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‘MLB’ Articles

Phenom Strasburg off to a good start with Washington

compiled from staff and wire reports

Washington Nationals Stephen Strasburg (wfe)

Stephen Strasburg made his Washington Nationals debut on earlier this week. Eventhough it was just a 2-inning stint, he certainly lived up to the hype.

He threw two scoreless innings in the Nationals’ 9-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday in his much ballyhooed first exhibition start.

Strasburg threw 15 of 27 pitches for strikes and allowed two hits, successive two-out singles by Alex Avila and Don Kelly in the second inning. But the flame-throwing right hander got an inning-ending strikeout against Brent Dlugach with an 81-mph curveball.

The 21-year-old was selected as the number 1 pick in the 2009 draft and received a record $15.1 million, four-year contract from the Nationals. He went 13-1 in his final season pitching for Tony Gwynn and the San Diego State Aztecs leading Division I in ERA (1.35) and strikeouts (195 in 109 innings).

Chapman impressive in Reds debut, striking out three

Aroldis Chapman hits 100 mph in debut (AP)

compiled from staff and wire reports

The Cincinnati Reds blasted the Kansas City Royals on Monday in Cactus League action, 14-5. But the real story was the spring training debut of Cincinnati’s Big Cuban lefty, Aroldis Chapman.

The 6-4 Chapman, three at least two pitches that were clocked at 100 mph, according to scouts who were clocking him, as he struck out three over two scoreless innings in a game at Goodyear, Arizona.

The 22-year-old relieved Bronson Arroyo to start the third inning. He allowed one hit- a single to fellow countryman Brayan Pena and a walk. Throwing 26 pitches, 15 were strikes, as his control improved after a wild beginning. “I’ll take 100 mph with command”, said Reds manager Dusty Baker.

The Buzz surrounding Chapman seems to be legitimate so far. The Reds signed him to a $30-million contract in the offseason’s most surprising deal from a team that usually stays away from big contract signings.

Not to be outdone by the buzz over Chapman’s debut the Reds offense, came alive and had several stars. Drew Stubbs got the scoring underway with a 2-run homer in the 3rd inning to put the Reds up 2-0. Johnny Gomes clubbed a 3-run homer in the 5th inning and went 2-4; Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce each went 2-3 and Chris Dickerson went 2-3 with 2 RBI’s.

2010 Vin Scully Award goes to Ernie Harwell

compiled from staff and wire reports

Ernie Harwell in Broadcast Booth (SI)

Ernie Harwell will be this year’s recipient of the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting.

The retired broadcaster will receive the award in New York on May5. Harwell who is 92, was the voice of the Detroit Tigers from 1960 to 2002. Harwell said back in September of 2009, that he has inoperable cancer, a month after surgery for an obstructed bile duct. The Detroit Tigers honored him with a tribute at Comerica Park on September 16.

Harwell’s 55-year broadcasting career began in Atlanta in 1946. He moved two years later to the Brooklyn Dodgers. After a few years with the New York Giants and Baltimore Orioles, Ernie formed an association with Detroit.

Harwell was voted the 1981 Ford Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the Hall of Fame.

Byrd set to help Cubs climb new heights in NL Central title chase

Dan Hock is a staff writer for megasportsnews.com but this week he is filling in as The Guest Writer of the Week

marlon byrd will bat fifth in the Cubs batting order this season

The 2010 Chicago Cubs, coming off an 83 win season after back to back NL Central Division titles in 2007 and 2008, will be banking on a new face to help them rise again to the top.

Marlon Byrd, a 32 year old veteran outfielder who signed a 3-year free agent contract after having his best year with the Texas Rangers in 2009. Byrd, who will be penciled in as the Cubs everyday center fielder, drove in 89 runs while hitting 20 homers for Texas, both career highs.

Chicago, looking to return to having a dominant offense similar to the 2008 divisional champions, hope Byrd will be a big part of the puzzle.

“I look at this as a great opportunity to help this club reach its goal of a World Series,” said Byrd. He continues, “the fans of this team are something special and I want to be able to bring them special memories”.

Byrd, who will be entering his ninth major league season, will man center field by Alfonso Soriano in left field and Kosuke Fukudome in right field.  Cubs manager Lou Piniella says that Marlon Byrd will hit fifth in the batting order.

The Chicago Cubs will open the 2010 major league season in Atlanta, Monday April 5th, in a 3 game series and will conclude their first regular season road trip in Cincinnati with a three game series from April 9 through April 11th.

Washington Nationals look to improve in 2010

compiled from staff and wire reports

Washington Nationals Park (mlb)

Everytime the Washington Nationals took the field in 2009, the opposition knew not to believe the record because they weren’t as bad a team as it seemed. Two things everybody knew was that Washington can score runs and they can hit homer runs. They were the number 5 offense in the National League.

Led by Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, Elijah Dukes, this trio is as good as any middle of the order hitters in baseball. But on the other hand, each team knew that the Nationals didn’t have any pitching so it was a slugfest all game.

To improve for 2010, general manager Mike Rizzo knew it was very simple, bring in pitching depth.

The Nationals have brought in RHP Tyler Walker, RHP Miguel Batista, LHP Chuck James, RHP Matt Capps, right-handed setup reliever Brian Bruney, LHP Eddie Guardado and LHP Doug Slaten.

They also added another power-hitting outfielder/first baseman Chris Duncan, who ran out his welcome in St. Louis because he strikeouts alot and is a liability on defense.

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