by Nick Cafardo/Boston Globe:
In the top spot is the Frank McCourt/Bud Selig divorce. McCourt feels Selig has no right to butt into his Dodgers franchise unless there have been rules broken and things done behind the commissioner’s back. McCourt contends none of that happened and that the $3 billion deal he agreed to with Fox will solve any debt issues he has.
Selig is investigating and has appointed Tom Schieffer as a “monitor’’ of the team. McCourt resents that and vows to fight to keep his team.
Not far behind is Manny Ramirez testing positive — again. A surprise? It’s often been said here that if there’s one player capable of testing positive twice for a banned substance, it would be Manny. His Tampa Bay tenure lasted five games. He retired rather than face a 100-game suspension.
Then there was White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen being suspended for complaining about an ejection on Twitter during a game.
Who would have thought Carl Crawford would spend the month hitting under .200? The Rays signed Johnny Damon essentially to take Crawford’s No. 2 spot in the order, and it’s Damon who has 20 RBIs.
Who would have thought the Red Sox would finish the month under .500 with all that talent? And who would have thought Daisuke Matsuzaka would highlight the month with back-to-back one-hit efforts?
We thought the Yankee bullpen would be lights-out, yet Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera have had their rough spots while greybeard starters Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon have been steady. We thought Derek Jeter would revive his career but instead he has raised more doubts. We thought Alex Rodriguez’s hip would decline like Mike Lowell’s but it has gotten stronger. Already, the Yankees have lost young righty Phil Hughes to injury, and Andy Pettitte’s return (from retirement) doesn’t appear imminent.
The Indians renaissance is so refreshing. Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner (although he may be hurt again) are relevant again. Justin Masterson (5-0) has become Derek Lowe, minus the DUI. There are emerging stars in Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Matt LaPorta, and Carlos Santana, and old standby Fausto Carmona is still very good.
Good for Cleveland, which needs some optimism after losing LeBron James and seeing the Tribe sell off their high-priced vets.
The Marlins are proving to be one of the more exciting young teams with impact players such as Mike Stanton, Gaby Sanchez, Chris Coghlan, and studs such as Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson. Anibal Sanchez, a remnant of the Josh Beckett-Lowell deal, has flirted with a no-hitter, and there’s every reason for optimism as the team moves into a new facility in 2012.
The Phillies’ Big Four have been swell, but the bad news is the mysterious knee injuries that have kept Chase Utley out.
Who is a better story than Durham, N.H.’s, Sammy Fuld? Acquired in the Matt Garza deal from the Cubs, he has energized the Rays. If Fuld keeps it up, he will be the answer to a future trivia question: Who replaced Manny Ramirez after his sudden retirement? Manager Joe Maddon has said Fuld is as good as Crawford defensively.
Stunning, too, is Jered Weaver’s 6-0 start with a measly 0.99 ERA. Weaver is this year’s Zack Greinke/Felix Hernandez.
Let’s not forget Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier’s 25-game hitting streak entering last night, longest ever in April; White Sox outfielder Brent Lillibridge’s two outstanding catches to rob the Yankees of a win; and the Washington rotation minus Stephen Strasburg — the only rotation in which the starter has gone five innings every time.
Mr. April is Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, who was batting .418 entering last night’s game, improving his career March/April average to .351, tops among active players. The Cardinals’ Lance Berkman has been phenomenal (8 homers, 22 RBIs), and how about the Rays’ Ben Zobrist’s 10-RBI day Thursday in a doubleheader?
Sergio Santos is taking the closer role for the White Sox, unscored upon in his first nine outings. And the Pirates bullpen — yes, Pirates — allowed only four earned runs in a 33 1/3-inning span.
The month also gave us the despicable story of Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell mouthing anti-gay sentiments toward a fan and actually saying to him, “Kids don’t belong at the ballpark.’’
I’m sure Selig loved hearing that one.
April is over, believe it or not.