Results tagged ‘ Luke Hochevar ’

Angels fielding lots of phone calls …

The Angels — 14 games out of first place and eight games below .500 — have been fielding a lot of phone calls in the last couple of days, with a multitude of teams gauging their interest in parting ways with some of their position players. One person familiar with the team’s thinking said Tuesday afternoon that the chances they strike a deal before Wednesday’s 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline are “better than 50/50.”

“Vultures appear to be circling,” the source said.

Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar appear to be the most likely to be traded, given how solid they’ve been on both sides of the field and the team-friendly extensions they signed last year. The Royals — with Chris Getz, Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada — are looking for a second baseman with offense and would be willing to include veteran starter Bruce Chen or Luke Hochevar, who’s been effective out of the bullpen but hasn’t started all year, in a deal. They also have two top guys in the Minors in Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura, but Royals reporter Dick Kaegel doesn’t believe they’ll be included in a deal.

And according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Royals are one of the 12 teams Kendrick could block a trade to this season.

Aybar, however, has no such no-trade protection in his contract. And if Jhonny Peralta gets suspended as part of the Biogenesis investigation, perhaps they get interested. So far, though, they’ve shown no signs of being on the lookout for a shortstop, per Tigers reporter Jason Beck.

So, we’ll see. There can be a lot of surprises this time of year, especially in the final hours. But there’s definitely incentive for the Angels to wait until the offseason to swap a position player for cost-controlled starting pitching. More teams can get involved, and plenty more time permits.

Early on Monday, the Angels traded veteran lefty reliever Scott Downs to the Braves in exchange for Minor League reliever Cory Rasmus.

– Alden Gonzalez

Hunter comes out smokin’

Three hours before the season opener at Kauffman Stadium, Torii Hunter was talking about how nice it would be to get that first hit out of the way so he could “relax and just play the game.”

It took Hunter two at-bats. Leading off the fourth inning against Luke Hochhevar, Hunter launched one 446 feet over the wall in dead center, giving Jered Weaver the lead. In his next at-bat, Hunter singled to left center, but the Angels left two stranded.

“I’ve been hitting the ball hard,” Hunter said before the game. “You like to get your swing right before the season starts. It’s like Muhammad Ali when he was training for a fight. He didn’t want to peak too soon. He wanted to be ready for the bell.”

Hunter clearly was ready for the bell and came out smokin’ like Ali’s old adversary, Joe Frazier. – Lyle Spencer

Royals sign LHP Francis to 1-year contract

The Royals and Jeff Francis have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reported via Twitter on Friday. Francis, whose deal is reportedly pending a physical, is expected to join Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan in Kansas City’s starting rotation.

The 30-year-old left-hander went 4-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) for the Rockies in 2010, before Colorado declined its $7 million 2011 option on him in November.

Francis led the Rockies to their only World Series appearance in 2007 by winning a then-franchise record-tying 17 games. He then missed the 2009 season because of shoulder surgery.

The Rockies’ No. 9 overall Draft choice in 2002 is 55-50 with a 4.77 ERA and a 2.10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 150 games (149 starts) through his six-year career.

– Alden Gonzalez 

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