February 28, 2005

The Rotation. Thinking about who Boston's five starts will be, Tim Wakefield tells Gordon Edes: "I know the situation with Wade Miller, too. I don't see any reason why I should be the guy who goes to the bullpen. It's either me or Bronson. I think Bronson's the more likely candidate for that. ... At his age [28], he might be a little more resilient than I am right now. I could probably pitch every day, too, but he's shown in the past that he can pitch back-to-back days -- two innings, two innings, then get the day off."

Of course, if Miller -- who long-tossed from 210 feet this afternoon and expects to throw an abbreviated bullpen session tomorrow -- opens the season on the DL, then both Wakefield and Arroyo will start. But at some point, it will be a tough decision for Tito. While I sympathize with Wakefield and agree that he's been jerked around quite often during his tenure -- his stint as the closer back in 1999 shaved four years off my life -- I do not want to see Arroyo in the bullpen.

Starters for Monday's game against the Yankees: Abe Alvarez vs Chien-Ming Wang. ... MLB's Ian Browne looks at the fight for the final two spots off the bench. ... Terry Francona expects Bill Mueller to play in a game about March 10. ... Chicago Tribune: "Cubs may regret letting go of Clement" ... Francona said Trot Nixon will not face Randy Johnson on Opening Night. David Ortiz and Johnny Damon will probably be the only left-handed batters in the lineup as Jay Payton (.216 in 37 AB against Johnson) will likely play right field.

Pedro Watch: One week ago at the Mets camp, when a heckler blurted, "Who's your daddy," Martinez grabbed his crotch. ... Later on, he threw 29 pitches to Jesus Flores, John Pachot and Andy Dominique, and even with Pedro calling out what he was throwing, only four pitches were hit hard. Pedro also had this to say about Mike Piazza: "Mike doesn't have any problems receiving pitches. He's got pretty good hands. His throwing program, I don't know who's going to help him or what he's going to do." Nice. ... On Sunday, Martinez threw for the final time before Friday's scheduled exhibition game start. Including his warm-up tosses, the right-hander threw close to 70 pitches. "I feel like everything is clicking right now. My breaking stuff is coming along."
More Korean Toons. Poking around the site, I found comic strips of all teams (Yankees here), as well as the ALCS and World Series.

February 27, 2005

Can Anyone Read Korean? I'd love to know what the Red Sox players are saying in this cartoon.

What's Doing In Camp. From the last few days:

Curt Schilling has had two throwing sessions -- 47 pitches on Thursday and 42 on Saturday -- and he wasn't happy with either one of them. "I was expecting a lot more out of myself today than I got," Schilling said on Thursday. "It's going to take time. I guess I'm going to have to be patient. I got through the day and my ankle didn't hurt." ... Also: "I just didn't feel like I expected to feel. ... I always expect it to be better than it is."

On Saturday, Schilling stopped in mid-windup about seven times during his 12-minute session. He didn't speak to reporters afterwards. "He's got some work to do," Terry Francona said. "Personally, seeing him on the mound I feel good, because I know we have five weeks until the season." ... Schilling is scheduled to throw again on Tuesday.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Wade Miller threw 180-foot long tosses. He has been working out in Fort Myers since the beginning of February and Francona said the difference is "night and day" compared to where Miller was when the manager saw him two weeks ago. Miller will do long toss from 210 feet today and is expected to play catch Monday, take Tuesday off and head to the bullpen on Wednesday.

Bill Mueller did some light jogging and fielded some grounders yesterday. "The knee is feeling wonderful, but they don't want to push it right now. I'm not going to start running hard until two more weeks, or something like that."

David Wells showed excellent control in his second impressive session in three days on Thursday. ... Keith Foulke threw off the bullpen mound Saturday without any blister trouble. ... According to the Herald's Jeff Horrigan, Byung-Hyun Kim looked impressive during a Wednesday throwing session. ... Matt Clement should love the Red Sox offense. Last year, the Cubs scored two or fewer runs in 10 of his 13 losses; Clement also lost two 1-0 games and the Cubs were shut out in two of his other starts. Clement went 9-13, 3.68. ... The Herald has stories on Roberto Petagine and Hanley Ramirez. There has been talk of converting Ramirez from shortstop to center field, but Francona says that won't happen this spring.

