Before I get started, I’d like to
introduce myself. My name is
Pierce Jefferson. To answer all of the questions sure to
follow: Yes, I am related to Thomas Jefferson. Yes, I have heard of Pierce
Brosnan. Yes, I am James Bond, and
you can most certainly call me 007.
Now that it’s covered, we can move on.
You may remember my name from reading
my weekly Memphis Redbirds reports last season or from my contributions the past
two years involving the Draft. If
not, I don’t blame you for regretting the decision not to read
I will be writing ‘Around the Major
Leagues’ reports each week this season to provide the readers of
TheCardinalNation.com with news and notes, along with my personal commentary and
analysis from teams all around the major leagues. Since this is a brand new thing, I
expect these reports to expand and evolve over the course of the season,
hopefully with the input and suggestions from all of
I encourage everyone to email me at
or contact me on twitter (@MLBPJ) with questions, comments, or
suggestions. Also feel free to
email me any links to articles you’d like me to include in these reports. Lastly, I’d love to hear your opinions
about any events or news going on in the game so that I can include them in
here, as well.
Anyway, that’s enough about me. On to the first week in
-Boston’s offense in 2013 will
rely heavily on David Ortiz’s health.
The Boston Herald notes that the Red Sox have a plan that would get the
designated hitter back in the lineup by the third week of April. Ortiz is recovering from a small tear in
his right Achilles and will get roughly 25-30 at bats in the minors before
joining the club.
-Speaking of Boston injuries,
starter John Lackey went down in fifth inning of his first start with a bicep
injury. Though its not expected to
be serious, it certainly gave the Red Sox a scare. Lackey has been out for over a year
following Tommy John surgery.
-Third baseman Will Middlebrooks is a
beast, and he further proved that with a monstrous day against Toronto on Sunday. Middlebrooks smashed three home runs and
added a double, totaling 14 bases on the day in a 13-0 rout for the Red
-There is slight concern over the drop
in velocity from C.C. Sabathia’s fastball.
According to the New York Post in his Opening Day start, the
left-hander’s fastball hovered around 88-90 miles per hour, hitting 91 nine
times and 92 twice. Sabathia
assured fans that he was fine, claiming that the velocity will come back as he
continues to throw.
-Speaking of the Yankees,
second baseman Robinson Cano made noise when he fired agent Scott Boras earlier
this week and went with an agency headed by rap-artist Jay-Z. It’s hard to imagine Cano leaving
New York after
signing with a guy whose well known song is titled ‘Empire State of
-There is still no timetable on the
return of shortstop Derek Jeter, and there are several rumblings that he may not
be ready to return until May.
-Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia set a
club record that he’d rather not have while catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey
on Opening Day. His three passed
balls qualified as the most ever in club history. Henry Blanco got the difficult
opportunity to catch Dickey on Sunday and allowed one passed
-It’s a shame that long-time Baltimore
second baseman Brian Roberts just can’t stay healthy anymore. He hasn’t played in more than 60 games
since 2009. Roberts didn’t last the
first week of the season, as he ruptured a tendon in the back of his knee
running to second. The former
All-Star will miss three to four weeks.
-The Baltimore Sun had some fun statistics about
first baseman Chris Davis’ torrid start to the season for the
Orioles. Quoted from the
newspaper: “In his first four games of 2013, Davis had more RBIs (16) than 17 other major
league teams and at least twice as many RBIs as the Marlins (8), Padres (8),
Giants (8), Cubs (7), Dodgers (7), and Pirates (6).” Davis belted four home runs this week and is on
pace to at least match his 33 from last year.
-Left-hander John Danks of the
White Sox is on track in his recovery from shoulder surgery, according to
Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
There remains no timetable on his return, however, as Danks had mixed
results in a minor league game recently.
The left-hander missed most of last season because of his shoulder and is
in the second year of a 5-year, $65 million
-Catcher Tyler Flowers is certainly on
pace to make up for the loss of the 27 home runs the White Sox incurred
on the departure of A.J. Pierzynski.
Flowers belted a home run in each of his first two games of the season
against the Royals.
