Results tagged ‘ Ed Mujica ’

They made a record and it went in the charts

One of my favorite annual rites of spring is raiding PR guru Bart Swain’s CD collection. And with spring winding down and my ears still ringing, I thought I’d bring you another scintillating installment of The Three-Word Music Review:

Blitzen Trapper: “Furr” – I support PETA.

“Heading West” (Starbucks compilation) — Good driving tunes.

Mark Knopfler: “Shangri-La” – I’m rah-rah (Does that count as three words, or two? I don’t even know.).

Randy Newman: “Harps and Angels” — Yawns and boredom.

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: “Cardinology” – Has its moments.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: “Raising Sand” — Worthy of Grammy.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • A telling postgame from Eric Wedge today. After a 14-14 tie that clearly was a “hitters’ day,” in the skipper’s words, Wedge showed no concern over Cliff Lee (seven runs on nine hits, including three homers, over five innings). “I thought the ball came out of Cliff’s hand pretty good,” Wedge said. “He had a real good breaking ball. His changeup was a little firm at times, but he had good fastball command.”
  • So Wedge was asked if it was the same deal with Masa Kobayashi (five runs on five hits, including a homer, in one inning). “No, Masa was a little flat,” Wedge quickly countered. “He was up and flat and threw a few too many fastballs.”
  • Wedge said Kobayashi pitched better after Carl Willis visited him on the mound and told him to work in his split-fingered fastball and slider a little more. It appears Kobayashi’s been a little stubborn with a fastball that clearly isn’t working for him.
  • Ken Griffey Jr., who could be 76 and probably still have the sweetest swing in baseball, torched Kobayashi for a two-run homer in the seventh. I was stunned to see that was only the second homer allowed by Kobayashi this spring. It feels like more than that, probably because he’s given up 20 hits in 11 innings. 
  • I hate to be overly negative, but this would be a good time to start up a “Kobayashi optioned/released” office pool. If you do, sign me up for April 27 (and that’s being really generous).
  • I’ll reiterate that it was a hitters’ day, but this was nonetheless Travis Hafner’s strongest showing of the spring. He went 3-for-6 with a homer and two RBIs. Unlike his blast the other day – when the Padres’ Kevin Correia hung him a breaking ball that any Major League hitter worth his pine tar would have hit out — this one was impressive. Pronk scooped out a slider and pulled it out to right.
  • Franklin Gutierrez had two strong days against his former team in this home-and-home series. Today he went 3-for-5 with a double, triple and three runs scored out of the leadoff spot. He has a nice opportunity in Seattle.
  • Wedge on Ed Mujica, dealt to the Padres: “I feel like he’s had a strong progression here. Just for us, it’s more of a timing thing and what we needed out of that final [bullpen] spot.”
    The padres.com headline says, “Padres enhance bullpen with Mujica.” If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about the Padres and their bullpen, nothing will. 
  • Kerry Wood talked about the Arizona elements and their affect on pitchers. He said he always leaves here feeling like his slider is much worse than it actually is. Oh, and Wood worked another perfect inning today. His spring ERA is a sparkling 0.00 in six innings, and his arm action and raw stuff are nothing short of impressive.
  • For what it’s worth, Wood has grown out a full goatee. He said he won’t shave it until he gives up some runs.
  • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s “Working on a Dream” tour kicks off tonight in San Jose. Be excited, and celebrate accordingly.

~AC

Mujica to the Padres, and more

The Indians have found a taker for Ed Mujica. The Padres are set to announce this morning that they have acquired the right-hander from the Tribe. The Indians will receive a player to be named or cash.

Mujica is out of Minor League options and did not win a spot in the Indians’ bullpen this spring. He has an 8.10 ERA in nine Cactus appearances, though he has improved a bit recently.

In 33 career appearances with the Tribe, Mujica, who turns 25 in May, went 3-3 with a 6.04 ERA. Mujica has a live fastball that he’s never really been able to get consistency out of at the Major League level. He has a career 3.35 ERA in the Minors, with just 60 walks in 231 1/3 innings.

