Willie : On Returning, Floyd Might Not Start

Posted in Baseball at 1:08 pm by

(Kaz tells former teammate David Wright that he still can’t find that Salvation Miracle Crusade commercial on YouTube)

You’re not supposed to lose your gig to an injury, but then again, Endy Chavez wasn’t supposed to be a key cog in the Mets running away with the NL East. Newsday’s David Lennon discussed the matter of the oft-hobbled Cliff Floyd prior to the Mets’ 10-5 win at Pete Coors Is A Drunken Facist Field last night.

If Floyd expected his position to be waiting for him upon his return, manager Willie Randolph suggested otherwise.

“I’m not saying he’s going to take Endy’s job,” Randolph said. “A lot depends on how Cliff looks and how he starts to play. But I’m not going to change from what I think is best for the team. When you get to the postseason, you play the best guys, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

That hard-line stance is not shocking from Randolph, who loves Chavez’s defense and the additional boost of energy he brings to the lineup. Chavez, who started in leftfield again last night, is capable of making plays that the less nimble Floyd could not even consider.

Chavez also is batting .310 with a .352 on-base percentage in 106 games, and has delivered in a number of critical situations this season. Floyd, by comparison, has been a disappointment at the plate, hitting .245 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs in 80 games. And with a potent lineup already in place, overstocked with lefthanded hitters, the Mets don’t really need Floyd.

Randolph dismissed the abundance of lefthanders as a weakness, saying they are capable of doing damage regardless of who is on the mound. But the Mets’ team average sinks 13 points to .260 against lefthanded pitching, and Floyd (.159) and Carlos Delgado (.232) look like they can be neutralized.

“You can’t always have the perfect balance,” Randolph said. “But we can be dominant and we’re going to face a lot of righthanders.”

With a day to go before new additions are no longer post-season eligible, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports the Mets might have one last move to make.

The Mets, seeking to upgrade their backup catcher and add infield depth, are talking to the Rockies about acquiring catcher Danny Ardoin and infielder Luis Gonzalez for a minor-league pitcher.

Ardoin, 32, was designated for assignment by the Rockies last Friday. A poor hitter but strong defender, he likely would replace Mike DiFelice. Ramon Castro, the Mets’ primary backup catcher, underwent surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Gonzalez, 27, primarily is a second baseman, but he has played all four infield positions in the past two seasons as well as left field and right. He would give the Mets protection if Jose Valentin again is slowed by his right hamstring injury. Chris Woodward is currently the Mets’ only backup infielder.

In return for Ardoin and Gonzalez, the Rockies likely would receive Class AA right-hander Matt Lindstrom, 26, or Class AA right-hander Henry Owens, 27.

While the Boston papers are packed with references to Reggie Lewis, the LA Times’ Tim Brown and Steven Springer point to David Wells being traded to the Dodgers.

Because “Clarett Crunch” Just Sounds Wrong

Posted in Food, Gridiron at 12:50 pm by

From the Columbus Dispatch’s Kathy Lynn Gray.

Buckeye HerOes cereal, the newest university-licensed food, will hit store shelves in time for Saturday™s football opener against Northern Illinois at Ohio Stadium.

“We couldn™t make them ˜block Os™, so we made them Os,” said Rick Van Brimmer, director of OSU trademark and licensing services.

Three OSU football stars from last year ” Bobby Carpenter, A.J. Hawk and Anthony Schlegel ” are starring on the HerOes box.

The honey-nut-flavored toasted oats will cost $3.49 for a 14-ounce box at Kroger stores, where they™ll be stocked as early as Thursday, said Monica Gordon, spokeswoman for the chain™s Great Lakes division.

Shoppers already can fill their carts with OSU pasta, chips, salsa, hot dogs, mustard and hot sauces, as well as candy Buckeyes.

“People get excited when football season rolls around and look for unique items to enhance the parties they have,” Gordon said.

If the cereal sells, OSU will come out with a box featuring another former Buckeyes star, probably in early January, and boxes with other OSU ex-athletes perhaps twice a year after that, Van Brimmer said. Some cereal-box faces under consideration: Woody Hayes, Jesse Owens and Jack Nicklaus.

Enough kids are skipping breakfast, as is, without subjecting them to the visage of Woody Hayes first thing in the morning.

Astros Pay Up For Roy O.

Posted in Baseball at 12:08 am by

I’m trying to recall the last time a player went from almost being traded at the deadline to signing an extension within a month. Barry Larkin is the only name that comes to mind, and presumably, this will have a more favorable result for the club in question. From the Houston Chronicle’s Jose De Jesus Ortiz.

Informed that the Astros had just given him a five-year, $73 million contract Tuesday night, ace righthander Roy Oswalt (above) immediately placed a call to Weir, Miss., to give his father Billy the news. In the ensuing news conference, Oswalt fought off tears as he acknowledged his father’s guidance.

Oswalt’s contract is easily the richest multi-year deal ever given to a pitcher by an Astros franchise that has had legendary aces such as Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and J.R. Richard, to name just a few.

Oswalt, who could have tested free agency after the 2007 season, will earn $13 million in each of the first two years of the contract. His salary moves up to $14 million in 2009, $15 million in 2010 and $16 million in 2011. He has a complete no-trade clause and a $2 million buyout of a $16 million club option for 2012.

Craig Biggio, Jason Lane and Luke Scott all homered in Houston’s 10-3 beatdown of Milwaukee. Astros CF Willy Tavares saw his 30 game hitting streak come to a close, but not before suffering a beaning at the hands of Tomo Ohka.