-Most people probably don’t know that
ace Justin Verlander has never won an Opening Day start. That all changed Monday when he shut
down the Twins lineup through five innings. Detroit certainly hopes it won’t be the
last after signing him to a 7-year, $180 million
-It took the Tigers all of four
days to sign former closer Jose Valverde to a minor-league deal, not long after
their closer-by-committee blew its first save in its second opportunity of the
season. The right-hander can opt
out of his deal if he’s not called up within a
-When Kansas City traded a huge piece
of their future in a deal that brought in starter James Shields, they expected
him to take over as ace in a revamped rotation. If Opening Day was any indication, the
Royals have themselves a sure bet.
They may have lost 1-0 to the White Sox, but Shields dominated in six
innings by fanning six batters, walking none, and whose lone damage came off a
solo-shot from Tyler Flowers.
-It took less than a week into the
season for the Indians to promote starter Trevor Bauer, taking the place
of injured Scott Kazmir for Saturday’s game. Bauer issued seven walks in his debut
and was then optioned back down to Triple-A the next day. Carlos Carrasco will take his spot in
-Following a slew of mega-extensions,
the Rangers didn’t want to be left behind. Texas came to agreement with shortstop Elvis Andrus on an 8-year, $120 million extension. Andrus immediately becomes the
fourth-best paid shortstop in the game.
-Andrus’ contract begs the question
what happens to top prospect Jurickson Profar, who is now officially blocked
long-term by Andrus at short. Can
the Rangers convince second baseman Ian Kinsler to shift to first
base? So far, they haven’t
succeeded. At the very worst,
Profar represents a significant trade chip for Texas, though they’d surely like to find a
spot for him on the team.
-Yu want early-season excitement? Ok, that’s my one and only Yu Darvish
pun. He provided plenty of
excitement in his first start of the season. All of Texas and most of baseball was tuned in to
catch what looked to be the 24th Perfect Game in MLB history. Darvish allowed a single up the middle
to infielder Marwin Gonzalez on what would have been the 27th and
decisive out of the ballgame.
-The Houston Astros made
history by setting a record upon their debut in the American League. Well, maybe not one they’d like to
have. The Astros struck out a
staggering 43 times in their first three games against the Rangers, setting a
major league record for the most strikeouts in the first three games of a
season. Then, according to the
Houston Chronicle, the Astros made another mark by becoming the first team in 90
years to record four consecutive games with at least 13 strikeouts at any point
during the season.
-The mayor of San Jose is willing to go
to great lengths to speak with Bud Selig about a possible relocation site for
the Oakland Athletics. Asked
by the San Francisco Chronicle if he’d consider suing MLB, he responded, “If
necessary-” Check out the rest of
his response here.
-The Seattle Mariners are
getting what they bargained for with outfielder Michael Morse, which is power
and lots of it. The left fielder
has five of the nine home runs that the Mariners have recorded through the first
week of the season.
-The Marlins made a bizarre,
questionable move upon the promotion of top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez
after the announcement that starters Henderson Alvarez and Nate Eovaldi would
begin the season on the disabled list.
It’s not just irresponsible that Miami is promoting a 20-year old pitcher who
hasn’t pitched above single-A. The
Marlins are now starting the clock early on an uber-talented prospect while
having absolutely no shot at competing this year. Scratch this off as a bone-headed
decision by an organization that has come under plenty of scrutiny this past
-There has been concern over the drop
in velocity of Roy Halladay for the Phillies. His first start of the season did
nothing to alleviate those concerns.
Though he recorded an impressive nine strikeouts over 10 of his outs,
Halladay didn’t last through the fourth inning. The right-hander had trouble hitting 90
miles per hour, as he surrendered five runs, six hits, and coughed up two home
runs. There is legitimate concern
that he’s done as a consistent threat.
-One Upton brother is off to a hot start in Atlanta. The other is trying to catch up. Justin Upton belted five home runs in
his first five games with the Braves.
B.J. Upton connected with a home run on Saturday off Carlos Marmol to tie
the game, but he is hitting just .150 through Sunday. Hey, it’s the first week of the
season. No one is
-As one Upton brother was celebrating in the dugout
during the ninth inning on Saturday, the other came up to face Marmol. Justin lifted a 1-2 pitch over the
center field wall for the walk-off win.
