Tag:Jesus Montero
Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:04 am

Are Posada's pinstripe days numbered?

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It seems pretty sure this is Jorge Posada's last season as a Yankee, and maybe as a big leaguer. But could his career be over before the end of the season?

According to ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand, the Yankees are weighing their options on Posda. Although his source, "a baseball official with knowledge of the Yankees' thinking" said the team has had "zero discussion" about releasing Posada since his mea culpa over his argument with manager Joe Girardi, but that could change if he doesn't start hitting.

Jorge PosadaPosada, who didn't play in Wednesday's 15-inning victory over the Orioles, is hitting .179/.287/.366 with six home runs and 15 RBI this season.

As it stands, Posada is just a platoon DH who isn't doing much H. Against a left-handed starter on Wednesday, Girardi once again decided to sit the switch-hitting Posada, who is 0 for 24 as a right-handed batter this season.

The team does have über-prospect Jesus Montero waiting in Triple-A, where he's hitting well, but not great. Montero is hitting .318/.350/.417 for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, but has just six walks and two home runs. His May has been worse than his April in all three of the slash categories -- hitting .365/.360/.473 in April and .259/.338/.345 in May. If Montero were putting up Eric Hosmer-like numbers, it could make the Posada decision easier, but at this point, you don't know what you'll get from the 21-year old Montero, who still needs work in the minor leagues on defense.

Say by midseason, this could work itself out if Posada rebounds. But if he doesn't, well, it could be very interesting. If he's still hitting below the Mendoza line, his time in baseball could be short.

What's also interesting is that according to a report from Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Posada and Girardi's bad blood goes deeper than just the recent disagreement of where Posada should bat in the lineup. The report says the two have had issues since 2005 when Girardi was Joe Torre's bench coach and the two clashed over scouting reports.

"Girardi couldn't wait to get him out from behind the plate," the source told Feinsand. "He hated the way he called the game."

Feinsand's source added Posada didn't think much of Girardi's scouting reports while he was the team's bench coach, often deviating from Girardi's plans, while he felt he was being second-guessed by Girardi.

On Monday, Girardi stressed he and Posada have a good relationship, but sometimes these things go deep (like maybe even as far as 1998 when Posada beat out Girardi for the Yankees' catching job) and aren't patched up by a simple apology.

While the lineup flap and Posada's complaints (followed by an apology) have passed, the question of what to do with Posada is just starting. 

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 3:24 pm

Montero 'bored,' but Yanks don't have room

By Matt Snyder

Top Yankees prospect Jesus Montero is only 21 and playing his second year in Triple-A. Much of the talk from scouts is that his upside is a middle-of-the-order elite power bat, but that he's lacking in defensive skills. None of that has really changed, but a tweet from Jon Heyman of SI.com caught my eye Friday afternoon -- saying that a scout told him that Montero is "awesomely talented but bored" in Triple-A.

One of the reasons it caught my eye is that Montero isn't exactly lighting Triple-A on fire. Sure, he's hitting .327, but his OPS is only .772 due to having only taken four walks and hit two home runs. In his 113 at-bats, he's struck out 24 times, too. Add everything up and he's doing well, but hardly putting up Ruthian numbers.

Another reason is that the Yankees' catchers at the big-league level -- who are far superior in terms of defense and working with the pitcher on the mound -- are actually faring quite well at the plate. Played mostly by Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli, Yankees catchers are collectively hitting .250 with a 346 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 27 RBI. The .837 OPS is outstanding for a group of catchers that doesn't include someone like Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez or Buster Posey. So promoting Montero would not only harm the defense, there's a decent chance you'd see an offensive regression.

So that leaves the designated hitter spot, which is more natural for Montero at this point anyway, and it's manned by Jorge Posada. And Posada is struggling.

The 39-year-old former catcher is hitting .172 with six home runs, 15 RBI and a .625 OPS. He's come through with a few big hits and has taken 15 walks, but overall he's not been productive enough to keep at the DH spot all season. It's just that I can't see the Yankees giving up on Posada right now to promote a 21-year-old free-swinger and then insert him into the pressure-packed AL East race. Not yet. Plus, Eric Chavez is reportedly going to be coming back within the next few weeks.

