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Article:Baseball Notebook: Spring Training Notebook (3/5/08)

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Wilkin Ramirez hit his second home run of the spring for the Detroit Tigers in their 11-10 loss to the Houston Astros. Since his uniform number is 71, it is unlikely he will make the team since the Tigers' depth chart has Brandon Inge as the fifth outfielder. However, if Inge is traded, Ramirez may contend for the fifth spot. For a 23 year old to be in his second spring training already shows the Tigers are watching his progress closely.

J.R. Towles, who is expected to be the catcher for the Astros this season, hit only the third home run by an Astro in their seventh game. Towles is tied for the team lead in hits with six, and is leading all Astros hitters with at least 10 at bats with a .600 average. The Tigers and Astros combined to hammer out 36 hits in the game.

The New York Yankees won an abbreviated 2-0 perfect game over the Toronto Blue Jays with Phillip Hughes (1-0) taking the win. Shelley Duncan is making a strong bid to get more playing time this season by driving in 8 runs which tops all players this spring in only 9 at bats and hitting .667.

Angel Pagan is having an excellent spring as he picked up 3 hits in their 6-2 win over the Florida Marlins. Pagan is not even listed on the New York Mets' depth chart as an outfielder but has a good chance of being the fifth outfielder since he leads the team in RBI's with 5 and hitting with a .423 average.

Brent Lillibridge took advantage of getting a chance to start at third base in the Atlanta Braves' 10-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies by going 3 for 4. Lillibridge had 42 stolen bases in the minors last season and 52 in 2006. Tim Hudson 1-0 was the winner while Kyle Kendrick (0-1) took the loss giving up 7 runs and 9 hits in 2 and 2/3 innings. Tom Gordon gave up 3 hits and a walk in one inning as his spring ERA stands at 16.20 but it is too early in the spring games to start worrying yet about Kendrick and Gordon. This is the season that Jeff Francoeur will take over as the No. 1 Braves outfielder with the departure of Andruw Jones. Joe Borchard hitting .429, Josh Anderson hitting .417 and Jordan Shafer hitting .400 are battling to win the fifth outfield spot for the Braves in 2008. John Smoltz needs 25 strikeouts to reach the 3000 strikeouts mark.

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 behind the pitching of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jonathon Paplebon (1-0). Steve Pearce, the highly touted Pirates prospect, hit his second home run of the spring and leads the team in home runs and is tied for the RBI lead with 4. Jacoby Ellsbury is 0 for 8 this spring, but is likely to break out any day. To me he is still a better option than Coco Crisp in centerfield.

The Baltimore Orioles hammered the St. Louis Cardinals by a 10-2 score as Anthony Reyes reverted to his form of last season giving up 4 runs and 6 hits in 2 innings as his record goes to 1-1 for the spring. If the Cardinals don't get better pitching from Reyes soon, he may find himself back in the minors at the end of spring training. Melvin Mora drove in 4 runs for the Orioles and is hitting .583 this spring. Former Brave George Lombard who has never lived up to his promise is vying for a spot with the Washington Nationals and hit his first spring home run yesterday in a split squad win for the Nationals over the Dodgers by a 5-3 score.

John Lindsey is leading the Los Angeles Dodgers with 5 RBIs this spring. Lindsey who turned 31 in January has never played in a major league game despite playing in minor leagues for 13 years. He started his career in 1995. Last year in two minor league stops for the Dodgers he combined to hit 30 home runs and drive in 121 runs. Lindsey spent his first eight seasons in A ball. It would be an amazing story if he plays for Dodgers this season. Andruw Jones is 15th in the Dodgers camp this spring in slugging with a .250 mark and a .167 batting average.

The Chicago White Sox defeated the Los Angeles Angels 7-6 behind the hitting of Paul Konerko who was 3 for 3 and raised his spring average to .714 and Nick Swisher who drove in 3 runs and is hitting .500 this spring. Swisher and Konerko lead the team in RBIs with 7 and 6 respectively. Alexei Ramirez is hitting .462 this spring.

The Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Texas Rangers 9-3 as Conor Jackson hit a grand slam and drove in 6 runs. Josh Hamilton raised his spring average to .636 in the contest which ties him with Matt Morse of the Seattle Mariners for second best batting average this spring.

Kosuke Fukudome hit his first home run of the spring in the Chicago Cubs 10-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in the ten inning game. Fukudome is hitting .400 this spring. Gabe Kapler drove in 3 runs for the Brewers and is hitting .300 in his bid to win a roster spot on the Brewers. Only Ryan Dempster and Jeff Samardziga have wins for the Cubs this spring. Samardziga has a 7-13 record in minors and finished the 2007 season pitching for the local Tennessee Smokies but it doesn't mean he might not win a spot on the pitching staff this spring.

The Oakland A's defeated the Seattle Mariners 9-6 yesterday as Brooks Conrad drove in 2 runs for the A's and is making a serious bid to be an extra infielder as he is second on team in RBI's with 5 and leads in total bases with 14. Conrad hit 67 home runs in 3 seasons at Round Rock for the Astros and could provide a lot of power coming off the bench. Even though he is 28 he deserves a full shot to make the team.

