Tag Archives: Michael Cuddyer

Fort Fragments: Player Movement

Here’s a brief roundup of some Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana player movement (or transactions) since the end of the season:

Veteran catcher, Chad Moeller has resigned with the Orioles.

The last player form the Wizards association with the Twins that is still associated with the Twins, Michael Cuddyer has had his option picked up by Minnesota.

The Milwaukee Brewers have claimed Luis Cruz off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Brew-Crew also claimed former Wizards catcher, George Kottaras, who was released from the Red Sox.

Possibly in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft, the Padres made some 40-Man roster changes, adding three. Among those is former Fort Wayne Wizard and this year’s Triple-A Home Run Derby champ, Chad Huffman.

Former Wizard outfielder Robert Perry has jumped from the independant Frontier League’s Windy City Thunderbolts to Minor League Baseball. He was signed by the Colorado Rockies.

The Atlanta Braves have resigned free-agent former Wizards pitcher, John Huber.

Cuddyer Up For Clemente Award

I have been meaning to mention this, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Former Wizard, Michael Cuddyer recently returned to the lineup for the Minnesota Twins. He looks to be slotted at DH, but still has lingering pain and likely will not be relied upon too heavily the remainder of the season (and if the Twins hit the post-season).

But regardless of his on-the-field endeavors the rest of the season, Cuddyer is also nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award this year.

The award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team. It is named in honor of the former Pirates outfielder whose spirit and goodwill will always be remembered. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972.

Cuddyer has done extensive work and fundraising efforts for the Boys & Girls club of the Twin Cities and serves on the board of directors of the Twins Community Fund to help direct grant funds to other charities among several other philanthropic activities.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Hundley, Cuddyer, Macias, Venable

Nick Hundley Gets Ejected

On Tuesday, former Wizards catcher, Nick Hundley received his first MLB ejection after arguing his strikeout with homeplate umpire, Marty Fosterin, the eighth inning. He was replaced by fellow rookie and fellow Wizards alumnus, Luke Carlin.

Michael Cuddyer Still Trying to Return

Minnesotat Twins’ outfielder and former Wizard, Michael Cuddyer took two batting practice sessions on Tuesday and he had his broken left foot re-evaluated. He was given the okay to start running, but he’s still making very slow progress and the chances of a 2008 return are starting to slim.

“We’re just going to let him get well first,” (Ttwins manager, Ron) Gardenhire said. “Maybe when he gets to the point where he can run a little bit, and maybe put a swing on it, then we’ll see what he can do.”

Drew Macias Hits Homer for First MLB Hit

Usually, when a player collects his first Major League hit, you see a player toss the ball to the team’s dugout personnel so it can be saved. But former Wizard, Drew Macias got his first Major League start the other night. He went 3-5 and homered off a first-pitch fastball from Giants RHP Matt Cain during his first at-bat to collect his first MLB hit and home run.

Gary Jones Discusses Cumberland, Zawadski, Kazmar, Blanks & more

MadFriars caught up with Gary Jones, where he talked candidly about the progress of many former Wizards who are still in the Padres system. If you want to know more about Drew Cumberland, Lance Zawadski, Sean Kazmar, Matt Antonelli, Kyle Blanks and Raynar Contreras, this is the read for you (subscription required).

Will Venable Making Most of His Playing Time

Padres center fielder, Jody Gerut has missed a lot of games due to a sprained left middle finger. Will Venable, who is a recent callup, has thrived while getting extra playing time in Gerut’s absence; including a sixth multihit game on Thursday. He’s going to be on the 2009 Opening Day roster IMHO

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Cuddyer, Ready, Antonelli, LeBlanc, Coundrey, Hayhurst

There are many Wizards-related headlines that I need to catch up on. I’ve been passively collecting them as the final week of the season took place, so some may seem a bit old to you. Enjoy..

