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  1. Joba has a strong day, quiets the naysayers . . . for now

    Mar 18, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT

    I don’t recall a spring training game being talked up as much as yesterday’s Yankees-Phillies tilt, which the New York press breathlessly reported as Joba Chamberlain’s make-or-break day.  Certainly Chamberlain needed a good outing — he’s been pitching terribly so far this spring — but it’s not like the Yankees are so shortsighted that they’d…

  2. What they're saying about Ron Washington

    Mar 18, 2010, 8:30 AM EDT

    Some assorted Internet, newspaper and Texas Ranger player reaction to the Ron Washington cocaine news: Jeff Passan: “By treating Washington’s incident as a slip-up and allowing MLB to investigate whether he had any sort of a drug problem, the Rangers did a disservice to their players, fans and anyone else with a vested interest in…

  3. Report: Ron Washington was being blackmailed

    Mar 18, 2010, 7:18 AM EDT

    Randy Galloway of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram drops a bomb in last night’s column: Ron Washington and the Rangers were being blackmailed over his positive cocaine test. Galloway reports that numerous team sources have confirmed that the blackmailer — a team employee who was fired in the offseason — was making “strong demands.” The obvious…

  4. Pelfrey strives to become an "actual pitcher"

    Mar 17, 2010, 8:59 PM EDT

    Wednesday has been an incredibly busy day on the MLB news front, so much so that one of my favorite quotes of the afternoon got lost among the abundance of noise. Here’s Mike Pelfrey, as quoted by Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, after allowing one run on four hits over four innings against the Red Sox…

  5. Blue Jays' closer competition may be a two-horse race

    Mar 17, 2010, 7:14 PM EDT

    We’ve been under the impression that Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor and Scott Downs were all competing for the closer role in Toronto, and that may still be the case, but according to what Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com on Wednesday, Downs’ odds of winning the job may have been downgraded…

  6. Cliff Lee suspended for five games

    Mar 17, 2010, 6:48 PM EDT

    Cliff Lee has been suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing at Chris Snyder’s head during Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks. Seems a bit on the harsh side to me. I’m no fan of headhunting, but he didn’t hit him and I don’t recall Lee ever getting in trouble over…

  7. The case for the Mets signing Elijah Dukes

    Mar 17, 2010, 6:15 PM EDT

    As soon as Elijah Dukes was released today people starting snarking “just watch, the Mets will sign him.”  Howard Megdal of the New York Baseball Digest doesn’t consider that to be snark at all.  The upshot: Dukes is better than Gary Matthews, who the Mets will probably start, so at the very least he’d fit…

  8. Jay Bruce: Red Menace

    Mar 17, 2010, 5:45 PM EDT

    Like me, friend of the blog The Common Man laments the lack of good nicknames in baseball these days.  And like me, he likes beer.  Putting those two things together has led him to bestow the nickname “Red Meance” on Reds’ outfielder Jay Bruce. It’s a more in-depth and nuanced appellation than the mere reference…

  9. John Smoltz puts his odds of pitching again at 50-1

    Mar 17, 2010, 5:15 PM EDT

    Jeff Shultz of the AJC spoke with John Smoltz today to see if he’s retiring or not.  Smoltz wouldn’t use the word, but placed his odds of pitching again at 50-1 and said “My desire to work out every day is still there.  But my desire to throw 50 to 70 times a day isn’t.”…

  10. Ron Washington's official statement

    Mar 17, 2010, 4:50 PM EDT

    Here’s the full transcript of Ron Washington’s official statement, released by the Rangers following news that he tested positive for cocaine last year: I am here today to apologize for a huge mistake I made during the first half of the season in 2009. I am not here to make excuses. There are none. I…

  11. A few words on cocaine in baseball

    Mar 17, 2010, 4:22 PM EDT

    Since the Ron Washington news broke a couple of hours ago I’ve gotten several comments and have seen random mutterings from the blogosphere suggesting that a baseball figure being connected to cocaine represents something different and new and horrible. I laughed at this at first, but then I realized that if you’re under the age…

  12. Nationals may look into replacing Dukes with Dye

    Mar 17, 2010, 3:48 PM EDT

    After releasing Elijah Dukes this morning the Nationals may look to replace him with Jermaine Dye, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. Ladson notes that platooning the left-handed-hitting Willie Harris with right-handed hitters Justin Maxwell or Mike Morse in right field is the Nationals’ most likely post-Dukes plan, but adds that “they do have interest in”…

  13. The White Sox release Daniel Cabrera

    Mar 17, 2010, 3:25 PM EDT

    It’s a big release day today because if players without guaranteed contracts are cut today they can be disposed of with 30-days’ termination pay as opposed to a full year’s salary. That may have had something to do with Elijah Dukes’ thing, of course. It’s also why the White Sox just cut Daniel Cabrera. Daniel…

  14. Video: Bill James chats it up on 'Geoff Baker Live'

    Mar 17, 2010, 2:55 PM EDT

    If you’ve ever wondered what Bill James looks like, sounds like, and thinks like, check out the video of Geoff Baker from the Seattle Times interviewing him for over an hour yesterday. Some really interesting stuff, including James’ thoughts on the current state of sabermetrics (a word he literally invented), the Mariners’ chances this season,…

  15. Ubaldo Jimenez chose strikeouts over medicine

    Mar 17, 2010, 2:22 PM EDT

    Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote a great article about Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez, whose working-class family in the Dominican Republic made him turn down $20,000 to sign with the Mets as a 16-year-old: They didn’t want me to sign until I finished high school. I always respected my parents, and I knew it was…

  16. Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last year

    Mar 17, 2010, 1:52 PM EDT

    Wow: Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine during the 2009 season, SI.com has learned. Washington, 57, has been subject to increased drug testing since his failed test, which was administered by Major League Baseball last July, and he has passed all of his subsequent tests. In deciding to support Washington and retain…

  17. Where did those green St. Patricks Day uniforms come from?

    Mar 17, 2010, 1:15 PM EDT

    You can blame/thank the Reds for all the green you see in teams’ uniforms today. It was them — or more specifically, their GM Dick Wagner — who started the tradition in 1978.  While it went over pretty well, the initial reactions were fun: After workouts, the Reds dragged their perspiring bodies off the field…

  18. NBC Sports' NCAA tournament bracket contest

    Mar 17, 2010, 1:01 PM EDT

    According to an annual report on workplace productivity the NCAA tournament is expected to cost the United States’ economy approximately $1.8 billion in lost production. Yes, that’s “billion” with a “b.” Oh, and that total only accounts for the first week of March Madness. We here at NBCSports.com would really like to see that number…

  19. Street has setback, likely to begin season on DL

    Mar 17, 2010, 12:20 PM EDT

    Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Huston Street has been shut down indefinitely and will likely begin the season on the disabled list after experiencing shoulder soreness while playing catch today. Street was sidelined early in camp with what the Rockies deemed shoulder inflammation, but had progressed to throwing regularly before this setback.…

  20. Nats' GM Mike Rizzo to blog

    Mar 17, 2010, 12:10 PM EDT

    Well, he’s going to be on a blog — Ben Goessling’s MASN blog — doing Q&As, taking reader questions and stuff like that.  It will be a weekly feature. The only interesting front office blog or blog-like experience I’ve really ever seen was Padre assistant GM Paul DePodesta’s, which was kind of interesting for a…

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