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Thursday a.m. things

The day before spring training games start, and I'm getting fired up...even if they are just exhibitions where the starters will only be in a few innings, I'm ready for some games to be played...

Richard Durrett has a piece on Nelson Cruz, who is apparently impressing folks with his batting practice power displays. Of course, Joaquin Arias and Ichiro also supposedly put on very impressive b.p. power displays, but don't translate it into the real thing. Cruz has the potential to be a solid major league right fielder, though...

T.R. Sullivan has an interesting blog piece going through some quick hits on various issues. He lists Cruz as the most impressive hitter so far in camp, and Jamey Wright and Brandon McCarthy as the most impressive pitchers. Among many other things, there's also this cryptic note:

Biggest brewing story: Sammy Sosa. Right now, he is nothing more than a part-time designated hitter. This is an interesting situation to watch.

I'm tired of talking about Sosa, too...but on the other hand, this undercurrent that suggests that Sosa isn't going to be happy in a part-time role, that the team is going to have to expand his role to keep him content, is bizarre to me. The guy hasn't had a good season since 2003 and was out of baseball last year. He should be happy he's getting a chance to be a part-time DH right now.

Durrett quotes Art Howe as saying Sosa still has his swing, after Sosa took Howe deep repeatedly during batting practice.

Evan Grant says Jerry Hairston, Jr., wants to be this year's Mark DeRosa. We shall see...

Dave Sessions has a story in the S-T on John Koronka and his attempt to reclaim the 5th starter job he had for much of last season. Mark Connor offers his analysis of what Koronka's struggles stemmed from:

"It was location, and a lot of it I thought stemmed from him sitting around for 10 days between starts and going back and forth to the minor leagues," Connor said. "I also felt like, from a mechanical standpoint, if everything just wasn't perfect, he was going to struggle."

Jan Hubbard talks to Josh Rupe, about Rupe's favorite pitches. Rupe claims he can throw nine different pitches, although he just walks through his top 5.

And here's an interesting tidbit...the Orioles supposedly talked to the Rangers last summer about a Roy Oswalt for Mark Teixeira trade (when the Orioles were talking to the Astros about getting Oswalt in a deal for Miguel Tejada) and were rejected by the Rangers.