The big story here is the arrival of the young guns. Two catchers who demonstrated strong throwing arms in the minors, Kevin Cash and Gerald Laird, are showing that their ability translates to the major leagues. While Victor Martinez looks like the Next Big Thing at catcher based on offense alone, Cash’s superiority on defense makes up a big portion of the current offensive gap between the two. The same is true for Laird, whose all-around performance makes him a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate despite his recent hitting slump. We wondered in our last catching article who the young heirs to Jason LaRue and Mike Matheny were. It looks like we might have our answer.
The Phillies will miss Randy Wolf for one start and Jim Thome for a couple games. Neither is likely to hit the DL, but it is concerning for the team. Wolf had a “tingle” in his elbow after an outing in Colorado. While there’s no pain the day-after, the team is concerned enough to give him some extra rest. He’ll work on the side while Jeff Cooper and the rest of the staff watch him closely. Thome is dealing with more hand problems; two swollen fingers on his right hand now join his left thumb that has been bothering him since Spring Training. Highlights from Sunday clearly showed Thome wincing as he swung the bat, even when he hit a home run.
The timetable for Dmitri Young has changed slightly. Published reports say that the Tigers expect their slugger back on May 25th, rather than early-June. Why is this? The Tigers are bringing back Young before he’s completely healed. Alan Trammell was quoted as saying that he expected Young to “play with a limp.” It’s not often that a team will rush someone back to help salvage a .500 season, but it shows just how important the improvement is to this franchise.
Simi Valley, Calif. native and Long Beach State (No. 5) RHP Jered Weaver sat down with BP to discuss Team USA, superstitions and how he dominates hitters. Jered is a six-time 2004 National Player of the Week, seven-time Big West Player of the Week, a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy awarded to the top player in collegiate baseball and a potential #1 overall pick in the upcoming June draft. His 2004 line:
W-L ERA IP H R ER BB SO
14-0 1.27 113.1 55 19 16 14 171