Spring training games are not that important to established veterans who know they will be playing on opening day, but for players like Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds, the games mean everything. The Reds have sent him down after Bruce never put up the numbers that would have insured him being on the opening day roster.
Bruce never homered and drove in only 3 runs in 42 at bats. He hit .262, struck out 11 times and drew only one walk. His on base percentage was .279 and his slugging percentage was .286. It didn't help that Corey Patterson was signed during spring training and has hit .440 this spring.
Bruce will be 21 next month and he hit over .300 at three levels last season. If he continues to hit well in the minors, he should be called back up by the end of the season. Telling a player they are being sent to the minors is one of the most difficult tasks a manager has and one of the best kept secrets in baseball is what goes on in one of these meetings since to my knowledge these meetings have never been filmed except in the movies. Jay Bruce will be back... we just don't know when he will get the call.
Want to Know Which Players Went to Your High School or College?
If you want to find out the names of all the major league players that have went to your high school or college go to thebaseballcube.com and you will find lists of those players. For instance, LSU has these players listed that are active in major leagues today or played part of last season in majors:
Sean Barker, (Colorado Rockies)
Paul Byrd, Cleveland Indians
Mike Fontenot, Chicago Cubs
Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies
Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays
Ryan Jorgensen, Cincinnati Reds
Randy Keisler, St. Louis Cardinals
Russ Springer, St. Louis Cardinals
Brian Tallet, Toronto Blue Jays
Ryan Theriot, Chicago Cubs
Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants
Shane Youman, Pittsburgh Pirates
To find these lists, first you have to go to the college link. Then go to that college and then Team Alumni which is a very small link and not that easy to find. You can also find who the No. 1 picks have been since the inception of the amateur baseball draft in 1965.
Around the Bases
Ian Kennedy (1-1) pitched the New York Yankees to a 7-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing one run in 4 1/3 innings. Frank Thomas finished the game with a .088 average this spring with only 3 hits in 34 times at bat. David Eckstein and Aaron Hill lead the team in RBI's with 7 and no Blue Jay has hit more than one home run this spring.
The Kyle Kendrick of last season showed up yesterday holding the [Pittsburgh Pirates]] to no runs and 2 hits in 5 innings in a 3-0 shutout by the Philadelphia Phillies. Ryan Howard hit his fifth home run of the spring in the game. Andy Gonzalez, formerly on the Chicago White Sox, is making a bid to make the Cleveland Indians' opening day roster as he hit his fourth home run and drove in his 13th run of the spring in the 4-4 tie game with the Tampa Bay Rays. Brad Penny pitched 6 innings of 3 hit ball and didn't allow an earned run in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 8-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. Matt Kemp drove in 3 runs for the Dodgers and tied him with Jim Thome for the spring lead in RBI's with 15 each.
Homer Bailey (0-3) may be on the brink of being sent down again to the minors after his 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins. He didn't pitch that badly, but his 6.75 ERA may write his ticket back to the minors. Kevin Slowey (3-1) pitched 5 innings of scoreless 3 hit ball for the Twins. Justin Verlander and Tim Hudson both pitched well in the 3-2 win by the Atlanta Braves over the Detroit Tigers. Johan Santana (1-1) was in midseason form, as he pitched the New York Mets to a 7-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Santana pitched 6 innings and allowed no runs and 5 hits while striking out 7.
The Chicago Cubs came from behind after trailing 3-1 to defeat the Colorado Rockies 8-6. Henry Blanco had a bad day behind the plate allowing 5 stolen bases by the Rockies with 3 of them by Scott Podsednik but he did nail Podsednik one time. Blanco did hit a two run home run to make up for his defensive shortcomings. Derrek Lee is hitting .156 this spring but should be ready by opening day.
Nick Adenhart of the Los Angeles Angels pitched them to an 8-1 win over the San Francisco Giants pitching 6 shutout innings and allowing only 3 hits. Giants could only muster four singles in the game as their record falls to 6-17 and 9 1/2 games behind the first place Mets. Kevin Millwood (1-0) won his first game of the spring and has a perfect 0.00 ERA after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-7. The Diamondbacks outhit the Texas Rangers 16-7, but still came out on the short end of the score.
