Archive for January 2013

Alex Rodriguez says he's not retiring

Alex Rodriguez has no intentions of retiring.  This news comes after numerous sources had indicated that the third baseman may not be able to play again after the injury.  Of course, most of the conversation has likely been posturing by either side (the Yankees and A-Rod).  Rodriguez is knee-deep in another steroid scandal, and the New York Yankees do not want to pay the remaining $114 million on his contract.

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports says Rodriguez does not plan to retire.  He plans to work hard and come back from the injury as soon as possible.  This new report comes from sources close to Rodriguez says Brown.  Rodriguez's rebuttal of a potential end to his career is not surprising.  There has yet to be any medical evidence made public (and there may never be any because of privacy laws) that Rodriguez's injury will cause his abilities to diminish to the point where he can no longer play.  Brown quotes sources close to Rodriguez who expect just the opposite, actually.

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Alex Rodriguez's return to Yankees unlikely

Although there was no indication early on that the surgery to repair Alex Rodriguez's hip would be career-threatening, that is exactly what sources within the New York Yankees organization are saying. In fact, it would seem that regardless of Rodriguez's rehab and recovery he won't be playing for the Yankees again. And he may not play baseball again if you believe the sources.

According to the New York Daily News, baseball sources are suggesting that Rodriguez's hip is in such bad shape that he may not return to the game. If he were to return it would be in a capacity so diminished that some don't see Rodriguez wanting to even try. With the insurance policy the Yankees have on Rodriguez, the team could essentially have the third baseman paid out and never have to pay him again. That is, if they can prove their claim of permanent disability to the insurance company.

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Yankees rumors: Voiding Alex Rodriguez’s contract unrealistic?

There has been speculation that the New York Yankees will attempt to void third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s remaining contract due to use of performance-enhancing drugs and his hip injury. However, the team knows there is little chance of voiding Rodriguez’s contract, an act termed “unrealistic” by David Waldstein of The New York Times.


The Yankees can dream of getting out from under their staggering financial obligation to Alex Rodriguez, but they know there is little chance of voiding Rodriguez’s contract, even if it is proved that he used performance-enhancing drugs while a member of the team.

Waldstein notes that MLB’s player’s association will fight the Yankees’ attempt at voiding Rodriguez’s. The 37-year-old has five years and $114 million remaining on his current deal with New York.

While he doesn’t view voiding the contract as a realistic option, the Yankees could still recoup some of their investment in several other scenarios.

If Rodriguez’s hip injury results in his retirement prior to or during the 2013 season, the Yankees could potentially collect up to 85 percent of Rodriguez’s remaining salary through insurance. New York could also negotiate a buyout with Rodriguez, but the third baseman isn’t expected to agree to take much, if any, less than the full amount he’s owed. The final scenario would see Rodriguez finish his career with the Yankees.

It sounds like New York is itching to part ways with Rodriguez, so I would expect one of the first two scenarios mentioned to take place. It’s hard to tell the nature and ultimate impact of his injury at this time, but Rodriguez currently seems intent on continuing his career.

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Padres, Chase Headley avoid arbitration

The San Diego Padres still have not reached a long-term extension with Chase Headley, but they may have gotten a bargain for this year.  The team and their third baseman slugger have agreed to a one-year contract that will allow the sides to avoid arbitration.  Headley will be getting a nice raise compared to his 2012 salary, but it seems he will make far less than he would have if he had been a free agent after last season.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Padres and Headley have agreed to a one-year, $8.575 million deal.  The contract represents more than a $5 million raise over his 2012 salary, but it falls well short of Headley's request submitted to the arbitrator.  He was looking for $10.3 million.

Headley had a breakout year last season.  After being a decent hitter for most of his career, Headley found his power in 2012.  And he did so mostly in the second half of the seasons.  Headley hit 30 home runs last season, a career-high, and he led the National League in RBI with 115.  Both are tasty numbers for an arbitrator and would likely have netted Headley more than the $8.575 million he settled for.

The team has tabled discussions about a long-term extension for now.  They currently have him under team control through the end of the 2014 season.  Padres' GM Josh Byrnes has continuously said he feels there is no need to rush the extension talks because they are so far away from Headley's free agent year.  Of course, if Headley continues to put up huge numbers, Byrnes may have just allowed Headley to price himself out of the Padres market.

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Mariners rumors: Seattle needs to add dependable starter

With the exits of Jason Vargas and Kevin Millwood, the Seattle Mariners are left in need of a “dependable starting pitcher,” according to Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times.


