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Friday Applesauce

T-minus eight hours before the weekend. So, after a little more than a week of doing this I wanted to open up a discussion to the commenters on what they'd like to see more/less of. Are there any sites that I'm missing that you'd like to suggest? In the meantime, here's what you'll have to live with for now...

Around Port St. Lucie

It's a little sad that I actually paid attention to yesterday's box score. It may be sadder than what actually happened on the field. The Mets needed a three run ninth inning to defeat Team Italy, 3-2, getting only 4 hits in the first 8 innings. Nothing much to learn from the lineups of either team, but John Maine started for the Mets and exhibited some shaky control (3 BB, 2 IP) and frightening quotes in the post game. All of a sudden, the Mets starting pitching is looking pretty weak.

But, never fear, the Mets get another shot to impress us in box score format against the Cardinals today at 1:05. There is a chance that there are only 8 position players for the Mets with Fernando Tatis replacing A-Rod for the Dominican Republic team, so that's something.

Joe Torre co-author Tom Verducci sends us a postcard from Port St. Lucie. Wish I was there. Santana's absence is noted, but overall Verducci's impression is of a loose, happy, and functional camp.

Metsradamus is in love with Yu Darvish. I missed my chance to see him pitch yesterday. Was he as good as advertised? Should we pass around the collection plate for his posting fee?

Dana Brand has some photos of the old Home Run Apple in its new home. I still wish that it had made the trip to the new outfield.

Murray Chass's latest post, insinuating Mike Piazza's steroid use, is making waves in the Met blogosphere, prompting responses like this one, and this. I have no idea what the truth is in this whole thing, even though I'd really really really like for it to be not true. One thing though. Chass made a comment that the Times' sports editor was a Mets fan and hence biased the paper's coverage in favor of the Mets. Has anyone ever noticed a Times pro-Mets bias? It always seemed to me that they were the PR firm for the Yankees.

Around the NL East

Marlin reliever Scott Proctor is dealing with some minor injuries and will be out for a few games. Meanwhile, golden-armed Marlin Andrew Miller is getting knocked around a bit this Spring. More alarming, however, is the Marlins unbelievable defensive ineptitude so far.

Garrett Anderson is impressing the Braves with his professionalism.

All is not hunky-dory in the World Champions' camp. Kyle Kendrick is angering his coaching staff in his bid for the fifth starter spot. The wheels came of Kendrick's start in the third, after which he exhibited "not acceptable" behavior on the mound, leading to Phillies fans to say he's not ready yet.

The Phillies also signed starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez who last appeared in 2007.

Around the MLB

In case you hadn't heard, A-Rod is hurt and may miss up to 10 weeks. Trying not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, this seems awfully convenient for Rodriguez. The steroid story will not dominate the headlines in 10 weeks and this down time may allow him to actually concentrate on baseball when he returns. Maybe he should consider the surgery for that purpose alone. Although, that may not be the craziest idea in the blogosphere right now (not saying Jeter at third is a bad idea, but it will never happen).

The Giants released Red Sox hero and stolen base specialist Dave Roberts.

Tampa Bay is realizing how awesome their pitching staff is. I hope that that team's fans appreciate what they've accomplished and pay attention in the future.

I'm kind of liking Doug Glanville's New York Times column. It adds a bit of refreshing honesty to insider baseball. Keep it up.

Here is a really great look at baseball in the Dominican Republic following a buscon (or player agent). Maybe they're not the predators that the Smiley-gate story portrays.

We've been talking a little about Andruw Jones lately and his amazing drop in production. Well, maybe it's not so rare for young prodigies.

WBC Update

Be sure to pay attention to older free agent players who are looking to catch on in the Majors again (I'm looking at you Pedro). Another intriguing name out there is Bernie Williams

I love stories like this. South Africa doesn't stand a chance, but man, they scored 6 runs against the Angels, that has got to mean something.