Tag:AL East
Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:54 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/14: Pie's day

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1. Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Lohse has been a weak, expensive link in the Cardinals' rotation the last two years, but is impressing this spring. On Monday, Lohse allowed just one hit over six innings against the Braves. This spring, he's allowed just two runs in 13 innings.

2. Matt Cain, Giants -- In his first start since the spring opener, Cain pitched three hitless innings against the Brewers on Monday. Cain hadn't pitched since Feb. 27 because of inflammation in his right elbow.

3. Felix Pie, Orioles -- The outfielder had a hit in four at-bats Wednesday, but he's here because it was his day, Pi Day (3.14). Sure, it's a stretch, but it's just spring training.

3 DOWN

Andrew McCutchen

1. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- Not only did McCutchen lose his glove trying to catch a home run by Baltimore's Randy Winn, in the same inning he was thrown out at the plate and complained that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters didn't avoid contact as much as he should in spring training (pictured).

2. Bruce Chen, Blake Wood, Jason Kendall, Royals -- One of the best days of spring is the one scheduled off day. For players (and reporters) the one day without a game in March is the prize of six weeks in Arizona and Florida, who go without a day to themselves from the middle of February until April. The Royals trio all had to show up to work on Monday, Chen and Wood worked in a minor-league intrasquad game, while Kendall continued his rehab from shoulder surgery.

3. Chris Sale, White Sox -- The 21-year-old lefty was good last season after being called up at the end of the year, but has struggled this spring. Chicago's first-round pick in the 2010 draft allowed three runs in the fifth inning of Monday's game against the Padres. He has a 7.36 ERA in five appearances this spring.

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Posted on: March 13, 2011 11:12 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/12: Mo of the same

Mariano RiveraBy C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1. Mariano Rivera, Yankees -- In his spring debut, Rivera struck out all three batters he faced -- the Twins' Jason Kubel, Matt Brown and Luke Hughes. Rivera got to spring training late because of his family's bout with the flu. The 41-year old is expected to pitch against on either Wednesday or Thursday.

2. Chipper Jones, Braves -- Jones went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer against the Astros and is now hitting .353/.421/.647 this spring. Not too bad for a guy many expected to be sitting at home this spring instead of coming back for another season with the Braves.

3. Danks brothers, White Sox -- Chicago starter John Danks allowed just one hit in five innings against the Dodgers on Sunday, while his younger brother Jordan was 2 for 5 with a grand slam in a "B" game against Cleveland. 

3 DOWN

1. Jaime Garcia, Cardinals -- Garcia was perfect in his first two innings on Sunday, but then gave up four runs in his third, three earned. Garcia's struggled this spring. In his three starts, he's pitched nine innings, allowed 18 hits, 10 earned runs, walked four and struck out four.

2. Joe Nathan, Twins -- Coming back from Tommy John surgery, Nathan hadn't given up a hit or a run in his first four one-inning appearances of the spring. Sunday, he made up for lost time, getting just one out and allowing six runs. He allowed five hits and one walk and a three-run homer by Delmon Young. He did say his elbow felt fine afterward.

3. Tommy Hunter, Rangers -- Fighting for a spot in the Rangers' rotation, Hunter has struggled all spring. It wasn't any better on Sunday, as he allowed seven runs on nine hits and 3 2/3 innings against the Giants. After his outing, Hunter put it plainly: "This spring stinks."

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Posted on: March 13, 2011 7:25 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 7:50 pm
 

Baseball dealing with tragedy in Japan

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brewers pitcher Takashi Saito gave up two runs on four hits in his one inning of work on Sunday, but it was still the best day he's had since an earthquake and tsunami devastated his hometown of Sendai, Japan, last week.

Saito was supposed to pitch Saturday against Arizona, but was given permission to leave after playing catch. He was given the option of whether he wanted to pitch the first inning today or not. 

Takashi SaitoHe pitched and before the game asked for a moment of silence for unaccounted friends and family in the disaster.

"I've gotten more news on what's going on in Japan," Saito told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel through his translator. "Mentally, I was in a better place pitching. Compared to the past two days, I was able to sleep. I have been getting more information and I'm more relieved."

Saito's wife and three children live in Yokohama, far south of where the significant damage was, but there were still aftershocks. His wife and kids are scheduled to come to Phoenix this week.

"The Brewers staff has been very supportive of me," Saito said. "From now on, I want to get into my regular routine."

Saito's parents and two brothers have been accounted for, but there are still other members of his family missing.

