June 15, 2013 |
Rocket fuel Roger Clemens would have smiled at the highlights from last week's fight night at Dodger Stadium. Not at the punching and shoving, mind you, but at the first bean ball - the one that hit Yasiel Puig in the face. Puig had hit .500 in his first eight games in the major leagues, with four home runs and 10 runs batted in. The Dodgers' phenom might have been a little too comfortable for Clemens, who probably would have welcomed him to the majors by buzzing him with a fastball, high and tight.
June 5, 2013 |
A fastball that touches 96 mph combined with pinpoint control could lead to right-hander Phil Bickford of Westlake Village Oaks Christian becoming a top-10 selection when the first 73 picks of Major League Baseball's amateur draft are made Thursday in Secaucus, N.J. Rounds 3 through 10 will take place Friday, followed by Rounds 11 through 40 on Saturday. The draft begins at 4 p.m. PDT. The Houston Astros have the No. 1 pick, followed by the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers have the 18th pick; the Angels' first choice comes at No. 59. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Bickford has momentum entering the draft after striking out 18 batters, including 11 in a row, Saturday night when Oaks Christian won the Southern Section Division 4 championship with a 4-0 victory over Pico Rivera El Rancho.
May 10, 2013 |
Swing, batter, batter! In less time than it takes to say that phrase, Major League Baseball sluggers have their bat across the plate, and the best of them are golfing the shot over the outfield wall. How does the brain "know" when to swing? Researchers at UC Berkeley believe they've found the internal architecture that lets a batter get ahead of the fastball, and allows the rest of us to pour a beer and find our seat in the stands. They pinpointed a region of the brain's middle temporal complex that can "predict" spatial position ahead of its actual location in the real world.
April 3, 2013 |
CINCINNATI - Ernesto Frieri spent seven weeks working on a second pitch to go with his lively 95-mph fastball, and he gained enough confidence in a changeup and cut fastball that, by the end of spring training, he said he was ready to take both into the season. So what happened when the right-hander was summoned for his first save opportunity, in the 13th inning of Monday's opener against the Cincinnati Reds? He fell back on the familiar, using his fastball on 16 of 18 pitches - the other two were sliders - while preserving a 3-1 victory.
April 2, 2013 |
— Of all the numbers dotted on a scorecard and drizzled around its margins as opening day extended into opening night, the most compelling number for the Angels might be this one: Number of times Jered Weaver hit 90 mph: zero. There might be no pitcher in the major leagues more crucial to the fortunes of his team. There might be no radar gun readings more unsettling that the ones at Great American Ball Park on Monday, the ones that tracked Weaver's fastball most often in the range of 84-87 mph. What matters most is getting outs, and Weaver got them.
March 8, 2013 |
PHOENIX - Gunslingers don't smile, they scowl. Yet, there was Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett standing in front of his spring training locker, his face creased with a grin. Baseball's version of Billy the Kid had become a warm and fuzzy pacifist. "I think we all go through that transition at some point," said Beckett, once a cocky, hard-throwing intimidator but now a wizened, wily veteran. "When your stuff changes you have to react to it. There's nothing you can do. You have to make adjustments.