Baseball 3-6-14- News
07:55 AM ET 03.06 | Spring, in addition to being a time for optimism, is also a time for some experimentation. As a way to maximize David Wright's run-producing chances and generally stimulate the Mets' offense, Terry Collins told The Post he is considering hitting his pitchers eighth on occasion. "I think both [Wright and Curtis Granderson] are RBI guys," Collins said. "My thought is: How do we get them more RBI chances and also give David, in particular, chances to drive in runs. It is a possibility I might try [hitting the pitcher eighth.] I don't know that I will, but I might." Collins talked about the strategy with Tony La Russa, who while managing deployed it most often. The philosophy: You want your best hitter to bat in the first inning, so you install him third rather than cleanup.
07:54 AM ET 03.06 | Soon, congratulations may be in order for St. Louis third baseman Matt Carpenter. The Cardinals and [Carpenter] are discussing a multi-year extension that would cement the leadoff hitter's place as part of the team's core. General manager John Mozeliak confirmed to the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday evening that he has had discussions with Carpenter's agent and that the potential exists for a multi-year contract. Mozeliak declined to discuss timing, saying only the sides are in contact. Earlier this spring, Carpenter said the possibility of an extension would be welcome because "this is a dream job for me. And if there is something like that for me that could happen with theCardinals, I would be grateful." The two sides continued taking steps toward a deal Wednesday.
07:53 AM ET 03.06 | For the second time in his career, Jake Peavy is heading into the final year of a contract -- the first time coming in 2012. What that go-round did for the pitcher was form a mindset that has carried over to this year, the final season on his current contract. And that's why missing a start or two because of a finger laceration isn't going to make Peavy wonder what his future holds. "I'm sure other people, maybe in different stages of their career, it means something more. To me, I don't have any set plans," he said. "I don't even think about it. It makes no difference to me. I'm such on a year by year program here with just my outlook on life. I certainly want to play baseball and love what I do, but not any part of me is thinking about 2015. I'm all in here and will see where the chips fall."
07:53 AM ET 03.06 | On the one hand, Jim Thome says he's loving his work in the White Sox front office. But he isn't retired. No, not quite. I asked Thome if he would take a call with an offer for a major-league playing job. And he didn't hesitate. "I think you'd have to take that call," Thome, 43, said. Thome, who is formally a special assistant to White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, last played in 2012. But he still hasn't announced his retirement, even after sitting out 2013 when no call came. From time to time, word is Thome will remark only half in jest about certain guys getting jobs, suggesting he could do as well, or better. No, the future Hall of Famer isn't kidding that he wouldn't mind playing again. Thome has 612 career home runs, and it's not like he didn't contribute when he last played in 2012.
07:50 AM ET 03.06 | In Port Charlotte, there may be a depth concern behind the plate. One of the most interesting competitions at Rays camp is for a position that doesn't technically exist: Third catcher. A more appropriate title would be "First Catcher To Be Called Up." The Rays feel better than ever about their catching at the big-league level, with veterans Ryan Hanigan and Jose Molina set to split time behind the plate. But they do not have an obvious option to summon from the minors in the event of an injury -- a necessary contingent considering the Rays have started catchers who weren't on the opening day roster an average of 25 games a season during manager Joe Maddon's tenure. So that has led to what looks to be a three-way battle, or at least a jostle, among minor-leaguer Curt Casali and free agent signees Eddy Rodriguez and Ali Solis.