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Florida Marlins Brings Back Alfredo Amezaga in Time of Need

In their time of need, the Florida Marlins have called on the services of an old friend to aid in their cause. In a trade with the Colorado Rockies, the Marlins reacquired super utility infielder Alfredo Amezaga to start in second base and take infielder Omar Infante’s place in the lineup.

Alfredo Amezaga was the original Emilio Bonifacio from 2006-2008, when he practically played every position in the infield and was also the starting center fielder in parts of three seasons. Amezaga appeared in 417 games and finished with a .259 average, eight homers, 86 RBI and 49 stolen bases.

The 2009 and 2010 seasons were wasted on two knee injuries that needed extensive recovery.

Now, while shortstop Hanley Ramirez and second baseman Omar Infante are recovering from injuries, Emilio Bonifacio and Alfredo Amezaga are now teaming up in the middle infield and top of the order.

Their speed could keep the Florida Marlins afloat in August.

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Kansas City Royals Take a Page out of Rays’ Book of Baserunning

For the past three years, the Tampa Bay Rays have been known as a highly athletic fast team that steal bases and run with ease. That kind of style of play has helped their small ball tactics stay ahead of the powerful New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Now that same philosophy is being instilled by the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals entered the weekend series leading the Major Leagues with 75 stolen bases. They also stole 14 bases in their last 10 games, thus giving them an American League-leading stolen base percentage, at 79.2 percent.

Why is this important? Because even when a team’s hitting isn’t up to par, they can still create run scoring opportunities by stealing bases and also use their speed to advance from first to third or even score from first.

They also lead the league in having four players to swipe at least 10 bases and are the only club in the Majors to do so. Shortstop Alcides Escobar and second baseman Chris Getz have 12 steals, while outfielder Jeff Francoeur and infielder Mike Aviles have 10.

If only they had the pitching to go with it, the Royals probably would be in contention right now. But at least they are getting their top starter from injury. Bruce Chen, who is 4-1 with a team leading 3.88 ERA, made his return from the DL in a no-decision yesterday against the Chicago Cubs by going six innings.

The future is looking bright for the Kansas City Royals.

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Lowest Draft Picks Playing on All 14 American League Teams

First-round picks are highly overrated. Every June they act like they are all going straight to the majors. Okay, well some of them do.

Most of these guys play around in the minor leagues and then it becomes fair game. A lot of major-leaguers are late-round picks that were very well developed.

Don’t believe me? I’ll show you the lowest draft pick from each American League team playing today, and you’ll be surprised who you recognize.

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Colorado Rockies: Tulo and CarGo Need to Pick It Up If Team Wants to Make Run

Before the season started, the Colorado Rockies made some national shock waves when they signed their two young stars, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, to mega, multi-year contract extensions.

Tulo signed a nine-year extension worth $163 million while CarGo signed a seven-year extension worth $80 million. 

The responses were mixed. Some in the national media thought it was too early and the money was too much.

It made sense to me. After all, Tulo’s old deal would’ve ended after the 2014 season.

Both deals add up to a grand total of $243 million in the books for just two players. That’s an average of $29.5 million a year until 2018. Their current payroll is roughly $88 million, less than 3/4 to pay for the other players.

This just shows the importance of the performance of these two players and how financially difficult it would be to add another player of their caliber without leaving some holes.

This year, first baseman Todd Helton is being paid $20 million, so despite the collective effort of their pitching staff, the Colorado Rockies’ playoff hopes rest in the bats of Helton, Tulowitzki and Gonzalez.

Right now, Helton is doing his part, hitting .300 with seven home runs and 24 RBI, but he is the only player on the team hitting .300 so far. Tulo has 11 home runs, but he is hitting a mediocre .252 with CarGo hitting .259 with eight home runs. 

For fans, It’s good to know that there is no shortage of power from this decade’s version of the Blake Street Bombers, but no team wins with just one .300 hitter and with their contracts possibly crippling the Rockies’ chances to add some legit help before the trade deadline.

CarGo and Tulo must pick it up or the Rockies will continue to sink below .500 this season.

