que nuevamente hablemos y escribamos de verdadero beisbol.

NOTA EXTRA DEL AUTOR: Por los pasados dos meses ha circulado en el internet una lista no oficial ni verificada de los famosos 103 jugadores jugadores implicados por el uso en sustancias controladas en las Grandes Ligas. El mismo The New York Times no ha confirmado si esta lista es veraz y cierta. En la misma aparecen jugadores retirados y activos y entre los 103 nombres estos son los jugadores latinoamericanos activos que aparecen en la misma. El tiempo, dirá si es cierta o no:

Cuba: José Contreras, Danys Baez; Liván Hernández

Puerto Rico: Carlos Delgado; Iván Rodríguez

Mexico: Oliver Perez

República Dominicana: Manny Ramirez ; David Ortiz ; Pedro Martinez; Alfonso Soriano; Bartolo Colón; Miguel Tejada; José Guillén; Rafael Soriano; Alex Rodriguez; Fernando Tatis; Aramis Ramirez; Guillermo Mota; Adrian Beltre

Venezuela: Melvin Mora; Magglio Ordoñez; Freddy Garcia; Francisco Rodriguez; Bobby Abreu; Carlos Zambrano

Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martinez: First Ballot Hall of Famers ?


Once upon a time Puerto Ricans used to chat about just two boricuas Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda being in baseball Hall of Fame. If dream comes true like a fairy tale story this same time around next year we can be praising two more.

That fantasy could be reality next December when members of the Baseball Writers Association of America will receive ballots that list candidates eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame in 2010.

With historical and stats records furnished to them and with their own perception of greatness to back up their judgement, there should be great hope in Puerto Rico the writers wii consider our own Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martinez.

In my opinion, their career records should assure them of gaining acceptance and earning plaques in Cooperstown and why not in their first year of eligibility.

Roberto Alomar was one of the biggest stars and arguably the best second baseman in the history of the game. He was a 12-time All-Star, 11 consecutive seasons from 1991-2001, in 17 major league seasons.   In the same career time he won 10 Gold Gloves, the most by a second baseman ever. In his prime he was doing everything right at second base a la Ozzie Smith did at shortstop or Brooks Robinson at third base.

Going strictly by his offense, his numbers are hall of fame too. He finished his career with a .300 batting average and among hall-of-fame comparisons he had more career hits and RBI than two other Hall-of-Fame second basemen Joe Morgan and Ryne Sandberg. Not enough ? In Alomar’s case, the most basic statistics should serve. Among all second basemen, Alomar ranks sixth in hits, seventh in runs scored,  10th in RBIs and fourth in steals. When he called it quits he was just 276 hits shy of 3,000 hits.

Among his hardware let’s not forget he was an American League Championship Series MVP (1992); All Star Game MVP (1998), two-time World Series member (1992,1993) and a four-time Silver Slugger Award. A three-time Toronto’ Player of the Year, franchise that inducted him into their Blue Jays Level of Excellence group last year and a two-time Cleveland Indians’ Player of the Year.

On the other hand, Edgar Martinez accolades are very,very long. To start, when as soon Martinez retired Major League Baseball recognized him as the greatest designated hitter of all time and renamed its yearly Designated Hitter Award as the Edgar Martinez Award. And its qualifications are his own numbers.

The 18-season veteran is only one of six in all history to have finished its career to have a batting average of .300 or more, on-base percentage of .400 or more, a slugging percentage of .500 or more, 2000 hits, 300 home runs, 500 doubles, and 1000 walks.

He is the Mariners’ all-time leader in hits (2,247), doubles (514), walks (1,283), and games played (2,055). He is also among the top 10 in other categories including at-bats (7,213), runs (1,219), home runs (309), RBI (1,261), total bases (3,718) and extra base hits (838).

He was among many recognitions a 7-time All Star, 5-time Silver Slugger, 2-time American League batting champion (1992, 1995) and won the Roberto Clemente Award (2004). He was also a two-time Mariners Player of the Year.

By the way, let’s not forget Edgar is “Señor Mariner”” not only in Seattle but in the whole Pacific Northwest. He was so cherished the Mariners waived the waiting period so they could induct him into the team hall of fame after his 2004 retirement and on the south side of Safeco Field named a street after him. Moreover, the Mariners have not issued Martínez’ #11 jersey since he retired.

Hope December arrives soon.

Bye, Bye Baltimore Orioles

alomar1.jpgC’mon…whom the South Florida politicians are kidding that are sad and crushed with the departure of the Baltimore Orioles from Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

“It’s very, very dissapointing to see a tremendous era of spring training end”, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Selier said. “It’s a sad day”.

