Monday, July 26, 2010

Did You See That?

Hey, it's Monday. Don't try to pretend you are working, we all know better. You're version of "work" right now involves signing up for your football fantasy team(s), getting your lineup set on the pitiful group that you call your baseball fantasy team(s), reading all the news that you feel you might have missed out on, and doing anything else on the computer that makes you look busy in case the boss walks in.

Then again, I guess that is why you are here.

If that is in fact the case, welcome. Let's get a look at some of the things that happened around Major League Baseball while you were preoccupied with that thing we all call "life". Me? Oh, my life is baseball, so here is what I caught wind of this week that may have slid past you.

Brad Ausmus To Hang 'Em Up
He has been a defensive presence behind the plate since he broke into the league in 1993 for San Diego. The Padres may have been his first major league team, but Ausmus was drafted by the New York Yankess in 1987 and selected by the Colorado Rockies in the expansion draft in 1992. It was not until a July trade in 1993 that Ausmus would find his way onto a big league roster.

Ausmus has built a career off stellar defense winning three gold gloves along the way. He quietly put together a solid career that had multiple teams, four at the major league level, to rely on his leadership behind the plate. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Ausmus' legacy will be discussed in his transaction history. You see in June of 1996, Ausmus was dealt from San Diego to Detroit. From there, his trade history makes a few turns that are hard to imagine. In December of 1996, in a famous 10-player trade, Ausmus was dealt from Detroit to Houston. Just over two seasons later, Houston would trade Ausmus in a 7-player deal back to Detroit. Finally, in January of 1999 he would make one more U-Turn as he was dealt as part of a 6-person trade that sent him back to Houston. He would settle in at Houston until 2009 when he would sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the beginning of 2010, Ausmus would play one game before finding his way to the disabled list and having surgery on his back. The catcher fought hard and returned to the lineup for the Dodgers and did so this week on July 24th. After the game, while talking to reporters, he announced that this end of this year would mark the end of his career, retiring almost as quietly as he has played his entire career.

It Can Be A Dangerous Game
Baseball is not a contact sport but serious injuries will happen. Most often, these injuries happen on the field with the players involved in the plays. It is the oldest rule that I can remember being taught. When at a game, when playing, when watching or when being involved in baseball in any way, "Keep your eye on the ball". Sometimes views are obstructed. Sometimes the game moves at speeds that prevent a human from being able to track the sphere that is three inches in diameter.

Such an instance happened this week in Arizona during a game with the Giants. Pat Burrell of the Giants sliced a foul ball into his own dugout. The players near the dugout railing scattered as the line drive shot towards the team's bench. Utility player Eugenio Velez was sitting on the back of the bench leaning against the wall at the back of the dugout. According to Arizona first baseman Adam LaRoche, the ball struck Velez in the head, though he is not sure exactly where.

Velez was removed from the stadium on a stretcher though his manager, Bruce Bochy, reported that he never lost consciousness. Everything seems to point to Velez being fine, though he will most likely be placed on the 15-Day disabled list for precautions.

Sometimes You Have To Try Something New
We are all aware of the intriguing story of Rick Ankiel, the young Cardinal pitcher that found a rebirth of his career as an outfielder. Prior to the 2010 season, Ankiel left the Cardinals' organization to join the team on the other side of the state in Kansas City.

Recently, the Kansas City Royals have a young player in the farm system attempting to do just the opposite. Brian Anderson has spent his past few season in Boston and Chicago playing the outfield for the American League teams in those cities. He signed this off-season to attempt to join the Royals organization as an outfielder. Anderson did not make the team and left spring training due to "personal reasons". Shortly thereafter, Anderson contacted the team and expressed his dream to pitch in Major League Baseball. He has began his climb back to the major league level in the Arizona League where he serves as a relief pitcher currently.

There you have it, a rundown of a few stories that may have slid past you this week. I hope I helped you discover a few things that you may not have seen previously. Tune in next week and help me answer the question, Did you see that?

Bill Ivie is the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com and Executive Editor of their affiliate site, i70baseball.com. You can find him on BlogTalkRadio hosting the I-70 Baseball show every Monday night at 10 p.m. CST.

1 comment:

GM-Carson said...

Former catcher Ben Davis is attempting to make it back to the bigs as a pitcher too.