Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
by Derek Smart
Short on time. That's my theme for the next few weeks, so I'll break out some quick projectile points.
I'm going to go out on a limb, based on his 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 RBI against the Brewers yesterday, that Mr. Ramirez' finger is all better now. You may commence fretting about something else.
Oddly, that something else might not be the state of one Mr. Wood. He threw 12 pitches off the mound yesterday, and he's not even a week removed from his knee surgery. Obviously, he's not out of the woods yet, and an awful lot can happen between now and the end of the year, but I can't think of a way to spin this particular set of circumstances negatively.
Prior's making progress, too, although the club is still using maddening qualifying statements when speaking about his work. The good news is, rather than gauzy ideas about how he feels, there appears to be an actual benchmark in place - the ability to throw 80 pitches in order to make his theoretically scheduled April 5th start.
While encouraging because it gives us something measurable to look at, it's discouraging because it also gives the club a reason to not start him that precludes the need to disclose any reasoning beyond the failure to reach the previously stated goal. No need to tell us why he didn't reach it, just that he didn't.
Now, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, and I actually think it's pretty likely Prior can make it and see the mound in that second game, but I've been burned just enough by the team's lack of transparency on these matters to remain a little suspicious.
Anyone else watching the USA vs. Japan game yesterday? Anyone else leap out of their seat when Derrek Lee crushed the game tying homer? It sure looked to mean a lot to Lee, judging from the way he was yelling at the ball to get over the fence after he made contact. Sure is fun to see him so jacked up.
Admittedly, my excitement was more because it was Lee making the play than because it was favorable for Team USA in general, but that's first time I've felt that rush in months, and boy, howdy, do I want some more of that.
By the way, Lee's looks pretty good so far, and based on his work that I've seen, I'm not concerned about a return to his slow starting ways of years past. He's not likely to be the monster he was for so much of last season, but I think any dropoff will be natural regression to the mean, rather than an April/May cold spell.
The best line I read this weekend was from Greg Maddux, who when asked if he would follow in his older brother's footsteps by eventually riding the instructional pine said, "I've got too much hair to coach."