Hart, Fielder top trade rumors
That’s how much longer Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder and rightfielder Corey Hart will be subject to trade rumors, assuming they’re not dealt before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
As is always the case during these frenetic weeks in July, most of the trade rumors have no basis in fact. That doesn’t mean the players are able to completely ignore them, however.
“We hear them,” said Hart, who supposedly has drawn interest from San Diego, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and San Francisco. “I’m sure it’s going to be like that until the 31st. You can’t do anything about it.”
Fielder, listed as the No. 1 position player available on the market in a ranking by SI.com, had this response to the speculation that he might be dealt: “I really don’t care.”
“If it happens, it happens,” added Fielder, showing little interest in discussing the topic.
Hart reiterated his desire to stay with the Brewers, saying he’d rather sign a contract extension than be traded. As with Fielder, Hart can be a free agent after the 2011 season.
Hart said he also hopes the Brewers find a way to keep Fielder.
“I’m rooting for nothing happening,” said Hart. “We all want to be here. This comes with not meeting expectations. We’re hoping nothing happens because we think if we stay here, we can be pretty good.”
Venters, Cox suspended
Atlanta reliever Jonny Venters was suspended for four games and fined an undisclosed amount “for throwing two consecutive pitches at Prince Fielder” in the game Saturday night in Atlanta. Braves manager Bobby Cox also was suspended for one game for “the intentional actions of Venters” after the sides had been warned about throwing at hitters.
Cox met with Brewers manager Ken Macha on Sunday morning to tell him the Braves weren’t intentionally throwing at Fielder. MLB vice president Bob Watson, who dispenses discipline, obviously didn’t buy that assertion.
Cox had no appeal rights and will serve his suspension Tuesday night. Venters has the right to appeal his suspension.
“I don’t know how much it does to suspend the manager,” said Macha, who called for MLB to deal with such actions more harshly after the incident. “It’s in everybody’s best interests that the physical well-being of players should be foremost, both with us as management people and players association people.”
Fielder had no strong reaction to the discipline.
“I don’t think anything about it; I’m just playing baseball,” said Fielder. “I don’t really care. I just play every day. That’s what I’m paid to do.
“I have no idea (if the punishment was just). That’s up to whoever makes the decision.”
On shaky ground
How much longer can the Brewers keep left-hander Manny Parra in the rotation and expect decent results? That was the question for Macha after Parra’s latest awful outing Sunday in Atlanta (5 1/3 innings, 10 hits, 10 runs).
Now 3-7 with a 5.52 ERA, Parra has allowed 28 hits and 19 runs in 16 innings (10.69 ERA) in three starts this month. Macha noted that “every now and then he shows you a good (outing)” but stopped short of saying Parra would take his next turn.
Because Parra makes so many poor decisions with pitch selection, Macha suggested he might have to take over that aspect of the game from the dugout.
“You take the decision out of his hands,” said Macha, who did that a bit with Chris Narveson last time out. “We may do that next time with Manny.”
On the Money
Rickie Weeks said it was “an honor” to supplant Don Money in the club record book for most home runs in a season by a second baseman with Nos. 16 and 17 on Sunday, and added No. 18 on Monday night. Money hit 16 of his 25 homers in 1977 while playing second base.
“I played for Don in the minors,” said Weeks. “It’s great to be mentioned with his name.
“It’s something I might look back on at a later time. You can’t focus on individual accomplishments now. I’ve just got to keep going and try to help us win games. That’s our main focus right now.”