Tag:Neal Huntington
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:09 am
Edited on: March 2, 2012 1:59 pm
 

Pirates' A.J. Burnett out 8-12 weeks

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett will miss 8-12 weeks after suffering a broken orbital bone near his right eye, the team announced on Friday.

Burnett had surgery on Friday morning in Pittsburgh.

"A.J. will work through the three-step return to pitch progression," general manager Neal Huntington told reporters, including the Associated Press. "The initial step will be to heal from the surgery. Secondly, we will recondition his arm and body to where he was prior to the injury. Lastly, we will put A.J. through the same progression as he would have gone through here in spring training. The very rough timetable to complete this process and have A.J. prepared to compete without restrictions at the Major League level is 8-12 weeks."

Burnett will re-join the team before the end of spring training, but he won't break camp with the team.

With Burnett out, another new Pirate, Erik Bedard, seems ready to take over Burnett's spot as Pittsburgh's opening-day starter.

Burnett suffered the injury on Wednesday when he was working on bunting and he fouled off a ball that hit him in the face.



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Posted on: August 19, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Which other GMs could be on the way out?

Ed WadeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Jim Hendry is the first general manager out heading into this offseason, but it's unlikely he'll be the last. What other GMs could be on the move?

Here's five possibilities ranked from most likely to least likely:

1. Ed Wade, Astros: A new owner often means a new general manager, and if the sale to Jim Crane ever goes through, Wade can expect to find himself on the way out with current owner Drayton McLane. Not only do the Astros have a shot at a historically bad season, there's little hope on the way. That said, Wade did get a nice haul for Hunter Pence, but Pence was still under team control for two more years. The trade of the team's best player wasn't a popular one. 

2. Andy MacPhail, Orioles: Hendry's predecessor with Cubs hasn't had much success in Baltimore, either. MacPhail has the title of "President of Baseball Operations" but is in effect the general manager… for now. MacPhail was hired in June of 2007 and since he's taken over the team has gone 285-413 and lost at least 90 games in each of his three full seasons at the helm and the team is on track to reach that mark again.

3. Jack Zduriencik, Mariners: Zduriencik made a splash in his first season as Mariners general manager, putting together a team that surprised everyone by going 85-77. As good as 2009 was, 2010 was a disaster. Zduriencik was praised by many (myself included) for his offseason moves leading up to the 2010 season, but the Midas touch was gone. The signing of Chone Figgins and trade for Milton Bradley turned out to be disasters, while Ken Griffey Jr. clashed with manager Don Wakamatsu and retired mid-season. The Mariners started 2011 off well, but since their last day at .500 on July 5, the Mariners have gone 10-16 and went from 2 1/2 games out to 18 games behind the Rangers in the American League West. Furthermore, Zduriencik angered many in the organization after denying knowledge of the criminal past of reliever Josh Lueke, who was part of the Cliff Lee deal last year.

4. Neal Huntington, Pittsburgh: Speaking of former darlings, Huntington was the toast of baseball at the All-Star break. The Pirates appeared to be on track to end their string of 18 consecutive losing seasons. Since sitting alone in first place atop the NL Central on July 19, the Pirates have gone 7-20 and sit 14 games back just a month later. There were rumors that Huntington was close to an extension earlier in the season, but recent events could mean instead of a raise for 2012, Huntington is looking for a new job.

5. Brian Cashman, Yankees: While the others on this list may be getting pink slips, Cashman could decide to leave on his own. Former owner George Steinbrenner was infamous for his quick temper and firing employees, but his sons' signature move so far was the undermining of Cashman by signing reliever Rafael Soriano after Cashman said the team had no interest in the former Rays' closer as a setup man for Mariano Rivera. Cashman had a rough offseason with the negotiations with Derek Jeter and Rivera, and could also look for a new challenge to show that he's not been successful only because of the Yankees' deep pockets. Basically, he could be sick of being the GM of the Yankees and decide to move on.

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:41 pm
 

Pepper: Oswalt hints he may be done

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Just why did Jim Riggleman ditch his job? CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss Riggleman, Ubaldo Jimenez and more. Check it out.

OSWALT END?: It's not just that Roy Oswalt is hurt -- leaving Thursday's start with the Cardinals after just two innings -- but that he may have pitched his last game ever.

