James Loney

The Rockies consider James Loney their fallback option after Justin Morneau


We’ve heard that the Rockies are interested in Justin Morneau for their open first base job. But if that doesn’t work out, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that James Loney is the fallback option.They still want Morneau, however, Renck says, and he believes they can get him on a two-year deal given that no other team seems to be in on him right now.

Loney had what appears at first glance to be a breakout/resurgent season for the Rays last year, with a line of .299/.348/.430 to go with 13 HR and 75 RBI. But looking closer, you see that most of the damage he did was done during his scorching-hot April and May, and after that he settled back in to a Loney-esque .283/.328/.382 over the final four months of the season.  That was still totally cool for the Rays, though, as he only cost them $2 million.

If he doesn’t break the bank Loney can still be valuable, especially given his fine defense. But fans of whichever team lands him should expect his production to look a lot more like those last four months of 2013, not the first two or the overall batting line for the year.

CC Sabathia checking into an alcohol rehab center

sabathia getty

This is totally unexpected and definitely unfortunate: The New York Yankees just released a statement from CC Sabathia saying that he is checking himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center.

Sabathia, who was involved in a relatively minor incident outside a nightclub back in August, has battled injuries and ineffectiveness for the past three seasons but has, in his last few starts, shown himself to be effective, even if he’s not to the level he once was. And, should the Yankees advance past the Wild Card game, one would have assumed that the Yankees would’ve been counting on him for the playoff rotation. Now, however, that seems both doubtful and completely superfluous.

And for what it’s worth, Sabathia’s statement, just released by the Yankees, suggests that he is aware of the need to get his priorities in order:

“Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease.

“I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series. It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father and player.

“I want to thank the New York Yankees organization for their encouragement and understanding. Their support gives me great strength and has allowed me to move forward with this decision with a clear mind.

“As difficult as this decision is to share publicly, I don’t want to run and hide. But for now please respect my family’s need for privacy as we work through this challenge together.

“Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids — and others who may have become fans of mine over the years — to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that’s exactly what I am going to do.

“I am looking forward to being out on the field with my team next season playing the game that brings me so much happiness.”

Here’s hoping Sabathia deals with whatever problems he’s facing and comes out healthy on the other end.

Diamondbacks fire pitching coach Mike Harkey

Oliver Perez, Mike Harkey
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Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks have fired pitching coach Mike Harkey following a season in which the staff ranked ninth among NL teams in runs allowed.

That actually represents a big improvement from last season, when the Diamondbacks allowed the second-most runs in the league in Harkey’s first year as pitching coach, but the Tony La Russa-led front office has decided to make a change.

Prior to joining the Diamondbacks two offseasons ago Harkey served as the Yankees’ bullpen coach from 2008-2013. He pitched eight seasons in the majors.