The Mariners now need a No. 3 guy capable of logging close to 200 innings and doing so without embarrassing himself. In other words, doing it without an ERA up near 5.00.

Millwood left via free agency, while the Mariners shipped Vargas to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for slugger Kendrys Morales. At this point, Seattle has Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma atop their rotation, while other candidates include Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez and Hector Noesi.

Baker sees no guarantees in any of the latter three mentioned, and he implores the Mariners to go out and acquire another dependable veteran arm.

He offers a pair of potential acquisitions; Joe Saunders and Chris Capuano. Saunders can be signed, while the Los Angeles Dodgers currently hold Capuano’s contract.

Saunders is said to be seeking a three-year commitment, but he might be able to be had for two guaranteed years. The New York Mets, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles have also been tied to Saunders this offseason.

Still, Baker would prefer Capuano. He believes Seattle could pry him from the Dodgers in exchange for outfielder Franklin Gutierrez. The Mariners could then use their remaining payroll to sign free agent center fielder Michael Bourn.

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Red Sox OF Ryan Kalish Undergoes Shoulder Surgery

Boston Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish underwent successful shoulder surgery yesterday, the team has announced.


The procedure was performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum. It consisted of a right shoulder arthroscopy and posterior labrum repair. While he’s expected to make a full recovery following the surgery, Kalish isn’t likely to be available for spring training.

Kalish underwent labrum surgery before, but it was to his left shoulder following the 2011 season. He also had a bulging disk in his neck repaired in September 2011.

Injuries have continued to stall Kalish’s career, as the 24-year-old was in line to compete for playing time at the major league level this spring. He made his debut in 2010 and appeared in 36 games for the Red Sox last season.

Over parts of seven seasons at the minor league level, Kalish, a former top prospect, has hit .279/.366/.429.

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Rangers rumors: Will Texas now pursue Michael Bourn?

Last week, the Texas Rangers indicated they were happy with the current makeup of their team, including their outfield. Following Nelson Cruz’s ties to the south Florida performance-enhancing drug scandal and the potential suspension that could result, Buster Olney of ESPN wonders if the Rangers will now pursue free agent center fielder Michael Bourn.



It was reported yesterday that the Rangers were not interested in adding Bourn on the four- or five-year commitment he’s seeking. However, Texas may be willing to sign the free agent to a shorter-term contract if Bourn would be willing to accept.

On Bourn’s part, we found out that he and agent Scott Boras may be interested in a short-term contract if it includes an opt-out clause that, if exercised, would allow him to hit free agency again next season.

Both Cruz and David Murphy are in the final year of their contract with the Rangers. For this reason, Texas could sign Bourn, use him in center field for 2013, and then slide him or Leonys Martin into a corner outfield spot to replace Cruz or Murphy.

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Fans Are to Blame for Deer Antler Spray

 Who is to blame for the nonsensical role American organized sports have taken in our lives?  The American sports fan, that is who.

Forget about the cheating players, the dominating TV executives, the monopolistic team/media owners.  All any of them are trying to do is to capitalize on the set of rules we have set down; to take what we have willingly labeled as rightfully theirs.

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Yankees rumors: New York Considering Travis Hafner

The New York Yankees are considering free agent Travis Hafner as a possible left-handed designated hitter, according to David Waldstein of The New York Times.


The Yankees are considering the veteran free agent Travis Hafner as a possible left-handed designated hitter, according to a person familiar with the team’s planning.

It was reported yesterday that the Yankees were potentially nearing an agreement with Hafner, but Waldstein says that no deal is close, as New York continues to look into other candidates.

Hafner reached the open market when the Cleveland Indians elected not to exercise his option for 2013 but instead buy out his contract. The 35-year-old hit .228/.346/.438 with six doubles and 12 home runs last season, and he owns a career line of .278/.381/.507 over 11 seasons at the major league level.

The Yankees have mostly been tied to potential right-handed-hitting fourth outfielder candidates, since their trio of projected outfield starters, Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson, all bat from the left side of the plate.

However, New York is also in need of a regular DH after losing Raul Ibanez to free agency. Beyond Hafner, Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Jim Thome, Jason Giambi, Aubrey Huff, Carlos Lee and Lyle Overbay are also available.


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Nationals' Stephen Strasburg ready to pitch again

Stephen Strasburg was none too happy with his innings limit and eventual shut down last season.  However, the Washington Nationals did not want to take any chances with Strasburg's surgically-reparied right elbow.  He made his last start of the 2012 season on September 7th, and with having an extra month off, he is understandably "champing at the bit."

