Brooklyn’s Mitch Davie Makes One-Handed Bat Snag With Beer in Hand (Picture)

Every once in a while we see a fan in the stands who somehow emerges as not just another face in the crowd — in a good way.  We’re talking about guys like this one who caught a foul ball in his beer cup and this one who caught one with a toddler under his arm.  As it turns out, these types of plays are made during spring training, too.  Some of them even save lives.

The Seattle Times, via BroBible, was able to capture a tremendous picture on Sunday afternoon during a spring training game between the Braves and Blue Jays.  Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla let the bat slip out of his hands on a swing and it went flying into the stands.  That’s when Brooklyn resident Mitch Davie reached out and snagged it with one hand, all the while holding a Red Stripe in his other hand. Check it out:

Notice how every single person except Davie is taking the duck-and-cover approach while he decides to play hero.  There’s no question that thing was about to crank someone in the head.  Nobody was ready for it except the New Yorker.  Props to him for bringing his A-game to the ballpark — especially during spring training.

Can Hot Eric Chavez Make the Yankees?

Call him a zombie, because Eric Chavez is rising from the dead. From 2000-2005 Chavez hit between .269 and .288, 26 and 34 home runs, and drove in anywhere from 77 to 114 runs. Along with Miguel Tejada, Chavez gave the Oakland A’s one of the best left sides of the infield in baseball. He also won six straight Gold Gloves from 2001-2006 and his biggest comparable by age from 26-28 was Scott Rolen.

In fact, Billy Beane and the A’s thought so highly of Chavez that when faced with stars Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, and Eric Chavez becoming free agents, they elected to sign Chavez to the big deal. But after getting his 6-year $66 million contract in 2005, Chavez had his first down season in 2006 when he hit a disappointing .241. From 2007 until now, he’s been plagued by back and neck injuries that left him unable to play and considering retirement. In the last three years, Chavy played just 64 games and hit three home runs with 25 RBIs. He has been a total non-entity, non-factor, and a forgotten man to everyone except the person handling payroll for Oakland.

But now he may be back.

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Carlos Gonzalez Impresses Teammates with Prestigious Blast

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Carlos Gonzalez here at LBS. In 2008, we suggested the Dodgers try and ship Andruw Jones out to Oakland for him. Later that off-season, we said we liked Colorado’s trade of Matt Holliday because of the return they received from the A’s. And in our most recent edition of the Top 30 franchise players in baseball, CarGo cracked the list (see the whole thing here).

Gonzalez finally emerged and put together an MVP quality season last year for the Rockies and it earned him a major contract extension. Now, he’s still turning heads in Colorado’s spring training.

Troy Renck wrote in The Denver Post Monday about a line drive Gonzalez drilled Saturday against Kansas City that still has everyone on the team buzzing. According to Renck, Cargo “smoked a line drive that 15-year veteran Jason Giambi called ‘one of the hardest I have seen hit in a long, long time.'” Catcher Mike McKenry was in the bullpen when he saw the line drive and said “it never got more than 12 feet high. You just don’t see something like that.”

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Tampa Bay Rays 2011 MLB Preview: Back to Square One

Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central and NL East and this week we will analyze the AL East teams not based in New York or Boston, starting with the Tampa Bay Rays; Tuesday: Toronto Blue Jays.

The Rebuilders: Tampa Bay Rays

Off-Season Moves: This off-season was one that dramatically changed the makeup of this team. The Rays lost left fielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Carlos Pena, and closer Rafael Soriano to free agency. Those three were “replaced” by outfielders Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez (both pictured at left), first baseman Casey Kotchman and rightie Kyle Farnsworth, none of whom represents anything other than a downgrade. The Rays also traded away shortstop Jason Bartlett and right-hander Matt Garza, each for a number of players who likely won’t factor much into this season.

Strengths: Despite losing Garza (15-10, 3.91), the rotation looks to be the strongest aspect of this year’s Rays. Leftie David Price (19-6, 2.72, pictured below) is the staff ace and a bona fide superstar. Price will likely be followed by righties James Shields (13-15, 5.18), Jeff Niemann (12-8, 4.39), Wade Davis (12-10, 4.07) and Jeremy Hellickson (4-0, 3.47). That rotation doesn’t have a single player over the age of 30 and an average age of 25.6. Those five had a combined 3.96 ERA last season, which would have been good for 12th in the majors and first in the division.

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Alcides Escobar Misses Spring Training Game With Bug Bite

By now, we all understand that weird injuries in sports cannot be avoided.  Over the years, we’ve featured stories about tennis players hurting their hands playing Playstation, photographers injuring football players, and countless weird baseball injuries that seem inexplicable. On Sunday, Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar brought us our first ever bug bite injury.

As the Kansas City Star pointed out, via Ben Maller, Escobar was scratched from the Royals lineup on Sunday because of an infection on his arm that stemmed from a bug bite. Kansas City manager Ned Yost said the bite became infected when Escobar scratched it, and he now has “red streaks (up his arm) and it’s swollen and warm.” Escobar has been given an antibiotic that should clear the infection up.

You can’t make this stuff up, folks.  It’s important to note that the “injury” was suffered during spring training, so there’s no telling whether or not something like this would have caused Escobar to miss time during the regular season.  In any event, maybe this will teach him to stop scratching and leave his bites alone. My mother always told me not to scratch.

Austin Glorius Ties High School Record with Five Home Runs and 17 RBIs

Windermere Prep senior Austin Glorius had a game befitting his last name on Thursday against Faith Christian. His team won 38-0 in a clear mismatch, and Glorius had a contest for the ages.

The senior tied a national record belting five home runs and driving in 17 runs. He actually would have had 18 ribbies but a runner was called out for not touching a base in the 5th.

Curious how one amasses five homers and 17 RBIs in a game? The Orlando Sentinel says he walked and hit a three-run homer in the first inning. He followed with a grand slam and two-run double in the second, a grand slam in the third, and two-run homers in the fourth and fifth.

I’m sure his competition was extremely weak — as the 38-0 score indicates — but a player has to be extremely locked in to put up those kinds of stats. I mean we’ve seen Mike Moustakas drive in 11 runs in a minor league game and Bryce Harper hit four dingers in a game, but 17 RBIs is special. Congrats to Glorius on the impressive performance.

via Fark

Washington Nationals 2011 MLB Preview: Another Long Summer at the Bottom

Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central, and this week we’re looking at the NL East. We’ve already covered the Phillies, Braves, Marlins, and Mets. Today we’ll wrap up the division with the Washington Nationals.

The Bottom: Washington Nationals

Off-Season Moves: Obviously, the Nationals’ biggest off-season move was signing right fielder Jayson Werth (pictured at left) to a seven year, $126 million deal. Washington picked up outfielder Rick Ankiel as a possible replacement for last year’s primary left-fielder Josh Willingham, whom they traded away. Other notable additions include first baseman Adam LaRoche, utility man Alex Cora and left-hander Tom Gorzelanny. Other noteworthy departures include first baseman Adam Dunn and utility man Adam Kennedy.

Strengths: This is a tough one. The Nationals did rank ninth in the majors in stolen bases last season with 110. The issue there is 34 of those belonged to center fielder Nyjer Morgan, no other player had more than 17, and only two other current players hit double-digits. Pitching-wise, last year’s Nationals finished ninth in hits allowed and 10th in runs allowed. If default ace Livan Hernandez can do what he did last year and Jason Marquis and Tom Gorzelanny can improve, they should be able to remain in the top third of the majors in those categories again.

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