Matthew Pouliot

Danny Espinosa, Allen Craig

Danny Espinosa will play through torn rotator cuff

15 Comments

Rather than undergo surgery that likely would have cost him at least April and May, Danny Espinosa has decided to play through a torn left rotator cuff he believes he originally sustained in September, CSNWashington.com’s Mark Zuckerman reports.

Espinosa was originally diagnosed with a bone bruise after diving for a ball on Sept. 7.

“I knew something was wrong,” he said. “The cortisone shot masked me for a little bit, and everybody kept asking me: “Is your shoulder OK? Is your shoulder OK?’ I’m not going to come out and say, ‘Yeah, I’m hurt. My shoulder hurts. I’m just playing through pain.’ But there was something wrong.”

Espinosa struggled offensively over the rest of the season and only learned about two weeks after the Nationals were eliminated from the playoffs that he had a tear. He’s since worked to build up the muscles around his rotator cuff, and he resumed swinging on Jan. 1.

“My swing feels really good, better than it did last year,” he said. “I’m really confident in my swing right now. Maybe it’s because I have the confidence that my shoulder’s alright. But I do feel really good.”

Espinosa is set to remain the Nationals’ starting second baseman this season, but if the shoulder becomes a problem again, the team does have a quality fallback in Steve Lombardozzi.

Heyman: King Felix has no interest in four-year deal

Felix Hernandez
32 Comments

FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported earlier in the week that the Mariners were considering offering Felix Hernandez a four-year, $100 million extension that would kick in after his current deal expires and cover the 2015-18 seasons. But if they were still weighing the possibility, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman says they might as well forget it:

Foxsports.com reported a few days ago that the Mariners were thinking about a four-year extension for $25 million a year, and while it’s not known whether such an offer has been made or even suggested yet, indications from people familiar with the discussions are that such a proposal would be a non-starter for the starter generally considered one of the best two or three in the game.

Heyman says it’d take a six-year offer to get Hernandez to the table now. But that wouldn’t make much sense for Seattle. The only reason to extend him this winter, when he still has two years left on his deal, is if he’d be willing to give them a discount. Since it seems that’s not in the cards, the Mariners should let 2013 play out and then try to hammer out something next winter.

Hernandez is due $39.5 million over the next two seasons before he becomes eligible for free agency after the 2014 campaign. That could be a huge winter if both Hernandez and Justin Verlander make it to free agency, but chances are that one or both will sign extensions before then.

Frank Thomas hoping for Hall of Fame enshrinement next year

Frank Thomas
48 Comments

In town for SoxFest on Saturday, Frank Thomas was his typical direct self in expressing his desire to enter Cooperstown next winter and in labeling the numbers of steroid users “fake.”

CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes has the story, which includes a video interview.

Thomas has a very clear sense of his place in history, and he knows he ranks among the elite. And while bitter might not be the right word, he still takes issue over losing the 2000 AL MVP award to a player in Jason Giambi who later admitted to cheating.

“I spent my whole career working my butt off and hopefully I get what I deserve,” Thomas said. “Of course I would be disappointed [if unelected]. I’m not going to lie to you. Of course I will. Like I said, I think my resume speaks for itself. Losing a third MVP to a guy who admitted he was PED, I think that would have put me at another level that only a couple of guys have enjoyed ever in this game. The 12-year-run I had was incredible, very historical. So, I think I’ve done enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”

Thomas is right about that. He’s also right about the MVP thing. The only player ever to win more than three is Barry Bonds, one of those with “fake” numbers, according to Thomas. Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Schmidt all won three apiece.

Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine will join Thomas on the ballot for the first time next year. Thomas indicated that he’d like to see those two and Craig Biggio share the stage with him at induction.

Rockies, Jhoulys Chacin agree to $6.5 million deal

Jhoulys Chacin
1 Comment

A long-term deal didn’t make a lot of sense after Jhoulys Chacin’s poor 2012 season, but the right-hander and Rockies did find common ground on a two-year, $6.5 million pact on Saturday.

The deal takes care of Chacin’s first two years of arbitration. He’ll again be eligible for arbitration in 2015 before he qualifies for free agency following that season.

The 25-year-old Chacin asked for $2.6 million and was offered $1.7 million in arbitration  Assuming that the two sides would have settled at the $2.15 million midpoint, this essentially gets him under control for 2014 at $4.35 million.

Chacin looked like one of the NL’s most promising young pitchers two years ago, posting ERAs of 3.28 and 3.62 and WHIPs of 1.27 and 1.31 in his first two seasons with the Rockies. Adjusting for Coors Field, those were particularly strong marks.

Chacin, though, struggled right from the get-go in 2012, showing neither his usual velocity nor a quality slider before being diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and, later, a nerve issue in his chest. He did rebound at the very end of the season, though, going 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in his last nine starts.

Lifetime, Chacin has a 3.05 ERA in 29 starts and eight relief appearances away from Coors Field. He’s 23-31 with a 3.68 ERA overall.

Landon Powell loses baby daughter to liver condition

Izzy Powell
23 Comments

There’s some very sad news to report tonight, as Landon Powell, the former A’s catcher currently employed by the Mets, has lost his baby daughter, Izzy, after a four-month ordeal.

Izzy, one of two twin sisters born prematurely (the other, Ellie, is alive and well), was diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, which led to a liver to large for her body. If she had survived longer, she could have received a bone marrow transplant from her older brother. However, she was never in the kind of condition that would have permitted such a surgery.

You can read more about all the Powell family (Landon, Allyson, Holden and Ellie)  has been going through at their facebook page,  Prayers for Izzy.

Our condolences go out to the Powell family.