Results tagged ‘ Josh Hamilton ’

Cano closing in on Kinsler as All-Star starter

Robinson Cano made a big jump the past week in Major League Baseball’s All-Star balloting at second base in the American League and now trails the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler, who has been atop the voting all season, by only 15,260 votes. Since Cano has been named the AL captain for the Home Run Derby competition, it might be a good idea for him to make the league’s squad for the All-Star Game July 10 at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

Shortstop Derek Jeter and center fielder Curtis Granderson remain among the leaders for starting berths in the annual game between the leagues. Jeter’s total of 3,359,875 is still second only to Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton for the most overall votes. Despite missing most of the past week because of an intestinal virus, Hamilton has polled 5,414,880 votes.

Granderson is second among the outfielders with 2,818,535 votes. Moving into third place in the outfield was the Blue Jays’ Juan Bautista. The Rangers’ Nelson Cruz, who had been running third in the outfield, dropped into fifth place behind Bautista and the Orioles’ Adam Jones. The Yankees’ Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner ranked seventh and ninth, respectively, in the outfield.

Yankees fans need to throw some votes to first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Alex Rodriguez, catcher Russell Martin and designated hitter Raul Ibanez to improve their chances for All-Star berths.

Teixeira is third at first base behind the Tigers’ Prince Fielder and the White Sox’ Paul Konerko; A-Rod is fourth at third base behind the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera and the Rays’ Evan Longoria; Martin is fifth at catcher behind the Rangers’ Mike Napoli, the Twins’ Joe Mauer, the Orioles’ Matt Wieters and the White Sox’ A.J. Pierzynski; Ibanez is third at DH behind the Red Sox’ David Ortiz and the Rangers’ Michael Young.

Major League Baseball’s All-Star balloting program last year produced a record-shattering 32.5 million ballots cast. More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots have been distributed at the 30 major-league parks – each of which will have 23 dates for balloting – and in approximately 100 minor-league yards. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes June 22, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com until 11:59 p.m. June 28.

Firestone is the exclusive sponsor of the 2012 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events.

Scotts is the sponsor of the retail All-Star Balloting Program that was launched May 4 in select Lowe’s stores and Chevrolet dealerships across the country.

All-Star rosters will be unveiled July 1 on TBS. The AL All-Star team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the National League squad will have eight fan-elected starters. Pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL – will be determined through a combination of player ballot choices and selections made by the All-Star managers – AL skipper Ron Washington of the Rangers and retired NL manager Tony La Russa – in conjunction with MLB.

Jeter AL All-Star vote leader at shortstop

Derek Jeter is the leading vote getter at the shortstop position for the American League in the All-Star balloting announced Tuesday. The Yankees’ captain, a 12-time All-Star, has received 1,698,777 votes, second only in the AL to Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton (2,587,991). Jeter has a lead of more than 650,000 votes over Texas’ Elvis Andrus in the voting for the All-Star Game July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson ranks second among the outfielders between Hamilton and his Texas teammate, Nelson Cruz. Nick Swisher is seventh in the balloting, just ahead of teammate Brett Gardner, who has been disabled since April 18 because of a right elbow strain.

First baseman Mark Teixeira and second baseman Robinson Cano currently rank second at their respective positions while designated hitter Raul Ibanez is in third place and third baseman Alex Rodriguez and catcher Russell Martin fourth each.

The Yankees opened a six-game homestand Tuesday against division rival Tampa Bay and city rival the Mets, so Yankees fans will have plenty of chances of improving their favorites’ vote totals.

Major League Baseball’s All-Star balloting program last year produced a record-shattering 32.5 million ballots cast. More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots have been distributed at the 30 major-league parks – each of which will have 23 dates for balloting – and in approximately 100 minor-league yards. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes June 22, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com until 11:59 p.m. June 28.

Firestone is the exclusive sponsor of the 2012 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events.

Scotts is the sponsor of the retail All-Star Balloting Program that was launched May 4 in select Lowe’s stores and Chevrolet dealerships across the country.

All-Star rosters will be unveiled July 1 on TBS. The AL All-Star team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the National League squad will have eight fan-elected starters. Pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL – will be determined through a combination of player ballot choices and selections made by the All-Star managers – AL skipper Ron Washington of the Rangers and retired NL manager Tony La Russa – in conjunction with MLB.

