The D-backs' Jeff Salazar was happy for the Rockies, but now he would like to help eliminate his former club from postseason play.
10/10/2007 10:58 AM ET
Salazar: Rox have celebrated enough
"Other than up to this point, I've been able to witness my friends over there be successful," Salazar told the Arizona Republic. "I'm happy for them. They've made it this far. They've been able to enjoy two celebrations now. I don't want them to enjoy a third."
Salazar still keeps in touch with several of his former teammates and has no ill-feelings toward the club that waived him during Spring Training.
"I love those guys," said Salazar. "I had a great time over there. I enjoyed my time. Even if I was still over there, I still might not be on this team, because they have so many good players. But everything works out for a reason. I'm glad I'm here. I feel like I've fit in pretty good so far."
Salazar joined the Diamondbacks in July before being sent back to the Minors. He re-joined Arizona in August and has been an important part of the club ever since.
"He's just one of those guys that fits in here really well and complements the other players very well," manager Bob Melvin said. "Sometimes it goes beyond talent level and what you have to offer. Sometimes it's how you complement the rest of the team and (Salazar) has been a great complement."
Wakefield all smiles after 77-pitch outing: Tim Wakefield, who was not on the ALDS roster for the Red Sox, threw from the mound Tuesday, testing his back and seeing if he is ready to start Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
If Wakefield can't go in Game 4, Josh Beckett will start. Manager Terry Francona, however, doesn't believe that will be necessary.
"The only way that could happen, at least looking at it quickly, is if Wake isn't OK," Francona told the Boston Globe. "We want Wake to pitch Game 4, but we don't need to go into Game 4 of a playoff experimenting. ... We need him to be OK and he understands that."
Wakefield didn't want to speak after his session, but he did say he does "feel good enough," when asked how he felt.
Wakefield finished the regular season 17-12 with a 4.76 ERA. But a problem in the back of his right shoulder has kept the veteran off the mound since Sept. 29. On Tuesday, he threw 77 pitches in a five-inning simulated game. He worked easily and left the mound with a smile.
Pitching coach John Farrell said Wakefield didn't have any trouble getting loose between innings. That was a main concern due to the time off he has had.
Papelbon downplays headaches: Under the postseason media microscope, the fact that Jonathan Papelbon sometimes pitches with a migraine headache was big news to reporters but barely registered a "so what?" from the Red Sox closer.
Papelbon, who had a 1.85 ERA and 37 saves in 40 chances this season, revealed that he occasionally pitches through the headaches, including an outing Sept. 14 when he allowed two inherited runners to score as well as two other runners as the Yankees overcame a five-run deficit to win 8-7.
"I was on two different medications for a migraine," he told the Boston Globe. "When they get really bad, even the slightest amount of noise or light is just brutal. You just want to curl up in a ball and die."
Papelbon didn't mention the migraines publicly until Sunday, after the Red Sox advanced to the ALCS by sweeping the Angels in the ALDS.
"You know what? It's the playoffs, and this time of year there is no room for excuses," Papelbon explained. "Nobody wants to hear 'em, and I don't want to give any. The migraines are something I cope with and deal with. So many guys are dealing with bumps and bruises this time of year, and the last thing I'm going to talk about is my stuff.
"I get a few of these a year -- about four or five a season. I'm learning how to make it easier to pitch through them."
Chamberlain chalks up success as a rookie: Joba Chamberlain doesn't know if he is going to be a starter next season or remain in the bullpen, but the hard-throwing rookie does know he enjoyed every minute he spent as a setup man to closer Mariano Rivera.
"I got to work with the greatest closer ever to play this game," Chamberlain told the New York Post. "You'd be dumb not to embrace it. That's something if you didn't take advantage of, it would be your own fault."
Chamberlain was nearly unhittable during his stint with the Yankees after being recalled from the Minors. While he did allow two runs in two appearances in the ALDS against Cleveland, the rookie won't forget his first experience in the Majors or the playoffs.
"I had a great time, and I'm going to be better for it," Chamberlain said, when asked about the season. "I can't wait to start next year."
Just don't ask Chamberlain what the plans are for him in 2008.
"I have no idea what's going to happen," he said.
A-Rod 'doesn't grow on trees,' but Angels players want him anyway: The past three seasons, the Angels have looked for a slugger to pair with Vladimir Guerrero. And come up empty. This year, the players have a suggestion for management; do what it takes to get Alex Rodriguez should he opt out of his contract.
"He's the best player in the league right now," Kelvim Escobar told the Los Angeles Times. "I wish I could have Alex on my team."
Rodriguez, the likely American League MVP, hit .314 with 54 home runs and 156 RBIs.
"A-Rod doesn't grow on trees," center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. said.
Pettitte to mull next move: Left-handed pitcher Andy Pettitte has the choice of whether to return to the Yankees next season or become a free agent. However, the veteran pitcher was in no mood to talk about his future Monday night after the team's loss to Cleveland, knocking New York out of the postseason.
"It's very disappointing," Pettitte told the New York Daily News. "You've got serious expectations when you start the season here. It's baseball. On any day, anybody can beat anybody. We're humans. You never know, which is why we go out and play the games."
