I was all set to do a live DMPU yesterday when rain got in the way. While I hate domed baseball–even the newfangled retractable roofs leave me cold, if not feeling cold–there’s something to the certainty of knowing you’ll get see baseball played that makes driving four hours feel a little less like a roulette spin. Of course, rain is just another element that makes baseball so uncertain, and it’s that very uncertainty that keeps us watching every day.

Powered by my new Logitech laser mouse, on to the injuries …

  • What’s worse than having Neifi Perez in your starting lineup? Losing your best hitter and replacing him with Jose Macias. Mmm, Perez and Macias back-to-back in the lineup; that’s Dustylicious. Why am I contemplating scenarios that might cause some to throw themselves from the Waveland rooftops? Aramis Ramirez, freshly signed to a long-term deal, is feeling the groin strain that kept him out for much of last season’s latter stages. The strain isn’t a major concern, though it is one the Cubs will attempt to work him through with occasional rest and time off during sloppy weather.
  • The Indians have to feel good about what they saw in Akron. C.C. Sabathia went out and got in five good innings of work, allowing just a couple of hits. His control and velocity were good, though there were no reports if he was still bringing his shoulder way back of the proper plane. The big lefty will make one more start for Akron and should be back in the Jake by April 20.
  • A lot of the mail I’ve received in the last couple days focused on Trader Jack McKeon’s new insistence on complete games. Done right, this isn’t something that works against the concept of saving arms. On Tuesday, A.J. Burnett was able to throw a 103-pitch complete game. You’ll never hear me complain about an outing averaging less than 12 pitches per inning. I’m an advocate of pitch efficiency and if the Marlins have figured out a way to get someone with control issues to buy into their system, well, sign me up, too.
  • It was another scary comebacker off the angry bat of Carlos Lee (what is it with this guy and why don’t I have him on more of my fantasy teams?) that had the Pirates worried. It certainly looked ugly for Mark Redman as the ball smashed into his knee. Milk apparently did a body good as X-rays came up negative. The Bucs will watch to see how the knee responds to the certain pain and bruising before setting up his next start. If Redman misses any time, the Pirates have a couple of interesting options at Triple-A like Zach Duke and Ian Snell. The team is also still waiting on a solid return date for Jose Castillo. Like most oblique injuries, his is lingering.
  • The Angels have Vladimir Guerrero listed as day to day, but you know what Keith Olbermann would say about that. Guerrero made an aggressive steal of third, upending Hank Blalock, and took a solid hit to his knee on Rod Barajas‘ throw. Guerrero left the game but expects to play on Wednesday.

    For those of you who haven’t seen Francisco Rodriguez pitch this year, do it while you can. He’s throwing nearly all sliders and his mechanics simply can’t hold up. His stuff is absolutely filthy right now, as close to unhittable as I’ve ever seen, so I hope I’m wrong.

  • I’m a bit confused by some of the moves the Tigers are making, yet we might learn something from them. Heading into Minnesota–where teams are still scared of that turf–the Tigers will rest Carlos Guillen due to his knee injury, but will not do the same with Magglio Ordonez. Ordonez hasn’t had problems with the knee, though neither has Guillen to any extent beyond some normal post-game swelling. Ordonez, then, seems to be further along with his recovery than Guillen, something few would have expected this offseason when Ordonez’s knee was such an ongoing mystery.
  • Add Brad Penny to the list of pitchers who should return soon. Penny is now scheduled to start for Vero Beach (High A) on Wednesday with a goal of going five innings. Oddly, he’ll match up against Matt Morris, who’s also close to his return. It should be a scout-filled outing as two top pitchers try to see if their arms hold up. UTK has several observers scheduled to report in with results and opinions.
  • Justin Morneau heads (no pun intended) to the DL, still feeling the effects of his concussion. Yes, concussion, which opposes some media reports. Look, you get hit in the head that hard, just chalk it up to concussion and start working on minimizing the possibly serious after-effects. Morneau’s move was retro and he should be back in the minimum assuming that the dizziness and nausea fade as expected. There’s some speculation that Joe Mauer may see a couple of games at first base, though Twins sources say that’s not the plan.
  • Garrett Atkins is still a couple weeks away from a return. His hamstring isn’t that much behind schedule, there’s just no reason to rush him. His absence gives the Rockies a chance to look at Jeff Baker and, let’s face it, there’s no single player that’s going to push the Rockies into contention. It’s this type of thing, and the desire I have not to punish a team for erring on the conservative side of injury management, that makes me dig for a better measure than “Days Lost to the DL.” We’re working behind the scenes on predictive measures for expected DL time for teams, something I think will give us a better baseline.
  • I won’t be quite as close this time when Curt Schilling takes the mound, though I will be watching. Of course, most of Red Sox Nation will be watching as well. Schilling should have no problems with his ankle though I would like to see him focus a bit more on starting strong. Both Schilling and Mark Prior have been hit hard in the first innings of their rehab starts, something that normally means the pitcher is having problems finding his release point.

  • Quick Cuts: Kevin Brown comes off the DL next week. He’s had no recurrences of the back problems that put him there while working in the pen … Thanks for all the tips on cable and rain. It will be a big help if I end up moving this summer … Vicente Padilla should be back in Philly soon, forcing some decisions. Ed Wade probably won’t make a trade so early this season … This is such a big story that it gets buried down here deep in the QCs: Alex Sanchez returns on Thursday from a ten-day suspension. With Joey Gathright playing well, there’s some speculation that Sanchez could be released … Cal Eldred was hospitalized with breathing problems. He may be headed to the DL. The Cards seem close on a long-term deal with Chris Carpenter now that he’s proving to be healthy.

As for me, I’m only wishing I could be in Chicago to see Prior and Kerry Wood pitch today. Bring back the doubleheader! I’ll be back tomorrow.

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