Mark Buehrle may retire after 2011

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Mark Buehrle told Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune that he could retire after the 2011 season:

“As
I sit here now, I’d love to just go home and be with the family and
kids and go from there. But when next year gets here,
at this time, it could be a tough decision, knowing this is all you’ve
known for 15 years of your life and constantly having to be somewhere,
to go somewhere. And all of a sudden you have nothing to do. It’s going
to be a tough decision.”

He’s only 31 right now, and remains a sold pitcher, averaging 223 innings a season over his 11 year career. And he’s had an above-average (below average? Shoot, let’s just call it a “better-than-average”) ERA for nine of the past ten seasons. If he wants to pitch beyond his current contract, he’ll get plenty of offers.

Either way, if he thinks like he pitches, he’ll make his decision quickly.

Adrian Beltre cleared for extended spring training

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Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.

Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.

Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.

Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.