Bill Bray, battling back from injuries, wants to pitch in 2014

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Reliever Bill Bray had a tough 2013. He was able to accrue just 4 1/3 innings of work with Washington’s Double-A affiliate in Harrisburg due to back, groin, and shoulder injuries. He racked up just 8 2/3 innings in 2012 with the Reds as well.

Bray, however, is hoping a team will offer him a chance to pitch in 2014 according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The 30-year-old has shown he can be effective when he can stay healthy, finishing 2011 with a 2.98 ERA. But staying healthy has been an issue for him throughout his career, having missed significant amounts of time in the past due to shoulder soreness, undergoing Tommy John surgery, groin strains, and those lingering back issues.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?