"I recognize areas of neighborhoods where relatives live, and I feel terrible," Saito told the Journal-Sentinel's Michael Hunt for his column this morning.  

For a look at the damage in Sendai, see these before and after shots from Google Earth.

One of those missing is a high school teammate, as well as relatives on his father's side.

"I still haven't given up hope," he told MLB.com.

Yankees reliever Kei Igawa's family lives in Orai, Japan, another hard-hit area. According to the New York PostIgawa was able to track down his family in Japan. His family is living in a car, but alive. He was scheduled to fly to Japan yesterday.

Japanese Professional Baseball will hold a special meeting on the 15th to discuss the start of the season and what to do with the Rakuten Eagles, who play in Sendai. Kleenex Stadium isn't in shape to play due to cracks in the structure, water leaks and depressions in the field.

"Ideally, I think it's our job to play games in order to lift spirits and bring courage to everyone in the Tohuku region," Jun Yoneda, an Eagles representative said (via YakyuBaka.com). "But we need to make this decision after taking a look at the big picture; this isn't just about problems with the stadium, but also the growing list of casualties."

Kleenex Stadium is being opened to the public to use the bathrooms, as well as for use to charge mobile phones.

In the United States, the Dodgers will hold a "drive-through" relief effort at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. Dodgers alumni will take donations for the American Red Cross Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

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Posted on: March 13, 2011 2:05 pm
 

Certain Yankees prospects are 'untouchable'

Manny Banuelos

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Despite the franchise's reputation as a mercenary of sort, the Yankees have shown a propensity to hold on to some of their top prospects under general manager Brian Cashman.

Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and even Jesus Montero have been kept instead of dealt in blockbuster deals for veteran players the past couple of years. That strategy is unlikely to change, even though the Yankees would like to upgrade their rotation.

"I have enough [trade] chips," Cashman told Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. "But if people want to demand certain bullets, those certain bullets I'm not going to shoot. … There are untouchables here."

When asked if the team's young pitchers are those untouchables, Cashman didn't exactly confirm it, but he pretty much did.

"You can figure them out," he said. "But there are certain guys. Like Phil Hughes. I said publicly I wouldn't want to trade Phil Hughes. I stopped trade discussion on Hughes on [Johan] Santana because he was a rare, special guy. And he's proven that out. He's helped us win a World Series in the bullpen, he won 18 games last year, and we have certain guys we think are potentially even better than he is. That excites us."

That's not hyperbole. Manny Banuelos (above), the left-hander celebrating his 20th birthday today, has had an incredible camp with the Yankees. In three outings and five innings, Banuelos has allowed just three hits, a walk and a hit batter, while striking out eight.

Despite standing just 5-foot-10, Banuelos can touch 95 on the radar gun and has great control with the pitch, as well as plus pitches in his curveball and changeup.

Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances (left) is nearly a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than Banuelos and also throws with the other arm. However, the Yankees are just as high on him. A hard-thrower, he doesn't have the command Banuelos has, but throws a bit harder. He also has a hammer of a curveball.

Batances has appeared in three games this spring, going 4 2/3 innings. He's allowed four hits and two runs, walking five and striking out seven.

Don't expect either to wear anything but pinstripes in the future, and if they progress like most believe they can, it would be a surprise to see them in any other uniform for a long, long time.

Those two, along with Andrew Brackman, are the only minor league pitchers left in the team's camp.

Brackman has appeared in one game, pitching an inning, allowing hit and striking out one. The 6-foot-10 Brackman was the team's first-round pick in 2007.

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Posted on: March 13, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:35 am
 

Pepper: Gordon's last shot?

Alex Gordon
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Remember when Alex Gordon was the next George Brett? Royals fans sure do.

Now, though, the former second-overall pick in the draft, is an afterthought in the deep, talented Royals system.

Taken ahead of the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki, Gordon has a career line of .244/.315/.355 in 1,641 plate appearances in the big leagues and has since been moved from third base to the outfield.

While no longer one of the core building-blocks of the Royals rebuilding job, Gordon still has some talent (and a little trade value). He's also starting to get hot in the Cactus League, going 8 for 12 in his last five games. He's also shown good plate discipline, drawing 11 walks.

"The timing was off. I was seeing the pitches good, I was just late and not making solid contact," Gordon told MLB.com. "Lately, I've been getting easy earlier and seeing pitches better and making good contact, and that's what it's all about. So definitely a big change in the last week."

