Tag:Bryce Harper
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:57 pm
 

Strasburg 'close' to throwing off a mound

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Stephen StrasburgOn the same day Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said phenom Bryce Harper will not see the majors this year, another  top pick is getting closer to returning to the big leagues, although the timing suggests it will not be this season.

Stephen Starsburg -- remember him? -- is "close" to throwing off the mound, Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty told reporters, including the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, on Wednesday.

"Everything is going along fine," McCatty said. "I know he's close to throwing off the mound. I'm sure he's getting close to it. I know there were some discussions about it. It will be shortly. Everything has been going fine."

McCatty noted Strasburg is feeling "great" but "bored" with his rehab, which is pretty normal for the long road back from Tommy John surgery.

Last season Jordan Zimmermann threw off the mound seven months and three days after his surgery and made it back to the majors in about a year. Strasburg's surgery was eight months and eight days ago.

"When he's ready, he's ready," McCatty said. "If it's 12 months like Zimmermann or a little longer or a littler shorter, we just can't sit here and say, 'Bang, here's the milestone, now the clock is ticking.' It doesn't work that way. He's feeling fine. He's getting close. Everything is going well. You got to take your time. You can't rush it. And he says he feels great."

The Nationals will likely allow Strasburg to take it easy -- there's no reason to rush him at this point. But even when he does come back, it takes time for a player to really come back to being the pitcher they were before. However, once that happens, the team will have one of the best pitchers in the game back and that certainly can't hurt. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Harper not hitting majors in 2011

By Matt Snyder

Those pining for a Bryce Harper call to the majors this year will be sorely disappointed by the time the 2011 season concludes. There is no possibility he's in a Washington Nationals jersey this season, not even in a September call-up.

"It's not gonna happen, because he's not ready for that to happen," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a radio interview Wednesday afternoon (via Nats Insider)

When Rizzo was asked if he was definitely ruling out a promotion to the bigs in 2011 for Harper, he simply said: "Yes, I am."

The top overall selection in last June's draft, Harper is one of the most-watched minor-leaguers. He's only 18 -- in fact, he should still be a senior in high school -- and has what many believe is Hall-of-Fame talent. He was the second-straight heavily-hyped prospect the Nats drafted, too, after taking Stephen Strasburg first overall in the previous draft.

It's not like Harper's having trouble with Class-A pitching, either. He's destroying the ball. In 150 plate appearances, Harper is hitting .366 with 11 doubles, nine home runs, 31 RBI, 26 runs, six stolen bases and a 1.103 OPS.

Factor in that the Nationals are playing for the future, and there's good reason to see why Nats fans might want a glimpse of seeing Harper sooner rather than later.

Rizzo is taking the correct approach, however, for many reasons. First of all, you cannot rush the development of a future star, for fear you ruin him. Secondly, he has to learn how to handle defense in the outfield, as he was a catcher his entire amateur life. Finally, there's no reason to start his major-league service time clock, which would get him to free agency faster. The Nationals should have plenty of financial resources by the time he's ready to sign a big contract -- assuming everything goes well and he gets to that point -- but in the meantime those resources should be used to fill a competitve roster while waiting on him.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: May 10, 2011 11:13 am
 

Bryce Harper update: He's destroying the ball

By Matt Snyder

Last season's top overall draft pick by the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper, won't be in the majors any time soon, but he's certainly due a promotion to a higher level of the minor leagues at this point.

The 18-year-old phenom is absolutely pulverizing Class A pitching for Hagerstown. He's currently hitting .376 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 24 RBI, 11 doubles and a .1.155 OPS in 29 games. He's even stolen five bases.

You could argue that's a small sample, but I'd argue it's big enough -- and the numbers are staggering enough -- that he's due a trip to a higher level in the minors.

There's no reason to rush a player with this kind of upside, especially since he's only 18 and the Nationals are looking to the future instead of the present, but when he's ready, he's ready. It won't do him any good to continue to punish inferior talent.

The catcher-turned-outfielder came out of the draft with massive hype, but it appears that so far he's at least meeting expectations, and I'd argue he's exceeding them.

If he continues to hit like this at a higher level, he may even land in the majors in 2012 ... before he even turns 20.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 28, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Harper at center of bench-clearing incident

By Matt Snyder

As Bryce Harper continues his heavily hyped minor-league season, he's reaching plenty of firsts. Tuesday night marked the first time he was involved in an incident where both benches cleared. Fortunately there was no fight, only a war of words.

