Some things to read from your front row seat.
We'll lead off today with the day's best news: Bob Uecker's heart surgery was yesterday and the six hour procedure was deemed a success, with Dr. Alfred C. Nicolosi saying they were able to repair Uecker's pseudoaneurysm without having to repeat any of the work done in his previous surgery. Uecker will remain in the hospital for a week and is expected to be fully recovered by the first of the year.
Meanwhile, Joey Cora and Pat Listach both interviewed for the managerial vacancy yesterday, but that's more or less all we know. Tom Haudricourt says he thinks the interviews took place in Chicago.
Of course, the argument that the decision doesn't much matter has some merit. The Book Blog has a look at a recent study suggesting that managers don't have much impact on whether a team over or underperforms as compared to their pythagorean record.
The Brewers issued a couple of invitations to spring training yesterday as part of new minor league deals for catcher Mike Rivera and reliever Robert Hinton (FanShot). Rivera was a 2006-09 Brewer who spent 2010 with the Marlins, and Hinton posted a 4.16 ERA in relief between Huntsville and Nashville last season.
Congratulations are due out today to Rickie Weeks, who was honored with the team's Michael Harrison Award for Community Service for his work in the community this season. That link has a list of the activities Weeks has been involved in, including a fair number of things you might not have been aware of.
Elsewhere in accolades, John Axford was named to Baseball America's All Rookie Team.
In the minors:
- Second baseman Eric Farris went 1-for-5 with a double for Surprise in the AFL yesterday, and is hitting .435/.480/.522 with three stolen bases and seven runs scored in his first five games in the desert. Jason Grey of ESPN still doesn't think Farris has the bat to be a major league regular, though.
- Caleb Gindl got the day off yesterday, but is still hitting .400/.474/.733 in his first four games for Surprise. Tom Haudricourt suggested that the outfielder could be used as trade bait this offseason as Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain and Corey Hart appear to have blocked his path to the majors.
- The Jake Odorizzi bandwagon is starting to fill up: Jim Callis of Baseball America thinks its possible Odorizzi could be promoted to Huntsville at midseason next year.
Braves: Released pitcher Takashi Saito and outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Cubs: Removed the "interim" tag from manager Mike Quade, and signed him to a two year deal.
Dodgers: Pitcher Ted Lilly's new deal will pay him $33 million over three seasons.
Marlins: Reliever Taylor Tankersley refused a minor league assignment and is now a free agent.
Nationals: Promoted Mike Rizzo to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and extended his contract through the 2015 season.
Yet another potentially interesting pitcher is off the market: MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that Japanese phenom Yu Darvish is expected to remain with the Nippon Ham Fighters next season.
The free agent pitching market might be unimpressive this winter, but the trade market could heat up quickly: Earlier this week I mentioned that the Royals may shop Zack Greinke, and now today DRaysBay is suggesting the Rays could look to deal Matt Garza. Garza has made at least 30 starts and posted an ERA under four for the Rays in each of the last three seasons, and has three arbitration years left before he's eligible for free agency.
Here are today's former Brewer notes:
- Ben Oglivie is expected to be named the hitting coach of the West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) for 2011.
- Corey Koskie is being inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.
It's still relatively early, but it's possible the most interesting storyline of the managerial hiring season is taking place in Toronto, where the Blue Jays have interviewed former catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. three times now. Alomar retired following the 2007 season and has just one year of major league coaching experience, having served on Manny Acta's staff in Cleveland this season.
Sometimes a slow news day leaves you more time for investigative work. Gaslamp Ball used yesterday's extra time to get the real story on the origin of Bruce Bochy's white eyelashes.
There have only been two ALCS games played there, but we've already seen the worst stereotypes of New York fans played out on a grand stage. In three separate incidents, fans slapped Nelson Cruz's glove out of the way as he attempted to catch an eventual home run and denied wrongdoing, a fan rushed the field intending to attack Alex Rodriguez, and fans pelted the Rangers' bullpen with trash. And, of course, in both contests large portions of the crowd left a playoff game early.
The continued nonsense in New York is yet another reason to root for the Rangers this week. Jeff Fletcher of AOL notes that a Rangers-Giants series would present one relatively interesting storyline: Rangers catcher Bengie Molina would be facing the Giants pitchers he used to catch before being dealt midseason.
On this day in 1982, the Brewers took an early 3-1 lead but could not hold on, and the Cardinals won 6-3 to clinch the World Series.
No birthdays today, but it is a Woot-off day.