Archive for August, 2010

Game 136: Pre-Game Notes

August 31, 2010

6:45 PM — Who is Pat Venditte?  Read this…

6:40 PM — I’m on Trentonian duty and am obviously swamped.  Follow me on Twitter — mashmore98 — for updates.

6:30 PM — Spoke to Lance Berkman briefly outside of the clubhouse before the game:

“I felt good.  I didn’t anticipate that there was going to be any problems, and there wasn’t any.  Probably, I was more concerned about hitting right-handed, because that ankle is my back leg and I have to turn to hit, but I didn’t have any trouble with it.  I was able to run and run the bases and kind of pretty much do everything I needed to do to be ready to go.”

“I’m going to play the game tonight, and if nothing unforeseen happens, I’ll head back tomorrow.”

5:50 PM — JUST CONFIRMED WITH MARK NEWMAN…PAT VENDITTE IS COMING TO TRENTON.  GEORGE KONTOS AND JOHN VAN BENSCHOTEN ARE HEADING UP TO SCRANTON. 

Another reliever is also on the way, but Newman wasn’t sure who that would be just yet.

4:50 PM — AKRON

Jordan Henry, CF
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Jerad Head, DH
Beau Mills, 1B
Tim Fedroff, LF
Cristo Arnal, SS
Juan Apodaca, C
Lucas Montero, RF

Shane Lindsay, P

TRENTON

Justin Christian, LF
Austin Krum, CF
Lance Berkman, DH
Daniel Brewer, RF
Austin Romine, C
Marcos Vechionacci, 1B
Corban Joseph, 2B
Luis Nunez, SS
Justin Snyder, 3B

Cory Arbiso, P

4:40 PM — Berkman, still here…

4:00 PM — Berkman will again hit third and DH today.

3:35 PM — Shane Lindsay has been sent down to Akron from Triple-A Columbus and is expected to start for the Aeros tonight against Trenton.  You might remember Lindsay from such films as “Seven Days: My Time On The Yankees 40-Man Roster.”  This is his first start since 2008.

Also, the Thunder will welcome their 7,000,000th fan tonight. 

On the baseball side of things for Trenton…not a whole lot going on.  I’ll pass along any Berkman info I get, of course.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Berkman Becomes 30th Player To Rehab With Thunder

August 31, 2010

The history of Major League rehabiliation assignments made in a Trenton Thunder uniform is lengthy and interesting.  You’ve got names like Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, Bret Saberhagen and Gary Sheffield.  And then you’ve got guys like Lee Tinsley, Gabe White, Shawn Chacon and Steve Karsay.  It’s clearly a bit of a mixed bag.

Lance Berkman, a five-time Major League All-Star, is likely to be found in the former list of injured players finding their way back in the minor leagues.  He’s also become the 30th player to rehab with the Trenton Thunder during their 17-season histrory.

Here’s the complete list…

TIGERS ERA (1994)

None

RED SOX ERA (1995-2002)

Lee Tinsley, 1995
Ken Ryan, 1995
Bret Saberhagen, 1997, ’99-01
Bill Haselman, 1997
Tom Gordon, 1999
Bryce Florie, 2000-01
John Valentin, 2001

YANKEES ERA (2003-present)

Derek Jeter, 2003
Bernie Williams, 2003
Jose Contreras, 2003
Nick Johnson, 2003
Gabe White, 2003
Kevin Brown, 2004
Kenny Lofton, 2004
Steve Karsay, 2004
Felix Heredia, 2004
Felix Rodriguez, 2005
Carl Pavano, 2006, ’08
Hideki Matsui, 2006
Gary Sheffield, 2006
Shawn Chacon, 2006
Octavio Dotel, 2006
Robinson Cano, 2006
Roger Clemens, 2007
Phil Hughes, 2007
Jeff Karstens, 2007
Brian Bruney, 2008, ’09
Jose Molina, 2009
Alfredo Aceves, 2010
Lance Berkman, 2010

(Some information via the Thunder media guide)

I’ve covered Lofton, Rodriguez, all three Pavano starts, Matsui, Dotel and all of them from Cano on down.  Since this idea came from looking through photos of old rehab games…well, here are some of those shots — all of them are my original photos, and a few have never been seen before.

Kenny Lofton. This was not the easiest photo to get, so someone had might as well finally see it.