Oswalt will not only likely miss his next start, he could also be done. He's already hinted at retirement and with a back injury, it may not be worth it for Oswalt to come back.

After Thursday's outing, Oswalt sounded anything but confident in his return. David Hale of the News Journal has a full transcript of Oswalt's postgame comments, and they don't sound like the comments of someone who is confident it'll be an easy road back.

Heres' the question and answer that says it all to me:

Q: Do you allow yourself to think about your career at this point?

A: I've had a pretty good one.

That sounds like someone who is content with walking away if he gets bad news soon.

We may know more Monday after his scheduled MRI.

HOT SEAT: Edwin Rodriguez didn't last a full calendar year as the Marlins manager and the Cubs' Mike Quade could follow that lead. Quade's on the hot seat (even if general manager Jim Hendry's seat should be hotter). [Chicago Tribune]

LI'L' GOOSE: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle compared closer Joel Hanrahan to Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, and after stifling a laugh, John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times takes a look at the comparison and sees some parallels.

SCOUTING DARVISH: Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was scheduled to see Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish's start on Friday. Darvish may be the top free-agent pitcher this season if he comes to the United States, as expected. The Braves and Twins reportedly had scouts at his last start, when he picked up just his second loss of the season. It was one of his worst starts of the season and he still gave up just one earned run, allowing nine hits and striking out 10 in eight innings. [YakyuBaka.com]

A'S OPEN TO DEAL: The sharks are circling in Oakland, as scouts have been checking out outfielder Josh Willingham, infielder Mark Ellis and left-handed relievers Craig Breslow and Brian Fuentes. [San Francisco Chronicle]

ANOTHER LOOK: Diamondbacks pitcher Josh Collmenter, he of the tomahawk motion, looks forward to facing teams another time so he can prove he's more than a gimmick pitcher. We'll see. [MLB.com]

NICE RIDE: The Toledo Mud Hens players are going to miss Brandon Inge, who was activated by the Tigers on Thursday. During his rehab trip with Detroit's Triple-A team, Inge sprung for a limo for several players to take them from Louisville, Ky., to Columbus, Ohio, skipping the planned bus ride. [Detroit News]

DEJA VU: A St. Louis ace 1-7 through June? (Well, now 2-7 after Thursday night's 2-7) It's been done before. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Dispatch  compares Chris Carpenter's 1-7 start to that of John Tudor's 26 years ago. 

CABRERA'S CASE POSTPONED: The hearing for Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera's DUI arrest has been postponed again and rescheduled for July 12. That's the day of the All-Star Game. Cabrera, however, isn't required to be present for this hearing, though, so he can still go to the All-Star Game. [Detroit News]

NO DECISION: Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said he'd prefer not to negotiate during the season (and that doesn't make Jim Riggleman happy), but said it's not a rule. Pittsburgh starter Paul Maholm has said he'd like to sign an extension to stay in Pittsburgh. [MLB.com]

GARDNER'S D: A cool story here from ESPNNewYork.com's Mark Simon looking at the defense of Brett Gardner by talking to scouts, players and stats folks. 

BUCCO FEVER: If you haven't noticed, the Pirates (yes, the team in Pittsburgh) are in a pennant race. Sure, it's not even July yet, but we're talking the Pirates. The folks in Pittsburgh are beginning to take notice. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

LAWRIE DELAYED: Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie was all but set to be called up at the beginning of the month, but before he could get the call, he was hit by a pitch and broke his left hand. Now he's having trouble gripping the bat and may not be ready until August. [CBCSports.ca]

FIGGINS DILEMMA: If you're following the Mariners, there's plenty of positives around the team -- including a record just a game under .500. But there's one big concern, Chone Figgins. The question for the Mariners is what to do with Figgins, who has two years and $17 million left on his contract. [Seattle Times]

BROXTON'S RETURN: Even when Jonathan Broxton comes off the disabled list, he won't automatically return to closing for the Dodgers, manager Don Mattingly said. [Los Angeles Times]

RETURN OF THE SPITTER: Here's an interesting theory (that I'm pretty sure I don't buy, but still interesting to think about) from Mat Kovach of the Hardball Times -- is the rise of pitching because of the return of the spitball?

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Posted on: June 21, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 6:53 pm
 

Pepper: Pujols' injury keeping him in St. Louis?

