Ryan Braun liked his order of pink Mother's Day bats so much that he had them shipped back to the factory to have a new black finish applied so he could keep using them.
05/14/2008 12:09 PM ET
'Paint it black' is Braun's request
Brewers slugger infatuated with Mother's Day bats
"There was something about those bats," Braun told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "All the guys were saying it, even in the batting cage. They just felt right. They felt harder and the ball sounded louder coming off them."
You couldn't question the decision after the Brewers' left fielder hit two home runs using one.
Cabrera on top of triple play from the beginning: When Asdrubal Cabrera caught Lyle Overbay's line drive on Monday night with the Blue Jays' runners in motion, he knew he had the opportunity to do something special.
"As soon as they took off, and it was a line drive, I knew I had a chance for the triple play," Cabrera told the Cleveland Plain Dealer through interpreter Luis Rivera.
And that's just what he did by stepping on second base to double off Kevin Mench and then tagging Marco Scutaro as he approached second base. It was the first unassisted triple play for the Indians since 1920.
"It's a special feeling," said Cabrera. "It's even more special knowing how long it was since our last one."
Berkman not thinking, but certainly hitting: In the middle of one of the best streaks of his career, Lance Berkman was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday.
During the week of May 5-11, Berkman hit .682 (15-for-22) with three home runs and five RBIs while scoring 10 runs. The first baseman slugged 1.136 and had a .741 on-base percentage. At one point during the week, Berkman became just the third player since 1957 to have 16 hits over a 20 at-bat span and joined Albert Pujols as the only players in 50 years to have 19 hits over 25 at-bats.
"It's not that [the ball] looks any bigger or easier [to hit]," Berkman, who stretched his hitting streak to 12 games on Tuesday night, told the Houston Chronicle. "I just feel like mechanically I'm in a good spot. I'm not really having to think about my swing when I go up to the plate. I'm just kind of seeing the ball and reacting to it."
Martinez working on hamstring rehab: Pedro Martinez will ratchet up his rehab from a strained left hamstring as he is expected to throw in an extended spring training game on Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported. The outing is the first of an every-five-days program of throwing the Mets would like him to follow. Martinez is hopeful that this is the first step toward rejoining his teammates on the Mets.
"I'm not that kind of person that gets depressed, but it's frustrating [considering] how hard I worked," Martinez said. "My arm is feeling great. My arm really hasn't given me any problems and now a hamstring. A hamstring, out of all cases, a hamstring?! Go figure."
Millar finds baseball in his living room, too: Kevin Millar is a baseball junky -- to the point where he's not close to done with baseball for the day when he finishes up at the ballpark every night.
"Some guys, when they leave this field, they're done. I'm a baseball junky," Millar told MLB.com. "When I get home, it's Baseball Tonight, SportsCenter or any game I can catch. I have the Major League package, so I'll go home and watch the end of the East Coast games and the beginning of the West Coast games. I enjoy that. It's like an escape from your situation."
A flip-flop pending, Santana could face Yankees: When the Mets face the crosstown rival Yankees on Friday, Johan Santana could be on the mound for the Mets.
Manager Willie Randolph and general manager Omar Minaya, however, were mulling the option of moving Mike Pelfrey into Santana's scheduled start on Thursday against the Nationals and saving Santana for the Yankees.
"We're considering it," Minaya told Newsday.
"We're not going to get all flip-floppy," Randolph said. "[But] an extra day won't hurt him. We always guard against watching his pitch count anyway, so it won't hurt him to get the extra day. That's good, actually -- if you can do it or choose to do it."
Youkilis walks away with weekly honor: Thanks to the popular book Moneyball that made him the face of the sabermetric player, Kevin Youkilis was tagged with the reputation of being a player who walked a lot.
But he's also proven to be among the game's better hitters since reaching the Majors with the Red Sox in 2004, and on Monday was named the American League Player of the Week after hitting .375 with three doubles, five home runs and 10 RBIs in seven games.
"That was the biggest thing, 'He walks a lot,'" Youkilis told the Boston Herald about his reputation.
Hey, kids, learn from Utley's swing: When it comes to having a nearly perfect swing, those in the know in Philadelphia say that second baseman Chase Utley is the closest thing you're going to find.
"At times he can put close to what you'd call a perfect swing on the ball," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told the Philadelphia Daily News. "It's good balance, rhythm, load, and at the same time getting a ball that you'd like to hit. And just -- very slight -- underneath the center of the ball. He's a very stylish hitter. He's a good guy to talk about because, if you watch him day in and day out and look at him from a mechanics standpoint, he would be a tremendous guy to use as a demonstration for young kids."
