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Ahead of the pack (cont.)

Posted: Thursday April 12, 2007 11:54AM; Updated: Friday April 13, 2007 2:47PM
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Santana's non-denial denial

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Johan Santana on Wednesday was described by Twins people as being upset by the Sports Illustrated report that he's cut off negotiations after the Twins offered a two-year deal plus a club option for about $18 million per just before the Opening Day deadline Santana set. And Santana issued what Minnesota papers described as a "denial." Although, he agreed that two years was too little to accept, and he also appeared to agree, contrary to what's been written there, that he doesn't expect to talk about his contract with the Twins all year. That sounds more like confirmation than denial to me.

He also was quoted saying, "As far as I know I haven't talked to anybody about anything.''

But geez, if he hasn't talked to the Twins about a contract, and they won't talk the rest of the year, either, this would mean the Twins never discussed a contract with him all year. Who in the name of Hubert H. Humphrey believes that?

Around the Majors

• Not only have the Santana talks come to a dead stop, but, according to a league source, the talks with closer Joe Nathan have "slowed" since the season began. Like Santana, Nathan can be a free agent after the 2008 season (the Twins will surely exercise his $6 million option for '07).

• The New York Times identified John Canning, a Brewers limited partner and friend of Bud Selig, as a potential buyer of the Cubs. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but the day I saw Selig in Arizona this spring, it was in Mesa for a Cubs-Brewers game, and the man with him was introduced to me as one John Canning.

• Of the ballyhooed Dice-K vs. Ichiro matchup, Ichiro said he could tell it's a big deal "because I can look out in center field and see a Dunkin' Donuts sign in Japanese.'' Well said.

• Dice-K won his battles with Ichiro, keeping him from reaching base in three at-bats. But as it turned out, Kenji Johjima had the best day of the Japanese star imports, belting two doubles off Matsuzaka. And as we saw Matsuzaka couldn't come close to outpitching Mariners starter Felix Hernandez, who was the real star. So much for the buildup.

• If the Angels are impressing everyone, it's A-Rod. They are probably the prohibitive favorites to acquire him in the offseason.

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