It all boils down to this: If Montero wants a call before September, he's going to have to start putting up a sick line in Triple-A while Posada, Chavez and anyone else the Yankees try in the DH spot fail. With everything the way it currently stands, he's just going to have to continue being bored in the minors.

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: March 29, 2011 1:54 pm

Rough spring leaves Montero in minors

By Matt Snyder

The Yankees' 21-year-old phenom, Jesus Montero, was thought by many to have his opening to join the big-league club when Francisco Cervelli fell injured early in camp. What happened in the ensuing weeks, however, sealed the immediate fate of the young catcher. He's headed back to Triple-A while Gustavo Molina will back up Russell Martin in the bigs.

There were always defensive concerns with Montero, but by most accounts he was downright awful behind the plate. But he's a highly-touted prospect -- top five in the majors -- due to his bat, and he didn't swing it that well, either. He hit .250/.286/.300. Yes, that's a .300 slugging percentage, which is in the Luis Castillo range.

This is a guy who hit 21 home runs and 34 doubles in 123 Triple-A games last season. He had an .870 OPS. If you talk to anyone who has scouted this guy, he'll tell you Montero is going to hit. If not now, he will eventually.

The problem there is the Yankees in 2011 are, just like every year, in a World Series or bust mode. Joel Sherman of the New York Post surmises the Yankees were counting on Montero being worked in behind the plate like Jorge Posada was with Joe Girardi back in 1997 -- that the job was "Montero's to lose and he lost it."

If that's true, and I'm inclined to believe it is, Montero blew a big chance this spring. The bright side, however, is the club still believes he's the catcher of the future and he's only 21. There's plenty of time to grow, just not on the 2011 Yankees -- not until something changes.

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Category: MLB
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 12, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 5:24 pm

Montero stumbles, may not win catcher gig

MonteroBy Evan Brunell

Jesus Montero was receiving rave reviews for his defense in spring training as the CBSSports.com No. 4 prospect appears poised to capitalize on an opportunity to become the club's backup catcher. While Montero's future is as a slugging first baseman or DH, for now he's being asked to stick behind the dish especially with incumbent backup catcher Francisco Cervelli sidelined until May.

However, ESPN's Keith Law does not agree with the word out of Yankees camp that Montero's defense has improved, and that defense was on display Friday. Montero coughed up two wild pitches by Romulo Sanchez in the sixth, and skipper Joe Girardi indicated that at least one of the pitches -- a curveball -- was not due to being crossed up as the New York Post reports.

Montero (pictured) also dropped balls, showed limited mobility in blocking balls in the dirt and did not throw to second base well.

That's rather damning of the 21-year-old's defense and may crystallize that the club can't carry Montero as the backup. Girardi wants the backup to be defense-oriented, which Montero certainly isn't.

"[Montero] is a work in progress and there has been a lot thrown at him quickly," Girardi said. "To me, the defense has to come first. That’s the first thing I told him. Not hitting in spring training, yeah, you want to see everyone swinging great when they leave spring training, but I don’t get too caught up with his bat right now." Montero is currently hitting .136 in 22 at-bats with no extra-base hits.

Assuming Montero is ticketed for Triple-A, Austin Romine may leapfrog Montero to the majors by virtue of his defense. Romine's defense behind the plate isn't otherworldly either, but is at least good enough that he is considered to have a real shot at sticking behind the plate. But do the Yankees want to aggressively promote Romine all the way to the majors after hitting .268/.324/.402 in 497 plate appearances in Double-A last season? It seems unnecessary.

The club also has journeyman Gustavo Molina in camp, who would function just fine as a temporary backup, but it appears he is not being given significant consideration for the temporary job although that may change after Montero's showing.

