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Article:Baseball Notebook April 19th Edition

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Ben Sheets Being Injured Is Like Money in the Bank

A baseball fan could get rich if they got paid for every time Ben Sheets is injured. It is like money in the bank when he has an injury of some kind every year. No wonder why he has never won more than 12 games in a season. He isn't on the mound enough to win any more games than that. The Milwaukee Brewers' ace only has 63 starts in the last three seasons; if was healthy throughout all three seasons, he probably would have had about 105 starts. Now he is injured only 4 starts into the 2008 season. Now we will have to await to see if he misses any starts. There is a website that is devoted to injuries of players that has this to say about the latest Sheets injury.

Back of Yankee Rotation In Disorder In Early Going

The New York Yankees were hoping Philip Hughes and Ian Kennedy were ready to step into the starting rotation this season. but so far neither has pitched well. Hughes, who is 0-3 this season with a 8.82 ERA, has pitched 16 innings and allowed 16 runs and 25 hits while striking out 10 and walking 10; that is 35 baserunners on base against Hughes and that is not counting any other ways a hitter may have gotten on base like by errors or getting hit by a pitch.

Kennedy has an 0-1 record with a 8.74 ERA. He has allowed almost one run per inning and has given up 14 hits and walked 8 in 11 1/3 innings. They have pitched 27 2/3 innings combined this season and have given up 27 runs, 28 hits, and 18 walks. Mike Mussina is 1-3 and has a 5.75 ERA, which leaves only Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte with a combined 5-1 record to give any kind of stability to the starting rotation.

It is a bad sign when the Yankees are the only team in AL East to have given up more runs than they have scored with the team which has scored the fewest runs (Baltimore Orioles) scores 8 times yesterday against them. If Wang or Pettitte get injured or go into a slump, the team will really be hurting, but right now the Yankees are only two games out of first place so they are not nearly in as bad shape as they were last season when they were about 14 games under .500 in the early going.

David Ortiz Hits Grand Slam

If David Ortiz starts hitting again, April 18th will be the day things turned around in his favor, as he hit a grand slam and drove in 5 runs. Jed Lowrie, the rookie shortstop, has only 7 major league at-bats, but has 4 RBI's. Ortiz, on the other hand, has batted 62 times to get his 4 RBI's he had before he added the 5 last night.

Santana Wins Dream Matchup

New York Mets' Johan Santana (2-2) barely outpitched Philadelphia Phillies' Cole Hamels (2-2), as he gave up only one run less in the 7 innings both pitchers pitched. Santana did strike out 10 to the 4 by Hamels. The Mets gained a game on both the Florida Marlins and Phillies with the win.

Cliff Lee: Early Comeback Player of the Year Favorite

Cleveland Indians' Cliff Lee has an amazing ERA of 0.40 while posting a 3-0 record so far this year. He has struck out 20 in 22 innings while walking only 2. He has allowed one run and 8 hits so far this season. He didn't win his third game last season until June 13th. Last year, he was 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA. He didn't even start a game after July 26th of last season since he had given up 7 runs in his last 3 starts of the season.

Chipper Jones Hits 4 Homers in Two Games

Chipper Jones, after a pregame meeting called by Bobby Cox on Thursday, is showing he is the offensive leader of Atlanta Braves. In the last two games, he has homered four times and driven in seven runs while picking up 7 hits in his 9 at bats. He currently leads the NL in hits (30), RBI's (18), total bases (51), slugging percentage (.773), batting average (.455), OPS (1.259), and is in a 6 way tie for the home run lead (6).

Longoria Signed to Nine Year Contract For $44 Million

The Tampa Bay Rays have signed Evan Longoria to a groundbreaking contract of $44 million. When you consider that a Major League rookie this season is making $390,000 a year, this contract should shatter all records in amount of a contract for a rookie.

Only $17 million of the contract is guaranteed, but with the way Longoria has played at every level, it is highly unlikely he will only make $17 million. It is a risky move by the Rays to sign Longoria for a long amount of time, but it is the only way they can keep the nucleus of their young stars in place. Longoria is has already the fans of baseball with a slugging percentage of .522, which is good for third place on the team (at least 20 at-bats) after only 23 at-bats. He currently leads the team in OBP as well (.429).

Players like Longoria come down the pike only so often so the Rays were wise to lock him up while they can. I think Longoria can handle the pressure of the big contract. Plus, this may even turn out to be a bargain if he plays the way the Rays expect of him.

We may start to see a proliferation of these kinds of contracts as teams start to look for an edge and don't want to lose a hot prospect to free agency a few years later. If I were a general manager, I wouldn't make this kind of a deal with a pitcher regardless of how great their future may look. Pitchers can suddenly go bad. For instance, Francisco Liriano, who looked like he was going to be a great one, now he has an 0-2 record with the second worst ERA on the Minnesota Twins (6.52) and has walked 10 batters in 9 innings.

In the coming months, we will see if there are more contracts like this one or if this was a one time deal that won't be repeated often in the future.

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