Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill
Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill, where we toast Hank Aaron’s 75th birthday on Thursday and the Bambino’s 114th birthday today.
* The Red Sox have Jason Varitek but they are still interested in procuring a young catcher for the future. The Rangers wanted Clay Buchholz and were told he wasn’t available. But the Rangers still like many pitchers in the Red Sox organization.
* The Rangers did work out center fielder Andruw Jones. They were intrigued by the possibility of a reclamation project. But with Marlon Byrd, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy around, the Rangers just don’t see it as a fit right now.
* The Rangers equipment truck leaves the Ballpark in Arlington for Arizona this afternoon.
* Andy Pettitte had flexor tendon surgery in August 2004. Came back to go 17-9 with a 2.39 ERA for the Astros in 2005. The 2.39 ERA is the lowest ever in his career. Victor Zambrano had the surgery three years ago though and his career is still not back on track.
* Jason Schmidt had the surgery in the winter of 2003-04 after winning 17 games. He won 18 games the following season. But his shoulder has been his biggest problem.
* Eddie Guardado’s contract calls for a $250,000 bonus if he gets traded to an A.L. or N.L. East team but only $100,000 if he is traded to a Central Division team. He also gets $500,000 if he is traded to one of four designated teams. Unknown is which four.
* Randy Johnson gets a $1 million bonus if he wins the Cy Young Award. Guardado only gets $100,000. He gets $200,000 if he’s the Comeback Player of the Year, which is curious because he pitched pretty good in 2008.
* This is interesting. C.J. Wilson signed for a base salary of $1.85 million. He also gets $50,000 each for 45, 50 and 55 games finished. So? Games finished is used for closers, not setup relievers.
* Guardado on his time with the Rangers last year: “Everybody was great. I had a great time. I think we had a good chemistry. Last year when I got traded to Minnesota, it was sad because even though [the Rangers] weren’t playing for something, the chemistry of that team was jelling pretty good. That’s how you build things. Hopefully, these guys remember that from last year and we’ll start off with a bang.”
* Just for the heck of it: Todd Van Poppel.
* Just 51 years ago today, Ted Williams signed with the Red Sox for $135,000. That made him the highest paid player in baseball history.
* Playboy’s lawyer in the 1950′s is the game who produced the baseball movie Bang the Drum Slowly. Maurice Rosenfeld. He also defended Lenny Bruce on obscenity charges. He’s one of the owners in the film who has the line, “Some of those young pitchers looked awfully good out there.”
* Comissioner Bud Selig on Hank Aaron at his 75th birthday celebration Thursday: “I grew up watching Hank play his first game and his last game. While I know a lot of people would answer ‘Willie Mays’, I believe Hank Aaron was the greatest player of our generation.”