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  1. Carl Pavano was the target of an extortion plot

    Mar 29, 2012, 9:12 AM EDT

    Carl Pavano

    When you think of celebrity extortion plots you tend to think of super famous people with sterling reputations they’d do anything to protect. Someone tried to extort Bill Cosby once, for example. That’s pretty major because he’s an icon.  You tend not to think of extortion plots aimed at guys like Carl Pavano. But they…

  2. Springtime Storylines: Are the San Francisco Giants going to give Brandon Belt a chance?

    Mar 29, 2012, 8:45 AM EDT

    Brandon Belt

    Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2012 season. Up next: the San Francisco Giants The Big Question: Are they going to give Brandon Belt a chance? One would think that a…

  3. And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

    Mar 29, 2012, 7:31 AM EDT

    Yoenis Cespedes

    Athletics 4, Mariners 1:  As you would expect, the A’s and M’s were all about the home runs today. All the game’s runs were scored on bombs, in fact, though they gave us their de riguer 0-0 tie through six innings. Three of the four dingers came in the seventh, with Justin Smoak going deep…

  4. Springtime Storylines: What will the Astros’ final year in the National League look like?

    Mar 28, 2012, 10:04 PM EDT

    Brad Mills

    Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2012 season. Up next: The departing ‘Stros. The Big Question: What will Houston’s farewell season in the National League look like? The short answer…

  5. Corey Hart doubles, singles in minor league spring game

    Mar 28, 2012, 8:38 PM EDT

    corey hart getty

    Brewers outfielder Corey Hart took a significant step forward Wednesday in his recovery from minor knee surgery, going 2-for-4 with a double and a single in a Triple-A game. It was his first live action of the spring, and he reported feeling zero lingering discomfort. This all comes courtesy of Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel beat writer Tom…

  6. Phillies “know how much” Cole Hamels is going to cost

    Mar 28, 2012, 7:51 PM EDT

    hamels wide ap

    There may be a positive development in the ongoing long-term contract negotiations between the Phillies and left-hander Cole Hamels. Or maybe not. According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the Phillies “know how much” Hamels will cost annually “and are set to pay it.” But the Philadelphia front office would rather do a four-year deal and…

  7. Rangers release Ruben Sierra

    Mar 28, 2012, 6:45 PM EDT

    rangers logo wide

    No, it’s not a headline from 2003. The Rangers released the son of their former All-Star, also named Ruben Sierra, while making minor league cuts on Wednesday. The younger Sierra was a sixth-round pick in 2009. He didn’t embarrass himself in the minors, but neither was he proving to be much of a prospect in…

  8. Theo Epstein compensation Chris Carpenter set for elbow surgery

    Mar 28, 2012, 6:33 PM EDT

    Chris Carpenter

    Chris Carpenter, the more valuable of the two pitchers the Red Sox got from the Cubs as compensation for exiting GM Theo Epstein, will undergo surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow and miss a chunk of the season. The Red Sox almost surely gave Carpenter a physical upon acquiring him on Feb.…

  9. B.J. Upton unlikely to be ready for Opening Day

    Mar 28, 2012, 5:23 PM EDT

    B.J. Upton

    Any initial optimism about B.J. Upton making a speedy recovery following his outfield collision with Desmond Jennings two weeks ago is now gone, as the Rays center fielder admitted today that he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day. Upton has played just once since the collision, logging a handful of innings in a minor-league…

  10. Ballplayers keep getting locked out of their houses, tweeting about it

    Mar 28, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

    Latch Key

    Sign number 3,456 that spring training has gone on too long and needs to end now: two ballplayers have been locked out of their spring training homes in the past two days and have taken to Twitter to alert their roomates/teammates of the development. First, Brent Dlugach of the Detroit Tigers: Anyone seen @DannyWorth29 or…

