Results tagged ‘ Josh Bard ’

The “Epic-ness” of David Wright

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Team USA vs Team Puerto Rico

Even if you aren’t a fan of the WBC, you have to admit that watching that game was pretty epic. It was a pitcher’s duel throughout (okay, maybe Jane didn’t like it) and I happen to really enjoy pitcher’s duels. Neither pitching staff was substantial as a total of seven pitchers was used by each side. It was the defensive plays and small ball that this game centered around.
For example, though many of you may have glanced over it, David Wright’s steal in the second inning was pretty important. Admittedly, I would have glanced over it myself if my friend hadn’t mentioned it when we were talking about it. Though I fell asleep in the top of the ninth (what can I say, long day + couch + no lights=sleep) I was up and ready for the bottom of the ninth. 
I had essentially called David Wright’s walk-off hit since Game 1 against Canada. In that game, I said that he was going to hit a home run. It didn’t happen. 
‘Fine,’ I said, ‘You owe me one”. When it didn’t happen in the next couple of games, I began to get frustrated. We had made a subconscious agreement! Finally, I compromised after he didn’t hit one against the Netherlands. 
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‘You owe me a very important hit, and you will get it at a crucial moment,” I said. Even at the beginning of the game against Puerto Rico, I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if David Wright got the most important hit of the game tonight?”
Well, when it got to the bottom of the ninth, I knew. The bases were loaded with one out, and Kevin Youkilis had just walked to bring in a run to make it a one run deficit. David Wright was up. 
I knew. I just KNEW. I had even made it my status on Facebook. Just ask Melissa! Then it happened, a bloop single to right field that scored Brian Roberts and Jimmy Rollins! I was jumping up and down like a fool, and every trace of exhaustion had left my body. I was ecstatic. Does it feel like the playoffs to you guys? 
The Red Sox
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They call it a “ferocious swing” so it looks like Dustin Pedroia’s injury wasn’t as bad as we thought it could be, but I’m glad that there was some concern. He was back in the lineup today against Pittsburgh, and went 1-2 with an RBI single. Maybe I will see him tomorrow at Spring Training (oh yes, that means pictures). 
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The biggest news I think, is that the Red Sox released Josh Bard. At first, I was very skeptical of this. ‘Why would they do that??’ I thought. He was hitting something like .429 and was doing a pretty nice job behind the plate. Doesn’t it seem right that he would catch Wakefield? 
Well, instead of just dwelling on stats, as we all normally tend to do (just out of our crazy baseball fan nature), we have to look at why we acquired Bard in the first place. The Red Sox got Bard over a month before re-signing Jason Varitek. I think that the Red Sox picked up Josh Bard as a safety net– in case agreements with Jason could not be made. 
From Bard’s perspective though, it must be though being let go– again. He is now where Ivan Rodriguez was just last week. I think that he would still serve as a great backup catcher for another team, and I wish him luck in his endeavor to find a job. 
