Bonifacio's emergence (cont.)
Aces wild ... and hit hard, too
What's going on with all the aces?
The most valuable commodity in baseball is a star starting pitcher. But so far the stars have stunk. At least many of them have.
The following Nos.1 and 2 starters have also pitched very poorly, though perhaps not quite as poorly as Cook, Hamels and Wang: Fausto Carmona (10.80), Cliff Lee (9.90), Justin Verlander (9.35), Jon Lester (9.00), Edinson Volquez (8.31), Tim Lincecum (6.94) and Roy Oswalt (6.23).
CC Sabathia was right in that bad mix after an amped-up Yankees debut, but righted himself in a hurry, and now, after a superb second start against the Royals, has his ERA at a more manageable 4.50.
Rare basketball note: James Knicks-bound?
A couple folks inside the Yankees' clubhouse say they believe that LeBron James will be headed to New York as a Knick in a couple years. How they know this, well, they didn't say. But my guess would be that Sabathia, who knows James from his Cleveland days, expressed this opinion to them. I am sure he wouldn't give away any secret like this publicly, so there's no sense in me even asking him. But it's something to watch for.
Around the Majors
Dontrelle Willis views his D.L. stay as temporary and believes he'll be ready to rejoin the Tigers' rotation shortly after coming off the D.L., his agent Matt Sosnick said. However, Willis' expectations could lead to a confrontation, as scouts generally didn't see a big-league pitcher this spring after an atrocious 2008 season. Willis believes he'll be fine as soon as the anxiety disorder that was diagnosed subsides, though the Tigers are more likely to seek a minor-league stint of decent length to straighten out his pitching. Whatever happens, our best to a very nice young man who was a bolt of excitement in Florida for a few years.
The Giants and Lincecum aren't ruling out in-season contract talks, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence that the Giants are close to locking up Lincecum, who'll want to beat Hamels' $20.5 million deal to cover his three arbitration years.
Diamondbacks people don't think Brandon Webb's shoulder issue is anything serious and the MRI revealed no structural damage.
Freddy Garcia didn't look like he was quite ready early in spring when he got hammered in a Mets' intrasquad game and a few other games, but he's been lights out lately. He has allowed only one run in three extended spring starts and has hit the high 80s comfortably. While he doesn't have a specific "out'' in his contract, it's generally understood that if another big-league team is ready to give him a shot, the Mets would either try to find room for him or let him go. With Livan Hernandez off to a nice start, it doesn't appear that there's an obvious spot for Garcia in New York.
Two more comeback pitchers to watch could be Gustavo Chacin, who's working his way back with the Phillies, and Carlos Hernandez, the former Astros hotshot who's doing the same with the Rays. Hernandez looked like a major prospect before arm trouble, but he has remade himself without the high 90s fastball and is on Tampa's radar.
Tom Glavine's shoulder soreness is slightly worrisome. Perhaps big-time Braves pitching prospect Tommy Hanson will appear sooner than expected.
The Angels are one of baseball's best organizations, top to bottom, and they deserve credit for the very nice tribute they gave Nick Adenhart, and also for managing to play an excellent series against the very tough Red Sox following Adenhart's tragic death at age 22.
If anything good comes from the killing of Adenhart and his two friends, perhaps it's that young players will understand that it's sheer stupidity to drive drunk, as the idiot who's charged with plowing into Adenhart's car allegedly did. This is a far bigger problem in the NFL, but pro athletes can afford to hire taxis. There's no excuse.
Good for Gary Sheffield that he recognizes he's not ready to take over for Ryan Church in right field, especially at Citi Field, which looks like it's going to be tricky in addition to large. Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he might consider Sheffield for Wednesday, but won't play him in the field in Santana's games since he's expecting those to be low-scoring affairs and doesn't want to give up the defense.
It would be nice if the Mets were opening their Ebbets Field-inspired Citi Field by playing the Dodgers instead of the Padres on Monday night. Though I'm just glad that Tom Seaver's throwing out the first ball rather than any of the Citibank executives who helped get us into this economic mess.
MLB Truth & Rumors