Early Measuring Stick
The American League is absolutely loaded this season. The American League East’s trio in New York, Boston and Tampa Bay is as strong as ever. The Tigers made one of the biggest splashes in free agency by picking up former Brewer basher Prince Fielder, and they still have that Justin Verlander guy. The Angels went from a “darkhorse” team to the team for Albert Pujols. And don’t forget about possible sleepers like Toronto, Kansas City and Cleveland.
However, the team to beat for the second straight season is the Texas Rangers, and the White Sox play them today at 3:05 p.m. ET in Surprise. We hit on that and more in today’s Dots.
- Spring training games normally lack the widespread star power of regular season showdowns, but the Rangers will be fairly close to their typical lineup. Per Richard Durrett, the Rangers’ tremendous beat writer on ESPNDallas.com, eight everyday players on Texas’ 2011 pennant-winning club will be in the lineup today, including sluggers Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton. The only minor leaguer is Mike Olt, who played in the Carolina League last year with Myrtle Beach. Winston-Salem fans will be glad to know Olt, one of the minors’ best prospects, should start in Double-A this year.
- Four former Winston-Salem hurlers are slated to face off against this lineup today. Anthony Carter, Gregory Infante, Brian Omogrosso and Hector Santiago will toe the rubber at some point this afternoon. A positive showing could go a long way in them making an impression in camp.
- Former Dash hurler Chris Sale was the White Sox’s representative on a CBS 30-for-30 countdown of young players in the big leagues. In the article, writer David Heck discusses the transition by former pitchers from the bullpen to the rotation. It worked out well for guys like C.J. Wilson or Alexi Ogando, and Sale certainly has plenty of potential.
- Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune had a brief piece on Jared Mitchell, who spent 2011 in Winston-Salem. From the story, Chicago skipper Robin Ventura said, “You just look at him as an athlete. You see a lot of potential.” Gonzales says that Mitchell impressed Ventura during the 2009 College World Series, when Mitchell was with LSU and Ventura was working as an analyst.
- There are some baseball games closer to home in the month of March. High school baseball is back at BB&T Ballpark, and one game is already in the books. Congrats to Carver, who defeated Forsyth Country Day 7-5 Tuesday. The star of the show was Chris Hutchins, who had the game-winning two-run double and picked up the win on the mound. Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., Forsyth Home Educators and Asheville take to the field.
- Switching gears, we have a response video to the Cubs’ World Series ad we showed you yesterday. Chuck Garfien of CSN Chicago gives us the slogan: “So Real. It Actually Happened.” Check out the link. Good stuff.
- Finally, this may not appeal to folks in Winston-Salem, but it will put a smile on many Chicago readers’ faces. Derrick Rose is good at basketball. Enjoy the final play by Rose and the final call by Bulls radio voice Chuck Swirsky, one of the best and nicest in the broadcasting business (plus, he’s a fellow Ohio University alum).
Thanks for reading, and enjoy all the basketball this week! We’ll talk tomorrow.