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  1. "Closer" should be a dirty word

    Apr 15, 2010, 10:14 AM EDT

    I and many others wondered why Trey Hillman never called Joakim Soria from the pen during the team’s seventh inning meltdown on Tuesday. He tried to explain himself yesterday: “There’s a thought there, but, No. 1, it’s a very unusual time for Joakim Soria to pitch in a ballgame. No. 2, you’ve still got those…

  2. Do guys turn it up a notch in a contract year?

    Apr 15, 2010, 9:49 AM EDT

    That’s the conventional wisdom: players try harder when free agency looms, resulting in big walk years and big contracts handed out by teams who get hung up on the whole recency thing. But it’s not true say the boys who run Bloomberg’s new baseball stats outfit: Over the past nine years, 177 players performing in…

  3. Reviewing team nicknames

    Apr 15, 2010, 9:30 AM EDT

    My friend The Common Man is reviewing baseball team nicknames to see how their literal definition and description fits the teams to which they are applied. For example, blue jays, as birds, are kind of the jerks of the avian world, pushing out competitors whenever possible (query: did this contribute to the Expos leaving Canada?).…

  4. Will the Astros ever win a game?

    Apr 15, 2010, 9:12 AM EDT

    Well, yes, I suppose they will simply because there are so many of them in a baseball season.  Perhaps the more germane questions are (a) when will they win a game; and (b) will they challenge the 1988 Orioles’ record for season-opening futility? Taking the second question first, I think the answer is no, they…

  5. Mariano Rivera: the last man to wear 42

    Apr 15, 2010, 8:46 AM EDT

    Surprisingly, some of you thought I was being serious yesterday when I made that crack about no one giving hell to Mariano Rivera for not changing his number on Jackie Robinson Day. Of course I know that he wears 42, the last player allowed to do so by virtue of being the last active player…

  6. Comment of the Day "If you are not a Yankee fan you cannot relate to us, so STFU!"

    Apr 15, 2010, 8:17 AM EDT

    The Javier Vazquez party is progressing almost exactly as expected. After yesterday’s boos come today’s columns claiming that Vazquez simply “can’t handle New York” and otherwise ascribing moral failings to a pitcher for giving up four runs in an April start. It’d be hilarious if it weren’t so predictable. Here’s my favorite retort to yesterday’s…

  7. And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

    Apr 15, 2010, 5:50 AM EDT

    Giants 6, Pirates 0: Inside the park home run for Aubrey Huff. See it here. To say that Garrett Jones played that one off the wall poorly would be like saying that King George made some fiscal miscalculations when he increased the tax burden on the colonies to help pay for the Seven Years War.…

  8. Baker negatively impacting another youngster?

    Apr 14, 2010, 10:40 PM EDT

    Veteran manager Dusty Baker often gets blamed, fairly or unfairly, for hurting the careers of pitchers like Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior with years of strenuous pitch counts and uneven days of rest.  Whether Baker is guilty or not, his handling of Homer Bailey this evening can only be described as questionable.  The…

  9. Ozzie Guillen thinks he'd make a fine retread manager

    Apr 14, 2010, 10:00 PM EDT

    Ozzie Guillen has a contract to manage the Chicago White Sox through the 2012 season. But he knows that a manager’s job is always tenuous. So what happens if he gets fired? He’s already contemplating the possibility, according to the Chicago Tribune, and has no problem with the idea of being a future retread manager.…

  10. Nelson Cruz powers his way into history books

    Apr 14, 2010, 9:49 PM EDT

    According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz joined an elite club of power-hitters Wednesday when he hit his sixth home run of the season.  The Rangers have only played eight games and Cruz has homered in six of those games — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by any…

  11. Cliff Lee appeals suspension, says injury led to poor control

    Apr 14, 2010, 9:33 PM EDT

    Cliff Lee got his day in court on Wednesday, and he certainly can’t complain about being shortchanged on time. The Mariners left-hander spoke with baseball executives for two-plus hours via conference call as he appealed the five-game suspension he was handed for throwing a pitch over the head of Arizona’s Chris Snyder during a spring…

  12. Hicks Sports Group Creditors Threatening bankruptcy for the Rangers

    Apr 14, 2010, 8:48 PM EDT

    It’s hard to tell if this afternoon’s BusinessWeek report represents something truly new or if it’s more of a rehash of what we already know, but for the record: The Texas Rangers, the Major League Baseball team controlled by billionaire Thomas Hicks, may be forced into bankruptcy unless terms of a planned sale of the…

  13. John Maine on thin ice in Mets' starting rotation

    Apr 14, 2010, 7:22 PM EDT

    John Maine allowed eight hits and four earned runs over over five innings in his 2010 debut last week against the Marlins and was pounded for eight earned over three innings Tuesday night against the Rockies.  Needless to say, he has struggled mightily.  And now we get this… ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin heard from…

  14. Angels' faith in Scot Shields misplaced

    Apr 14, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

    With Brian Fuentes on the DL, the Angels are definitely short-handed in the bullpen. I’d argue that they’re down to two above average relievers, one of whom, Fernando Rodney, happens to be struggling, having given up four runs in four appearances after finishing with an 8.53 ERA this spring. The other, Kevin Jepsen, is the…

  15. Tomorrow is Jackie Robinson Day

    Apr 14, 2010, 5:15 PM EDT

    Tomorrow marks the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. Last year baseball began encouraging all players and umpires to wear number 42 in Jackie’s honor. Most do it. Mariano Rivera, however, controversially refuses to change from the number he has always worn. How he doesn’t catch hell for this I have no…

  16. Alex Rodriguez might be dating Cameron Diaz

    Apr 14, 2010, 4:46 PM EDT

    After dating Kate Hudson for much of last year, Alex Rodriguez has moved on to another overrated blond actress. Or at least that’s what the New York Post says: Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Diaz have had a series of secret dates following their flirtation at the Creative Artists Agency Super Bowl party in February. The…

  17. Kurt Suzuki made the catching play of the year last night

    Apr 14, 2010, 4:13 PM EDT

    The Athletics’ Kurt Suzuki made the defense play of the year, catchers’ division, in last night’s loss to the Mariners. Check it out here. Catching the ball would have been highlight enough. The fact that he caught it, stayed on his feet, saw Chone Figgins running and then threw a perfect strike down to Kouzmanoff…

  18. Rangers haven't ruled out Neftali Feliz starting

    Apr 14, 2010, 3:41 PM EDT

    Neftali Feliz has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen since debuting last August and replaced Frank Francisco as the Rangers’ closer earlier this week, but general manager Jon Daniels wrote today in an online chat that the 22-year-old phenom may still end up in the rotation long term: Going to depend on the makeup of…

  19. Classless, ignorant Yankees fans boo Javier Vazquez

    Apr 14, 2010, 3:16 PM EDT

    I’m not calling all Yankees fans classless and ignorant. Just the ones at Yankee Stadium today — and there were a lot of them — who booed Javier Vazquez. His line: Five and a third innings pitched, three four earned runs on six hits and a couple of walks.  Not a great line by any…

  20. Blue Jays see $10 million shortstop Hechavarria as 'the total package'

    Apr 14, 2010, 2:41 PM EDT

    Yesterday the Blue Jays signed Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to a four-year, $10 million contract and today general manager Alex Anthopoulos gives a scouting report on the 21-year-old prospect: The financial commitment speaks for itself. We are hoping that this is someone who can emerge and be a core piece for us. This is a…

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