For the first time since taking a line drive in the face on May 21, Chris Young faced live hitters on Saturday.
06/30/2008 11:32 AM ET
Young facing hitters once again
Pitcher back on the hill after being hit in the face
Young, who was scheduled to have surgery Monday to repair a deviated septum, threw a three-inning simulated game and threw 45 pitches.
The Padres' right-hander called it a step in the recovery from the injury. Pitching coach Chris Balsley said Young's arm looked "great", and he appeared to have a lot of stamina. He also threw without a protective net in front of him.
"Not one time did that [getting hit] enter my mind," Young told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "And not one time did I think about the ball coming back at me."
Boggs proving to be "tough between the ears": Rookie Mitchell Boggs brought an impressive reputation with him to the Cardinals. Now 3-0 after earning a victory Saturday, Boggs is getting rave reviews from manager Tony La Russa.
"It's all part of being tough enough between the ears to be in this league," La Russa told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I'd have been real disappointed if he had been distracted or used some sort of excuse. That's not the reputation he's had throughout our system. He carries a reputation for doing exactly what he's done here. He goes out and competes."
Blalock not surprised by Hamels' success: Cole Hamels and Hank Blalock went to school together at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego. Blalock says that he's always kept an eye on Hamels -- ever since Hamels was a freshman in high school.
"When he was a freshman, with how smooth his mechanics were and his control, I always thought if he could get bigger and stronger and learn to throw harder, he could be a big-time pitcher," Blalock told MLB.com. "He always had a good changeup, and that's a tough pitch to learn. If it comes naturally to you, obviously you can see the results. He's turned himself into a No. 1 starter."
Sardinha drives in pair with first hit: Tigers catcher Dane Sardinha made his first hit in the Major Leagues an important one. His triple drove in two runs Sunday in a win over the Rockies. It was the third start of Sardinha's career -- his first was in 2005 with Cincinnati and the other with Detroit last week.
"Knocking in two runs was awesome," Sardinha told MLB.com. "To get RBIs on my first hit is pretty special for me."
Slowey on impressive run: Kevin Slowey is now 3-0 in his last four starts, giving up just three earned runs in 29 innings. Slowey tossed a complete-game shutout on Sunday in the Twins' victory over the Brewers.
"Before the game, we talked about my misses being down and out in the strike zone. If you're going to miss with a pitch, make sure it's not a hittable miss," Slowey told MLB.com. "That's what you try to do all the time, and sometimes it works better than other times. That's one of the big things we concentrated on today, and I think that helped us out."
Jurrjens gets praise from Cox: Jair Jurrjens found a good way to move up the leaderboard in the NL ERA race. He retired the first 13 batters he faced Friday en route to an eight-inning shutout performance. He is now sixth in the NL with a 2.94 ERA.
"I don't think you can pitch better than that," manager Bobby Cox told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "That was one of the best games I've seen pitched -- ever."
Nolasco's fastball provides spark: Ricky Nolasco cemented his status as the Marlins' ace as he earned his eighth victory of the season on Friday. It was the ninth time in 10 starts Nolasco allowed three runs or fewer.
"It all starts with fastball command to both sides of the plate," Nolasco told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "[That] opened up everything else."
Guzman gets All-Star support: Cristian Guzman is leading the NL in hits. Teammates are hoping that will help Guzman snag a bid to the All-Star game this season.
"He's been our best and most consistent player, without question," Aaron Boone told The Washington Post.
Rested Percival picks up 19th save: Troy Percival pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Sunday to pick up his 19th save of the year. He struck out two and said he felt good throwing his fastball, a pitch he hasn't relied on lately due to a hamstring strain.
"I'm definitely rested," Percival told The St. Petersburg Times. "I figured I had to make the right adjustments to take a lot of the stress off my front leg, shorten my stride a little bit, and hit spots."
Robertson gets the call from Yankees: The Yankees added a new face to the bullpen by recalling right-hander Dave Robertson from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Robertson was very effective in the Minors this season at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels. In 51 2/3 innings, he allowed only 26 hits while walking 22 and striking out 74 batters.
Robertson told Newsday that the call-up came "a whole lot quicker than I thought. I wasn't really expecting it. I'm just glad to be here."
Cora working hard to always be ready: Veteran Alex Cora has learned to thrive as a utility player, a role that carries a high degree of difficulty.
"People don't realize how hard this job [being a part-timer] is. When you don't get regular at-bats, instead of stroking the ball, you want to crush the ball to get the most results right away," Cora told The Boston Globe. "You can take all the extra batting practice in the world to try to maintain your swing, but it's very hard. That's why I always focus on trying to do something to help us win -- running the bases, fielding, hitting. You don't want the team to lose something because you're playing. Sometimes, you add something with the energy you bring to the field."
LaRue a hit behind plate and with bat: Catcher Jason LaRue was a one-man wrecking crew on Sunday in the Cardinals' victory over the Royals. After surviving a first inning collision at home plate, LaRue went on to hit a home run and a triple while driving in four runs.
"My goodness," manager Tony La Russa told MLB.com. "What more can you do? Big hits, big collision at the plate and he got another couple balls that he hit well that were outs. He just had a terrific day."
Zambrano declares himself ready for action: Carlos Zambrano, disabled since June 19 with a strained right shoulder, threw 60 pitches in a bullpen session on Sunday and declared that he is ready to get back on the mound for this weekend's series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
"I feel great today," Zambrano told MLB.com. "I guess 'Z' is back. I'm ready to rock and roll, and get back to doing my job."
-- Red Line Editorial