February 23, 2004

Storylines. Keith Foulke is the man getting the most attention in today's papers. "I like to be under the radar as much as possible, [but] it's probably not going to work this year." Foulke sustained a mild strain in his left calf on Sunday during a fielding drill and cut his workout short. ... Mike F reports on Sunday's workout.

Kevin Millar in the New York Post: "I honestly believe that we're going to win the World Series this year. ... I think we still have the better lineup. I can't wait to get after them. I really can't. ... When you're outside it, if you're a baseball fan, you understand that this is a pretty hot rivalry. But once you're on the inside ... it's just something else. Something incredible. And it's going to get even bigger this year." Millar also is not ready to surrender his oft-quoted slogan from last year. "[I]f I want to cowboy up, I'm going to cowboy up. Mirabelli is not going to tell me what to do."

2004 will be a pivotal year for Byung-Hyun Kim and he could play an important part in the Battle with the Yankees. He wants to start and now he will get that chance -- for a manager who will not jerk him in and out of vastly different roles. Boston showed its commitment to the 25-year-old right-hander and signed him to a two-year contract. Gordon Edes says the Red Sox believe they erred in allowing Kim to become isolated from the rest of the team last season, but Kim doesn't really agree. "I feel comfortable being by myself. ... When I'm by myself, I can focus more, and concentrate on baseball alone. ... I have a desire to be the best pitcher in baseball. I want the chance to be considered the best. And in the history of baseball, the starting pitcher has always been the best ... Also, being a closer for one or two years is OK, but it's very stressful." I don't know how Kim's relationship was with Schilling in Arizona, but since Curt has mentioned how talented he believes Kim is, perhaps he'll play a mentoring-type of role.

On Sunday, Edes wrote that during negotiations with Boston, Alex Rodriguez apparently spent "a considerable amount of time" saying how much he hated the Yankees. Rodriguez is quoted elsewhere as saying at that time "about three-fourths of my body [was] wearing a Red Sox uniform." ... New York Daily News: "Further annoyed at John Henry for the Red Sox owner's public comments Saturday comparing him to Don Rickles, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner is planning to file a grievance with the commissioner's office against Henry." Maybe he can go after Padres owner John Moores next: "George is one of the most profoundly selfish people I've ever known. I don't know if Steinbrenner is losing his mind as he gets older."

Random Stuff: Outfielder Gabe Kapler took grounders at third base and will also work out at first. ... Rule 5 lefty Lenny DiNardo cut short his workout because of shoulder stiffness. ... Pedro Martinez is expected in Florida today and will work out Tuesday. ... Sidney Ponson will oppose Martinez on Opening Night April 4 in Baltimore. ... Yankee pitcher Kevin Brown sustained a right ankle bruise after being hit by a ball on Saturday. ... New York's 3-4-5 batters will likely be Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield. ... Pirates infielder Freddy Sanchez might not be ready to start the season because of a right ankle injury. ...

Jackie MacMullan of the Globe was in the Cubs' camp Mesa, Arizona, where she spoke with the Grinning Jackass. ... Ian Browne of mlb.com posts five important questions for the Sox this spring: How is Pokey Reese's health? Will Tony Womack make the team? Can Ellis Burks play the outfield? How quickly will manager Terry Francona get on the same page with his new players? Who will emerge as the No. 2 hitter? ... Could Joe Nuxhall, baseball's youngest major leaguer (15 years, 10 months and 11 days), also become its oldest -- at age 76?

Oy. "[T]he true value of what [Tino] Martinez brings to the Rays extends beyond his bat and glove. It can't be measured statistically, not unless the sabermetricians have developed a program to quantify heart, experience, leadership, determination and intensity."

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