Posted: Sunday April 1, 2007 10:53AM; Updated: Sunday April 1, 2007 1:08PM
The best bet for the coming season: This is the year Alex Rodriguez has his best shot at finally winning a World Series ring while wearing pinstripes. Unfortunately for him, the pinstripes he'll be wearing will be bright Cubbies blue, not Yankees navy blue. Yankee fans be delighted come July to see Rodriguez traded to the Cubs, who are spending money like the federal government in a crazed effort to buy their first World Series ring in 99 years.
Take a look at Rodriguez in Monday's opener and you will notice something different. He's a leaner machine and is wearing his socks throw-back style, the only Yankee on the field other than first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz who is showing blue socks.
The Yankees' businesslike approach to closer Mariano Rivera's contract situation has many believing the front office is wondering how much Rivera has left, especially after straining a muscle in his right arm late last season.
If the Dodgers falter, don't expect GM Ned Colletti to stand pat simply for the sake of stability. Whether it is making a trade or promoting a prospect, he won't hesitate to disrupt the comfort zone.
It's likely Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano will take the mound Monday on Opening Day in Cincinnati without a new five-year contract. This was his stated deadline for completing a deal with Chicago. He has threatened to file for free agency at the end of the season.
Every major league team assigns someone in the organization to monitor their players discreetly from the time they are notified of a drug test until they produce a urine sample sometimes hours later. The policy was introduced because top baseball officials perceived that some players had too much freedom on testing days.
Angels pitcher Bartolo Colon will begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment by starting for Rancho Cucamonga in its season opener Thursday, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. Jered Weaver will start for the Quakes on Friday. Colon could rejoin the Angels' starting rotation as soon as April 20. Weaver is scheduled to rejoin the Angels' rotation April 16, after two minor league rehabilitation starts.
The departure of so many key clubhouse figures in such a short period seems to have left a leadership void on the Angels, though Scioscia is confident the void will be filled.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wasn't expecting any miracles between now and Monday's opener regarding player contracts. As it now stands, there's no longer an opportunity to negotiate contracts with free agents-to-be Jermaine Dye, Mark Buehrle and Tadahito Iguchi.
The Devil Rays told Jorge Cantu they had no use for him Saturday, sending their 2005 team MVP to the minors. Cantu responded by saying he no longer had use for them, asking for a trade and threatening not to report to Durham.
Although the Orioles front office hopes to contend this season, the team's plan is to build around young pitching and make runs in 2008 and '09.
Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur was such a huge Red Sox fan growing up that as late as last season he carried a credit card with the team's logo. Francoeur was raised in Georgia but his father grew up in Western Massachusetts.
One of the frustrating stories in the Red Sox organization is catcher/first baseman Jeff Bailey's throwing disorder, which cropped up two years ago. Scouts who watched him catch in the past have said that if he could throw the ball back to the pitcher, he'd be a major league backup and maybe even start for some teams.
The Twins want more consistent control from Matt Garza before they're ready to promote the right-hander from Rochester.
Retired Brad Radke asked the Twins to keep the Monday pregame tribute to him low-key.