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  1. Springtime Storylines: Should Athletics' fans be freaking out about the bullpen yet?

    Mar 29, 2010, 3:05 PM EDT

    Between now and Opening Day, HBT will take a look at each of the 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2010 season.  Next up: The San Jose Athletics (forgive me; just tryin’ it out) The big question: Should Athletics’ fans be freaking out about…

  2. Pirates plan to bat the pitcher eighth this season

    Mar 29, 2010, 2:32 PM EDT

    Pirates manager John Russell revealed today that he plans to bat the pitcher eighth in the lineup for most games this season, with shortstop Ronny Cedeno or his backup Bobby Crosby hitting ninth. Some lineup simulations have shown that the pitcher batting eighth rather than ninth can indeed lead to more runs, as having a…

  3. Obama to throw out first pitch in Washington

    Mar 29, 2010, 1:41 PM EDT

    President Barack Obama will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Nationals-Phillies game on Opening Day in Washington and commissioner Bud Selig will also be in attendance at Nationals Park. Obama probably won’t be wearing Nationals gear, however, because he previously threw out the first pitch to catcher Albert Pujols at last season’s All-Star…

  4. Twins to use closer-by-committee with Nathan out

    Mar 29, 2010, 12:50 PM EDT

    Ron Gardenhire announced yesterday that the Twins will begin the season using a “closer-by-committee” approach with Joe Nathan out for the year following Tommy John elbow surgery: We are a committee. Our closer role is a committee. We’re going to try just about anything. I’ve never had to do it. It’s going to be an…

  5. Rangers reportedly still interested in Mike Lowell

    Mar 29, 2010, 12:01 PM EDT

    According to Jim Reeves of the Rangers are “scouring other camps to try to find that right-handed hitting role player … to fill the role of backup first baseman/third baseman” and “keep coming back to” Mike Lowell. Reeves quotes a “club source” as saying that the Rangers “believe they can still basically get Lowell…

  6. Springtime Storylines: Was the Mariners' offseason all that it was cracked up to be?

    Mar 29, 2010, 11:15 AM EDT

    Between now and Opening Day, HBT will take a look at each of the 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2010 season.  Next up: The new-look Seattle Mariners The big question: Was the Mariners’ offseason all that it was cracked up to be? No,…

  7. Johnny Damon and Brian Cashman hug it out

    Mar 29, 2010, 10:44 AM EDT

    Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that Johnny Damon and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman “met for about 10 minutes behind the batting cage yesterday.” They reportedly cleared the air following unsuccessful offseason negotiations that saw Damon end up with the Tigers. In fact, according to Sherman “the two parted with a hug”…

  8. Sanchez earns Marlins' starting first base job

    Mar 29, 2010, 10:08 AM EDT

    Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald passes along word that Gaby Sanchez has captured the Marlins’ starting first base job over top prospect Logan Morrison, who has been reassigned to minor league camp. Sanchez, 26, hit .409/.460/.659 this spring with 18 hits, five doubles, two home runs and five RBI in 44 at-bats while Morrison,…

  9. Jake Westbrook, NCAA bracket aficionado

    Mar 29, 2010, 9:34 AM EDT

    Jake Westbrook may have missed the entire 2009 season due to Tommy John surgery, but that doesn’t mean he’s off the map in Cleveland.  The right-hander clinched a “Celebrity Bracket Challange” over the weekend hosted by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, beating out local VIPs like the Browns’ Josh Cribbs, the Cavaliers’ Mo Williams and Kosta Koufos,…

  10. Springtime Storylines: Will the Texas Rangers' rotation hold up?

    Mar 29, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT

    Between now and Opening Day, HBT will take a look at each of the 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2010 season.  Next up: The Texas Rangers The big question: Will the rotation hold up? When Nolan Ryan rode into town in 2008 and…