 

Carl Pavano. This is back when he got hurt all the time and wasn't pitching pretty well in the big leagues like he is now for Minnesota.

Hideki Matsui. Combine the fact that this was during the playoffs and it created an absolute (Japanese) media circus, and it's fair to say this contributed to my current attitude on rehabs.

Octavio Dotel. The thing I remember most about Dotel was his second appearance, which was unannounced. Was interesting to show up at the yard and unexpectedly get to see him pitch again.

Robinson Cano. Bill Masse said it best: "For all the bad things you hear about baseball with the steroids and the black marks on the game, Robby Cano is what's good about baseball."

Roger Clemens. Oh my goodness gracious! It was amazing to be there for it then, it still is now. Just an amazing day. Technically, however, this wasn't a rehab...it was a part of a series of "tune-up starts" he made in early-mid May after coming back to the Yankees.

Phil Hughes. His rehab appearances came after holding the Texas Rangers hitless shortly after getting called up to the big leagues.

Jeff Karstens. Karstens pitched his rear end off to make the big league team in 2007, but broke his leg on a line drive back up the box. Things haven't really gone right since.

Brian Bruney. I wish he didn't come back in 2009. I had such positive memories of his 2008 stint, in which he caught the first pitch, joined broadcaster Steve Rudenstein on the air for a few innings and gave me a one-on-one interview while scratching off a stack of instant lottery tickets about five hours before game time.

Jose Molina. He went 0-for-9 with two walks in three games and didn't speak to reporters before the game. It was about as fun as it sounds...

Alfredo Aceves. Two years after a brief stint in Trenton, Aceves was back for three appearances. The first two went much better than the last one, and he's currently in Scranton, continuing his lengthy rehab stint.

Lance Berkman. He played in the first of two games for Trenton last night, going 2-for-5 with a run scored and a strikeout.

 Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Thunder Playoff Rotation Uncertain

August 31, 2010

Anyone looking for any insight on the Trenton Thunder’s postseason rotation will be walking away disappointed.  After last night’s game, Thunder manager Tony Franklin was unsure of his plans for his starting five come September 8 just yet.

“To be honest with you, I don’t know what we’re going to do yet,” he said.

“We’ve discussed a lot of things, we just don’t know what we’re going to do yet.  We need to figure it out pretty quick, don’t we?  We’ll see how these games go; how many pitches guys throw.  Somebody’s got to pitch these remaining games, that’s just the way it is.  We have to figure out what we’re going to do and how much we’re going to let the guys who start the games pitch, so we can get them lined up to pitch in the playoffs.  Everything is kind of just up in the air, but we have to monitor what they do in these next seven games and then go from there.”

1 1/2 games up on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats for the division lead with seven games to play, Trenton has clinched a playoff berth, sure…but they haven’t clinched a specific spot, either winning the division or finishing second.  Not knowing where the first pitch will be thrown when the postseason starts plays a role in the way the rotation will be aligned.

“We would really like to finish first and start at home, no question about it,” he said.  “We’re still playing for something.  That has something do with it, yeah.”

As of right now, if everyone stays on turn and things stayed as is in the standings, here’s how the rotation would look for the postseason…

Game 1 (at Waterfront Park)

Dellin Betances would get the ball on September 8 for the Thunder as things stand right now.  He’s made just two Double-A starts since being summoned from High-A Tampa, and has no record with a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings of work.

The New York-born righty has a nasty 0.77 WHIP and has struck out 15 batters, compared to just three walks. 

He’ll make one more regular season start, on September 3 in New Britain.

Game 2 (at Waterfront Park)

Adam Warren is on pace to take the ball on September 9.  Clearly the Thunder’s new ace after the departures of David Phelps, Lance Pendleton and D.J. Mitchell, the 23-year-old righty is 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA in nine starts for the Thunder.

In 50 innings, he’s struck out 56 Eastern League batters — including a franchise-record setting 15 K’s a few starts back — and has a nifty WHIP of 1.12.

He’ll make his final regular season start on September 4 against the Rock Cats. 

Game 3 (at Merchantsauto.com Stadium just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?)

Cory Arbiso has been back and forth in the starting rotation all season.  Now, he’s in it, and would figure to start would could be the pivotal third game of the series.  Albeit under the radar, Arbiso has performed well after being skipped a level to come to Trenton this year.