According to James Wagner of the Washington Post, Strasburg is still upset about the decision to shut him down, but he is trying to move on and focus on 2013.  He's looking forward to pitching without restriction.  Of course, Strasburg is a little stir crazy by now, his offseason has been a month longer than his teammates'.

Asked about his offseason in a telephone interview Monday night, Strasburg’s response was telling: “It’s been a month longer than everybody else. I’m [champing] at the bit.”

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Kelly Shoppach, Mariners agree to one year deal

Kelly Shoppach has signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners.  Shoppach has stopped off in four Major League cities in his eight-year career, and Seattle will make his fifth.  But the Mariners think he can help soften the blow of losing John Jaso.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Mariners reached the agreement yesterday.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported on the contract details.

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Angels avoid arbitration with Kevin Jepsen

By reaching an agreement with Kevin Jepsen yesterday the Los Angeles Angels officially have no players who will go to an arbitration hearing this year.  This is always a goal for any team's front office and it's an accomplishment to be celebrated.  The team and Jepsen agreed to a $1.181 million deal for one season.

Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times confirmed the signing.  He later reported that the contract meets right about in the middle of the numbers submitted to the arbitrator by the Angels and Jepsen.  Jepsen was looking for $1.4 million and the Angels offered just under $1 million.


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Michael Bourn rumors: Free agent meets with Mets

The New York Mets have been tied to free agent center fielder Michael Bourn throughout the offseason, but they continue to be a longshot to sign him. Still, the team is serious enough to have met with Bourn and his agent, Scott Boras, last week for dinner, according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post.


To that end, general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco travelled to Houston last week to have dinner with free agent center fielder Michael Bourn and his agent, Scott Boras, The Post has learned.

This doesn’t mean a deal is pending, as Sherman characterizes the meeting as “more a getting-to-know-you session than a dollars-and-cents negotiation.” Bourn’s next contract remains a major hurdle for the Mets. The free agent is seeking at least a five-year commitment, while New York is only interested in going three years.

Sherman notes that Bourn and Boras may be willing to agree to a shorter-term contract if it would include an opt-out clause that would allow Bourn to hit free agency again following the 2013 season. New York is holding out hope that the remainder of Bourn’s market will evaporate, and he’ll have to ultimately agree to their offer.

Boras is also saying that if the Mets sign Bourn their credibility will be increased next offseason when they are attempting to sign other free agents.

Gotta love the work Scott does. Maybe next he’ll dig up one of his mystery teams?

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Yankees' Andy Pettitte declines chance to pitch in WBC

Andy Pettitte knows Joe Torre well.  Torre is the manager of the World Baseball Classic's Team USA. He asked Pettitte to pitch for the team, but Pettitte declined.  He would rather stay with the New York Yankees during spring training and make sure he is ready to compete.

According to Brian Hoch of MLB.com, Pettitte informed the Yankees yesterday that he would not be pitching in the WBC.  He had expressed interest last season, but now as he pitches one more season after coming back from retirement, Pettitte would rather focus on his club.

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White Sox rumors: Chicago seeking left-handed bat

The Chicago White Sox continue to be in the market for a left-handed hitter, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com.



Merkin adds that if the White Sox do eventually add a player, he will probably be more of a “complementary piece” at this point.

The White Sox projected corner infielders and outfielders, Paul Konerko, Jeff Keppinger, Dayan Viciedo and Alex Rios, all bat from the right side of the plate. For this reason, Chicago would figure to want a left-handed hitting option that can come off the bench every now and then.

There are several left-handed hitting free agents remaining on the market, including Aubrey Huff, Bobby Abreu, Casey Kotchman and Johnny Damon.

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Orioles rumors: Baltimore still pursuing Joe Saunders

Even after signing free agent right-hander Jair Jurrjens, the Baltimore Orioles continue to pursue left-hander Joe Saunders, according to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun.


Here’s what I know for sure -- at least heading into Monday: Both sides still want a marriage and are hopeful it will happen, but both have a pretty clear idea of what it will take, and neither side has blinked yet.

Connolly believes that if Saunders signs a one-year contract this winter it will likely be with the Orioles. The veteran has made it clear that he’d prefer to rejoin Baltimore, and the O’s remain hopeful that a deal can be completed.

However, Saunders is seeking a multi-year contract, and the Orioles are only interested in one guaranteed year with an option for a second. Connolly gets the sense that Baltimore’s recent agreement with Jair Jurrjens didn’t shut the door on a potential Saunders deal. If the O’s sign Saunders, they would be able to start Jurrjens in Triple-A if there is not room in their starting rotation for him.

