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ST News and Notes

It's been a while but it sure feels good to get back to posting. Due to the untimely death of my grandfather, it has been an incredibly hectic week and a half and certain aspects of my life took precedent over others. But enough about me, spring training is here which means the 2005 season is right around the corner. Players are starting to arrive to camp and some even have stories to share with the rest of us.

~It appears that newly signed Jorge Campillo will be competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, contradicting earlier reports that he was destined to be sent to the pen or Tacoma. According to the PI, Campillo impressed the Mariners coaches this morning and coupled with his impressive Mexican winter league performance, might have the early edge on the five spot.

~Sticking with pitching news, Joel Pineiro has been assigned the task of mentoring Felix Hernandez
 (who desperately needs an original nickname). The fit makes sense, as both speak Spanish, and Pineiro was invited to the big league camp when he was 19. While seeing Beltre and Sexson don their Mariner uni's is going to be a big story, Hernandez (how about El Gato?) is going to be the biggest Mariner story this spring.

~Bret Boone arrived in Peoria today and naturally was asked to comment on the Jose Canseco steroid accusation. As expected, Boone basically deemed Canseco's distorted sense of reality as hyperbole and just another way to sell books:

"When I first heard about it, I was really upset," Boone said. "Will it taint my reputation? I don't know. Some people will believe anything they read. It's very unfortunate.

"That conversation never took place," Boone said, an assertion backed up by spring training records from that year that showed Canseco with no doubles against Seattle and never getting to second base in any manner with Boone in the game. "I don't know the person. We've never had a conversation more than, `Hey, Jose, how's it going?'"

If any of our readers actually went out and purchased the Jose Canseco book, shame on you. You could have just picked up a copy of Mad Libs at your local drug store and saved yourself some money. They would have offered similar factual accounts to those found in Canseco's new book.

~Richie Sexson also reported to camp today and faced reporters asking about his February 5th DUI citation.

"In hindsight, I would have (taken the field sobriety test) right then and driven home,'' he said. "But when you are upset, you don't know what's going on. I'm not saying what I did was right. It was wrong. But at the same time, there are facts out there.

"Suspicion of DUI is not DUI. We need to make it very clear that I haven't been charged (with DUI)."

Much like the Boone situation, this is more than likely going to end-up a non-issue. His refusal to take a sobriety test at the scene is the only reason Sexson was taken into police custody, (which is typical in most states). Since he wasn't cited for speeding and both breathalyzer tests that were administered reported his blood alcohol level below the legal limit, Sexson should be able to side-step any serious legal troubles. He will have to face the negative fan reaction (if it even occurs/exists). The more important question here is cleanliness. Why in the world was Sexson driving around with empties in his backseat for a week?

~In an off-topic rant, Matt Diaz was cut loose by the perpetually confused Devil Rays this week. What is even more perplexing is that Diaz slipped through waivers. Diaz, 26, ripped the cover off the ball in AAA last year, hitting .332/.377/.571 with 47 doubles and 21 home runs. He also added 15 SB. While his plate discipline leaves some to be desired, the guy deserves a shot in the majors. I don't think the M's are the team that should give him that chance (although he would be a nice bench bat), but with the Pirates thinking about trading for Eric Byrnes and the Astros penciling Orlando Palmeiro into the line-up during Lance Berkman's absence, I can't help but scratch my head. I mean, who would want a guy that has a .281/.331/.458 PECOTA projection for the league minimum?

But back to the Devil Rays. After all the questionable moves the team has made this off-season, is it possible that all the members of the Tampa Bay front office were graduates of the Midvale School for the Gifted?