DLD 7.25.11



The A's actually have some offense now... weird. SSS, I know. (LA Times)

The A's are batting .308 with 98 hits and 46 runs scored in just nine games since the All-Star break after hitting just .205 with 43 runs in their last 18 games before it. 

"It's one thing we've been seeing lately (and) it's fun," said starter Gio Gonzalez, who took the loss Sunday despite the offense putting up 15 hits. "We're showing life." 

The hot bats, at least to some degree, have translated into wins for an A's team that has scratched its way out of the AL West basement. (They are one game ahead of last-place Seattle, which has lost a team-record 15 in a row.) 

No one has been traded, but the Pirates have been interested in Willingham and Breslow, the Reds might be takers for Crisp (also the Indians), the Red Sox kicked the tires on Rich Harden (NO BLOOMS).

And um, yeah...


Why me world! : ( via Twitter for iPhone

Ports center fielder Michael Choice reached base twice Sunday evening to extend his streak to 44 games, but he left the contest after injuring his left leg in a 7-6 loss to the Bakersfield Blaze before 2,290 at Stockton Ballpark.

"I know (Choice) won't be playing the next couple of days, but I don't know the extent of the injury," Ports manager Webster Garrison said. "It's a big loss, but we're going to have to have some guys step up."

The trade deadline could mean more time for Ryan Sweeney. (SF Gate)

Melvin said, "I think he's a good, pure hitter. He's got a natural swing, hits the ball the other way, pulls the ball. Maybe a guy that should be given the opportunity to play every day, but based on the three guys that we have here right now, he gets the short end of the stick as far as starts go."

Kei Igawa is still plugging away in the Yankees minor league system. A great read. (NY Times)

The five-year saga is a story of a giant mistake of a contract and an overmatched pitcher, a huge organization digging in and a quiet, somewhat mysterious Japanese pitcher with a sense of honor and a durable love of the game. The Yankees made it pretty clear Igawa would never pitch again in the Bronx, but they were determined that he pitch somewhere for his $4-million-a-year salary. They tried to return him to Japan, too. Igawa refused to go, standing fast to his childhood dream of pitching in the American big leagues.

And so, the stalemate - remarkable, if almost entirely un-remarked upon - continues.

Igawa is occasionally recognized as a professional baseball player on the streets of New York. People think he is Hideki Matsui. Until recently, he said a common second guess was Chien-Ming Wang, the former Taiwanese Yankees pitcher. At 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, with a thick shock of black hair, Igawa has a calm but notable presence, although he says he dresses conservatively to avoid attention.

Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven (finally!) and Pat Gillick will head to Cooperstown. (Associated Press)

Blyleven, whose amazing curveball frustrated batters in his 22-year career, finished with 287 wins, 3,701 strikeouts, 60 shutouts and a pair of World Series rings—in 1979 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and 1987 in his second stint with the Twins.

Still, his path toward the Hall was a slow, steep one—he drew the backing of only 14.1 percent one year—but on his 14th try became the first pure starting pitcher to get selected by the BBWAA since Nolan Ryan in 1999.

Blyleven’s father, Joe, who died of Parkinson’s in 2004, fell in love with baseball and the Dodgers after the family moved to Southern California in the late 1950s and built a mound in the backyard, the genesis of his son’s Hall of Fame career.

“I wish he was here,” said Blyleven, who in the past had regretted not being selected for the Hall while his father was still alive. “But you know, mom, I know he’s up there looking down right now. Mommy, I love you.”



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