There are reports that Saunders has a two-year offer on the table. It’s not clear which team has extended this contract, but the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners have also been tied to Saunders this offseason.

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Padres re-sign Tim Stauffer to minor league deal

The San Diego Padres projected Opening Day starter last year and their 2011 Opening Day starter does not even have a guaranteed roster spot on the 2013 team.  After once again dealing with arm troubles last year, Tim Stauffer underwent surgery.  He is expected to be ready sometime shortly after the season begins.  With that in mind, the Padres re-signed him to a minor league deal.

According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, the Padres signed Stauffer in addition to the minor league contract we covered yesterday for Freddy Garcia.  The deal will not likely include an invite to Major League camp this spring because it's not clear whether Stauffer will be ready for camp.  He is said to be not too far behind in his normal offseason workout program, but the team will not know his status until he is throwing off a mound.

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Red Sox rumors: Boston eyeing first basemen

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters, including Alex Speier of WEEI.com, that the team could add a player or two before the start of camp to improve its depth at first base.


"The one area that we probably need to get a feel for is at first base," said manager John Farrell. "We fully expect Napoli to be ready to go, but if a need were to arise at that position, I think we'll probably have some additions before camp opens up in that area, so that there will be protection provided at first base."

At this point, the Red Sox are set to enter the 2013 season with offseason acquisition Mike Napoli as their regular at first base. Because he’s spent a majority of his career behind the plate and as a designated hitter, questions remain regarding his ability to register a full season at first.

Beyond Napoli, the Red Sox currently have a few unproven players set to back him up, including Mauro Gomez, Mark Hamilton and Daniel Nava. If they elect to take to the free agent market for more depth, the options would include Casey Kotchman, Aubrey Huff, Carlos Lee and Lyle Overbay.


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Yankees look to potentially void Alex Rodriguez's contract

It's a long-shot, but after news broke this morning of an alleged PED distribution clinic that serviced big name athletes like Alex Rodrgiuez, Gio Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, and Nelson Cruz, the New York Yankees may try to find a loop hole that allows them to void the $114 million remaining on Rodriguez's contract.  The probability of this is slim, but it's not surprising that New York is looking for a way out.

Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York covered the story yesterday afternoon.  They say the Yankees will look to explore multiple avenues to void Rodriguez's contract if MLB takes disciplinary action against the third baseman.  Of course, there is a chance that no disciplinary action will be taken as Rodriguez has not failed a drug test.  He has, though, been linked to a clinic that has reportedly been providing him with performance-enhancing drugs.  That may be all the league needs.

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Original Met Ed Bouchee Passes Away

 Ed Bouchee spent more time in the Army (1953-54) than he did in a New York Mets uniform, but to the fans of the beloved yet inept 1962 Metsies, he will always be remembered.

Bouchee passed away on January 23 at age 79.  One of only 23 men born in the state of Montana ever to play in the major leagues, Bouchee had a fine rookie season with the 1957 Phillies.  The freshman first baseman played the full 154-game schedule, finishing with 17 homers, a .293 BA, .394 OBP and .870 OPS.  All that garnered him only second place in the Rookie of the Year voting, as he lost out to 19-game winner and teammate Jack Sanford. The Sporting News, however, did name him as their top Rookie.

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Angels' Ryan Madson May Not Be Ready to Start Season

Los Angeles Times' Mike

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Derek Jeter Takes First Workout at Yankees Complex

He came out of the Yankee clubhouse wearing team insignia shorts and a long sleeve tee shirt.  He walked to the main practice field without a limp.  Yankee shortstop and Captain Derek Jeter was back on the field.

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Scott Atchison Does Not Expect to Return to the Red Sox

After suffering a partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament, Scott Atchison missed a large chunk of the 2012 season.  He has worked his way back and has begun throwing again, but he understands he will likely not receive a contract offer from the Boston Red Sox.  Atchison pitched for the Sox for the past three seasons, but after the injury the team is not interested.

According to Evan Drellich of MLB.com, Atchison will likely get a minor league contract offer with some team.  Atchison says he is in the process of working out a contract with an undisclosed team.  He didn't want to reveal the team until things were finalized, but he is making his signing decision based on the probability of making a Major League roster out of spring training.

"We're pretty close. We're not completely final yet, but I pretty much have a deal, I prefer not to say who right now because it's nothing final, but we're not really out there any more I guess for the most part, unless something fell apart here in the next day, which I don't foresee," he said.