Harper had homered off West Virginia Power starting pitcher Tyler Waldron on the first pitch he saw in the first inning, reportedly a towering shot that left the ballpark. (West Virginia Gazette )

Next at-bat, Waldron bested Harper with a looking strikeout. Several reports indicate Harper and Waldron began to exchange heated words with each other -- without saying who started it -- and then benches cleared in a near-brawl.

Here's a youtube of the at-bat and fallout, though you can't really see much once the benches clear other than a big group of players standing around:



For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Category: MLB
Posted on: April 16, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Pepper: Harper in the spotlight

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Bryce HarperWhat did you do with your days off?

Me, I did what many of you probably did, went to a baseball game. I drove about an hour to go see Bryce Harper play. I was planning on going Monday, but the game was rained out and then I had an off day on Thursday, the last of a four-game series against the Lexington Legends.

On Wednesday, I got a text from a friend that said he just saw Harper's first professional home run. I did not. I did see a double and nearly saw his first fight.

After walking in the third inning, Harper was picked off third and with no chance to score or get out of it, he decided his best chance was to bowl over the catcher, Chris Wallace.

Wallace barely budged, and then got up in Harper's face. Harper, though, just walked away as soon as the umpire got between them. Both benches were warned and nothing further happened.

Harper's going to be a marked man every place he goes this year, that's part of the minor leagues. In the minor leagues you have someone very close yelling very loudly while very drunk. Harper didn't react, and that's for the best. He'll be the target for fans and players. Every pitcher will be giving him their best, every catcher will welcome a play at the plate, and everything Harper does will be magnified.

On Thursday, Harper did the smart thing and walked away. That's not to say he didn't get yelled at by drunk frat boys in the stands, but he was smart. He gains nothing by getting in a fight there, while Wallace could make his name by taking on the millionaire and most famous player in the minor leagues.

I wanted to talk to Harper about that and what it's liked being a marked man -- something he's definitely going to because of the money, his fame and the perceived arrogance (and it'd be fair to say I heard that word used several times on Thursday from folks around the ballpark). But despite the Nationals asking visiting teams to set up a press conference-type table with backdrop for Harper to deal with every night, he declined on Thursday. I'm not upset, I've been stood up by better, but I wish he would have told me earlier. Instead, I waited an hour to be blown off.

That said, I've got to give him some serious credit, as I waited for his whim, he signed autographs and posed for pictures for each of the nearly 50 people waiting by the team's bus. It's certainly going to be an interesting year for a kid who just turned 18 -- I can say I saw him when… Just like I knew I could when I went to see Gregg Jefferies back in the day when he was the top prospect in baseball.

Also, Evan posted this the other day, but here's some video I took (and the picture is from my hipster iPhone app, Instagram -- I'm ctrosecrans, if you're into that kind of thing):

Harper made his home debut on Friday, and the Washington Post's Dave Sheinin was there to see him go 0 for 3. He's now hitting .226 and I was there for his first pro double, if not the homer.

ANOTHER DOUBLEHEADER -- The Brewers and Nationals have already been rained out today and will play a doubleheader tomorrow. [MLB.com]

YOUNG TO DL -- Chris Young is headed back to the disabled list. The Mets placed the right-hander on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 11, with right biceps tendonitis. The Mets called up lefty Pat Misch. Misch has started one game for Triple-A Buffalo. The team needs a starter for Sunday.

CATCHER NEEDED -- Could Bengie Molina be a fit for the Twins with Joe Mauer on the DL? Another possibility would be Ivan Rodriguez. [St. Paul Pioneer Press]

LUDWICK STRUGGLING -- Many people -- myself included -- killed John Mozeliak for trading away Ryan Ludwick last season to get Jake Westbrook. So far, Mozeliak has looked good as Ludwick has looked bad. Ludwick is hitting .194/.296/.325 since joining the Padres. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

CHAPMAN OK -- Aroldis Chapman says he's feeling fine. His lack of velocity was just from throwing a couple of days in a row. When I talked to Walt Jocketty on Thursday, he said Chapman should be fine to pitch on Sunday. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

SMALL CROWDS -- There are plenty of good seats available at Houston's Minute Maid Parik. [Houston Chronicle]

NO APOLOGY NEEDED -- Cubs manager Mike Quade said he appreciated Carlos Zambrano's apology, but it wasn't needed. Zambrano left the mound before Quade got there when he went to the mound to take him out of Wednesday's game in Houston. [Chicago Sun-Times]

GROUNDSKEEPER OK -- We all saw the YouTube video of the groundskeeper at Kauffman Stadium get run over last week. Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan caught up with Trevor Hogan, who said he wouldn't recommend getting caught under a rolling tarp, but he's fine.