Gordon, 27, spent his offseason working with Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, someone who knows a little bit about living in the shadow of the Royals' lone Hall of Fame player. Seitzer's emergence at third base moved Brett from third base to first in 1987 and even made the All-Star team as a rookie. Seitzer has been the team's hitting coach since 2009.

"I think I've pulled my hands back so I'm loaded instead of trying to find the load during the swing. I'm ready to go right off the bat," Gordon said. "I think that's helped, and I'm not late on pitches anymore, and I'm being aggressive."

With the Royals throwing out a placeholder roster for 2011 before the prospects begin to trickle in later this summer, Gordon may be getting his last chance to prove he's more than a Four-A player. Soon, that Royals influx of talent could make him the next Clint Hurdle in Royals history.

SILVA ON THE BLOCK: Three Nationals scouts, among others, watched the Cubs' Carlos Silva in his latest spring training start, ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine writes.

According to Levine, the Nationals and Yankees have had scouts at each of Silva's outings. Both teams are looking to fill their rotation and could afford Silva's $12 million salary.

Chicago has had good spring showings from Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner, making Silva expendable.

Dave MartinezHAIR CLUB FOR MEN: With Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez now Rays, manager Joe Maddon wants his team to follow the example of his newest stars.

"I encourage the growth of follicles," Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "I want them all to go nuts with their hair this year."

Although Ramirez is known for his long dreadlocks and Damon is now sporting a fauxhawk, the inspiration for his goal of being "the hirsute club" was bench coach Dave Martinez's bushy beard (pictured).

"Sometimes I just go with my instincts, and I just think it could turn into a lot of fun for the group," Maddon said, noting he'll let his hair grow out as much as possible. "So whatever keeps you focused on the field and having fun off it, I'm all for it."

FORMER CUBS OK: The Chicago Tribune caught up with former Cub Micah Hoffpauir, who is now playing in Japan.

"My first earthquake," Hoffpauir told the Trib. "And good Lord willing, it will be my last."

Hoffpauir, now a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters, was in his room on the 26th floor of his hotel in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, approximately 250 miles to the north.

"It felt like someone started shaking the whole country of Japan," Hoffpauir said. "At one point I thought, this building is going to fall down. But I was assured later that [swaying] is what the building was supposed to do."

He said he was evacuated from his hotel and was able to contact his wife in Texas to let her know he was OK. He said he has also been in touch with former Cub teammate Matt Murton, who was training further south in Osaka, and he was OK.

GARFOOSE FUNDRAISER: Author and Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst will call you up and thank you personally if you donate $50 or more to Mercy Corp Fundraising for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (DirkHayhurst.com)

HIDDEN TREASURE: Investigators found a jackpot of 1986 Mets memorabilia in a  Port St. Lucie storage facility following their case of former Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels.

Samuels is accused of theft and illegal gambling.

Among the treasure found in the storage facility was signed uniforms from the 1986 Mets team that defeated the Red Sox in the World Series. The collection is reportedly worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars." (New York Daily News)

SIZEMORE GETTING CLOSER: Indians manager Manny Acta said he thinks center fielder Grady Sizemore is scheduled to start running bases today and could be cleared to play in games sometime in the last 10 days of spring training. (MLB.com)

D-TRAIN OFF THE RAILS: Dontrelle Willis left Saturday's game with a sprained ankle, tripping on a bat after backing up the plate on Bobby Scales' two-run single. Willis had a rough outing, allowing two hits and two walks while recording just a single out. (MLB.com)

THANK YOU, COME AGAIN: Commissioner Bud Selig said Saturday that the stake in the Diamondbacks once owned by Padres chief executive Jeff Moorad has been sold. Current Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick absorbed the eight percent of the Diamondbacks  for $21 million. Moorad's group owns 49 percent of the Padres. (MLB.com)

HARDEN OUT OF ROTATION MIX: Rich Harden is officially out of the race for the Athletics' fifth-starter sport. Harden could still find a spot in the bullpen, but it's getting crowded too. Brandon McCarthy, Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer are still competing for the fifth starter spot, with the losers then looking to make the bullpen. (San Francisco Chronicle)

STATS FOR DUMMIES: The great Joe Posnanski gives you a primer on advanced offensive statistics. (JoePosnanski.com)

LINEUP CONSTRUCTION: Little has more breath and keystrokes wasted on it more than lineup construction. It's a fan's favorite nitpick to show why their manager is an idiot, yet it doesn't really matter that much in the long term. (Although, it makes the most sense to get your better hitters at the the top of the order, because they get the most at-bats). But anyway, Astros manager Brad Mills discusses his philosophy for filling out his lineup card. (Houston Chronicle)

RAYS RESURRECTION: Former top pick Matt Bush is making a comeback in Tampa's training camp. (Tampa Tribune)

BASEBALL PROJECT: If you missed our Ear on Baseball podcast with the Baseball Project, what's wrong with you? Seriously?

