Saturday, June 27, 2009

Quotes, notes and comments

* That was the very definition of pitching efficiency Friday from Jose Mijares: One pitch, two outs.

Mijares hadn't pitched in a week. On July 19, his previous outing, he faced three hitters and didn't throw a first-pitch strike to any of them (and gave up a homer to Jeff Keppinger in the process). His appearance before that, June 16, he pitched on inning, giving up two hits and a walk but no runs. And that outing followed a spell in which he was used five times in eight days.

Sometimes Ron Gardenhire's bullpen usage seems to follow this pattern — use a guy hard, then ease off when he shows signs of breaking down. The problem comes when the easing off comes too late, as with Matt Guerrier last season.

* What a surprise: Milton Bradley had a temper tantrum Friday. What a secondary surprise: Lou Piniella reacted:

"I told him to take his uniform off. He threw his helmet and smashed a water cooler, water flying all over. I just told him to take his uniform off and go home. I followed him up into the clubhouse, and we exchanged some words."

Bradley (above) is not the only Cub to bash water coolers; Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster have too. Piniella — notorious for his short fuse — doesn't really seem the guy to calm things down, and there've been times this season when he's joked about it.

* Alex Rodriguez is being described as a shell of the player he once was. How much of it is the hip — remember, the surgery this spring was not a complete correction of the problem, but an attempt to get him back on the field for this season, with another surgery to come — and how much is the fact that he's about to turn 34 (and may be off the juice) is a matter of conjecture.

His OBP (.389) and SLUG (.487) aren't nearly as bad as his batting average (.227), and since the Yankees started making an effort to give him days off and started enforcing limits on his batting practice, his numbers have picked up (.333 BA over his past 10 games. Of course, he's been facing National League pitching, and that's probably had something to do with his surge.

Still: The Yankees have 10 more years to go on that contract.

*David Ortiz's stat line for the season remains ugly, but his baseball obituary appears to have been premature. His slash line for June: .311/.386/.705. Again, however: NL pitching.

Meanhile, teammate Mike Lowell — who had the same hip problem as A-Rod — is also running into problems, and the attempted solutions include an injection of an artifical lubricant and a reduction in his playing time.

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