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So, who is the backup catcher now? Who is catching Wakefield? The candidate most likely to fill those shoes is George Kottaras, who went 2-2 today against Pittsburgh with a double. He is young, and was out of minor league options (I don’t even know what that means?). Now, he is getting the chance of a lifetime. 
He did a decent job of catching Wakefield against the Yankees. Apparently, the trick is to let the knuckleball come to you, not try to go get the knuckleball. I can’t imagine how hard that must be to catch– or hit for that matter. It has no spin, and it’s already hard enough to hit a baseball. His hitting is a bit mediocre, I think he had something like a .243 average in Pawtucket. But, as we all know, a catcher’s important comes behind the plate, not next to it. Though, I don’t think Erin minds Joe Mauer’s numbers. 
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Kevin Youkilis is having this problems with his left ankle– including Achilles tendonitis (whatever that means). I don’t think it’s something to worry about. I think it’s more of a small injury that comes with getting back into the groove. I don’t blame the Classic at all, and neither do any of the injured players. 
I know that the Classic comes at an annoying time, but to be honest with you, I LOVE it. I love the pride that these players feel in representing their country, I think that’s really important, and it provides an opportunity for some of the forgotten veterans to say, ‘Hey, I’m still here!’. This is the case of Ivan Rodriguez, who signed a deal with the Houston Astros. I am really happy for him, he really deserved this deal after his astounding performance in the Classic. 
Around the League
Well, with the entire USA team basically becoming an accident waiting to happen, a few other members have been added to the roster. This includes Evan Longoria, Derek Lee, Ryan Ludwick, and AJ Pierzynski. These are all great additions to the roster, and they will provide strong depth as the US heads into the semi-finals. The first matchup is going to be incredible: Oswalt vs Dice-K!
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It looks like Chase Utley is making a very speedy recovery, much speedier th
an most expected. He could very well be ready for Opening Day. It’s great when guys like this recover successfully from surgery. Hamels being ready for Opening Days, is uncertain, as is Joe Mauer’s situation. 
Baseball in my Life
This week was a great week for talking about baseball for me. The day after the epic WBC game, everything productive that came out of my mouth was about the World Baseball Classic. And on Wednesday, my math teacher and I had a long discussion about the Red Sox and Yankees and how their lineups and pitching staff looked. 
In my debate class, I am writing a piece on the problem with steroids, and how we can fix the problem (plus, I’m relating it to school). Basically, I just get to rant for ten minutes about steroids, it should work for me.
The most important thing though, is that I got my research paper back. No grade though (my teacher doesn’t role that way), but lots of nice comments! He thought that my thesis statement was ‘great’, and he loved the quotes, and I got lots of ‘goods’ and ‘interestings’ and checkmarks. Most importantly, he liked the way that I was able to draw the parallel ideas between baseball and America, though maybe I was ranting a little bit at the end.
For the re-write, I’m going to organize it thematically rather than chronologically. Wish me luck for the game tomorrow, I’m going to have to go there and get tickets since I can’t find any online! 
-Elizabeth

