Fausto Carmona throws simulated game, declares himself “ready to go”

5 Comments

On the disabled list with a quadriceps injury suffered while running the bases two weeks ago, Fausto Carmona threw a three-inning simulated game yesterday and declared himself “ready to go.”

He threw 50 pitches and is now on track to return from the disabled list Monday against the Twins, although as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Carmona will have to pass a few more agility tests over the weekend first.

Getting Carmona back healthy and effective is a big key for the Indians’ chances of hanging in contention down the stretch. He bounced back from a terrible 2009 season to throw 210 innings with a 3.77 ERA last year, making his first All-Star team, but followed that up by going 4-10 with a 5.78 ERA in 18 starts prior to being shut down with the quadriceps injury, including 1-7 with an 8.20 ERA in his last nine outings.

Healthy or not, Carmona is a huge question mark for the second half.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

Getty Images
2 Comments

James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.

The Rays gave Seth Smith a little league homer last night

MLB.com
3 Comments

I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:

Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.

Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.

Watch:

 

I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.

Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.