Anyway, you can catch up with Scott McCaughey, who says despite touring the world with various rock bands, he's always kept up with baseball because it's a "a sort of zen thing for me" and reading boxscores is "like meditation" -- I think we can all understand that. (Athens Music Junkie)

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 9:19 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 9:21 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/12: Castro, Ellsbury blossom

By Evan Brunell

CastroSaturday was a day full of star performances -- it was tough to whittle the list down to just three. Many of the stars were hitters, which comes as no surprise. Pitchers are only just now going deeper into games and transitioning from rounding everything into shape to competitively pitching while hitters are ahead of the curve.

3 UP

1. SS Starlin Castro, CHC: 3 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 4 RBI, 2 HR. Castro put on a power display Saturday, blasting two home runs and filling up the stat sheet. Castro is set to be the Cubs' starting shortstop in his first full season. While Castro impressed last season with a .300/.347/.408 line in 506 plate appearances, it was with just three home runs at age 20 and should add power over the next few years.

2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS: 3 AB, 3 R, 3 H, 3 RBI, 1 HR. Is Ellsbury a man on a mission to prove his detractors wrong after appearing in just 18 games last season and having his work ethic called into question? Now hitting .440 in spring training, Ellsbury could really turn heads if he returns to the lineup and builds upon his 2009 year (.301/.355/.415).

3. SP Zach Britton, BAL: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K. The Orioles have to be thrilled with Britton, who now has given up no runs in 10 innings this spring. He has zero chance of breaking camp with the team, partly due to the major-league rotation being full and partly because there's no reason to call him up until June at the earliest to delay free agency another year. But don't worry, O's fans: Britton's coming to Baltimore ... soon.

3 DOWN

1. CF Roger Bernadina, WAS: 4 AB, 0 H, 3 K. Mike Morse is slated to be the Nationals' starting left fielder, narrowing the outfield competition to just center field where Nyjer Morgan is attempting to hold off Rick Ankiel and Bernadina. Unfortunately for Bernadina, just one terrible game could be enough to put him squarely behind in the competition. Given Morgan's incumbency and Ankiel's history, Bernadina already faced an uphill battle before flirting with the golden sombrero.

2. SP R.A. Dickey, NYM: 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. Dickey's got a lock on a rotation spot, but if he doesn't perform up to snuff could be replaced in the season. Such is the life of a journeyman knuckleballer. He'll have these days from time to time -- but he can't have too many of them.

3. SP Carlos Silva, CHC: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Poor Carlos Silva. This competition for the No. 5 spot in the rotation must really be getting to him. After the clunker against the Reds which featured five projected starters, Silva has a ghastly 16.20 ERA. He may have sealed his fate with this game.

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 6:14 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 6:25 pm
 

Red Sox may trade Matsuzaka, Cameron, more

By Evan Brunell

MatsuzakaThe Red Sox are busy making several players available for trade, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. Players thought to be available include right-handers Daisuke Matsuzaka (pictured) and Tim Wakefield along with outfielders Mike Cameron or Darnell McDonald and shortstop Marco Scutaro.

Out of these names, Matsuzaka is both the most well-known and also unlikeliest to be traded. After taking America by storm his first two seasons in town -- nabbing a ring in his rookie campaign back in 2007 -- Matsuzaka has struggled with injuries, integrating himself into the clubhouse and being completely ineffective as his 11.42 ERA in three spring training starts reveals.

"His rhythm was all out of whack,'' the source who indicated Dice-K was on the block said. "I don't know if it's because that's what the team wants, but I think he's become too much of a conventional pitcher. He's got to go back to pitching 'left-handed' again, dropping down at times, throwing from all kinds of angles, turning the ball over. He's not doing that as much.''

Matsuzaka has a full no-trade clause and is due $20 million over the next two seasons, making it difficult for a team to jump for Matsuzaka, no matter the talent that caused Boston to splurge for a $51.1 million posting fee just to talk to the Japanese phenom. However, there are enough teams in need of pitching and Matsuzaka's ace-caliber talents remain hidden somewhere in his body. It appears, though, that both Matsuzaka and the Red Sox are ready to move on, and Boston would do just that if they could add a young catcher to the team.