“Baseball Bubble”

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Today, I realized something– I can tell you more about baseball than I can about global issues– way more. I honestly did not know the name of the North Korean dictator until this afternoon. Is this bad? I remember Jane mentioning a story similar to this in her book. She was reading the newspaper and some kind of headline like ‘The Tribe is Suffering’ came up, and she thought it was about the Cleveland Indians. I’m not going to lie to you, upon reading it, I thought she was referencing the Cleveland Indians as well. I live in my own little baseball bubble as well. 

For example, in math today, when my teacher asked me the scores of the World Baseball Classic from Sunday, I was perfectly able to recite that. When he asked me to find the external arc of a circle, I was clueless. 

During my Life Skills class, we began learning about drugs; so we were each assigned a drug to research and present to the class. I kindly forced asked the student next to me to switch topics with me so I could write about steroids. Don’t get me wrong, I will talk about steroids in my project, but I think I’m going to go on a long tangent about steroids in baseball, and then go on to talk about Pete Rose and how it’s ridiculous that he is not in the Hall of Fame. 
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I had heard about the rumored Jon Lester deal yesterday, but it wasn’t until I was watching Team USA beat up on Team Venezuela that I heard that the deal was finalized. It was a five year deal worth $30 million, with a $14 million option for 2014! This is what the Red Sox have been doing all offseason: locking up their proven young players! We all know that Jon Lester had a breakout year last year. I don’t need to re-emphasize his no-hitter and that great comeback story of his. The bottom line is: he is a good pitcher. He has great command of his fastball, and is even working on a changeup! At this pace, he is on the track to becoming one of the most feared left handed pitchers of the game. 
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A-Rod is officially having surgery, though, not the same surgery that Mike Lowell had on his torn labrum. I think this is “arthroscopic surgery” and they few medical terms that I know are the ones that I have heard of on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. This is not one of them. However, from what I have gathered, this surgery will allow A-Rod to return in 6-9 weeks rather than 12-16 weeks. This was the right decision.
Like I’ve said before, it was painful for me to watch Mike Lowell play last season, and it was painful for him. If it’s already painful for Alex, it was only going to get worse. This surgery will minimize the damage, and he will have the rest of the surgery after the season. Plus, this gives A-Rod some down time. With this steroid scandal, and his inability to keep a straight story, and all Torre’s blows to him– he needs some time off. 
So what are the Yankees to do in the meantime without their cleanup batter? Alright so they have Cody Ransom to fill the void at third base, but that does not fill the offensive void. The Yankees are going to have to totally re-work their lineup. Sure Mark Teixeira has a bat, but other than him, the offense is a tad on the mediocre side. Luckily they have some serious pitching to balance that. 
World Baseball Classic 
The USA is redeeming itself after the 2006 tournament as it did not falter after its first win. They beat Team Venezuela 15-6 thanks to some key hits off of the shaky Venezuelan bullpen, and some strong relief pitching. 
Roy Oswalt had a decent outing, but definitely not the best. The problem is, these games actually matter (in a sense). This is still Spring Training to some of these guys. The guys on international teams have been playing Winter Ball. These guys? This is just the start of stuff for them. 
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The US broke it open in the sixth inning by scoring eight runs. Mark DeRosa hit a triple and batted in a total of four runs. Chris Iannetta had a great bases clearing double and also had four RBIs. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with Ianetta. Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn hit their second home runs of the classic, and Ryan Braun hit his first. Dustin Pedroia had a great play at second base if you guys didn’t get to see it. It was one of those plays that NO ONE should make. 
The bullpen was backed by some great run support so Ziegler’s two earned runs and Bell’s one were not that significant. Matt Lindstrom of the Florida Marlins picked up the win. 
Red Sox Spring Training
On Sunday I had to go to school for an American History catch up day– didn’t mind too much because I love that class. Anyway, the class started at one, and there was a Red Sox vs Rays game at one. Luckily, my friend lent me his iPhone so I was periodically refreshing the play-by-play throughout the whole class. 
Julio Lugo had a great day as he went 3-3 with two RBIs and two doubles. My project, Nick Green, hit a home run, as did Zach Daeges (despite his weird batting stance) and Jonathan Van Every. 
Justin Masterson pitched three beautiful innings of one hit ball and was followed by Jonathan Papelbon, who threw a scoreless inning but allowed two runs. Did I mention that he is working on a slider? Yet another pitch to vanquish victims. Daniel Bard (potential project) struck out the side, and Junichi Tazawa and Michael Bowden each allowed one run. 
I have now set a goal for Michael Bowden: one outing without any earned runs! 
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The Red Sox played an exciting game today against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which the Red Sox won on an RBI double by Josh Reddick in the bottom of the tenth. I watched the first two innings during my Life Skills class while “researching” steroids. I wasn’t just going to pass up that opportunity.
One of my projects, Jeff Bailey, went 3-4 with a double and an RBI. Project Nick Green hit another home run as did Dusty Brown. I remember Dusty Brown from last year’s Spring Training and from a Pawtucket game. I like him, but I need to see a bit more of him to decide his project potential. 
Josh Bard continued to
make his presence known by hitting another home run today and collecting three RBIs. I’m thinking that this whole competition thing is making Lowrie a little nervous. I just want him to be himself, because I know he can do well either starting on off the bench. 

The First Game of Spring

It seems that anything of significance in the baseball world happens in my English class. When the MVPs were announced, I was in English. When the HOF inductees were announced, I was in English. And when Josh Beckett took the mound for the Red Sox against the Boston College Eagles, guess where I was? English. On my way, I was searching for someone that I could beg to borrow his or her phone. No such luck. I was not able to see whether Josh Beckett’s first pitch was a ball or a strike. 