Boston Dirt Dogs reports that Nomar Garciaparra said of his World Series ring: "I don't want it. They can keep it." ... Abe Alvarez and Brandon puffer were shocked when told they were getting rings. ... The Red Sox will attend a White House ceremony this Wednesday, March 2. Curtis Leskanic (retired) will also attend but Mets Pedro Martinez and Doug Mientkiewicz will not. ... Quote of the Week: Mientkiewicz: "That [Sox-Yankees rivalry] wasn't all it was cracked up to be as far as I was concerned. ... I still say the Twins-White Sox series were just as intense as that one."

The magnitude of winning the World Series didn't hit Alan Embree until he was elk hunting near Vancouver in November. "It was all quiet and peaceful, and all of a sudden, I just had this thought. I forget where I was. I was replaying the games in my head after that. The endings of each one of them. It was dramatic, all of it. You didn't get a chance to soak that in because of all the hoopla."

Man, it would be great to get a copy of this. "In New York and St. Louis, and at Fenway, [Mike Timlin] carried his Sony handycam in the clubhouse, in the dugout, on the field during batting practice, on airplanes, and in hotels. He shot three hours of footage, sent it to a professional videomaker after the World Series, then mailed the finished product to all Sox players, coaches, and clubhouse personnel." Dan Shaughnessy notes that when Red Sox chairman Tom Werner asked if he could show it on NESN, Timlin said no.

Jayson Stark asked four pitchers, three scouts and nine GMs/assistants: "Which team has the best lineup in baseball?" Survey says? "Of the 14 men who voted on the AL lineups, 13 picked the Red Sox as the best of the best. ... [E]very regular in this lineup has had at least a .370 on-base percentage in one, or both, of the last two seasons. Which is downright ridiculous." ... The Yankees finished second overall, although some slotted them in as low as fifth.

Tito announced the starters for next week's games:

Thursday, March 3 -- Matt Clement v the Twins
Friday, March 4 -- Tim Wakefield v Northeastern University; Mike Timlin v Boston College
Saturday, March 5 -- Anastacio Martinez v the Twins; Bronson Arroyo v the Reds
Sunday, March 6 -- Jeremi Gonzalez v Phillies
Monday, March 7 -- Abe Alvarez v the Yankees

February 26, 2005

Yankee Edition. Three headlines from this past week:

New York Post: Trot Turns Down Heat
Providence Journal: Nixon Backtracks Somewhat On A-Rod
Newsday: No Backpedaling By Nixon

The Yankees are publicly shrugging their shoulders about watching the Red Sox get their World Series rings at Fenway. Mike Mussina says: "They won. They can do it however they want." When told the Sox were giving out a total of 500 rings within the organization, he joked, "Are they giving one to everyone who has played since 1918?" ... Hey Mike, as Yankee fans are (were?) so fond of saying, "How many rings have you won?"

On March 7, the Yankees will travel to Fort Myers to meet the Red Sox for the first time since October 21, 2004. Joe Torre says none of his top five starters will make the trip and he may put only "a couple" of regulars into the lineup. It says here that Slappy will not be one of them.

February 25, 2005

More Blogs. Two more new blogs about the defending World Champions:

The Professional, The Idiot and The Tailback
I love the picture in this post.

108 Stitches
Subtitled: A Boston Red Sox fan married to a New York Yankees fan bitches about baseball.

February 24, 2005

Three New Sox Blogs. Well, new to my list of links.

Red Sox Wire
Hoo's On First

If you have a Red Sox blog that I haven't listed, let me know.
Lords of the Rings. It's official. World Series rings will be issued to players and coaches prior to the afternoon home opener against the Yankees on April 11. The Rd Sox will issue an unprecedented 500 rings to players, coaches, management, and myriad team employees. The Globe's Chris Snow: "The ring will marry tradition and spectacle. The stately "B" logo will be angled exactly as it is on the team's caps and done with rubies. Each ring will include the recipient's name, which is not necessarily standard operating procedure. The rings will be white gold."

Hey look, it's more A-Rod comments:

Arroyo: "He was talking to the umpire like 10 minutes after the [slap] play and they had already called him out forever ago and I was just kind of looking over at him and smirking. And he said to the umpire, 'Look, he's laughing at you because you made the wrong call.' I didn't have any interaction with him other than that."

