Ten ballclubs that can add payroll and notes (cont.)
Martinez did throw fine. One scout filed a report saying Martinez showed a "good changeup,'' "decent curve,'' and 87 mph fastball, and called him a "soft fifth starter,'' according to Danny Knobler of cbssports.com.
Still, it's hard to guess who's ready to step forward. The Yankees don't appear ready to make a play, and according to the Los Angeles Times, the Angels and Dodgers aren't going to go for Pedro. The Rays have characterized their interest as "slight,'' though they have been scouting him regularly.
Whatever team signs Martinez will want a gauge of when he can be back pitching at the big-league level. Cuza said the goal is to have him ready by shortly after the All-Star break.
Around the majors
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said he believes No. 2 overall pick Dustin Ackley, who played first base at UNC this year, will make a fine center fielder. Ackley was considered the best college hitter in the draft. Drawn-out negotiations are expected with Ackley seeking close to $10 million. It's not anticipated to be as rough as the Stephen Strasburg talks, but rough nonetheless. Ackley is thought to want to duplicate the $9.5 million deal Mark Teixeira got from the Rangers.
Zduriencik said he has yet to receive a call of interest in third baseman Adrian Beltre, who's in the last year of his $64 million, five-year contract.
In the meantime, the Mariners (35-34, winners of three straight) continue to be one of baseball's surprising teams under new manager Don Wakamatsu.
Teixeira, incidentally, said he's got his Dallas area home for sale. He didn't say how much. If anyone's interested, I'll try to get details.
Heroic effort by Ryan Howard, who came out of the hospital despite his flu to homer Saturday. But a return to the hospital forced him to miss Sunday's game, and his consecutive games-played streak finally ended at 343.
Maybe all those pitches are finally catching up to Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5, 8.23). He never was in the greatest shape.
Fortunately, the Red Sox never traded Brad Penny. The market wasn't great for Penny, who's been a plus for Boston. While he's winning in the AL East, scouting reports have been mixed. One NL executive said, "He's ordinary.''
Nice to see the receptions Derek Lowe and Mark DeRosa received upon making their returns to Boston and the North Side of Chicago, respectively. Lowe helped the Red Sox reverse the curse and win the 2004 World Series. DeRosa is now credited with being the key man in the Cubs' nice 2008 season. Nice, but the reception was like he was a Hall of Famer. The way the Cubs' season was going, maybe the fans were feeling nostalgic. Or maybe the ovation was a message to reacquire DeRosa.
Congrats to Tony La Russa, who won his 2,500th game Sunday. That's a lot of thinking.
Albert Pujols has accounted for many of those victories, and his six-RBI game just added to his Kansas City lore. In 27 games in his hometown, Pujols has 12 home runs.
The White Sox have been willing to trade prospects in the past to enhance their pennant chances, but they may not be as likely to do so this year. While they aren't out of it in the wide-open AL Central, they aren't playing well enough to sacrifice the future. Their top prospect is the recently promoted infielder Gordon Beckham.
The Boston Globe reports that Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo can be had in trade.
Alex Rodriguez's two days of rest was instigated by the front office, as was reported first here. But it shouldn't necessarily be taken as a slap at manager Joe Girardi. A-Rod just couldn't bring himself to admit he was wearing down whenever Girardi checked with him. So Yankees higher-ups Brian Cashman and Randy Levine engaged A-Rod and Yankees medical staff on a conference call (Girardi wasn't available at that moment), and Rodriguez finally admitted he was tiring to the point where he wasn't himself. Rodriguez's refusal to give Girardi the straight dope isn't a reflection on Girardi but the natural course for players who don't like to sit. So the decision was made on the conference call.
But Yankees higher-ups weren't too thrilled with the way the entire team played in losing a series to the Nationals at Yankee Stadium. "Going through the motions,'' was one phrase that was heard.
Nats manager Manny Acta will take it, as winning two of three probably saved his job for now.
Girardi gave a touching speech about his father, Jerry, at an Alzheimer's charity function last week. Girardi's dad was his coach in baseball and football growing up in Peoria, Ill.
Good to see Big Papi homer on Father's Day.
I hope the government doesn't pursue a case of perjury against Sammy Sosa. Aren't they spending (wasting?) enough money and time on Barry Bonds already?
My incessant tweeting continues at http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman.
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