Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was able to stretch out his pitch count to 82 while working five scoreless innings Sunday against the Astros. The plan was to try to get to 85 pitches, so he came close enough.
Big-league ballplayers make plenty of money, but that doesn’t mean free agency isn’t stressful. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal takes a fascinating look at free agency as seen through the eyes of Red Sox players. Chris Capuano reports that, whenever he’s a free agent, he sends his agent a list of teams in order of preference, but then has to wait to see if there’s mutual interest. He also notes that, typically, playing for a winner becomes more and more important to a player the older he gets. David Ross says that, before the 2009 season, he signed to be a backup with the Braves rather than a starter with the Astros because the Braves offered a two-year deal. Here are more notes from around the big leagues. Conflicting reports yesterday regarding Ervin Santana has everyone confused. “I really don’t know what’s real and what’s not real in that case,” Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette told reporters, including CSNBaltimore.com’s Rich Dubroff. The biggest culprit for Santana’s situation is the right-hander’s own camp, which dramatically overestimated his market and then was slow to change gears, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes.
On this date in 2010, Stephen Strasburg threw two scoreless innings against Detroit in his much anticipated first exhibition start for the Nationals. The former San Diego State right-hander, the recipient of the Golden Spikes award as best amateur baseball player in the nation, was selected as the number one overall pick in the 2009 draft, signing a record $15.1MM, four-year deal with Washington. Here’s this week’s look around the blogosphere.. Camden Depot compared the Orioles’ and Nationals’ media market with others.
The Astros’ “Ground Control” database is essential for the club’s day-to-day operations, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. Featuring contract information, scouting reports, stats and tools such as a trade analzyer, the system is used by baseball operations staff for all decisions. Mike Elias, the Astros’ amateur scouting director, is partial to Ground Control’s scheduling interface. “I can see all the cross-checkers and scouts, and we can see where everyone’s going to be,” he says. “We’ve got every college and high school game in the country loaded in there, and we can mix and match.” Here are more late-night Major League links: The public’s perception of Carlos Beltran as a Met — injury-prone, bad in the clutch — doesn’t reflect reality, writes the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. In a separate column, Sherman offers his choices for MLB’s top storylines in 2014. The return of Ryan Braun headlines a list that also includes Bud Selig’s final season as commissioner and the debut of Tony Clark as head of the Player’s Association. Bud Norris “would seem like a logical choice” among players that could be dealt if the Orioles add another starter, such as Ervin Santana, speculates Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun. Norris currently projects as the club’s fifth starter. Schmuck writes that there appears to be no major obstacles to signing Santana, outside of convincing him to choose the O’s over the Blue Jays.
Mark Teixeira had another day of positive signs for the Yankees on Saturday, slugging a double and working a walk in New York’s 9-6 Grapefruit League victory over the Astros.
It’s been a tumultuous offseason for Alex Castellanos of the Padres, MLB.com’s Corey Brock writes. In late October, the Dodgers traded Castellanos to the Red Sox. Two months later, the Rangers claimed him off waivers. Then, the Rangers designated him for assignment in order to make room for Joe Saunders, and the Padres claimed him. ”Don’t take any pictures with any jerseys on,” Castellanos said when asked the offseason had taught him. Here are more notes from around the big leagues. A year after joining the Royals as part of the James Shields / Wil Myers trade, Wade Davis is now a reliever, writes Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star
At least one of the two home runs Brett Oberholtzer gave up in his first start of the spring Friday against the Nationals was aided by a stiff wind blowing from right to left field, but the left-hander wasn’t about to make any excuses.
Former Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher put on a full Angels uniform, sat down for manager Mike Scioscia’s pregame meeting, stretched with the team along the right-field line, shagged fly balls and then took part in some batting practice prior to Friday’s game against the Cubs at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Officials from the Astros and Nationals were presented with 10 locations for possible Spring Training relocation sites, including eight locations in Palm Beach County — the Astros’ preferred site — according to county documents.
Here are the “make-or-break” seasons that are on the horizon in the American League, because every team has at least one player with a lot on the line, either because of what 2014 will mean for his future or what his performance will mean for his team’s bottom line.