Happy cinqo de mayo, Bronson Arroyo. Too bad I was stuck at my desk sneaking glances at ESPN Gamecast while I was quote-unquote working. By all appearances it was a heck of a game. Bronson throwing a no-hitter for 6 and 1/3 innings certainly shows that his growth as a pitcher is proceeding. Just think, the Pirates did not have a place for Bronson. The stinking Pirates!
Arroyo and Wakefield have been remarkably consistent this spring, picking up the load expected to be carried by David Wells and Curt Schilling. Matt Clement, like Edgar Renteria, is adapting to a new team and new league, and should be given some time to get acclimated. Remember, Clement and Renteria are here for four years; it is unfair to judge them after only a month
John Halama and Jeremi Gonzalez both filled in well in spot starts, with Halama looking especially effective and as a possible long-term option at fifth starter should injuries continue in the rotation. Wade Miller will pitch Saturday, and the expectations for him are through the roof. Like Schilling and Wells, having dealt with health issues, Miller is still coming out of spring training, so hopefully the expectations will be tempered for a while.
The Sox offense has been inconsistent so far this spring, but most seasons they do take awhile to kick in. Johnny Damon has been better than expected this spring, ditto for Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon as they have done well, but Manny and Ortiz are struggling to be consistent, Edgar Renteria is having a tough adjustment to the American League, and Mueller and Bellhorn have had some health issues and inconsistency this spring. Will they turn it around? Without a doubt, but considering how uneven their offense has been, it is a good sign that they are hanging in with the Orioles.
Days after signing a forty-two year old backup quarterback, the youth movement for the Patriots continues at the defensive front. Veteran Keith Traylor was released which gives the starting job to Vince Wilfork (who would have taken it anyway) and the backup job to unproven 2003 seventh round draft pick Ethan Kelley. Of course, with Ty Warren, Richard Seymour, and even Jarvis Green having played nose guard in the Patriots system, it is not as if there is no depth whatsoever.
Other recent happenings include having former Boston College offensive guard Dan Neil in for a visit. The Patriots will attempt to continue their tradition of having an obligatory veteran offensive guard come in and retire or get cut during training camp. Of course, there are also plenty of veteran stop-gap linebackers available in free agency, and there are likely more on the way to the open market after June 1.
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The last-place New York Yankees are apparently preparing to make their move to shore up their pitching staff by...going after another forty-something pitcher? Rumors have them pursuing Roger Clemens as the Astros have stumbled out of the gate and would likely be looking to get anything back in return for dumping his salary if they are not in play-off contention. Before the New Yorkers begin the healing process for Clemens, they should realize that Houston will only give him away for half a season if they are out of contention in July, which is a long ways off.
Even if the Yankees pick up Clemens, they still have a bloated rotation with over-aged pitchers past their prime (Johnson, Mussina, Brown), over-priced under-achievers (Pavano and Wright), and unproven youngsters (Wang and who ever else they dig up for the rotation).
Of course, their line-up has gone from deep one through nine to spotty with proven production only at the two through five spots (Jeter, Sheffield, Matsui, and Rodriguez), which makes them just like every other team in the game, except that they are grossly overpaying every player on the team.
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