Duaner Sanchez is at 75 percent, and hasn't begun throwing from a mound yet. It's not clear if he will be ready to go when the regular season begins, but assuming no setbacks, sometime shortly after opening day is probably a good bet for his return.
Andrew Grant at True Blue L.A. is fast becoming one of my favorite bloggers around. Inspired by Murray Chass's tempestuously ignorant poopy-dance about baseball statistics, Andrew says that mental toughness is "the most important trait in a baseball player", and goes on to qualify why giving Scrappy McHustleson extra credit for his clutchiness is nonsensical:
When we start talking about how a certain player is more valuable because of his heart or his mental toughness, we're double counting those traits. If David Eckstein wasn't constantly training and running out every ground ball, there's no way he would be able to hit .292/.350/.344 in the big leagues. David Eckstein's heart and grit is what is keeping him in the big leagues, and that's an amazing thing. What it doesn't do is make him better than a guy who puts up better numbers.Also, be sure to check out Junior's response to Chass at the inimitable Fire Joe Morgan.
Do spring training stats mean anything?. Meh, it doesn't look like it.
At Baseball Analysts, Patrick Sullivan and Rich Lederer sit down for a chat with Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer. It's a great read; here's a snippet on player acquisitions:
As boring as it sounds, I believe that the most important thing is to have a well-constructed, well-thought out process to player acquisitions. As long as you have a plan, which the Red Sox certainly have, and you try to turn over every rock to find answers, you give yourself the best possible chance to be right more than you're wrong. For every Ortiz or Mueller or Schilling there are other guys that we have brought in who didn't succeed in Boston . Every time that happens we try to figure out if there was anything we could have done to avoid it.