Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday papers

Hanley Ramirez signed an extension with the Marlins. This is great news for the Marlins and for baseball. For Sox fans holding out hope for the much-rumored Julio Lugo, Brandon Moss, Kevin Cash for Hanley Ramirez trade, this is a bitter defeat. By the way, if you're wondering about the whereabouts of Anibal Sanchez, he's still rehabbing from a torn labrum, hopes to return by July.

Elsewhere in the NL East, Ryan Howard is in a slump. This is not news. There might be a point to this column on Johan Santana, but I cannot find it. Smoltz could be back by end of month and will probably become the Braves' closer. Wily Mo's outfield struggles continue in D.C. Semi-prescient sentence: “Hours before yesterday's game, Wily Mo Peña took some extra drills in the outfield with first base coach Jerry Morales.” If Wily Mo has a future, it’s at first base. Right coach, wrong area code.

As for the Sox, how about we don’t mention Hanley Ramirez and Julio Lugo in the same sentence again? It’s best for all parties. You know what else is best for all parties? Not lying. Lying is when Julio Lugo, asked if his confidence is shot, replies, “"No way. I know I'm one of the best shortstops in the league.” Did you hear Jed Lowrie his first big league home run last night? Oh, and he has zero errors on the season.

In Tampa, the second place Rays’ top pick is still a jumble and one writer think Iwamura is growing into the leadoff role. Iwamura's .309 OBP could not be reached for comment. Some Schmuck in Baltimore apologizes for giving up on Cabrera. Goose tells Joba to act like a Yankee. No comment. The Jays can’t catch a break, subject fans to Armando Benitez.

The NL Central is chock full of closer intrigue. Gagne accepts blame for being awful, asks out of closer role. Izzy’s role changes, too, and one man says his problems could make for an eventful summer in the Cards' pen. In Chicago, there is gloating that Kerry Wood is better than his division counterparts. In Houston, no closer talk, just compassion for those closing out careers. I don't know who the Pirates closer is (Jose Mesa?) but it seems they're on a five-game winning streak. In Cincy, it sounds like this chap JUST learned what on-base percentage is and he’s SO giddy about he refuses to write about anything else.

There is concern about the stress of the job taking its toll on Ozzie Guillen. Whatever would give them that impression? Fortunately there is no better stress reliever than visiting Seattle and taking three from the Mariners. Oh, and being in first place is probably good for the nerves as well. In Minnesota, the Twins must adjust to life without Pat Neshek. The Indians have pen problems of their own and concern about Hafner's diet mounts:

I’d be willing to bet that if Hafner changed his diet slightly, cutting out bad carbs, etc, he'd be mentally and physically quicker.

White foods, such as bread, rice and potatoes, make a person lethargic. Hafner looks very lethargic to me.

Meanwhile, the Tiggers have a lot of bad carbs in the starting rotation and the Royals have bad carbs at home.

Eric Byrnes is struggling in Arizona. Andruw Jones draws jeers in Los Angeles. Mark Redman gets demoted in Colorado. Emmanuel Burriss misses his pal in San Fransisco. The Padres are atrocious in San Diego.

The Angels infield injury troubles multiply as Figgins joins Iztruris and Kenrick on the DL. In Oakland, the second-place A's get healthy with Buck, Calero and Chavez on the mend. Having lost five in a row, the Mariners find themselves in last place and without a pulse. What’s wrong with this club so many thought would contend for a division title? To hear the Seattle Times’ Jerry Brewer tell it, the Mariners lack three important ingredients: “Leadership. Chemistry. Winning savvy.” Some might blame the manager. And in Texas, some think Ron Washington deserves a more substantive vote of confidence.

Happy Mother's Day!

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