Tagged: My Team(s)

Notes from Vero Beach Part I

Hong-Chih Kuo tested positive for a banned stimulant prior to the Asian Games last December (which was later won by his Taiwan team). By the way, Kuo was held out of the final game due to a sore arm not because of the failed test. Kuo said that he did not take performance enhancers and blamed the failed test on a Chinese ginseng based cold medication. MLB will not be taking any action against Kuo. This took place during International match play over which they have no jurisdiction. They ruled the same as they did for the Freddy Garcia case last year which was for a very different “herbal” medication.

Two Dodger youngsters are spending time in the outfield this spring in hopes of making the big club by adding to their versatility. Third basemen Andy LaRoche and First baseman James Loney have been working out in left and right field, respectively. Since both are blocked by veterans, manager Grady Little is all for this type of unselfish enthusiasm. He also insists on sound fundamental play. Despite everyone’s best intentions, both players look pretty uncomfortable defensively and with the recent injury (quadriceps strain) to fourth outfielder Jason Repko, it underscores the need for more outfield depth.

And it’s not just the youngsters, either. Nomar Garciaparra has said that he would be willing to play third for the team, if needed. Good news for the thinly-manned infield. Rafael Furcal and Marlon Anderson should both be playing by end of the week.

One of the more interesting positional battles is for the last starting spot. Brett Tomko, Hong-Chih Kuo, Chin-Hui Tsao, Chad Billingsley and Mark Hendrickson — all of whom have shown the ability to be productive starters in the past — are all having good springs. However, I think Tomko will be headed to the bullpen where he is better suited and Tsao will likely be sent to Las Vegas (AAA). With depth like this perhaps a deal for a corner outfielder might be in the works.

2007 may be the final season for former NL MVP (and likely future Hall of Famer) Jeff Kent. The five time all-star is the only second baseman to have 100 or more RBIs in six consecutive seasons (1997-2002). The great Rogers Hornsby only had five 100+ RBI seasons in his entire career! That’s how good Jeff Kent was at his best. "Last year I talked about it a lot. This year I won’t," Kent said. "Maybe that’s the telltale sign that it (my last season) might be this year."