Millar: "A lot of us in this locker room, when we watch a guy like Derek Jeter play over and over again, he's a winner. I don't know if [Rodriguez] grasps for respect, but you don't need to tell people you're an upper-tier player. You don't need to tell people that you work out seven hours a day. That's an article that rubbed guys wrong. When you're a professional, you do your work."

Damon: "There've been many nights where I haven't been to bed at 6 in the morning. You know, if that's what it takes to be him, he's a heck of a player. If it takes getting up at 6 in the morning for him, that's great."

Millar: "Everybody in this game works out in the off-season. Everybody comes into shape. You're not going around having to promote [yourself]. That's where we've got so much respect for Derek Jeter. ... You never see him put on a fake mask in front of anybody. We respect that. We compete against these guys. I play first base. I talk to everybody in the big leagues. You know who's fake, you know who's not."

Arroyo: "If he's called me Brandon twice, it's probably intentional, I would think. I've heard he's a student of the game. ... Who knows? Maybe he thinks I'm a nobody."

Foulke: "Let him talk all he wants. Just ask him who's got the ring."

Arroyo: "You would think he'd know [my name]. It might be a mistake, but probably not. He's been listening to Tim McCarver." ... The next day, Foulke told Arroyo that if Rodriguez charges the mound against him, he'll have to deal with "Kevin Foulke."

Unnamed Red Sox player: "It doesn't matter who he plays for, guys just don't like him. Maybe because it's here, and because it's the Yankees, [we] hate him even more."

Slappy himself: "As far as earning your stripes, I really couldn't agree [more] with Trot Nixon and the guys that have said that because hopefully in due time, when I pay the price like Paul O'Neill and Roger Clemens did, then the fans of New York would realize that, hopefully, I'm a Yankee." ... Odd that he would cite Fat Billy as an example of a true Yankee.

And for good measure, here's Matt Mantei: "It's going to be a tough fit for Randy [in New York]. He doesn't like the media. He doesn't like fans. He doesn't like anybody. He's going to have a hard time. ... I don't like the Yankees. I don't think anybody does, except the Yankees. It's true, though."

Various sportswriters are tsk-tsking the Red Sox. Karen Guregian (Herald): "Red Sox players don't like Alex Rodriguez. Fine. We get it. He gets it. Everyone on the planet gets it. ... Championship teams are supposed to be above the fray, above the gutter talk. Only the Sox players keep shoveling the trash. ... It's time to clam up and play nice."

Howard Bryant (Herald): "Like the Yankees, the Red Sox know the feeling of being world champions. They have something else in common with New York: They are becoming one of the most hated teams in baseball. ... Executives and players from the Yankees, Orioles, Blue Jays, Angels and A's have all expressed this sentiment. 'It's called winning with class, and they haven't figured out how to do that,' said one Yankees player."

Murray Chass of the Times called the ongoing Slappy Ragapolooza "one of the most distasteful instances I have witnessed in 45 years of covering baseball" -- although to his credit Chass was referring more to his fellow writers taking players' quotes out of context.

And into camp strode David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, both as sunny as the Florida weather. "That's my personality," Ortiz said. "I can't change. If I change my father [will] hit me in the head with a bottle of water." Ortiz is also a little slimmer than last season. "I tried to stay away from the spoon. ... Everybody thinks I can be in GQ now." How did he spend his winter? "I only have one tape at home, the Red Sox one. I watch it over and over and over and over. I just watch that tape. It kind of hits me afterwards. When things are happening, you don't put attention to it, but when you're kicking back at home and you watch the DVD that they made for all of us, you realize, 'Man, I can't believe I did that.'"

Ramirez arrived with a headband with the flag of Brazil and dreadlocks with beads at the ends. ... Asked about his goals for 2005, he said, "I'm thinking, maybe, an average of .275 with 25 homers and, maybe, 100 RBI." When told he's averaged .321-38-116 during his first four seasons in Boston, Manny said: "I know. But this way I'm going to feel good about myself when I reach them." ... He told one reporter that David Ortiz has a reggae CD coming out. ... After being fitted for his World Series ring, Ramirez joked that he'd be selling his on eBay. ... Manny also said that after the last out was made in St. Louis, he tossed his glove and cap into the air during his sprint to the infield. He has no idea where they are "Maybe Mientkiewicz has them, too."

Bill Mueller is already in camp, stretching, running and hitting. He arrived last weekend with no noticeable limp. The Pro hopes to play the entire season.