UPDATE: And here’s an interesting twist. Right-hander Jae Kuk Ryu is going back to the Padres, less than a week after the Indians claimed him off waivers. That waiver claim was voided by Major League Baseball. Not sure what that’s all about, but I’ll look into it.

Also this morning, Vinnie Chulk was reassigned to Minor League camp.

UPDATE No. 2: Sounds like the Ryu situation involves either a medical problem (he did have arthroscopic surgery performed on his elbow last summer) or some other technicality. No official word from the Indians. 

"This is an astronaut pen. It writes upside down."

My pen ran out of ink the other day, and I pulled out a replacement from the Marriott Courtyard.

Now, any traveling sportswriter worth his credential can be seen at all times with a pen from some form of Marriott, because A. we like free pens and B. we like Marriott points.

What’s interesting — to me, at least — is that the longest-lasting, boldest Marriott pens, by far, come from Fairfield Inns (at the bottom of the totem pole, in terms of hotel quality), while the worst, by far, come from the Marriott or the Renaissance (which rank at the top). The Courtyard falls in the middle realm. This ranking seems a bit counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

Wow. We are one month into Spring Training camp, and I’m writing about pens. If this isn’t proof that the spring schedule is too long, I don’t know what is.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Let’s shift from pens to ‘pens. Kerry Wood looked excellent yesterday, and Jensen Lewis (no runs allowed, seven strikeouts in six innings) has looked terrific all spring. This bodes well for the Tribe bullpen, which today saw the debut of Joe Smith. He also looked good in tossing a scoreless fourth against the Rockies.
  • The battle for the last bullpen spot is wide open, now that Adam Miller is shut down with that finger soreness. In a perfect world, the Indians would go with a left-hander for that job (which could be sort of a long man position), because they’re expected to have three right-handed starters. But they will go with the best arm, regardless of which arm that happens to be.
  • Kirk Saarloos and Zach Jackson are in the mix for the last rotation job, but they’ll also be considered for the bullpen. Right now, the Indians are impressed with what they’ve seen from non-roster guys like Saarloos, Vinnie Chulk and Jack Cassel. They like Matt Herges but want to get to the point of extending him over two innings (we haven’t seen that from him yet). Juan Salas could join this mix of favorites once he’s built up to pitch two innings.
  • Ed Mujica, out of options, would probably be the favorite for that job if he didn’t look so terrible in Cactus games.
  • When it comes to the rotation battle, Jeremy Sowers had his best outing of the spring, to this point, today. He went three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and no walks with a strikeout. He appeared to have better command of his fastball, and that’s the key to his survival.
  • Cliff Lee labored again. “He got his work in,” as they say when a guy like that struggles in these games. Lee gave up four runs (three earned… though the error was his) on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in three innings. He threw a lot of fastballs. “It’s good, especially early in the spring, for a starting pitcher to throw a lot of fastballs and work to find their release point,” Eric Wedge said.
  • Grady Sizemore (groin strain) returned to the field today without incident, and Travis Hafner played consecutive days for the first time. Pronk will continue to get ramped up over the next three and a half weeks.
  • Off day tomorrow. A new Inbox will be up on the site. Go Bobcats.

~AC

Don't let 'em take me to the Cadillac Ranch

...but you can take me to the Camelback Ranch, spring home of the White Sox and Dodgers. It's another beautiful ballpark, with a unique sandstone exterior.

