American League

National League

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Reassigned RHP David Austen, SS-R Brandon
, and C-Rs Bobby Wilson and Michael
to their minor league camp. [3/15]

Two items here of note. First, that the twin demotions of Wilson and Collins
reflect on the Angels’ organizational catching depth, which in turn may have
contributed (sensibly) to Bill Stoneman’s decision to play hardball in his
negotiations with Ben Molina. Not that I’m a believer
when it comes to Jeff Mathis, but Mike
isn’t merely interesting, he might make it up this year, and
beyond those two, you’ve got Wilson and Collins. Wilson’s bubble might burst
this summer; although he’ll only be 23, he’s making the jump from the
hitter-comforting Cal League to Double-A. Collins turns 22 a couple of days
after Bastille Day, and if he’s in Rancho Cucamonga this summer, chances are
that he’s going to unmysteriously start showing up in people’s prospect

Second, there’s the demotion of Wood, nipping in the bud any suggestion that
he might be ready for the majors straight from A-ball. Not that it was a
serious likelihood in the first place. However disappointing last season
was, the Angels do want to take another look at Dallas
, and it isn’t like Orlando Cabrera will
be vacating shortstop any time soon. Howie Kendrick and
Erick Aybar haven’t embarrassed themselves in camp either,
so Wood’s better off seeing if he can put the hurt on the Texas League
first, and then taking things from there.

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Optioned LHP Franklyn Gracesqui to their minor league camp.

Gracesqui didn’t show anything like his past velocity, and it seemed to be a
particular source of frustration to the team, perhaps especially because
he’s on the 40-man roster. His demotion might herald that he won’t be around for
long, perhaps getting outrighted to make room for an NRI like John

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Optioned RHP Charlie Haeger, 2B/SS-R Pedro
, 1B-L Casey Rogowski, and C-R Chris
to Charlotte (Triple-A); reassigned RHP Lance
and LHP Ray Liotta to their minor league
camp. [3/14]

For several of these guys, there was never any question of whether or not
they would stick, just whether or not they would leave a calling card that
might make Ozzie and Kenny think about their last-minute choices in-season.
On that score, Stewart had a good camp, and Rogowski did not, so the Sox
might feel better about their lot if anything happens to either A.J.
or Chris Widger, while Rogowski won’t
threaten Ross Gload anytime soon. Similarly, Haeger had an
awful spring (20 baserunners and 19 runs allowed in 5.2 IP), and Broadway
wasn’t much better. Liotta’s camp was like Stewart’s: good enough to keep
himself on the club’s radar if the circumstance of a temporary injury
replacement arises, and a potential fall-back if the club decides both that they
need a second lefty in the pen, and that guys like Javier
aren’t the answer. (Armando Almanza and
Stephen Randolph have pretty much already taken themselves
out of consideration.)

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Optioned RHPs Jake Dittler, Edward Mujica,
and Brian Slocum, and LHP Jason Stanford
to Buffalo (Triple-A); optioned 1B-L Michael Aubrey and LHP
Rafael Perez to Akron (Double-A); reassigned C-R
Javi Herrera, and LHPs Tony Sipp and
Jeremy Sowers to their minor league camp. [3/15]

Optioned RHP Kazahito Tadano to Buffalo (Triple-A);
optioned OF-L Brad Snyder to Akron (Double-A); reassigned
C-R Armando Camacaro, OF-R Todd Donovan,
2B/3B-L Jake Gautreau and 2B/OF-L Joe
to their minor league camp. [3/16]

There were some early expectations that someone like Inglett might stick as
last man on the bench, and although he didn’t embarrass himself, camp has
seen a great fight arise between two infielders playing for their
professional lives, Ramon Vazquez and Brandon
. Phillips is trying to reclaim some portion of his former
promise, while Vazquez is simply trying to hang on before he turns 30, and
has to start fending off the
ghost of Francis 7
. From among the pitchers, we will see more of guys
like Mujica and Tadano, and Sipp had an excellent camp, earning serious
consideration for later on this summer. It doesn’t get played up all that
much while “name” prospects like Jeremy Guthrie
struggle to make the jump to the major leagues, but the Tribe has
interesting young pitching talent coming out of their collective ears.

