MLB draft rounds 4-5: Mariners add a hard-hitter in Kivlehan

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Notes from rounds four and five:

– Third baseman Patrick Kivlehan got picked 131st by the Mariners despite spending just one year on the diamond at Rutgers after four years as a reserve defensive back and special teams player on the football team. He was far and away the Scarlet Knights’ best hitter, coming in at .392/.480/.693 with 14 homers in 189 at-bats.

– The one remaining player from Baseball America’s pre-draft top 40, high school right-hander Ty Buttrey, went to the Red Sox at pick No. 151. Buttrey skyrocketed up draft boards when he was flashing a mid-90s fastball early on this season, but his velocity dipped some as the year went on and his stock went with it. He’s still a very intriguing prospect, and the Red Sox might be able to spare the money to sign him away from Arkansas after focusing primarily on college players with their early picks.

– The Royals took Stanford shortstop Kenny Diekroeger with the 133rd pick. He was the Rays’ second-rounder in 2009, but he passed on their offer then. He’s due for less money now. Diekroeger’s stock peaked after a strong freshman season in which he hit .356/.391/.491. In two seasons since, he’s come it at .293/.356/.364 and .269/.335/.370. Also, he’s likely to move to second base in the pros.

– Coastal Carolina right-hander Josh Conway was taken 134th overall by the Cubs even though he just underwent Tommy John surgery that figures to sideline him into the 2013 season. He was viewed as a likely second-rounder before getting hurt.

– The Angels picked an offensive-minded second baseman in Ole Miss product Alex Yarbrough 147th overall. He hit .380/.437/.508 with a 24/22 K/BB ratio in 250 at-bats this season. His future could be at third base if the Angels think he has the arm. Otherwise, he could end up in left field.

– I haven’t really mentioned the Mets yet, but they are having a nice draft. Their top two picks, shortstop Gavin Cecchini at No. 12 and catcher Kevin Plawecki at No. 35, are both very well-regarded. Reliever Matt Koch was a great get in round three, and fellow righty Brandon Welch looks like another smart pick in round five. A juco product with a strong fastball-slider combination, he’d also make for a pretty intriguing reliever if the Mets opt to go in that direction.

– The name is a lie: Nationals fifth-round pick Spencer Kieboom is a catcher who slugged .343 in three seasons at Clemson.

– The name is a lie — part two: Brewers fifth-rounder Damien Magnifico had a 4.01 ERA and a 27/20 K/BB ratio in 42 2/3 innings for the University of Oklahoma this year.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.