2007-10-27T15:55:23.390-07:00PLEASE HELP THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FIRE VICTIMS:
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2007-10-27T15:56:22.241-07:00*********** For Immediate Release **********
2006-11-20T16:43:00.840-08:00It's surrounded by moist air from the Pacific Ocean. The mountain's size and shape make it perfect for catching trade winds from the east. These winds, which blow 250 days of the year, are funneled into the mountain's steep crater.
2006-04-25T14:03:13.593-07:00Any good prizefighter knows the value of striking with quick combinations. And for the second time in their last three meetings, the Oakland Athletics dropped the Texas Rangers with consecutive power shots.Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez smacked back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning on Monday, erasing a one-run deficit and propelling the Athletics to a 3-2 victory before 23,802 at Ameriquest Field.Rangers reliever C.J. Wilson gave up the blasts, which cost starter Kevin Millwood a chance at his first home win for Texas. Losing the opener of this three-game series also ended the Rangers' four-game winning streak."For 8 2/3 innings, I'd say we pitched really well," Wilson said. "I just happened to be on the wrong end of the home run ball tonight."Millwood graded himself on a tougher curve. Even though he left the game with a 1-0 lead after five innings, the Rangers' top starter described his performance as "terrible."After walking only one hitter in his first 25 innings this season, Millwood walked six and gave up four hits Monday night. It took him 96 pitches to traverse his five innings, prompting manager Buck Showalter to pull the plug early despite the shutout."I didn't give up any runs, but to go only five innings is unacceptable," Millwood said. "Six walks, that's terrible. I put our bullpen in a really tough spot."Millwood stranded 10 runners, including six in scoring position. But his six walks tied a career high set May 27, 2004, when he pitched for Philadelphia against Atlanta."Kevin made good pitches when he had to, but it took a lot out of him," Showalter said. "It was a tribute to him that he was able to get through it for five innings and give us a chance there."It looked as if the solo home run by Kevin Mench that gave Texas a 1-0 lead in the second might hold up. Mench took Oakland starter Joe Blanton deep to left leading off the inning. He has homered in four consecutive games, one shy of the team record shared by Carl Everett (2003), Alex Rodriguez (2003) and Mark Teixeira (2004).Wilson retired the first two hitters he faced in the sixth, then walked Mark Kotsay and surrendered the consecutive home runs to Swisher (No. 9) and Chavez (No. 8)."The pitch to Swisher was a mistake," Wilson said. "My sinker has been effective all season, but I think I tried to turn it over a little too much. Same thing with Chavez. I just think I tried to do a little too much with my slider."The quick reversal was reminiscent of the teams' April 15 game in Oakland, when Rangers starter Vicente Padilla had a shutout for 4 2/3 innings, then gave up four home runs in the span of five batters to turn his lead into a 5-4 loss.Mench singled home Phil Nevin to cut the Athletics' lead to 3-2 in the sixth. The Rangers threatened again in the seventh, putting two on with one out. Teixeira drove a 2-0 pitch from Joe Kennedy high and deep to left, but Swisher was able to make the catch on the warning track. Kiko Calero struck out Nevin to end the inning.Teixeira's fly ball might have tied the game, had Gary Matthews Jr. been able to advance from second to third on Michael Young's one-out single to left. Matthews properly froze when the ball was grounded to the left side and appeared to be within shortstop Marco Scutaro's reach. But as it bounced through to the outfield, Matthews was already starting back toward second base. Swisher reached the ball in left field before Matthews could advance."It looked like (Scutaro) had a pretty good shot at it," Matthews said. "So, it's an easy play, just knowing the outs. I'd love to be on third base, but if I get caught then, it's two outs with a runner at first. The way I saw it, we still had two shots with a runner in scoring position."Showalter said, "That was a tough baserunning play, because if (Matthews) commits either way, you risk getting thrown out at third or not getting to third. He just had so much momentum going back to second base, he couldn't get his motor going again."It turned out to be the last time th[...]