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Optioned RHP Kyle Sleeth to Lakeland (A-ball). [3/13]

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Signed RHP Luke Hudson to a minor league contract with a
spring training NRI; optioned 2B-R Donnie Murphy and RHP
Brian Bass to Omaha (Triple-A); optioned SS-R Angel
and LHP Juan Cedeno to Wichita (Double-A);
reassigned 1B-L Chris Richard, C-R Adam
, and RHPs Luis Cota and Ryan
to their minor league camp. [3/13]

Murphy’s shot at the second base job died as soon as the Royals got the
great idea of giving the paying public a Grudz, so none of these demotions
really affect any of the position fights going on in camp. Come to think of
it, there really aren’t that many position fights in the Royals camp, which
probably underscores the nature of the problem. The pitching staff is still
a free-for-all, but nobody with a shot got demoted in this round, meaning
that it’s still a free-for-all that manager Buddy Bell and pitching coach
Bob McClure have to sort out. There haven’t been a lot of happy stories:
Mike Wood looks like he’ll stick in the rotation, and
Leo Nunez is having a good camp, and Joe
might sneak in, but after that, it’s slim pickings.

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Optioned RHPs J.D. Durbin and Pat Neshek,
and OF-L Alex Romero to Rochester (Triple-A); optioned LHPs
Errol Simonitsch, Justin Jones, and
Jose Mijares, RHP Adam Harben to New
Britain (Double-A); reassigned UT-R Tommy Watkins, OF-L
Denard Span, OF-R Kevin West, and C-L
Kyle Phillips to their minor league camp. [3/14]

So, for those of you keeping score, Durbin is officially out of the running
for the fifth starter spot, not that he was really ever in it. The next
“loser” will be Boof Bonser, because as we
already know, this is a fight between Francisco Liriano and
Scott Baker, where the Twins can’t really lose, whichever
one they pick. I would have liked to have seen Romero get a longer look, but
the Twins seem comfortable with their daring to dream of big bouncebacks
from Shannon Stewart and Lew Ford. A good
lefty bat from among their outfield reserves would be handy, but if Romero
isn’t going to play, it’s just as well that he get the playing time in
Rochester. West was out of the running from the get-go with his knee injury,
so the horror of the Twins’ situation is that Ruben Sierra
or Jason Tyner might stick. That’ll get the White Sox and
the Tribe quakin’ in their cleats. Ay-up.

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Optioned RHP Renee Cortez and LHPs Travis
and Cesar Jimenez to Tacoma (Triple-A);
optioned RHPs Yorman Bazardo and Marcos
, 2B/SS-B Oswaldo Navarro and OF-R
Wladimir Balentien to San Antonio (Double-A); reassigned
LHP Lindsay Gulin, C-R Andy Dominique, and INF-R
Rayon Lampe to their minor league camp; released RHP
Jeff Heaverlo. [3/15]

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Optioned LHPs Jon Switzer and Chris
, RHPs Jamie Shields and Brian
, 1B-R Wes Bankston, SS-R B.J.
, C-R Shawn Riggans, and OF-R Delmon
to Durham (Triple-A); reassigned RHP Travis
, C-R Ryan Christianson, 2B-L Fernando
, DH-L Kevin Witt, OF-B Elijah
, and OF-R Darnell McDonald to their minor
league camp. [3/16]

While you might worry about how sending down Young, Dukes, and Upton all at
once might lead to open mutiny, this is the new, potentially competent Devil
Rays management team, so everyone should give each other the benefit of the
doubt. All three, and Bankston, will be in a position to claim big league
jobs before the summer’s out, so a lot depends on how well they take the
news and punish opponents in the International League. Seddon’s demotion
might seem similarly disappointing, particularly for those hoping to avoid
the initial indignity of paying to watch Wayne Franklin,
but if Seddon shines in Durham, he won’t be gone for long. It says a lot
about how this year’s camp is going that beyond Franklin, journeymen like
Jason Childers and Justin Miller might
stick in the bullpen, but let’s face it, the D-Rays are still very much an
expansion team in some regards. One gifted with a potentially superb farm
system, to be sure, but so too were the Mariners in the mid-80s, and that
didn’t really work out all that well as much as it lead to much of their
homegrown talent getting redistributed around the league willy-nilly. If the
new management avoids getting frustrated, this won’t turn out like that,
but it is a danger.

