Complete article but nothing new...
If Japanese team played in U.S.posted: Sunday, March 26, 2006
I have great respect for Ozzie Guillen and appreciate he knows more than I do ... but he says "if that (Japanese) team played in the American or National League, they might not win 20 games." Even if one takes away Ichiro Suzuki and Akinori Otsuka, any team that can run out pitchers like Daisuke Matsuzaka, Koji Uehara and Shunsuke Watanabe would hardly go 20-142.
• All the Team USA pitchers -- and pitching coach Marcel Lachemann -- were in awe of Roger Clemens. But one thing they weren't ready for was Clemens taking that Icy Hot that pitchers rub on their shoulders and arms and spreading it over his upper thighs and private parts. "He doesn't want to get comfortable on the mound," says Jake Peavy, who tried the same trick Friday night in Phoenix.
• The Mariners have to worry that the Jeremy Reed injury will take a lot longer than eight weeks to heal normally. So Joe Borchard will get the chance to prove whether or not he can play everyday. Everyone in Arizona raves about Adam Jones, but he has fewer than 70 games of Double-A experience and will start the season in Tacoma.
• If Armando Benitez does break down, don't be surprised if the Giants turn to Merkin Valdez -- who's had a great spring -- and Brian Wilson, who shot through the organization last season with his power stuff. Brian Sabean has to like Wilson, as the fireballer is a fellow New Hampshire native out of Londonderry.
• Craig Hansen did not allow a run this spring with the Red Sox, but when he gets sent out, the overall feeling is that he needs to either start or pitch in three-inning stints to develop both his fastballs, slider and changeup. "If he's going into games in the ninth, he's not going to develop," says one Boston official. In Hansen's case, saves for Pawtucket or Portland are irrelevant. He needs to prepare to pitch in the major leagues, and closing in his case isn't development.
• Octavio Dotel will definitely turn out to be one of the offseason's best moves, but be surprised if he's back as fast as people are speculating. Pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery almost always think they're way ahead of schedule, then hit a minor wall as they get close.
• Kendry Morales says he and WBC Cuban phenom Yulieski Gourriel roomed together both at a sports development school and on the national team. But he reiterated to Angels officials that Gourriel will not be coming to the U.S. because of family ties to the government.
• If Team USA, not Cuba, had been in the WBC final, do you think we would have had some administration biggies at the game?
• Noting what great control both Bartolo Colon and David Wells have despite their bodies, Bud Black says, "They're both great athletes. Bartolo is the best fielding pitcher we have." And Wells is probably the best athlete on the Boston staff.
• Two years ago, A's 2B Mark Ellis faced what seemed to be career-ending surgery for a torn labrum and rotator cuff. Now Billy Beane and Ken Macha each will tell you "he is very close to star status." Asked what he did during his layoff, Ellis says, "I studied players that are comparables as hitters and that I admire. Ivan Rodriguez, for instance. And my favorite player, Michael Young. I tried to figure out some of the things they do to make themselves great."
• Frank Thomas' second at-bat of the spring? A monstrous homer over two fences in Phoenix off Josh Fogg. "Watching Frank Thomas in an A's uniform," said Beane, "is like having Mick Jagger sing at your wedding."