MASCOT INJURY -- In Japan, Carrrasco, the mascot for the Rakuten Eagles injured his leg during a game and had to be rushed to the hospital where he needed surgery. He could miss the entire season. [Yakyu Baka]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

Posted on: April 15, 2011 11:04 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 12:08 pm
 

Pepper: Feeding Harpermania

By Evan Brunell

HARPERMANIA: Eye on Baseball's C. Trent Rosecrans took in a game between the Hagerstown Suns and Lexington Legends on Thursday. This is relevant because Bryce Harper was in the game. Rosecran's video below shows Harper taking batting practice as well as some great shots of him hitting during the game, in which he went 1 for 3 with a double.

BASEBALL TODAY: How big of a blow is the Joe Mauer loss to the Twins? What is the latest with replay and Major League Baseball? Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss the latest in baseball:

I AM 42: Friday is Jackie Robinson Day, where everyone will wear No. 42 to celebrate the breaking of the color barrier so notably demonstrated by Jackie Robinson. MLB.com has a website honoring Robinson, with MLB players discussing the importance of Robinson to the game. (Iam42.com)

HELLO, OLD FRIEND: John Farrell returns to Boston Friday as his Blue Jays come to town for a four-game series. Farrell made a major impact on the Red Sox during his time as pitching coach and there are nothing but good things said by his former compatriots. Now in Toronto, Farrell has to adjust to managing despite having zero experience in that role. (Boston Globe)

THE REPLACEMENT: Farrell's replacement is Curt Young, who spent years shaping the Athletics staff. While Boston's own staff is off to a poor start, you won't hear skipper Terry Francona disparaging Young. Nope; Francona believes Young is a great fit, while Young himself is still trying to figure out how to get the most out of his pitchers. He's already fixed a few mechanical tweaks with Clay Buchholz and convinced Daisuke Matsuzaka to start a different regimen. (Boston Herald)

RUN, DODGER, RUN: Davey Lopes' impact as baserunning coach for the Dodgers is already remarkable as they are tied with the Padres for most steals in the NL and could double their total from last season. The success rate is also way up. While part of that is thanks to signing the speedy Tony Gwynn, Jr., Lopes has made a big impact on the team as a whole. (Los Angeles Times)

PAGING OSCAR GAMBLE: Coco Crisp broke out a new look Thursday, doing away with his braids and going with an Oscar Gamble-esque look. And really, there's no better team to break out the hairdo with than the Athletics, with their history of follicial accomplishments. (San Francisco Chronicle)

DOUBLE THE PLEASURE: Having two left-handers in the bullpen is something of a luxury for Angels manager Mike Scioscia, and he's enjoying the heck out of it, especially since Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi can fill several roles. (Los Angeles Times)

LONG-LASTING RELIEF: Guillermo Mota has been one of the hardest-worked relievers in the game since 1999, and he's still kicking as he's made the Giants the last two years off a minor-league deal. (San Francisco Chronicle)

HOLD ME BACK: Evan Longoria is so pleased with his rehab from a strained left oblique that he's relying on the trainers to keep him on a tight schedule instead of accelerating the process. The Rays plan to take it conservatively with Longoria so he is fully healed and can provide his bat all season. (Tampa Tribune)

UTLEY UPDATE: There's still no timetable for second baseman Chase Utley's return, but the Phillies hope he can get onto a field in May. He did some running Wednesday, but it's still anyone's guess how long Utley will be out with patellar tendinitis. Additionally, Ryan Howard deemed himself healthy after experiencing soreness when plunked on the right wrist Wednesday night by Washington's John Lannan. (Philadelphia News)

WATCH OUT! Yep, the third video in Pepper, this one showcases one of the grounds crew falling under a tarp being rolled out at the Royals game. Despite trying to warn his co-workers, he literally had the metal canister rolled over him:

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

Posted on: April 7, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: April 7, 2011 10:17 am
 

Pepper: Concussion concern

Yunel Escobar
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar may be the test case for Major League Baseball's new concussion guidelines after leaving Wednesday night's game against the A's following a collision with Oakland third baseman Adam LaRoche.