I did feel like I contributed to that game in some way, shape or form. I’m very superstitious when it comes to baseball, kind of like Jane as she describes in her book. Well, as I was taking my notebook out for my American History class second period, I realized that I had a Yankee book in my backpack. ‘That can’t be good chi,’ I thought, so I asked my friend to guard it in her locker. Nothing personal Jane, just superstitions. 
The Red Sox beat the Eagles 7-1. A couple minor leaguers, including Chris Carter, had a nice game, and Josh Beckett fired two perfect innings and struck out two. 
Disappointed as I was for missing the afternoon game, I was quite excited when I found out that the evening game would be broadcasted on MLB Network. 
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the first inning by swinging at the first pitch he saw. ‘Patience!’ I thought! Well, he learned from his mistake in his next at-bat, and waited a few pitches before flying out to left. The important part is, he did make contact. 
Dustin Pedroia collected the first hit of the game, hitting a nice double, which isn’t surprising for a guy coming off an MVP season. 
I watched in awe as Tim Wakefield took the mound for the Sox. That knuckleball of his has been around since 1995. He played in Pittsburgh before that! I can’t imagine him anywhere else but the Red Sox, I’m glad that the Sox decided to pick up his option. Wake gave up three runs over two innings– a few batters were able to time the knuckle ball down, but some of the runs were just results of balls that got through the gap. The defense was a little rusty, but what can you expect after a long offseason? I just hate those blooper balls that fall in the proverbial bermuda triangle. Those aggravate me, unless the Red Sox hit one. 
Those balls going through the gap even got to Youkilis, it wasn’t just Diaz (SS) and Khoury (3B). By the way, did you guys see Youk’s latest Youk Fu? I thought that was hilarious! 
Josh Bard did a nice job catching Wakefield’s knuckleball. I think he should work on throwing over to second, because it’s pretty easy to steal considering Wakefield’s knuckleball is basically 68 mph. There was also one play in which Brad Wilkerson, recently acquired from the Blue Jays (RF) threw the ball in from the outfield and Bard tried to tag the guy before catching the ball. In the future, let’s catch before tagging :)
Billy Traber tried to pull a Dice-K: loading the bases with no outs. Even though it is Spring Training, it still gave me a heart attack. Dice-K may be the only pitcher in the majors who can get himself into jams and get out unscathed. You’re not there yet Billy, baby steps. After giving up a few runs, Billy did settle down to throw a couple of nice pitches. 
Justin Masterson was sporting a beard, so he looks a bit older. Masterson, Delcarmen, Lopez, and Rairez all pitched beautifully, giving up zero runs over five innings. Masterson was a bit shaky at first, but he calmed down after a little bit. 
Let me tell you guys, I am very impressed with Ramon Ramirez. Much as I miss Coco, that was a great trade. Three up, three down and two strikeouts. Talk about a great first impression. I would make him my project, but my projects are strictly confined to minor leaguers. 
Speaking of projects, Jeff Bailey has pretty much secured his spot as one of my projects. I was aware of him when he was with the Red Sox in 2008, and I liked what I saw, so he was definitely on my radar for tonight’s game. I hope to see him this weekend, as well as Lars Anderson. 
Jed Lowrie looked pretty good tonight, solid effort with some of those balls up the middle and a nice triple with an RBI. Jeff Bailey had the other RBI. I’m in the process of getting to know these minor league guys, but I should have at least three projects by the end of the Grapefruit League. 
To answer Jacobyluvr’s question, Jed Lowrie was my project last year. I was waiting for autographs outside of the player’s parking lot, and he drove out slowly, so I ran into the middle of the street to get an autograph. I barely knew who he was! After that autograph though, I knew he’d be coming. 
Rem-Dawg was unable to join Don Orsillo at the game tonight, he has an infection. All of us here at Red Sox Nation, and even on the entire blogosphere hope you feel better. Now, the Red Sox can always call me if they need an extra play-by-play. I feel like they have a mic wired to my house because they always talk about whatever I just finished talking about within five minutes. Maybe I’ll do that someday. 
Overall, I was impressed with the Red Sox’s performance, and I cannot wait until tomorrow. I apologize for the lack of pictures, I had this post ready to go an hour ago, but as I was looking around the internet for pictures, I somehow closed this window, and the blog was lost.
I’ll be bringing back some pictures this weekend! 
-Elizabeth

A Review of the Red Sox Offseason

Now that there are less than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report, it seems like an evaluation of our teams’ offseason actions would be in tact. The interesting thing about the Red Sox’s offseason, is that it took a while to get started. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. 