  • Michael Cuddyer still hopes to return to the Twins this season. He has had an injry plagued 2008 season.
  • Former Wizards Skipper, Randy Ready in enjoying being around familiar company with the Padres after September callups (himself included). Meanwhile, Wade LeBlanc and Matt Antonelli are hoping to make a splash during their opportunities this season.
  • Clay Coundrey is happy to be nearing a personal milestone of staying with a Major League squad (the Phillies) for a full season.
  • Dirk Hayhurst is hopefull that he’ll write the perfect ending (but not for a while) to the new era of his professional career.
  • The Casper Ghosts recently won the Baseball America’s logos contest for “Coolest Redesign” and the Trenton Thunder took “Best Redesign” honrs. Wonder where this set’s the bar for the Fort Wayne team’s chances next year? Do you think they can do it? Let’s put out thinking hats and see what we can come up with!
  • MadFriars has posted four segments of a Paul DePodterview. In part 1, he talks about prospects, Dominican players, trades and the draft. In part 2 DePodesta answers whether the Padres think Will Venable can be an everyday centerfielder in the big leagues, Matt Antonelli’s tough and if San Diego will ever move Kyle Blanks to the outfield. In part 3, DePodesta gives his assessment of Cedric Hunter, how Cesar Carrillo is progressing from his Tommy John surgery and sleepers in Fort Wayne. Finally, part 4 offers a posible glimpse into the Fort Wayne future; he let us know who may be the best player to come out of Eugene, the goods on Jeff Decker and breaks down some prospects from the Dominican League.
  • Speaking of Paul DePodesta, he blogs about his thoughts on Antonelli and LeBlanc’s callups and chances.
  • In what might have been Paul McAnulty’s last month in the Padres’ system, he earn’s one of the player of the month awards from MadFriars. Kyle Blanks, Eric Sogard, and Andy Parrino round out the other levels over Low-A ball. All of them are former Wizards. Methinks we’re going to see Blanks as a big leaguer sooner than later. Wade LeBlanc, Mike Ekstrom, Rolando Valdez and Jeremy McBryde take the pitchers of the month honors. Again, all of them are former Wizards. MadFriar’s also posted an interview with former Wizard, Manny Ayala.
  • SignOnSanDiego has two good articles about former Wizards. In the first, they suggest that Matt Antonelli could finally be the answer to “who is going to play second base” – let’s just hope they don’t trade him to Cleveland. In the second, the article discusses how a move to a relief role for starting pitcher Mike Ekstrom may have saved his career.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Zawadzki, Durango, Ready, LeBlanc, Venable

  • Geoff spotlights San Antonio at Ducksnorts. Lots of former Wizards here, including; Kyle Blanks, Chad Huffman, Sean Kazman and others.
  • John Conniff interviews current Wizard Lance Zawadzki for Mad Friars. Even though he was a late round pick, he still has a rather high ceiling. Subscription required.
  • Paul Depodesta talks about Luis Durango’s recent promotion to Lake Elsinore and also talks about former Wizards, Manny Ayala and Jon Ellis.
  • Michael Cuddyer still hopes to return from injuries this season, despite dealing with a freak injury on top of the rash of other injuries that have plagued him this season.
  • Former Wizards skipper and current Portland Beavers manager, Randy Ready, was named the Pacific Coast League’s “Best Manager Prospect” in Baseball America’s annual “Best Tools” survey that was featured in the publication’s Aug. 25-Sept. 7 issue. Former Wizard, Wade LeBlanc was said to have the “Best Control” among league pitchers and former Wizard, Will Venable, earned “Best Strike Zone Judgment” honors. Chase Headley was chosen as the “Best Batting Prospect” in the PCL this season – though he has been playing at the MLB level for quite a while now.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Cuddyer, Perez, Mercado, Quezada, Pelzer, Kulbecki