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Well, just who is that handsome man joining Lauren Shehadi today? Why, it's me. Hear me ramble about Josh Outman, Dillon Gee and the Marlins in today's Baseball Today.

Cubs TO PASS ON PUJOLS: There are questions about whether the Cubs can even afford to go after Albert Pujols, but the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer speculates that Pujols' wrist injury could keep the Cubs from even entering the sweepstakes for the three-time MVP.

Although Pujols has been incredibly durable throughout his career, the injury he suffered Sunday could send red flags to teams considering the long-term investment that Pujols will require. Pujols will likely be looking for the security of a long deal, one that could be the final contract of his career. With concerns about his health, the Ricketts family may just have the excuse they were looking for as to why the Cubs can't lure Pujols from St. Louis.
It could also be nothing; it could be a blip on Pujols' career -- but at this age, you have to consider how long you can be saddled with a declining player. The Cubs have been hamstrung by contracts in the past (see Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Milton Bradley) and a decline triggered by injuries and aided by age can even happen to the game's best players (Ken Griffey Jr.).

There'll still be a market for Pujols after the season, that's for sure. But it'll be interesting to see what kind of markdown there will be following Sunday's injury.

Or, perhaps, this spurs the Cardinals and Pujols to reconsider signing an extension during the season, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo! urges both sides to consider.

Either way, the injury may hurt the Cardinals in the short term but help keep Pujols in St. Louis for the rest of his career.

M'S LEADER: In St. Louis, Brendan Ryan's energy and personality was seen as an annoyance to Tony La Russa. In Seattle, it's a positive, as the shortstop has emerged as a team leader for the surprising Mariners. [Seattle Times]

HOLD FOR FULD: And yet another chapter in the legend of Sam Fuld. While Fuld's numbers have dropped from his hot start, he helped out the Rays in another way Monday -- on the mound. Really, Fuld warming up for the eighth inning isn't as much a testament to Fuld as it is manager Joe Maddon. The Rays needed more time to warm up lefty Cesar Ramos and since Fuld had already entered the game in the pitcher's spot, he didn't have to throw a pitch in the eighth but did take up enough time to allow Ramos to get ready to pitch. [St. Petersburg Times]

NEXT PROSPECT UP: 'Tis the season for prospect call-ups, and the next one may be the Pirates' Alex Presley, the team's 2010 Minor Leaguer Player of the Year who's hitting .332/.382/.506 with eight home runs in Triple-A. Pirates GM Neal Huntington said if the Pirates weren't in the stretch of games in American League parks, Presley would already be with the big club. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

PASSING OVERBAY: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said first baseman Lyle Overbay won't start during the team's series with the Orioles to work on his hitting. Garrett Jones started at first in Overbay's place Monday. Overbay is 4-for-30 in his last 11 games, dropping his season line to .228/.307/.353. Hurdle said Overbay may still be used to pinch-hit or as part of a double switch, but Jones will start the next two games. [MLB.com]


NL CATCHES A BREAK: While the National League gets pounded by the American League in interleague play, the senior circuit may catch a break in the All-Star Game. The way the Tigers' rotation shakes out, Justin Verlander would pitch on the Sunday before the July 12 game in Phoenix, making him ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game two days later. [MLB.com]

INSIDE THE BASEBALL STUDIO: In one of the great, "I wish I would have thought of that" features of recent years, Patrick Cain of FanGraphs.com asks baseball players actual questions from James Lipton on Inside the Actor's Studio. His first one is with Reds starter Bronson Arroyo -- I will say, it'll be interesting to see how many guys go along with this. Bronson's one of those who will answer any question -- and give you great answers. Anyway, bravo Patrick, bravo. 

JOEY BALLGAME?: Had the Reds not taken Joey Votto in the second round of the 2002 draft, the Yankees were ready to snap up the reigning National League MVP. Former Yankee scout Dick Groch was in Votto's living room on draft day waiting for the Yankees to take him. It wasn't quite that close, though (not like, say, the Reds skipping Derek Jeter to take Chad Mottola in 1992), as the Reds selected Votto with the 44th overall pick. The Yankees didn't have a pick until 71 after losing their first-round pick by signing Jason Giambi as a free agent in 2001. So, even if the Reds had passed on Votto, we might be saying the same thing about whatever team picked him up between picks 45 and 70. [ESPNNewYork]

