Today’s only move of any interest is lefty Chris Capuano signing on with the Brewers for a minor league deal. It seems incredible to Yankee fans who saw him last year that this same guy won 18 games in 2005 with the Brewers. Should he make the team it will be his second hitch with them. He’s 37 now, a native of Wesp Springfield, Massachusetts and a 2006 All-Star. He has survived two Tommy John surgeries-one in 2002, one 6 years later. My lasting memory of him in pinstripes was a game where he gave up 5 first-inning runs to Texas, then sat and watched the Yankees put up 11 in the top of the second inning. He didn’t go the 5 innings required to win, though the Yanks won 21-5. All I need to say is, he’s a lefty with a pulse.
Julio Teheren is 25 today. He’s one Colombian with a heavy burden on his shoulders, and it’s not because he’s smuggling in bails of cocaine. He’s slated to be the number 1 starter for the Braves in 2016. That’s a burden similar to the one Roger Craig bore in 1962 as number 1 starter for the 40-120 Mets. While the Braves won’t lose 120, they could easily lose 119. They signed Teheren at age 16 in 2007. In 2010 he was the third-best Braves prospect behind Jason Heyward (gone) and Freddie Freeman (believed to be on the block.) His record is still 40-30 in spite of how dreadful last year’s Braves were. Unless a loving God has mercy on him, he’s a Bravo until the end of 2019.
Gavin Floyd is 33. When the Phillies took him in round 1 in 2001 they hoped they had a star. Growing up in Maryland He was a neighbor and high school teammate of Mark Teixeira, also a first-round choice who blossomed more than Floyd has. I broadcast for Charleston in 2002, while Floyd pitched for the Lakewood BlueClaws in the same league, the South Atlantic. He pitched a 9-inning nono for Lakewood on July 24 against Lexington (KY) but lost owing to two errors. No South Atlantic League pitcher had lost a nono since 1966. Mercifully Floyd’s feat wasn’t done against our RiverDogs who would have been easy pickings for a pitcher as good as he was then. He made the show at the end of 2004 but was ineffective as long as he was with the major league Phillies. He came into his own at last in 2008 with a 17-8 record with the White Sox. Now he’s a break-even 72-72. Injuries have plagued his last 3 seasons and his 2016 destiny is unknown.
Phil Plantier is 47. Recently, when Phil Nevin had a birthday I almost confused him with Plantier until google set me straight. In August, 1990 my friend Greg Ortiz and I took our tape machine and our two guide dogs to Pawtucket, Rhode Island to record a AAA doubleheader between the PawSox and the Rochester Red Wings. We assumed the highlight of the night would be covering Mo Vaughn, who I had admired since his Seton Hall days. But a local man in the stands told us to listen up when Phil Plantier was at the dish. We did, and sure enough the first time up he launched a monster home run. He had a busy night and on the radio we heard what a prospect he was. As it happened, two days later he made his MLB debut. In 1991, officially his rookie year he was in 53 games he hit 11 home runs and drove in 35. He didn’t do well the next year and went to the Padres where he had his best year in 1993. But he was finished after bouncing around between 1994-97. Starting in 2008 he began a coaching career. He was hitting coach for the Padres until 2014.
Eric Wedge is 48. He’s better known as a manager than for anything he did behind the plate. He managed the Indians from 2003-09 and the Mariners from 2011-13. In 2007 he was manager of the year. While with the Mariners he suffered a stroke in 2013 and announced he wouldn’t return to manage them. Only his health can stop him managing another team, considering how managers are recycled.
Our last birthday is John Lowenstein, who is 69. The Indians signed him off the roster of the Cal. Riverside Highlanders, a college team who for a number of years hosted a prestigious spring baseball tournament. Lowenstein is best remembered in Baltimore for 3 things: a walkoff home run in game 1 of the 1979 ALCS against the Angels, a home run in game 2 of the 1983 World Series against the Phillies and a career of 11 years broadcasting on Home Team Sports.
Remember, tomorrow is the second edition of Jesus Millan’s Thursday Heat segment. He sure brought the smoke last week. I’m eager to see what we get from our correspondent for Florida and points South.0