Under The Knife: Sandberg takes old-school approach to new era
It's not the
Sandberg is known as an
I asked what he thought of Harper's reaction to getting plunked by Cole Hamels "I liked it. That's what you do. You don't charge the mound or cry about it. You take your base and score. Everyone saw him stealing home on the pickoff, but it was going first to third that showed me something. He wasn't jogging because he'd taken one on the backside; he was moving."
As to Harper's future, Sandberg understood all the commotion. "He's got every tool and he works hard, so I think the hype is justified. He's Pete Rose with power," he said. Sandberg crossed paths with Rose when they played in Philadelphia in the early 1980s. As a young player, Sandberg watched Rose work the same way that his Pigs watch Sandberg now.
Sandberg will likely see Chase Utley soon, when the Phillies' 2B starts his rehab work, but they've worked together a couple years now in spring training. Despite Utley's veteran status, Sandberg still has a few ideas that could help the Phillies' star as he ages. "Chase works so hard. He's a workaholic and he's going to have to work smart," he explained. "It's not just the knees, it's everything. You have to work smart as well as hard, make sure you have your best stuff for the game and not leave it in the cage." Sandberg felt that Utley would be able to come back the same way he did last year and that he would be a huge charge for the struggling Phillies offense. "There's enough pitching up there, so when you get Chase and Big Ryan [Howard] back, I think they'll be just fine." Understated, as always.
Sandberg has been passed over for major league jobs a couple of times now, but he seems not only content with where he is, but peaceful. Many believe that Sandberg is essentially a manager-in-waiting behind Charlie Manuel. Whenever and wherever Sandberg gets that shot, the Hall of Famer is ready to make the most of it. Spending 15 minutes on a ball field talking baseball with him was a boyhood dream come true.
Powered by 5-Hour Energy, on to the injuries:
The Red Sox have yet another distraction, moving from chicken to golf, after
The rest of the news in Red Sox Nation, though, is pretty good. Ellsbury is making progress in his rehab. He's been running, but now he's moving to more advanced exercises. He's probably a couple weeks away from baseball activities. With a rehab assignment, Ellsbury won't make it back in May, but aside from the calendar, everything else is going to plan. It's even better for Youkilis. He's going to start baseball activities this week and seems to be responding well to treatment. He could beat the ERD and force the Sox to start making some tough decisions, given how well Will Middlebrooks has played in his absence.
On Wednesday, it was learned that Rivera's impending surgery was being complicated by We learned Wednesday evening what the complication was with Mariano Rivera. It's a
Days after the White Sox said they were moving Sale from the rotation to the closer role, Sale was headed for an MRI. It was always a bit curious that the "tender elbow" didn't lead to an MRI before the decision, but the medical staff seemed comfortable with the decision. It could be that Sale or his agent (more likely the latter, though calls to Sale's agent were not returned) requested the MRI. Adding to the confusion is Sale's desire to stay in a starting role. He hasn't seemed convinced by whatever the Sox have said to him that he's unable to do it, which creates even more questions about why it was done and what the Sox saw that led to the shift in role. I doubt the MRI will change much, but this does bear watching closely as the story develops.
The Rockies know that without Tulowitzki at the center of their team, they don't have nearly as good a chance at winning the NL West. Tulowitzki's one weakness has been health, and he has a history with significant groin strains. He's dealing with a mild one, but the Rockies are being smart. He was out of the lineup on Wednesday, just before a scheduled off-day on Thursday. This should be enough to get him back out there, but Tulowitzki is a guy who has a hard time dialing it back from 11. He may need to have Keith Dugger holding the reins a bit, giving him a day off here and there if needed.
No one's ever questioned Bedard's talent and stuff. It's being out there to use it that's held him back. It's those injuries that made him available to a team like the Pirates, who are trying to get back over .500 while protecting their young pitchers. Bedard is a perfect, cheap fit, as is AJ Burnett, to a lesser extent. Bedard's arm is fine for now, but he left his last start with back spasms. He was twisting in a fashion like we saw with Josh Hamilton a couple weeks ago. The hope is that this is as minor as Hamilton's turned out to be. Bedard's strain appear to be higher, which does threaten the shoulder, so the Pirates' new medical staff will have to keep a close eye on him before his next start to make sure he doesn't alter his mechanics. He could end up missing his next start, but since that's about 50/50 right now, I won't set an ERD.
"He wants the ball for every save opportunity,"