  11. Desmond earns Nationals' starting shortstop gig

    Mar 29, 2010, 8:28 AM EDT

    UPDATE: Guzman took the decision in stride and told Ladson that he is “willing to do anything the Nats ask of him.”  He will not demand a trade. SATURDAY, 10:41pm:’s Bill Ladson passes along some refreshing news out of Nationals camp.  According to team sources, 24-year-old prospect Ian Desmond has captured the club’s Opening…

  12. Is Kershaw ready to take the next step?

    Mar 29, 2010, 12:54 AM EDT

    Vicente Padilla has been named the Opening Day starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that right-thinking baseball fans expect that it will be Clayton Kershaw who assumes the mantle of ace. The early evidence certainly is pointing in that direction. The 22-year-old left-hander dominated the Cincinnati…

  13. A's reach deal with recently dumped Gaudin

    Mar 28, 2010, 6:11 PM EDT

    Ken Rosenthal of reports that the Athletics have reached agreement on a contract with free agent right-hander Chad Gaudin. The Yankees released Gaudin last week after he failed to win an uphill battle against Phil Gughes and Joba Chamberlain for the club’s final rotation spot.  The 26-year-old Gaudin went 6-10 with a 4.64 ERA,…

  14. Reyes making swift progress in Mets camp

    Mar 28, 2010, 5:38 PM EDT

    Mets shortstop Jose Reyes has now participated in four baseball-related workouts since having his overactive thyroid cleared by team doctors.  According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, he is now ready to step it up a notch. Reyes, 26, is expected to begin playing in minor league simulated games soon and the Mets…

  15. UPDATE: Giants hand Cain three-year extension

    Mar 28, 2010, 4:15 PM EDT

    UPDATE:  Baggarly hears that Cain’s salary will remain at $4.5 million this season, but jumps to around $8 million in 2011 and north of $15 million for 2012.  All things considered, it’s a great deal for the Giants. 3:38pm:  The San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman reports that it’s a three-year deal. Cain is getting a…

  16. Belisario reports to spring training a tad late

    Mar 28, 2010, 3:01 PM EDT

    UPDATE:  Belisario spoke with ESPN Los Angeles on Sunday and explained his absence from camp: “I never missed an appointment,” he said. “They gave me appointments to go to after they said they were denying my visa. They told me to take exams and things, and I kept going twice a week. They just said…

  17. Quote of the Day: Milton Bradley

    Mar 28, 2010, 2:10 PM EDT

    Milton Bradley, awarded with the Mariners’ cleanup job this weekend according to the Associated Press, had this to say to the Chicago media before Sunday’s Cactus League game against the Cubs when asked for a short chat: “No chance. Beat it,” Bradley told the Chicago Tribune. “You guys ran me out of town. Never again.…

  18. Braves' Heyward scratched due to shin splints

    Mar 28, 2010, 12:51 PM EDT

    Braves phenom Jason Heyward was scratched from Sunday’s exhibition game against the Nationals due to shin splints in his left leg, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Dave O’Brien (via Twitter). Shin splints aren’t serious and won’t hold him out of regular season action, but anyone who’s dealt with the ailment knows how annoying it…

  19. Hanley awarded diamond-studded ".342" bling

    Mar 28, 2010, 9:37 AM EDT

    Hanley Ramirez won his first National League batting titled in 2009, compiling a career-high .342 batting average over 652 plate appearances.  He finished second in NL MVP voting behind Albert Pujols and just ahead of Phillies slugger Ryan Howard, but on Saturday got his own little piece of hardware. According to Joe Capozzi of the…

  20. Red Sox won't give Beckett more than four years

    Mar 27, 2010, 9:42 PM EDT

    Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston heard from an insider source Saturday that the Red Sox will not give more than a four-year deal to right-handed starter Josh Beckett. It’s not shocking news.  The Red Sox dolled out a five-year, $82.5 million contract to John Lackey this offseason and a six-year, $52 million deal to Daisuke…

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