Aaron Rowand not slowed by fractures
Giants center fielder one of the game's toughest players
A lot of players might play a little tentatively after getting hit by a pitch and suffering three facial fractures. Not Aaron Rowand.
Since coming off the disabled list, the Giants' center fielder is batting .344 with a double, triple, three home runs and 11 RBIs. Rowand credits staying sharp during his time on the DL to work he did with hitting coach Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens.
"One of the things Bam Bam and I talked about, and the one thing I wanted to try, was to make an adjustment with the swing to a simpler thing," Rowand told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I had too much head movement, too wide, too low," the latter a reference to the near-crouch he employed at the plate before this year.
Rowand's teammates, however, marvel at his toughness.
"He's had injuries that keep guys out for a year, and even a career, and he'll want to come back the next day," teammate Aubrey Huff said. "This guy breaks his face and wants to play the next day.
"He'll play if he's 10 percent. That's how tough he is. He probably hides a lot of stuff. That's the way he is."
Former teammates happy for Braden: Dan Meyer was thrilled that former teammate Dallas Braden threw a perfect game.
The two pitchers were together for three years in the A's Minor League system. Meyer followed the end of Braden's masterpiece on his phone as the Marlins were on the bus en route to the airport for their trip to Chicago.
"It was amazing for a guy I am so close with. I was his roommate on the road, I played golf with him, I used to stay at his grandmother's house on off-days," Meyer told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about Braden's perfect game. "It is surreal."
"When I was a starter, my perfect game ended with the first batter," Meyer said.
Dana Eveland, now with the Blue Jays, played with Braden on the A's.
"I got to see the last couple innings," Eveland told MLB.com. "I got a little choked up last night after that last out when his grandma came out on the field."
Eveland and Braden both are from California and are both left-handed, making it easy for them to get along, as they can share pitching techniques. Eveland also became friends with Braden's grandmother, Peggy Lindsey.
"I used to go to Stockton after games occasionally, and we'd hang out with his grandma," Eveland said, referring to Braden's California hometown. "So it was pretty cool to see all of that yesterday. It was nuts. That was pretty cool."
Braden in demand: Braden has been in heavy demand from the national media since becoming just the 19th player in Major League history to throw a perfect game. In addition to the expected exposure from baseball outlets like ESPN and the MLB Network, Braden also did spots on NPR's "All Things Considered" and read the Top 10 list on the Late Show with David Letterman.
"He's such a colorful and unique personality that it's fun to see a lot of people around the country discovering him for the first time," A's director of public relations Bob Rose told the Oakland Tribune.
"Not all players are created equally as it relates to their people skills and whether they enjoy the interaction with media," Rose said.
Pink bats are all the rage for Astros players: Several Astros players joined a horde of Major League players to swing pink bats on Sunday in honor of Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness. Michael Bourn, Jeff Keppinger, Geoff Blum and Lance Berkman used the pink bats while players also wore pink wristbands and a pink ribbon on their uniforms.
"I think it's a good tradition, as long as it's got hits in it," Cory Sullivan joked with MLB.com. "I think it's a good way to honor your mom, and it's saying something for breast cancer as well. I think it's a good thing."
Both Bourn and Berkman collected hits with their pink bats.
"I'd like to take it on the road because I had two hits with it, but I think they confiscated it already," Berkman said about his pink bat.
Chris Carter makes his presence felt: Chris Carter made a strong impression on the Mets during Spring Training and was hitting .339 with a 1.010 OPS and six home runs in 119 plate appearances at Triple-A Buffalo before getting called up on Tuesday.
"Chris, he's a competitor," David Wright told MLB.com. "He's a workaholic. He's usually the first one here, last one to leave, and really outworks pretty much everybody in the game. Hopefully, it's a shot in the arm for us. You know he's going to go out there and give you everything he has every day."
Carter made an immediate impact. Pinch-hitting in the eighth inning against Washington, Carter hit a go-ahead RBI double in a sixth-run eighth inning as the Mets went on to win, 8-6.
Gordon takes aggressive approach to transition: Alex Gordon has impressed the Royals in his effort to transition from third base to the outfield.
"Two things you're looking for when a player makes a position change," Rusty Kuntz, special assistant to general manager Dayton Moore, told the Kansas City Star. "One, he wants to do it. And two, he's got enough effort to become good at it. The latter is a no-brainer. Nobody outworks Alex Gordon.