Yeah, right.  Since 2004, the team has been on a year-to-year lease with the City of Fort Lauderdale. Every time a possible discussion for a long term deal was brought to the table by the Orioles there was always some type of road block.

Finally after so much, should I stay or should I go, the franchise is relocating to the state’s west coast. The City of Sarasota and its county approved a $31.2 million renovation and expansion of Ed Smith Stadium, which hosted the Cincinnati Reds from 1998 to 2009. Also renovations were approved for the Twin Lakes Park, the new Orioles’ full time minor league complex.

The Orioles are expected to be in Sarasota next February.

In this side south side of the Sunshine State a big deal have been made now that it will be without a major league team in the spring for the first time in 60 years.

Let’s not forget long time ago Fort Lauderdale was home for the New York Yankees for 33 seasons before they went off to Tampa in 1995.

One year later, in 1996, Fort Lauderdale became the spring training home of the Birds franchise. Since that opening year you could hear the rumbles of problems between the two sides. It look the marriage was not going to be a long one.

It is true the nowadays Orioles are not even close to those of the late 90’s anchored by Cal Ripken Jr. and other big name stars such as Roberto Alomar, Mike Mussina and many, many others.

However no matter the Orioles product, the City of Fort Lauderdale never show a commitment and effort to keep them for a long time in town.

Let’s not forget either they are the same politicians never wanted to build a home for the Florida Marlins. Hey, no sorrow and complaints now that they will be the Miami Marlins in 2012.

Fort Lauderdale should not cry. The truth is they never like the baseball business in their backyard.

Cheers to Sarasota. The Orioles will have a spring training home there for the next 30 years.

Bye, Bye Orioles.

NOTE: The author covered the Baltimore Orioles from 1997 to 2008. Thanks Bill Stetka for your support to the international media.

MLB’ Midseason Report: 2009 Latino Awards


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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


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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

Bernie Williams: 51 Next ?


Just a little time ago here in Miami, a group of New York media reporters and myself were talking about which great Yankee’s player should be next to have his uniform’s number retired.

The immediate answer was number 2′ Derek Jeter.

The quick response is understandable. For 14 seasons the nine-time All-Star shortstop’s long list mark of honors and accolades are not doubt hall-of-fame bound. Not counting that besides Mr. Yankee Captain since 2003 he has been twice Mr. Captain of Team USA in both editions of the World Baseball Classic. Sixteen (16) pages of Jeter’s biography in the 2009 Yankee Media Guide tells it all.

Moreover his number 2 is at the present time, the only number from 1 through 9 not yet retired at Yankee Stadium’ s Monument Park.

What about 51 ? Yes, Bernie Williams. The reaction from the same group was something like he deserves it but we totally forgot about him.

In The Big Apple who should have forgotten whom in 16 seasons was one of the Mr. Yankee. He racked up from 1991-2006 batting .297, 287 homers with 1,257 RBI’s, The Barceloneta native is among  the top 15 Yankee career batting leader in 10 offensive categories. Five-Time All-Star; Four Gold Gloves; 1996 American League Championship Series MVP and 1998 American League Batting King.

At least in Borinquen who have forgotten when Williams and catcher Jorge Posada each hit home runs from both sides of the plate in 2000 in a win at Toronto. Only time in history that wo players have hit swith-home runs in the same game. That’s good history.

Back in March after the last Puerto Rico game in the World Baseball Classic the always amiable Williams gave us this wrap-up responses to the Puerto Rico Daily Sun in South Florida.

“I felt really good about playing,” Williams said. “I am my worst critic and I didn’t feel very bad about it. It took me a while to get acclimated. But after a while, I felt very encouraged. I can still play,”

“At this point, I don’t want to be the guy that tries to come back and goes to the independent leagues or the minor leagues for a couple [of] weeks,” Williams said. “I would certainly welcome the opportunity to play in the big leagues at some point, even though the window is very short right now.”

The window never open. And even though he never said  it if he’d play for a team other than the Yankees, we really knew he would have only played for the Yankees.

Nowadays Williams, 40, is on the road on his “Moving Forward” second-album jazz tour. And we well very know he still thinks he could have been in the pinstripes uniform one more time.

Just a suggestion to the Yankees organization. Next time you invite him to play a national anthem give him finally a Bernie Williams Day like any other Yankee greats and retire his number 51 forever. And be the first Puerto Rican and Latino to be in Monument Park. Jeter can join him later.

As an extra note, if this column is read in Seattle, the Mariners should finally retire Number 11′ Edgar Martínez. His honors are very long. Then someday another Mariners’ 51 , Ichiro Suzuki.

 

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

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