 

But an afternoon at the Camelback is in no way worth the $90 the Dodgers have the audacity to charge to sit in the Home Plate Club ($100 for "premium" spring games, as if such a thing even exists). Manny or no Manny, that's just nuts.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Grady Sizemore started at DH for the second straight day and went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs against the White Sox. He'll play again Wednesday and will return to the field. He said his groin's feeling good -- no issues running the bases in-game or shagging fly balls during the morning workouts.
  • I have to say... There's nothing I enjoy less about this job than occasionally having to ask guys about the state of their groin.
  • Not only did South Korea advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic, but the Koreans won Pool A. They defeated Japan, 1-0, this morning. It was Shin-Soo Choo's day off. Part of the agreement between the Indians and South Korea is that Choo will get one day off per pool. The Koreans move on to San Diego for Round 2, which begins March 15. They will train in Arizona, so the Indians' trainers will get a look at Choo's sore left triceps. He's expected to be here tomorrow, according to Eric Wedge.
  • Speaking of the Classic, in case you missed it, Mark DeRosa had four RBIs in Team USA's rout of Venezuela yesterday. He played both left field and third base.
  • Anthony Reyes looked really good today -- three scoreless innings, one walk, three strikeouts. He said this is the best he's felt since 2005, so that's encouraging for an Indians team that could really use a boost in the back end of the rotation.
  • David Huff threw two innings in a simulated game on one of the back fields this morning. He'll be in a Cactus game later this week. It will be just his second appearance in a "real" exhibition game. "We extended him last year, innings-wise, so we wanted to make sure we handled him appropriately this spring," Wedge said.
  • Ed Mujica also threw two innings in the sim game. "He looked good," Wedge said. "You know, he was really throwing the ball well early in camp in his bullpens. He's been trying to do a little too much in games. So we wanted to pull him back and let him relax a little bit and just let the ball go a little more free and easy." The ball certainly went off the bat of Wes Hodges, who took Mujica deep.
  • Kerry Wood will appear against the Angels in Tempe tomorrow, and Joe Smith will appear against the Rockies on Wednesday.
  • According to date in John Dewan's new "The Fielding Bible -- Volume II," the Indians ranked eighth in baseball last year in defensive runs saved, with 29. Dewan points out that Ben Francisco saved 12, while Franklin Gutierrez saved 24. With Gutierrez gone and Choo -- rated by Dewan as "average" in defensive runs saved -- starting in right, Dewan is speculating that the Tribe's defensive ranking may drop this year.
  • Minor League right-hander Neil Wagner has begun blogging. Check it out right here.

~AC

Let me in the sound

u2-2.jpgI've got to get back to digesting the new U2 album, "No Line on the Horizon," which, upon first listen, sounds a lot like "Zooropa II" -- and that is in no way a compliment. But hey, I'll listen to anything twice.

 

But before I go, allow me to wrap up today's news and notes from before, during and after the Tribe's kiss-your-sister finish with the Royals.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • It could get crowded at DH on Friday against the Brewers. That's already the targeted debut for Travis Hafner, and now Grady Sizemore's return to the lineup might get pushed back to Friday. The Indians had considered starting Sizemore at DH on Wednesday, but Eric Wedge said he's leaning toward taking advantage of Thursday's off day to give Grady extra time to rest and test that sore left groin. So it's conceivable that you'd see each guy get a couple at-bats Friday.
  • Friday is also the day Cliff Lee makes his Cactus debut and David Dellucci is expected to return after getting three stitches removed from his left thumb.
  • Speaking of Lee, he'll spend part of Thursday's off day flying in an F-16 fighter jet. Luke Air Force Base, located nearby, invited him out to film a public service announcement for their upcoming Air Show and to get a special orientation on the maneuverability of the aircraft from Major Dan "Dutch" Munter.
  • And to think, Lee is the same guy who turned down a World Baseball Classic invitation because he thought it was too dangerous.
  • Wedge's take: "I'm sure [Lee] will throw up all over the place, but other than that, we'll see what happens. He'll be all right. I don't know those guys, but I trust those guys."
  • LHP Tony Sipp looked good in his spring debut, tossing a scoreless inning.
  • Ed Mujica, on the other hand, continues to look like Ed Mujica. Today he came on with the bases loaded and served up a grand slam to Alex Gordon, followed immediately by a solo shot from John Buck. Fighting for a bullpen spot, Mujica now has a 19.64 ERA this spring. Wedge thinks he's trying too hard and therefore overthrowing.
  • No new developments with Adam Miller. He's still resting that sore right middle finger.
  • Joe Smith is still playing catch after missing a week of workouts with a viral infection. No word yet on when he'll start throwing bullpens.
  • When it comes to third base, now that Mark DeRosa's gone, Wedge said he wants to get a good look at Wes Hodges. Jamey Carroll, who started in center today, will also see a good deal of time there. Tony Graffanino, Josh Barfield and, to a much lesser degree, Jhonny Peralta and Andy Marte are also in that third-base mix.
  • The challenge for Josh Barfield in his adaptation to the outfield and third base is his arm strength. Wedge said it's a work in progress as Barfield is still "getting under" some throws.
  • I did a feature on Anthony Reyes and his work with Tom House this offseason. House is the guy known for having his pitchers throw footballs to warm up when he was pitching coach for the Rangers. House, who is now pitching coach at USC, doesn't make his guys do that anymore, but Reyes will fire the pigskin around, anyway. "I'll launch 'em," he said.
  • Finally, a very happy birthday to inimitable Plain Dealer scribe Paul Hoynes.