"And he is just absolutely ecstatic about going out and playing the outfield. Every day I was there, when Alex walked in, two things he did: One, he had a huge smile on his face. And the second was he always asked me, `What do I need to do to get better?'
"He was already there at noon each day wanting to come out for early work. I told him we'd start at 2."
Chipper Jones chalks up walks in recent surge: In his last six games, Chipper Jones is 6-for-19 (.316) with two doubles, seven walks and just one strikeout. It is the high walk total that pleases Jones the most.
"When I'm drawing walks you know I'm seeing the ball good," Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Everybody points to the RBI, but when there's not a lot of opportunities, you can't help that."
With runners in scoring position, Jones has reached base 14 out of 27 times, including nine walks, for a .519 on-base percentage.
Thames makes return to Detroit from the other side: Marcus Thames, who played parts of six seasons with the Tigers, returned to Comerica Park on Monday.
"It was a little weird," Thames told MLB.com. "I didn't know where the training room or any of that stuff was. I went out early and saw some of the guys, but after that, it's time to play baseball."
Before joining the Yankees, Thames played with Detroit from 2004 through 2009. He said 2006 brings back the fondest memories of his time with the club.
"I made the team out of Spring Training, and we went to the playoffs for the first time while I was here," Thames said. "We went to the World Series. I had a lot of firsts here, and I won't forget it, but now I'm back with the Yankees. That's where it all started."
Alex Gonzalez complementing glove with power: With 10 home runs, Alex Gonzalez has become a power hitter for the Blue Jays this season.
"It doesn't surprise me -- I can hit some balls, you know?" Gonzalez, who is at or near the top of almost every offensive category among Major League shortstops, told the Boston Herald. "Right now, after a good month, I've got to keep it going. It's not like I'm thinking every time I go up to home plate, I'm going to try to hit a homer. I'm just trying to get my pitch and put a good swing on it.
"I [haven't] changed anything from last year to today."
Brendan Ryan took circuitous route to lucky No. 13: Brendan Ryan didn't take part in the selection of the No. 13 he wears for the Cardinals.
"I didn't pick 13 -- Jim Edmonds did," Ryan told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. "He was like 'I'm sick of looking at this guy's back and seeing 63 or whatever it was. I think he told Rip [Rowan, the team's equipment manager], and then Jim came to me on the bus one time and said 13 or 40-something, and before I could even answer, he said you know what, 13 suits you better.
"My first homer, everything came in 62 or 63, I can't even remember what number it was. No. 26 is my favorite number and it's half of 26 obviously. As I was thinking about changing to 26 in the spring of 2008, we picked up Kyle Lohse, and he took 26. So I said 'OK, well maybe 13 is me.'"
Span always showed signs of success: Twins general manager Bill Smith says the club knew all along that Denard Span would be a good fit.
"We drafted him out of high school, and he already had a maturity and a work ethic. He came to us with a lot of it," Smith told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "He was a quiet, serious guy when we took him. He progressed step by step through our system, and there were a lot of people -- managers, coaches, trainers -- who were very happy when he became a good Major League player."
Grudzielanek glad to be back on the field: Mark Grudzielanek spent the 2009 season at home with his family. It's a decision he says he in no way regrets.
"It was awesome being around them, no question about it," Grudzielanek told MLB.com. "Family is obviously first and most important in my life."
Now back with the Indians, Grudzielanek says he can still play.
"I have a chance to finish up and do something and end it in the right way and play something not many people can do," he said. "This is a privilege to be in uniform, no question about it. I'm happy to be here and be able to contribute again, and being around the younger guys makes me younger. It's a good feeling."
Martin speaks the language of baseball: Russell Martin says language isn't an issue when he's catching Hiroki Kuroda.
"They understand baseball terms, like if you're trying to get something across as far as a game plan," Martin told the Los Angeles Times. "They've heard it all for a while."
"No, there's never any doubt," Martin said when asked if there was ever any uncertainty about discussions on the mound.
Conor Jackson 'feeling good' on all fronts: Not only has Conor Jackson's strained right hamstring healed, but the outfielder is feeling no lingering effects from valley fever, which basically sidelined him all of last season.
"Everybody is different, but for me, I'm feeling good," Jackson told the The Arizona Republic. "I don't think there are any side effects or anything like that. It was extremely frustrating. It was just one of those things where I didn't know how I'd feel tomorrow or in six months. I didn't see an end, and nobody was telling me much.
"The prognosis was, 'You might feel better in two weeks, or you might feel better in eight months.' There wasn't like a timetable. That was the toughest part for me."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.