Pudge's landing in Houston immediately improves Astros
Doug Benc/Getty Images
I-ROD WILL HELP ASTROS
By Steve Phillips, ESPNIvan Rodriguez is a perfect fit for the Houston Astros, and I really expect this deal to work out for everyone involved. He wanted more of a role than the Marlins and Giants were offering, and I think he will get a good share of playing time in Houston.
BEST OF THE BLOGSEach day, ESPN.com's contributors offer a wide array of thoughts and analysis in their blogs. Jayson Stark has been roaming around training camps, seeing who looks good and who doesn't: For 2½ weeks now, an army of scouts has been pointing its radar guns -- and its eyeballs -- in the direction of spring training games. Here's a sampling of the observations so far. STRIKE ONE -- THUMBS-UP DEPT.: First, some players who have looked better than you might think: Brett Gardner, Yankees (.393, 6 SB): Gardner is involved in a center-field competition with Melky Cabrera. But even though Cabrera is hitting .375, it's Gardner's stock that continues to rise: "If he just does the things he's done down here, he'll help that team," one AL scout said. "They should just put him out there, let him run and inject some speed in that lineup." Jason Donald, Phillies (.350, 9 runs scored): With Jimmy Rollins off on WBC duty and Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz recovering from surgery, Donald has gotten 40 at-bats already at second, third and short. And he has done nothing to dissuade the Phillies from thinking he might be ready to help them right now. "He really grows on you," an NL scout said. "I don't think I've seen him strike out yet. He reads pitches well. He squares up the ball consistently. I like him a lot. He's got some baseball player in him." Phil Coke, Yankees (1-0, 2.25 ERA, 8 IP, 1 BB, 6 K's): Coke was the guy who almost got dealt to the Pirates in the Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte trade in July 2008. But he's starting to emerge as a guy who could win a bullpen job right now. "I love that kid," an AL scout said. "He can help them. He shows no fear." For the rest of this entry from Jayson Stark's blog, click here.
BBTN ON THE AIR: TUESDAY
|3:30 p.m. ET
|Host: Karl Ravech
Analyst: Carlos Baerga
|2 a.m. ET
|Host: Steve Berthiaume
BBTN: TEAM USA TRYING TO STAY ALIVE
BASEBALL TONIGHT MAILBAG
Have a question for one of our analysts? Ever wonder what it's like behind the scenes at "Baseball Tonight"? Curious about a player or a team or an executive?
ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep, looking for the night's best baseball numbers.As Team USA prepares for its game against Puerto Rico, he takes a look at how the U.S. has done so far in this World Baseball Classic:
|Team USA in WBC|
|Runs per game||6.8||T-4th|
|HRs per game||1.8||4th|
HOW WILL I-ROD IMPACT ASTROS
MONDAY'S BEST AND WORST
|• Tom Glavine made a return to the mound Monday, pitching in game situations for the first time since undergoing elbow and shoulder surgery. Glavine, who has 305 career wins, threw 38 pitches against some of the top prospects in the minor leagues.||WORST|
|• Hear the gasp coming from Philadelphia? Cole Hamels is going to get his elbow checked. The ace lefty has been experiencing discomfort in his throwing elbow. "It's just been that kind of mild discomfort, something I don't want to have to deal with during the season," Hamels said. So much for the good news that Chase Utley made his first appearance of the spring.|
NUMBERS TO KNOW
Phillies ace Cole Hamels is feeling discomfort is his throwing elbow. The World Series MVP was a workhorse last season, pitching 227 innings, which put him second in the National League behind only Johan Santana.Add in the postseason, and the left-hander pitched 262 1/3 innings -- more innings than he threw in his entire minor league career combined (He tossed 201 from 2003 to 2006). Arm trouble could hurt his changeup, which is one of the best in the majors. He threw changeups 29 percent of the time last season. The only starter to go with the change more often was Tom Glavine (35.7 percent).
|Cole Hamels' changeup|
Have questions about how to build your roster? Whom should you choose early or late in your draft? Which catcher do you want? We have the answers. Draft Kit