One other option could be Chad Moeller, who left Rockies camp after it became clear to him he would not win the Rockies' backup job. Moeller is familiar to Yankees personnel after playing in nine games for New York last season. He also had a 41-game stint with the club back in 2008 before heading to Baltimore for 2009. Given Moeller's two stints with the Yankees, the club clearly feels comfortable with him and may opt to bring him in with the idea of giving him the job until Cervelli returns.

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm

Pepper: Raise a glass

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Orioles are a trendy pick to be better in 2011, and they should be. But no matter how the Orioles do on the field, things will be better this season in Baltimore because Natty Boh is back.

Before the take-over of the beer industry by the big brewing companies, regional beers were king -- be it National Bohemian (known as Natty Boh in Baltimore) in the mid-Atlantic, Hudepohl in Cincinnati or Hamm's in Minnesota.

These were different than the great microbrews of today, they were the macrobrews of yesterday. It's what you remember your grandpa dinking, whether it was an Olympia in Washington or an Old Style in Chicago. These were American, working-class beers. And they belonged with baseball, at the ballpark and at home, listening along to the local nine on the radio.

Well, one of these greats, National Bohemian, is back where it belongs, at the ballpark at Camden Yards. And for that, America and baseball are better than they were before. (Baltimore Sun)

For more fun, check out this video of old Natty Boh commercials (with an added bonus of Maryland history):

GARDNER MAY PUSH JETER FROM LEADOFF: The Yankees front office wants Brett Gardner, not Derek Jeter, leading off, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes.

Jeter has batted first or second for most of his career, but it seems natural to put the speedy Gardner atop the lineup. Gardner had a .383 on-base percentage last season, along with 47 stolen bases. He also saw an MLB-best 4.6 pitchers per plate appearance, giving him a good case to bat first for the Yankees.

HOLD 'EM OR FOLD 'EM: Boston's Mike Cameron had his name thrown around a bit this weekend after Philadelphia lost Domonic Brown to a hand injury, but with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury roaming the outfield, is it wise for the Red Sox to get rid of any outfielder?

Although Cameron is making $7.5 million this season, that would hamper many other teams, but not the Red Sox. Cameron is also a rarity in the Red Sox clubhouse, a right-handed hitter. (Boston Globe)

HART SIDELINED: Brewers right fielder Corey Hart missed the last week after straining a muscle in his side. He was expected to miss two weeks, but after a setback during a throwing exercise on Saturday, Hart said he doesn't expect to be back in the original timeframe.

However, manager Ron Roenicke said he expects Hart to be ready for opening day. (MLB.com)

MOM KNOWS BEST: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he was feeling sorry for himself after suffering a broken bone in his left foot, until his mother set him straight.

"I woke up positive and [said] 'Let's do it,'" Cervelli told the New York Daily News. "That's it. Start the work, the therapy and get better. A lot of people in the world don't have legs or arms; I'm healthy. I just have something in my foot, but it's going to be OK."

MONTERO MAY BACKUP: Cervelli's injury may have opened the door for Yankees top prospect, Jesus Montero.

Many thought the Yankees would want him to play every day and not have him break camp just to back up Russell Martin. One who doesn't buy that theory, apparently, is Brian Cashman.

"There is a lot of knowledge that a catcher has to absorb that you just won't get at Triple-A," Cashman told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. "If it's the second week of April and he has only pinch-hit or started one game, I won't consider it a lost week. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that he has never experienced before.

"He can watch, see how [Martin] goes through it -- pre-game, advance scouting meetings, all those things. When he gets in there in the future, he'll be fully prepared, rather than just sink or swim."

The Yankees know Montero's bat can play right away, but many question his ability to stick behind the plate.

TRADE STUNG SAUNDERS: Former first-rounder Joe Saunders said he was upset last season when the Angels traded him to Arizona.

"I was pissed off. I'm not going to lie to you," Saunders told the Orange County Register.

Saunders said it was weird heading into the visitor's clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Angels' spring training home.

MULLET MANIA: Travis Schlichting has the greatest mullet in baseball history, and Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan has the story.