“The man in black” has posted a 5-3 record and 3.51 ERA in 30 appearances, including nine starts.  Only Ryan Pope has more innings under his belt among active Thunder pitchers, and Arbiso has walked just 19 batters in 74 1/3 frames.

Arbiso is slated to take the ball later today against the Akron Aeros at Waterfront Park, and would make one more start in New Britain on September 5.

Game 4 (at Merchantsauto.com Stadium) (If necessary)

Andrew Brackman is currently slated to pitch the fourth game of the first round playoff series against New Hampshire if things go that far.  The towering righty has a 3-7 record in 13 appearances for Trenton this season, including 12 starts, but has a solid 3.23 ERA. 

The former NC State hoops star has allowed just three home runs in 69 2/3 innings pitched and has 63 strikeouts to his credit as well.

Brackman, a member of the Yankees 40-man roster, will make one more start on September 1 at Waterfront Park against the Aeros and then pitch the final game of the regular season in New Britain on September 6.

Game 5 (at Waterfront Park) (If necessary)

Manny Banuelos would pitch in a deciding fifth game if the series gets that far.  Just 19 years old, “ManBan” has made just two starts at the Double-A level after being called up from High-A Tampa two weeks ago.

The highly touted southpaw starter is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in 10 2/3 innings of work, but struck out 11 batters along the way.

Banuelos will make his third and final Double-A start during the Thunder’s final regular season home game on September 2 against Akron.

———

Now the thing about all that, of course, is that it’s subject to change.  Very subject to change.  I think the most interesting decision will be where Arbiso gets slotted and how Banuelos fits in. 

Arbiso is relatively stretched out as a starter, but still might not be able to go as deep into a game as Brackman or Warren could.  Additionally, Banuelos would have a ten-day gap between starts, and that seems unrealistic.  However, I’m doubting he’s your game one starter based on merit, either.

In a perfect world, where all the time between starts is perfectly aligned, I think Warren is unquestionably your number one.  I’d have Betances at two, Brackman at three, Banuelos at four and Arbiso at five with the possiblity of one of the aforementioned four possibly going on three days rest — which yes, is very, very unrealistic.

How about you?  What would your playoff rotation be?

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Berkman Rehab Wrap-up

August 31, 2010

Lance Berkman is commuting between Waterfront Park and New York City, and left before the Thunder won the game in the bottom of the tenth inning.  Therefore, he was unavailable for comment afte the game.  When a guy gives you as much time as you want before the game, however, he certainly gets a well-earned free pass on that.

I did, however, speak to Thunder manager Tony Franklin about his take on Berkman’s first game in a Trenton uniform.

“It’s his first game, and it’s pretty obvious he’s rusty,” Franklin said.

“He said, ‘That wasn’t a very good at-bat I gave you, that last AB.’  But you know what, that’s why he’s down here, to find some timing and get some at-bats before he goes back to New York.  But it’s tough to come down here, especially when you don’t know pitchers and what they’re trying to do to you.  That first AB was a tough one, the ball got in on him and he fought it off and got a single.”

The five-time Major League All-Star, placed on the disabled list by the Yankees retroactive to August 15 with an ankle sprain, went 2-for-5 with two singles, a run scored and a strikeout on the night.  Franklin confirmed that Berkman will be playing tomorrow, but did not know the plan past that, if there is one.  Additionally, Franklin was unsure if Berkman will be the designated hitter again tomorrow.

The former long-time Astros first baseman delighted the Waterfront Park faithful, who cheered him before every at-bat.  He signed countless autographs down the first base line, and high-fived every Little Leaguer that was waiting by the Thunder dugout.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 135: Post-Game Notes

August 30, 2010

– Basically, I’m just emptying out my recorder.  I watched about five at-bats during that game — rehabs are pretty hectic for work purposes — and they were obviously all Berkman’s.  So really, Adam Warren could have been throwing watermelons instead of baseballs out there, and it’s entirely possible I may not have noticed.

I am told, however, he threw the small white orb quite well tonight.  I’ll let Tony Franklin tell you as well…

“He was very good, he’s given us a chance to win each time he’s gone out there lately,” Franklin said.