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MLB Interleague: Six Sexy Showdowns That Should Be Regularly Scheduled

Interleague baseball has been great for the game and fun for the fans. However, there is a possibility that it might have run its course and occasional marquee match ups like the Yankees and Dodgers might not be enough. Joe Madden of the Tampa Bay Rays hinted that the novelty may be over.

“I think in the beginning it was an idea that fans kind of got into and it was kind of interesting,” Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. “I don’t know that it’s interesting any more.”

With that in mind there should be more interleague match ups that would be interesting to the fans and should be fixated into the schedule. Here are some of the sexy series showdowns that would help interleague baseball.


Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Tampa Bay Rays

These two teams are tied together by both being expansion teams in 1998.

The Arizona Diamondbacks won their only World Series in 2001 while the Tampa Bay Rays lost their only World Series in 2008.

They also share the very talented Upton brothers who occupy the outfield. Older bro B.J. is with the Rays while baby bro Justin is with the D’Backs. 


Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Yankees

One of the most epic World Series showdowns in history were between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a World Series that the Yankees were supposed to win not because they’ve won the last three Fall Classics but because for the city of New York who was recovering from the 9/11 attacks that will live in infamy and they lost.


Chicago Cubs vs. Boston Red Sox 

There was a time when these two teams had a lot in common.

The Boston Red Sox had the curse of the Bambino.

The Chicago Cubs had the curse of the billy goat.

The Red Sox have two World Series championships.

The Cubs have the curse of the scapegoat.

Even though the Red Sox have more in common with New York’s Evil Empire than Chicago’s favorite batch of incompetents, there is still a mystic to the series.


Miami Marlins vs. New York Yankees

A World Series rematch from 2003, this was one of those Fall Classics that was probably underrated and unappreciated. It may have went unnoticed if the Yankees were to win.

After this year they will be the Miami Marlins with a new stadium and a new identity, making it another interesting Miami vs. New York showdown. It would be cool to have the Marlins play the New York Mets first before entering interleague play with the New York Yankees.


Miami Marlins vs. Los Angeles Angels

It doesn’t look like a marquee matchup now but a showdown between the two most sexiest cities in the country would definitely bring in the ratings. Especially considering that both teams are always in contention.


Tampa Bay Rays vs. Philadelphia Phillies

People don’t know just how far of a city sports rivalry Philadelphia and Tampa have without being in the same division for any team. Here are some of the highlights.

2002 NFC Championship Game TB Buccaneers over Phi Eagles (TB wins Super Bowl)

2003 season opener TB Buccaneers over Phi Eagles (first game of the Linc)

2004 Stanley Cup Eastern Conference finals TB Lightning over Phi Flyers (TB wins Cup)

2006 Matt Bryant kicks second longest field goal to beat Eagles

2008 Phillies beat Tampa Bay Rays to win 2nd World Series in team history

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AL Central: Reconizing the Difference Makers in Each Team

This division is completely out of sync.

The Minnesota Twins, who dominated the division during the 2000’s, are in last place with the worst record in the American League.

The Cleveland Indians were the worst in the division for the past two seasons, but now have the best record in the majors.

There are players on each team who are difference makers in their own way, and if they continue to perform, this should be an interesting divisional battle.

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5 Teams That Should Lower Ticket Prices for the Sake of Fan Base in Bad Economy

Why do so many MLB stadiums seem empty lately?

Could it be because of the weather?

Could it be because the playoffs are on?

Or do the teams just suck?

There is no one reason why there are more empty seats these days. However, there is a good solution that can help the problem. Lowering ticket prices could bring more fans over during the weekdays and make the team look more respectful.

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Joe Nathan May Be Done as Closer but the Minnesota Twins Aren’t Done with Him

After losing to Johnny Damon and the Tampa Bay Rays twice in three days via walk offs, the 5-10 Minnesota Twins have stripped the closing title from Joe Nation and replaced him with Matt Capps.

But don’t think it’s the last time you’ll see Joe Nathan in a Twins uniform in the ninth inning.

People in baseball have become spoiled by pitchers who have made quick recoveries from Tommy John Surgery, but it is a tough process to go through.