A game worth playing hooky for

Relatives, friends and other admirers of Hiroki Kuroda and Yu Darvish in Japan probably all showed up late for work Wednesday to watch the popular pitchers oppose each other in a major-league game Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark In Arlington. The game started there just after 7 p.m. Central time, which was at 8 a.m. in their home country.

Only the seventh pairing of Japanese-born pitchers in a major-league game was a major event in the country of their birth as well as a top attraction between two of the top contending teams in the American League. Darvish proved the better of the two for this one night as Texas ended the Yankees’ four-game winning streak with a 2-0 victory.

The Rangers drew first blood when Ian Kinsler led off the bottom of the first by driving a 1-1 slider to left for his fifth home run. After two hitless innings, Darvish ran into big trouble in the third when the Yankees loaded the bases with none out on a single by Eric Chavez, a walk to Russell Martin and a beauty of a bunt single by Derek Jeter, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games and is hitting .416.

Darvin showed why the Rangers were willing to shell out more than $100 million to sign the righthander as he struck out Curtis Granderson looking at a 2-2 curve and got Alex Rodriguez to ground into an around-the-horn double play.

Kuroda kept the Yankees in the game, but they could not break through against Darvish. Kuroda hurt himself in the third with a two-out walk of Elvis Andrus and a wild pitch that put him into scoring position at second base from where Josh Hamilton got him home with a single to center. Kuroda held the Rangers to two hits after that before departing with two out in the seventh and down by only two runs.

As Yankees manager Joe Girardi had noted, Darvish has more different types of pitches than a catcher has fingers, and he showed off all of them – fastballs of various speeds, curves, sliders, cutters, splits, changes of pace – the whole toolbox.

Watching from his box seat near the Texas dugout, Rangers president Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher and one of the great workhorses, had to love Darvish’s performance, which he applauded when the latest Japanese import came off the field after giving up a one-out single to Nick Swisher in the ninth. Closer Joe Nathan needed only one pitch to end the game as Chavez bounced into a double play.

This one had to remind Ryan of his matchups against Jim Palmer or Catfish Hunter 30-odd years ago when pitching into the ninth was expected of starters. Darvish scattered seven hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts in improving his record to 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA. It was a tough luck loss for Kuroda in a marquee matchup that for a change lived up to its billing.

Captain and A-Rod keep climbing Yankees ladder

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez keep moving up the Yankees’ career lists. The left side of the club’s infield had standout efforts along with starting pitcher CC Sabathia as the Yankees took their winning ways in Boston all the way down to Texas in knocking off the red-hot Rangers, 7-4.

A-Rod’s first hit off a left-handed pitcher this year was a big one, a three-run homer in the fifth inning off the Rangers’ Derek Holland that gave the Yankees a five-run lead. It must have been particularly satisfying for Alex considering that he is regularly booed at Rangers Ballpark In Arlington since he pushed for the trade that brought him to the Yankees in 2004. Monday night was no different. With a sellout crowd of 48,234 on hand to celebrate the retirement of another Rodriguez, Ivan a/k/a Pudge, there were plenty of Texas-sized voices to ring A-Rod’s ears. What better way to answer taunts than hit a towering home run?

It was Rodriguez’s 632nd career home run and his 287th with the Yankees, the latter number tying him with Bernie Williams for sixth place on the franchise list. A-Rod has a way to go to catch up with the guy who is fifth on that list – Hall of Famer Yogi Berra at 358.

Jeter’s run-scoring double in the sixth, one of his four hits in the game, raised his career RBI total to 1,210, which brings him even with Hall of Famer Bill Dickey for seventh on the club ladder. Bernie is sixth at 1,257 RBI. The 4-for-5 game shot DJ’s batting average to .411. The Captain’s success against a lefthander – all four hits were off Holland – comes as no surprise. He is batting .630 against lefties this year (that’s right – 17-for-27) and raked southpaws at a .349 clip last year.

Rodriguez, on the other hand, had been all but invisible against lefties this year, going 0-for-17 before digging in against Holland, who walked him twice before giving up that bomb off a 0-1 fastball.

Holland has been something of a punching bag against the Yankees while at the same time being one of the American League’s best left-handed starters. He was 16-5 last season for the Rangers, who reached the World Series for the second consecutive season. Against the Yankees, however, Holland has had no success.