The Red Sox are set to go into the season with Jarrod Saltalamacchia starting with team captain Jason Varitek backing up. While the club has a few young catchers in the minors, they lack someone with a high ceiling. Despite Salty's pedigree, he has yet to put it all together in the majors and Boston would doubtless prefer to create more depth in the position.

One potential thought could be the Nationals, who have Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores as young catchers. While Ramos is expected to open the year as backup catcher to Ivan Rodriguez and eventually supplant the Hall of Fame catcher, Flores is out of options. Flores is likely of little concern to Boston, who would prefer a player they can send to the minors and groom. Washington has such a catcher in Derek Norris, who was ranked as the No. 47 prospect in all of baseball by CBS Sports.

However, while the Nationals would love to stockpile quality pitching and could be intrigued by Matsuzaka, all the issues surrounding the 30-year-old and Norris' ceiling would make any such deal difficult to bridge unless Boston is willing to eat some salary.

Red Sox

If the Red Sox do move Matsuzaka, it would open up a hole in the rotation that could be filled by Tim Wakefield, reliever Alfredo Aceves or prospects Felix Doubront and Andrew Miller.

However, Wakefield is thought to be on the block himself despite stating he has no interest in playing for another team. Due just $1.5 million in 2011, the Red Sox could dangle the swingman for left-handed relief. The club has no shortage of left-handed relievers in camp vying for a job, but none are clear front-runners. If both Wakefield and Matsuzaka remain, the knuckleballer will pitch out of the bullpen.

Also available are backup outfielders Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald. Cameron is due $7.25 million in the final year of a two-year deal. Slated to start in center for the Red Sox last season, injuries derailed his season and now have him set to be the No. 4 outfielder. McDonald, meanwhile, took advantage of all the playing time afforded him in the outfield last season to finally establish himself in the majors after being a minor-league journeyman. He's making the league minimum so is the more valuable outfielder from a cost perspective, although Cameron holds the edge on offense and defense, which he is renowned for.

The Red Sox do need right-handed outfielders to complement their all-lefty outfielder along with DH David Ortiz, also a lefty. Given right fielder J.D. Drew has a checkered injury past, there's plenty of playing time in store for Cameron and McDonald. One of them is being made available likely to fill more pressing holes, such as left-handed relief. In addition, both outfielders rake against left-handers and are effectively filling the same role.

Cameron and McDonald could draw interest from the Phillies, who have to deal with top prospect Domonic Brown (No. 3 on the Top 100 prospects list) fracturing his hamate bone and likely out for all of April. He appears ticketed for Triple-A after that given his poor start to spring training and newfound need to get at-bats. That opens up a gaping hole in right field for Philly, trying to withstand the loss of incumbent Jayson Werth while worrying about replacing the offense of second baseman Chase Utley, who is unlikely to begin the season with the team. Backup outfielder Ben Francisco is expected to win the starting role.

The Phillies already have a payroll in the mid-$160 million range and would like to avoid paying a payroll tax that would be incurred upon hitting $178 million, so while Cameron makes more sense to become the starter, McDonald appears the more cost-effective solution who could platoon with Francisco as well as fill in for Raul Ibanez in left field. The Red Sox would replace their backup outfield spot with one of Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick or Daniel Nava.

Boston will also listen to offers on starting shortstop Marco Scutaro, who is in the final year of a two-year pact paying $5 million. He would be attractive to other teams given the price and ability to play second, short and third base, with a team option of $5 million for 2012 or a player option of $3 million. The Sox are able to listen to offers on Scutaro thanks to the play of backup Jed Lowrie, who has struggled with injuries the last few years but turned heads with his play late last season. The club also has heralded prospect Jose Iglesias (No. 36) who is widely considered Boston's shortstop of the future. While he could stand to cut his teeth a bit more in the minors with the bat, it wouldn't be outrageous for Boston to promote him.

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 1:52 pm
 

Pepper: No more Cubs-White Sox rivalry

Guillen, Quade

By Evan Brunell

It's never quite made sense why intra-city rivals hate each other in baseball, especially since both teams are usually in opposite leagues.

The Mets and Yankees have a healthy dislike for each other, the Giants and Athletics don't quite have a rivalry but don't have a need for the other (especially since the Giants are blocking the A's move to San Jose) and the White Sox and Cubs take home the prize for most contentious intra-city rival.