AUTHOR-PITCHER: Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst -- better known as the author of The Bullpen Gospels than anything he's done on the field -- said he's walked a fine line between being truthful and writing a tell-all.

Hayhurst's often hilarious characters in the book (really, it's worth checking out, a fun, quick read), are real, but he doesn't name names. He's also working on a second book and has a contract for a third, but those will also be done in his particular style, where the only specific player you get dirt on is Hayhurst himself.

The Rays seem like a perfect fit, if only for the fact that when asked about Hayhurst, manager Joe Maddon used the word "ameliorated" in his response. (St. Petersburg Times)

OLIVO CONFIDENT: Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo had a scare on Saturday when he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and had to be helped off the field. Olivo will have an MRI today, but he told reporters on Sunday that he's confident he'll be ready for opening day. (Seattle Times)

BOOF REMAINS A MYSTERY: Even Boof Bonser doesn't know how his name came about, even though he's legally changed it. (Star-Ledger)

FORTUITOUS CUT: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is pretty happy he cut reliever Cristhian Martinez last year when both were with the Marlins. Martinez was optioned to Triple-A at the end of spring training last season and then designated him for assignment on April 3. The Braves signed him and now he's competing for the final bullpen spot.

Martinez struck out five in two innings against the Nationals on Sunday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MAYBIN MAY RETURN: San Diego's Cameron Maybin may return to action today after suffering concussion symptoms when he hit his head on a post during Wednesday's practice.

Maybin, the team's newly acquired center fielder, took batting practice on Sunday and said he felt good afterwards. (MLB.com)

D-LEE STILL OUT: Derrek Lee won't make his debut with the Orioles in the Grapefruit League until Wednesday at the earliest. (Baltimore Sun)

PEAVY TO MAKE SECOND START: White Sox starter Jake Peavy said he's sore from Saturday's start, but he's good enough to start on Wednesday. (Chicago Tribune)

FIRST BASE BATTLE: Here's something you don't hear very often -- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said defensive will be a key component to the team's search for a regular first baseman.

Russell Branyan, Brandon Allen and Juan Miranda are the other leading candidates for that job. (Arizona Republic)

ZAUN TO RETIRE: Veteran catcher Gregg Zaun is set to retire after 16 seasons in the big leagues.

Zaun, 39, was in the Padres camp. He's a career .252/.344/.388 hitter, but better known for his defense, spending most of his time as a backup catcher.

His retirement gives Rob Johnson the inside track at the Padres' backup job. (Sportsnet.ca)

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Posted on: March 5, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: March 5, 2011 10:57 am

Pepper: Yanks have healthy squatter

By Matt Snyder

When Francisco Cervelli went down with a broken foot Friday , a lot of eyeballs started to peer in the direction of uber-prospect Jesus Montero. Of course, if Montero was ready to join the big-league club out of camp defensively, he'd already be slotted on the roster. By all scouting accounts, his bat is ready. It's just that he threw out only 23 percent of would-be base-stealers last season in Triple-A, which fits in line with his 15 passed balls and six errors.

There's a reason the Yankees brought in Russell Martin. And Friday, there was encouraging news in his health.

Martin, who is recovering from knee surgery, caught five full innings behind the dish and felt "good."

"Honestly, I wouldn't have been out there if I did feel anything," he said after the game. (MLB.com )

Martin has greatly regressed in the past two seasons, but he's still only 28. In each 2007 and 2008 he caught at least 145 games while hitting well enough (.811 OPS) to be an All-Star both seasons. Assuming no setbacks, here is your everyday catcher for the Yankees when the 2011 season opens.

