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The saga continues ... (cont.)

Posted: Tuesday April 3, 2007 11:33AM; Updated: Tuesday April 3, 2007 12:51PM
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• The toughest assignment may belong to Yankees coach Don Mattingly, who is going to have to make the best of a three-headed first-base situation. All three need work on their throws, and Rule V pickup Josh Phelps started things off with a throwing error (Jason Giambi is an historically bad thrower, and even touted fielder Doug Mientkiewicz appears to need work in that area).

• Multiple Gold Glover Derek Jeter is still oddly slow to his left (balls up the middle) for someone who's so quick to his right, coming in or going out. It's like he has a blind spot.

60 Minutes legends Mike Wallace and Don Hewitt got onto an elevator after the game ended as the operator shouted "Press only," and of course by any measure, they qualify as press. But Wallace soon found out that the operator meant working press, as the elevator went straight to the basement, where the clubhouses are. When it arrived in the bowels of the stadium, Wallace immediately knew something was amiss, as any good reporter would. Wondered Wallace of his 60 Minutes boss and companion, "Where the hell are we?"

• The Yankees can't complain about the league scheduler (as they often do). Drawing the D-Rays on Opening Day -- even when Carl Pavano is starting -- is reminiscent of a powerhouse college football team inviting the weakest sister to its homecoming game.

• I must admit, Pavano didn't look terrible on 643 days rest. And what's more, he made it through without injury or incident.

• Maybe the Yankees should start working on that extension for Mariano Rivera now. The man is already throwing 95 mph, and of course it's a wicked 95, not a straight 95. The young D-Rays had no chance in the ninth.

Devil of a time

• The Devil Rays over the offseason quietly tried to lock up ace pitcher Scott Kazmir to a five-year deal.

• Now it can be told: Former D-Rays GM Chuck LaMar a couple times came very close to trading Victor Zambrano for outfielder Kevin Mench (which would have given the D-Rays yet another outfielder too many) but instead decided on Kazmir. That was by far the best move he made as GM.

• New third-base import Akinori Iwamura appears to use a modified version of Ichiro's swing. He certainly doesn't look like a No. 5 hitter with that swing.

• One D-Rays person expressed worry about their bullpen just before the game. Then on cue, the relief corps was nice enough to provide a demonstration as to what he was worrying about, allowing four runs in four innings.

Around the majors

• The Tigers considered putting hard-throwing young hotshot Andrew Miller in the injured Kenny Rogers' spot but will play it safe by starting Miller (who had an August callup last year) in the minors and employing journeyman Chad Durbin instead.

• The Dodgers are in better pitching shape than most. But there has to be worry over Jason Schmidt's low gun readings, and you have to wonder if the rival Giants didn't pursue him because they knew something was amiss.

Shawn Green "has to produce" to keep his job, one Mets decisionmaker says. Otherwise, Lastings Milledge may wind up playing right field by June, and Green, who's owed about $4 million by the Mets (the rest is being paid by Arizona) could be traded, if anyone's interested.

• The Rockies extended GM Dan O'Dowd and manager Clint Hurdle through 2009 in a move that surprised some folks, including Hurdle. "I was absolutely surprised," Hurdle said. While the Rockies haven't been winners lately, the O'Dowd move makes sense in that it simply took him a few years to dig out from the Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle mistakes, he's one of the hardest workers and one of the smartest GMs, and he's building what should be a fine future. As for Hurdle, like him, I'm surprised.

• Aren't the Dodgers taking a chance by having Steve Sax throw out the first ball?

• I am already preparing my apology to Gil Meche.

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