Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill
Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill, where we drink a toast to two old friends who have been recently re-united.
* Ted Lilly, now with the Chicago Cubs, is famous getting into it with Blue Jays manager John Gibbons but his new manager Lou Piniella said jokingly, "I tell him I got a punching bag in the back room and I use it to work on my left jab a little bit."
* Look for the Colorado Rockies to try and move starting pitchers Byung-Hyun Kim and/or Josh Fogg this spring.
* Mets catcher Sandy Alomar on teammate Julio Franco, 48: "If you took Julio’s head off his body, you’d swear he was 20. That guy is unbelievable. He can hit, man. They have him out there at first base, hitting him hard ground balls and he picks everything."
* Kenny Lofton has 33 four-hit games in his career. Among active players, only Ivan Rodriguez has more. Rodriguez has 34. Both have been playing 16 years. Ichiro Suzuki has been playing six years and he has 30 four-hit games in the Majors.
* Oops. You know him as Robinson Tejeda, the Rangers fourth starter. But TOPPS has it Tejada on his bubblegum card.
* Forgot about this. Frank Catalanotto was on the disabled list from April 21 to May 15 back in 2000. So? Before he went on the disabled list, he was 3-for-3 with two walks in a game against Minnesota. When he came off, he walked against Tampa Bay, went 5-for-5 the next night and 2-for-2 against Baltimore before a ground out. That’s 10-for-10 with three walks. Ten straight hits and 13 straight times at-bat are still Rangers records.
* Just for the heck of it: Donnie Sadler
* Juan Gonzalez flogged left-handers for a .376 batting average, 20 home runs and an .887 slugging percentage on his way to the 1996 American League MVP. Those are the best numbers against left-handers in one-season in club history. Against right-handers, Al Oliver hit .353 against them one year and .351 against them in another.
* Brandon McCarthy pitched in 12 games for the White Sox in 2005 but was not on the post-season roster. Still, he is the only Rangers player with a World Championship ring. Kenny Lofton played in two, with the Indians in 1995 and the Giants in 2002, but did not taste champagne.
* Cubs hitters walked 395 times last year while their pitchers walked 687 batters. That differential of 292 is the fourth largest in Major League history.
* Long-time Phillies coach John Vukovich passed away this week after a long battle with brain cancer. One of his closest friends in baseball was former Rangers manager Johnny Oates, who also died because of a brain tumor.