Goals for 2008 Season and Other Lifetime Stats

Hitting

Barry Bonds needs 20 runs to pass Ty Cobb and give him 2247 runs and leave him 48 runs short of tying Rickey Henderson as the all time leader who has 2295.

Bonds needs 65 hits to reach 3000 hits, which would tie him with Roberto Clemente. Next among active players is Omar Vizquel with 2598 hits. Derek Jeter, who will turn 34 in June, has 2356 hits, and Alex Rodriguez, who will be 33 in July, has 2250 hits. Jeter and Rodriguez are the only players playing today who have realistic chance of reaching 3000 hits sometime in the future at this point.

Ken Griffey Jr. needs 7 home runs to reach 600 home runs.

Alex Rodriguez needs 42 home runs to reach the 550 mark.

Manny Ramirez needs 10 home runs to reach 500 home runs.

Gary Sheffield needs 20 home runs in 2008 to reach 500 home runs.

Chipper Jones needs 14 home runs to reach 400 home runs.

Barry Bonds needs 4 RBI's to reach 2000 RBI's making him the fourth player in baseball history to accomplish that feat with only Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Cap Anson ahead of him.

If he plays in 2008, Julio Franco needs to hit into 3 double plays to become to tie Jim Rice for 6th place in hitting into double plays with 315.

Adam Dunn, who is 5th on all time for home runs per at bat, hitting a home every 14.10 at bats, would like to gain on 4th place Jim Thome with 13.50 at bats per home run.

Pitching

Pedro Martinez has the best ERA among active pitchers but that places him 100th on the all time list with his 2.80 ERA. Next among active players is 182nd Roy Oswalt with a 3.07 ERA and Greg Maddux is next at 200th with a 3.11 ERA.

Greg Maddux leads in wins among active players with 347 and needs 7 wins to tie Roger Clemens for 8th place on the all time list. He needs 14 wins to tie Kid Nichols for 7th place and 16 wins to tie Warren Spahn who has 363 wins for 6th place all time. He needs 27 wins to become 3rd all time with only Cy Young with 511 wins and Walter Johnson with 417 ahead of him. If any current pitcher has assured himself of a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame, it is Maddux.

Only three pitchers have averaged over 10 strikeouts per 9 innings. They are Randy Johnson at 10.77, Kerry Wood at 10.32, and Pedro Martinez at 10.19. Next on the list is Nolan Ryan with 9.54 strikeouts per 9 innings. Johan Santana, Sandy Koufax, and Jake Peavy are next and all the other pitchers on the list have less than 9 strikeouts per 9 innings.

Jon Lieber is the best all-time among current pitchers and 45th on the career list in allowing the fewest walks per 9 innings with 1.7 walks per 9 innings. Next is Greg Maddux with 1.8 walks per 9 innings and 52nd on all time list.

Pedro Martinez is 3rd all time in winning percentage with a .692 winning percentage. Johan Santana is 9th with a .679 winning percentage. Roy Oswalt is 10th with a .675 winning percentage.

Mariano Rivera needs 35 saves to tie Lee Smith for second place all time with 478 saves.

Randy Johnson needs 56 strikeouts to tie Roger Clemens for 2nd all time in strikeouts with 4672, but they both are over 1000 strikeouts behind No. 1 Nolan Ryan with 5714. Greg Maddux needs 69 strikeouts to tie Phil Niekro, who has 3342 for 10th on the all time list.

Greg Maddux needs 10 starts to pass Roger Clemens, Steve Carlton, and Phil Niekro which would give him 717 career starts. Next ahead of him is 3rd all time in starts Don Sutton who has 756 career starts.

Greg Maddux is 355th in complete games with 109 complete games showing the effect of managers today going to bullpen sooner because of pitch counts.

Jamie Moyer needs to give up only 5 home runs in 2008 to become 5th all time in giving up home runs. That would give him 449 home runs allowed with only Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Fergie Jenkins, and Robin Roberts ahead of him. Roberts leads with 505 home runs allowed. All the pitchers above Moyer once he passes Frank Tanana are in the Hall of Fame.

Tom Glavine needs 78 walks to tie Red Ruffing with 1541 walks to become 11th all time in issuing walks.

Greg Maddux is 71st in shutouts with 35 shutouts. Next among active players is Tom Glavine in 177th place with 25 shutouts.

Greg Maddux starts the season 19th in hits allowed with 4522, and if he gives up 150 hits he will tie Steve Carlton for 12th on the list with 4672 good for 12th place.

Greg Maddux is 30th on the most losses list with 214 losses. Don Sutton is 7th on the list with 256 losses showing that even Hall of Famers lost a lot of games. Cy Young and Pud Galvin are the only pitchers to have at least 300 wins and 300 losses.

Randy Johnson is third all time in hit batsmen having hit 182 batters. Next ahead of him is Eddie Plank hitting 196 batters and Walter Johnson hitting 203 batters.


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