Craig Calcaterra

Lou Brock

Cardinals great Lou Brock recovering after leg amputation

20 Comments

ST. LOUIS (AP) St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock, a former base stealing champion, has had his left leg amputated below the knee due to an infection related to diabetes.

The Cardinals and a longtime friend, Dick Zitzmann, confirmed Wednesday that the 76-year-old Brock had had surgery last month. Brock is undergoing therapy at an area hospital and will be fitted for a prosthetic leg.

Brock was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 15 years ago and had the procedure done Oct. 27, Zitzmann said.

“He’s got a lot road ahead, but he’s a tough guy,” Zitzmann said. “He’s got a great attitude.”

Brock has been a national spokesman for a diabetes drug manufacturer the last five years or so. Zitzmann said Brock “watched his diet meticulously.”

Brock stole a National League-record 938 bases, including 118 in 1974, and was known as the Base Burglar. He also had 3,023 hits, becoming a star after a celebrated trade from the Cubs in 1964 for pitcher Ernie Broglio. Brock batted .391 with four home runs and 10 steals in 21 World Series games.

Zitzmann arranges appearances for Brock and other Cardinals Hall of Famers. He said Brock complained of leg pain on the return flight from a show in Washington, D.C., about a month before the operation.

“The infection got real bad, real quick,” Zitzmann said. “It just happened so fast.”

Visits from former Cardinals teammates, including fellow Hall of Famers Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson and Whitey Herzog, have helped keep Brock’s spirits high.

Brock has been a regular guest instructor at spring training for many years. Zitzmann said Brock promised Schoendienst, who managed him on two World Series teams in the 1960s, that he’d be there on opening day.

The 92-year-old Schoendienst, an assistant to general manager John Mozeliak who often suits up before games, wasn’t satisfied, Zitzmann said. He told Brock to aim for spring training.

The Marlins made a lopsided trade with the Pirates as a compensation deal

Jacksonville Suns pitcher Trevor Williams fires in a pitch in the first inning against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos during a baseball game Thursday night, Aug. 21, 2014, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey)
11 Comments

In late October the Marlins and Pirates traded pitching prospects. Or, rather, “prospect,” with the Marlins sending well-regarded right-hander Trevor Williams to Pittsburgh in exchange for non-prospect righty Richard Mitchell. It was a head-scratcher of a trade, with the Marlins apparently getting fleeced.

Today ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the reason for the imbalance was because the Marlins were compensating the Pirates for hiring away an executive. Stark:

The trade was announced one day after the Marlins hired away [Pirates special assistant Jim] Benedict to be their vice president of pitching. Benedict was one of Pirates general manager Neal Huntington’s most trusted aides, but also is regarded as being among the sport’s top pitching gurus.

Start notes that the Marlins had just recently hired another high-ranking Pirates executive, Marc Delpiano, and that the custom in baseball circles is to not allow a team to hire more than one front office person from another team in a short timespan so as to avoid “raiding” scenarios. When the Pirates complained about the Benedict hire, the Marlins agreed to give up Williams for very little.

Which, given the uncertainty surrounding pitching prospects could amount to nothing. Or, if Williams becomes something special, could look pretty bad in a couple of years.

Yankees trade infielder Jose Pirela to the Padres for a minor-league pitcher

Jose Pirela
10 Comments

I feel like the Yankees have traded with the Padres a billion times in the past 20-25 years. Maybe a little less than a billion, but they seem to trade a lot. And sign each other’s free agents.

These two teams dealt again today. It was not Chase Headley-level deal. It was not Andy Hawkins or Dave Winfield relocating from on coast to the other. But on November 11 we take any deals we can: The Yankees traded Jose Pirela to the Padres for minor-league pitcher Ron Herrera.

Pirela was thought by some to be the Yankees’ second baseman of the future and, to some degree, was given consideration as that by the club. He turns 26 in a couple of weeks, however, and has only been given 103 major league plate appearances in the past two years. His 2014 cup of coffee encouraged those who think things like “sample size” is the stuff of sorcery — he hit well in a mere 25 plate appearances– but in 2015 he hit poorly with a tad more exposure. His decent performance in Triple-A and a fresh start in San Diego could bode well for his future, however.

Herrera is only 20 but already has 82 minor league games — 74 of them as a starter — under his belt. In that time he is 23-24 with a 3.80 ERA and a 296/100 K/BB ratio in 415 innings. His top stop has been Double-A San Antonio where he was rather “meh” in eight starts this year. Figure on him beginning 2016 in Double-A as well.