Escobar stayed in the game after he ran into LaRoche's knee on a head-first slide into third following a fifth-inning triple. After fielding his position in the sixth, Escobar was taken out of the game because of dizziness. He was taken to a hospital for testing and stayed overnight.

Escobar convinced manager John Farrell to keep him in the game after the incident and even wanted to stay after his half-inning in the field. Still, he was at shortstop jumping up and down and shaking his head.

Farrell said the team was waiting to see how he reacted and didn't like what they saw. Diagnosing a concussion is difficult, especially when an athlete is conditioned to play through pain, so managers need to be more proactive when a head injury occurs. Farrell acted and luckily it wasn't too late.

It won't be a surprise if Escobar is the first player to wind up on the seven-day DL for concussions. MLB has stepped up to the plate in giving teams ways to properly treat concussions, now it's time for the teams to follow through and use them. [Globe and Mail]

IS TODAY THE DAY? -- Can the Red Sox actually win a game? CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss it.

FIRST PITCH WORTH SEEING -- The White Sox's home opener today and throwing out the first pitch will be Minnie Minoso. Minoso is anywhere from 85-91 and one of the great ambassadors of baseball. We used Baseball-Reference.com's player oracle linking franchise legends to current players and I swear a good third of them that I did included Minoso, who played his first big-league game in 1949 and his last in 1980 (although, he did manage just five games after 1964, appearing in three games in 1976 and two in 1980 in a  publicity stunt). [Chicago Tribune]

LA RUSSA UPSET -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has found an easy scapegoat for his team's 2-4 start, the media. You'll never lose in a public opinion poll when you place yourself against the fourth estate. Baseball's king of deflection is at it early this season. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

GOOD SOLDIER -- Mariners second baseman Jack Wilson said he was in agreement with manager Eric Wedge's decision to pull him after two errors on Wednesday. The question is, with his contract up at the end of the season, could Wilson be traded away before the season ends to a team that needs a shortstop (St. Louis, Milwaukee, Houston?), especially with Dustin Ackley waiting to take over at second base. [Seattle Times]

BOO AWAY -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel understands why fans booed Cole Hamels on Tuesday -- it is Philly after all. [Philly.com]

CAREER NUMBERS -- Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman have been in the National League Central long enough to have played nearly a season's worth of games against each team. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold breaks down Pujols' and Berkman's 'seasons' against NL Central opponents. The conclusion? Those two are pretty good -- and the Reds don't want to see either. Pujols' best numbers -- .372/.456/.695 with 45 HR and 134 RBI in 157 games -- are against the Pirates, and the Reds are in second place (159 games, 43 HR, 133 RBI, .356/.440/.656). Berkman's best are against the Reds, hitting 49 HR, 137 RBI and .318/.438/.678 in 152 games against Cincinnati.

SMALL BALL -- For just the second time in the nine-year history of Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, there were two straight games without a homer on Tuesday and Wednesday. The only other time that happened was Aug. 6-7, 2005 against the Marlins. That hasn't hurt the Reds, who scored 20 runs in those two games. The Reds have scored 43 runs through the first five games, the second-best mark in their history. In 1976, Cincinnati had 44 runs through five games. That team, of course, repeated as World Series champions. The team is also 5-0 for the fifth time in history -- twice winning the World Series after such a start (1919, 1990).