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Assigned RHPs Thomas Diamond and Jayson
, and LHP John Danks to their minor league
camp. [3/16]

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Received Rule 5 pick RHP Jamie Vermilyea back from the Red
Sox. [3/14]

Signed RHP Roy Halladay to a three-year, $40 million
contract extension through 2010. [3/16]

If it’s Jays camp, you might have to worry about the contact high you’ll get
from all the buzzing endorphins, big money, and warm fuzzies going around.
But can you blame Doc for wanting to keep up with the Burnetts or the Ryans?
Snark aside though, this matters, especially on a symbolic level, in that
Halladay was one of the first name players to sign off on J.P. Ricciardi’s
program, and this underscores the extent to which he’s still happy to be
here. The next five years should be very interesting, because between the
Red Sox not really making any forward progress, and the Yankees seemingly
teetering on the brink of a hyperexpenses-driven crash, the possibilities
for a major shakeup in the standings might seem promising. But as I’ve
kvetched this winter, and as James Click’s chapter on the Blue Jays reflects, Toronto hasn’t picked up
all that many runs, and their staff will have to be significantly better for
them to live up to this spring’s inflated expectations. If this particularly
expensive sandcastle in the sky collapses, expect more damage than just a
simple dust storm.

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Optioned RHPs Edgar Gonzalez, Tony Pena,
and Mike Schultz, LHP Doug Slaten, and
CF-R Chris Young to their minor league camp; reassigned LHP
Bill Murphy to their minor league camp. [3/14]

Reassigned C-L Miguel Montero and RHP Enrique
to their minor league camp. [3/15]

No real surprises. Young’s recovering from his broken hand, but has a very
good opportunity to make it up before September roster expansion if nothing
goes seriously amiss in Tucson. On the pitching side of the slate, Murphy
and Slaten probably weren’t serious contenders for either of the lefty
relief jobs that might be carved out of the Snake pen’s possibilities. The
favorites still seem to be Terry Mulholland and
Randy Choate, although Brad Halsey‘s
beginning to lose his fight for the fifth slot against Claudio
, and might instead wind up in the pen. Since both Choate and
Mulholland are NRIs, next week’s roster juggling could get interesting. A
couple of slots might open up if they outright or trade the option-less
Koyie Hill, and if Jason Grimsley gets
released. Beyond that, you’re left wondering if anyone’s hurt badly enough
to be plausibly placed on the 60-day DL, or if they’ll risk designating a
dead-end prospect like Scott Hairston for assignment.

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Optioned RHP Brad Baker and 1B-L Scott
to Richmond (Triple-A); optioned SS-B Luis
, 2B-R Martin Prado, and OF-R
Josh Burrus to Mississippi (Double-A); optioned RHP
Jose Ascanio to Myrtle Beach (A-ball); reassigned RHP
Kevin Barry, C-R Clint Sammons, and 2B-R
Jonathan Schuerholz to their minor league camp. [3/15]

No shockers, although from Baker’s demotion, you can infer that things are
going well with some of the Braves’ other young bullpen options. Certainly,
Joey Devine is having a great camp (15 Ks in 8 IP), and
Lance Cormier is living up to the expectations he generated
with last season’s excellent first half with Arizona. Less happy are some of
the other guys gunning for their last chance, guys like Mike
or Wes Obermueller. Still holding on are
guys like Chad Paronto and Scott Mullen.
Kevin Barry didn’t earn consideration right now, but he did
have his moments, and should be in the bullpen mix later on this summer if
anyone else spontaneously combusts on the mound.

