Author: Mike Florio

Former baseball union boss Donald Fehr on verge of taking over same role in NHL


According to James Mirtle of the Toronto Globe and Mail longtime MLB players’ association executive director Donald Fehr “is on the verge of taking over the troubled NHL players’ association.”
Hockey has been without a players’ association boss since Paul Kelly was fired last year and Fehr received an $11 million severance package while stepping down from the MLBPA in October.
Mirtle reports that the 62-year-old Fehr has been working as “an unpaid advisor” to the NHL since then and his officially being voted in by the 30 player representatives is “believed to be a formality”

Brewers dump Manny Parra from the rotation for third year in a row


As expected, the Brewers have bumped Manny Parra from the rotation after an ugly start Sunday dropped him to 3-10 with a 5.65 ERA this season.
Chris Capuano will replace Parra in the rotation beginning Saturday against the Pirates. Capuano has pitched mostly in relief since coming back from Tommy John surgery, but was a longtime starter for the Brewers before the injury and has done well with a 3.72 ERA and 28/8 K/BB ratio in 29 innings.
When reporters approached Parra regarding the demotion he complained that they only want to talk to him about negative things, which is both true and completely unavoidable given that he’s been so awful for so long.
Since a promising first half to his rookie season in 2008 he has a 15-27 record and 5.99 ERA in 307 innings. What else are they supposed to talk to him about? Parra will be under team control as an arbitration eligible player in 2011, but I’ll be shocked if he’s not traded or non-tendered this offseason. Milwaukee has waited long enough for his above-average raw stuff to translate into something other than terrible results, and he’s now been dumped from the rotation in each of the past three seasons.

Ryan Howard's five-strikeout, 0-for-7 night was pretty rare


Lost in Roy Oswalt playing left field in a 16-inning game after Ryan Howard was ejected by an out of line umpire Tuesday night is that Howard went 0-for-7 with five strikeouts before getting tossed in the 14th frame.
With the help of I looked up how many players in baseball history have gone hitless in at least seven at-bats while striking out at least five times.
Here’s the complete list: Howard, Jim Thome, Geoff Jenkins, Richie Sexson, Ryan Thompson, Cecil Cooper, George Foster, Bobby Darwin, Billy Cowan, Tony Conigliaro, Pete Rose, Ron Swoboda, Byron Browne, Rick Reichardt.
Interestingly, the last guy to do it was Jim Thome when he went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in a 16-inning loss to the Orioles on July 2, 2004. Thome was starting at first base for the Phillies at the time, while a 24-year-old prospect named Ryan Howard smacked 46 homers and drove in 131 runs in the minors.
The next season Thome got hurt, Howard took over as the Phillies’ first baseman … and five years later he joined Thome on the above list.

Dusty Baker may juggle Reds' rotation to keep Cardinals from killing Johnny Cueto


Depending on how the Reds adjust their rotation between now and then Johnny Cueto may be in line to start against the Cardinals next week.
When he last faced the Cardinals on August 10 there was a benches-clearing incident and Cueto was suspended seven games after giving Jason LaRue a season-ending concussion with a kick to the head, so the follow-up start has the potential to be very interesting.
Fortunately for Cueto, manager Dusty Baker realizes that might not be the world’s greatest idea right now and indicated that the Reds may keep him from pitching against the Cardinals:

I don’t know yet. He’s going to have to pitch against them some time. They say time heals all wounds. Maybe it doesn’t.

Baker is right that Cueto will eventually have to pitch against the Cardinals, but next week’s three-game series is actually the final time Cincinnati and St. Louis will meet this season. And while the Cardinals are no doubt capable of holding a grudge until 2011, presumably the level of anger will have dropped off at least somewhat in eight months. Or at least Cueto can further improve his Kung Fu skills by then.

Unhappy with reduced role, Luis Castillo may seek a trade


Luis Castillo has started just four of the last 17 games and said yesterday that he’s unhappy losing playing time to 20-year-old rookie Ruben Tejada, who’s hitting just .167 in 48 games overall this season.

On the bench last night for the fifth straight game, Castillo told the New York Daily News that he’ll talk to his agents about finding a team willing to make him a starter again:

I think we will talk to them about that. I need to be in a different kind of situation. I don’t know what they want to do. I want an opportunity to play, and if it is here, then I am happy. If it is somewhere else, then that’s what it is.

I thought I would be playing tonight, but I am not making the lineup. What is going on here? I don’t know what he’s doing. All I can do is the best I can. That’s how you try to play more, but I am disappointed.

Castillo has hardly played well enough this season to complain much about a lack of playing time, but it’s also easy to see why he’d be frustrated sitting in favor of a 20-year-old who clearly isn’t ready for the majors. Tejada is a promising young player, but he’s also just the latest example of the Mets needlessly rushing a prospect through the system and sending him to New York well before he’s ready. Among the 186 hitters in NL with at least 150 plate appearances this season, Tejada has the lowest OPS at .467.

Jerry Manuel admitted that Tejada isn’t ready offensively, but praised his defense and indicated that Castillo has indeed been relegated to a role player, saying: “Right now we’re probably going to try to see how far we can go with Ruben. It may not be a situation he likes, but it’s a situation he’ll have to adjust to.”
And, of course, if the Mets could trade Castillo they would have done so long ago. He’s making $6 million this season and is still owed another $6 million next year.