  11. Jed Lowrie injures thumb, gets angry at Omar Infante for blocking base

    Mar 28, 2012, 4:46 PM EDT

    Brad Mills, Jed Lowrie

    Jed Lowrie, whose Red Sox career was repeatedly derailed by injuries prior to being traded to the Astros this winter, suffered a sprained right thumb diving back into second base today. And he’s upset with Marlins infielder Omar Infante for blocking the base, telling Brian McTaggart of MLB.com: The throw kind of took him up…

  12. Major League Baseball is looking for a ballpark … in Europe

    Mar 28, 2012, 4:30 PM EDT

    Olympics

    Baseball wants to make inroads in Europe, but unlike the NBA — which can use any old arena — and the NFL — which can use soccer stadiums — baseball has a field problem. As in, there aren’t a lot of baseball diamonds over there big enough for showcase events. Enter the London Olympics: The…

  13. Omar Vizquel snags a spot on Blue Jays’ bench at age 44

    Mar 28, 2012, 4:16 PM EDT

    Omar Vizquel

    Jamie Moyer is still fighting for a spot on the Rockies’ pitching staff, but the other elderly gentleman in spring training, 44-year-old Omar Vizquel, has secured a place on the Blue Jays’ bench for Opening Day. Toronto made it official today and also optioned his utility man competition, Mike McCoy, to Triple-A. Vizquel no longer…

  14. Blue Jays aren’t getting many calls about Travis Snider

    Mar 28, 2012, 3:45 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays Travis Snider hits a home run against the Oakland Athletics in the fourth inning of their American League MLB baseball game in Toronto

    Travis Snider was the 14th overall pick in the 2006 draft and ranked among Baseball America‘s top 20 prospects in both 2008 and 2009, but the Blue Jays sent him to Triple-A yesterday despite being a 24-year-old with 877 plate appearances in the majors. And it turns out other teams feel similarly about Snider, as…

  15. Pro tip: don’t build a downtown stadium if no one lives downtown

    Mar 28, 2012, 3:03 PM EDT

    Coors Field

    I think the movie “Field of Dreams” Is schlocky tripe. I know most of you disagree with me on that. I don’t care.  But its worst transgression may not be against grownup storytelling, but in giving city planners and stadium-backers that stupid “if you build it, they will come” catchphrase. I bet there hasn’t been…

  16. Springtime Storylines: Are the Chicago White Sox rebuilding or contending?

    Mar 28, 2012, 2:50 PM EDT

    Paul Konerko

    Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2012 season. Up next: Chicago White Sox. The Big Question: Are the Chicago White Sox rebuilding or contending? After eight tumultuous but mostly successful…

  17. Progressive Field is progressive

    Mar 28, 2012, 2:30 PM EDT

    Progressive Field

    Progressive in terms of energy anyway: the Indians installed a wind turbine on the roof of the ballpark. And, in addition to alternative energy, it will provide entertainment: With the turbine installed and lit from within by colored LED lights, the Indians will turn next to engaging fans with interactive digital kiosks about wind energy.…

  18. Reds reliever Nick Masset to begin season on disabled list

    Mar 28, 2012, 2:14 PM EDT

    Masset_Nick

    HardballTalk has turned into RedsBullpenTalk today, so here’s the latest: Nick Masset has been diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and will begin the season on the disabled list, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. In theory at least Masset was in the mix for the closer job, but that was always a long shot…

  19. Reds “audition” free agent reliever Mike Gonzalez

    Mar 28, 2012, 1:20 PM EDT

    2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

    Dusty Baker is still trying to decide who will be asked to replace Ryan Madson as closer, but in the meantime free agent reliever Mike Gonzalez worked out for the Reds yesterday. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com described it as an “audition” and says Gonzalez “was spotted throwing in a bullpen session at the Reds’ complex.”…

  20. The Yankees sign Jack Cust

    Mar 28, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT

    Houston Astros Photo Day

    Sweeny Murti of WFAN reports that the Yankees have signed erstwhile man-crush, Jack Cust to a minor league deal. I probably said all I need to ever write about Cust yesterday. But for what it’s worth, he hit .213/.344/.329 last year. So if he’s gonna see any time in the Bronx this year, it will likely mean…

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