His career mark against them fell to 0-5 with a 9.26 ERA. The Yankees have hit .340 against Holland, who has allowed 48 hits (10 of them home runs) in 34 innings with more walks (21) than strikeouts (20). He fell behind in the first inning by giving up a two-out, two-run single to left-handed batting Curtis Granderson. Nick Swisher picked up his 21st RBI in the fifth with a sacrifice fly.

The Rangers, who lost for only the fourth time in 17 games, pecked away at Sabathia (2-0) in the late innings, but the big guy hung tough, especially in the eighth when he set down 3-4-5 hitters Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli, who have combined to drive in 43 runs already this season, on weak grounders. Mariano Rivera followed with a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

Mixed results for Yanks in All-Star Game

PHOENIX – It was anything but a 1-2-3 inning for David Robertson, who got a 1-2-3 result in the second inning of the All-Star Game Monday night at Chase Field. Called on early because the Red Sox’ Josh Beckett was hurting, Robertson had plenty of support from his teammates in getting through the inning in his debut All-Star performance.

For all the heat Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez are taking for not coming here, it was good to see three Yankees on the field when Robertson came into the game to join starters Robinson Cano at second base and Curtis Granderson in center field.

Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista made a stunning, sliding catch in the right field corner on a foul drive by Braves catcher Brian McCann, the Most Valuable Player of last year’s All-Star Game at Anaheim, Calif.

Cardinals right fielder Lance Berkman, who was Robertson’s teammate with the Yankees for a couple of months last year, lined a single through the middle. Robertson needed assistance from Cano to get out of trouble. As Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday looked at a 3-2 cutter down the middle for a called strike three, Berkman tried to steal second, but he slid off the bag with Cano alertly tagging him after taking the throw from Tigers catcher Alex Avila. That completed a strike-‘em-out, thrown-‘em-out double play.

Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, still swinging for the fences the night after his close loss to Cano in the Home Run Derby, connected off Phillies lefthander Cliff Lee for a leadoff home run in the fourth inning. The American League’s first 11 batters were retired in order before Gonzo’s homer, the first in an All-Star Game since 2008 at Yankee Stadium, by another Red Sox player, J.D. Drew, in the seventh inning. Two innings earlier, Holliday, then with the Rockies, homered for the National League.

The AL jumped on Lee for two more hits, singles by Bautista and the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, before Lee was lifted by NL manager Bruce Bochy of the Giants for Nationals righthander Tyler Clippard. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre lashed a single to left, but a strong throw by the Astros’ Hunter Pence cut down Bautista at the plate.

Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who has been booed regularly here for two days, heard his first cheers when he followed singles by the Mets’ Carlos Beltran and the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp for a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth off Rangers lefthander C.J. Wilson. It was the first All-Star home run by a Brewers player for Fielder, who was the captain of the NL in the Home Run Derby and had incurred Arizona fans’ wrath for not putting the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton in the competition.

Three stolen bases helped the NL scratch out a run in the fifth, by which time Granderson and Cano had come out of the game. Each had grounded out twice. Yankees catcher Russell Martin was the only AL position player who did not get into the game, a 5-1 NL victory.

All-Star voting down to last 3 days

With three days remaining in the fans’ balloting for the Major League All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix, the Yankees remain in first place in five of the nine positions for the American League squad. Make sure to get your vote in to ensure your favorite Yankees make the trip to Arizona.

Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are just about locks at second base and in the outfield, respectively. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have substantial leads at their respective positions of shortstop and third base, and Russell Martin is still the leader of the pack among catchers.

Cano’s vote total of 4,724,816 is second among all AL players to only Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who has 5,263,840, and well ahead of second-place second baseman Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox at 2,979,181.

There is a race heating up in the outfield for the third spot alongside Bautista and Granderson (4,582,419). The Rangers’ Josh Hamilton has 3,173,000 votes, which is only 121,325 ahead of the Red Sox’ Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yankees’ Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner ranked eighth and ninth, respectively, among outfielders.

The Yankees are trying to nail down three-quarters of the infield spots. Jeter has 3,392,128 votes and a 506,350-vote lead over second-place shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians. A-Rod’s total of 3,735,406 is 800,033 ahead of third base runner-up Adrian Beltre of the Rangers. At first base, unfortunately, the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez with 4,014,722 has moved out to a 937,480-vote head over Mark Teixeira, who is tied with Bautista for the AL home run lead.