“I like the kid’s demeanor on the mound, he’s very business-like.  He’s got a very good fastball when he’s commanding it to both sides of the plate.  He’s really good, he did a nice job.  He got a couple strikeouts with his breaking ball.  That’s a work in progress, but I think it’ll get better.  But he’s very good, he does a nice job.”

Warren went 5 2/3 innings and allowed one run on seven hits, but issued no walks and struck out six.

– Now, let me empty my mind a bit.  Say what you want about whether you believe Wilkin De La Rosa or not on the B12 issue, but respect him for manning up and talking about it.  He could have hid in the training room, issued a “no comment” through a team spokesman and that would be that.  But he knew he had to address the issue, and did in about a five minute session about an hour and a half before the game.

He, as you saw in the quotes, adamantly denied any wrongdoing and didn’t know why his name was involved in any of this.  He said he had not spoken with Ivan Nova about it, and also that it would be his last time speaking about it.

– Lance Berkman.  Wow.  What a great guy.  It seemed like we could have chatted with him all day.  Josh Norris, John Nalbone, Ken Mandel and myself spent about 15 minutes with him in the Thunder clubhouse, and he couldn’t have been more engaging or more honest about a very, very wide variety of topics.  If you haven’t read those quotes I posted earlier, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Lance Berkman Bonanza

August 30, 2010

1st inning — Berkman singles to short right center on a 2-2 pitch.

3rd inning — Berkman flew out to short right field on a 3-2 pitch.

5th inning — Berkman popped out to short center field.

7th inning — Berkman laced a single through the left side on a 3-2 pitch.

9th inning — Berkman strikes out swinging from the left side.

Line: 2-for-5, run scored, K.

Photos:

 

Video:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Thunder Skipper Tony Franklin Comments On De La Rosa Investigation

August 30, 2010

Spoken to them?
I have not seen the report.

Heard about it?
Yes I have. I have spoken with him and spoken with Mark Newman in our office. I understand there was an article written in the paper about he and Nova in the paper. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. I don’t know much more about it.

Concerned about what’s going on the clubhouse?
Absolutely. There have been some injuries in the clubhouse. If that was the case, and I don’t think that was the case, or is the case, I would be pretty unnerved by it. I was shocked when I heard there was an article written. I just don’t believe it. In my opinion, I just don’t think it happened. This is a wonderful kid. He’s been nothing but professional since I’ve had him here. Outstanding guy. I just don’t believe it happened.

[Relayed to Tony that he didn't].

Where did the report come from?
I have no idea. It absolutely floored me. I feel bad for he and Nova that this report came about. In my opinion, I just don’t think it happened.

What if it did?
There’s no what ifs.

Would you feel the same way?
Yes, I would. I’d feel terrible for them for whatever reason. Whether it be positive or negative, true or false, I’d feel bad for both of those guys, simply because I think they’re both fine young men. I enjoyed having Nova when he was here. I certainly enjoy having Wilkin here. I am in complete shock that this article came about.

If one of them came to Tim and said, “I want some extra B-12, is that OK?”
Come on.

It’s not illegal?
I don’t think you guys are giving these two kids enough credit. I think they understand the parameters of what is to be taken and what isn’t to be taken. They have the all the information that they need to stay clean. I don’t think they would come to me or Tim and ask if they could take extra B-12. It’s fine, that’s legal. I’m sure they’re aware that there’s a lot of stuff over the counter that could lead to a suspension of 50 games or more. For that reason, I think they would be very careful about what they put in their bodies. We have enough education now to know that whenever you’re going to take some type of supplement, that you would check with someone first. They certainly wouldn’t come to me. What do I know about it, other than to tell them to be careful.

Get a presentation before every year?
Absolutely. There’s education out there now. People come out here and talk to us. They are aware of the consequences.

Was he upset?
Absolutely. I was upset for him. It crushed the kid. Whether it’s true or not, the allegation is out there. Once the allegation is out there, you can’t bring it back. That stigma could stick with him for a very long time, even if it’s proven false. That’s what harmful. The person who wrote the article, I don’t know his source and I don’t if it’s true or not, but the fact of the matter is that the allegation is out there. Now, how are you going to get that back? You can’t, and it’s very damaging. Nova is very young at the major league level, and De La Rosa is very young in his career, and they have to face these types of allegations? That’s tough. I’d be upset if I was him.

