Completely Ready. Has a pitcher ever thrown a complete game in spring training? It crossed Curt Schilling's mind yesterday. "I've gone eight in a spring training game before and had I made some better pitches early in the game today, I could have stretched it out that far." ... He threw 112 pitches in 6.1 innings (Herald and Globe say 108). In his 21.2 spring innings, he has 21 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA. "Physically, I feel like I'm throwing the ball as good if not better than I've thrown it in the last five years with all my pitches."
Latest Nomar news: inflammation persists. Players must sit out at least the first six days of the season if they are placed on the disabled list retroactive to spring training, so Garciaparra will likely return no earlier than April 10. ... Nomar's absense means Cesar Crespo, who leads the team with 18 hits, has a chance to make the team. ... Trot Nixon travels to Miami for an extensive rehab program with the specialist who worked with Vladimir Guerrero last summer. ... A chat with Doug Mirabelli. ... The Fort Myers News-Press on 3B Gabe Kapler. ... David Ortiz smacked two doubles Saturday, giving him 11 extra-base hits this spring. ... Derek Lowe makes his final spring start today against the Florida Marlins.
From the Herald: "A Fort Myers TV station reported Friday night that Pedro Martinez was so upset about Boston reporters questioning his loss of fastball velocity that he will become a free agent at the end of the season. The report was apparently based on an overheard comment from Martinez to a friend. Martinez was unavailable for comment but club officials shrugged off the report and insisted the comment, if said at all, was just the pitcher expressing aggravation with the media."
He's cracking jokes, but it appears that David King of the San Antonio Express-News is picking the Red Sox and Cubs for the World Series. ... Ken Rosenthal does the same, but he says the Cubs will come out on top. ... Boston and Chicago seem like popular picks, so that means we'll be subjected to lots of "lovable loser" articles. Here's three:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Hexes mark their spots: Red Sox, rabid fans grimly face Yankees"
Boston Globe: "Fever Pitch"
New York Times: "Oh, No, Not Again: Chronicling Chronic Losing"
The Times article begins: "The baseball season starts this week, so expect to hear the usual songs of despair from the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox, who are to futility what the Yankees are to success. Their World Series droughts of 96 and 86 years, respectively, are easily the longest titleless streaks in North American professional sports. ..." Wrong. The two longest titleless streaks belong to the Cubs (96) and White Sox (87). The White Sox last won the World Series in 1917.
Finally, Blue Jays pitcher Justin Miller has been ordered to wear long sleeves because his multiple tattoos are distracting to hitters. He apparently has 50% of his body covered, including "I Love Billy Koch" inked on his ass.