Opening Day (well, kind of Opening Day) is here (again)! Tonight's sorta-not-really opening game sees the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals head to Miami to take on the Marlins in their brand new theme park.
- The Boston Red Sox were already going to start the season with a number of players on the disabled list, but now they've added their would-be closer. Andrew Bailey will have reconstructive surgery on the UCL in his right thumb today, which will keep him out for three to four months, and will leave the Red Sox scrambling for a fill-in closer. Fortunately, Bailey's is the only Red Sox thumb being operated on for now, as Josh Beckett will not have thumb surgery, and instead will be ready to go on Saturday. I'm not a punny type of guy, but I'm sure there's something there with Red Sox and thumbs if you try hard enough.
- The Washington Nationals made the surprising decision to option lefty starter John Lannan - a relative mainstay in the team's rotation - to AAA Syracuse, instead choosing to give the fifth starter's job to Ross Detwiler. Detwiler, a former top 10 pick, has upside that Lannan can't offer, so, in that regard, you can understand the decision. You'd have to imagine that Lannan is being shopped by the Nats rather aggressively at this point.
- By now, I'd imagine you've heard about Matt Cain's and Joey Votto's huge extensions. Votto's teammates are happy that their first base slugger just got hooked up with a 10-year, $225 million deal, but they were also surprised. "To be honest, I'm surprised," Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs said. "You only expect a few franchises to be in the mix for a contract like that - New York, L.A., Chicago and so forth. For Cincinnati to step up and be in the neighborhood of that just shows we're making a point to keep up with those organizations to compete and try to be a force in this league."
- Speaking of those extensions, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler could be the next in line for a big pre-free agency extension, says Ken Rosenthal. The two sides would like to have a deal worked out by Friday, but the hangup appears to be Kinsler's desire to be the best paid second baseman. That would be fine, if going by Dan Uggla's $12.4 million average annual value deal, but Robinson Cano is going to make $14 million via a club option this year, and could make $15 million next year via another club option. Add in the fact that Kinsler doesn't want to short-change himself, assuming Cano could pull in $18+ million on the free agent market, and it's a bit of a hurdle to overcome in negotiations. Kinsler turns 30 this year.
- The Braves don't care about your typical time-tables for signing players. Already having inked Livan Hernandez to a big league deal last week, the Braves have now also signed reliever Chad Durbin. These kind of big league deals in the last week of Spring Training are atypical, to say the least. The Braves have been dealing with some pitching injuries, though, so you can understand their urgency.
- Andy Pettitte might start the Yankees' final Grapefruit League game today. The 39-year-old is coming back from retirement.