Sports Outside the Beltway

P Mike Hampton has a torn rotator cuff

Another setback for the veteran lefty has he tries to re-establish himself in the major leagues.

Houston Astros left-hander Mike Hampton has a partially torn rotator cuff and hopes to pitch again this season.

Hampton (7-10, 5.30 ERA) went on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday. He left his last start on Aug. 13 with shoulder soreness. An MRI taken Wednesday revealed the extent of the injury, the team announced.

The Astros said Hampton will not have surgery to repair the injury.

The 36-year-old has started 21 games this season, his most since 2004. He missed the 2006 and 2007 seasons after separate elbow surgeries.

I always thought this type of injury required surgery. If Hampton is operated on at some future date, I think his playing career will be at an end. He was a good pitcher but his career has been downhill ever since his signing with Colorado before the 2001 season.


Return engagement- Milwaukee Brewers acquire reliever David Weathers

He is one of the last original Florida Marlins to still be playing in the Major Leagues. From AP-

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired Cincinnati right-hander David Weathers for a player to be named later.

Weathers is 3-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 43 games. He pitched one inning and got the win in Friday’s 10-5 comeback win over the San Francisco Giants.

The 39-year-old reliever starts his second stint with Milwaukee. He previously pitched for the Brewers from 1998-2001.

Weathers, who first came up with Toronto in 1991, is still putting up decent numbers. Anyone want to take a guess how much longer he can keep on pitching in the majors?


Former Horse racing and NY Mets announcer Jack Lee dead at age 73

I didn’t know Lee worked at Shea Stadium but do remember his voice calling the races at Roosevelt Raceway. Roosevelt was the closest harness track to the part of Long Island I grew up in till 1976. I only went to Roosevelt a few times, but heard Lee’s voice many times when weekend races were broadcast on local and cable television after I moved away from the NY area. RIP.

Jack E. Lee, a longtime race announcer most closely associated with his work at Roosevelt Raceway, died Thursday, July 30. He was 73.

Mr. Lee was a popular fixture at the now-shuttered Roosevelt, from 1968 until 1985, and also called races at Freehold Raceway in 1966 and from 1990 through 1998.

His mellow voice and descriptive calls were known to millions via his race calls on the “Racing from Roosevelt” TV shows syndicated across the nation by WOR-TV. He also served as the public address announcer for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, and was for a time the ring announcer for World Wrestling Federation shows at Madison Square Garden.

Mr. Lee was retired and living in Florida at the time of his death.


Texas Rangers release pitcher Orlando Hernandez

Is El Duque’s MLB over with? From AP-

El Duque’s comeback attempt with the Texas Rangers has ended.

Texas released Orlando Hernandez from his minor league contract Friday, making the right-hander a free agent just more than a month after he signed.

Hernandez was 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in eight relief appearances for Triple-A Oklahoma City since being activated three weeks ago. He had 12 strikeouts and four walks in 11 innings.

General Manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers had no plans to add Hernandez to their major league roster by Monday, when the pitcher would have been able to opt out of the contract.

“The reports that we got were about what you would expect, stuff-wise. … The velocity was not an issue or anything like that, just rust,” Daniels said. “With more time and innings, he may very well be ready, but he had the out in his contract and he was going to take it.”

Hernandez last pitched in the majors for the New York Mets in 2007 before toe surgery. Hernandez’s numbers with the Mets in 2007, suggest he should still be able to pitch in the majors. The toe injury could have adversely affected his ability to pitch. Hernandez’s age may also factor into how strong his arm is.

The Cuban pitcher’s age has been questioned at times, and is listed as high as 43 by some accounts. The Rangers said he was 39 when they signed him last month, though Daniels sounded less certain about that Friday.

“Ask the Census bureau,” he said.

No need to. The smoking Gun has a copy of El Duque’s Cuban divorce decree. It clearly says he was born in 1965.


Atlanta Braves release Tom Glavine

The lefthander has won 305 games lifetime, 224 of them for Atlanta. From ESPN-

Tom Glavine wanted to end his career with the Braves.

If this is the end, it wasn’t on his terms.

Atlanta released the winningest active pitcher in the big leagues on Wednesday, a stunning move just when it seemed he was ready to return to the Braves.

The move was first reported by ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney.

The 43-year-old Glavine, who was coming back from shoulder and elbow surgery, threw six scoreless innings in a rehab start for Class-A Rome on Tuesday night and proclaimed himself ready to pitch in the majors again.

Instead, the Braves cut him, another move that figures to draw the ire of Atlanta fans after the team failed to re-sign John Smoltz during the offseason.

Glavine described himself as “very surprised” in a text message to The Associated Press. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox called it “the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.”

The players were most shocked by the timing of the decision: Why was the 305-game winner allowed to make three rehab starts, then told he wouldn’t be pitching anymore for the Braves?

Financial considerations may well have played a part. Does a team want to pay a large sum of money for a player of limited usefulness both long and short term? Major league teams are a business first and foremost. Their management looks at the bottom line just like those working for non-sports companies.