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Phillies' Cole Hamels Not Concerned With Shoulder

Last Fall, word came out that Cole Hamels had battled offseason shoulder problem.  This, of course, caused panic in Phillies nation, but the 29-year old lefty assured everyone yesterday that he was fine.  He is not concerned about the shoulder at all and downplayed the severity of the issue.

Hamels said yesterday that he wasn't sure anything actually happened to his shoulder, says Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.  The Phillies GM Ruben Amaro had indicated earlier in the month that there had been a problem with Hamels shoulder, but Hamels says he is ready for spring training.

"I don't know of anything that happened," he insisted. "I've been healthy. That's the last thing on my list. ... I haven't felt anything of that sort. That's the honest truth. I don't know. I wasn't the one that started it. I know I feel good and I'm ready to go. That's all I can really answer. That's kind of where it is. Same program, ready for Spring Training and finally getting out of the cold. That will be a lot nicer. I'm very excited."

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Yankees' Michael Pineda Set to Start Throwing from Half Mound

When the New York Yankees traded for Michael Pineda, they thought they had their pitcher of the future.  That still may be the case, but Pineda has yet to throw a pitch for the Yankees.  He missed the entire 2012 season with a labral tear of his shoulder.  He underwent surgery last May, and there was concern he could miss the entire 2013 season as well.  However, Pineda is set to reach a major milestone today which means he should be pitching sometime this season.

According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Pineda is set to throw off a half mound today at the Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa, Florida.  The move from throwing from flat ground to a hill is a big one.  It's a step in the right direction and indication that Pineda could be pitching by mid-season.  In fact, Hoch says Yankees' GM Brian Cashman expects Pineda to take the mound for the team in June or July.

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Mets Rumors: Michael Bourn, New York Continue Negotiations

The New York Mets are continuing negotiations with free agent outfielder Michael Bourn, according to Mike Puma of The New York Post. However, Bourn is still seeking a five-year commitment, an offer the Mets are unwilling to extend at this point.



Not only are the Mets hesitant to offer Bourn the number of years he and agent Scott Boras are seeking, but New York also doesn’t want to surrender its first-round pick in order to sign the free agent center fielder. Instead, the Mets are seeking a ruling from Major League Baseball that would allow them to send the Atlanta Braves their second-round pick, not No. 11 overall, if they were to sign Bourn.

Until these hurdles are cleared, it wouldn’t appear that the Mets are not a likely landing spot for Bourn. Still, no team is a clear fit at this point, so New York figures to continue to be tied to the speedster until he signs elsewhere.

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Athletics Rumors: Oakland Interested in Hideki Okajima

The Oakland Athletics are considering signing left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima, according to Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle.


Multiple sources told The Chronicle that the A's are considering signing former Red Sox left-hander Hideki Okajima.

Okajima, a former reliever for the Boston Red Sox, spent the 2012 season with the Softbank Hawks. The club released the 37-year-old from his contract yesterday so that he can pursue a return to Major League Baseball.

Over 47 2/3 innings with the Hawks last season, Okajima maintained a 0.94 ERA with 6.8 strikeouts and 1.1 walks per nine innings. Before joining Softbank, Okajima had signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees last offseason that fell through due to his left shoulder injury.

Okajima spent five years as a left-handed specialist with the Red Sox. He was dominant over his first two campaigns, maintaining an ERA and WHIP of 2.40 and 1.061. However, his numbers ballooned over the next few years, and he finished with a career ERA of 3.11 with 7.9 strikeouts and 3.1 walks per nine innings.

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Twins Rumors: Minnesota Waiting on Joe Saunders

The Minnesota Twins are hoping to sign free agent left-hander Joe Saunders to a one-year contract, and they are currently waiting to hear back from the veteran’s agent, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.


A team source said on Friday the Twins are waiting to hear back from left-hander Joe Saunders' agent, Greg Genske.

Wolfson notes that if Saunders wants to be a Twin, he can be. Minnesota continues to target Saunders on a one-year contract, but they may be willing to push the offer to two years. However, Saunders is reportedly seeking a three-year commitment this winter.

While general manager Terry Ryan wouldn’t specifically comment on Saunders, he did say that whether or not Minnesota adds a starter this winter will be determined by free agent’s interest in the Twins. Ryan added that the Twins do have the payroll flexibility to add another arm.

Saunders spent the 2012 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Baltimore Orioles. Over 28 combined starts, the left-hander posted an ERA of 4.07. The 31-year-old owns a 4.15 ERA with 5.1 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine innings over eight seasons at the major league level.

