Trolling around for stuff to write about and I come across this piece from FanHouse yesterday, in which John Hickey runs down the “x-factors” of all the NL teams. You know, those guys who will hopefully make the difference. The Pirates’ entry caught my eye:
Ronny Cedeno, shortstop. Cedeno’s last two managers, Lou Piniella with the Cubs and Don Wakamatsu with the Mariners, have predicted big things for him, but somehow the fit has’t been quite right yet. That may no longer be the case in Pittsburgh. Cedeno has a little bit of power and should hit for a better average, but his biggest boost in Pittsburgh is defense that could serve to make the Pirates pitching staff that much more effective.
Maybe Cedeno is good with the glove, but given that the guy he is more or less replacing — Jack Wilson, shy a couple of months post-trade — is about the best there is these days, are the Pirates’ pitchers really going to see a benefit?
My take on just about every preseason analysis piece is to believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.
CHICAGO — The major league-best Tampa Bay Rays placed closer Pete Fairbanks on the 15-day injured list because of inflammation in his left hip.
Manager Kevin Cash said Fairbanks texted that he was feeling better than he did when he left the ballpark, though he was still sore. He is scheduled for more tests.
Fairbanks was warming up in the bullpen during the Rays’ wild 11-10 win over the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers at home. But he left for the dugout after his hip locked up.
“We’re not gonna replace Pete,” Cash said. “He’s really, really good. What he does at the back end of the bullpen when he’s right and healthy is pretty special. We feel like we do have some guys that can provide some help, and if we can continue to score runs at the clip we are now, that’ll help, too.”
Fairbanks has five saves in six chances and a 1.54 ERA in 13 appearances. He spent time on the 15-day IL earlier this month because of right forearm inflammation.
The Rays recalled right-hander Trevor Kelley from Triple-A Durham. Tampa Bay owns a major league-leading 39-17 record.