Follow him his whole career?
It could. I hope it doesn’t. I hope everything

I’m sure he didn’t sleep very well. It’s very harmful. I hope everything is totally inaccurate and false, and it’s cleared up, and I hope these guys are left alone so they can continue to play baseball.

Address the team about De La?
I didn’t address the team. We talked about the situation in private.

[Tim would've come to Tony if he knew something].

This business of PEDs is very serious. When you start talking about testing for human growth hormone — which they’re starting to test for — this is a very scary thing to me. It’s a scary and serious time in baseball, and I think players are well aware of that, and will take every precaution to ensure that they are well within the guidelines of what baseball is all about, and that’s cleaning up the sport.

De La Rosa Comments On B12 Allegations

August 30, 2010

“I have never done that and doing that has never entered my mind. I don’t know why anyone would make that comment. I was surprised because I don’t even think about anything like that. They called me into the office (Friday in Harrisburg) and told me. I thought it was about something else … not even close to something like that. I have never done that.”

“I try and stay away from all of that stuff (supplements) because I don’t know a lot about it. I am not interested in any of that stuff. I did not talk to him (Nova). He’s in the big leagues and I have no interest in talking about it because it isn’t true. We don’t need to talk about it because we didn’t do anything. I was mad because we have a lot of work to do with baseball right now and when people make that comment, no matter what, it is on my mind. I worked hard my whole career only to have someone say that.’’

Asked if contacted by MLB investigators: “No.’’

“I have no idea where (the leak) came from. That kind of comment – you have it with you for life. This is the last time I am going to talk about it because I didn’t do anything wrong so there is no need to talk about it.”

QUOTES: Lance Berkman’s Pre-Game Media Session

August 30, 2010

“I think it’s good — I haven’t seen a live pitch in like two weeks — so it’s not going to hurt me to come and make sure everything’s good and get a little bit of timing.  I don’t think it’s going to have a huge impact on getting back and ready for the big leagues, because at this point in the season; two weeks, you can pretty much jump back in there without any ill affects.  If it was a little longer, maybe.  But I’m happy to come down here if they want me to do it.  It’s better than sitting around at Yankee Stadium, at least I’ll get some at-bats.”

“I’ll play tonight and tomorrow night, and then be activated on Wednesday on the expanded rosters.”

“Man, it’s been a real experience (coming to the Yankees), there’s no doubt.  It was way more emotional than I thought it would be.  When you’ve been in one place as long as I was in Houston, it’s like you don’t have a home anymore.  You’re kind of adrift, you’re kind of a mercenary or something.  You’re trying to fit in with a bunch of new guys and on top all that, it’s a team that has extremely high expectations and you want to perform well.  There’s all that stuff you kind of have to process and go through.  I feel a lot better now than I did say a week or two weeks ago, when things were kind of still so up in the air.  My family was there and I’m here, and there’s a million little things like that which have settled now, so I’m feeling a lot better.”

“I still haven’t done much with the Yankees, but you understand that those fans have a different level of expectation than most fans do.  You have a lot shorter leash there than you would anywhere else.  But the game itself is the game.  People ask me if it’s totally different.  No.  When you step out there on the field, you don’t really notice the fans.  You’re so locked in to what you’re trying to do.  It’s after the fact that they come into play; after you make the out or after the play is over with, that’s when you start to notice them a little bit.  But when you’re in the batters box, at least for me when I’m out there on the field or in the batters box, I’m focused on what I’m trying to do, not ‘Oh man, this crowd hates me.’  I liken to be a visiting player.  I get booed on the road all the time, I’m used to that.  Because I haven’t really been a Yankee for very long, it felt like I’m visiting Yankee Stadium and they’re booing me because I’m a visiting player.”

“I didn’t give (Houston fans) much reason to boo.  I’m sure the Yankee fans are the same way, they have a little more tolerance for a young player, a rookie that’s just up.  I haven’t heard them boo any of the younger guys.  They understand that it’s step up, you’re in the major leagues whether it’s New York or Pittsburgh.  It’s one of those things where they have an appreciation for that.  For a guy like me, they expect me to come in and hit three home runs the first night and if it doesn’t happen, they’re not going to be happy about it.”

“I think (I’ll DH both days).  I don’t know, they may want me to play first one of the days, which would be fine.  But right now, I’m obviously DH’ing tonight.  Tomorrow, I’ll probably talk to Joe and see what they want me to do.”

