Sunday, March 28, 2010

Random baseball thoughts

Joe Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery, ending his season and placing his availability for the 2011 campaign in doubt. No question this is a major blow for the Minnesota Twins. But one thing we know about them is that they are a resilient bunch. Who would have predicted their stunning comeback to tie and beat the Detroit Tigers in that epic one-game playoff last year? As much as the loss of Nathan will hurt, they will find someone to take his place and still be contenders for the top of the weak American League Central. But if they were in the AL East, they would be in serious trouble.

* Hideki Matsui took a turn in left field for the Los Angeles Angels. He played four innings without a chance so it's impossible to say whether he can play in the outfield during a regular game. But I'm rooting for Matsui big time. He was one of my favorite players on the New York Yankees and I was sad to see him go, especially the way he was dismissed by Brian Cashman & Co. Hopefully, he can prove to everyone in baseball, including the Yanks, that's he's not done as a position player. There's no question about his bat since he smacked a home run right after a foul ball that smashed his new boss Arte Moreno's windshield. Matsui jokingly said he was OK with a demotion to Triple-A, as long as he didn't get fired. Angels fans and his new teammates are going to love him in LA.

* The Roger Clemens drama just doesn't go away. Jose Canseco sent out a Twitter notice that he received a subpoena to testify about steroids use in baseball by Clemens, Andy Pettitte and others. Canseco, who I think has unfairly been demonized around baseball, is the most critical figure in the sport on this issue since he brought the enormity of illegal drug use to light when too many others were willing to look the other way.

* Mike Scioscia got his way, one postseason too late. Major League Baseball revised its playoff schedule to eliminate an extra off day between Game 4 and 5 of the League Championship Series. I consider this a direct response to the New York Yankees winning the World Series with only 3 starters, enabled by the numerous off days. No matter, they have plenty of time to see if they can get Javier Vazquez or Phil Hughes to the point where they can be handed the ball in a big spot in the playoffs. But the way the schedule is set up, the World Series will still drag on into November, which was supposed to be an anomaly last year because of the World Baseball Classic.
I must admit I was expecting more radical changes from the committee given baseball's numerous issues, but maybe change has to happen in incremental steps. Plus, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has to deal with the players union so navigating that chasm does take time.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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