March 5, 2005

I Am Third

For those looking for controversy in camp, here is something. It's not much, but both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz want to bat third. Some numbers:
Manny       GM   AVG   OBP   SLG   HR   RBI
2004 #3 51 .289 .373 .599 15 46
2004 #4 100 .318 .409 .621 28 84
Career #3 .329 .410 .625
Career #4 .324 .424 .624

2004 #3 91 .307 .410 .625 26 135
2004 #4 51 .280 .388 .570 14 46
Career #3 .306 .373 .617
Career #4 .258 .344 .480
I was a big supporter of the Manny 3rd/Ortiz 4th move last season and I still lean that way now (though I do agree that Manny needs less "protection" than Tiz and Papi could benefit from seeing more fastballs if Damon or Renteria is on first), despite the numbers above.

David Wells threw about 60 pitches of batting practice on Friday and will make his spring debut next Saturday, March 12 against the Devil Rays. "I like to prove people wrong. It gives me satisfaction. People say, 'You're a fat piece of shit.' I'm like, 'Okay, but I'm a piece of shit who's still getting people out."

Tim Wakefield says he's a starter. "I don't have any plans of going to the bullpen when Wade Miller is healthy." ... Francona brushed aside any questions, saying it's too early to answer specific questions about the rotation.

Bronson Arroyo makes his spring debut tonight against the Reds in Sarasota. Francona: "I'm sure [Arroyo] wants to start. I understand that. ... The flip side of that is, if I had to choose one guy out of our rotation who could go to the bullpen and be a star ... that's him. So it's interesting. But again, to start the season, he's going to be in the rotation." That could mean Francona believes Miller will be on the DL on April 3.

The Globe's Chris Snow notes that "Arroyo's success against righthanders -- they batted .227 against him last season -- reinforces the notion that he'd be appealing out of the bullpen. Another plus: he's generally sharp early in games. Last season, opponents hit just .213 against Arroyo in the first inning and .235 in innings 1 through 3."

Those numbers are correct, but in 2004, Arroyo actually had a lower OPS-allowed in Innings 4-6 than he did in Innings 1-3. Some splits:
              PA*   AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS
Inning 1 125 .213 .317 .352 .669
Innings 1-3 370 .235 .320 .388 .708
Innings 4-6 308 .250 .296 .382 .678
Innings 7-9 62 .305 .333 .525 .859
* = AB + BB + HBP
In the no-hitter against Northeastern, Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson pinch-hit for David McCarty. He fanned on three pitches and played the final half-inning at first base. Johnson, almost 49, last batted in the major leagues in 1984, two years before Aaron Greenblatt, the pitcher who struck him out, was born.

Curt Schilling is one of seven players who have been invited to testify before a congressional committee on steroid abuse on March 17. The other players are: Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Barry Bonds was not asked (yet).

In Tampa, Slappy continues to protest too much. Meanwhile, Reggie Jackson is auditioning as his jokewriter: ""Trot Nixon. What's that? I thought it was a racehorse. ... If I were [Slappy], what I'd say is, 'I got 25 bucks. Watch me play.'" ... I honestly don't understand the 25 bucks line. Is that a reference to his salary? ... The Globe's Eric Wilbur comments.

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