So far this offseason the Twins have acquired Vance Worley from the Philadelphia Phillies and signed free agents Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Rich Harden.

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Carl Pavano's Injury More Serious Than Originally Thought

Carl Pavano has more to think about than a free agent contract.  He suffered a surprisingly severe injury recently when he fell in Vermont.  As we discussed on Friday, Pavano suffered a ruptured spleen when he fell shoveling snow.  What we did not know at the time was the severity of the injury.

According to an Associated Press report, Pavano's injury was very serious considering the fact that he wasn't even aware that he had been injured.  Pavano did not realize the injury until a few days later during workouts.  His agent, David Pepe, said the Pavano lost a lot of blood.

"He felt bad enough that he went to the hospital and he ended up getting admitted, and they realized he had a lacerated spleen," Pepe said. "They tried to control the bleeding. They did all they could to not take it out and, unfortunately, he didn't stop bleeding and he's been in the hospital since."

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Brewers Rumors: Milwaukee Interested in Lyle Overbay

The Milwaukee Brewers are talking to free agent first baseman Lyle Overbay about a potential minor league contract, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.


Rosenthal adds that Overbay is also speaking with other clubs, and the veteran is expected to make a decision soon. He notes that Overbay would back up Mat Gamel, who’s expected to see regular time at first base in place of the injured Corey Hart.

It was reported yesterday that the Brewers were seeking a first baseman to add to their roster in place of Hart, who’s expected to miss the first two months of the regular season after undergoing knee surgery. Overbay was one of the candidates mentioned as a possible fit.

Overbay spent the 2012 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves. Over 116 combined at-bats, the 36-year-old hit .259/.331/.397 with 10 doubles and two home runs. He’s hit .270/.353/.438 over 12 seasons at the major league level.

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Freddy Garcia Signs a Minor League Deal with Padres

The San Diego Padres are bringing in reinforcements.  After the 2012 season saw the team lose virtually their entire starting rotation and much of their bullpen to injuries, the Padres have signed a veteran work horse.  San Diego and Freddy Garcia have a agreed to a minor league contract with an invite to Major League camp.

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the deal allows Garcia a solid opportunity at making the Padres's roster.


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Cubs Rumors: Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano on Trade Block?

Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano remains on the trade block, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, and right-hander Matt Garza could join him once he regains his health, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN.



Soriano could still be moved before the start of spring training, according to Cafardo. Teams like the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers could be fits as they are looking “to make last-minute moves to improve.”

However, the Cubs won’t simply trade Soriano for nothing, as he proved productive in 2012 and Chicago’s front office covets his clubhouse presence.

When it comes to Garza, at this point the Cubs’ focus is on getting him healthy and back into their starting rotation. However, Bowden notes that this could change closer to the 2013 trade deadline as Garza is in the final year of his current contract and Chicago continues to target young talent.

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Yankees Will Miss Russell Martin Behind the Plate

The New York Yankees saw a lot of change this offseason.  One of the biggest changes is who will be catching games for them in 2013.  Russell Martin left via free agency and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Now, the Yankees will have to rely on Austin Romine.

Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York broke down the top reasons why Martin would be missed in New York.  Specifically, his toughness will be difficult to replace.  Martin is also a very good defensive catcher who has a game plan in mind while calling games.

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Cubs Focussed on Getting Matt Garza Healthy and Ready to Pitch

Matt Garza missed most of the second half of the season with a stress reaction in his elbow.  He was shut down as a precaution which also shut down his trade possibilities.  It seems pretty clear that Garza will be traded at some point this season, but for now the Chicago Cubs are looking to make sure he is healthy and get him back on a mound.

According to Jim Bowden of Sirius/XM Radio and ESPN, the Cubs may be focused on getting Garza back to pitching now, but that could change as they realize time is running out.

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Mets' Catcher Landon Powell's Daughter Dies

In heartbreaking news from New York, the five-month old daughter of New York Mets' catcher Landon Powell has died.  She was battling an immune disorder and it wasn't clear if she would be able to fight through her problems.  Over the weekend she passed away.

According to Newsday, Izzy Powell had an immune disease that attacked her liver.  The family confirmed over the weekend that she had passed after fighting the whole time.  On the family's Facebook page they wrote:

"Her life served a great purpose in her short 5 months on this earth."

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Red Sox Rumors: Boston Not Pursuing Bobby Abreu

The Boston Red Sox had been tied to free agent Bobby Abreu as a potential backup option at first base and in the outfield, but the team is now unlikely to pursue the veteran for such a role, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.