RAYS WOES: There was some positive baseball attendance news from this past weekend, but it wasn't coming from Tampa Bay. The Rays are second-to-last in attendance, yet have the most affordable tickets in professional sports, according to an ESPN the Magazine. [Tampa Tribune]

COFFEY RUN: Nationals reliever Todd Coffey has sprinted in from the bullpen his entire career. At the Nationals' annual Dream Foundation gala on Saturday night, Coffey made his entrance at a full-on sprint -- in a tuxedo. [Washington Post]

RICKEY A LINK TO THE A'S PAST: Rickey Henderson is working as a roving instructor in the Oakland minor league system. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy remembers how beloved an older Rickey was in San Diego, while the San Francisco Chronicle's Gwynn Knapp says Rickey is a link to the team's successful past. Rickey being Rickey can't but help Rickie's brother, Jemile Weeks, and the rest of the A's. 

HUGHES' ROAD BACK: Coming off an impressive start for short-season Staten Island on Sunday, Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes will make another start Friday for Double-A Trenton. [Trentonian]

Mets MESS: The Mets owners fired back at Irving Picard, the trustee overseeing the Bernie Madoff bankruptcy case, in their motion to dismiss the $1 billion lawsuit filed against them. [New York Daily News]

CANADIAN HALL: One of my all-time favorite baseball cards was the Topps Tom Henke All-Star card from 1988. I'm not sure why it always amused me so much, but I'm sure it had to do with the glasses. Still, the glasses often overshadowed one of the best pitchers of the 80s. Henke was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this past weekend. [National Post]

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Posted on: May 17, 2011 9:25 pm
 

Pirates prospect told to get off Twitter?

Tony Sanchez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Pirates were none too happy about tweets critical of umpires made by prospect Tony Sanchez. As a result, Sanchez has shut down his Twitter account (@TSanchez26).

Sanchez, who will turn 23 this week, told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Twitter is done."

At 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, he wrote: "see ya twitter. thanks to the fans for their support and continued support. Pittsburgh is the only goal and twitter is standing in my way."

Biertempfel has asked general manager Neal Huntington for an official response, but has yet to hear back from him.

However, according to Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror, Pirates farm director Kyle Stark said the team did not order Sanchez -- or any other Pirate minor leaguer -- to stop using Twitter.

"We have not banned Twitter for any of our players," Stark texted Giger.

On May 9, Sanchez tweeted: "Sometimes the umpires just decide to blow a game. Never seen a winning teams (sic) crow go silent as the game winning (sic) run crosses the plate."

Sanchez later apologized on Twitter, writing, "Should have kept my feelings about last nights (sic) outcome to myself. I work hard to have a great relationship with umpires to let one call jeopardize that relationship. I apologize and will not let it happen again"

Monday night Sanchez tweeted about a woman wearing an exposed thong and allowing her child to throw fireworks at a gas station -- "Only in Altoona," he wrote, along with a picture showing the woman's superman thong exposed while bending over.

Just a few days before his incident about the umpires, Sanchez talked to the Altoona Mirror about using Twitter and said, "Things can get out there quick, and I learned my lesson early in the Twitter game. I haven't made a mistake since then, so I'm learning."

He said the previous incident happened when he sent a tweet about having a party and Stark admonished him. It seems likely that Stark could be correct in saying he has not banned Sanchez from Twitter, but it's likely he's strongly encouraged the catcher to 

Sanchez was the team's first-round pick out of Boston College in 2009 and is ranked as the organization's No. 2 prospect and the No. 46 overall prospect in baseball by Baseball America. Sanchez is hitting .274/.384/.349 with one home run and 14 RBI in 31 games for Double-A Altoona.

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Posted on: April 1, 2011 8:04 pm
 

Pirates believe brighter days await

Nutting

By Evan Brunell

The Pirates are set to embark on what will likely be their 19th straight losing season, and fans have had enough in Pittsburgh. Although owner Bob Nutting has had levied charges against him for not caring about winning and pocketing profits, he is one of these people who cannot wait to see a winner on the field.

"I really can't express adequately how upsetting, frustrating, angering, embarrassing the last several years have been," Nutting (pictured) told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Obviously, I haven't expressed that very effectively because, clearly, there are some people who question how much I really do passionately care and about how much it hurts to see the team fall as short as it did, capped off with last year."