Millar has also put on 15-20 pounds working out this winter -- not swinging some KFC drumsticks, presumably -- increasing his weight to about 220. The Cabin Mirror may also appear on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

The 31-year-old Damon is in the last year of his 4/32 contract and would love to sign an extension and finish his career in Boston. Right now, I'd say the odds are not with him; maybe two years if he shines in 2005, but nothing more than that.

Jackie MacMullan has an absolutely hilarious story in the Globe on Della Grallert, who answered the phones at Fenway Park during home games last year. "It's amazing what people call for. It's everything from, 'That was a lousy call. Can you connect me to the umpires' room?' to 'Who is this guy the Red Sox have on the mound? Let me talk to Francona.'"

To hell with Crank Yankers. Air some of those calls on NESN!

February 19, 2005

Funtime! On Tuesday -- before either the Red Sox or Yankees had begun their first workout -- Trot Nixon took a swipe at Slappy McBluelips. Nixon was annoyed at Rodriguez's recent comments about his early morning work-outs.
"He said he's doing all this while 600 players are still in their bed. I said, 'What's wrong with me taking my kid to school? I'm not a deadbeat dad, you clown.' ... Some of his remarks, you don't see Jeter doing that stuff. Bernie, Jeter, Posada, they just go, do their work, show up at spring training, and go get it done every year. ... [W]hen people ask me about the Yankees, I tell them about Jeter and Bernie Williams and Posada. I don't tell them about Rodriguez." (Also)
Over in the Yankees' camp, no one came to A-Rod's defense. Jeter: "I'm not getting into a war of words with them. That's between Trot and Alex. You ask Trot what he meant." Posada: "It's not my problem, so don't make it my problem." Mike Stanton lumped Slappy in with the team's "supporting cast."

After Nixon's comments, reporters from the major New York dailies sent reporters to Fort Myers and Theo Epstein tried to lower the heat. "[A]s a whole, our team has been pretty modest in victory and respectful of the opposition, especially the Yankees. ... There's always going to be sort of personal rivalries that flare up from time to time. ... I think it's really a blip on the radar screen." ... Terry Francona thought he might tell his players to cool it a bit.

But there were other blips. David Wells mouthed off: "I remember [A-Rod's] press conference when he went there. He said a 'we' in his conference, like he's won three or four rings with them, and he hadn't. That kind of disturbed me. He shouldn't put himself in that category. You've got to earn it." ... Wells also noted that when he spoke with Brian Cashman about returning to New York, Cashman said "'We're going to go with youth this year.' And then they turn around and sign Randy [Johnson]."

On Friday, Bronson Arroyo said Slappy "was out of line" after being hit by a pitch back on July 24. "[That] incident and knocking the ball out of my hand, I think had a lot to do with people's perception of the way he plays the game. I think people could perceive him as a little bit of a dirty player and not as likable as maybe he once was." ... And Jason Varitek added: "I don't need to boast" about workout habits.

Joel Sherman, New York Post:
Alex Rodriguez is turning into Bobby Valentine before our eyes. His mere smile, the way he answers questions, the style he carries himself at work all generate loathing even from folks who hardly know him. With Valentine now in Japan and largely forgotten, it is possible the most skilled player in the game has morphed into the most hated. ...
Daily News writer John Harper called the Sox "sore winners" who are "positively obsessed" with Slappy. Meanwhile, the Yankees open camp, but all the New York papers want to talk about is Boston. ... According to Dan Shaughnessy, it's New York that has Boston on the brain:
The world champion Red Sox held their first workout for pitchers and catchers yesterday and once again there were representatives from the New York Times, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and Newsday on hand to watch the Sox go through their paces. These are not day-tripping reporters. These guys are camped out here, more than two hours from the Yankees' base in Tampa. ...

