The NBA Playoffs started on April 28. It is now June 8, and they still aren’t even to the Finals. By the end, it will have been almost two months long. If that were the way it was in baseball, we’d be watching the World Series in December.
- Alfonso Soriano will serve as the Cubs’ DH all three games in Minnesota, which he’ll welcome as a change of pace. “It will help me rest my knee,” Soriano said. “I will take the three days and enjoy it. After that, I want to get back to playing the outfield.” Hopefully Soriano has a blow-out series, and continues to show AL teams what he could do if he were DH’ing full-time. Small sample size and all that.
- Meanwhile, Dale Sveum is loving on Soriano, hard: “When you’re watching him on the other side of the fence, you just don’t know [him well]. When you’re around him … [I] probably have as much admiration for him as anybody I’ve come across. On and off the field, he tries to make himself a better outfielder every day. He comes to play, loves to play …. Just to deal with that kind of pain [in his knee] … he has been far and above anything I’ve expected.”
- Matt Garza on the homer Norichika Aoki hit off of him yesterday (his first over the fence on the year): “You just tip your cap, and next time you face him, you go right back in there and shove it down his throat. Make sure he doesn’t like trying to sit and spin on stuff anymore.” Cat’s. Pajamas.
- Cubs’ hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who’s in the final year of a three-year agreement that made him the highest-paid hitting coach in baseball, is losing sleep over the poor performance of his pupils. Naturally, you can blame Jaramillo only so much for a light-hitting roster, but it’s not like the Cubs have had a good offense in any of the last three years.
- The Cubs have gotten high marks for their Draft from both Keith Law and Jonathan Mayo. Particularly interesting? Law believes supplemental first round pick Pierce Johnson (43 overall) was a top 30 talent before his forearm injury this year (from which he returned successfully), and believes fourth round pick Josh Conway was a top 50 talent before he required Tommy John surgery. Those two picks typify the Cubs’ approach to selecting pitching in this Draft: guys with big risk, but big reward if they can heal/develop/etc. As I’ve said before, given that the Cubs’ system is full of lower risk, lower upside pitchers already, I really liked the approach.
- Reach pick high school outfielder Rhett Wiseman (the kid who said he wore his Cubs hat to the prom) says he is “100 percent” going to Vanderbilt, rather than signing with the Cubs. “I’m 100 percent going to Vanderbilt,” Wiseman said. “My family and I sat down to choose a number and depict a number to keep me away from school that would be high. My parents left the decision up to me but made sure I knew with a high number that I would be OK going to school.” But … what if the Cubs meet that number? Have they already said they won’t? How could they know that yet until they’ve signed a bunch of players to see where their pool stands? I’m just askin’ is all.
- AJ Pierzynski was almost a Chicago Cub. It seems that, when he was traded to the San Francisco Giants from the Twins back in the day, the Cubs were the runner up in the trade discussions (they would have sent Todd Wellemeyer and Juan Cruz). Yikes.
- Aramis Ramirez says folks should cut Starlin Castro some slack when he makes mistakes. It’s tough to be a young start, and Ramirez would know (he, too, was a big-time prospects who came up to the Pirates in his early 20s – though Ramirez struggled to adjust at first).
- MLBullets at BCB note the changes to the joint drug agreement, designed to prevent another Ryan Braun fiasco. Another interesting change? MLB can now announce the name of the substance that the player has allegedly tested positive for. (And, yes, I know I’ve used that headline before. I really like it …)