A few random thoughts to start the day:
- I caught Mike Berardino for a few minutes on WQAM with Hank Goldberg this morning. Mike was asked if he felt that Jack McKeon had "lost" anyone in the clubhouse. While Berardino didn't answer directly, he did say that tensions have been high in the clubhouse lately and that Jack's approach has to have worn thin on at least some guys.
- While Mike was on WQAM, Jack was on 790 the Ticket. I caught even less of that interview, but did hear Jack rave about Dontrelle Willis. McKeon spoke of Dontrelle's strong work ethic and of how Dontrelle takes pride in all of the "little things" about pitching - fielding his position, bunting, being a polished hitter. What I found most interesting was that Jack said many other guys - throughout the league - have fun and mess around when they're working on bunting or covering first. Jack said that Dontrelle doesn't do that - he focuses on what he needs to work on. I found that interesting as Dontrelle clearly does those little things well, but he also seems to have as much fun as anyone in doing them.
- Speaking of fun, Guillermo Mota seems to have picked up on Dontrelle's (2003 version) "fun and excitement" mantra. Unfortunately Mota has taken it to mean putting the first batter on base.
- Someone in my section came up with a new nickname for Willis last night (not that the guy needs any, but I still liked it): Mr. Train.
- Best question I was asked yesterday: What are the Phillies going to do now that they have Urbina and Wagner in their bullpen? Isn't Ugie insistent about being the closer?
- After watching Ichiro in person, I'm less impressed than I thought I would be. He plays the field like the typical, bored outfielder. For his reputation, I was surprised at how deep he plays. I usually expect guys with his defensive reputation to play closer in than most other outfielders; Ichiro plays at a normal depth. And while I say that, I made the same observation of Mike Cameron last month. I'm looking forward to seeing Andruw Jones and Carlos Beltran again so I can get a feel for how they position themselves.
- Bill Robinson thinks the media are trying to run him out of town.
- The draft is completed. Marlins' top pick Chris Volstad was at the game tonight. He might have been in Mr. Loria's Batters' Box seats. Don't get too comfortable kid - you're a long ways away from being that close to major league action.
- Seattle shorstop Mike Morse is a big kid. He is imposing looking. But he also looks a little lost - at least defensively. At the plate, he seems pretty confident, and deservedly so.
- On the stadium scoreboard last night, they flashed a message (during an at bat) that said that Dontrelle was only the second Marlins' pitcher to register double digit wins in his first two seasons. With last night's win, Dontrelle may have become the first Marlin to accomplish that feat in his first three seasons. Can anyone verify this?
- From MLB.com (since some of you apparently like official sources):
On the disabled list since April 14, retroactive to April 4, starter Ismael Valdez is on pace to start throwing bullpen sessions on Saturday... The veteran right-hander is still several weeks away, possibly after the All-Star break.Before the Mariners leave team, Josh Beckett has made arrangements to get an autographed bat from Ichiro Suzuki. Beckett, who has a memorabilia room at his Texas ranch, has collected bats from a number of MLB players. Recently, he started adding signed jerseys from pitchers. Beckett said Ichiro hasn't asked for anything in return.