March 15, 2012; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin (45) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Sounds like Jamie Moyer has damaged his brittle body in some way, shape, or form. He's been cruising through Spring Training so far, pitching 5 innings in 2 outings with 3 strikeouts, 4 hits, and 1 run allowed. His 1.80 ERA has only been bested by his potential teammates Drew Pomeranz and Juan Nicasio.
Renck writes that Moyer's having leg stiffness is going to cause Moyer to miss his next start.
My initial reaction was "Has anyone ever hit the DL for rigor mortis?", followed immediately by "Jamie Moyer doesn't need his LEG to pitch!" I'm pretty sure Moyer's using telekinesis at this point to make the ball cross the plate.
First Pomeranz' tight hip, then Moyer's stiff leg, now Chacin's index finger. That's not even considering Casey Blake's stiff neck. DOES THIS SPRING KNOW NO MERCY?
Of course, neither injury is a "big deal". Moyer's is just a precautionary measure, given his age, his age, and his age.
Chacin has apparently had a history with finger blisters, based on how short he clips his fingernails.
Branch Rickey said that baseball is a game of inches, but this is ridiculous.
Just this concept kills me. Troy Tulowitzki is quoted in the article:
The leadoff hitter has to be able to steal."
False. The leadoff hitter needs to get on base well. Fowler has a career .355 OBP and a .363 over the past 2 seasons. Not elite, but above average. Having a leadoff hitter with speed like Willy Taveras or Eric Young Jr. would be really handy, but having a guy who can get on base is much more important. Like they say, you can't steal 1B.
This isn't to say that having a good runner leading off isn't a good idea. I'm also not trying to eschew the entire concept as dumb or anything, it just seems to have come full circle and mixed the cause and effect. I'm picturing some manager back in the day having 4 really good hitters in his lineup. It didn't take him long, but he soon realized that he had Thunder Von Leadfoot, Crusher McBoomStick, Tim "Swifty" Jones, and Catcher Bill Killington, all of whom were capable of .380 OBP with varying levels of SLG. After like 5 games of Jones getting caught batting cleanup or 5th or whatever behind these other three statues, the manager goes "wait... if I have my fast guy batting in FRONT of these Titans, he won't get stuck behind them and will be able to steal bases without having to worry about having a Buick parked on 2B!"
Thus did the fast base-stealing guy get placed in the leadoff slot. The story of Leadfoot and friends carried through the ages, but it eventually evolved from "Wow, this OBP guy is faster than the other OBP guys, I'll put him first so he can steal!" then "Wow, this guy can steal bases! He HAS to bat leadoff!" then "This guy is batting leadoff! He HAS to steal bases!". Ok maybe I fabricated the whole thing, but come on, you can see that happening pretty easily, right?
See, Dex shouldn't take a knock for not being an elite basestealer. With Fowler, we're pretty much guaranteed that he'll go 1st to 3rd on a single, and he's similarly guaranteed to score from 2B on just about any hit. I'm not suggesting that SB CAN'T be a part of Fowler's arsenal. I'm saying that he shouldn't go overboard trying to improve it.
Fowler's in a unique position this season. He's part of that Ian Stewart/Seth Smith/Ubaldo Jimenez class that has fallen COMPLETELY out of favor with the Rockies front office. The Rockies not only need Fowler to have a big season, but they need him to "fall in line", so to speak. He's made a step in that direction by joining up with Tulo and Jason Giambi in their "Camp for Guys Who Could Be Important Players for the Rockies Down The Road", AKA the "Cool Kids Club" that also includes Nolan Arenado and Josh Rutledge. Showing his work ethic, maturity, and willingness to work on his deficiencies are the kind of character traits that Fowler needs to display to the team, but being a productive batter is also a big important thing.
All I want out of Dexter Fowler is for him to play solid CF defense and post a .370 OBP. Everything else is gravy.