Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Night Links

''He said, 'Good luck. Sincerely, Ozzie.' And couple more phrases,'' said [Cubs manager Lou] Piniella [of a note left by Ozzie Guillen]. ''It wasn't twitted, and I'm appreciative of that.''

Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee had a pain-free catch for a second day in a row.

Giants ace Tim Lincecum threw seven scoreless innings in tonight's win over the Astros.

Albert Callaspo might start at third base for the Royals on Wednesday.

In his first at bat of the season, Mets third baseman David Wright homered.

And Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones homered twice.

Meanwhile, Braves rookie phenom Jason Heyward crushed a home run in his first-ever at bat in the big leagues.

Blue Jays closer Jason Frasor said of his blown save today: “Unfortunately, I have 48 hours to think about it. I’m six years older than I was when I first started blowing games, so it’s a little easier.”

The Red Sox will give Josh Beckett $68 million over four years.

Meanwhile the Pirates have the lowest payroll ($35.4 million) in baseball in 2010.

Shameless plug(s) of the day: Check out our 2010 fantasy football (quarterback) rankings or weigh in on a McNabb-versus-Kolb discussion on our football forums.

Amazing play by Mark Buehrle

White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, who started his eighth season opener, pitched seven scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians today.

More impressively, one of those 21 outs could "end up being the Sox' defensive play of the year," as pointed out by Kyle Koster of the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Unbelievable," said Cleveland right fielder Shin-Soo Choo. "I think that was the best play I've ever seen. I thought he had no chance."

Berkman has knee drained ... again

It's Opening Day at Minute Maid Park and pitcher Roy Oswalt has made his franchise-record eighth consecutive Opening Day start.

Houston Astros vs St. Louis Cardinals

Despite beginning the season on the disabled list (DL), teammate Lance Berkman received a "big round of applause as he gingerly walks onto field..." as tweeted by MLB's Brian McTaggert.

Berkman, who missed 26 games in 2009, is eligible to return from the DL Saturday, however, that may be overly optimistic.

According to Bernardo Fallas of the Houston Chronicle, Berkman had his knee drained for a fifth time today and he's expected to get a cortisone shot.

Ron Washington's job security?

There are some Texas-sized expectations for the Rangers in 2010, especially from those in the organization.

In fact, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton predicted "96 wins."

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram asks in his column in the Dallas Morning News this morning, "Is Ron Washington on the hot seat?"

Washington, who is the fourth and final year of his contract, led the Rangers to 87 wins last year and has improved the club in each of his three seasons. (He won 75 and 79 games in his first two seasons, respectively.)

Despite internal debate over whether to fire Washington after he had failed a drug test last year, the Rangers decided to keep him as their skipper. That said, Wilson mentions the "lingering belief" that the Rangers could be looking to fire Washington, at the earliest convenient opportunity (i.e., losing streak, managerial error, etc.)

"That's silly," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Trust me: Nobody here is looking for something like that. We're all trying to work together to help this team win."

Barring a second failed drug test, which seems unlikely, or something else equally embarrassing for the franchise, it's hard to envision Washington being replaced mid-season.

Perhaps if the Rangers take a step back from 87 wins, Washington may not be back in 2011. Otherwise, a fourth straight year of improvement would seem to guarantee his continued stewardship of the club.

(Note: Win #1 is in the books.)