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Optioned RHP Carlos Marmol and 3B-L Scott
to West Tenn (Double-A); reassigned RHP Brian
, LHP Carmen Pignatiello, 1B/OF-R
Brandon Sing, SS/OF-L Buck Coats, and OF-L
Adam Greenberg to their minor league camp. [3/14]

Wow, Dusty cut somebody over 30 this early in camp? Can he do that? I’m a
little more disappointed that neither Sing nor Greenberg got serious
consideration, but everyone expected that they wouldn’t, not while Dusty
faves like Marquis Grissom might do some live-action
decaying for the paying customers. To be fair, Mike
is having a good camp, and Angel Pagan
is tickling everyone’s fancy, so there are alternatives to letting the
Grissom Death Ride and Farewell Tour clutter up the Cubs’ 2006 season. It
just remains to be seen if Dusty Baker can work up the nerve to
short-circuit that particular marketing campaign, and just about everything
about his past managerial practice indicates that he cannot.

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Claimed INF-B Matt Kata off of waivers from the Phillies;
released RHP Allan Simpson. [3/15]

Exactly what the Reds need, another infield spare, and one who takes up
40-man roster space. I’m not sure what the goal is here; like Frank
, Kata isn’t a utility infielder who can really play short
all that well for any length of time, and he hasn’t demonstrated any
pronounced ability with the bat outside of Arizona’s air-conditioned
bandbox. Admittedly, Menechino is having a bad camp, but if the club would
do the sensible thing and make Ryan Freel the starter at
second and Tony Womack a reserve infielder and
pinch-runner, keeping in mind that they also already have Rich
on the bench, then they might have the space to carry a guy
like Earl Snyder to use as a right-handed pinch-hitter and
backup in the infield corners. Or they could even carry a third catcher (even if it would be
Dane Sardinha) so that manager Jerry Narron might feel more
comfortable pinch-hitting or pinch-running for that day’s starting catcher
without having to play whichever one of Jason LaRue or
Javier Valentin isn’t playing that day. Even a twelfth
pitcher might be more useful than a third infield reserve, and I say that
despite my feeling that the very concept of a twelfth pitcher is noxious. If
you’re asking yourself whether or not you need Matt Kata or Frank Menechino,
I’d suggest that you’re not asking the right question.

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Optioned RHPs Manuel Corpas, Mike
, Ubaldo Jimenez, Juan
, Ramon Ramirez, and Eduardo
, 2B-R Jayson Nix, and OF-L Jeff
to their minor league camp; reassigned RHPs Jim
, Sandy Nin, and Judd
, LHPs Justin Hampson and Zack
, C-R Chris Iannetta, and SS-R Troy
to their minor league camp. [3/14]

With this many demotions from among the kids, the pitching seems to be
shaking out. There are still twenty guys who could plausibly make this
pitching staff, and even after you ink in the front three spots of the
rotation (Jason Jennings, Jeff Francis,
and Aaron Cook, you’ve got four or five contenders for the
final two slots: Josh Fogg, Zach Day,
Sunny Kim, Miguel Asencio, and
Byung-Hyun Kim. The only reason Kim’s on the ‘maybe’ list is his lack of work at the WBC, which, if not an injury, indicates that internationalist rigmarole isn’t doing the Rockies any favors in terms of
getting their rotation sorted out for games that count. Asencio’s had a nice
camp in his brief work, so if he’s fully rehabbed from past injury, he could
surprise people by making it at the back end of the staff.

The bullpen could be partially manned by some of the losers from the
rotation fight, because beyond Brian Fuentes, Ray
, and Mike DeJean, there might be as many as
four jobs up for grabs. Jose Mesa is probably locked into
one, and Nate Field has pitched well enough from among the
NRIs to earn another. But then things get interesting. David
, Scott Dohmann and Jaime
are all on the 40-man, but Cortes has barely pitched in camp,
Dohmann hasn’t pitched all that well, and Cerda is being pressed by
Tom Martin for a second lefty role. Both Cerda and Martin
are issuing a lot more walks than you’d like (six apiece, in 5.2 and 6.2 IP,
respectively), but this is the Rockies. Then you get into veterans hoping to
catch a break, guys like Keiichi Yabu, Bret
, and Jose Acevedo. Relying on any of them
probably won’t turn out any better than relying on Mesa, but they’re still
in the running. The relative quality (or lack of it) among this crowd is why
I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like one of the Kims or Asencio sticks in
the pen.

