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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while filling your water flutes.

David Riske made his first appearance of the spring yesterday, and gave up a home run on his first pitch back. Afterwards he settled down, allowing just one more hit and finishing the inning. There's still enough spring left for Riske to be ready for Opening Day.

There should also be enough time for Braden Looper. Looper threw 42 pitches yesterday in a bullpen session at about 90% strength, and is back on pace. Other injury notes from that article:

  • Mike Rivera caught that bullpen session. He should be back in games next week.
  • Bill Hall could make his spring debut as soon as this weekend.
  • Angel Salome hit off a tee and caught a bullpen session yesterday.
  • Tony Gwynn played catch from 60 feet.

While Bill Hall and Mat Gamel still can't play in the field, Casey McGehee has taken every opportunity to impress in camp. McGehee went 3-for-3 yesterday, has shown the ability to play second base and third, and may already have pulled ahead of Mike Lamb for a backup job on the infield. View From Bernie's Chalet says McGehee needs to make the team.

I didn't see the play so I can't explain the circumstances, but the fact that Rickie Weeks is trying to catch a pop-up with his throwing hand in this picture will certainly provide some fodder for the "Rickie Weeks sucks at life" crowd.

Of course, the combination of a Rey Mysterio mask, hoodie, shorts and ridiculous pose would suggest this guy isn't so good at life either. I love a lucha mask as much as the next guy (maybe more), but to a baseball game? Really?

Various rankings/predictions/projections:

  • Cardinals GM has the Brewers winning 78 games, which is bad enough, but they also have the Crew finishing fifth in the Central, behind everyone but the Pirates.
  • MLB Outsider thinks the Brewers will win around 84-86 games and finish second in the Central.
  • Crawfish Boxes ranks Brewer third baseman fourth in the NL Central.
  • MLB FanHouse has dropped the Brewers from 10th to 12th in their Power Rankings.
  • Red Reporter projects the Brewers for 84 wins, but forgot about Braden Looper.

In other camps:

Mariners: Erik Bedard was scratched from Wednesday's start "because of a sore butt."
Marlins: Alfredo Amezaga will miss 4-6 weeks with a knee sprain.
Nationals: Signed Kip Wells to a minor league deal.

Perhaps one of the more interesting but under covered stories of the WBC has been the comments made by Fidel Castro on baseball strategy. Joe Posnanski, though, wonders if some of those comments were made more interesting by translation, and wonders what a translator could do for Eric Wedge.

The NL Central gets a bad rap sometimes. It's probably not the worst division in baseball (see Central, AL), and it could be home to as many as four competitive teams in 2009. The bottom of the division, though, is terrible and there's no other way to describe it. The Pirates rank #26 in FanGraphs' organizational rankings, meaning the NL Central (along with the NL East) has two of the bottom five.

As it turns out, there are a lot more players in the Hall of Fame from 1930 than there are from 1980 or 1990. Check out Baseball Musings for an explanation.

Thinking of buying a car this spring? A dealer in Dallas is offering full refunds for cars purchased if the Rangers win their first four games, and the Yankees lose all four. Dave Pinto estimates the odds at about 1-in-256, which isn't bad when a car is on the line.

Oh, and the curse of Col. Sanders might be the best curse in the history of sports. How did a statue of Col. Sanders even end up in Japan?

Drink up.