Martin, trying for his first All-Star starting assignment, has gotten a huge break with the injury to the Twins’ Joe Mauer and has a 434,527-vote edge over the Tigers’ Alex Avila. Boston’s David Ortiz is a runaway leader at designated hitter with 4,237,014, more than two million higher than his closest competitor, the Rangers’ Michael Young. The Yankees’ Jorge Posada is running third with 1,453,385.

Fans may cast votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 club web sites, including Yankees.com, online or via their mobile devices with the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint, which offers English- and Spanish-language versions of the online ballot as well as audio CAPTCHA functionality for the visually impaired. Voting runs until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.

Last week of All-Star voting

The Yankees are still leading in five positions of the American League voting for the All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix. There are eight days remaining in the balloting for fans to make sure a large contingent of Yankees players qualify for the AL starting lineup.

Second baseman Robinson Cano is the second leading vote-getter among AL players with 3,664,498 behind only Blue Jays right fielder Juan Bautista (4,156,940). Cano’s lead is more than a million votes over runner-up Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox.

Also leading in the infield are shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Despite being on the disabled list since June 14, Jeter has totaled 2,654,040 and is ahead of the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera (2,242,157). A-Rod has 2,876,537 votes and leads by more than half a million over the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre (2,307,380).

Curtis Granderson ranks second among the outfielders with 3,473,227 votes, followed by the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton (2,400,408). Granderson has more than 1.2 million more votes than fourth-place Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox for one of the three starting spots. Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner are eighth and ninth, respectively, among the outfielders.

The other position leader for the Yankees is catcher Russell Martin with 2,226,797, leading the Tigers’ Alex Avila (1,730,511).

Mark Teixeira was leading early in the voting at first base but has since been passed by the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez, who continues to lead, 3,017,960 to 2,407,665. Jorge Posada (1,120,830) is running a distant third in the designated hitter voting behind leader David Ortiz (3,116,578) of the Red Sox and runner-up Michael Young (1,760,195) of the Rangers.

Fans may cast their votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and Yankees.com – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint, which offers English- and Spanish-language versions of the online ballot as well as audio CAPTCHA functionality for the visually impaired.

When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes Friday, June 24, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com and Yankees.com until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.

Tex and Grandy making like Rog and Mick

Shades of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, the Yankees have two players battling each other for the home run title. With his 31st career multi-home run game, Mark Teixeira moved into a three-way tie with teammate Curtis Granderson and Blue Jays right fielder Juan Bautista for first place in the American League homer race.

Teixeira connected from both sides of the plate Wednesday night in the Yankees’ 12-4 victory over the Rangers. It marked the 11th time he has done that, tying Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and Chili Davis for the most in major-league history. Since the other two are retired, Teixeira has a good chance to take sole control of this record at some point.

That Teixeira is a contender for the home run title is no surprise. He tied the Rays’ Carlos Pena for the league lead in his first year with the Yankees in 2009 with 39 and his as many as 43 one year, in 2005 for the Rangers. Bautista, of course, led the AL a year ago with 54 homers, so he is no stranger to this activity.

But Granderson? Sure, he has shown muscle at the plate in the past. He had a career-high 30 homers in his last year with the Tigers in 2009 and despite a slow start with the Yankees a year ago managed to swat 24. That Granderson is already at 21 a month before the All-Star break is simply amazing.

Tex and Grandy are on a 52-homer pace. The Yankees haven’t had a player hit more than 50 homers in one year since that magical season 50 years ago when Maris slugged 61 and Mantle 54. The 1961 Yankees hit 240 home runs, which stood as the major-league record for 35 years.

With five more jacks, the 2011 Yankees have 103 in 66 games. That’s a pace of 252, which would top the club record of 244 in 2009, the first season of the new Yankee Stadium.

All four Yankees infielders homered in this one, an oddity in itself and especially because two of those infielders were not Alex Rodriguez, who was the designated hitter, or Derek Jeter, who is on the disabled list. Shortstop Eduardo Nunez and third baseman Ramiro Pena joined Teixeira and second baseman Robinson Cano in the home run derby.

The Yankees have been particularly powerful against the Rangers this year with 22 home runs, including six by Granderson and four by Teixeira, in eight games. Granderson did not go deep Wednesday night, but he made an outstanding defensive play in the sixth inning by throwing out Yorvit Torrealba at the plate from center field.