JUDGE ME NOT BY MY SIZE -- The Royals' Tim Collins and the Braves' Craig Kimbrel are proving you don't need to be tall to throw hard. [MLB.com]

RATINGS UP -- The Nationals' TV ratings for their opening series against the Braves were up nearly 100 percent. [D.C. Sports Bog]

CABRERA HITS 250 -- Miguel Cabrera hit his 250th career home run on Wednesday and Tiger manager Jim Leyland said he was sure his slugger would have "250 more." It seems likely if Cabrera stays on the field. [MLive.com]

SIPP STEPS UP -- Tony Sipp has emerged as the Indians' setup man. [Akron Beacon Journal]

OPENING DAY -- Today's opening day for the minor leagues. The game to watch is in Rome, Ga., where Bryce Harper will make his professional debut for the Class A Hagerstown Suns. [Rome News-Tribune]

HALL OF FAME PIG -- Ryne Sandberg, the new manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs is comfortable in his new job with the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate. [Allentown Morning-Call]

RALLY CAP -- The Altoona Curve is the first professional team to feature a reversible cap with a design in the lining to make a rally cap. The inside features a lining depicting the team's "rally mascot" Al Tuna. It's a pair of googly eyes, representing the head of the fish mascot. [MiLB.com]

MAKE IT A DOUBLE -- The Red Sox are getting closer to being able to selling mixed drinks at Fenway Park after reaching an agreement with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and other interest groups. This comes just in time, as the Red Sox are winless. [Boston Globe]

TEIXEIRA LAUNCHES DREAM TEAM -- Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira donated $1 million to the Harlem RBI program. [MLB..com]

SHEPARD DIES -- Larry Shepard, the former Pirates manager and pitching coach for the Big Red Machine, died on Tuesday. He was 92. Shepard managed the Pirates in 1968 and 1969 and was the Reds' pitching coach from 1970-78. He also served as the pitching coach for the Phillies and Giants. [Associated Press]

RETURN TO MONTREAL -- The Blue Jays are considering playing exhibition games in Montreal and other Canadian cities. [MLB.com]

A REAL CLASSIC -- "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" will be preserved at the Library of Congress along with 24 other recordings chosen for their cultural significance. [Associated Press]

10 YEARS OF PNC -- One of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball turns 10 this year, as the Pirates start their home opener on a roll, winner of their first two series. Even 10 years old, the $270 million stadium is still one of the best in baseball, even if its tenants haven't been. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

MLB.COM Q&A -- The boss over at MLB.com talks about technology and baseball [All Things Digital]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 

Posted on: March 31, 2011 8:20 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:33 am
 

Pepper: Opening day excitement

Yankee Stadium
By C. Trent Rosecrans

No day in the year probably evokes as many cliches as opening day. Several times today you'll hear of hope and optimism and that's total crap.

There's no reason for the Pirates fans or Astros fans or Royals fans to think 2011 will be any different than 2010. But the thing is, the beauty of the baseball season isn't that every team has a chance. It's that there are 162 games and no matter how bad the team, they'll still win three times out of every eight games. 

Even watching the Mariners for 162 this season, you'll still have walk-off wins, reasons for hope, shutouts thrown, home runs hit and a whole lot of baseball. It's a beautiful thing.

And then there's a team that you don't think has a chance that somehow stays atop the standings. Sure, they may not win it all, or even make the playoffs, like the Padres last season. But they still bring some excitement and reasons to watch through August and September. The ride isn't half the fun, it's all the fun.

Even without a spot at the top of the standings, there's a reason to go to the ballpark -- heck, going to the ballpark is reason enough. A hot dog, a beer and an afternoon game in the bleachers? Heaven, even if two also-rans are on the field.

Then there's rookies to watch and dream about their potential or the veteran to remember him in his prime.

Yeah, baseball is full of the cheesy cliches, but that's another part of the fun. I'm cheesy about the start of baseball season and I just don't care. (Of course, this is coming from someone who spent the last minutes leading up to a NCAA National Championship game back in the media room watching a Royals opener on TV right up until tipoff when I reluctantly went to my courtside seat to the game, so I may be a little messed up in the head.)

TENSION: Imagine going into the last day of the exhibition season unsure of your fate and then throwing a pickoff move into right field with two outs and a 1-0 lead in the ninth inning that leads to the losing runs. That can't feel good.

And then, well, being called into the manager's office right before the final cuts are announced. Really, really not good.

Except, after A's manager Bob Geren went over Bobby Cramer's gaffe, he then congratulated him on making the team.

Cramer, a 10-year minor league veteran, made his first opening day roster and will be the A's long reliever. (San Francisco Chronicle)

TICKETS AVAILABLE:  The guys who brought you last year's Mets help wanted video with not-John Ricco, are back trying to sell Mets opening day tickets.

