Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill
Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar and Grill, where a good wingman and bartender are appreciated to the year 2013 and beyond.
* Michael Young’s extension is for $16 million per season. The Florida Marlins payroll in 2006 was $14,998,550. There were 14 Major League players who individually made more than that in 2005 and 12 in 2006. Florida still finished with a better record than seven other National League teams.
* Young has played 4,099 innings at shortstop the last three years. That’s the third most. Jimmy Rollins has been out there for 4,1102/3 innings and Miguel Tejeda has been out there for 4,110 innings.
* Young has played 797 games since the start of the 2002 season. Overall, only Miguel Tejeda (810), Juan Pierre (800) and Ichiro Suzuki (800) have played in more.
* Sammy Sosa dropped a nice bunt in a situational hitting drill this week but don’t look for that in a game. Said manager Ron Washington, "If I have Sammy bunt in a game, I’m sure I’ll hear it from the fans. Mr. Hicks will be over in his box yelling at me."
* Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel on hosting the upcoming Ron Washington Show before games this season: "I think it’s going to be great. I think we’ll have some refreshingly different perspectives on things. Just the way Wash phrases things is often so entertaining. I think there will be a lot of personality on the show."
* Pitcher C.J. Wilson loves diving after ground balls the way Kenny Rogers used to do it with the Rangers. Said Wilson, "If Kenny Rogers can go diving after balls when he’s 40 years old, why can’t I do that. My goal is to win a Gold Glove. As a former position player, I take pride in my defense."
* Ian Kinsler says catcher Gerald Laird is "crazy" in drills. Said Kinsler, "Any kind of competition, he’s always talking about how he’s the best even before it gets started and you hear about it
* Sure you’ll be eager to see Colorado Rockies infielder Kaz Matsui’s first at-bat of the season. He hit an inside-the-park home run in his first at-bat last season. That makes three years in a row he has hit a home run in his first at-bat of the season and nobody has ever done that in Major League history.
* Remember Colby Lewis, Chris Michalak and Mike Bacsik? They all pitched for the Rangers. Now you can count them among the dozen candidates for four open spots in the Washington Nationals rotation this spring.
* Did anybody notice last year that the Rangers lost to the Minnesota Twins, 15-2, on July 31 last year. So? The Kansas City Royals lost 15-2 the day before. Matt Stairs was on the losing end of both those routs.
* Think we had a discussion earlier this off-season about Jim Sundberg hitting home runs on his birthday. Did you know that Derrek Lee has hit a home run on his birthday, Sept. 6, in each of the last four years?
* Just for the heck of it: Ryan Ludwick
* Pitcher John Danks said getting traded by the Rangers was, "a little surprising at first…But I couldn’t be happier where I’m at. The more I think about it, the more excited I get. I feel like I’m getting the best opportunity this year in my career."
* The Cardinals were 83-78 during the regular season last year. They were 11-5 in the playoffs. So they were one game more over .500 in the playoffs than they were in the regular season.
* Rangers pitching coach Mark Connor on Akinori Otsuka: "He’s on a mission. We didn’t see him much in Spring Training but the way he’s come in here, you can tell he worked hard and did a lot of throwing in the off-season."
* Toby mentioned earlier this week that Rangers pitcher Bruce Chen is working toward a civil engineering degree at Georgia Tech. Should also mention that he has made the dean’s list along the way
* Just in case you were wondering about these finely-conditioned athletes, Padres pitcher David Wells wears a size 58 jersey and Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia wears a size 56.
* Kenny Lofton is part-owner of a post-production company in Hollywood.
* Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez is 35 but manager Jim Leyland said, "He looks young. When I was 35, I looked like I do at 62."
* Ron Washington, Michael Young, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Millwood are on the cover of the Rangers 2007 media guide.
* Sad day at the Elysian Fields. Eight students were killed at Enterprise (Ala.) High School on Thursday because of a tornado that swept through the area. The building was seriously damaged. I graduated from that high school in 1977. Forsan miseros meliora sequentur.