“I figured it would be easier for me to go to them than for them to come to me,” said Nathan to Dawn Klemish of, “Until I start getting [consistency] back—and I know I will in some time—until I do, I don’t want to put this team at any risk, or cost them any ballgames right now.

“We’re all scuffling right now a little bit, so the games that we do have, I’d like us to get those taken care of and get those finished up.”

Notice that most of the pitchers who came back from Tommy John Surgery were starting pitchers. It will take a while for Nathan to get back into form since after all, it is still April.

Right now, having Nathan in the six or seventh inning might actually be a good thing for the Minnesota Twins. He can be effective with out the pressure while he’s getting back in full swing and they’ll have Matt Capps, who last year was one of the best closers in the game as a member of the Washington Nationals.

Matt Capps has given up four runs in nine innings so far this season, which isn’t that bad but it’s not that good either. He did work in a perfect inning against the Tampa Bay Rays to get his first save of the season.

The Twins will face the Rays again next week in Target Field, after two series against the upstart Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians.

I project Joe Nathan to be back in the closing role by the time the Twins take on the Rays for the final time before the All Star Break.

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Diamondbacks May Have Found the Ideal Middle Infield in Roberts & Drew

It appears that the Arizona Diamondbacks have a different lineup every game. They have players who can play multiple positions and that has given manager Kirk Gibson multiple options to put a winning lineup together.

Now it looks like Gibson has found his new double play combo with shortstop Stephen Drew and the tattoo heavy second baseman Ryan Roberts. 

Yesterday in a 5-3 losing effort to the defending World Series champions, the San Francisco Giants, Drew and Roberts combined for five double plays. That’s a franchise record.

So with that in mind, does Drew and Roberts make the ideal middle infield for the Diamondbacks?

Offensively it does.

Ryan Roberts is hitting .345 with two home runs and six runs batted in this season, mostly at third base, and Stephen Drew is hitting .313 with six runs batted in as well.

So when you combine the duo’s early hitting success and their defensive chemistry, does it seem possible to have those two in the middle infield for the long run this season?

“It’s possible,” Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said in Saturday’s post game press conference, “Kelly’s our second baseman, Ryan’s played there for a while so it’s possible.”

After having a career year last year with a career high 26 HR and 71 RBI, Arizona’s main second baseman Kelly Johnson is hitting .157 so far this season.

Granted, it’s early, but there are still ways in which Gibson can keep the new double play combo, Kelly Johnson, and hot hitting leadoff man Willie Bloomquist in the lineup.

Willie has been a utility man his entire career and can easily man the hot corner and Kelly Johnson was an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves before moving to second base.

“He can also catch.” Diamondbacks manager Gibson said to end the press conference.

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Four Consecutive Wins! Are the Tampa Bay Rays Back?

After leaving Port Charlotte, their spring training home, baseball experts and fans thought the Rays would have troubles with their bullpen.

After their 0-6 start, baseball experts and fans thought they were just bad.

Manny Ramirez was caught doping again and retired after a week. Superstar third baseman Evan Longoria strained his oblique and is out for a few weeks. The entire lineup looked like the 2002 Devil Rays.

It just looked hopeless.

But now, after four straight victories against the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins, does it look like the Tampa Bay Rays are back in business? Check the stats.

Although they are not where they need to be when it comes to batting average, they are starting to pick it up in the RBI department with 40 so far this season. Their starting pitching is coming to its own with the exception of Jeff Niemann, who has an 8.31 ERA.

Everyone else on the five man staff has ERAs ranging from three to four. While none of them has shown the power to strike out batters yet, they might have grasped the concept of pitching to bad contact and getting outs that don’t require multiple pitches.

And the Tampa Bay Rays have the two most important things that will push them up in the standings: a closer and a leader. Johnny Damon has hit 9-for-27 since Ramirez retired and has three home runs and 11 RBI so far this season. Kyle Farnsworth is three-for-three in save opportunities and has established himself as the closer for the Rays.

So after four consecutive victories, are the Rays back? You bet your sweet behind they are!

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