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Angel in the outfield (cont.)

Posted: Thursday March 20, 2008 10:06AM; Updated: Friday March 21, 2008 11:20AM
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Around the camps

Barry Zito
Barry Zito went just 11-13 with a 4.53 ERA in his first season after going across the Bay from Oakland to San Francisco.

• Giants people are hopeful Barry Zito will improve in his second season with the team, especially now that some of the pressure from his $126 million contract has lessened, but he's been horrendous this spring, going 1-3 with a 14.92 ERA. Scouts have noticed that he is again tinkering with his mechanics. "That's twice in two years,'' one scout said, incredulously. Another scout said he's shortened the first part of his windup. Neither seems to be helping much.

Chi en-Ming Wang appears to be tinkering, as well. His ERA isn't much better than Zito's, at 8.44. One person in the Yankees clubhouse said Wang did some tinkering before the playoffs last year. In hindsight, that might not have been the best idea: his playoff ERA was 19.00.

Joba Chamberlain going to the bullpen means the Yankees are satisfied with their other five starters. The club insists the plan is to make Chamberlain a starter in the long run. Team officials say his repertoire is too good for him not to be a starter, that he has a very good curve ball and decent change up to go along with his devastating fastball-slider combination.

John Maine (2-1, 2.63) of the Meets looks like a star this spring. Anyone who figures he's a middle-of-the-rotation starter may be underestimating him.

Paul Lo Duca has some nerve complaining about the way the Mets handled him this winter (Lo Duca's claim is that the Mets acted interested but proved they never were by making no offers to him). Here's my rule: Anyone involved in the Mitchell Report shouldn't complain about teams not going after them.

• The Angels are hoping they'll get back both John Lackey (triceps) and Kelvim Escobar (shoulder) sometime in May. In the meantime, Ervin Santana and Dustin Moseley will man the spots in the rotation. "We're going to do this internally,''one Angels person insisted.

• Giants first-base prospect Dan Ortmaier has struggled offensively, adding to that team's woes.

• The Brewers did a nice job addressing their defensive needs this winter. But I have more faith that Ryan Braun can play leftfield (although, he's currently out with a shoe-related Achilles pain) than Billy Hall can play third base. And catcher Jason Kendall better call a lot of the correct pitches with that weak bat and $4.25-million salary.

•That Ned Yost is a feisty one. He appears to be picking a fight with Scioscia over the fact that the Angels once didn't send a lot of stars to play in Maryvale. Yost returned the favor, putting up a team of mostly minor leaguers against the powerful Angels. No surprise, Milwaukee got crushed, 11-4.

•As Dylan Ratigan of CNBC pointed out, the Yankees paid more for Alex Rodriguez than JP Morgan paid for Bear Stearns.

• Nice touch by the Yankees, who showed a heart by going to Virginia Tech to play that exhibition.

• I miss Dodgertown already.

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