“(Does playing the field matter?)  Not really.  I’m here to try to get some timing and test the ankle and make sure that everything’s good with it.”

“It feels great, it really does.  I’ve probably been ready to go for a while, but because of the situation with Alex, they had to make a move.  Originally, they didn’t think they were going to DL him — we were down a middle infielder, so they had to do something and they put me on the DL so they could call up Nunez.  They had to have some depth.  I was probably ready to go about a week ago, but it doesn’t hurt to take an extra week to get it right.”

“(Clemens) We’re not real close as far as I don’t talk to him on the phone every day.  He lives probably three miles from me, and I think I’ve seen him twice in a couple years.  I love Roger as far as the relationship we had when we were teammates.  He’s a great guy, he’s a great teammate, he was fun to have around.  Clearly, in the situation that he’s in, it’s a bad deal.  I don’t wish that on anybody.  I feel for him and for his family.  He’s got a kid, Koby, that I know pretty well.  You feel for that whole family because I’m sure he’s having to answer questions about it until this thing gets sorted out.  It’s just not good.”

“This is going to sound bizarre because the first part of my career was sort of at the end of that era, so to speak, but I never even thought about it.  People have a conception that everybody was juicing in the clubhouse and there were steroids everywhere and everybody knew about it and everybody was complicit, and that’s not…it never even dawned on me that this guy could be throwing 100 and not naturally, I just never thought about it.  In retrospect, I’m a guy that would love to see everybody that used outed.  I’d love for all those names to come out.  The problem with what happened in that era is there’s an unrealistic expectation now on offensive performance.  It used to be, if you hit 30 home runs and drove in 100, you had a great year.  Then, there got to be a period of time where there were so many guys doing that.  So the guys that really were doing it — all natural — they don’t look as good because there are a lot of guys that were able to do that.  From that respect, selfishly, I’d like to say I’d never touched anything, I’d never seen anybody do it, I don’t really know that much about it wheh I was a young player.  I felt like I had some pretty good years, and I’d like for those to stand on their own merit and not to suffer under this cloud of suspicion that everybody in that era has to weather.  Obviously, it’s not possible, but I’d like for there to be a reckoning, if you will, for the guys who did it.”

“Let me say this, I don’t know anybody’s name that I heard (in the Mitchell Report) that I didn’t think…in other words, I didn’t think anybody wasn’t using that came out.  If your name was on that list, those were a lot of the guys I suspected myself when it started to all come out.  There wasn’t anybody where I was like, ‘Oh man, I know he didn’t do it, so why is he on that list?’”

“Most of the guys that were on it have come out and said yes.  Roger’s a guy that has been vehement in his denial, and he’s a friend of mine, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until this thing kind of resolves itself.  Because of that, if he was found guilty of doing whatever it is, it’s not like I’d be so surprised that I’d fall over in a faint or something.  But, by the same token, I’m willing to give him every benefit of the doubt…you’re so adamant in your denial.  If you think about it, he’s the one that wanted to go to Congress.  Why would somebody be pushing this agenda?  It just doesn’t make any sense to me.  Roger’s sort of a special case and I’d forgotten that he was on there.”

“Andy (Pettitte) and I are as good as friends as you can possibly be.  He’s probably my best friend.  I just…I was surprised, but once I found out more about the reasoning behind it…obviously, I can say this, but nobody will buy into it.  But there’s a difference between taking steroids for the purpose of enhancing your performance; taking a cycle — and what Andy did, which was take HGH, that’s a different deal for the purpose of trying to come back from an injury.  You have to know Andy.  I can sit here and tell you if Andy says it, you can take it to the bank.  If he said I did it to get over an injury and not to get a competitive advantage, you can believe him.  I mean, nobody’s going to believe that because everybody always says that kind of stuff.  But Andy is truly is one of the most honest guys I know.  He’s got the most integrity of anybody I’ve been around.  So after having talked to him about it, I understand why he did it.  He’s such a competitor.  He’s one of the few players I’ve played with that truly feels a burden, like we get paid a ton of money to go out and do a job, but he’s burdened by that.  So when he can’t do it, he feels like he’s stealing money.  He’s like, “I should give it back.’  And I’m like, “Now wait, don’t do that.’  But, really, that’s his mindset.  So to know him and understand that and talk with him…after it initially came out, I was like, ‘Man.’  But I got a chance to talk with him, but now I understand what was going on.  That doesn’t play in the media, but that’s the truth.  Everybody that was ever touched by PED’s, they’re going to lump them all into one category and that’s that.  But that’s the consequence for doing something you shouldn’t have done.  He’ll tell you that just as quickly as I will.”