While not as good as their last Mets video, it's still pretty good.

 

MO BETTER: We know Mariano Rivera has been really good for a really long time, but check out his run as the Yankees' closer against all the other closers since he took over in New York in this great graphic from the Washington Post.

HOPEFUL HAPP: Astros lefty J.A. Happ still hopes to get back to pitch on his turn in the team's rotation, Sunday against the Phillies. The former Phillie, Happ, would be facing former Astro, Roy Oswalt in the final game of the opening series. (Houston Chronicle)

VIVA ANAHEIM: I think I've already named about three "best promo ever" winners, but this is my current favorite -- the Angels' Mexican wrestler mask. I so wish I could be in SoCal in May, instead I'll be in Ireland. Oh well. (Orange County Register)

MEET THE METS: The Mets are trying to embrace their blogging community and hosted a conference call with manager Terry Collins on Monday. (Networked Blogs)

BURNETT SICK: Yankees starter A.J. Burnett is dealing with the flu, but says he still expects to make his scheduled start on Saturday. (New York Daily News)

BASEBALL HEALING: I lived in Japan for a couple of years and I've told people many times about the high school baseball tournament and the best way I've been able to describe it is the NCAA basketball tournament -- but only better, because it's baseball. It's even more important this year. (Associated Press)

PIRATES LIKELY TO BEAT PREDICTION: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Joe Starkey doesn't have high hopes for the Pirates this season. That's understandable. That said, I think they'll do better than his 9-153 perdecition.

TATER TROT RETURNS: Larry Granillo is bring back the Tater Trot Tracker. For those of you who missed it last year, the blogger tracked the time of every home run trot i the majors last season. He's doing the tracker for Baseball Prospectus this year, check out what he learned last season.

UNIWATCH: The always awesome Uniwatch baseball preview. There aren't too many changes this year, except for the Dodger throwbacks and the end of the Blue Jays' powder blues.

SAFETY FIRST: MLB is taking steps to help protect players against concussions, but the players can choose to do more, and Justin Morneau is doing that. Morneau will wear the Rawlings S100 helmet this year. The oversized helmet offers more protection for a batter's head, but is the subject of ridicule by other players and fans. Some players, such as David Wright, have worn it briefly only to go back to a regular helmet after hearing the jokes. Morneau apparently doesn't think concussions are funny, and he's right. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

BACKPEDDLING: Andre Either's agent says he'd love to stay in Los Angeles long-term. Of course he would. (Los Angeles Times)

AN APPLE A DAY: One of the most injured teams last season, the Red Sox are hoping prevention can help them beat injuries. (Boston Globe)

EXPRESS LINE: Putting aside the vogue bigger, badder, fatter concessions, two minor league clubs -- Richmond and Lehigh Valley -- are going with faster, allowing you to use your smartphone to preorder and pay for your concessions. (Ben's Biz Blog)

PREVIEW: Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were on display at NatsFest at Nationals Park. Strasburg said he's hoping to start opening day 2012 for the Nats. Harper said his ankle is fine, even though there's still concern he may miss his minor league team's April 7 opener. (Washington Post)

SPEAKING OF PROSPECTS: The Kansas City Star's baseball preview section is mostly about the Royals of 2012 and beyond, instead of this year's team. Bob Dutton asks if the Royals' influx of talent means Kansas City can return to its winning ways of the 70s and 80s. And then Tod Palmer looks at how it could go wrong -- like the Pirates of the late 90s.

REMEMBERING THE DUKE: The Dodgers will wear a No. 4 patch on their uniforms to honor the late Duke Snider. (MLB.com)

DONE GOOD: Kudos for Dan Haren for his work in helping fund a Miracle League field, allowing special-needs kids a place to play baseball. (Arizona Republic)

MUST READ: This graphic novel biography of Roberto Clemente looks awesome. (Atomic Books)

WELCOME BACK: Hard-core baseball fans wept when MinorLeagueSplits.com was shut down, but a replacement has been founded -- mlsplits.drivelinebaseball.com/mlsp
lits
. Let's just say it's already been bookmarked.

LOW AND AWAY: Our friends the Baseball Project have let us use their music for our podcast, and to celebrate opening day, Yep Roc Records has the MP3 download of their album, Vol. 2: High and Inside on sale for $3.99. (Yep Roc Records)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com