The Pirates lost 105 games last season, the most they have lost in the 18-year streak of futility and just the second time the 100-loss barrier has been cracked (2001 had 100 on the nose). While it may not seem like it, however, there is room for optimism in Pittsburgh, as a young, burgeoning offense is led by center fielder Andrew McCutchen.

However, the major drawback is that the team's two most exciting pitching prospects in Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie are far off, having been drafted out of high school in June. But that doesn't mean Pittsburgh can't realistically expect to win soon with the arms nearing the majors, especially if they draft Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 overall pick this upcoming June.

"We've got a lot of pitchers ready to cut their teeth in the majors later this season," GM Neal Huntington said. "It's not like we've got a six-year gap separating our pitchers from our position-player group. The misunderstanding about our pitching is that it's all 16-19 years old. The reality is that we're pleased with Rudy Owens, Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson and Brad Lincoln, who are much closer."

While the Pirates' payroll is rather low, the Pirates also believe the anger directed at the franchise for the payroll is misguided. The Bucs have spent the most of any team in the draft the last three seasons with a $30.6 million outlay. They also shelled out $5 million on international free agency, the fourth-most any team spent.

That's why team president Frank Coonelly believes one day the Pirates will have a payroll in the $70 million range, similar to where Cincinnati and Milwaukee play. So while the Pirates will avoid free agency when they can, they will be able to strike when needed.

"It's very expensive to go into free agency to fill holes," Coonelly said. "The perfect world is that we don't have any holes because we've done such a good job with scouting and development that we have players coming through the system. But we know there will be times when we need to fill a need. And could it be an impact player? Yes."

Coonelly does go on to admit the team can't really be in a position to require a frontline ace or middle-of-the-order hitter, as the outlay it would take to acquire these players would cripple the payroll and the ability to retain these players. It's the right idea, but like any other small-market team, it takes a healthy dose of patience and luck to develop these players, and teams can wait years for that to happen.

"The plan is to build a winner in Pittsburgh and to do it as quickly as possible," Coonelly added. "That means building a strong foundation, one that can sustain success over a long time. And that takes patience. It's not easy to have that. Certainly, our patience has been tried as we've struggled mightily at the major-league level. But that's what we've had to do. We need to get it right this time."

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Astros searching for catching

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jason CastroWhen Jason Castro went down with a sprained knee, the Astros were content with what they had in camp to cover their catching needs.

But when the news came back that Castro had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (on the play seen at the left) and would miss the majority of the season, that plan changed.

"We're reassessing it," Astros owner Drayton McLane told Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle

Castro is still the team's long-term catcher, but the team may look outside for a stopgap solution. Currently the team has Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles -- neither of whom profile as much more than quality backups.

The team has just three other catchers in camp, Carlos Corporan, Brian Esposito and Rene Garcia. Neither Corporan, 27, nor Esposito, 32, are prospects, while the 20-year old Garcia hit just .250/.288/.308 combined at the two levels of Class A last season.

"At the end of the day, I'm hoping the guys we have here step up and do what they're capable of doing and win the job," general manager Ed Wade said. "At the same time, if I get a call from somebody and they say, 'Hey, we've got so-and-so available, and this is what we're looking for,' and it fits what we're trying to do, we'd be prepared to do something today."

Ryan DoumitFront-line catching talent isn't exactly easy to find. One of the few catchers on the trading block is Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit.

However, Doumit is owed $5.1 million this season and is far from Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate. But he does have a bat and a bat that would play well at Minute Maid Park. In 72 career plate appearances in Houston, Doumit has hit .292/.347/.446 with three home runs.

Still, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said his phone hasn't exactly been ringing off the hook for Doumit.

"There's really no conversations going on because everybody's focused on their own clubs," Huntington told Ron Musselman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

UPDATE: MLB.com's Bill Ladson writes the Astros have asked the Nationals about Jesus Flores, but is concerned about the health of Flores' right shoulder, which has kept him off the field the last two seasons.
The Nationals have depth at catcher with starter and future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez, along with Wilson Ramos, who is considered their catcher of the future. The team also things Derek Norris is ready to hit at in the big leagues and is improving defensively.
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Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 10:19 am
 

Pepper: Teixeira ditches Boras



By Matt Snyder


Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has decided to part ways with Scott Boras (seen above during happier times), ending a 12-year relationship with the uber-agent.

