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Monday's Frosty Mug Return

I'm not quite ready for a full time return to the active roster quite yet, but I am home for a couple of days, so the Mug returns temporarily today and tomorrow, and hopefully for good in early July. Thanks to Jeff for filling in admirably during my extended absence. Without him, life might imitate Garfield minus Garfield. I'll be back full-time soon.

Win Probability Graph
BR Box Score

When I left on my mini-sabbatical, Prince had 8 home runs. Since then he's hit 8 more, including the one pictured here. If I go back on sabbatical and he hits 8 more, I'll be tempted to retire.

Also pictured: The biggest accomplishment of Jeff Suppan's weekend.

Matt LaPorta missed a couple of games last week after running into the outfield wall, then returned for one day before leaving the team again to be with his ailing grandfather. Best wishes go out to him and his family.

I hadn't updated my projection spreadsheets in a while, so this morning I updated the data and noticed that Russell Branyan is on pace to hit 42 HR in just 296 official AB's this season. Dave Cameron at Fangraphs notes that Branyan was called up on the same day (May 25) to play the same position (#5 on your scorecard) as Ryan Braun circa 2007. The similiarities pretty much end there, but they're interesting nonetheless. If you're looking for analysis of Branyan's hot start, though, dixieflatline's post from Friday is the best I've seen.

Speaking of Branyan: Weeks ago I bookmarked a link about him, then promptly forgot about it and went on vacation. Remember that 460-foot home run he hit into the Dew Deck on May 31? says 460 feet is equal to 44 male African elephants standing on top of one another, 7.8 ten pin bowling lanes, 2.8 Olympic swimming pools, or 1.8 Airbus A380s side by side. Check out the link to get more.

Sometimes Phil Rogers gets a bum rap, and sometimes he deserves it: In his most recent power poll he ranks the Brewers, owners of a 21-10 record in their last 31 games, 16th. Thankfully, the Hardball blog has a little feature at the bottom where you can rate their posts. I'd encourage you to go give him one star. Sadly, it's the lowest option available.

Even Eli acknowledges it's unlikely to become a story, but the Phillies reportedly had a scout in town to watch Ben Sheets recently.

Mark DiFelice is starting to climb up an interesting list: By making his first ten big league appearances without issuing a walk, Recondite Baseball notes that DiFelice has tied the eighth longest streak of all time to start a career. There's seven names you likely won't recognize on the all-time list in front of him. Still, though, it's a pretty nice claim to fame for a guy most of us never expected to get out of the minors in the first place. On injuries:

Marlins P Burke Badenhop has been placed on the DL with right shoulder tendinitis.
Erik Bedard left his start Friday with back spasms.
Adrian Beltre missed this weekend's action with a bruised index finger but could return as soon as today.
Reds SS Jolbert Cabrera injured his hand sliding into second Friday, making him the fourth Reds SS to get injured this season.
Pirates SP Phil Dumatrait has been placed on the DL with rotator cuff tendinitis.
Yankees RP Kyle Farnsworth left Sunday's game after being struck in the hand by a ground ball. He needed 3 stitches.
Cards SS Cesar Izturis is on the DL with a strained hamstring.
Reed Johnson is having back spasms and may have to go on the DL.
Rangers C Gerald Laird is on the DL with a strained hamstring.
Blue Jays SP Shaun Marcum has been placed on the DL with elbow soreness.
Rangers RP Doug Mathis has been placed on the DL with shoulder inflammation.
Pirates SP Ian Snell will have an arthrogram (a what?) today to determine the source of his right elbow irritation.
Red Sox RP Mike Timlin has been placed on the DL with tendinitis in his knee.
Jose Valentin has suffered multiple setbacks in his rehab and will be out for the season.
Carlos Zambrano's shoulder has landed him on the DL. They're still calling it precautionary.
Barry Zito isn't hurt, but The Giants Baseball Blog is bringing up the possibility of taking a drastic step and having him undergo Tommy John surgery anyway.

Comedy legend George Carlin passed away over the weekend. Here's one of his all-time great preformances, highlighting the differences between baseball and football.

Here's a performance that's not exactly an all-time great: After a nearly unprecedented 3 managerial firings in 4 days, Scott Miller of CBS Sports wants to make sure we know we shouldn't expect it again. I guess I thought that was implied when phrases like "nearly unprecedented" are being used.

It doesn't look like Rich Hill will be back to help the Cubs anytime soon. On Friday, he threw 45 pitches and only got two outs in AAA.

Are we still talking about free pitchers the Brewers may or may not be interested in as bullpen help? If we are, can I interest you in Kiko Calero or Denny Bautista?

Chipper Jones' chances of hitting .400 continue to lurk at about 1 in 5000.

If you're looking for summer reading material and my links in the Mug aren't long enough, you might consider picking up a book or two off of The Klaw 100. Speaking of books, I picked up "Shoeless Joe" after reading Jeff's post this spring on must-read baseball books, where he didn't actually recommend it. But I loved it and if you haven't read it, you should pick it up.

On a chance encounter this weekend I happened to meet "kindie" rock star Justin Roberts. I wasn't familiar with his work but after hearing him perform "Henrietta's Hair" and noting his new CD is titled "Pop Fly," I'd recommend him to anyone out there who has kids, and maybe even some of you who don't.

That's all for today. Drink up.