2009 MLB American League Central Notebook
There were always questions surrounding Kansas City’s Zack Greinke. The most pressing was would the talented right-hander ever combine his stuff with his mental toughness?
In 2006, he was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder because he had a hard time coping with attention and also had trouble working with other people.
But Greinke appears to coming on the other side. He became the first pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 to not allow an earned run in his first four starts. The streak extended to 43 innings. Greinke finally allowed two in a start against Toronto earlier this week to raise his ERA from 0.00 to 0.50. But he still got the win and became first Royals pitcher in club history to win five games in April
And there have been some good pitchers to come through Kansas City including Dennis Leonard, Paul Splitorff, Steve Busby and Brett Saberhagen.
Greinke, Kansas City’s 2002 1 st round draft pick, is emerging as one of the star pitchers in the game. He leads the American League in wins (5-0), strikeouts (36) and complete games (2).
We got a hint that Greinke was starting to put it together when he went 13-10 with a 3.47 ERA in 2008. He gets his next start Monday at Chicago against the White Sox.
The Twins aren’t scoring a lot of runs this year. They have 93 through their first 22 games. That’s just a little more than four runs per game.
That won’t win a lot of games but the club just climbed back to .500 after taking two of three against Tampa Bay.
However, the Twins have been baseball’s best team in one runs games. They are 4-0 in those games. But don’t get them in to two-run games. They are 2-3 in those contests.
As for catcher Joe Mauer, he successfully completed his rehab with his back injury and is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Friday against Kansas City. Mauer has yet to play this season.
It’s never good when one of your prized prospects won’t be available but right-hander Adam Miller is officially done this season and maybe for his career.
Recently, the organization’s top pitching prospect went through reconstructive surgery on the right middle finger and is expected to have another surgery in August and miss another nine months following that procedure. The first surgery was to replace the two pulley ligaments in the finger.
Miller was the sandwich pick (31 st overall) by the Indians in 2003.
Opposing base runners could do what they wanted to do against the White Sox catchers this year.
Stealing bases was pretty easy. In fact, they were 22 for their first 22 before catcher A.J. Pierzynski threw out Seattle’s Adrian Beltre. In giving his own Bronx cheer, Pierzynski raised his arms in celebration.
But Pierzynski also had a little room to celebrate personally. He hit the 100 th home run of his career on April 29 against the Mariners.
What’s gotten into Curtis Granderson? As April closed, Granderson already stood at seven home runs for the season.
Last year, he only hit six between April and May. This could become Granderson’s most proficient home run season. He has strung together campaigns of 22 in 2008 and 23 in 2007.
However, Granderson is still a strikeout problem. He has struck at least 111 times in the last three seasons. He was at 18 punch outs for the season. That would put him on pace for another 100-strikeout season again.
By Kevin Lonnquist
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