Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Spring Training Thus Far - Player Notes

posted by Jon Williams
Josh Beckett - Red Sox fans had better hope that Curt Schilling doesn't irritate Josh Beckett right out of Boston. Schilling seems to think of himself as a mentor for Josh Beckett. Beckett seemed to take it well but a season of it might start to get on his nerves. We know for a fact that Randy Johnson couldn't take much of Curt's constant blather.

Curt Schilling - If nothing else Red Sox fans can be grateful that Schilling feels ready for the season. In fact he claims he is no longer rehabbing but instead doing normal conditioning. "I'm ready to be good again", he said.

Francisco Liriano - Liriano, who is in competition with Scott Baker for the Twins' fifth starter job may hurt his chances if he competes in the World Baseball Classic as he plans (Dominican Republic). A less than stellar showing in the showcase could send him back to AAA or at least the bullpen. On the other hand a great showing in the classic could cement the job for him. Either way no one should underestimate the ability of Scott Baker. Baker was considered the better prospect before Liriano's rocket through the minors.

Kaz Matsui - The Mets gave Matsui's corner locker location to veteran Bret Boone. The chances of Boone beating out Matsui should be slim but its pretty obvious who the Mets want to have the job. I happen to think that Matsui if healthy will show us something this season of course the Mets have to give him the opportunity first.

Scott Olsen - The young Marlin lefty who missed the end of last season with elbow inflammation is feeling fine now. He was feeling fine after throwing all his pitches off a mound on Tuesday.

Dallas McPherson - McPherson seems to have dropped off the planet due to his injury plagued 2005 season. He seems to have lost any chance at the full time third base job to Chone Figgins. Instead McPherson will get some time at first and designated hitter. Don't forget about him. When Garrett Anderson lands on the DL you'll be glad to have McPherson stashed away in reserve.

Michael Megrew - Megrew was a selection in this winter's Rule V draft. Megrew had Tommy John Surgery in 2004. He feels 100% healthy and now feels as if he just needs to get his velocity back. Megrew could turn into something but he'll need to successfully stay on the major league roster the entire season, on the Marlins that might just be possible.

Josh Willingham - Josh will get lots of on the job training this spring. The Marlins want him to be an acceptable catcher so he can play at least a few games behind the plate as well as in left and at first. Even if he doesn't catch he'll be worthwhile getting the majority of his at-bats from left field.

Kendry Morales - Manager Mike Scioscia believes it would be a stretch to see Morales break camp with the big league team. Scioscia believes Morales has an explosive bat with 30-homer potential, but has things he still needs to work on before he can hit major league pitching. He's probably right but I don't think Kendry is far from major league success. Even Scioscia believes its mostly about gaining experience.

Jim Thome - Thome is another vet coming off serious injury problems last season who is now claiming to be just fine. back injuries are tricky. You never know when they'll creep back into your life. Big Jim Thome will probably be okay this year but don't pay for the completely healthy version until you see him moving well with your own eyes.

Kerry Wood
- Wood isn't ready to throw off a mound just yet. he'll likely start the season on the DL. If all goes well he'll be back by May.

Eric Gagne - Gagne also claims to be 100% healthy and says he'll be in his old form by summer. "There is no doubt" he said, "No doubt at all that I'm going to go out and do my job. I know that for a fact."

Barry Bonds - He might retire. he might not. Don't pay any attention to what he says. Instead pay attention to how he moves and how often he plays. If he looks normal draft him.

Adrian Beltre - Beltre will be the starting third baseman for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. According to Dominican Republic manager Manny Acta, Beltre was one of the first to sign up for duty.

Pedro Martinez - Pedro has been testing out his new custom shoes, which are designed to protect his ailing toe. Pedro acknowledges that the toe may keep him from participating in the World Baseball Classic. The Mets are being supportive of Pedro's desire to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the WBC probably because they know getting Pedro angry won't help anything. The Mets say Pedro can pitch on the toe as it is but fear that if the toe really pains him he may alter his delivery and hurt his arm as a result. Omar Minaya pointed out that all players who participate in the WBC are fully insured.

Billy Wagner - Wagner was feeling queasy on Monday and was unable to throw off a mound. he went home with a stomach virus. Apparently his kids had been sick with it all week.

Scott Rolen - Scott Rolen had his surgically repaired shoulder examined Saturday by the Reds medical examiner Dr. Tim Kreunchek, who also performed the operation. Although the results were not made public the Cardinals seemed encouraged by Rolen's long tossing session in the outfield on Monday.

Andruw Jones - Jones isn't content with his 50 homer season in 2005. he wants to exceed it this year by being more consistent. He wants to hit for a higher average. i don't put anything past this guy. He's got all the tools.

Andy Tracy - Tracy was traded from the Indians to the Orioles the other day. Tracy has some power but don't make anything out of this. Tracy mike be okay off the bench but he'll have no fantasy value. I'm really only listing it because it was a trade made during spring training.

Gary Sheffield - Brian Cashman in an attempt to control a potential problem announced to Gary Sheffield that barring anything unusual the Yankees would be picking up his $13MM option for the 2007 season.

Greg Maddux - Greg Maddux mentioned his next potential contract as a motivational factor this season. When guys like Maddux are motivated (especially by money) don't bet against a big season.

Josh Hancock - Josh was releaseed for being 17lbs overweight. Did anyone really care?

Mark Prior - Prior is once again behind the other pitchers in Cubs camp. In the last two years he's pitched in only one regular spring game. Prior suffered from a throat infection this winter that required him to go the emergency room. he has yet to throw from a mound this spring. The Cubs are making noise about putting on a slower more methodical rehab program this spring. I guess it can't hurt. The Cubs really need Prior to stay a part of the rotation this season if they hope to have a prayer of contention.

Aramis Ramirez - Ramirez was visibly slimmer coming into camp this year. Ramirez has expressed an interest in playing in the WBC but seems to be leaning towards sticking in Cubs camp. He is still apparently recovering from his injury problems and wants to put his health and the Cubs before the WBC. What a great guy.

Erubiel Durazo - Durazo signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers. He had ligament replacement surgery in July. he should nicely complicate the DH position for Texas.

Peace.

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