But these fans should be thrilled to have two teams to root for. And yet, Chicago has been split between the north and south sides for years. And admittedly, both sides have ratcheted up the rhetoric in recent years. Think Michael Barrett punching A.J. Pierzynski, or when ChiSox GM Kenny Williams said "The unfortunate thing for me is it’s a shame that a certain segment of Chicago refused to enjoy a baseball championship being brought to their city [in 2005 by the White Sox]. The only thing I can say is, 'Happy Anniversary.'"

Williams was referring to the 100th year anniversary of the Cubs not winning the World Series. Safe to say, as late as a few years ago, both sides had no use for each other.

That's changed.

"I have a good relationship with [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf], same with Kenny, and it’s no secret that [manager] Ozzie [Guillen] and I have had that relationship for a while and he knows that," Cubs GM Jim Hendry said. "I talked to him before the World Series in ’05. I don’t like [the Sox] six days a year, that’s how I try to look at it."

Williams concurred earlier this season, saying that he would pull for the Cubs to win the World Series if the White Sox were out of it due to how much the community and fans would profit from such a win. Could there be a thaw in the rivalry? Stay tuned... (Chicago Sun-Times)

NO GRAY HAIR: Guillen is a fan of new Cubs skipper Mike Quade (both of them are in the photo), who is an unusual choice to manage the club given the team's more recent high-profile selections. While Guillen admitted managing in Chicago is tough, he feels Quade can get through it, and guaranteed something Quade probably appreciates. "I know [Quade] is not going to lose his hair, that's for sure," Guillen said. "I guarantee that he won't lose his hair. And he's not going to get gray." (ChicagoBreakingSports.com)

SCANDAL? WHAT SCANDAL? Even though the Bernie Madoff fallout is threatening the Wilpons' hold on the Mets, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber believes the Wilpons would be "a great fit" for a MLS team. The league is hoping to add a second team into New York City. (New York Times)

MOR(S)E IS BETTER: Waiting with baited breath to find out who wins the left field job for the Nationals? It's not Roger Bernadina or Rick Ankiel, at least so far. Manager Jim Riggleman tabs longtime utilityman Michael Morse the favorite, who is having a hot spring and showed life in his bat last season. Don't worry Roger and Rick, you're still in the hunt for the center field job, competing with Nyjer Morgan. (Washington Post)

IT'S TIME TO SEE ADRIAN: Adrian Gonzalez will make his spring training debut for the Red Sox Saturday at 1:05 p.m. Gonzalez has been slowed by rehabilitating his surgically-repaired right shoulder but is still expected to be ready for Opening Day. (MLB.com)

NUMBER 42: For those that are fans of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Larry Granillo is here for you. Penning his Wezen-Ball blog, Granillo comes up with some Vogon poetry on baseball. You'll have to click through for the rest, but here's the opening verse: "Oh round orb, An epidermis-bovine corpuscle, Sutured in red, Resembling the estrused stripplegrats of Kria." Yep, Vogon poetry -- the third-worst poetry in the universe. (Baseball Prospectus)

PUT ON YOUR MEAN FACE: Kevin Jepsen is likely to setup for the Angels this season, but could eventually take the ball at the end of games. However, ex-Angels closer Troy Percival thinks Jepsen needs to stop being so nice if he wants to succeed as a closer. And you can bet Jepsen is listening. (Los Angeles Times)

HEEEEERE'S RONNY: Slowed by visa issues, Mets backup catcher Ronny Paulino finally arrived in camp. The Mets plan to be aggressive with him so he is ready to go, but still has to serve the final eight games of a 50-game suspension for violating the substance abuse program last season. (New York Post)

HARPERMANIA: An excellent feature by Dave Sheinin comes your way on Bryce Harper. The takeaway? Get excited. (Washington Post)

I'M A GIANT NOW: Longtime Padres player, coach and broadcaster Tim Flannery followed Bruce Bochy to San Francisco after the 2007 season and now considers him a true Giant. "It's black and white, cut and dried," Flannery said. "We're Giants. I had nice experiences down there, but it was all to prepare me to be a San Francisco Giant." (San Jose Mercury News)

'ZONA'S NOT GETTING YOUNG: These Michael Young-to-Diamondbacks rumors won't die and recently surfaced a few days ago. And yet, word is still trickling down to reporters that a trade is unlikely to happen for a variety of reasons. For those rooting for Young to head to the desert, look elsewhere. (Arizona Republic)

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