"I fixed my mechanics," Scherzer said. "My mechanics were out of whack in the beginning of the year and I figured it out. I shortened up my arm action and that just allowed me to pitch so much better.■ Ian Kinsler hoping to be injury-free for the Rangers (DallasNews.com)
Kinsler will do his part to stay on the field, but he won’t change the aggressive way in which he plays.■ The three faces of Ian Kinsler (Baseball Time in Arlington)
“Hopefully this year I’m a little more lucky,” said Kinsler, who also suffered a groin injury in late July. “I’m going to take care of myself this spring to make sure, come April 1, I’m on the field.”
Over the last three seasons, there have been 18 major league players who have amassed (a) at least 1,500 total plate appearances and (b) enough playing time at second base to qualify for the three-year wins above replacement league leaderboard. There's Chase Utley (20.9 WAR) in a tier situated somewhere in the baseball heavens, and then there's a fairly tight clustering of three players some distance behind him in the very good, All-Star-level tier -- Dustin Pedroia (14.9 WAR), Dan Uggla (12.5 WAR), and Kinsler (12.4 WAR). Those three perched above Kinsler have played 62, 18, and 95 more total games from 2008-2010, respectively, and yet there is he, hanging right there with them.
■ Brewers sign 7 to 40-man roster (reviewingthebrew.com)
The remaining four members of the “League of Seven” are; right-handers Justin James, Wily Peralta and Cody Scarpetta, along with left-hander Dan Merklinger. Reality check, none of these four will make the opening day roster. Peralta could be on the roster by the end of the season, but only if Parra lights up the Miller Park night sky with his usual array of dumpster pitches. Then I could foresee Peralta filling the long reliever spot by September. Scarpetta and Merklinger do not have enough experience to make the free-standing leap to the majors.
Justin James could be an interesting player to watch during the spring. With 8 seasons of minor league ball under his belt, one would suspect that he is ready to take the next step. His best statistical time in the minor leagues, was while he was up in Triple-A. He has some pretty solid walk to strikeout numbers, 7.5 K’s per 9 innings versus 2.7 walks. JJ features a upper 80′s fastball, a solid changeup (scout.com says it’s his best pitch), and a curve ball that is not quite ready for major league batters yet. It is possible that he could find himself a spot in the rotation if he has a nice spring.
■ Together again (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Reliever Justin James, claimed off waivers by the Brewers from Oakland shortly after the 2010 season, had special interest when the club later acquired Shaun Marcum in a trade with Toronto.Trrip Note: Shaun Marcum played for Mizzou as a freshman in 2001.
The pitchers were selected by Toronto in the 2003 draft and are from the same area of the country. The Blue Jays took Marcum in the third round out of Missouri State University and James out of the University of Missouri in the fifth round.
The two later took divergent paths. Marcum remained with the Blue Jays, but James was traded to Cincinnati in 2007. He was cut by the Reds in 2009 and played for the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent Northern League.
Oakland purchased James from that club in June 2010 and he received his first call-up to the majors last September. The Athletics placed James on waivers last fall and the Brewers claimed him.
"I was happy when that happened," said James, 29. "I got the news and I thought this was a lot better situation for me. I'm glad to be here and looking forward to contributing to the team, no matter where I'm at."
James has a minor-league option remaining, so it's not make-or-break for him in the Brewers' camp.
■ ON Top 50 Prospects: #35 Rick Zagone (orioles-nation.com)
One of the most consistent pitchers in the system, Rick Zagone has posted solid numbers every step of the way throughout his three year minor league career.
. . .
He’ll be 24 years old when the season starts and likely headed towards Norfolk’s rotation, though a return to Bowie is not out of the question. He has a slight chance to become a back end #4/#5 starter but will likely end up in the bullpen when all is said and done.