White Sox pitcher drilled in head by line drive

518108.jpg

White Sox pitcher drilled in head by line drive

From Comcast SportsNet Friday, August 19, 2011
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox lost a key game against another AL Central contender, and they were feeling pretty lucky. White Sox starter Phil Humber was hit in the face by Kosuke Fukudome's liner in the second inning of a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, sending a chill through the ballpark. "I saw it, but a little too late though," Humber said. "I'm not as quick as I thought." Humber was struck with one out. He fell to the ground as the ball bounded back to catcher Flowers. "I was running to the dugout looking for towels, that's what my first impression was," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "There's a lot of things that go through your mind, just how lucky we are and how lucky he is." Humber stood up immediately after the play ended and appeared to be alert as the club's medical staff checked on him, but was removed after a short delay. He lobbied to remain in the game. "When you get hit like that in that spot, it was unfair to leave him in there to try to pitch," Guillen said. "I think we did the right thing to get him out of there." Humber was struck above the right eye and was removed as a precautionary measure. He will evaluated again on Friday, when it likely will be determined if he can make his next start. "As of right now, I feel good," Humber said. "Just got a little pop knot on my forehead. Other than that, I feel very fortunate. "My wife was here, so obviously it's upsetting for her. She told me the fans were very supportive and had a lot of kind things to say to her, so I appreciate that." Justin Masterson pitched six effective innings and Kosuke Fukudome had a tiebreaking RBI triple for Cleveland, which pulled within 1 1-2 games of idle Detroit for the division lead. Matt LaPorta hit a two-run homer. The Tribe opens a three-game series against the Tigers on Friday. "It was good," Masterson said. "It was a much needed series. We wanted to take this final game. That's kind of been our motto to try and win each series as we go out." Paul Konerko homered for the White Sox. Konerko, Adam Dunn and Omar Vizquel each had two hits, and Tyler Flowers singled in a run. Masterson (10-7) allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out two and walked three. The 6-foot-6 right-hander improved to 2-2 with a 1.61 ERA in four starts against the White Sox this season. The Indians won the last two games of their three-game series against the White Sox after losing seven of their first eight games against Chicago this season. "They play good baseball against us," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "They hit us around pretty good at the beginning of the year and they have played their best baseball against us." The White Sox loaded the bases with two out in the eighth, but Pestano struck out Gordon Beckham to end the inning. Beckham is 3 for 24 over his last six games, dropping his average to .238. It was an ugly night for Beckham, who bounced into a fielder's choice with a runner on to end the second, lined softly to the pitcher with two on to end the fourth, struck out looking with two on to end the sixth. "I am worried about him because he is chasing a lot of pitches," Guillen said. "When you're a hitter and you're (chasing) bad pitches, you're going to put yourself in the hole. I know it's not easy. I played this game before. I went through it. I was swinging at everything in my career as a player. But you have to lay off the high fastball." Konerko went deep in the third to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. Konerko's 28th homer was just the sixth off Masterson in 173 innings this season. Flowers' RBI single in the fourth tied it at 2. He also had three walks and has reached base 11 times in over his last four starts in place of injured catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Dunn singled twice for his first two-hit game since July 22. Dunn is hitting .333 in 36 at-bats against the Indians this season. He's hitting .149 against everybody else. The White Sox (61-62) dropped under .500 one night after missing out on a chance to leap over Cleveland in second place. After the game, though, everyone's thoughts were still with Humber. "That ball hit him in the right spot, put it that way," Guillen said. "That ball could have been a couple of inches down and it could have been very, very ugly." NOTES: Indians rookie Jason Kipnis was expected to return to the lineup after missing three games with right side soreness, but was a late scratch because of tightness in his right hamstring. He was replaced at second base by Jason Donald. ... Josh Tomlin will start Friday against Detroit's Max Scherzer. Tomlin has gone at least five innings in each of his first 36 career starts, the only big league pitcher to do that since 1919. ... The White Sox next play a three-game weekend series against AL West-leading Texas. Matt Harrison will face Chicago's Jake Peavy in the opener. . Konerko's home run was the 393rd of his career, tying Jim Edmonds for 52nd place. ... OF Austin Kearns officially cleared waivers and was released outright by the Indians.

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

OAKLAND — Stephen Vogt made an unexpected appearance in left field Wednesday night, and his performance got approval from a pretty good outfield authority.

