Cone goes to Hill to support Sotomayor
Supreme Court candidate helped end 1994-95 strike
David Cone is among the many players and former players who still appreciate Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's March 1995 decision in U.S. District Court that helped end the 1994-95 players strike and save the '95 season.
Because of that, Cone testified on her behalf Thursday on the final day of her confirmation hearings.
"On the day he announced her nomination, President Obama observed that some have said Judge Sotomayor saved baseball," Cone testified, The Washington Post reports. "Others may think this is an overstatement, but look at it this way: A lot of people, both inside and outside of baseball, tried to settle the dispute.
"Presidents, special mediators, secretaries of labor, members of Congress all tried to help but were not successful. With one decision, Judge Sotomayor changed the entire dispute. Her ruling rescued the 1995 baseball season and forced the parties to resume real negotiations."
The National Labor Relations Board, siding with the MLBPA in its belief that baseball owners were engaging in bad faith bargaining, sought a federal court injunction stopping the owners' implementation of new work rules that would have severely limited free agency.
"Judge Sotomayor grasped not only the complexity of the case but its importance to our sport," testified Cone, who was on the union's executive board during those negotiations. "Her decision was upheld by a unanimous Court of Appeals panel comprised of judges appointed by different presidents from different parties with different juridical philosophies."
Fielder's kids enjoy the moment: After winning the Home Run Derby on Monday, Prince Fielder hit a pinch-hit RBI double in the All-Star Game to cap off a successful trip to St. Louis.
Fielder was especially glad his sons Jadyn, 4, and Haven, 3, were allowed on the field for the Home Run Derby -- something Fielder was not allowed to do when his father, Cecil, competed in three Derbies.
"I was in the clubhouse but not on the field," Fielder told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It's just really cool for them, a good experience for them, especially how I grew up. Not a lot of kids get to do that."
Howard becomes fastest ever to 200 HRs: Ryan Howard hit his 23rd home run of the season on Thursday night -- the 200th of his career -- in just his 658th career game, making him the fastest to ever hit 200 home runs. The previous record was 200 home runs in 706 games by Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner.
"That's pretty cool," Howard, who was able to retrieve the historic ball, told MLB.com. "It'll hit me later on. I'll kind of come down a bit later. It'll be something I can look back on and just kind of cherish a little bit."
Pujols' Presidential battery mate: Albert Pujols prepped President Barack Obama before Obama threw the ceremonial first pitch at the All-Star Game.
"We took a few warmup pitches in the cage, and he went out there and he threw it perfect," Pujols told the Belleville News-Democrat. "One advice I told him: If the ball misses, it's because of the jacket -- White Sox. I thank God for allowing me to have that experience and meet him."
Berkman hits 10-year mark: Ten years ago on Thursday, Lance Berkman began his career with the Astros. Now, the Astros first baseman is one of the faces of the franchise and one of the top players in the NL.
For his career, he is in the top 20 among active players in six major categories, and in the top five all-time among Astros players in every significant offensive category.
"There aren't many better in this generation," Red Sox consultant and baseball historian Bill James told the Houston Chronicle.
"He's trending Hall of Fame," said Astros broadcaster and former pitcher Jim Deshaies. "It depends on how long he plays. He's real close to being on the [Astros] mountain now, and when he's done, he will be."
Francoeur returns to Atlanta: After spending the All-Star break with his family in Florida, Jeff Francoeur rejoined the Mets in Atlanta for a weekend series against his former team.
"I was talking to some of the guys and they were like, 'You might as well go ahead and get it over with.' The weird thing for me will be walking up to bat the first time with Mac [Braves catcher Brian McCann, Francoeur's close friend] behind the plate," Francoeur told the New York Daily News. "He's probably going to be talking trash, and I might dust a little dirt on him with the bat. It will be different, but at the same time, I'm excited to be here."
Mitre likely to become fifth starter: Unless the Yankees make a trade, Sergio Mitre is a likely candidate to earn a start when the team needs a fifth starter.