"There are a lot of things and no reason to go into details," Teixeira said. "We have been together long enough and time to go in a different direction ... When I hired Scott at 18 to help with career there was talk about free agent contract. At times I was Mark Teixeira, Scott Boras client instead of Mark Teixeira, baseball player." (New York Post )

As a Boras client, Teixeira landed an eight-year, $180 million contract. He still has six years left on that deal, so one could argue he doesn't really need an agent's services too much the next few years. He's going to make $22.5 million in 2016 before becoming a free agent.

Boras also lost Alex Rodriguez as a client earlier this offseason.

It's an interesting query: Why are these guys leaving Boras? Both have plenty of years and money left on their contracts -- incredibly lucrative ones that Boras negotiated. Does it show a lack of loyalty or the players tiring of Boras -- or neither, as it could be just a coincidence?

Here's an enlightening quote on the situation.

Bryan Hoch, the MLB.com beat writer for the Yankees, tweets that "Teixeira said he wants to focus more on helping Yankees win and impact in community, not next contract. Feels Boras isn't best fit for that."

Interesting. So with six years left on a deal, Boras is still talking about the next one? While that's certainly his job, I can see how it would be a bit exhausting. It's not like Tex is going to be in the poor house anytime soon.

DEJA VU: Milton Bradley is swinging a hot bat in the spring. He's had problems with his current manager before (Eric Wedge), but he's learned from his mistakes and is now focused on doing the right things to help the team win. The manager is singing his praises. And it's March 2. We've heard this song and dance before, even if some specifics are different. Maybe one of these days something will change. Until then, history is the biggest indicator of future behavior. After 11 seasons, you don't even need a whole hand to count the number of times a season has ended on a positive note for Bradley. He's going to have to prove otherwise for a full season before getting the benefit of the doubt here. (MLB.com )

LILLY SCRATCHED: Ted Lilly was supposed to make his spring training debut Wednesday, but he's been scratched due to the flu. No long-term worries here whatsoever, though no new date for Lilly's first spring outing has been set. (MLB.com )

TROUBLE ON THE HOME FRONT? There seems to be some signals crossed in Pirates camp when it comes to Scott Olsen. Sunday, Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington said that Olsen was fighting for the fifth rotation spot and could be sent to the bullpen if he loses out. That was news to Olsen. "He hasn’t told me that, I don’t know anything about the bullpen, I’m a starter," Olsen told the Post-Gazette. "They didn’t bring me in here to be a bullpen guy," he continued. "They want to do that, we are going to have to have a conversation about it, and we haven’t had one about it." Um, really? We're talking about a guy with this line in his career as a starting pitcher: 36-49, 4.87 ERA, 1.48 WHIP. In the past two years, he's 6-12 with a 5.76 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. And he apparently thinks he's in a position to make demands? Wow. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette )

STAYING PUT: Brandon Phillips wants to stay with the Reds. The Reds want to keep him. Of course, in baseball we know we have to deal with much more than that, when it comes to dollars the player feels he's worth and the dollars the smallish market team can pay him -- especially with all the young talent the Reds have on the roster. John Fay breaks down how it might shake out. (Cincinnati Enquirer )

HIATUS? Former Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman has still yet to sign a contract. In fact, he may be ready to sit out an entire season. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports via Twitter that he talked to a player who knows Bonderman and "more than likely he's going to sit this year out." Crasnick also offered that Bonderman "doesn't have the energy for more rehabs, or going to camp and having to fight for a spot." In several ways, it's easy to feel bad for Bonderman. First of all, he was thrown into the fire on the worst major-league team in recent memory as a 20 year old -- that 2003 Tigers team that went 43-119. Bonderman took his lumps all year, going 6-19 with a 5.56 ERA. A few years later, he was a quality pitcher on a team that made the World Series. Since then, he's fallen apart with injuries and has never really scratched the surface on his potential. He's still only 28, so maybe a full season of rest can do some long-term good for his baseball potential. (Crasnick on Twitter )

FRIENDS FOREVER: Barry Bonds' ex-trainer is going to jail, again, instead of testifying against Bonds. Loyalty or blind stupidity? You make the call. (Associated Press )

NO LOANS FOR YOU! The Mets will not be receiving any more loans from Major League Baseball. That cool $25 million from last November will have to do. Maybe the Mets could borrow back some of the money Jason Bay didn't earn last year? (New York Times )

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com