Former A’s teammate Josh Reddick was watching from the Houston Astros’ dugout and thought the catcher-by-trade handled himself very well.

“I was talking to (Houston manager) A.J. (Hinch) and I said, ‘It’s gonna be interesting because you know at least one ball’s gonna get to him,’” Reddick said. “You start laughing because four of the five that were hit that inning were hit to him.”

With the A’s bench short-handed, manager Bob Melvin sent Vogt to left after he pinch-hit for Rajai Davis, and indeed Vogt got a workout throughout the top of the eighth. That added a bit of levity to a 5-1 loss that otherwise provided the A’s very little to cheer about.

They were bottled up by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers and four relievers as the Astros won their ninth in a row at the Coliseum and their third straight in this four-game series. A’s starter Sean Manaea was rolling through five scoreless innings before Houston blitzed him for three runs in the sixth. The Astros tacked on a couple more late runs against Oakland’s bullpen and that was enough on a night the A’s mustered just four hits total.

After Vogt delivered an RBI groundout that scored the A’s only run in the seventh, Melvin wanted to keep Vogt’s left-handed bat in the lineup, so he asked the veteran catcher if he could handle left.

“I said yeah, absolutely,” Vogt said.

It’s easy to forget that Vogt came up through the Tampa Bay Rays’ system playing a lot of outfield, and he played more than a dozen games in the outfield in 2014 for the A’s, mostly in right.

He sure got tested. The Astros’ first four hitters of the eighth all hit balls in Vogt’s direction. He got a routine fly from Brian McCann, a difficult low liner off the bat of Yuli Gurriel that he smothered for a single, a double from Alex Bregman that he did a good job cutting off and a sacrifice fly to the warning track from Jake Marisnick.

“I had the adrenaline shot run up and I was loose and ready to go,” Vogt said. “Obviously I was a little more focused than probably your average outfielder out there. I’m glad the first one came to me, otherwise I would have been sweatin’ it for a while.”

Vogt has lost time recently behind the plate against right-handers to Josh Phegley, who has done an effective job controlling the running game. And though you shouldn’t by any means expect to see Melvin running Vogt to the outfield often, you also shouldn’t assume it won’t happen at all.

At some point, the A’s figure to call up catcher Bruce Maxwell as part of the crop of young players they’re trying to give more time too. If the left-handed hitting Maxwell were to share catching duties with Phegley, and if the A’s were to trade Yonder Alonso (again, we’re talking ‘ifs’ here), it’s conceivable Vogt’s left-handed bat could be put to use at spots other than catcher, perhaps at first base or, in a pinch, even the outfield.

His old teammate thinks he could pull it off.

“I remember him playing in right in ’14 when I was (injured),” Reddick said. “He did a pretty good job out there, it’s not like he’s foreign to it. He knows what he’s doing.”

No need for Warriors fans to fret over NBA's projected lower salary cap

No need for Warriors fans to fret over NBA's projected lower salary cap

There is no need for the Warriors fan to grow anxious with the news Wednesday night that the NBA salary cap and luxury tax threshold will be roughly two percent lower than initially projected.

For one, those players committed to returning are not likely to change their minds.

For two, the cap/tax figures also will influence other teams that might target members of the Warriors, such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

Even with the lower numbers, reported by multiple outlets, Kevin Durant remains in line for a raise from the $26.5 million he made last season, and he already has made clear his intentions to accept less than the $31.8 million the Warriors could’ve paid him.

With the cap expected to be about $99 million instead of the roughly $101 million originally forecast, that figure falls between $30 million and $31 million.

Durant’s willingness to be flexible -- designed to help the team in its attempts to retain Iguodala and maybe Livingston -- remains the most significant factor for the Warriors as they proceed. Even if Durant takes 10 percent less than, say, $31 million, he still would get a modest increase.

Stephen Curry, who also has announced his intention to re-sign with the Warriors, still could receive about $35 million in Year 1 of a five-year contract worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million.

When the numbers are that astronomical, losing a small percentage is not such a crucial factor.

The Warriors surely knew the cap/tax figures would take a hit. Both figures are impacted by revenue generated through the playoffs, which featured only 79 of a possible 105 games.

Only two series -- Jazz-Clippers and Celtics-Wizards -- went the full seven games and eight of the 15 series ended in five or fewer games, including five sweeps.

The Warriors accounted for three of those sweeps.