Mitre has been pitching well at Triple-A where he is 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. On Monday, he threw eight shutout innings against Buffalo. In seven starts with Scranton, Mitre has struck out 35 hitters while issuing only five walks.
"Very good sinker, pretty good changeup and curveball," Joe Girardi, who managed Mitre in Florida, told Newsday. "There's a toughness about him."
Obama has full support from Michael Young: Michael Young will never forget President Obama's visit to the American League clubhouse before Tuesday night's All-Star Game.
"It means a lot," Young, who attended the inauguration, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I'd be happy to let anyone know that. Obviously, I voted for him, and I'm a huge fan. This one is different, because I've met President Bush a few times before."
Crawford's honor signals his national arrival: Carl Crawford's home run-robbing catch in the seventh inning was the signature moment of the All-Star Game in St. Louis, earning him the MVP Award and some richly deserved national recognition.
"He's there now," Rays manager Joe Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "There's no denying it or hiding it now. He's there, and I'm so happy for him."
Pain-free Corpas set to make return: Feeling no pain in his right elbow, Manuel Corpas is ready to rejoin the Rockies bullpen.
"I feel good -- I have no pain, and I'm not sore," the right-hander told the Denver Post on Wednesday before throwing a scheduled bullpen session at Coors Field.
Corpus, on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Colorado Springs, has been disabled due to bone chips that caused his right elbow to swell and lock up. He planned to rejoin the team in San Diego for this weekend's series.
Papelbon treasures ending to game: Jonathan Papelbon treasures his All-Star Game victory even more because Mariano Rivera got the save.
"Things like that will probably be at the top of my memory list throughout my career, for sure," Papelbon told MLB.com. "Obviously, for me to be the winning pitcher and him to lock down that save, that's pretty special. I think I'm going to get the lineup card and get that one framed and put it up in the game room, for sure."
Ross looking more and more like a steal: Turns out that Cody Ross was quite a bargain when the Marlins purchased him from the Reds in May 2006.
"I just found that out this year, that it was for one dollar," Ross told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "That's it. Pretty good deal."
The versatile outfielder hit 22 home runs last year and has 14 homers so far this season for the second-place Marlins.
Holliday riding hot streak: Matt Holliday, who hit a home run on Thursday night, is batting .310 in his last 16 games.
"He was on the ball consistently all night," manager Bob Geren told the San Francisco Chronicle after Thursday 6-2 loss to the Angels. "That's a good sign. He's been a streaky guy, and, if he gets hot, he can carry a team for a long time."
Betancourt cherishes his new home: Yuniesky Betancourt is happy about his move from Seattle to Kansas City.
"I felt a trade was necessary," Betancourt told the Kansas City Star. "This particular club wanted me. I knew I would come here with respect [from the club], and I'm ready to play. A change of scenery is good. It gives me a clear mind and a fresh start."
Ryan eyes return with Cubs: B.J. Ryan has signed a Minor League deal with the Cubs, and will report to their Minor League facility in Mesa, Ariz.
"He's not ready," Cubs assistant general manager Randy Bush told MLB.com. "What's great is that he wants to do it the right way. He wants to go to Mesa, get work on his delivery. He wants to get himself back to feeling good about where he's at and how he's delivering the ball. When he's ready to go and feels sharp, that's when he wants to go to Iowa."
Moyer allows one hit over seven innings: Jamie Moyer used skill and experience to pick up his ninth victory of 2009, an efficient outing in which he allowed just one hit and one walk over seven innings against the Marlins on Thursday. He threw 94 pitches and 67 of them were strikes.
"If you can still go out there and perform, you can perform," teammate Ryan Howard told MLB.com, speaking of Moyer's effort. "People use age when they want to. When you're out here, it doesn't matter if you're 19 or 46. If you're out here and you can perform and you can make things happen, then you belong out here."
Lee tosses complete game: Although Cliff Lee was nearing 100 pitches after eight innings on Thursday night, Indians manager Eric Wedge knew that the game was his to finish.
"It was Cliff's ballgame," Wedge told MLB.com. "He was in control."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.