Mulder back to work in rehab: Just one week after being shut down with a rotator cuff strain, Mark Mulder was back on the mound Tuesday. Pitching coach Dave Duncan watched him toss 40 pitches in a bullpen session.
"He's trying to get the same sinker that he had prior to surgery," Duncan told MLB.com. "We're trying to recover that. It's not quite there yet, but we're working on it. That's a big key for him."
DeRosa finds new friends in the outfield: Mark DeRosa is an old-fashioned ball player, one that takes pride in knowing the fundamentals of baseball.
"Fundamental-wise, I know how to play the game. I know common-sense, just what to do," DeRosa wrote on his MLB.com blog. "I think sometimes people lose sight of how it's not just, run out there and catch fly balls. When you put 40,000 people in the seats, it's a lot more difficult than it looks. From that aspect, to go from the infield to the outfield, for me, is a test because I feel more removed from the game.
"I'm a guy who enjoys playing up the middle, I enjoy seeing what pitches are going to be thrown, how guys are going to be attacked, and being able to position myself accordingly. In the outfield, I sometimes get caught up with what people are saying in the stands behind me. I get a kick out of some of the comments I hear and get to interact with the fans more. I definitely prefer the infield to the outfield."
Cantu adjusting to longer throw: Jorge Cantu, formerly a second baseman, is still building his arm strength for the longer throw from third base this season.
"I've just been working on it," Cantu told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, of the postgame icing. "With the change of positions, sometimes it just feels like it's hanging there. I'm just strengthening it, doing exercises before the game, after the game."
Maza all by his lonesome at ballpark: The Dodgers placed Rafael Furcal on the disabled list and called up Luis Maza from Triple-A to take his place on the roster. This marked the first time in his 10-year professional career that Maza has reached the Major Leagues. Maza was so eager to play that he arrived to the ballpark early on Monday. The only problem was that it was a road game, and the Dodgers were not scheduled to play until Tuesday.
"A guy met me at the door and said, 'No, today St. Louis is playing, tomorrow your team plays,'" Maza told the Los Angeles Times.
Walker uses new arm to throw splitter: Tyler Walker has added a splitter to his repertoire since returning from "Tommy John" surgery on his right arm in 2006. The results have been impressive, as he sports a 3.86 ERA and has limited batters to a .186 average (11-for-59). Walker missed 13 months due to his elbow problems.
"I just started throwing it this winter," Walker told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I figured, I've got a rebuilt arm, so why not? I didn't throw it before because I didn't want to hurt my arm."
Adenhart cuts 'baby teeth' with first victory: It was good news-bad news for Angels starter Nick Adenhart on Monday night. The good news is that the rookie earned his first Major League win in a 10-7 decision over the White Sox. The bad news was that he was sent back to the Minors in preparation for the return of John Lackey to the starting rotation.
"There's only one time for a first -- it's exciting for Nick, and the guys are excited for him," manager Mike Scioscia, who gave Adenhart the scorecard from the game, told the Los Angeles Times. "It's good that he was able to cut some baby teeth here. That will help him the next time he comes up."
Tejada handcuffed after getting hit on both wrists: Miguel Tejada was hit by pitches on both wrists last weekend.
"I feel like I'm in handcuffs. It's OK," Tejada told the Houston Chronicle about the discomfort in his wrists. "I remember last year when I broke my hand -- when I got hit [by] the first one on Saturday, I was nervous because I get a bad memory from last year."
Byrd matches staff with scoreless outing: When Paul Byrd took the mound on Tuesday night, he was definitely feeling the pressure his teammates -- specifically the Indians' starting pitchers -- had been applying. Entering the game, the combination of C.C. Sabathia, Aaron Laffey, Fausto Carmona and Cliff Lee hadn't given up a run in their last 27 innings.
"Going after these guys," Byrd told MLB.com with a smile, "you feel like a loser if you give up a run."
And then he proceeded to work 7 1/3 scoreless innings in the Indians 4-0 victory over the Oakland A's, extending the streak to an astonishing 34 innings by striking out seven and walking nobody.
Rodriguez to miss series with Mets: Alex Rodriguez, who was placed on the disabled list on April 30 with a strained right quadriceps muscle, will be out a little longer after an MRI showed that the injury has not completely healed.
Eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday, Rodriguez instead will instead miss the team's series against the New York Mets this weekend.
"I don't see him playing this week," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Newsday. "It's still not where it needs to be."
-- Red Line Editorial