Friday, June 14, 2013

Notes, quotes and comment

Francisco Liriano wears a Negro Leagues throwback uniform
honoring the Homestead Grays during a recent start.
The Twins on Thursday released blogosphere idol Anthony Slama.

Anthony Slama is
29 and a free agent.
Slama put up dominant numbers at every stop in the minors (until this year, when he was awful), but the Twins never trusted his ability enough to give him a clean shot in the majors. They didn't see ERAs of 1.38 with 59 strikeouts in 39 innings; they saw mediocre velocity and mediocre command. They saw a pitcher who didn't get his outs on strikes, and they doubted that would work in the majors.

And -- not that seven innings is definitive proof of anything -- his limited opportunities in the majors matched the pessimistic view of his skills.

It should also be noted that Slama spent much, maybe most, of the 2011-12 seasons on the Triple A disabled list, which made it easier for the Twins to bypass him when looking for bullpen reinforcments. Why call up somebody who keeps getting hurt?

The Twins exposed Slama to the Rule 5 draft each of the past two offseasons, and nobody bit, suggesting that the Twins' take on him was matched by other organizations.

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I'm rather surprised, given how many people seem to blame Ron Gardenhire/Rick Anderson for the Twins pitching woes, that this piece on Francisco Liriano's resurgence in Pittsburgh didn't get more play on my Twitter feed.

According to Howard Megdal, the Pirates pitching coach increased Liriano's hip turn early in his delivery. This supposedly both (a) improved his control and (b) increased the movement on his pitches.

Ray Searage, the Pittsbugh pitching coach, doesn't have the reputation or longevity of Anderson or Don Cooper, the White Sox pitching coach. But if he did indeed fix Liriano, he accomplished something the other two could not.

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LaTroy Hawkins' next appearance will tie him with
Sparky Lyle for 24th on the all-time games pitched list.
Former Twin LaTroy Hawkins on Thursday made his 898th major league appearance, which ties him with former Twin Jim Kaat for 25th on the all-time games pitched list. Number 21 on the list: Eddie Guardado (908), who this weekend will be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame.

Hawkins is second among active pitchers, trailing only Mariano Rivera. Rivera is fourth on the all-time list and the leader among right-handed pitchers. No. 1 is (former Twin) Jesse Orosco (1,252), followed by Mike Stanton and John Franco.

The Hawk, 40, pitches now for the Mets, his tenth team in the majors. He's never been in one place for more than two years except with the Twins (nine seasons). Presumably he'll pitch as long as anyone will have him.

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