Elsewhere, from among the demotions, the guy you shouldn’t hold out huge
expectations for is Salazar, who might have to have his elbow Tommy John’d.
Nix isn’t making progress, but both Iannetta and Tulowitzki are names to
remember, since each might push his way up to a September cup of
coffee if they have good enough seasons or partial seasons at Double-A.

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Optioned LHP Adam Bostick, RHPs Anibal
and Scott Tyler to Carolina (Double-A);
optioned LHP Renyel Pinto to Albuquerque (Triple-A);
optioned RHPs Jesus Delgado, Harvey
, and Jose Garcia to Jupiter (A-ball).

If there’s a surprise, it’s that Sanchez and Pinto both earned their
demotions already. I’m not sure that being held back for the second wave of
this season’s Li’l
Lisa’s Fish Slurry experience
should be a source of reassurance or not.
But in defense of the schoolmasters, Sanchez was hurt, struggling through
shoulder tendinitis, and he’s not really that far removed from A-ball to
start off with. It is perhaps more surprising that Pinto’s already out of
the running, but he wasn’t going to start, and I can understand the desire
to put him in the Isotopes’ rotation while other people get the right for
initial chewing up at the major league level.

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Reassigned RHPs Jason Hirsh, Jimmy
, Juan Gutierrez, and Jared
, LHP Mark McLemore, C/1B-B Alan
, and C-R J.R. House. [3/15]

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Optioned 3B-R Andy LaRoche and LHP Greg
to their minor league camp. [3/16]

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Optioned RHP Chris Demaria, LHP Dana
, and OF-L Tony Gwynn Jr. to Nashville
(Triple-A); optioned 2B-L Hernan Iribarren to Brevard
County (A-ball); reassigned LHP Wilfredo Rodriguez to their
minor league camp. [3/16]

Initially, you might be genuinely surprised to see Eveland get sent down
already, but 27 baserunners in eight innings, and one strikeout, pretty much
earns a guy a punitive/early shipping out. Demaria did well, but the Brewers
want to sort through the veteran help and see who sticks. On that score,
there have been a few surprises, as knuckleballer Jared
and Jose Capellan are doing some good
stuff, while Dan Kolb continues look as cooked as he’s
looked the previous season and a half. Among the kids, Dennis
is having a nice camp, but seems unlikely to stick, while
Ben Hendrickson‘s case of the yips doesn’t seem to be
getting any better (eight walks and no strikeouts in 7.2 innings).
Elsewhere, it wasn’t like Gwynn was going to push into the battle between
Gabe Gross, Nelson Cruz, and Corey
for a top outfield reserve role, and with Cruz and Hart both
cranking, the guy who’s on the spot is Gross.

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Reassigned RHPs Anderson Garcia, Alay
, and Tim Lavigne, and LHP Mike
to their minor league camp. [3/16]

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Optioned OF-L Michael Bourn and LHP Daniel
to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Triple-A); optioned RHPs
Scott Mathieson and Zack Segovia to
Reading (Double-A); reassigned C-R John Vanden Berg, C-B
Jason Jaramillo, LHPs Gio Gonzalez and
Matt White, and RHPs Aaron Myette and
Jeremy Cummings to their minor league camp. [3/14]

Optioned OF-L Josh Kroeger and C/1B-R Carlos
to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. [3/16]

Not a surprising demotion in the lot. Bourn and Kroeger were never going to
be in the running for a reserve spot in the outfield, especially with
Shane Victorino getting every consideration for the job,
and with veteran journeymen Peter Bergeron and
Chris Roberson both having outstanding camps. Bergeron?
Roberson? I know that it seems like Roberson has been in the organization
forever and a day, but he was actually only picked in 2001, and won’t turn
27 until August. If he disappointed early expectations of prospectdom, he’s
done pretty well at the plate in each of the last two seasons
(.307/.371/.473 at Reading in ’04, .311/.365/.465 in Scranton last year). He
might yet stick. For Bergeron, at 28, the hopes have to simply be that he
can earn a job as the fifth outfielder, pinch-running and perhaps making
people forget about his status as one of the more remarkable busts in recent

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Optioned RHP Jonah Bayliss and LHP Mike
to Indianapolis (Triple-A); optioned RHP Josh
, SS-B Javier Guzman, and 2B-R
Craig Stansberry to Altoona (Double-A); reassigned RHP
Matt Peterson and OF-R Andrew McCutchen to
their minor league camp. [3/13]

Reassigned C-L Steve Lerud to their minor league camp.

