Author: D.J. Short

Jarrod Parker AP

Jarrod Parker faces hitters for first time since Tommy John surgery


Athletics right-hander Jarrod Parker missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery in March, but everything has gone according to plan with his rehab process and yesterday he took his most important step yet.

According to John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group, Parker faced hitters yesterday for the first time since surgery. It was only 20 pitches against minor leaguers, but he was pain-free and said that everything went “really well.”

Parker previously had Tommy John surgery in 2010, so the A’s are going to be extra careful not to rush things. He likely won’t be a candidate to help at the major league level until around midseason.

Parker, 26, owns a 3.68 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 across 62 starts in the majors.

Zack Wheeler undergoes MRI on tender elbow

Zack Wheeler

The Mets scratched Zack Wheeler from Saturday’s scheduled start due to a tender right elbow and now Mike Vorkunov of the Newark Star-Ledger reports that he was sent for an MRI today.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson downplayed the severity of the situation yesterday, but he also revealed that Wheeler’s elbow was an issue at times last season. In fact, Mets manager Terry Collins said this afternoon that Wheeler pitched in “a lot” of games where his elbow bothered him, so he’s glad he said something this time. No MRI was originally scheduled, but the Mets at least want to play it safe before putting him back out there. It’s not quite panic time yet, but it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

After being mentioned in trade rumors for most of the offseason, Dillon Gee currently projects to begin the season in the bullpen, but he would presumably have a rotation spot if Wheeler needs to miss some time.

Wheeler turns 25 in May and posted a 3.54 ERA (98 ERA+) with a 187/79 K/BB ratio across 185 1/3 innings last season. He threw 100 or more pitches in 24 of his 32 starts, including 15 of his final 16 starts.

Former AL MVP and MLB executive Al Rosen passes away at the age of 91

Cleveland Indians Third Baseman Al Rosen

Sad news to pass along late this afternoon, as former Indians great and major league executive Al Rosen has passed away at the age of 91.

“He was an inspiration to us all and had a special presence, strength and intellect. His fierce competitive nature and toughness was legendary,” Indians president Mark Shapiro said in a statement from the team.

Rosen had a brief, but impressive career, all as a member of the Indians from 1947-1956. A four-time All-Star, he had a .285/.384/.495 batting line with 192 home runs and 717 RBI over 1,044 games. He won the American League MVP Award in 1953 in a year he just narrowly missed out on a Triple Crown.

Injuries forced Rosen into early retirement from his playing career at age 32, but he later returned to the game as an executive, making stops with the Yankees, Astros, and Giants. San Francisco won two division titles with him at the helm as president/general manager and made the World Series in 1989. He was named Executive of the Year in 1987.

Here’s an interesting video about Rosen in a discussion about his Jewish heritage:

We send our condolences to Rosen’s family, friends, and colleagues.

Chris Taylor to miss 4-6 weeks with broken bone in wrist

San Diego Padres v Seattle Mariners

Chris Taylor has been competing with Brad Miller for the Mariners’ starting shortstop job this spring, but he’ll now begin the season on the disabled list.

Greg Johns of reports that Taylor will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his right wrist. The 24-year-old suffered the injury when he took a pitch off his wrist in the sixth inning Friday against the Brewers. The pitch was ruled as a foul tip and Taylor actually completed the at-bat by reaching on a single. However, tests later revealed the bad news.

Taylor batted .287/.347/.346 over 151 plate appearances as a rookie last season and was off to a nice start at the plate this spring. He’ll have to wait to push Miller for the job.

Read an interesting excerpt from a new book on Mets GM Sandy Alderson

Sandy Alderson AP

Pretty interesting stuff here from the New York Daily News, who have an excerpt from Steve Kettmann’s new book on Mets general manager Sandy Alderson entitled, “Sandy Alderson: Baseball Maverick, How Sandy Alderson Revolutionized Baseball and Revived the Mets.”

This book will go into Alderson’s time with the A’s and you can certainly argue that the Mets haven’t been “revived” quite yet, but this particular excerpt focused on a game from June 14 last season. While Alderson is measured in most of his public appearances and even jokes about his team’s shortcomings at times, he has some strong reactions to his team’s performance. He’s particularly critical of Chris Young (now with the Yankees) and Gonzalez Germen (now with the Cubs). Here’s part of the tidbit on Germen:

“Why does he think it’s called a changeup?” Alderson groused, getting up to go walk around in the rear portion of the suite and watch on TV.

Warthen came out for a mound conference. Alderson was sure he was out there to remind Germen to establish a fastball. Warthen headed back to the dugout, and Germen peered in for the sign and made his first pitch to Alexi Amarista. It was a changeup.

“Throw a goddamned fastball!” came ringing out from the deep recesses of the suite.

It hardly mattered that Amarista flied out to left or that Germen got out of the inning without further damage. Alderson steamed through the remainder of the game. It was agony, one of the worst days of the year for him. I asked him once what the hardest part of being general manager was, and he did not have to search his thoughts to offer an answer: “The hardest part is living with losses,” he told me. “You live with them on a day-to-day basis during the season and you have to live with them in the offseason. Nobody in baseball goes home happy at the end of the season except if you won the World Series. I know that from personal experience.”

Given the public perception of Alderson, especially among certain disenfranchised Mets fans, it’s almost refreshing to see him from this perspective. Be sure to read the entire excerpt. Really interesting stuff. The book is already available online in various places, if you’re so inclined.