It was a close game at that point, the Yankees holding a 6-4 lead. Had Torrealba been safe, it would have been a one-run game with the potential tying run on third base and Josh Hamilton up. That can get lost when the score turns into 12-4, which happens when a lot of batted balls go over the fence.

Swisher a throwback at leadoff

A lot of people seemed surprised to see Nick Swisher at the top of the lineup Wednesday night against the Rangers, even Swisher.

“I have hit everywhere else in the lineup,” he said before the game. “I might as well bat first.”

As I pointed out in Tuesday’s blog, Swisher seemed a good option in the leadoff spot against a left-handed starter because of his .356 batting average and .438 on-base percentage from the left side. Obviously, manager Joe Girardi felt the same way. Brett Gardner will continue to lead off against righthanders while Derek Jeter is on the disabled list.

Swisher may not realize it, but if he had been around the Yankees in the 1950s he would have been a leadoff candidate for Casey Stengel. The Ol’ Professor liked to use players with extra-base power at the top of the order. His favorites during those years were Hank Bauer, Bob Cerv, Gene Woodling and Tony Kubek.

In fact, when Roger Maris came to the Yankees in 1960 in a trade from the Kansas City A’s that also involved Bauer, Stengel batted Maris leadoff in the first few games. When Maris started hitting balls over fences on a regular basis, Casey eventually moved him into the 3-hole where he went on to the first of two consecutive Most Valuable Player seasons.

Swisher did not lead off the game with a hit, but he reached base his next two times up with a double and a walk.

Jeter’s replacement at shortstop, Eduardo Nunez, homered in the fourth inning. It was Nunez’s second homer of the season. He now has as many long balls in 62 at-bats as Jeter had in 262.

The Captain will not accompany the Yankees on their trip to Chicago and Cincinnati for inter-league series against the Cubs and Reds. Jeter will go to Tampa for rehabilitation on his right calf strain. His stint on the DL means Jeter won’t be able to add to his inter-league record for hits of 362. DJ is not in danger of being passed. He is 52 hits ahead of the second place guy, who just happens to be teammate Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod showed off some fine baserunning in the fifth inning as the Yankees took a 5-4 lead. On first base after a one-out walk, Rodriguez avoided being tagged by second baseman Ian Kinsler on Robinson Cano’s groundout and was able to get to second base. That made it possible for him to score on a single to left by Andruw Jones. Josh Hamilton made a strong throw to the plate, but A-Rod beat it with a good slide.

The run was the 1,799th of Rodriguez’s career. It tied him with Hall of Famer Ted Williams for 16th place on the all-time list.

Tex falls to 2nd in Star voting; 5 Yanks still in lead

The Yankees’ lead at all four infield positions in the American League All-Star balloting took a hit in the latest tally released Tuesday in which Mark Teixeira was overtaken at first base by the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez in voting for the All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Gonzalez, the AL leader in batting average, runs batted in, hits and total bases, jumped to 2,027,537 votes, more than 250,000 ahead of Texeira, who has 1,774,024. The Yankees still lead at the other three infield positions with Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.

Cano, whose 2,649,737 votes are the second highest overall behind only Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (3,042,091), is running away with the balloting at second base. A-Rod’s lead at third base is more than 300,000 over the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre. Jeter has a 238,000-vote edge over the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera and may be jeopardized by going on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday night because of a strained right calf.

However, despite being out of the lineup much of the past week, Russell Martin remains the leading vote-getter among catchers with 1,712,156. The Tigers’ Alex Avila jumped over the Twins’ Joe Mauer, who is on the disabled list, into second place with 1,093,070 votes.

Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson is still a strong second among the outfielders with 2,406,946, a lead of more than 600,000 over third-place Josh Hamilton of the Rangers. Nick Swisher is running eighth and Brett Gardner ninth in the outfield balloting.

In the designated hitter voting, Jorge Posada is running a distant third to the Red Sox’ David Ortiz and the Rangers’ Michael Young. Now that Jorgie is heating up, it is up to Yankees fans to get on his bandwagon, not to mention getting Tex back ahead of Gonzalez.

Fans may cast votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and Yankees.com – online or via mobile device using the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint up to 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.

Rosters will be announced July 3 during the 2011 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS. Fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

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