Padres in first place? That's not the only surprise so far (cont.)
21. Mark Teixeira has a .289 slugging percentage.
22. Sure, Nick Johnson's on-base percentage of .363 is OK. But he's hitting .134. Tough to make up for that.
23. Aramis Ramirez is hitting .149 with a .267 slugging percentage and .493 OPS. Poor Lou.
24. Matt Kemp leads the majors in caught stealing with six yet still manages to be third with 24 runs scored.
25. Mark Reynolds isn't even leading his team in strikeouts. He has 34 to Justin Upton's 39.
26. Livan Hernandez has a 0.99 ERA. And matching 1.02 WHIP.
27. Colby Lewis is 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA and 38 strikeouts. (In 2003, before going to Japan, he had a 7.30 ERA in a full year for Texas.)
28. Phil Hughes, who came into spring allegedly in competition with the likes of Sergio Mitre (plus Joba Chamberlain, Chad Gaudin and Alfredo Aceves) for a starting slot, has a 0.88 WHIP to go with his 3-0 record and 1.44 ERA.
29. Ian Kennedy, once closely associated with Hughes when the two were Yankees prospects, is almost as good. He's 2-1 and the supposed soft tosser has 30 strikeouts for the Diamondbacks.
30. Brad Penny is 3-1 with a 1.56 ERA in his first year in St. Louis. All hail Dave Duncan.
31. Francisco Liriano is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
32. Mike Pelfrey is 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA, and a save.
33. Chris Carpenter's 4-0 record and 2.84 ERA aren't surprises. But that his ERA is fourth best among Cardinals starters is.
34. Carlos Silva, seemingly a rival for Kobayashi and nobody else, is 2-0 with a 2.90 ERA.
35. Mike Leake, with no minor-league experience, is 2-0 with a 2.94 ERA.
36. Matt Capps, a Nationals pitcher, leads the majors with 11 saves. Perhaps even more amazing, he has no blown saves after enduring a terrible season in Pittsburgh last year.
37. Edwin Jackson is 1-3 with an 8.07 ERA for Arizona. But take heart, D-backs' fans, the man he was traded for, Max Scherzer, is 1-2 with a 6.47 ERA for Detroit.
38. Ben Sheets is 1-3 with a 7.12 ERA.
39. Joe Saunders is 1-5 with a 7.14 ERA.
40. Jake Peavy is 1-2 with a 6.37 ERA.
Around the majors
Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez continues to amaze. "I've never seen a starting pitcher with that kind of velocity and life,'' Hoyer said after Jimenez beat his Padres to go 6-0. Three highlights were Jimenez opening the game throwing 98, 99 and 101, getting Gonzalez on a 92-mph splitter (Hoyer called it a changeup) and hitting 99 in the seventh inning.
The NL Cy Young award should be quite a finish with Jimenez, Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay.
Even before it was known the Nats were hiring Bryce Harper's College of Southern Nevada coach, Tim Chambers, it was thought the Nats would draft Harper No. 1 over Jameson Taillon and a couple others. It isn't known whether the Nats believe that employing Chambers, a longtime friend of the Harper family, will enhance their chances to secure Harper to a contract, but it can't hurt. Chambers worked for Nats exec Roy Clark for a decade when Clark was with the Braves and he'll again toil as an "associate scout'' for him. Chambers said he believes Harper is ready to be a pro, will be picked first by the Nats and is likely to sign.
The best-case scenario for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (calf) is the middle of May. More likely, he'll be back sometime toward the end of May.
The new target for Brandon Webb is sometime in June. If the D-Backs can hang in 'til then, they'll be in decent shape.
Good to hear Jim Leyland will be cured of smoking at least for the time he's in Comerica Park. Hopefully, the rule is extended to his office at Joker Marchant field at the Tigers' spring site in Lakeland, where breathing in his office is regularly made difficult by his chain smoking.
Veterans Gary Matthews Jr. of the Mets and Randy Winn of the Yankees looked like they were in a race to see which veteran outfielder would be released from a New York team first, but Winn's three-run home run off Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie may have bought him some time.
One deal that might be best to undo is the one where Javier Vazquez went to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera. Both were much better with their previous teams.
Converted shortstop Sergio Santos has begun his White Sox career with 11 straight scoreless outings. Yet another triumph for pitching coach extraordinaire Don Cooper.
I'm hearing of no progress in talks to complete the Rangers sale.
Rest in peace to Ernie Harwell, who died of cancer at 92. His was a truly remarkable radio career, mostly in Detroit.
Best wishes to Padres employee and stolen-base expert Dave Roberts, a great guy who it was revealed this week is battling lymphoma.
MLB Truth & Rumors