2006-04-25T13:59:20.880-07:00Roger Clemens remains undecided on whether he will pitch this season, but the seven-time Cy Young Award winner apparently will not be back on the mound before June in any case.Three teams -- the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers -- are currently in the running for the right-hander's services and a fourth, the Houston Astros, can begin negotiations with Clemens on May 1.The Astros are prohibited from talking contract with Clemens until then, since they did not offer arbitration. As it turns out, that decision didn't eliminate Houston from consideration since Clemens remains unsigned.That doesn't mean the Astros are necessarily the favorites to sign Clemens either, though the two sides can open negotiations starting next Monday."[Clemens] does not intend to play in May, so the May 1 date does not mean much," Randy Hendricks, who along with brother Alan represents Clemens, told MLB.com via e-mail Monday.Clemens spent Sunday night in a Houston hospital where his son Koby, an infielder in the Houston system, was undergoing surgery on his finger."He's going to miss about six weeks," Clemens said. "That's kind of my main concern right now. He's going to get through this week and we'll get him back out there and that's kind of what I'm focused on right now."Clemens said he has been throwing a lot of batting practice, so if he does decide to return for a 23rd season, he likely wouldn't need a lot of time to prepare."I don't think I'm going to be too far out of shape if I decide to play again," he said.Meanwhile the suitors keep calling."I've listened to every other team [other than Houston] and I continue to get calls every day from those guys on the teams, front office people, I hear the concerns, I know what's behind it and understand it would be a great story," Clemens said. "It's very flattering [but] it would be a mental challenge [to come back]."Clemens said he hasn't met with Astros officials."I haven't sat down with the hometown team because I can't," Clemens said. "Once I hear from them, I'll put that in the mix if in fact I'm going to crank it up."The Yankees would love to see Clemens return to New York, but all has been quiet on that front."Nothing to report on him, he is retired and he will let us know if he decides otherwise -- if he is interested in us, of course," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said recently.Clemens visited with the Red Sox and Rangers on Opening Day in Arlington, Texas. Like the Yankees, the Red Sox and Rangers have made their intentions known to the 43-year-old and are now simply waiting to hear what he decides to do.Boston's interest in Clemens can only be heightened as a result of the uncertain status of David Wells, who has been battling a knee injury.The Rangers' rotation is 6-7 with a 4.78 ERA through Sunday's game. Clemens' arrival in north Texas would immediately upgrade the Texas rotation and make the Rangers more of a threat in the competitive American League West, not to mention the additional interest Clemens would generate at the Ameriquest Field.Should Clemens decide to pitch, it could spark an interesting bidding battle as the two well-heeled AL East rivals and the two Texas teams try to sway the future Hall of Famer. The Astros paid Clemens $18 million last season, the largest single-season contract for a pitcher in Major League history.Last year, Clemens led the Major Leagues with a 1.87 ERA and helped the Astros reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history.Houston could be a more attractive option for Clemens than they were during Spring Training. The Astros are currently tied with the Chicago White Sox (13-5) for the best record in baseball. Houston's rotation leads the Majors with a 2.97 ERA, and that's with No. 3 starter Brandon Backe on the disabled list. Rookie Taylor Buchholz has pitched well and left-hander Wandy Rodriguez is 3-0."I still keep up with them," Clemens said. "I'm taping Andy's [Pettitte] game, Roy's [Oswalt] g[...]
2006-02-16T11:15:47.333-08:00The Texas Rangers announced today the club has signed catcher Gerald Laird, left-handed pitcher C.J. Wilson and outfielder Jason Botts to contracts for the 2006 season.
2006-02-16T11:15:07.686-08:00Great baseball nicknames are a thing of the past, but a Rangers official came up with one as he watched Kevin Millwood walk across the clubhouse Wednesday."There goes 'The Ring Man,'" the official said. "If he pitches the way he's capable."The implication is clear on a club that has never had a first-hand look at a World Series ring. It's also in line with what other Rangers officials are calling Millwood after signing him this winter to a five-year contract that could be worth up to $60 million.They have anointed him as their No. 1 starter, a commodity the Rangers have long been looking for with mixed success at best.That is the single most compelling reason why the Rangers were willing to give out such a lucrative contract to a 31-year-old right-hander who led the American League with a 2.86 ERA while with the Cleveland Indians last year.He was also the leader on a staff that led the AL with a 3.61 team ERA."I think he's ready to assume that mantle," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "I think he's capable of matching up with the other guys. That's a pretty lofty area, but he's one of those guys."Some pitchers have been known to shy away from such a designation. Millwood does not."I'm fine with it," Millwood said. "If that's going to take pressure off of other guys, that's great. Everybody has to think they're No. 1 when they go out there. If they don't, they are in a lot of trouble. That's not putting any more pressure on me that I already do myself."Acquiring a No. 1 starter was a primary goal for general manager Jon Daniels last winter. It was the reason why he was willing to trade third baseman Hank Blalock and a young pitching prospect to the Florida Marlins for Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell.That deal fell through when the Marlins sent Beckett to Boston. But Daniels did not give up and did not run away when agent Scott Boras sat down to talk with him about Millwood."We have been missing that the last couple of years, somebody with his ability and leadership, somebody strong enough to pitch deep in the game and deep into the season," Daniels said. "That's something we haven't had. The more you hear about Kevin's makeup and intangibles, the more you like him. But the reason we signed him is his ability."The search for a No. 1 starter in Arlington goes back a long ways. This is a franchise that has never had a Cy Young Award winner and just three 20-game winners in 34 years in Texas.Rick Helling was their last 20-game winner back in 1998. After that season, the Rangers tried to sign Randy Johnson. The following winter, they tried to trade for Roger Clemens.They struck out both times.Finally, in the winter of 2001-02, they signed Chan Ho Park to a five-year, $65 million contract and that proved to be a disaster. It also made Rangers owner Tom Hicks think twice about giving out big contracts to pitchers.Hicks changed his mind after meeting with Millwood in Dallas in December.Hicks asked Millwood about pitching at hitter-friendly Ameriquest Field in Arlington and loved what he heard.Millwood told Hicks, "I'm not pitching against the ballpark. My job is to be better than the other pitcher."That's what Hicks wanted to hear, and pitching coach Mark Connor wants to impart that attitude to the rest of the staff."Cleveland doesn't really have a great pitcher's park either," Millwood said. "But seeing what the whole staff was able to do last year was pretty special. We don't have to lead the league in ERA here. We just have to be a little bit better than the other guy."Everybody knows the Texas Rangers have been an offensive powerhouse putting runs on the board. I don't care where you are pitching. As long as you give this team a chance, you're in the ballgame. You don't want to give up five runs a game, but you can win a lot more games here giving up five runs than in a lot of other places."Millwood, despite leading the league in ERA, was only 9-11 f[...]