Craig Calcaterra

Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum is the Giants’ fifth starter

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News from Scottsdale:

Lincecum pitched six games in relief late last season and was relegated to the bullpen for the playoffs, where he pitched exactly one game. It had been thought that, perhaps, Ryan Vogelsong and Lincecum would compete for the fifth spot, but that competition now appears to be scrapped.

Lincecum is in the second year of a two-year, $35 million deal. You have to figure they want to see if they can’t get a decent starter’s production out of a decent starter’s salary. Or, at the very least, to see if they can’t flip him mid-season as a starter given that in Vogelsong and Yusmiero Petit, they have decent alternatives for the fifth slot.

Andy Pettitte: “I don’t really believe I tried to enhance my performance”

Andy Pettitte Getty
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Here’s Andy Pettitte on Michael Kay’s radio show addressing his PED history:

“People are going to say what they want to, believe what they want to. When you say PEDs to me, man, I just can’t even comprehend that with me just because I don’t really believe I tried to enhance my performance on the field,” Pettitte said. “If I would have, I would have told y’all that. Man, my story has been an open book. When it all came out [in the Mitchell report in 2007,] I sat in the press conferences there for hours, I believe . . . I’ve never tried to do anything to cheat to enhance my performance on the field.”

Where are all of the people who have spent the last 24 hours parsing Alex Rodriguez’s apology and why aren’t they parsing this? No one? Anyone? OK then, allow me:

  • Taking PEDs to “get back on the field” is still taking PEDs and is what just about every player who has been busted for PEDs has said. In all cases the player is either (a) not believed; or else (b) the distinction is considered to be meaningless, as enhanced performance is enhanced performance and PEDs are PEDs;
  • Pettitte’s story has not been an open book. During those “hours” he spent talking to the media after the Mitchell Report came out, Pettitte said that he used HGH “two days in 2002.″ He repeated that over and over, in fact. However, when he was put under oath before the House of Representatives a few months later he was confronted with additional evidence of PED use. Specifically, from 2004. Which he admitted. So, no, he wasn’t an “open book.” Or at least any more open than he felt he had to be to get off the hook in a press conference and then to avoid a perjury beef before Congress.

Which, hey, good for Pettitte. I still think he was a damn good pitcher. But let’s not pretend he’s any different than any other PED guy. No, he wisely did not make a federal case out of proclaiming his innocence, so he’s not as bad as Roger Clemens I suppose, but the fact remains that he has only come as clean as he felt he needed to at any given time and only as much as people have wanted him to.

Which is to say, not much at all, because for whatever reason people don’t care about his drug use too terribly much.

Wanna buy Gene Tenace’s six World Series rings?

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 11.17.06 AM
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Former A’s and Cardinals player and former Blue Jays coach Gene Tenace has six World Series rings (1972-74; 1982 and 1992-93), a 1972 World Series trophy and a 1972 World Series MVP plaque. He has a bunch more stuff too, thanks to spending all of that time in the bigs with some excellent teams. Now he’s auctioning it off.

He says he doesn’t need the money — he has a player pension, a coaching pension and a minor league coaching pension and his house is paid for. He simply has too much stuff, he says, and wants to give the proceeds of the auction to his three children.

As the son of two people who dumped all of their crap in his basement before they took off in their R.V. last summer, I heartily endorse the “sell your crap and give your kids the money” approach Mr. Tenace is taking.

Must-click link: Alex Rodriguez: “the cheating stops now”

Alex Rodriguez
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Most people are sick of anything having to do with Alex Rodriguez. But even if you are — hell, especially if you are — you need to read this feature story on his year and change away from baseball by J.R. Moehringer of ESPN The Magazine. Really, this is not hyperbole. It is an absolute must-read.

It’s a must-read because, as everyone says, A-Rod’s words mean nothing anymore. Indeed, it has been the most common response to his apology from yesterday and everything else he has said. “Why should we believe him?” “The only thing that matters is if he can still play.” It’s a totally fair thing to say. It’s 100% the truth. His word is worth nothing and we shouldn’t waste a second trying to figure out if we should.

