Mike Piazza

Beane arrives and lands Piazza, Embree


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Athletics had a productive day at the Winter Meetings on Wednesday, which coincided with the arrival of general manager Billy Beane. He flew in from New York, finalized a deal with free-agent left-hander Alan Embree and moved within a passed physical of securing Mike Piazza for the 2007 season.

Embree is signed, sealed and delivered to the Athletics' already-strong bullpen, and by the end of the week, the gaping designated hitter hole created by the departure of Frank Thomas should be filled by Piazza. Embree signed a two-year contract and Piazza has agreed to a one-year deal for a reported $8 million to $9 million.

When he met with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Beane made sure he didn't say it was a done deal with Piazza, a future Hall of Famer. But the GM left little doubt that one of the most productive offensive catchers in Major League Baseball history would be calling Oakland home next season.

Piazza wavering between A's and Rangers

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) - Free-agent Mike Piazza was weighing an offer from Oakland on Tuesday night about becoming the Athletics' designated hitter, with his agent saying an announcement was expected Wednesday.

The Texas Rangers were the other team still in the running for the 38-year-old Piazza, primed to make a move to the American League after spending the first 15 years of his big league career in the National League as a catcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, New York Mets and San Diego Padres.

"I think we're close with one of the teams," Piazza's agent, Dan Lozano, said Tuesday night. "It's hard to say what direction Mike is going.

"He has a decision to make. There are still some issues to be worked out. I'd like to think it will be done sometime (Wednesday)."

Rangers interested in signing Piazza - Texas looking to add the All-Star backstop as designated hitter

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are showing serious interest in free-agent catcher Mike Piazza, Major League officials confirmed on Saturday.

The Rangers' interest in Piazza would be more as a designated hitter in the middle of their lineup between first baseman Mark Teixeira and third baseman Hank Blalock. Piazza could conceivably do some catching behind Gerald Laird as well, but the Rangers are looking at him mainly as an offensive player.

The Rangers have been talking with his representatives for a couple of weeks, but their interest has increased after the San Diego Padres declined to offer him arbitration by the Friday night deadline. Piazza is a Type A free agent, but the Rangers don't have to forfeit a draft pick because he was not offered arbitration.

A's kick tires on Piazza

The A's are laying the groundwork to fill in some holes that have opened since the American League Championship Series.

With Frank Thomas already departed for Toronto, the A's began talks with Padres catcher Mike Piazza last week about becoming the team's DH. While negotiations are continuing, according to a source, Oakland is unlikely to sign Piazza, a Type-A free agent, until after the Dec. 1 arbitration deadline so that the team does not lose a draft pick. Piazza, who also was an A's target last offseason, probably is looking for a two-year deal.

Padres decline option on Piazza

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The San Diego Padres declined to exercise the 2007 options for catcher Mike Piazza and slugger Ryan Klesko on Monday, while deciding to bring back outfielder Mike Cameron and infielder-outfielder Russell Branyan.

The Padres also arranged their first interviews in their search to replace manager Bruce Bochy.

St. Louis Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo is scheduled to interview on Tuesday, while Trey Hillman, manager of the Japanese team Nippon Ham Fighters, is due to interview on Thursday.

Piazza happy to be shining out of the spotlight's glare

Mike Piazza, Hall of Fame shoo-in, all-time catching great, has a little secret.

For the first time in his storied major-league career, the onetime marquee player of the mega-market Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets spent a season practically off the grid.

Moved to San Diego. Mellowed out. Went all Left Coast and low-key - and absolutely loved it.

Piazza leads San Diego over St. Louis

Mike Piazza's RBI-single snapped a seventh-inning tie and the San Diego Padres beat the sagging St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 in a matchup of National League division leaders on Monday.

Brian Giles hit a three-run double in a five-run second and the bullpen allowed three hits in 5 2-3 innings to help the Padres win for the 10th time in 13 games.

San Diego has a two-game lead in the NL West over idle Los Angeles with six games to play.

Piazza Reflects on Time in LA

LOS ANGELES - It's been nearly a decade since Mike Piazza was the star catcher for the Dodgers, drawing comparisons to Johnny Bench and leading LA to the playoffs.

Ownership has since changed in LA and Piazza didn't miss a beat after being traded unceremoniously to Florida and eventually the New York Mets, where he earned six All-Star selections and set home run records.

Now 38 and wearing a Padres uniform, Piazza can be reflective of his time as a Dodger, especially when he's about to face his former team in a crucial series.

"The more I get older, I look back and I have positive feelings playing here ... It is funny how things work out. It's been an amazing ride," said Piazza before Friday's matchup with the Dodgers.

Lack of Spotlight Doesn't Discourage Piazza

SAN DIEGO - It's been 18 years since the Dodgers signed an unknown 62nd-round draft pick named Mike Piazza. On his 38th birthday last week, the future Hall of Famer sat by his locker and reflected on the journey from Dodger blue to becoming a Mets icon to his current job as Padres backstop. The most prolific home run-hitting catcher in history says he's content, even without the white-hot spotlight. He loves politics, hockey and isn't ready to retire just yet. As for the future, how does Governor Piazza sound?

Q: You played under a big spotlight in Los Angeles and New York. How has this experience been different?

It's still baseball. For obvious reasons there's not as much media coverage. I don't mean that in a negative way ... but those cities were fun to play in, and I enjoyed the experience. It's fun here, too. For me, it's a good time in my life to basically get back to baseball in a pure sense, and that's what you have here in a good way ... I think this is what I needed to try to finish out the last part of my career on a positive note, and it's been a good mix.


Piazza Snaps Slump As Padres Beat L.A.

Mike Piazza snapped a 0-for-26 slump with an RBI single and Jake Peavy threw seven dominating innings as the San Diego Padres beat Los Angeles 1-0 on Tuesday night to pull within two-games of the NL West-leading Dodgers.

The defending division champion Padres have won 10 of their last 11 against their biggest rival. By winning the first two of the three-game series, the Padres ended the Dodgers' string of seven straight series victories. That Dodgers' run began after they were swept by the Padres at Dodger Stadium July 24-26.

Piazza caught on to hockey as a kid

While looking through an old Los Angeles Dodgers media guide, it described Mike Piazza as a person who "enjoys hockey." Enjoy is not a strong enough word.
Over a decade has now passed since that press guide information was printed. Piazza is no longer a Dodger and has played for three other teams -- the Florida Marlins, New York Mets and San Diego Padres.
After talking to the future Hall of Fame catcher, one finds that he has a strong passion for hockey. They are feelings that go back to Piazza's days as a youngster growing up in Norristown, Pa.

PADRES: Notes: Piazza rests injured forearm

Mike Piazza has a nice reminder on his right forearm of getting hit by a pitch on Monday night, but that's about it.

The Padres catcher wasn't in the starting lineup on Tuesday, the second game of the four-game series against the Giants at PETCO Park, taking an extra day to heal his forearm injury, which is being listed as a contusion.