The Kansas City Royals parlayed 2 doubles and 13 singles into a 11-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Chase Headley hit his fourth home run of the spring in the San Diego Padres' 6-6 tie against the Seattle Mariners. Headley's 14th RBI places him in second in the majors this spring in RBI's. The 23 year old Headley went to college at Tennessee here in Knoxville. I will be shocked if he doesn't make the opening day roster of the Padres. Ichiro Suzuki was 3 for 4 in the game and raised his spring average to .174, but is still 10th in hits for the Mariners.
Players From the Past: Eddie Waitkus
If you have seen The Natural you know about Eddie Waitkus since some parts of the movie were based on his being shot by a crazed fan in a hotel room. Waitkus was born September 4, 1919 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He played in 12 games for the Cubs in 1941 before being inducted into the service and missed the next four seasons. He won four Battle Stars in the Pacific during the war.
In his first three seasons after returning from World War II he hit .304, .292 and .305 before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1948 offseason. On June 23, 1946 he and Marv Rickert hit back to back inside the park home runs, which was a major league first. On August 24, 1947 he hit an inside the park grand slam which has been accomplished by only 6 players since 1920. It is surprising that he would be able to hit inside the park home runs considering he stole only 28 bases over his 11 year career.
On June 14, 1949, Waitkus returned to his hotel room at the Edgewater Hotel after going to a dinner with Russ Meyer's fiance and Meyer's parents. Meyer had pitched the Phillies to a 9-2 win over the Chicago Cubs that day It was 11:00 PM when they returned and Meyer found a note from a Ruth Ann Burns saying she wanted Waitkus to come to her hotel room. Meyer thought nothing of it since Waitkus was going with a girl named Ruth Ann from Massachusetts.
Waitkus goes to the room as directed and says he must be in the wrong room when he sees this lady who tells Waitkus that she is a friend of Ruth Ann's and that Ruth Ann had left to get a newspaper and would be right back.
The lady had planned to stab Waitkus, but he sat down immediately. So she goes to a closet and takes out a .22 rifle, and shoots Waitkus in the chest saying that if she can't have him nobody can. She calls the desk in the lobby and says she just shot Eddie Waitkus and that saved his life since he could get immediate medical assistance.
The shooter was later identified as Ruth Ann Steinhagen who was a 19 year old 6 foot brunette. She had photos and newspaper clippings of Waitkus on her apartment walls and had a blown up photo of Waitkus over her bed. She was brought to the room of Waitkus in the hospital where he identified her as the shooter.
She was later found to be insane and sent to Kankakee State Hospital. In 1952 after receiving successful shock treatments she was judged to be sane. Her obsession with Waitkus started in 1947 and 1948 when she would see him play on the weekends the team was in town. Unlike other girls who would call his name and ask for autographs, she stayed to her self.
Her mother said Ruth Ann would spend hours looking at photos of Waitkus and told her once she was going to shoot Waitkus and herself. When Waitkus was traded from the Cubs to the Phillies she cried night and day.
Waitkus spent several months in rehab after the shooting and would eventually meet his wife while rehabbing. They were married in 1951, but were divorced during the 60's.
Waitkus was never the same after the shooting being naturally suspicious of people. He battled alcoholism and died on September 15, 1972 at the age of 53.
Waitkus hit .285 during his career with 24 home runs and 373 RBI's in his 11 year career. Waitkus rarely struck out striking out only 204 times in 4254 at bats and never struck out more than 29 times in a season. Some players today come close to striking out that many times in one season. He made the NL All Star team in 1948 and 1949, but didn't get to play in the 1949 game because of the shooting.
Waitkus never had the power numbers you would expect from a first baseman with 7 home runs being the most he ever had in a season and never had more than 55 RBI's in a season. He hit .267 in the 1950 World Series.
There is much more informaton about Waitkus on [www.waitkus.org]