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Baseball 4-3-14- News

Early start doomed Dodgers pitchers

07:47 AM ET 04.03 | Brian Wilson became the first to say it publicly. The Dodgers' stint as baseball ambassadors is probably responsible -- directly or indirectly -- for the injuries that have landed both Wilson and Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list. Wilson admitted as much Wednesday when he said the nerve irritation in his surgically repaired elbow started bothering him in spring training, most likely as a result of trying to ramp up his throwing program in anticipation of the early start to the season March 22 in Australia. "The other day should have been March 15 for me and a spring training game and no one would have cared," said Wilson, who blew the save in the Dodgers' loss Sunday night in San Diego. "It would have been fine and I'd still have two weeks and this wouldn't be happening."

The Orange County Register

Concerns intensify over Papelbon

07:46 AM ET 04.03 | Jonathan Papelbon blew his first save of the season on Wednesday in Arlington, Texas, where he had inherited a two-run lead. Papelbon failed to command any of his 21 pitches. The game ended on a bases-loaded walk, the first issued by Papelbon in eight years. ... "He was just up in the zone," [Ryne Sandberg] said. "He featured a lot of fastballs. They just happened to be up. Even an 0-2 fastball shoulder-high was a hittable pitch." This season commenced with questions about Papelbon because of his diminished velocity in 2013. He missed fewer bats and relied more on contact. His 2.92 ERA still demonstrated competency, but it was dependent on more luck. A disaster like Wednesday's will only intensify the concerns.

Philadelphia Inquirer

Boo birds already jeering Granderson

07:46 AM ET 04.03 | Familiar with the Bronx, Curtis Grandersonnow has himself a new baseball home in Queens, and the honeymoon has come to a quick conclusion. The Mets haven't even finished their first series of the new season, but [Granderson] is already hearing boos at Citi Field. Granderson went hitless for a second straight game and appeared lost at the plate on a night the Mets could have used something resembling a significant hit. But Gio Gonzalez saw to it that the Mets' bats were silenced after a respectable Opening Day display against Stephen Strasburg. Granderson ran his tally to 0-for-9 with five strikeouts for his new team and Bartolo Colon wasn't anything special in hisMets debut. It translated into a 5-1 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday. "It's two games in," Granderson said.

New York Post

Kimbrel nearing Braves history

07:44 AM ET 04.03 | If all goes according to plan, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel could enter Atlanta's history books before the All-Star break. [Kimbrel] looked to be near near-midseason form in his season debut Tuesday, striking out all three batters in the ninth inning of a 5-2 win against the Brewers. Then he came back about 16 hours later and pitched another perfect ninth inning with one strikeout for his second save in a 1-0 win Wednesday. ... With No. 141 notched on Wednesday, he's 13 shy of matching John Smoltz's franchise record. Kimbrel's 90.4-percent career save-conversion rate (141 of 156) ranks third all-time among pitchers with at least 150 opportunities, trailing a pair of former Cy Young Award winners, Eric Gagne (91.7) and Smoltz (91.1).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Ripken wishes he had Jeter's career

07:43 AM ET 04.03 | In picking between a pair of living shortstop legends, Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. offered an interesting take. [Ripken] apparently would trade his career for New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who started his farewell season Tuesday night. In the beginning of an interview on the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday, Ripken -- while laughing -- said that he'd "rather have Derek's" career, when asked by the host. "And for this reason: A bad year for Derek is losing in the first round of the playoffs," Ripken said in the interview. "So I was totally jealous of the fact that he had a chance to perform and play in the playoffs -- everybody's wish and dream is. I had a few chances, which was great, but I wanted a whole lot more than that."

The Baltimore Sun