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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

May 12, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Humidity-hammered musings from deep in the heart of Texas

  • It’s looking increasingly like Randy Johnson will pitch against the Mariners in Seattle, but Tim Lincecum won’t. And if Johnson, who picked up his 298th victory last night against Washington, wins his next start, he would be going for 300 at Safeco Field. That’s no guarantee, considering his next start will be against the Mets’ Johan Santana on Saturday, May 16.

    The Mariners will host the Giants May 22-24. If the Giants stay in rotation, that would put Johnson pitching the opener of the series on Friday, May 22. Lincecum last pitched on Sunday. He’ll pitch again this Friday, May 15, against the Mets. If the Giants stay in rotation, Lincecum would pitch Thursday, May 21 against San Diego and miss the Mariners.

    The only wrinkle would come if the Giants’ skip their No. 5 starter, Jonathan Sanchez, on next Monday’s off-day, as they did the last time this situation came up. Then Lincecum would go May 20 at San Diego, and Randy would start May 21 at San Diego. Both would miss the Mariners.

    However, I was told by someone who follows the Giants closely that they are unlikely to skip Sanchez because they are in the midst of a stretch of 26 games in 27 days. I just hope that Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy has a sense of drama and figures out a way to have both Lincecum and Big Unit pitch in Seattle.

  • Speaking of the Giants, Travis Ishikawa, who is from Federal Way, is fighting to remain San Francisco’s every-day first baseman. Ishikawa is hitting just .219 with no homers and a .288 slugging percentage. There has been talk of moving third baseman Pablo Sandoval to first base, and installing Juan Uribe at third. Ishikawa had three hits, including a double, on Monday, so he may be coming around.

  • As much as Ken Griffey has struggled to find his offensive groove this year — and M’s fans hope he did just that on Sunday in Minnesota — have you checked out Garret Anderson? Remember, if the Griffey deal had fallen apart, as it once appeared it would, the M’s probably would have ended up signing Anderson. Instead, when Griffey picked Seattle over Atlanta, the Braves promptly swooped in and signed the 36-year-old Anderson to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Griffey signed for a $2 million base and could earn another $3 million in bonuses.

    It’s been a struggle so far for Anderson, too. He was limited to 20 at-bats in spring training, and is just coming off a stint on the disabled list for a strained left quadriceps. Here’s how Griffey’s numbers stack up to Anderson’s:

    Griffey:

    78 at-bats, 11 runs, 17 hits, 4 doubles, 0 triples, 3 home runs, 7 RBI, 15 walks, 16 strikeouts, .218 batting average, .344 on-base percentage, .385 slugging percentage, .729 OPS.

    Anderson:

    47 at-bats, 6 runs, 9 hits, 4 doubles, 0 triples, 0 home runs, 4 RBI, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts, .191 batting average, .250 on-base percentage, .277 slugging percentage, .527 OPS.

    So far — and it’s very early — edge, Griffey.

  • The Los Angeles Times reports that John Lackey and Ervin Santana are likely to be activated this week. Both have been on rehab assignments in the minor leagues, and the Angels plan to review tapes of their games.

    “We don’t want [them] to waste bullets pitching in the minor leagues,” Scioscia told the LA Times, “but we also want to make sure [they’re] ready for the challenge.”

    Suddenly, the Angels’ rotation looks awfully formidable with Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver, Lackey and Santana as the Big Four. The Angels did admirably without Lackey and Santana, and have more than held their own through an unbelievable stretch of injury and tragedy. M’s fans may not like to hear it — nor Rangers’ fans, for that matter — but the Angels are well-positioned to take control of the division.

  • It looked early in the year like the “first manager fired” race would be an all-Texas affair between the Rangers’ Ron Washington and the Astros’ Cecil Cooper. The Rangers are riding high in first place now, so Washington’s safe, and the Astros have stabilized. Besides, Cooper got an extension.

    Now the race is for the second manager fired (after Arizona’s Bob Melvin), and the current candidates are Cleveland’s Eric Wedge and Colorado’s Clint Hurdle. Both are aided, however, by strong relationships with their general manager.

  • Speaking of Melvin, I feel badly for him and for Bryan Price, who resigned as Arizona’s pitching coach out of loyalty to Melvin. I never like to see two fellow Cal Golden Bears out of work. But it’s a good opportunity for Mel Stottlemyre Jr., who gets his first chance at a major-league pitching coach job. On a personal note, I have followed Mel Jr.’s career (and that of his brother, Todd), since my early days working at the Yakima Herald-Republic. Both Stottlemyres were pitching stars at Davis High School. I’ll never forget the grace and courage with which they (along with parents Mel Sr. and Jean) dealt with the death of their younger brother, Jason, from leukemia.

  • Ex-Mariner Cha Seung Baek is hurting again. Baek was supposed to be in the Padres’ rotation this year, but injured his right forearm the last week of spring training and began the year on the disabled list. He was expected to rejoin the Padres this week, but now is experiencing pain in his right elbow while on a rehab stint with Triple-A Portland and has flown back to San Diego for tests.

  • I guess it’s time to start paying more attention to the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman, whose season-opening hitting streak is at 29 games and counting. In other words, more than halfway to Joltin’ Joe.

    The Nats’ have become a punch line, but if they can get some pitching (and Stephen Strasburg will be a nice start to go along with impressive rookie Jordan Zimmermann), they may not be for long. Offensively, they are formidable. They rank second in the National League with 41 homers (one behind the Phillies) and are tops in OPS (.808).

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