According to Mark Townsend of Yahoo! Sports, the Uptons became the first
pair of brothers since Cal and Bill Ripken in 1996 to homer in the same
inning. According to Elias, they
became the first pair of brothers ever to hit the game-tying and
game-winning home runs in the same inning.
Expect a fun summer in Atlanta.
-First baseman Freddie Freeman of the
Braves was fuming after the announcement that he’d be placed on the
15-day disabled list with an oblique strain. The Associated Press quoted him as
saying, “They didn’t even give me a choice. It’s my career. I should be able to make that
decision.” Oblique strains are a
tricky thing, but you have to at least respect the fire in him to play through
-The Cubs will be without
second baseman Darwin Barney for at least two weeks. NBC Sports announced that Barney was
placed on the 15-day disabled list after needing five stitches to close up a cut
on his knee. The second baseman is
expected back soon after.
-Starter Matt Garza for the Cubs
is taking to the mound and will return sometime in early-May. In the meantime, the Chicago Sun-Times
writes that Travis Wood is making his case for a
permanent spot in their rotation.
-Time was short for Carlos Marmol as
the closer for the Cubs. The
right-hander blew a save against Atlanta on Saturday and surrendered runs in
each of his three appearances this week.
Manager Dale Sveum subsequently announced on Sunday that Japanese hurler
Kyuji Fujikawa would take over his spot.
-Outfielder Ryan Ludwick of the
Reds will be out until at least July after suffering a dislocated
shoulder on a slide into third base on Opening Day. Cincinnati was counting on Ludwick to be a
major contributor to the offense after pounding 26 home runs last season. Chris Heisey will now get the majority
of starts in left field during Ludwick’s absence.
-The Cardinals were a part of
the longest game in Chase Field history this week. Hey, that’s a fun stat for the fans if
they win. The Cardinals
didn’t. The game lasted five hours,
32 minutes and left Cardinals fans (the ones who stayed up, anyway) flipping off
the power to their television sets in frustration.
-Already facing the start of the
season without first baseman Corey Hart, the Brewers will be without
third baseman Aramis Ramirez for at least two weeks. Ramirez sprained his knee in the fourth
inning of their game on Friday and was subsequently placed on the 15-day
disabled list. The middle of their
lineup is immediately less intimidating.
Ryan Braun still lurks, but he’s dealing with a neck issue that has kept
him out of the lineup.
-The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
examined closer John Axford’s drop in velocity. Axford was sitting 91-92 miles per hour
on his fastball, down from his normal 96-97 mph. The Brewers are banking on a
rebound year from Axford to make up for arguably the worst bullpen in baseball
starter Kyle Lohse made his debut on Friday with a solid start against the
Diamondbacks. The former Cardinals
starter limited the opposition to one run over six innings with no walks and
five strike outs. Milwaukee’s offense didn’t
respond as they lost 3-1.
-Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki sure did
his best to make up for lost time after getting his first start since May
30th of last year. The
California native of the Rockies belted
a home run in each of his first two games of the season against Milwaukee. The rest of the NL Central was
grateful. At least, until they have
to face him.
-Todd Helton made his
16th-straight Opening Day start, the longest active streak in the
majors. Whether it’s his last
remains to be seen, though he hasn’t let anybody know he’s
-With the abundance of long-term
extensions being handed out to star players of the past week, speculation mounts
between Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers certainly have the money to
sign the left-hander, but both sides are apparently nowhere close to a
deal. Kershaw is poised to be a
free agent following the 2014 season, so rumors will continue to
-Tim Lincecum didn’t do much to prove
that his control issues are a thing of the past. When you walk seven batters in your
debut, the questions will remain.
The right-hander limited the Dodgers to two unearned runs and fanned four
batters in his debut, despite the wildness. If Lincecum continues to walk as many
batters it is impossible to expect the same results on a consistent
Jefferson can be reached via
email at email@example.com. Follow him
on twitter (@MLBPJ).
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