Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Batter Up Column Sunday March 6th

The A’s are loaded with lefthanded hitters in key spots in the batting order.

Here’s the dilemma manager Ken Macha will confront as soon as the games count for real.

With an inexperienced starting pitching staff you can expect to see most games decided in the seventh inning or later.

With lefty hitters Mark Kotsay, Eric Chavez, Erubiel Durazo, and Scott Hatteberg hitting in the one, three, four, and five spots opposing managers will be saving their best lefthanded relievers for the critical situations late in the game.No matter who Macha has on the bench, he’s not pinch hitting for that foursome with the game on the line .

That’s why the word out of New York is the A’s are still considering Mets righthanded hitting outfielder Mike Cameron as a trade possibility for Eric Byrnes to help balance the lineup.

The Mets like Chad Bradford and want him included in any potential trade. Bradford will be out until June because of upcoming surgery for a herniated disc, further complicating any deal with NY.

All trade possibilities are on hold. Don’t be surprised if the A’s make a move for an established right handed bat before spring training ends.

36 year old Japanese pitcher Keiichi Yabu is the front runner for the fifth spot in the A’s starting rotation. Yabu has played before crowds in excess of 55,000 since his high school days in Japan. He won’t be flustered his first time through the league and may surprise some teams with his pin point control.

Marco Scutaro is a long shot to keep the second base job because his 2004 on base percentage was the lowest of any player on the A’s 40 man roster. Forget on base percentage, Scutaro who hit ninth, was challenged by pitchers who didn’t want to walk him. He responded with clutch hits time after time while playing great defense.

Scutaro should be the frontrunner for his old job this spring. Based on last year, Mark Ellis or Keith Ginter would have to show me plenty before I turned second base over to either of them.

A’s minor league catcher John Baker has a nice comfortable power stroke. Watch out for him later this season.

Former Cub Ron Santo is a hall of famer. Santo was turned down by the existing players in the hall in their latest election. The decision was highly unfair.

These big ego stars don’t think anyone can play the game like they could and hence the former Cub third baseman missed election by 8 votes.

Weight should be given for a player’s continued contribution to the region in which he performed. The long time broadcaster for the Cubs has been a fan favorite in the midwest for over 45 years. During the 60’s, he was an outstanding player, hitting 342 homers while facing some of the toughest pitchers in NL history every day.

Santo is a hall of famer in my book.

Darkhorse contender in the AL Central?

How about the Indians. If they get comeback seasons from pitchers Kevin Millwood and closer Bob Wickman plus decent years from Juan Gonzalez and Aaron Boone they can win the division.

Scouts rave about Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. Scouts say Morneau, young catcher Joe Mauer, and Cy Young winner Johann Santana make the Twins the favorite in the Central.

It’s nice and quiet in the Cubs camp without Sammy Sosa. I think the Cubs can win the NL pennant.

Dusty Baker has three number one pitchers in Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, and Carlos Zambrano. 305 game winner Greg Maddux is no slouch in the four spot.

Key for the Cubs will be shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Now happily married to Mia Hamm, Garciaparra is flying under the radar with the Chicago press. He doesn’t miss Boston one bit. Nomar who looks healthy, smoked the ball in the desert this week.

Cub third baseman Aramis Ramirez is ready for a big year too, maybe 50 homers. The guy never gets cheated at the plate and hit one nine miles off A’s rookie Joe Blanton in Chicago’s Cactus League opener.

If Jason Giambi would go back to the approach he had in Oakland, hitting the ball to all fields instead of trying to yank every ball out of the park, he might regain the confidence of manager Joe Torre.

It’s time to get off Barry Bonds’s back.

He isn’t going to admit doing anything illegal no matter how many times he is asked. Bonds better hope that his former trainer Greg Anderson takes a deal and doesn’t go to trial.

Trials always have surprises. Who knows what other evidence the government might have linking Bonds to Anderson? Bonds could be a key witness in the government’s case against Anderson forcing Bonds to answer questions under oath. Bonds won’t be able to mess with the US Attorney like he did with reporters at his Arizona press conference last week.

Marty Lurie 510 715 9635


1 Anonymous { 03.06.05 at 6:57 am }

Hi Marty,

Oakland Si here. I’m wondering about the Cameron for Byrnes deal. Cameron has been one of the top defenders in all of baseball, and last year showed good righty power with the Mets. Yet he is trying to come back from a wrist injury, which could affect his hitting, and is also very strikeout-prone. Eric Byrnes is defensively challenged, yet has good right-handed pop at the plate. He’s also younger and healthier than Cameron. So I’m wondering how Cameron could be considered as a right-handed hitting upgrade over Byrnes for the Oakland lineup?

2 Anonymous { 03.08.05 at 6:33 pm }

Charles Thomas had a nice game against the Cubs today. Two key hits, good throw late in the game, and showed some speed on the bases going from first to third.
Yabu was OK, Blanton did well today. Durazo came off the bench without the DH in Mesa and had two key hits.
Byrnes homered today in Tucson.
So far the team is still searching for its identity and will probably be up and down until the roster is cut to 30 players.
Once the lineup is set we’ll see just how they stand.
Otherwise the weather is perfect.

3 Anonymous { 03.09.05 at 12:59 pm }

Today, Dan Meyer will have his second start against Jason Schmidt of San Francisco. Hope, Meyer has better then his last performces. Also, Marty did hear about the Yabu bunt story, it would be a great “Memories of the Game” segment.

-Pachyderm aka Edgar B. Martinez

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