“I think a lot of it has to do with the way the situation is handled.  It speaks to Andy’s character that he was willing to say he made a mistake.  Here’s what I did, let me completely honest about this to the detriment of me and my friends and family and let me be honest and above board about this.  Most people feel like Barry and some of the other guys are hiding something and they’re unwilling to admit to any wrongdoing at all and they’re hiding behind lawyers and it’s just shenanigans.  People can see through that, and I think they don’t appreciate it.  That’s why they may give a different reaction for Andy than you would for other guys.”

“I just think that if something did happen, that you’re always better off and saying this is what happened, and here’s why.  And I think people can accept that.  I think what people don’t appreciate is if they feel like things aren’t above board.  Clearly, the Pete Rose situation, he’s paying the price.  To me, Roger’s a Hall of Famer no matter what.  No matter if they come up with irrefutable proof that he did something.  To me, what he did even before that period of time is Hall of Fame worthy.  I don’t think that should be a question, although it’s going to be.”

“I think Pete should be in the Hall of Fame.  If you’re going to paint with a broad brush, just look at that era and the best players go to the Hall of Fame.  It’s impossible, even if you take steroids out of the equation, how can you compare what Barry Bonds was able to do pre-steroids, if you will, to what Babe Ruth did.  They played in such different eras.  So if you’re looking at statistical integrity, the argument doesn’t wash just because you can’t compare.  What you have to do, I think, is determine maybe when did this start or make your best guess.  Obviously, this is a job for the writers.  Then, just say the best players from that era, they go.  Or, you can take the other side, and say they’re all out.  Nobody can get in because they’re tainted.  I guess a third possibility would be, you take a guy like Barry.  if it comes  out that he’s guilty, you look at what he was able to do before that period in his career, he was a Hall of Famer.  There’s no doubt.  Roger, Hall of Famer, no doubt.  No question.  Some of the guys, you look at them, and it’s this guy may not have been if he didn’t have a little help.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 135: Pre-Game Notes

August 30, 2010

6:05 PM — Lineups…

AKRON

Jordan Henry, CF
Cristo Arnal, SS
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Jerad Head, DH
Beau Mills, 1B
John Drennen, RF
Tim Fedroff, LF
Juan Apodaca, C
Daniel DeGeorge, 2B

Eric Berger, P

TRENTON

Justin Christian, LF
Austin Krum, CF
Lance Berkman, DH
Daniel Brewer, RF
Marcos Vechionacci, 1B
Corban Joseph, 2B
Rene Rivera, C
Luis Nunez, SS
Matt Cusick, 3B

Adam Warren, P

5:55 PM — How good of a guy is Lance Berkman?  Wow.  He gave us fifteen minutes of his time on a wide, wide variety of topics.  Stay tuned.

Wilkin De La Rosa, through interpreter/actual coach Vic Valencia issued a strong denial of having ever had anything to do with B12, no less injecting it or having it injected in him.

Berkman will be here two days, likely will DH both days.

4:35 PM — Berkman is interacting with his new teammates and taking BP.  Here’s a video of his first six swings…

And a photo…

4:20 PM — Berkman’s on the field.  He’s wearing #37…

3:20 PM — Berkman will hit third and DH today…

2:40 PM — Lance Berkman is here and is scheduled to play in two games for the Thunder.  Not sure if he’ll be at first base or DH or what the plan is, but that’s what I know for right now.  No word on what number he’ll be wearing just yet, either.

Also, and this is somewhat obvious, but I plan on attempting to speak with Wilkin De La Rosa today.  De La Rosa and Ivan Nova were reported by The New York Post to have been injecting each other with B12 last season…and while I can think of about 50 other stories I’d rather write, I’m somewhat obligated to pursue this one.

Pitching matchups for the series are as follows…

8/30: Adam Warren vs. Eric Berger
8/31: Cory Arbiso vs. Alex White
9/1: Andrew Brackman vs. Corey Kluber
9/2: Manuel Banuelos vs. Matt Packer

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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