Marlins trying to talk Javier Vazquez out of retirement

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Javier Vazquez has repeatedly indicated that he plans to retire despite being a free agent coming off a very good season, but Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports that the Marlins may try to talk the 35-year-old right-hander into pitching at least one more season.

Capozzi writes that playing close to his home in Puerto Rico and playing for a contender are the two factors that could change Vazquez’s mind about calling it quits, and of course he also speculates that the Marlins would have to offer Vazquez a raise on his $7 million salary.

For now the Marlins have exclusive negotiating rights with Vazquez, but that ends Thursday. He had a terrible 2010 season for the Yankees, but surrounded that with an excellent 2009 for the Braves and a strong 2011 for the Marlins, tossing 193 innings with a 3.69 ERA and 162/50 K/BB ratio. Turning down another $10 million might be tough, but then again Vazquez has already earned $100 million during his 14-season career.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.