The Yankees are checking out Kevin Millwood

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Andruw Jones and Kevin Millwood, huh? Apparently “key players from the team you beat in the World Series 12 years ago” is the new inefficiency!

The Yankees among the teams looking at Kevin Millwood as a back-end starter and have also looked at Freddy Garcia.

We talked about Garcia yesterday. Millwood got lit up like a Christmas tree last year. Over the course of his career he gives up slightly fewer homers than Garcia has and is a bit more likely to strike a guy out once in a while. That said, there isn’t a world of difference between Millwood and Garcia at this point. The biggest difference is that Millwood has consistently taken the ball every fifth day for close to a decade while Garcia has only had one season in the last four — last season — in which he pitched as many as 150 innings.

Either of these guys are likely to be able to eat innings for the Yankees in 2011, but Millwood maybe a bit more so. To the extent that one can expect any quality upside to either of them, it’s probably worth noting that Millwood is one year removed from a really nice season down in Texas. That seems to be a bit flukey, though, inasmuch as his 2010 looks a heck of a lot like his 2007 and 2008.

I’d probably go with Millwood over Garcia if I had to choose, but it’s not like either of them — or the differences between them — will make or break the Yankees 2011 season.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.