~AC

"It's a dog-eat-dog world, Woody, and I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear"

cliff1.JPGIt appears we solved the mysteries and vagaries of time travel in yesterday's post, which was no small feat.

 

Now I pose to you a much simpler question: If you had a dog (and maybe you do), what would you name it?

 

I ask because it appears to me that many of you are absolutely obsessed with the Indians. You might even be as obsessed as my friend Megan, who wimped out with regard to a previously stated goal of getting a Chief Wahoo tattoo but did recently become the owner of a French bulldog puppy, named Cliff (that's him on the right... apparently he's named after some pitcher).


  

Anybody else have a Tribe-inspired pet name? An Italian greyhound named Fasano, perhaps?

 

I'll confess this post really just had two goals: Giving Cliff some blog love and working the above "Cheers" quote into a headline. Now that those are accomplished, let's talk about what's happening on this lovely Wednesday.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Really interesting story out of the Nationals' camp, where it's been revealed that one of the organization's top prospects, 19-year-old Esmailyn Gonzalez, is actually a 23-year-old named Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo. The Nats had signed "Gonzalez" in the summer of '06 and given him a $1.4 million bonus. He was supposed to represent a big piece of their future.
  • The Gonzalez story has the potential to impact, well, pretty much every team in baseball (the Indians included), because they use the same system to verify the age and identities of international players. The system was put in place by MLB in the last four or five years to put an end to the chaotic nature of the international scouting scene and do intensive background checks on potential prospects. Plenty of questions are no doubt being asked right now about what the heck happened with Gonzalez.
  • Today was the first day of live BP, which means Indians pitchers were throwing to Indians hitters. This is always pretty fun to watch. Fausto Carmona and Cliff Lee were among those on the mound today. And believe it or not, Ed Mujica looked pretty nasty, breaking the bats of Victor Martinez and Josh Barfield.
  • The Indians also spent a good part of the morning working on their bunt defense.
  • Eric Wedge was talking about the mental makeup it takes to be a good closer. He said we'll never know what it's like to be on the mound in the ninth inning with the game on the line, and a pitcher's potential for that role can never be known until he's tested. "It's like if you're stuck on an elevator between the 25th and 26th floor with three other people," Wedge said. "You're going to find out about people." 
  • Wedge said he's been particularly impressed with reliever Joe Smith in the early going. "He sticks out a little bit," Wedge said.
  • Representatives from the Phoenix police department came and spoke to the players this morning, making sure they are aware that the highways here have cameras that can and will catch you speeding and the rules regarding alcohol and marijuana are particularly strict.
  • Former Tribe catcher Eddie Taubensee was also in the clubhouse today, spreading the word about a ministry he's involved in that caters to professional athletes.
  • MLB.com has started up a new injuries page, so all of you preparing for your fantasy drafts might find it to be a good resource.
  • The next installment of the Indians Inbox will run on Indians.com tomorrow.

~AC 

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