Did you play the FOX Bracket Challenge? Here's a link to my bracket, in case you're interested. I'll celebrate my 14-out-of-16 first day, since it's bound to get worse from here.
On to the news:
- The Phillies' website reports that Ryan Howard's return from a torn Achilles' tendon isn't likely to come before June 1, and that date is no guarantee, either. The team did note that Howard's rehab won't start "from scratch," so at least that's encouraging. When you read the article at that link, don't scroll down to the part about Roy Halladay's puzzling spring velocity, because it's probably nothing to worry about.
- In other worrisome news from Clearwater, 2B Chase Utley hasn't yet played in a Grapefruit League game and isn't taking infield drills, but the Phils expect him to be ready for Opening Day. If anyone is reading this from Las Vegas, can you put down a "Braves win NL East" bet for me? Thanks.
- New York is abuzz with concerns about Michael Pineda's velocity. I'm no scout, but I think this is much ado about nothing. Pineda seems to be more concerned with improving his changeup, anyway.
- Nationals SP Chien-Ming Wang strained a hamstring yesterday, and his return timetable is uncertain. Does anyone else think of Caddyshack whenever Wang's name is mentioned?
- Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain have pulled ahead of rookie Addison Reed in the White Sox closer derby. Nobody has been paying attention to Crain, so you can get him late/cheap.
- Today's feel-good spring story is about Mariners OF Michael Saunders, who says he's a better hitter after swinging a 60-ounce bat and working hard during the offseason. You should take all stories like this with a grain of salt, but it's a nice read.
- Buster Posey finally got a hit yesterday - and it was a home run! Woot!
- The Pirates are considering 2B Neil Walker as their cleanup hitter? Um ... OK.
- Mark Trumbo is working hard to become the Angels' third baseman. He'll probably get the job unless he's a complete butcher.
- Indians closer Chris Perez (oblique) will throw a bullpen session today, and hopes to be ready by Opening Day.
- The Astros' fifth-starter competition between Zach Duke and Jordan Lyles is ... zzz.
- Here's a rundown of Josh Johnson's Thursday start. Are you worried about Johnson's risk, or salivating over his upside?
- The Rockies have pushed back Jamie Moyer's next start due to stiffness in his left leg. My mom gets stiffness in her legs sometimes, so I guess such an ailment is common for people in their 70s.
- Speaking of the Rox, Denver Post beat writer Troy Renck tweeted yesterday that there's "no way" utilityman Jordan Pacheco wouldn't make the team. Unfortunately, Pacheco will qualify only at first base in most fantasy formats, so NL-only owners will need to be patient before (if?) he fits at catcher.
- Alfredo Aceves is pitching himself into the Red Sox rotation.
- Another good outing for Orioles SP Brian Matusz, huh?. Hmm ...
- Braves RP Arodys Vizcaino will visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday to have his ailing elbow checked out. Uh-oh.
See you back here Monday morning.