  • Michael Cuddyer, the lone Twins player from the Wizards affiliation with Minnesota is likely done for the season after a line drive pegged him during a minor league rehab game. It’s unfortunately because he was expected to provide a boost to the Twin’s playoff run.
  • Oliver Perez continues to befuddle and confuse. He’s always been assocated with unrealized potential, but Oliver Perez has become known as “Big Game Ollie” and seems to come up big when it counts. It just so happens that every game counts right now, and since June 29, Perez is 3-2 with a 1.71 ERA in eight starts. He’s also 7-0 with a 2.28 ERA in games against above-.500 teams.
  • Wade LeBlanc and Kellen Kulbacki are the subjects of a rising star update at Friar Forecast.
  • Angel Mercado hit the first home run of the Wizards’ season. He now leads the Northwest League in dingers while playing with Eugene. Alex Gabriel has a nice (subscriber only) for MadFriar’s profile of the slugger who is also near the top of the team in total bases and slugging percentage.
  • Speaking of MaFriars, John Conniff has posted his interviews with Andy Parrino and Jackson Quezada.
  • Wynn Pelzer and Kellen Kulbecki have been honored by the Padres organization as Pitcher and Player of the Month (hat tip to Friar John).
  • Finally, Geoff from Ducksnorts spotlights Lake Elsinore; which includes many former Wizards.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Carlin, Hunter, Cuddyer, Breit

  • With the return of catcher, Josh Bard, from the disabled list, former Wizard, Luke Carlin was optioned back to Triple-A Portland. Since his May 10th debut, he had been behind the plate in 30 games including 23 starts. At the plate, he has gone 11-for-80 (.138) with three doubles, one triple, two RBI and 10 runs scored. But, with the July 31 trade deadline looming, it might be a short-lived stint. There’s been a lot of speculation that the Friars are trying to move Barrett or Bard. Padres GM Kevin Towers indicated otherwise, so we’ll have to wait out the week or so and see what happens.
  • Torii Hunter returned to the Angels’ lineup yesterday. He had been placed on bereavement to spend time with his ailing grandmother, Edna Cobbs, who passed away Friday after a five-year illness.
  • Still no set date for Michael Cuddyer’s return to the Twins’ lineup. He’s been on the DL since June 28th due to a strained tendon in the knuckle of his left index finger. The outfielder has also had soreness in the palm of his hand. An exam found no additional problems in Cuddyer’s hand.
  • MadFriars has a good interview with current Wizards’ right hander, Aaron Breit. (Subscription required). He discusses the nerve problems he had in his elbow before returning to Fort Wayne, mechanical changes and overcoming early career struggles.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Pierzynski, Cuddyer, Condry, Headley and Matt Bush News!?!?

  • White Sox walk off behind Pierzynski: Former Wizards catcher, A.J. Pierzynski hit his second home run of the night in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the White Sox to their second straight extra-inning win over the Indians, 6-5, at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night. Figures . . . I just traded him in my fantasy league.
  • Cuddyer’s MRI shows sprained knuckle: The last player in the Twins system from the Wizards’ days as a Minnesota affiliate, Michael Cuddyer has had a pretty banged up season. I think this is his third DL stint. BTW: he’s on my fantasy team.
  • Condrey has big off-day plans: The former Wizards and current Phillie pitcher, Clay Condrey and his wife welcomed their first son on Monday, Cashton “Cash” Lee. Interestingly, Fort Wayne native and current Indian’s skipper, Eric Wedge, and his wife named their son Dalton Cash after his arrival shortly before the season.
  • Headley continues to improve in left field: I still think he’ll ultimately end up at third in the long run, but Chase Headley‘s star continues to rise as he adapts in the outfield. For what’s it’s worth, there were some Oakland A’s scouts at the Castle on Sunday. Maybe its just a coincidence that Chavez went on the DL a couple days later. They’re just five games out of first and three-and-a-half out of the wild card.
  • Padres land bevy of international talent: A possible look at some future Wizards (or whatever the team is next year and beyond). They forked over 5 million dollars to secure four highly-touted players from Latin America and an Australian outfielder on the first day of the international signing period; Adis Portillo (Venezuela), shortstop Alvaro Aristy (Dominican Republic), outfielder Luis Domoromo (Venezuela), right-handed pitcher Elvin Tavarez (Dominican Republic) and outfielder, Corey Adamson (Australia). They’re all around 16 years old, so it will be a while before we see any of them in the Fort if we ever do.
  • Encouraging News on Matt Bush: “He isn’t on a mound yet but he’s long tossing from 130 feet and one third of the way through his throwing program. He could be back getting in serious work by Instructional League.” Matt Antonelli may be finally coming out of his funk and Eric Sogard is drawing some attention. Add him to your watch lists.
  • Peavy nominated for an ESPY: Not much I can add to that. The guy is a stud and deserves to be recognized.
  • McDaid promoted to Lake Elsinore: I haven’t cataloged any of my 2008 photos yet. Hope I got some good shots before Derek McDaid, an MWL All-Star, was promoted.