Abreu wants to stay in baseball, and the Red Sox were among the teams that tried him out. But I was told the Red Sox are unlikely to pursue him as that backup first baseman/outfielder they’re looking for.

The Red Sox would like to add a player they can use to spell Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli in the outfield and at first base. Both players offer superior numbers against left-handed pitching, and Boston was thought to be in the market for a reserve that could help against right-handers.

Abreu does own a career OPS of .920 against right-handed pitching, but he’s been in decline over the past several seasons. The 38-year-old also doesn’t have experience at first base, and the Red Sox are thought to be looking for someone who can also offer solid defense at the position.

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Dodgers' Catcher A.J. Ellis' Knee Fully Recovered

 “I’m doing all my regular baseball activities.”  “It looks like a normal January for me.”

These were the words of Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis according to


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Brewers Rumors: Milwaukee Seeking First Baseman

As slugger Corey Hart recovers from right knee surgery that is expected to sideline him for the start of the regular season, the Milwaukee Brewers continue to look to bring a first baseman into camp to offer in-house replacement candidate Mat Gamel competition, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.


“There’s still the possibility that Doug [Melvin, the Brewers' general manger] is talking to some guys right now [and] we get somebody else into camp.”

Hart’s surgery and resulting rehab is expected to keep him out for at least the first two months of the regular season. Milwaukee has said it plans on using the former top prospect Gamel at first in place of Hart.

Still, it appears the Brewers continue to look outside the organization for potential supporting options at first. The remaining free agent options include Aubrey Huff, Casey Kotchman, Carlos Lee, Lyle Overbay, Juan Rivera and Nick Johnson.

Milwaukee could ultimately decide to remain in-house, as they have first base prospect Hunter Morris and utility infield Taylor Green.

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Dodgers Rumors: Don Mattingly Wants Scott Rolen

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly recently spoke to free agent third baseman Scott Rolen about joining his team for the 2013 season, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.


Manager Don Mattingly said he spoke to free-agent third baseman Scott Rolen about playing for the Dodgers, although Rolen hasn't revealed if he's interested in playing anywhere in 2013.

At this point, it’s not clear if Rolen will be playing anywhere next season, as the 37-year-old has yet to make a decision on retiring or coming back for another year. If he does opt to return, Rolen has said that his former team, the Cincinnati Reds, would be his top choice.

If the Dodgers would sign Rolen, it would likely be as insurance in case Luis Cruz struggles with a full-time role at third base. Los Angeles could also use Rolen as a right-handed-hitting backup for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Rolen spent the last three full seasons with the Reds. In 2012 he hit .245/.318/.398 with 17 doubles and eight home runs over 294 at-bats.

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Rays Rumors: Tampa Bay Still Shopping?

Even after signing free agents Luke Scott and Kyle Farnsworth last week, the Tampa Bay Ray are still “on the lookout for help,” according to Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times. Topkin notes that the Rays are likely to be seeking another bat and/or bullpen arm.


It would appear that Tampa Bay could use a right-handed hitter to help spell several of their lefties, including Scott at designated hitter, James Loney at first base and Matt Joyce in the outfield. The Rays have several in-house options that could potentially do so, including Sean Rodriguez, Brandon Buyer and the recently signed Shelley Duncan.

Beyond a bat, the Rays could also look to add another reliever to their bullpen. Topkin says this would be especially likely if Roberto Hernandez beats out Jeff Niemann and Alex Cobb for a spot in Tampa Bay’s rotation.

If the Rays decide not to acquire someone from outside the organization to add to their bullpen, they would have Brandon Gomes, Josh Lueke, Dane De La Rosa and Jamey Wright as in-house candidates.

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Dodgers' Kenley Jansen Completely Recovered From heart Surgery

The Los Angeles Dodgers may not use Kenley Jansen as their closer in 2013, but they will have him in their bullpen.  And he will be healthy.  Jansen is feeling good and off blood thinners.  He says he is completely recovered from the surgery he had last October after an irregular heartbeat was discovered.  

According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Jansen was told by doctors that he should have no lingering affects or issues.  Jansen has been off blood-thinning medication since November.  He appears to be ready to throw during spring training. 
"I'm doing well," Jansen said. "This is going to take care of it, no more problems. Put it in God's hands now."

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Dodger's News: Clayton Kershaw's Hip Not an Issue

For much of the second half of the 2012 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers and fans focused on Clayton Kershaw's ailing hip.  There was initially some concern that he would have to undergo surgery, but after seeing doctors, it was determined that the Dodgers' ace couldn't do any damage to the hip by pitching.  So that's what he did, and now as the 2013 season approaches, there appears to be no problem with his hip.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Kershaw has not had any issues with his right hip all winter long.  He should be ready to go during spring training and back to playing without pain when the season begins.