But actions matter. Not just the hitting, but how a person lives their life. And in this, Moehringer gives us some amazing, personal insight into how A-Rod has tried to live his life since that day over a year ago when he dropped all of his lawsuits and went into, for him anyway, seclusion. About how he has attempted to come to grips to what kind of a person he has been and what kind of person he wants to be. About how, no matter how many sports writers complain about his apologies not being sufficient to them, there is an audience — an exceedingly small audience — about whom he’s far more concerned.

The article is not an A-Rod apologia. It is not designed to give you sympathy for the guy or to truly reassess him in any way. Again, why should we? Why should we care that much and why on Earth would it be logical to ignore the basic facts about the guy? Sympathy is about pity and feeling sorry for someone and caring, and Alex Rodriguez is a pro athlete who, at best, has entertained us a little and about whom we likely wouldn’t care too terribly much even if he hadn’t acted as poorly as he has acted. He’s a rich and famous guy who did a lot of bad things that should not be brushed under the carpet. And his life is about as similar and relatable to ours as a Martian is to a fungo.

But, I would hope anyway, it creates empathy, which is a totally different thing. Empathy — at its very basic level — is about understanding. Understanding that a guy who has had everything handed to him in his adult life has spent the last year coming to grips with the fact that he’s messed up major. Understanding that the fact that he’s angered some baseball fans or some columnists is not as important as the fact that he has risked his relationship with his daughters. Understanding that, as he certainly wants to return to baseball and be a big hero somehow, he also has spent a year becoming intimately acquainted with his personal shortcomings, is attempting to address them and is thinking about the rest of his life, not just the rest of his baseball career or his legacy.

If you truly read this article and still feel that Rodriguez is best summed up as the sort of cartoonish villain he’s almost always made out to be, well, that’s your prerogative. And, obviously, A-Rod has done nothing to dissuade people from taking that approach. He has made his bed. But I would ask that, for a few moments, you try to assess Alex Rodriguez as a human being and not as a big baseball star who has made a shambles out of everything. That you try to have some degree of empathy for the guy, like we should try to have for everyone who makes mistakes and honestly tries to atone for them. To do so will cost you nothing but a little time.

Play ball! The official reporting dates for all 30 teams

Angels Equipment Bag
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source:

Many players are already working out in Florida and Arizona, but here are the official reporting dates for all 30 teams:

Team Pitchers & Catchers Report
Cincinnati Reds 2/18/2015
Cleveland Indians 2/18/2015
Pittsburgh Pirates 2/18/2015
San Francisco Giants 2/18/2015
Philadelphia Phillies 2/18/2015
Arizona Diamondbacks 2/19/2015
Baltimore Orioles 2/19/2015
Chicago Cubs 2/19/2015
Colorado Rockies 2/19/2015
Detroit Tigers 2/19/2015
Kansas City Royals 2/19/2015
Los Angeles Angels 2/19/2015
Los Angeles Dodgers 2/19/2015
New York Mets 2/19/2015
Oakland Athletics 2/19/2015
St. Louis Cardinals 2/19/2015
San Diego Padres 2/19/2015
Washington Nationals 2/19/2015
Atlanta Braves 2/20/2015
Boston Red Sox 2/20/2015
Chicago White Sox 2/20/2015
Houston Astros 2/20/2015
Miami Marlins 2/20/2015
Milwaukee Brewers 2/20/2015
New York Yankees 2/20/2015
Seattle Mariners 2/20/2015
Texas Rangers 2/20/2015
Tampa Bay Rays 2/21/2015
Minnesota Twins 2/22/2015
Toronto Blue Jays 2/22/2015

 

Still some time for many clubs — four whole, long days for the Twins and the Jays — but given baseball’s “on time is late” sensibilities about such things, expect almost every team to have almost every player in uniform and running wind sprints before the actual deadline.