"The Red Sox right now, I think, are bigger than the Mets in New York," said veteran baseball columnist Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. ... Wells found himself splashed on the front page of yesterday's Post, next to the headline, "RAT SOX" with subheads reading, "Wells: Torre dissed me" and "A-Rod's all talk." Boomer was on the back page of the Daily News next to the headline, "FAT LIP."
In Boston, fans were irate when news leaked out that players may receive their World Series rings at a separate ceremony rather than before the home opener April 11 against the Yankees. After quoting John Henry -- "I don't think it's necessary to do anything in anybody's face. ... I can't imagine feeling any worse than we did in 2003, except for the way they felt in 2004. ... We still haven't finalized the ring decision. I have no idea if they will be ready." -- Shaughnessy wrote:
No one in the Nation wants to hear about the rings not being ready or gentlemen's agreements. Don't forget how much the Yankees love to rub it in. Before Game 7 last year, the Yankees brought back Bucky Dent to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, then they put the Sox owners in the Babe Ruth Suite. No More Mr. Nice Guy. Put the World Series championship ring on Bronson Arroyo's hand Opening Day and let's see if A-Rod can slap it away.
Schilling on his right ankle: "It's good. It's coming. I still feel like I'm a little bit behind, I'm not sure how much. I put a pair of spikes on for the first time last Friday and I'm making that adjustment. Just moving around in it. Throwing-wise, I'm just a little bit behind, but I'm working the mind-set that April 3 is the day ... That's my target ... I think I passed all my big tests. Now I just have to guard against trying to catch up in three or four days. And every day I feel better about things." ... Francona said he was "surprised" by Schilling's mobility during fielding practice.

Keith Foulke also wanted the Final Out ball: "I didn't really think about it at the time. After he caught it, there were other things going through my mind. Afterwards, I would have definitely liked to have it back. We got back to Boston and I asked about it, and I didn't get it, so that's the end of that. He didn't give me the ball. That's it. That's a tired issue is what that is."

Pedro Watch: The Mets ace arrived on Tuesday carrying a Red Sox tote bag, but quickly added that he also owns a Mets bag. "Believe it or not, I feel better this year than I did last year. For some reason toward the end of the year everything just clicked and I kept getting stronger and stronger."

Garry Sheffield's yapping was news in Tampa. He says he used steroids (clear and cream), but unknowingly. "[T]he bottom line was I thought it was rubbing cream on my legs." Call it the Jergens defense. ... On Friday, George Steinbrenner was in camp, but kept his mouth closed in taking about the Red Sox. "We will play the game on the field." After last year, what else could he say without looking like a fool?

Speaking of last year, here's Newsday's Shaun Powell:
A choke, and aura goes up in smoke

In due time, some choking victims make full recovery.

Their face returns to its natural color, their watery, red eyes slide back into the sockets, they're up on their feet again ready to resume a normal life. Except something's missing with the Yankees in their convalescence, four months after heaving up That Three-Uh-Oh Lead. ...

As they gather this week at Camp Steinbrenner, their first time together since their historic playoff flop, the Yankees are forced to swallow another grapefruit-sized bit of reality: They haven't won a World Series since 2000 and in a reversal of fortune, now find themselves chasing the Red Sox.

They are truly desperate, throwing a ton of money and weight in the direction of a 41-year-old pitcher.

And they are being disrespected, almost daily, it seems, by a chest-pounding Red Sox team that's eagerly taking cuts specifically at the Yankee with the most skills. ...

What really hurts is that redemption from an embarrassing ALCS loss to Boston can't be attempted for seven agonizing and somewhat meaningless months. ... Only then will they get to do what they couldn't last October: close out the Red Sox. Only then can Alex Rodriguez finally swing back at the Sox, who are talking about a $252-million player as though he's worth 10 cents. ...
The Red Sox play the Yankees for the first time on March 7 in Fort Myers.

February 13, 2005

Out Of Town. Back on Saturday.
Camp. For the first time since March 1919, the Red Sox will open spring training as the defending world champions. Both Chris Snow (Globe) and Tony Massarotti (Herald) tell us what to expect. Not a lot of surprises, basically. ... Don't miss Gordon Edes's excellent feature on Jason Varitek.

In Gotham, the Post's Mike Vaccaro writes about the Yankees seeking vindication
for one of the most stunning stumbles in baseball history. It's funny: in a lot of ways, the Yankees got off easy last year. The world was so caught up in the absorbing saga of the Red Sox -- and it's a far more human reaction among neutral parties to cheer the winners than to rag the losers that it's only been recently that the Yankee ramifications have become completely evident.

And it's hard to sugar coat the truth:

The Yankees suffered the greatest choke in the history of American sports.

February 12, 2005

Mueller Has Knee Surgery; Schilling Still Eyeing Opener. Bill Mueller underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Monday. The Professional expects to fully return in approximately a month (he had surgery on the same knee on May 28 last season and returned July 2).