Fathers and Sons and Baseball

Here’s an interesting string of events that relates to father-and-son stories as it relates to the Fort Wayne Wizards

As previously reported, Zach Dascenzo, the son of current Wizards skipper, Doug Dascenzo, was drafted by the San Diego Padres; effectively making it possible  tha tthe duo would unite in Fort Wayne as player and coach. I doubt he will sign, but you never know.

On Thursday (6/18), former Wizard, Michael Cuddyder hit a two-run triple and reached base all four times he batted to help the Minnesota Twins complete a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals. Then he missed the Twin’s game the next day to be present for the birth of his child. He and his wife, Claudia, welcomed a son, Casey, to the world.

Earlier in the week, another former Wizard consulted with his 13-year-old son for advice on breaking out of his slump. The Angels’ Torii Hunter was visibly discouraged when Torii Jr. asked what was wrong. The elder Hunter said he was not hitting the ball the way he should.

He looked at me and said, ‘Keep your head still, and you’ll hit.’ I thought about it, and he was right. He’s 13, and that’s what I always tell him: ‘Keep your head still.’ I worked on it [Tuesday], concentrating on keeping my head still and not jumping at the ball. I’m trying to be more quiet up there. I think it paid off [source: mlb.com].

In his first at-bat against his former Twins teammate, Johan Santana, Hunter kept his head still on a waist-high changeup and crushed it into the left-field corner for a two-out, two-run first-inning double. Hunter also hit a double and a walk to lead the Halos to a 6-1 win.

Twins Cut Juan Rincon – Updated 6/13

As expected, the Minnesota Twins have cut ties with former Wizard’s pitcher, Juan Rincon, though they have offered him a place at Triple-A. The right handed reliever had been the longest tenured player on the Twin’s roster. He had spent 11 years in the Twins’ organization, and now has 72 hours to decide if he will accept an outright assignment to Triple-A Rochester or become a free agent.

It was a hard thing to do,” manager Ron Gardenhire said before the Twins played the Cleveland Indians. “I’ve been with him a long, long time. This is not a fun day for myself, for my coaching staff and I don’t think it’s a fun day for the players either [source: ESPN.com]

Rincon, 29, was once among the top setup men in the game but has struggled over recent seasons since testing positive for a banned substance in 2006 and most notably this year. He has a 6.11 ERA over 28 innings this season and has coughed up 33 hits, 16 walks and five homers in that span.

He singed with the Twins organization as a 17-year-old from Venesuela in 1996 and joined the Wizards (who were a Twins affiliate at the time) in 1998. With the ‘zards that year, he went 6-4 with a 3.83 ERA and 74 strikeouts over 96.1 innings pitched.

He would have been back for the 1999 season had the Wizards not switched to a San Diego Padres affiliate that year. For Quad Cities that year, he went 14-8 with a 2.83 ERA in 37 games; 13 of them were starts.

According to my records, if Rincon leaves the organization, Michael Cuddyer is the sole remaining former Wizards player on the Twins from an affiliation that produced 33 big leaguers over 6 years. In comparison, the Padres affiliation has produced 31 (soon to be 32) in 9-plus seasons.

UPDATE 6/13: As expected, Rincon has rejected the Twins offer for reassignment to Triple-A Rochester:

“It’s very sad to leave,” Rincon said. “I’m 29 and I’ve been with this team for over a third of my life. Twelve years is a long time, a lot of memories . . . But I’ve got to go do something, find another team to make it back to the big leagues.”