"It was never a problem for me," said Kershaw when asked about the hip and his offseason.

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Long-Term Extension for Nationals' Jordan Zimmermann Still in the Works

Jordan Zimmermann, who just completed his first full, non-innings-limit-shortened, season with the Washington Nationals since undergoing Tommy John surgery is looking to get a long-term extension in place.  First, though, he wants to resolve his upcoming arbitration without the hearing preferably.

Amanda Comak of the Washington Times says negotiations between the team and Zimmermann are ongoing.  Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington says Zimmermann is first looking to get arbitration taken care of.


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Mariners' Felix Hernandez Has No Interest in Four-Year Deal

Not long ago, the rumors began to swirl about a possible four-year contract extension for Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.  After his dominating performances over the last few seasons, it would make sense for the Mariners to try to lock him up for as long as possible.  However, Hernandez may not be interested in such an extension.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says Hernandez is looking for more year.  Rather than the rumored four-year deal, King Felix is looking for a six-year extension.  Heyman says there are no serious talks regarding a contract extension right now for that very reason.  The Mariners may not be ready to invest six years.  But they should be.

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Nationals' Danny Espinosa Played With Torn Rotator Cuff

The cortisone injections into his shoulder definitely helped.  This much is clear when you realize Danny Espinosa played with a torn rotator cuff for the final few weeks of the 2012 season.  Espinosa revealed the news during the Washington Nationals' Fan Fest yesterday.

According to Eric Detweiler of the Washington Post, Espinosa would not have played through the pain if he knew about the extent of the injury.  However, it was initially diagnosed as a shoulder bruise.  The tear was not revealed until after the season when Espinosa went for a second opinion.

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Twins' Morneau Healthy But Cautiously Optimistic

It is TwinsFest weekend at the old Metrodome, where fans get the chance to see and buy all sorts of memorabilia, test their baseball skills, and actually meet some of their on-field heroes.  Approximately 60 former and current Twins are scheduled to appear during the three-day gathering.  Justin Morneau is there hoping to be looked upon as a current and future Twins star, not a relic.

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Chicago Cubs Injury Update: Good News for Fans

This is a guest post by reader Raymond Bureau. If you are interested in contributing a guest post and having your work featured on MLB Injury News email blaine@mlbinjurynews.com.


The Chicago Cubs have their share of injured players, but things look brighter for them as we get closer to the 2013 Spring Training and regular season. Here is an update on key players that the Cubs and their fans are counting on to help the team move closer to contention.


The Cubs signed right-hander Scott Baker on November 12 to a one-year, $5.5 million contract even though he missed the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery in April. Team President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer are confident that Baker will return during Spring Training, which would mean Baker would be available for the starting rotation. Baker is 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA for his career, all with the Minnesota Twins from 2005-2011.


Matt Garza last pitched in July, 2012. He missed most of the second half with a right elbow stress reaction. He resumed throwing in early December, and reports show that he’ll likely return for Spring Training. Garza was one of the Cubs’ best in 2011 and the first half of 2012 before his injury, and he looks to be the Cubs’ No. 2 starter in 2013. He is 57-61, 3.84 ERA, for his career and 15-17, 3.52 ERA over parts of two seasons as a Cub.


Third baseman Ian Stewart went down for the season in mid-June with a bone spur in his wrist. He had surgery to remove the spur in July. He played in only 55 games and hit .201. All indications are that he is healthy and ready to begin on the first day of Spring Training. He is working with hitting great Rod Carew in two-week stints in preparation. The left-handed hitter’s last full season was 2009 when he hit 25 home runs for the Colorado Rockies.


The Cubs and their fans are hoping that Arodys Vizcaino can live up to the hype that he earned as an Atlanta Braves’ farmhand. After all, the Cubs traded Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to get him. Vizcaino had Tommy John surgery in March and missed all of 2012. He may be ready soon after the season begins, but he will most likely start in the minors. Vizcaino is 19-15, 2.91, in 65 Minor League games and 1-1, 4.67, in 17.1 Major League innings.

Sources:
Chicago Cubs, Injury Report, cubs.mlb.com as of January 25, 2013.
Chicago Cubs, Individual Player Pages (Linked Above), cubs.mlb.com.

See more MLB commentary from Raymond at Scoop Post.com (http://scooppost.com/author/raymond-bureau/) and his blog http://thesportscritic.com/.

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