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Are teams asking the right questions about pitcher injury prevention, or are they just guessing along with the rest of us?

Thanks to Jerome Holtzman, inventor of the save, and Bruce Sutter, the first fireman used like a 21st-century closer, Chicago is quite literally the birthplace of the modern reliever. So it seems almost tiresome that in the Windy City, baseball news over the last week has been dominated by the vagaries of relief pitching.

Before last Friday's game against the Dodgers, Carlos Marmol sat hunched over in the folding chair in front of his locker, all by himself. No one was talking to the normally happy-go-lucky reliever, or even sitting nearby. We soon learned that Marmol was processing some bad news.

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October 12, 2008 11:37 am

Every Given Sunday: Manny-Free, Regret-Free

2

John Perrotto

The Red Sox are happy as is with their new, low-key left fielder, plus news and reviews from around the major leagues.

ST. PETERSBURG—The Dodgers' acquisition of Manny Ramirez will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest in-season moves in baseball history. The left fielder played a huge role in the Dodgers winning the National League West and advancing to the National League Championship Series. He hit .396/.489/.743 with 17 home runs in 53 regular-season games after being acquired from the Red Sox as part of a three-team deadline-day trade that also included the Pirates. That was enough for Ramirez to lead all Dodgers’ hitters with 47.6 VORP while also posting a sizzling .404 EqA. Ramirez was 5-for-10 with two home runs and five runs scored in the three-game sweep of the Cubs in the National League Division Series, and has gone 3-for-8 with a homer in the first two games of the NLCS. Nevertheless, the Dodgers trail the Phillies 2-0 in the best-of-seven series that resumes tonight at Dodger Stadium.

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October 5, 2008 12:06 pm

Every Given Sunday: Management Teams in the News

3

John Perrotto

A workhorse named CC, Cashman takes responsibility for his own narrative, and off-season calculations from around the major leagues.

Dale Sveum understands the value in the pitching arm of ace CC Sabathia, and how the big left-hander is going to cash in on it this upcoming winter when he becomes eligible for free agency. "He's going to make more money than any pitcher in the history of the game," said the Brewers' interim manager. "It couldn't happen to a better person, either. He's as nice of a guy, for a superstar, that I've ever met in my 27 years in professional baseball. He's a very special person."

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October 1, 2008 12:40 pm

On the Beat: Let the Games Begin

5

John Perrotto

The Brewers rise to the occasion, Cashman looks to the Yankee future, and news and notes from around the major leagues.

PHILADELPHIA- When the Brewers' team bus pulled up to Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday morning, it hit Dale Sveum all at once. "We were just here a couple of weeks ago and never did I think I would be right back here in the situation I'm in now," the Brewers interim manager said. "It's amazing how things can change in this game." It certainly is.

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Will the lefty-mashing Brewers match up well with Philly, or will Phillies firepower and a strong pen make all the difference?

Less than three weeks ago, the Brewers came to Philadelphia holding a four-game lead in the wild-card race and carrying the league's second-best record despite a slump that had seen them lose seven of 10 to open September. By the end of the four-game set, the two teams were tied for the wild card. It was the start of a finishing kick in which the Phillies went 13-3, breezing past the Mets to claim their second division title in a row.

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September 17, 2008 12:13 pm

On the Beat: Living on the Edge

6

John Perrotto

Several teams in the Midwest are still hanging on in the playoff race, plus news and notes from around the major leagues.

Six months ago, on a day in mid-March at spring training, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked about his team's chances for 2008, and how they could possibly compete in what appeared to be a stacked American League Central after trading left-hander Johan Santana and losing center fielder Torii Hunter and right-hander Carlos Silva to free agency the previous winter. "We'll show up for every game and see where we're at in September," Gardenhire said then. Well, it's the middle of September, and the Twins are 2½ games off the White Sox's pace in the AL Central, while the pre-season favorite Tigers and Indians are nowhere to be found in the land of contenders.

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