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes is entering the final year of his contract and it seems like he's one of the offensive centerpieces for the team, but SI.com's Jon Heyman reports he'll need to improve his OBP to get a multi-year deal. That's fair. Reyes is a speedster, so if he's only getting on base at a .321 clip (last year's OBP), that's an issue for the money he'll likely command. Of course, from 2006-2009 he was over .350 each season. The guess here is he gets it back to that range and signs an extension with little drama. That is, of course, assuming the Mets' financial woes don't interfere. (Heyman Twitter )

SHEEN-CO DE MAYO: Charlie Sheen jokes and references are beginning to get a bit overplayed by this point, but here's something interesting -- at least I think so. The Lake Elsinore Storm, a minor-league baseball team, are having a promotion this season called "Charlie Sheen-co de Mayo (click here to see the logo ). Among the festivities will be a taco-eating contest, Sheen bobblehead, a "Wild Thing" glasses giveaway and retirement of the number 99 -- the latter two homages to Sheen's Rick Vaughn character in Major League . It's also "Thirsty Thursday," which means $1 beer and coke products. I think I'm feeling a road trip ... (MLBlogs )

DOGGIE ETIQUETTE: While we're on the topic of fun things relating to the ol' ballpark, why not talk hot dogs? After all, the American Meat Council reports there were 21,378,064 dogs sold at major league stadiums last season. Here are some things the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council provide as etiquette in eating your dog:

- Toppings don't go between the bun and the dog; they go on top of the dog.
- Condiment order: 1. wet (ketchup, mustard); 2. chunky (onions, relish); 3. Cheese; 4. Spices
- Do not use utensils
- No china, paper plates are preferred
- No ketchup after you turn 18.

Really? What's wrong with ketchup? And I'm 32 ... (Orlando Sentinel )

MUSCLING UP: Talk about having a career day. Austin Glorius is a senior in high school, and Thursday he hit five home runs in a game. Oh, he also had 17 RBI. He would have had 18 RBI, but one of his teammates missed a base and was called out. So allow me to digress: How does that ever happen? I played baseball until I was 22 and have watched it since I was about four. I cannot understand how a player ever misses a base. Ever. I didn't get it at age six and still don't get it now. You should never, ever miss a base as a baseball player at any level. (Obviously we're talking about missing a base while rounding it, not sliding in to avoid a tag). (Orlando Sentinel )

The Angels are going to wear some throwback uniforms this season for every Friday night home game. You can see the five different uniforms by clicking here , but I'll warn you it's a bit disappointing. All of the uniforms look pretty similar to the current ones, aside from a few of the hats. What was wrong with the '97 alternate ? Or even the home ones -- those were horrifically awesome. (OC Register )

HONORING DUKE: The Dodgers will wear a patch to honor recently-deceased Duke Snider this season. It marks the sixth time in franchise history the team has done so. The previous ones: Jim Gilliam, Don McMahon, Tim Crews, Pee Wee Reese and a combination patch for Don Drysdale and Roy Campanella. (LA Times )

FUN WITH VIDEOS: BABIP explained through a video. Pretty funny stuff. (Fangraphs )

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Posted on: March 1, 2011 9:53 am
Edited on: March 1, 2011 10:21 am

Pepper: Finding Mauer in Montero

Posted by Matt Snyder

In the latest Ear on Baseball podcast , C. Trent Rosecrans and I had Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein on, and among other things we discussed how Yankees star catching prospect Jesus Montero may eventually be ticketed for a position change.

Interestingly, in a Tuesday morning Bats blog (via New York Times ), there's a piece on Joe Mauer discussing similarities between the two catchers and how he believes Montero should do everything he can to remain a catcher, if that's what he wants to do.

"Too big. Not quick enough. I heard everything under the sun," Mauer said. He's 6-foot-5, while Montero is 6-foot-4.

Mauer also encouraged Montero to learn everything he can from veteran catchers Russell Martin and Jorge Posada in camp, and to learn everything about the pitchers he might be catching.

Montero, 21, is generally considered one of the top prospects as a hitter, but many scouts believe he'll be inadequate behind the plate in the bigs. Mauer believes he heard the same, but I think there's a difference. Most scouts knew Mauer could handle duties behind the plate, if memory serves correctly, it's just that many believe he needs to move away from behind the plate eventually in order to lengthen his career. He's too good a hitter to physically fall apart by his early 30s. That doesn't mean he's a bad defender.

