PHOENIX -- It seems like, at 27, Oakland lefty Dallas Braden is just coming into his own. But on this talented and young -- emphasis on young -- staff, Braden is the graybeard.
There's All-Star Trevor Cahill (23), who was 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA over 30 starts last year.
There's Brett Anderson (23), who was 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA over 19 starts last year.
There's Gio Gonzalez (25), who was 15-9 with a 3.23 ERA over 33 starts last year.
"I love watching these dudes," Braden says. "I'm excited to be a part of this staff.
"I'm the first guy Cahill ran into in his professional career. I've been taping his shoes together and putting baby powder in his pants [for years], and now look at him."
Braden and Cahill first bumped into each other in 2006, when Braden was rehabbing following shoulder surgery and Cahill had just signed after the Athletics had picked him second in the '06 draft.
"He was all of 18," Braden says.
So of course Braden messed with him.
"Tied his shoes together, baby powder in his pants, eyeblack in his hat, Icy Hot in his sliding pants and shoes," Braden says. "You name it, he wore it.
"Now look at him. He's an All Star, and damn near a Cy Young winner. You talk about people high ceilings ... you tune in three out of every five days to watch the A's playing because when those three guys take the mound [Cahill, Anderson, Gonzalez], they may do something special."
Sunblock Day? The rain has moved on, but temps early Tuesday were in the low 50s. You'll need the sunblock by Wednesday, though, when we're supposed to climb back into the 70s in the Phoenix area.
Likes: Go Butler. ... Old Town Scottsdale. ... The predicted return of the sun to the desert valley. ... Home in a couple of days. ... Home in time for my daughter's play this weekend. ... NCAA tourney games back on Thursday for four more days. ... Opening day next week. ... Final roster decisions starting to arrive. ... www.Segerfile.com for all your Bob Seger news as his new tour lifts off Saturday.
Dislikes: I've loved Bob Seger forever, and I'm thrilled he and the Silver Bullet Band are going back on tour (opening March 26 in Toledo, Ohio). But I'm sorry, I'm not thrilled with the first song I've heard from a new disc coming out this summer. Look, Tom Waits' Downtown Train is a great song, but Rod Stewart did it 20 years ago. Seger always has had an affinity for a well-chosen cover, but he could have been far more creative here. Plus, that's the second song he's covered off of Waits' Rain Dogs, following New Coat of Paint. Bob, at least choose from a different Waits album. ... Aw, my Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central boys' hoops team was bounced in the quarterfinals of the Michigan tournament Tuesday night, 48-45 by Schoolcraft. But the Falcons still made it further in the state tourney than they ever have. Well done, fellas.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Working all day for a mean little guy
"With a bad toupee and a soup-stained tie
"He's got me running 'round the office
"Like a gerbil on a wheel
"He can tell me what to do
"But he can't tell me what to feel"
-- Fountains of Wayne, Hey Julie