Pettitte holds a player option for next year, part of the deal he and the Yankees agreed to last offseason. He was 15-9 with a 4.05 ERA this season and was at the top of his game in the ALDS. In Game 2 in Cleveland, he threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings.
For now, Pettitte plans to return to his home in Deer Park, a suburb of Houston, and unwind from the season. He will pay attention, however, to what is going on with the Yankees and who will and will not be returning for the 2008 season.
"A huge part of me coming back was not only to do it with the new guys, but to try to make another run with the guys I'm comfortable with," Pettitte said. "We've heard the rumblings. ... You understand that goes with the territory here. I hope Joe comes back, but you never know."
Schilling slated to start Game 2 of ALCS: After a brilliant start against the Angels in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, Boston right-hander Curt Schilling will start Game 2 of the American League Championship against Cleveland.
Josh Beckett will start Game 1 with Daisuke Matsuzaka slated to go in Game 3.
"We just feel like this is our best way to go forward," Red Sox manager Terry Francona told the Boston Globe.
Schilling threw seven scoreless innings against the Angels. With four days before the start of the ALCS, Schilling will be fully rested for his start.
Rowand fits in well in Philadelphia: Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Aaron Rowand, a pending free agent, believes that while the Colorado Rockies certainly deserve to be in the NLCS, the Phillies had enough talent to get there, too.
"We're a pretty good team," Rowand told the Chicago Tribune. "We just didn't hit, and our pitching wasn't too bad. There's a reason [the Rockies] are here."
As for next season, Rowand would definitely not mind being back with the Phillies.
"I love playing here," he said. "I've had a great time here. The fans have been wonderful, and they got a great group of guys who enjoy going out and playing the game hard, and I fit in well with that."
Zambrano holds back the tears: Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano may have a tough exterior, but deep down all he wants to do is to bring a World Series championship to Chicago -- and he can get pretty emotional about it.
"I want to win," Zambrano told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I want to win in this city so bad.
"[Saturday] night, it was a tough night for me. I don't like to cry. I never cry -- I mean, sometimes I cry because I have to. But when [we] lost like that, it made me feel ... not good. It made me go to my house and think about it -- that sometimes it's all my fault."
He said that he wasn't reduced to tears after the Cubs lost last weekend against Arizona, but it has happened before -- when the team was bounced by the Florida Marlins.
"We were so close," said Zambrano, who then was told there's no crying in baseball.
"Sometimes," he said, "you have reason to cry in baseball."
Byrd was set up for success: Cleveland Indians pitcher Paul Byrd, the winning pitcher in the Indians' 6-4, series-clinching game against the New York Yankees on Monday night, was both excited and prepared for the start.
"We always kind of snuck up on people," Byrd, getting hugged and showered by every passing teammate, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "[Manager Eric] Wedge was loyal to me and gave me the start. I had a lot of time off and I made some good pitches when I had guys on. The guys scoring six runs doesn't hurt either."
After going 15-8 on the year, Byrd stuck to his strengths while keeping the Yankees at bay.
"He did a great job of pitching with confidence," said manager Eric Wedge. "I'm happy for him the way he controlled the game and let the bullpen do its job."
It wasn't as though Byrd was mowing down the Yankees, mind you -- he was just getting the job done.
"I made people nervous, too," he said Byrd. "But we grew closer with every win. This is the best team I've been a part of. Everybody chips in. We've got the blue-collar closer to get the job done."
Mariners determined to find a place for Jones: One of the first issues the Mariners need to address in the offseason is how to fit top prospect Adam Jones into the lineup on a regular basis. Jones, an outfielder, seemingly has no place to play with Seattle's veteran lineup.
Last year's starting outfield of Raul Ibanez, Ichiro Suzuki and Jose Guillen was a productive group. The Mariners also got a surprising season from designated hitter Jose Vidro.
"We have some very difficult decisions," manager John McLaren told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "There will be a lot of discussion about what we need to do and so on.
"With that said, Raul had a solid year for us. He's still a very productive Major League player and a good Major League player and a total professional. And Jose Vidro had a nice year for us, and he's a very productive player. ... We've got to figure out what's going to happen with Guillen, and then things start happening from there."
Guillen has a mutual option for 2008, but he has made it clear that he would like to return. Which seemingly leaves no place for Jones.
"He's going to fit in somewhere, someplace, someday, I'll tell you that," McLaren said. "I don't know exactly where, but he's going to fit in somewhere."
Piazza, Stewart still actractive for A's: The A's enter the offseason with many holes to address after finishing below .500 for the first time since 1998. One of the first decisions is what to do with impending free agents Mike Piazza and Shannon Stewart, two right-handed bats on an otherwise left-handed strong team.
"They were wonderful guys to have around," general manager Billy Beane told the San Jose Mercury News. "I don't think anyone's quite clear on what Mike personally wants to do at this point. Shannon accomplished what he wanted to do, from an individual standpoint, which is prove to people he could play every day again. That makes him an attractive guy, not just for us but for other clubs. I'll assure you there will be conversations with his representative."
Beane acknowledged the club's imbalanced lineup but said the way a batter bats will not be the determining factor.
"Only the Chicago Bears at quarterback have had a bigger question," Beane joked. "At the end of the day, we're always looking to improve. Whether it's going to be a right-handed or left-handed (hitter) is not going be the overriding factor."
-- Red Line Editorial