Author: Bob Harkins


Happy Red Ryan Ludwick says ‘San Diego screwed me up’


Ryan Ludwick is really happy to be a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

One reason for his happiness is that he comes from Georgetown, Ohio and grew up rooting for the Reds and Bengals. Another reason for his joy is because of where he isn’t: That hitter’s nightmare known as Petco Park.

Ludwick spoke with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Playing in San Diego screwed me up. I’m not using that as an excuse or a crutch, but it turned me into a dead pull hitter. I got away from what I was as a hitter.”

The numbers seem to back him up. Ludwick has a line of .218/.298/.361 in 91 games at Petco, substantially lower than his .261/.332/.455 career line. It remains to be seen if Ludwick will improve enough to earn substantial playing time in a crowded outfield, but he sounded confident, telling Fay, “I think it’s kind of up to me. If I play well, I’ll play a lot. If I don’t, I won’t.”

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Bobby Valentine isn’t exactly going to rule with an iron fist


Given how the Red Sox fell apart late last season under the light touch of nice-guy manager Terry Francona, it would be natural to assume that Bobby Valentine would come in wearing steel-toed boots, ready to stomp on any player who even thinks about calling Colonel Sanders.

That assumption would be wrong. From the sound of things, Valentine isn’t going to be like that at all. In fact, the new Boston manager is going to leave the players alone to police themselves. Surprised?

In an interview on the MLB Network, Bob Costas asks Valentine if something similar to what happened last season could repeat itself under his watch.

“I certainly hope not,” Valentine said. “And I hope that it’s not because the big bad policeman’s standing on the corner and monitoring everything that’s going on. I hope it’s a conscious effort of players, coaches, clubhouse men, trainers all being on the same page, all understanding the difference between right and wrong. And I think they all know.”

So basically, Valentine is going to treat the players like adults, which sounds scary on the surface. He’s going to let ownership and GM Ben Cherrington warn the players at the start of the season that past behaviors won’t be tolerated, then step in as the new guy and do his thing.

It might actually be the correct way to handle a veteran team, but given that Valentine oversaw a Mets team that was involved in plenty of clubhouse shenanigans, it’s got to be a bit disquieting for Red Sox fans.

You can watch a clip of the interview here, and Art Martone of CSN New England has several more goodies from the interview here, including Valentine’s take on the infamous mustache he wore in the dugout after being ejected from a game in 1999. (He blames Robin Ventura). Good stuff.

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Nyjer Morgan returns to hockey roots, appears to have a blast


Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan took to the ice to play a little hockey on Wednesday, practicing with the San Jose Sharks for about 30 minutes.

Morgan played junior hockey for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey before giving up the sport to focus on baseball about a decade ago. He handled himself well, and even scored a goal on Sharks backup Thomas Greiss during a shootout contest.

Sharks star Joe Thornton characterized Morgan’s performance as “Not bad. It was better than I thought.”

You can read more details in Mike Halford’s post over at PHT, and the always engaging Morgan talks about the experience in an entertaining interview with CSNBayArea below.

Stay cool, Tony Plush.

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