Curt Schilling says he's feeling good and has starting on April 3 as his goal. ... His bloody sock from Game 2 of the World Series is in the Hall of Fame, part of an exhibit which includes his spikes from the same game, Johnny Damon's bat (Game 4 leadoff HR), Derek Lowe's jersey from Game 4, Pedro Martinez's cap from Game 3, Manny Ramirez's bat (used to tie a postseason record 17-game hitting streak) and Keith Foulke's spikes.

Pitchers and catchers will report to Fort Myers next Thursday and Theo Epstein says he's done dealing "for now, barring something totally unforeseen." ... It's hard to say if there's room, but when camp opens, Byung-Hyun Kim will be trying for a middle-relief spot. ... The Red Sox agreed to a minor league contract with 1B Roberto Petagine, who played in Japan the last six seasons. ... Gordon Edes talks to Dodger Derek Lowe.

The Globe has news on both Matt Mantei and Wade Miller. Trainer Chris Correnti on Miller: "It's too early to tell. We'll see how the next two weeks go. ... The whole key is to get his arm strength up before he gets on the mound. We don't have a timetable yet."
Predictions, Part 1. From the pre-season magazines I have seen so far:

Street & Smith's
Red Sox picked for 2nd; Randy Johnson gets the Cy; Slappy is MVP; Yankees beat Atlanta in World Series.

Yanks win East; Red Sox get wild card; Johnson wins Cy; Yankees top Cubs in October.

The Sporting News
All 6 writers say Boston finishes 2nd; 4 say Sox lose ALDS to Angels; 1 says Sox beat Twins but lose ALCS to NY; 1 says Sox beat Angels but lose ALCS to NY.
World Series: 2 say Yankees over Cubs; 2 say Yankees over Cardinals; 1 says Yankees over Giants; 1 says Atlanta over Yankees.

February 11, 2005

Truck Day. Today!

SoSHer amh03 brought her camera. Blogger Steve Brady also took some shots.

February 10, 2005

Which Red Sox Player Are You?

You scored as Johnny Damon. You are Johnny Damon!! You are very down-to-earth and like to joke around a lot. This is apparent through your appearance. You are known for looking unkempt, perhaps even caveman-like, but everyone loves you for it. Oh yea... Johnny is my homeboy!

Johnny Damon


Curt Schilling


Mark Bellhorn


Jason Varitek


Theo Epstein


David Ortiz


Manny Ramirez


Kevin Millar

Take the quiz.

February 9, 2005

Fan Of The Year. "Geoff Huish, 26, was so convinced England would win Saturday's match he told fellow drinkers at a social club, 'If Wales win I'll cut my balls off.'" ... Well, Wales won 11-9. ... Thanks to GYS for the link.
Rev Up The Truck. Spring draws closer. Living in Manhattan, I don't get NESN, but it has been showing condensed versions of the glorious post-season recently. ... Why condensed? Does NESN have so much quality programming it can't show the entire games, especially the ALCS? ... It's probably a MLB contractual issue.

The best place to relive the games is Surviving Grady. (I love today's photo.) But is Red quoting Al Stewart? Gulp. ... I also hope to watch my wonderful DVDs of all 14 games during spring training and report on all my goose bumps, racing heartbeat, chewed fingernails and tears of joy.

What I've Been Doing Instead of Posting: I'm finishing up bios of Babe Ruth and Carl Mays for SABR's upcoming Deadball Stars of the American League (I wrote about John Titus for the National League volume). Then I'm off next week to Vermont and Montreal. On February 20, I'll be in Boston, hugging the World Series trophy. More frequent posting will resume on February 21.

February 6, 2005

16 NRIs. Sixteen non-roster players have been invited to spring training, including first baseman David McCarty. Also: catchers Shawn Wooten and Jeff Bailey, infielders Dave Berg, Tim Hummel and Kenny Perez, outfielders George Lombard, Billy McMillon and Simon Pond, right-handed pitchers Josias Manzanillo, Scott Cassidy, Jack Cressend, Jeremi Gonzalez and Kris Wilson, and left-handed pitcher Jason Kershner.

While MLB.com's Tom Singer picks the Red Sox to win the East and says the Orioles will press the Yankees for the wild card berth, he gives New York the nod for the World Series. Bah.