It’s not like we had a disappointing 2008 season, not advancing to the World Series “isn’t the end of the world” as Manny Ramirez would say. On the other hand, the Yankees had a bit more of a disappointing 2008 season– let’s just say it wasn’t up to their expectations. So they went out and blew spent $20 million more than they should’ve on CC Sabathia. They made a risky investment on AJ Burnett, and they signed Mark Teixeira (this is probably their wisest investment) to an eight year deal. 
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With all of these investments, the Yankees have spent roughly $422.5 million dollars. As far as I know, none of these contracts involved “incentives”. Personally, I think incentives are the best type of contracts because you set specific goals for the players to achieve, and if they don’t achieve this goal, then you don’t have to pay them. 
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When the Red Sox signed Pedroia and Youkilis, I really didn’t see much of a need to put incentives in those contracts. First of all, they both finished within the top three for MVP voting, and the last time that happened was 1986. A wise investment? I think so. Plus, both players are products of the Red Sox farm system, and both have mentioned that they love playing in Boston. The Red Sox signed Pedroia for six years, $40 million dollars, and the Yankees signed Sabathia for the same amount of years, but $100 more million dollars than that. Pedroia won the MVP and Sabathia wasn’t even in the top three in the National League.
We all know that Mark Teixeira is good, but I feel like with Kevin Youkilis, I’m not even “settling”. Since I’ve established the legality of comparing Youkilis and Teixeira in one of my recent posts, it is needless to say that we are getting Youkilis for one hell of a bargain. 
I know our starting rotation isn’t the best in the majors, but it’s definitely up there. A lot depends on the durability of Dice-K, if Beckett can bounce back, if Lester can stay consistent, the dancing ability of Wakefield’s knuckleball, and new veterans like Smoltz and Penny.
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At first, I was all for signing Derek Lowe (after AJ went to the Yankees), but what I wasn’t thinking about was the future (ironic right?). If we had gotten Derek Lowe, that would have seriously displaced the abundance of our young pitching talent. Lowe would’ve been an overpriced (14-11 with an ERA over 3.00 is not worth $14 mil or whatever he was demanding) three year investment, where as people like Smoltz and Penny are low risks with potentially high rewards. Plus, they have incentive contracts, my favorite!! 
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This gives our young pitchers even more time to develop and fine tune everything in the minors, and since both Penny and Smoltz’s contracts are one year deals, it will give our young stars the opportunity to start full time next year. 
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Then there’s the bullpen. In 2008 our bullpen had one of the highest ERAs in the majors, we went out and signed Ramon Ramirez and Takashi Saito. Their statistics speak for themselves, but I have a feeling that the addition of the both of them, plus having Justin Masterson full time, will really solidify our bullpen. Plus, we signed Papelbon to a well deserved deal. 
There is still a possibility for that deal to go long term, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to (and neither does Papelbon). The Red Sox could potentially wait until after the 2009 season to sign him to a long term contract, but there is no one else in the Majors I would rather have right now. 
Not to mention the signings of Josh Bard and Rocco Baldelli. It’s nice that Bard is getting a second chance, but the front office is essentially getting a second chance as well seeing that Theo classified the trade as a “short sighted mistake”. Having a player like Baldelli coming off the bench? Need I say more than that? 
Once you look at all of these signings up close, it seems like it all kind of crept up on you. Just the other day, my math teacher asked me: “Since when did the Red Sox bullpen become so good?”. 
It has been reported that the Red Sox have included a deadline with Varitek’s latest offer. Deadline or no deadline, it doesn’t make a difference. Varitek needs to take this deal if he wants to have a job in 2009. That’s how scary the market is, if he doesn’t take this offer, he might not have a place to play. Yeah, it will be a pretty big pay cut, but a lot of players have taken some major league pay cuts. Jason Varitek, it’s up to you. 
-Elizabeth

