Thursday, April 1, 2010
Glaus Fully Recovered; Martinez 2 HR Pace Red Sox Win
Players of the Day for Wednesday, March 31, 2010 American League Victor Martinez is ready. The Boston catcher/DH hit a two-run homer off Baltimore starter Jason Berken in the 3rd inning and followed up that blast with a grand slam off reliever Jim Johnson in the 4th. Martinez finished with 3 hits in 5 at-bats, 6 RBI and a couple of runs. The Orioles have already seen enough of Martinez, and the regular season hasn't even begun. Martinez has hit safely in each of the past five games, going 11-for-21 with 3 homers, 12 RBI and 8 runs, raising his batting average from .226 to .346. Reserve Kevin Frandsen also hit a grand slam as the Red Sox banged out 17 hits in the 14-6 win. National League Troy Glaus singled and doubled twice, driving in 3 runs in Atlanta's 10-5 win over Houston. The Braves roughed up Houston starter, Wandy Rodriguez, who allowed 9 hits, 2 walks and 9 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, his final tune-up before the regular season begins. Glaus, who missed most of 2009 due to injury (left shoulder), left the Cardinal organization and hooked up with the Braves during the off-season. He had surgery to repair the shoulder and all indications are that the operation was successful. The rangy 1st baseman, who started out his major league career with the Angels and stay on for 7 years, is now playing for the 4th different team in the last six years. He is having the Springtime of his life with the Braves. Through Wednesday's game, he's gone 19-for-46 (.413), with 5 doubles and 9 RBI. There haven't been any home runs off Glaus' bats, but the Braves - and Glaus - are confident they'll come. He has 3-4 on his resume, with a high of 47 in 2000. MLB Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks After winning the NL West in 2007, the Diamondbacks failed to repeat in 2008, losing out to the Dodgers by 2 games and missing the playoffs. In 2009, the wheels came completely off, as the team fell to last place in the division, 25 games out with a record of 70-92. Heading into the new season, prospects for success continue to be dimmed by the absence of quality starters in the rotation. As of the end of March, there were still two spots open, with just Dan Haren, Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson named as regular starters. On Wednesday, March 31, the D-Backs named Rodrigo Lopez as the #4 man in the rotation. Two prospects, Billy Buckner and Kevin Mulvey, have both been optioned to the minors, which leaves the 5th spot still there for the taking. It's an issue, as the regulars in the bullpen have no experience as starters, though as a relief group, it's pretty strong. Chad Qualls saved 24 games last season, before injury shortened his campaign. Juan Gutierrez finished the year as the closer, cashing in 9 of 10 save opportunities in September. He will likely be one of the team's set-up men along with Aaron Heilmann, Bob Howry and Clay Zavada. Getting to the relief corps will be where the rubber meets the road. As far as the every day players are concerned, the D-Backs have a respectable lineup. The youthful outfield, consisting of Conor Jackson - a .290 hitter - Chris Young and Justin Upton, each has limited major league experience, so there's hope for more upside, especially in Young's case. Upton is easily the most productive. In 2009, he batted an even .300, with 26 homers and 86 RBI. Like his brother, B.J., in Tampa, Justin has all the tools. He stole 20 bases last year and will likely be Arizona's best hitter for average. Another rising star is 1st baseman Adam LaRoche, who went from Pittsburgh to Atlanta to Boston last year, eventually signing on with Arizona in the off-season. His resume includes 7 major league season, but they have all been good. He's good for 20-25 homers and 80-100 RBI. Up the middle, 2nd baseman Kelly Johnson and shortstop Stephen Drew will do better defensively than at the plate, though 3rd baseman Mark Reynolds has proven to swing a lethal bat. Entering his 4th season, the power numbers have increased every year. In 2007, he hit 17 dingers and drove in 62 runs; 2008: 28 and 97; 2009: 44 and 102. Behind the plate, Miguel Montero and Chris Snyder each handle pitchers well and are good with the bat, though Montero has demonstrated better plate qualities and will be the starter. If it wasn't for the pitching issues, the Diamondbacks would be considered a contender for the NL West crown, but Los Angeles, San Francisco and Colorado seem to have an edge on them. According to the Vegas future book, the D-Backs are a 60-1 shot to win the World Series and the over-under for wins is 83, which is better than only San Diego in the division.