Author: Mike Florio

Group interested in buying Dodgers wants to have Joe Torre run the team


T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times reports that manager Joe Torre was “approached recently” by an ownership group interested in buying the Dodgers and having him “run it a la Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers.”
Torre told Simers that he gets “people who make all kinds of suggestions all the time” and “some of these suggestions are real and some tongue in cheek and that’s something to discuss and determine at a later date.”
All of which is what Simers calls “his way of confirming such an overture has been made.”

Reds may shut down struggling rookie Mike Leake

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Last week the Reds demoted Mike Leake to the bullpen in an effort to keep the rookie’s innings count in check, but after back-to-back ugly relief outings they’re now thinking about shutting him down altogether.
Leake gave up six runs while recording one out last night and afterward manager Dusty Baker said:

We’re addressing that now. He’s getting hurt mostly on his slider and sinker. His sinker is not sinking as good. And his slider isn’t rolling. It’s not as sharp.

Since beginning his career 5-0 with a 2.22 ERA through 11 starts Leake has allowed 55 runs in 66 innings, during which time opponents have hit .336 with a .560 slugging percentage. To put that in some context, teammate and MVP candidate Joey Votto is hitting .323 with a .589 slugging percentage. So for the past 10 weeks Leake has essentially turned every hitter he’s faced into Votto.
In addition to moving Leake to the bullpen and now possibly shutting him down, the Reds are also planning to bring five-time Opening Day starter Aaron Harang back from the disabled list as a reliever and have reportedly discussed moving the similarly struggling Edinson Volquez to the bullpen as well. Cincinnati has a ton of starting pitching depth, but not all of it is looking particularly good heading into the stretch run.
Even if they shut down Leake the pitcher they may want to keep Leake the hitter around, because he’s batting .348 with a .423 on-base percentage in 58 plate appearances.

Mets castoff Rod Barajas has record-setting Dodgers debut


Claimed off waivers by the Dodgers earlier this week, Rod Barajas went 3-for-4 with a homer and two doubles last night to become the first player to smack three extra-base hits in his debut since the team moved to Los Angeles.
Prior to being put on waivers Barajas had a grand total of three extra-base hits in his last 31 games and 105 plate appearances for the Mets, and as Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. notes Dodgers backstops Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis have combined for three extra-base hits in 133 plate appearances this year.
Barajas should see plenty of playing time down the stretch with Russell Martin out for the year, but it’ll be all downhill from here for the career .237/.282/.408 hitter.

Why isn't Damien Cox getting the Jerod Morris treatment for his Jose Bautista comments?


Last year a blogger named Jerod Morris made headlines for writing an article suggesting that Raul Ibanez’s career-best production at age 37 “raised questions” about whether he was using steroids.
Not only did Ibanez respond very angrily and publicly to the article, ESPN had Morris as a guest on Outside the Lines, where he was confronted by Ken Rosenthal of and John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer. And his comments became fodder for columnists, radio hosts, and talking heads around the country.
I’m not here to argue about whether or not Morris deserved that treatment, but rather to ask why Damien Cox of the Toronto Star hasn’t been similarly ripped to shreds for his column yesterday suggesting that Jose Bautista’s out of nowhere, 40-homer (and counting) breakout season means “you’ve got to at least ask the question” of whether he’s using steroids.
I’d encourage everyone to read Morris’ article from last year and Cox’s article from yesterday, and then judge for themselves just how similar they are. I tend to think they’re pretty damn close, which is why it seems so strange to me that Cox isn’t receiving anywhere close to the same treatment that Morris did.
Is it because mainstream media members aren’t nearly as eager to pick on one of their own? Is it because Morris was mostly just a way for people to launch a larger-scale attack on bloggers and blogging as a whole? Is it because the Phillies and Philadelphia simply get more coverage in the baseball world than the Blue Jays and Toronto? Or is there something else at play?

Johnny Damon turns down Red Sox, saying: "I'm not going"


Jason Beck of reports that Johnny Damon will not approve a move to the Red Sox, with the veteran outfielder telling him “I’m not going” prior to this afternoon’s game.
Since news of the Red Sox’s waiver claim hit yesterday Damon has repeatedly said that he was leaning toward remaining with the Tigers and he apparently didn’t change his mind despite attempts by David Ortiz and Jason Varitek to talk him into returning to Boston.
Earlier this afternoon Damon told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he planned to speak to the Tigers about his expected role down the stretch, saying he’d rather go to Boston than play sparingly in Detroit.
Whatever answer general manager Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland gave Damon wasn’t enough to change his mind.