Casey Stengel in his years at the helm of the New York Yankees was quick to dump players once they were no longer useful to him. A pitcher would win 16 games one year, struggle the next and soon find himself traded to Kansas City. Casey felt no obligation to keep around a player because they were once good. He had to concern himself with today and tomorrow not yesterday. Perhaps Atlanta was thinking the same way.


Milwaukee Brewers release reliever Jorge Julio

This takes place the day after the Florida Marlins shell the veteran righty. From AP-

The Milwaukee Brewers made big changes to their thin bullpen on Tuesday.

One day after reliever Jorge Julio allowed five runs while facing six batters in the sixth inning of Milwaukee’s 7-4 loss to the Florida Marlins, the Brewers released the right-hander.

Julio entered Monday night’s game in Miami with Milwaukee leading 4-2. He gave up two hits, hit two batters, walked one and another reached on an error. Signed to a one-year, $950,000 deal in the offseason, Julio was let go Tuesday after going 1-1 with a 7.79 ERA in 15 appearances.

The Brewers called up right-hander Mike Burns from Triple-A Nashville. Burns was 6-2 with a 2.98 ERA for the Sounds.

Milwaukee’s manager says the bullpen is thin. Which it is, particularly after David Riske was lost for the season after elbow surgery.

Julio, who has played for eight ML teams since 2001, throws very hard. Something baseball managers like. I expect a ninth team to take a chance on him before the 2009 season is over. Perhaps even by the 4th of July.


NY Met Gary Sheffield hits 500th homer of his career

He became the 25th player in baseball history to reach that milestone. From AP-

Gary Sheffield crossed home plate and thrust his arms in the air after unleashing his 500th homer with another vicious swing, and then the surly slugger was humbled by the site of his new Mets teammates pouring out of the dugout.

Sheffield was greeted with hugs and high fives after becoming the 25th player to reach the milestone with a tying homer in the seventh inning Friday. The party switched focus in the bottom of the ninth when Luis Castillo hit a two-out, run-scoring single to give the Mets a 5-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

“I was so excited that, you know, when I looked over to the dugout, those were the guys,” said Sheffield, who signed with New York on April 4 after being released by Detroit four days earlier. “I appreciate every one of those guys. They’ve been very special to me.”

Last night’s homer came against the franchise Sheffield started his career with. He was drafted by Milwaukee in 1986.

Should Sheffield be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame one day? Besides his home runs, he has a career .292 batting average but more impressively a .394 career on base percentage. There is no question, Sheffield has been an offensive machine for two decades. The case against his induction is fairly strong. Sheffield has been a defensive liability his entire career, has had behavioral and discipline problems on and off the field, and as a result traveled extensively. Not too many HOFers have played for eight teams in their career.

Tim Kurkjian of ESPN writes-

Sheffield was not named in the Mitchell report, but in his testimony before a grand jury in the BALCO case in 2003, he acknowledged using “the cream” and “the clear,” but said he didn’t know they were steroids at the time. Still, that admission raises questions about steroid use even though he has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. From 1988-98, he had two 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons. From 1999-on, which appears to be the height of the steroid era, he had seven straight years of 25 homers, and six of his eight 100-RBI seasons.

Sheffield’s case is a tricky one. He has always played hard, he has often helped his team win, and he has been a middle-of-the-order hitter in the postseason with three different organizations, including a world championship team (the 1997 Marlins). He is not DiMaggio, obviously. He is not Schmidt, Griffey or Yastrzemski. Despite having similar numbers, he is not even close to being Frank Robinson, all things considered.

The marks against him are noticeable and troublesome, but his numbers — especially 500 home runs — are very impressive. His case is debatable, but I believe he’s a Hall of Famer.

His drug use is another factor to weigh for Sheffield. Should all players caught up in that scandal be excluded from the HOF? I don’t have a vote on who goes to Cooperstown, if I did, I don’t know if I would vote for Sheffield.


Former NY Yankee pitcher Tom Sturdivant dead at 78

He won 59 games in a career that spanned 10 years. He won 36 games in a Yankee uniform, notching 16 victories in both 1956 and 57. He pitched in three World Series alsoRIP


Former MLB pitcher Dave Roberts dead at 64

I remember Roberts. He and Clay Kirby were the 1-2 pitching combo for the Padres in their infant years. His 14-17 2.10 ERA year with the 71 Padres was truly outstanding. For the Padres went 61-100 that year.

Roberts was a journeyman but one able to win over 100 ML games. Which according to wikipedia, makes him the 4th winningest Jewish pitcher in baseball history. He also swung a mean bat for a pitcher as seen in .194 career batting average, 7 career homeruns, and .500 Slugging Pct in 1977 for the Chicago Cubs. RIP.


Former MLB Pitcher Nick Willhite dead at 67

A hard throwing lefty, he was on two world series rosters with the Los Angeles Dodgers but never appeared on the mound. Two interesting notes about his career.

He was sold and repurchased by the LA Dodgers in less than seven months.

More notably, he was traded by the California Angels to the New York Mets in 1967 for Jack Hamilton. This set in motion the beaning of Boston Red Sox slugger Tony Conigliaro later in the season. Jack Hamilton was the pitcher whose pitch helped destroy that promising player’s career. Thought I would share that trivia. RIP Nick.


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