CARLOS AT THE BAT: Yes, Cubs manager Mike Quade will use pitcher Carlos Zambrano as a pinch-hitter when the game dictates this season. While his actual skill with the stick pales in comparison to the sheer entertainment value of an at-bat, he can swing it. He has three Silver Sluggers and 21 career home runs to go with a .236 average and .631 OPS. Obviously that's pretty bad for an actual hitter, but if you're looking for someone to extend the bench, he's serviceable enough. In fact, he's hit at least .300 in a season twice, as recently as 2008 -- when he hit .337 with an .892 OPS. He was a better hitter than Derrek Lee that year. Seriously. (Chicago Tribune )

Last season, Barry Zito and Prince Fielder had a slight flare-up in spring training after Zito plunked the portly first baseman -- in retaliation for a Fielder celebration in 2009. Monday, the two had a spat ... over a walk? Really, guys? They were seen jawing at each other, but fortunately both took the high road after the game. Zito said he asked Fielder how his offseason went and how his family was doing. Fielder said they were discussing dinner plans. Boys will be boys, even when it's not yet summer, so there's no reason to make a mountain out of a molehill. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel )

OBLIGATORY YOUNG UPDATE: Michael Young is not unhappy, nor is he dogging it in spring training. In fact, he's working just as hard as he ever has and made the first appearance of his life at first base Monday. He even accepts the addition of Mike Napoli, who is expected to steal plenty of at-bats from Young at DH this season. "He was a thorn in our side when he was in Anaheim. He can hit for power," Young said. "I think what he’s done in his career speaks for itself. When he got here in camp I think we’ve all been impressed with just how good a teammate he seems. That’s the kind of thing guys look at first. He seems a really good guy. Seems like he’s fit in really well since Day 1 and I’m excited that he’s here." (ESPN Dallas )

SCHLERETH INJURED: Tigers relief pitcher Daniel Schlereth injured his hamstring Monday. He actually felt a pop, but early the prognosis sounds positive, as the medical staff reportedly told the lefty it was a strain and not a tear -- which would cause him to miss significant time. Instead, it seems only a minor setback. In fact, he's more annoyed with the injury than anything else. "This is stupid," he said. "This isn't important. I'm not too worried about it. I just want to play. I want to make the team." (Detroit Free-Press )

TIME MACHINE: Mark Prior threw a perfect inning. In 2011. Granted, it was a single inning early in spring training, but it had to have been an encouraging outing for a man whose career was prematurely derailed years ago by injuries. For the optimistic out there, he's still only 30. There's time. (Star-Ledger )

WHO NEEDS OBP? The Rockies are ready to use catcher Chris Iannetta in the eight-hole this season. When you look at his batting average (.234) last season it makes sense. When you look at his OBP, it doesn't. His .353 career OBP is better than teammates Seth Smith, Ian Stewart, Dexter Fowler and Ty Wigginton. But his batting average is lower. It still amazes me how hard this concept is to grasp for so many. It astounds me that people look at batting average before OBP. Think about it in reverse. On-base percentage is a measure of how many times you don't get out. Isn't that the actual goal when you step in the batter's box? In this specific case, you could argue Fowler and Stewart are still young and could get better, but Iannetta's 27 and has torn up minor-league pitching for years. And when he takes a ton of walks this season with the pitcher on deck, his batting average won't be near as high as his OBP. Serenity now. (Denver Post )

Another thing we discussed in the Ear on Baseball podcast was how incredibly loaded the Royals' minor league system is. General manager Dayton Moore sat down with John Sickels of Minor League Ball for an interview. I'm not going to bother to summarize or cut it down at all, just click through. The whole thing is worth a look. And while I'm not a fan of the Royals or anything, it's worth noting I'd like to see everything come to fruition with this group. It's been a long time since the Royals were a serious contender, so a little change there wouldn't hurt anything. Now, about those Pirates ...

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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