It’s a sign of McCutchen’s favor in the organization that he got this much
time in camp, which can also be treated as a sotto voce expression on
how much of a future you can reasonably expect from marginal prospects like
Chris Duffy or Nate McLouth. Similarly,
Rajai Davis is getting all sorts of playing time,
underscoring the extent to which the Bucs have plenty of potential options
to man center field with for the time being, even if none of them boasts any
particular star power. Otherwise, Guzman and Stansberry got little more than
passing glances in camp, but they’re both worth following this summer,
Guzman to see if he starts hitting for power at Double-A, and Stansberry to
see if does anything more than hit for power at Double-A. If either is to
have a future with the organization, they’re going to have to.

Among the pitchers, neither Sharpless or Peterson did too badly in camp, but
the long list of alternatives pretty much guaranteed that they’d be among
those getting short shrift in the early going. Peterson still has a lot to
prove at Double-A, however, and if Sharpless is going to imitate
Matt Capps‘ heady rise, he might have to wait for Capps to
come back down again. These are all nice problems to have, and one of the
products of having a new manager in town is that different people might
suddenly find themselves in favor, courtesy of making a good first
impression. So guys like McLouth or Davis, even a journeyman like
Brandon Duckworth get opportunities they might not have on
somebody else’s watch. To my mind, that’s always one of the fun things about
having a new manager checking out his new team. I think we’ll end up
surprised by some of Jim Tracy’s choices.

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Released 2B/3B-B Bobby Hill unconditionally. [3/15]

And just like that, the Pads’ second base battle was down to the two people
we expected it to be from the get-go: Mark Bellhorn versus
Josh Barfield, both power sources for the position, one
with a productive past and one with a productive future, and either one
likely to help the Padres score some runs. If there’s a difference, it’s
that Bellhorn might draw more walks, but Barfield will definitely provide
better defense, and considering that it is Barfield’s bat that’s making the
noise in camp, I suspect that Bellhorn might have to settle for a reserve
role, keeping Geoff Blum company on the bench. Manager
Bruce Bochy uses that unit to good effect, so it’s not such a lousy fate. In
the meantime, the Pads would open up with a slick-fielding combo on the
deuce with Barfield across the bag from Khalil Greene, and
with Mike Cameron in center, Petco might be that much more
difficult a place in which to score some runs for the road team.

As for Hill, this isn’t the end of the world. Dan Uggla
might be the starting second baseman du jour in Miami, but
it doesn’t have to stay that way. It isn’t like Uggla’s going to win any
accolades with his glovework, and maybe Hill adds some veteran moxie. Or
something… I’m trying to stay positive here.

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Optioned 3B-L Travis Hanson and SS-R Brendan Ryan to their minor league camp; reassigned RHPs Blaine
, John Riedling, Brad Voyles,
and John Webb to their minor league camp. [3/16]

Two prospects and four journeymen arms, all of whom should end up at Memphis
this summer. If there’s a guy in the group I have no use for, it’s Neal, but
the rest could all conceivably be useful. Pitchers like Riedling are the
kinds of guys that Dave Duncan fixes, and Voyles looked pretty sharp. But
right now, Duncan’s trying to work some magic with Jeff
and Alan Benes, and seems to be getting
something out of Bryan Falkenborg and “not good enough
for Cincy” Josh Hancock. That makes for a pretty
interesting list of possibilities for this season’s Cal
resurrection or Al Reyes-style discovery.
Meanwhile, Hanson and Ryan both offer the club the novel experience of
homegrown replacements who can play in case something bad happens to either
Scott Rolen or David Eckstein. Basically,
a more target-rich environment in Cards camp this spring, a credit to an
active winter from GM Walt Jocketty.

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Reassigned OF-Rs Mike Vento and Alex
to their minor league camp; optioned 3B/OF-R Tony
to Potomac (A-ball). [3/14]

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