Thirty Minutes in Bakersfield

I’m in a Bakersfield motel killing time until I have to go to a day-job assignment, so here are some random thoughts …

Casey Kotchman and Jeff Mathis homered in the Angels’ 7-6 loss last night at Boston. Both have been frequent targets of self-proclaimed experts on Angels fan boards who have claimed Kotchman and Mathis are “busts.” Kotchman, according to these experts, is “an injury prone slow-running singles hitter who will never amount to anything.” Mathis, they say, is “a mediocre catcher who will never hit.”

Casey’s AVG/OBP/SLG for 2008 are .315/.359/.575.  Among AL first basemen with at least 25 AB, he’s tied for #2 in HR, #2 in AVG, #7 in OBP, and #1 in SLG.

Jeff’s AVG/OBP/SLG for 2008 are .379/.387/.759.  Among AL catchers with at least 25 AB this year, he’s #1 in AVG, #2 in OBP and #1 in SLG.

So where are those experts now?

Probably gone back to rag on Garret Anderson.

Hank Conger arrives this Saturday at Rancho Cucamonga, but it’s not what you think.  The Quakes are holding a Korean-American Night.  Hank will be there to sign autographs.  Of course, when they first thought up this promotion, they assumed Hank would be on the active roster.  Hopefully that won’t be too much longer.

John Lackey will make three rehab starts with the Quakes, starting tomorrow night at home.  His second start will be April 29 at Lancaster, and the third start is Sunday May 4 at Rancho.

The Lancaster road starts pays back a little cosmic karma.  In July 2003, Randy Johnson made a rehab start for the Diamondbacks with Lancaster at Rancho.

If you’re wondering why Lack won’t make at least one rehab start at Triple-A Salt Lake, the answer is they’ll be on the road back east.  That second start would be at Memphis, and the third start would be at Nashville.  So the Angels will keep him close to him and monitor his progress.

Some organizations prefer to have a rehabbing pitcher work his way up the organization ladder — one start at Class-A, one start at Double-A, one start at Triple-A, etc.  I guess they believe the increasingly experienced competition is a measurement of the pitcher’s rehab progress.  But an experienced pitcher like Lackey already knows what he needs to do.  He just needs innings.  He’s not going out there to blow someone away, so even if he mows down a Double-A lineup or Triple-A lineup it won’t mean much if he hasn’t worked his way back to major league caliber.  That comes from repetition.  The baseball people can see whether his stuff is sharp or not, regardless of who’s at the plate.

Someone finally found a way to stop the 17-1 Salt Lake Bees last night.  They were rained out at Portland.

Speaking of Salt Lake … In an earlier blog, I observed that the local papers seem to give the Bees a low priority. I observed that the Deseret News didn’t even have the Bees on their sports menu. Well, someone must have read what I wrote because now the Bees are on the far right. But if you look down the list of headlines on today’s sports page, the Bees are below stories about the NBA Utah Jazz, the University of Utah gymanstics team, high school soccer, BYU volleyball, high school baseball, high school basketball, high school softball, wrestling, golf, and the Real Salt Lake pro soccer team. Sure, the Bees got rained out last night, but it’s pretty much this way every day.

So as I wrote earlier, why alienate one of the few people who gives them free publicity?

Off to my day-job assignment, and then back home tonight to Orange County.


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