Without the services of manager Joe Girardi, the Marlins won their 9th consecutive Tuesday night, putting the hurt on the, uh, still-hurting Mark Mulder to the tune of a 9-1 scoreline. Dan Uggla hit his 21st HR of the year, and ended with 3 hits and 4 RBI’s on the night. Florida are 1 1/2 games out of the NL Wild Card, pending the finish of the Reds/Dodgers game at Chavez Ravine.


Hanging Out At Zach’s Place

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Dogs at 8:24 pm by

Though I kinda thought the Andy Dick episode was the nail in the coffin of MTV’s “Cribs”, True Hoop’s Henry Abbott caught a re-run of the Zach Randolph segment, and it sounds like it could’ve been the greatest reality TV moment since Michael Barrymore invited Dennis Rodman for a late night swim.

I had just a little moment of nervousness when Zach let his three pit bulls out of the fence and they just started running around free. They heeded his commands pretty well, though, and two out of three laid down when Randolph said something to them that sounded to me like German. Maybe the other one doesn’t speak German.

The dogs also factor into what is easily the creepiest moment of the whole Randolph episode: the mother of his daughter is there, totally pregnant, and never gets introduced. Not one word out of her. That could have been the fault of some MTV producers, not Randolph. But he cements her place in the household hierarchy somewhat by standing in the driveway with her and his dogs and saying he has “five babies.” The mother of his children comes in fourth by Randolph’s count. The dogs were one, two, and three, and the unborn daughter brings up the rear.

Hefty Lefty Heading To The NL?

Posted in Baseball at 8:01 pm by

Not only did the Red Sox front office wildly miscalculate whether or they had enough pitching to get through August, they’re now adding insult to injury by making plans to send The Sultan Of Swat to the Senior Circuit just as I arrive in Oakland. I guess this means our Harley ride to Sausalito later tonight is cancelled, eh, David? From the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.

The Red Sox are talking to the Padres, Dodgers and Cardinals about a potential deal that would send lefthanded pitcher David Wells to them in exchange for a player that can help the Red Sox next season, according to a league source.

Wells prefers to pitch on the West Coast, but is OK with being dealt if it is to a contending team.

In order for Wells to be eligible for a playoff roster he must be dealt by midnight on Thursday.

SF’s Jason Schmidt is getting shelled thus far at Turner Field ; Andruw Jones just connected for a solo HR off the foul pole moments after Chipper cracked a 3-run shot. The Braves are leading 8-2, and there’s a guy sitting uncomfortably close to Jon Miller’s microphone who keeps yelling, “try throwing it underhand, Jason!” (I’m pretty sure it isn’t Mike Krukow).

(UPDATE : 9-4, Atlanta. Barry Bonds has just hit his 2nd HR of the evening, and for those still paying attention, he’s just 28 away from Hank Aaron. Assuming the Sultan Of Surly is neither a) incarcerated or b) in a wheelchair in 2007, it isn’t inconceivable he’ll break the record).

Open Bar, Eh?

Posted in Blogged Down, Will Leitch Sucks at 7:20 pm by

I have to admit, I’m very impressed the Taco Bell Spicy Crunchwrap Supreme spokesmodel would put his petty jealousies aside when issuing the above invites. On the other hand, if you were about to marry this, you’d no longer be so picky about who you were hanging out with, either.

Though it’s a nice thought, I have a prior engagement at Brian Bannister Bobblehead Night on Coney Island. And I’d sooner leave Von LMO in charge of my house than willingly spend time at Blondie’s of the Upper East Side. Was the Ground Round all booked up?

Still, just cuz I’m busy doesn’t mean the rest of you lot can’t crash the shindig. Tell Ariana Huffington I said hi!

Grant On The Rangers’ Latest Swoon

Posted in Baseball, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 2:39 pm by

Looks like it’ll be another September of meaningless baseball in the Metroplex, and the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant has seen it all before.

Less than 24 hours after falling nine games behind Oakland in the AL West, the clubhouse was as quiet as a mausoleum and just about as lively. Those few players who made appearances at their lockers would have preferred to talk fantasy football, their love lives or even Middle Eastern politics rather than broach one tiny little question about the club.

That question: How did this team get into the position in which it now finds itself?

That position: Forgotten, if not officially gone, in the AL West race. Even with a win Sunday night, the Rangers trailed Oakland by eight games with 30 to play. A comeback would be truly historic. This team, however, hasn’t shown enough consistency to suggest anything of historic proportions is possible.

“We just haven’t played well,” shortstop Michael Young said. “It’s not going to do me any good to look back at the last few months. All I know is we’re definitely capable of more.”

So why haven’t the Rangers accomplished more? Why do they seem headed for a seventh consecutive third- or fourth-place finish in a four-team division?

Grant points to the a leadership void in the clubhouse (blaming, in part, the trade of David Dellucci, above), lack of bullpen experience or defined roles in the wake of the Francisco Cordero trade, and poor 2nd halves from Kevin Millwood, Adam Eaton, Vicente Padilla and Kip Wells.

Strangely, the name “Buck Showalter” doesn’t appear once in this piece.

Rehabbing Mets LF Cliff Floyd was 0-3 earlier today in St. Lucie’s 5-1 loss to Palm Beach.

Newsweek reports the NFL has finally taken Gary Glitter’s “Rock And Roll, Pt. II” off the playlists of stadium tannoy operators (link courtesy Stereogum). This could be the big break the Billy Preston estate has been waiting for.