<span class="vcard">Matthew Pouliot</span>

David Wright

Team USA, White Sox play to 4-4 tie in WBC warmup

4 Comments

Team USA rallied late Tuesday to salvage a 4-4 tie in its exhibition game with the White Sox in Arizona.

Derek Holland started and allowed one run in three innings for Team USA. The White Sox added one run in the fourth off Luke Gregerson and two in the fifth off Tim Collins before the rest of Team USA’s relievers shut them down. Glen Perkins, Steve Cishek, Mitchell Boggs and even Heath Bell reeled off the scoreless innings.

Giancarlo Stanton was the offensive star for Team USA, knocking in three runs with a double and a sac fly. Ryan Braun went 3-for-4 with two runs scored as the DH.

Ben Zobrist, a late addition to the starting lineup after Mark Teixeira was injured during batting practice, went 0-for-4 from the ninth spot in the order.

The White Sox started Gavin Floyd today, and he pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out three. Paul Konerko, who is being talked about as a possibility to replace Teixeira on Team USA’s roster, went 3-for-3 as the White Sox’s designated hitter.

Mark Teixeira injures forearm, to miss World Baseball Classic

Mark Teixeira
17 Comments

Yankees and Team USA first baseman Mark Teixeira suffered a strained right forearm hitting off a tee Tuesday before an exhibition against the White Sox and will miss the World Baseball Classic.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, he’s currently slated to miss 7-10 days.

FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi confirmed through an official that Teixeira would be pulled from the roster. Team USA intends to go away from its provisional roster to bring in a replacement, which is bad news for those hoping Willie Bloomquist might take over.

As for the non-Bloomquist options currently on the roster, Ben Zobrist and Joe Mauer can both play first. Mauer would be a more attractive choice had either Buster Posey or Matt Wieters opted in. As is, Jonathan Lucroy and J.P. Arencibia are the backup catchers.

With Prince Fielder having passed, Teixeira was picked for Team USA over younger, better players like Allen Craig, Freddie Freeman and Paul Goldschmidt. The two-time All-Star hit .251/.332/.475 with 24 homers in 451 at-bats for the Yankees last season.

If Team USA is given free rein to pick its replacement, it might choose Ryan Howard, who has been very impressive with three homers and three doubles in 30 at-bats this spring. A healthy Craig would be the best play, but he’s been recently limited to DH duties by shoulder soreness.

Dominican Republic crushes Phillies 15-2 in exhibition

Jose Reyes
24 Comments

The Phillies meant to give the Dominican Republic a proper tuneup on Tuesday, going so far as to start likely ace Cole Hamels. This one was quickly a rout, though, as the Dominican club collected a whopping 28 hits and steamrolled the Phillies 15-2.

Jose Reyes, Robinson Cano and Hanley Ramirez all homered for the D.R. Ramirez and Miguel Tejada both had four hits apiece. Edwin Encarnacion went 3-for-5 from the cleanup spot.

The Dominican squad boasts a powerful lineup despite lacking Albert Pujols, Jose Bautista, David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre and Aramis Ramirez. Bautista is the player the team misses most; while the country has produced plenty of good infielders, it’s very short on outfielders at the moment. Alongside Nelson Cruz in right today were Alejandro De Aza in center and Ricardo Nanita in left. Moises Sierra is the other candidate to start in left.

Hamels ended up surrendering eight runs and 12 hits in 2 2/3 innings in his start. Maybe it was for the best that he decided against pitching for Team USA this year.

The Netherlands advance to Round 2 of WBC

Andrelton Simmons
24 Comments

The Kingdom of the Netherlands held on to defeat Australia 4-1 on Tuesday to advance to the Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic.

The Dutch know they’re moving on because of a tiebreaker advantage; should Chinese Taipei and Korea both join them at 2-1. Chinese Taipei (2-0) will advance if it beats Korea (1-1) or loses by five runs or fewer in the Pool B finale. Korea would have to rout Chinese Taipei in order to get the spot.

Australia went 0-3 in the tourney.

The Netherlands did their scoring early today, getting one run in the first and three in the second. Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop homered for the final two runs.

As they had been all tournament, Australia’s bats were quiet, though the team finally made it interesting in the end by threatening in each of the last three innings. The Aussies got their lone run in the seventh, collected two more hits in the eighth and then barely missed tying it in the ninth when former Phillies prospect Brad Harman’s bid for a three-run homer was hauled in at the warning track. 7-foot-1 closer Loek Van Mil was able to escape afterwards and pick up the save for The Netherlands.

38-year-old Robbie Cordemans, a four-time Olympian and three-time rep for The Netherlands in the WBC, got the win after throwing five scoreless innings.

With scouts watching, Rick Porcello turns in gem

Rick Porcello
19 Comments

At least according to the numbers, Rick Porcello turned in one of the best outings of the spring so far Monday, striking out six in four scoreless innings against the Astros. The watchers were likely pretty impressed, too.

With Porcello rumored to be available in trade talks, today’s performance came in front of a “ton” of scouts, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal. MLB.com said it was “more than a half-dozen.”

The Tigers are weighing whether Drew Smyly’s emergence as a rotation option has made Porcello expendable. The truth is that they don’t get as much from Porcello as another team might; the groundballs he so frequently generates too often skip past Jhonny Peralta, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Give him another set of infielders and he probably would have finished with ERAs in the low-4.00s the last couple of years. Instead, he’s come in at 4.92, 4.75 and 4.59 since a stronger rookie season in 2009.

However, there is a problem in trading Porcello; especially after moving Justin Turner last summer, they’d have very little rotation depth beyond their top five with Porcello gone. Rule 5 pick Kyle Lobstein, veteran Shawn Hill, prospect Casey Crosby and relief candidate Duane Below are their next best options and none inspire much confidence. For that reason, the ideal Porcello trade might be similar to the one the A’s pulled off with the Diamondbacks last year, when they got Jarrod Parker in return for Trevor Cahill.

Alternatively, the Tigers could trade Porcello for a closer candidate. However, there don’t appear to be any teams looking to move established closers at this time. The Cubs’ Carlos Marmol is very much available, but he’s hardly a safe choice to close for a contender these days. Perhaps the best fit would be with Colorado and Rafael Betancourt. The Rockies could certainly use another starter with upside, and while Betancourt isn’t a big name, he’s an excellent reliever.

For now, the Tigers might as well take a wait and see approach and keep their six starters until the end of the spring in case one gets hurt. They’ll also have a better handle on their bullpen by the final week of the month.