The Red Sox Catching Situation and Brad Penny

This is for you levelboss! 
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Josh Bard is back on the Red Sox– yes back! He had a short stint with the Red Sox in 2006 when he had 10 passed balls in one month! He was then traded to San Diego in which the Red Sox acquired Doug Mirabelli. Originally, Bard came over from the Indians along with Coco Crisp. I’m sure Kaybee could tell you how “Bard-o” as she calls him, did in San Diego better than I could. And Bigpapi72 had some interesting things to say about the Penny and Bard situations as well. 

Interestingly enough, Bard caught Wakefield fine in Spring Training of ’06. He thinks that he outthought himself, which I noticed happened a couple of times this season with the Red Sox. Take for example, Clay Buchholz who was basically the Red Sox prodigy when he threw that no hitter against the O’s in ’07 but then fell “flat on his face” (like Bard did) this year. What happened? He outthought himself (and he was fine in Spring Training for the record as well, after all, he did earn the fifth spot). Luckily we still have him down in the minors! 
Another one, but this only happened during one game, was Jon Lester in Game 7 of the ALCS. He was outstanding in the ALDS, and in the first game he pitched of the ALCS, but I think that it all got to his head. Everyone chalked up a win for him, but it didn’t work out. He also outthought himself. The Red Sox have got to work on this! 
“I caught him fine in Spring Training and then we had those couple of off-days before the game in Texas, and I think that people were trying to help me and they were trying to help me be a better player,” Bard said, “but I think that it started to get into my head a little of, ‘Why don’t you watch some video of how Doug [Mirabelli] did it and maybe this will help you with some things.’”
Says Bard. So the Red Sox just need to let him be this time… don’t try and change his mechanics or anything. 
Even Theo Epstein himself admitted it was a “short-sighted mistake”. As soon as Bard left Boston, he hit .338 with San Diego. In 2007 he hit .285… not bad. However, in 2008 he was injured and only hit .202. 
On another good note about Bard, he also has experience catching a Cy Young pitcher, Jake Peavy (Kaybee and Hyun Young’s favorite!). 
The thing is, Bard won’t only be catching Wakefield, he’ll have a bit more playing time this time. Hopefully, the Red Sox do retain Varitek… and if they do, I guess he’ll be getting more rest. 
Here is what I would do: 
I would sign Varitek to a two year deal. Varitek wouldn’t have as much playing time as last year, but he would still have more playing time than Bard.
We all know that Varitek will not catch Wakefield, he just never will. Bard will probably be catching Wakefield, as well as others on occasion. 
This pretty much means we’re not getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Theo worked this out perfectly in my opinion because now we don’t have to give up any of our star pitchers. 
If we need a back-up back-up catcher (as always) I’d say George Kottaras is the best bet that we have. Teagarden is on the Rangers anyway so if he’s not a free agent than we probably don’t want to look into him.
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On another note, the Red Sox signed Type-B free agent Brad Penny to a one year $5 million dollar contract with potential $3 million dollar signing bonuses. Hopefully this will work out better than Bartolo Colon (because we all know how THAT ended). Unfortunately this probably means that we won’t be getting Derek Lowe. I’m guessing Lowe will go to the Mets now. Statistically, Brad Penny is better than AJ Burnett (not counting the 2008 season). Penny has a better career record (94-75) as well as more innings pitched, and Burnett has been playing one more year than Penny. Penny actually had back to back 16 win seasons, and I think that he’ll be able to bounce back this season. Plus it’s a low risk deal So Penny will probably be the number 4 or 5 starter, but we’ll see how he does in Spring Training.
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And another rumor that came out about our favorite person, Manny Ramirez? The Giants are interested in him and they reportedly offered him a four year contract. If Manny is looking for even a remotely long term contract, this is definitely the best he’s going to get. 
 -Elizabeth
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