More observations from Hohokam Park


Sorry I’m all photo crazy today. Just really jazzed to be where baseball is happening and I feel more like soaking it in than thinking too hard about it.  Here’s something to soak in:


Seven bucks for an Old Style? Yikes. He told me I “looked like an Old Style Man.” I politely declined. I mean, I’m not above snagging a beer while I’m at the park — it’s not like I’d take it up to the press box — but I’m not gonna start in with Old Styles three innings in to my first spring training game when I’m running a monster sleep deficit.

Something else to soak in: Yasiel Puig’s name auto-corrects on an iPhone to “Haskell Lying.”  He also hit the crap out of this ball as I was walking along the concourse:


I’m really curious to see how Puig does. He hit .330/.430/.581 with 17 homers and a 39/49 K/BB ratio in 327 at-bats at age 19 in Cuba. Many are skeptical about how he projects — and obviously me watching two whole plate appearances from him today means nothing — but he could be a lot of fun.

Random: The Cubs wear their regular season uniforms for home spring training games. I like that a lot. Dress for the job you want. Look the part be the part. More teams should do it. And yes, this is coming from a guy who wears pajamas all day, but (a) I have the job I want; and (b) wearing pajamas is looking the part for this gig.

Also fun: I spent the first few innings in a seat up high along the third base line. Right above me was a party deck with some corporate types, out for a corporate outing at the old ball park. Overheard:

P.A. Announcer: “Now batting for the Cubs, number 12, Alfonso Soriano.”

Man 1: Soriano. Why do I know that name?

Man 2: I think he used to play for the Yankees, right?

Man 1: Yeah. He’s the Yankees second baseman. Or he was. A year or two ago, I think.

Man 2: Yeah.

High beer prices, less-than-plugged-in crowds. But I don’t care a lick because I’m at a ballpark.

Now where’s that Old Style guy? If I can get him down to $5, we may be able to do some business.

Adrian Beltre leaves Game 1 of ALDS with injury

Adrian Beltre
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Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who’s been playing through an assortment of injuries for much of the season, left Game 1 of the ALDS in the second inning after tweaking his back on an RBI single.

Beltre grimaced in pain during the follow-through of his swing and could barely make it down the first base line. He remained in the game, but looked even worse trying to go to second base on Prince Fielder‘s ground out and was removed after the half-inning. He exited the field in tears.

Beltre is one of the best all-around third basemen in MLB history and even at age 36 had a fantastic season, hitting .287 with 18 homers and a .788 OPS in 143 games. That includes hitting .318 with 11 homers and an .884 OPS in the second half.

His pain threshold has been extremely high over the years, but based on how bad Beltre looked before exiting the game it’s hard to imagine him being available for a while. Texas has the option of removing him from the ALDS roster and adding another player, but doing so would make Beltre ineligible to return for the ALCS.

Hanser Alberto replaced Beltre and the Rangers are short on infield depth, making it an especially tough loss.

Cardinals playoff roster: Wainwright and Molina in, Adams and Choate out

Adam Wainwright

St. Louis announced its roster for the NLDS and the biggest news is the inclusion of Adam Wainwright as a reliever.

Expected to miss the entire season following a torn Achilles’ tendon in April, he instead returned to make three relief appearances in the final week of the season and now may be counted on to get some key late-inning outs against the Cubs.

Right-hander Steve Cishek and left-hander Randy Choate are not on the NLDS roster, losing their bullpen spots to Tyler Lyons and Carlos Villanueva. Outfielders Jon Jay and Tommy Pham both made the roster, which had been a topic of much debate in Cardinals nation.

First baseman Mark Reynolds made the roster, but first baseman Matt Adams did not despite returning from the disabled list for some late-season action. And of course catcher Yadier Molina is on the roster and will give it a go playing through a sprained left thumb that’s sidelined him since September 20.

John Lackey will start Game 1, followed in the rotation by Jaime Garcia in Game 2, Michael Wacha in Game 3, and Lance Lynn in Game 4.

ALDS, Game 1: Rangers vs. Blue Jays lineups

Toronto Blue Jays' starting pitcher David Price works against the Baltimore Orioles during first inning of a baseball game in Toronto, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:

CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos

SP Yovani Gallardo

With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.

LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar

SP David Price

After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.