Piniella ponders moves to awaken Cubs (cont.)
Volquez catches a break
Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez caught a break by failing the spring-training test for a PED while he was on the 60-day disabled list after Tommy John surgery, allowing him to serve his 50-game suspension while he was out anyway. It's a quirk in the collective bargaining agreement, but it didn't cause much consternation when Sergio Mitre and Rafael Betancourt had similar situations in past years. It still might be something for baseball to take a look at, though.
As for Volquez's excuse that he was taking a fertility drug because he wanted to start a family, well, that's not a great one. Even if true, major leaguers should know better since Manny Ramirez was caught with a similar drug a year ago. Everyone has an excuse when they are caught, but some are better than others. This one should be viewed with some skepticism.
McGregor was the Rockies' Renaissance Man
Baseball is mourning the loss of beloved Rockies president Keli McGregor, whose background was in football but who was smart enough to work his way up to lead the Rockies, a very successful organization during his tenure (he became president in 2001). McGregor was a great American success story, a former NFL player who rose to great heights in the baseball world.
Baseball people were saddened at shocked at the sudden death of McGregor, who appeared to be the most fit 48-year-old executive in baseball. He often ran five miles a day and looked like he could still play his game. Statements filled with praise and sadness were sent out by commissioner Bud Selig, Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall, players union leader Michael Wiener. In fact, testimonials came from all over baseball for McGregor, who was found in his hotel room in Salt Lake City, where he had gone on team business.
Around the Majors
Selig is said to be fed up with the feet-dragging that's going on in the negotiations to sell the Rangers to prospective buyer Chuck Greenberg, and wants a deal done soon. At last count there was still a $30-to-50 million gap that needed to be bridged. Current owner Tom Hicks has been threatened with bankruptcy by the banks, an alternative that would be bad for everyone, including the banks. Hicks has been nothing short of a disaster as an owner, and it's time for him to be reasonable.
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein didn't soft sell his team's surprisingly slow start. He said they haven't played "worth a (bleep)'' and other unflattering things about his own team, which responded with a 7-6 win over Texas that brought them to 5-9.
The Red Sox can't have as much patience as they did last year with struggling DH David Ortiz (.158, 0 Hrs, 2 RBIs) since they already have fallen well behind the Yankees and Rays in baseball's toughest division. Mike Lowell provides a decent option to replace Big Papi, certainly against left-handers. Ortiz has no chance to have his $12.5 million option for 2011 picked up.
Andruw Jones appears to be back (four home runs already).
What's gotten into Vernon Wells? (He might actually be worth his $18 million salary right now).
Carlos Beltran met with knee specialist Dr. Richard Steadman in Colorado. Beltran is said to be doing well but the doctor advised that all "hot spots'' (bone bruises) heal before Beltran begins his running program.
Ike Davis has brought some excitement to Citi Field, and the Mets are 2-0 since his arrival. Mets people are trying to downplay his presence to take the pressure off. Baseball America has him rated only the seventh best first-base prospect, behind Texas' Justin Smoak and two in the Mets' own division (the Braves' Freddy Freeman and the Marlins' Logan Morrison), but he looks like a future star.
With the Mets bullpen being such a pleasant surprise, there's been some media calls for the Mets to demote top pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia so he can work on being a starter. But Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said both Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya like having Mejia with the big club.
Minaya said he believes Pedro Martinez will be pitching somewhere this year, though he didn't say it would be for the Mets. The Phillies remain a possibility, though club sources continue to say "nothing is imminent'' there.
Smoak has the potential to provide Ike-like excitement for Texas. But Texas, being a smaller market team, may be more cautious with a callup.
The five-game suspension of Cliff Lee was rescinded by MLB, which is only fair since Lee at worst was retaliating for an incident that caused an injury that's so bad he's missing the first month.
The Rockies were right to complain about the balk calls in their defeat Sunday to the Braves, as those didn't appear to have been balks. Hopefully, there are no budding Bob Davidsons on the horizon.
Congratulations to Ubaldo Jimnenez, who may have announced his arrival as a big-time star with his and the Rockies' first-ever no-hitter.
MLB Truth & Rumors