John Baker lends hand with Haiti trip
Marlins catcher says visit puts things in perspective
John Baker, currently on the disabled list, was part of a Marlins' contingent that spent two days touring Haiti. The club has teamed with Food for the Poor on a fundraising campaign to build housing. The Marlins' goal is to raise $150,000, which would build a village of 25 two-room homes that would include sanitation and a freshwater well for residents.
"They showed us moving the first family ever out of the Shada [to a new housing village]," Baker, referring to one of the most poverty-stricken areas in Cap-Haitien, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I took 200 pictures in two days, and I couldn't take a picture of that place. I don't know if there was something chemically in my brain that said, 'Don't record this.' I'm still processing it. When we went over to Iraq and Kuwait it was very easy for me to write about what was going on.
"It really makes you feel bad you're not doing anything. The other thing is it makes you look in the mirror and say, 'What are the things that make me upset?' I saw these kids that had absolutely nothing. They don't have shoes or pants. They have T-shirts. We come out there and they have a smile on their face, and they're happy and they're laughing. It made me feel very entitled and ignorant. I've had a very easy life. I learned that in Iraq, and it was really enforced on this trip."
Desire could land Moyer in Hall of Fame: Jamie Moyer is one victory behind Jim Palmer as he continues to rack up wins in his late 40s, including 56 since joining the Phillies in '07.
"It's all about opportunity and the desire to play," Moyer told the Philadelphia Daily News. "If I didn't have the desire to play, I wouldn't be playing. People say, 'How do you do it?' I still have that burning desire today like I did five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago. Maybe I have [the desire] more now. I don't want to say I'm defying the odds, but the way I look at it, people my age just choose not to play."
Putz follows weather's warming path: Like many players, J.J. Putz says that he feels better and better as the weather warms up -- and he has the statistics to back that up.
"As the temperature got a bit warmer, things started to feel a bit better," Putz told MLB.com. "Early on, even going out and trying to play long toss was a struggle.
"It was achy with the cold weather. But as the weather kind of broke, Matt [Thornton] and I really we were able to stretch it out and play long toss and build a lot more arm strength."
Peralta not slowed by bout with illness: Jhonny Peralta had to do a lot of running when he returned to the lineup on Sunday following an illness. He scored from first on a triple and rounded the bases on his first career inside-the-park home run.
"I tried to run the best I can," Peralta told MLB.com. "I can't breathe too good. It was really hard for me. I ran as fast as I can."
Wainwright changeup started with Lincecum: Adam Wainwright has 14 wins and a 2.02 ERA, and is working on adding a changeup that he learned from Tim Lincecum at the All-Star Game.
"I hope he [Lincecum] doesn't get in trouble," Wainwright told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. "I first started throwing it in the bullpen at the All-Star Game, and it was really nice. I tinkered it with it here a little bit. I took it out there yesterday, and the grip was not quite right. I sent a text message to [former Cardinal] Todd Wellemeyer [now on the Giants] and asked him to take a photo of it and send it to me, and he did.
"I took it out there today and probably threw eight to 10 of them. I had some really good ones and some really crappy ones. It's a work in progress, but it's certainly a good pitch. I've just got to keep working on it."
Castro continues to gain confidence: Rookie Starlin Castro is becoming more comfortable now that he has started more than 60 games at shortstop with the Cubs.
"I feel a lot better, a lot different from the beginning," Castro told the Chicago Tribune. "I feel like I'm playing the same way as when I started playing in Double-A, and the more I play the better I feel."
Bautista glad to roll out welcome wagon: When the Blue Jays traded for Yunel Escobar, general manager Alex Anthopoulus asked Jose Bautista to help show Escobar around Toronto and help him get acclimated to his new teammates.
"It feels good that he thinks highly enough to give me that call," Bautista told MLB.com. "With a guy as talented as Escobar, knowing that we acquired him, Alex wants to get the best out of him. If he thinks I can help that, obviously, is a tremendous compliment."
Cain completes fast track to Brewers: Prospect Lorenzo Cain was recalled from Nashville by the Brewers on Friday.
Cain started the year at Double-A Huntsville and hit .324 with three home runs, 18 RBIs and 21 steals in 62 games. He was promoted to Nashville on July 2 and hit .341 with four RBIs and four steals in 10 games.
"He's got tremendous tools," manager Ken Macha told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He's a plus runner, plus defender, an average arm. We saw in Spring Training he had some pop to hit the ball out."
Guerrero dusts off the cobwebs with start in left field: When Vladimir Guerrero started in left field for the Rangers on Sunday, it was his first start there since 1994, when he played for the Gulf Coast League Expos.
"This was planned," Rangers manager Ron Washington told MLB.com. "Vlad got some work out there [Saturday], so he's all for it."
"Vlad is a good athlete, he'll be all right," Washington said. "I'm not trying to create nostalgia, I just want to give Josh [Hamilton] a day off his feet."
Matt Diaz finds his swing after injury: Matt Diaz missed six weeks with a thumb injury but has been making up for lost time for the past three weeks.
"It's nice to come back and be a part of it," Diaz told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.. "As soon as I went on my rehab stint, my hand felt fine. I didn't feel bad at all, and then it was just a matter of getting some timing down. Fortunately in that Philly and New York road trip we faced quite a few lefties, so I started to get my timing down there."
Erick Aybar on a tear after heeding advice: Following advice from his brother, Willy, to be more aggressive, Erick Aybar is batting .374 since June 3, the second-highest mark in baseball.
"He started a little slow, and I think part of the reason for the slow start was trying to be a little too selective," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times. "It did force some base on balls, but it got him into a lot of poor hitting counts."
"Now I feel more comfortable," Aybar said.
Helton showing good signs in batting practice: Todd Helton's return to the Rockies' lineup is still up in the air, but he has been looking very good taking batting practice lately.
"It was very, very good," manager Jim Tracy, when asked about Helton's batting practice on Saturday, told the The Denver Post. "The bat speed was there. There was some electricity. That's very, very encouraging."
Helton is currently on the disabled list after receiving an epidural injection in his lower back. He could return as quickly as a few more days or he could be out of action for several more weeks.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.