In contrast to Francisco Rodriguez — who apparently doesn’t want to be a setup guy if he gets dealt — Padres’ closer Heath Bell is just fine with that. At least as long as he can go back to closing for 2012 when he presumably will sign someplace else as a free agent. Here’s Bell:
“If you’ve got a closer right now and you need me to be the eighth-inning guy, I’ll be the eighth-inning guy. Secretly, I would probably tell the manager, ‘Look, I’m going to go out there and I’m going to show you I can beat the other guy.’ If the other guy is better than me, then we’ll have one heck of a bullpen.”
Bell is one of the few truly elite players who are clearly on the block, and he could help any number of contenders, including the Yankees, Phillies and Rangers.
There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.
The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.
All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.
After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.
Here’s today’s schedule: