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Tag:Darnell McDonald
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:13 pm
 

NFL lineman helped Matt Kemp get in top shape



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With pitchers and catchers reporting this weekend, there will be a slew of reports about players coming into camp in great shape -- either having lost weight or put on muscle. The only thing we'll see more of than these reports people on Twitter and on blogs mocking those reports thinking they're making an original point about these kind of stories by making tired jokes.

One of these stories came over the Associated Press wire on Thursday, as the AP talked to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp about his offseason training. Kemp attributed much of his success last season to his offseason workouts at Zone Athletic Performance in Scottsdale, Ariz. Kemp dropped 15 pounds before going to camp last year and went on to an MVP-type season. What caused an editor to send me a link to the article was the hook that Zone is owned by an NFL player, who worked out alongside Kemp. What caught my eye was that NFL player was Eagles guard Evan Mathis.

Mathis isn't exactly a household name, despite the fact that ProFootballFocus.com ranked him the No. 1 guard in the NFL last season. But I covered Mathis both in college at Alabama and in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and got to know him a little bit. So, with that as a starting point, I emailed Mathis about working with Kemp and he agreed to answer a couple of questions about his work with Kemp, as well as with the Dodgers' Dee Gordon and Darnell McDonald of the Red Sox.

Any doubt Mathis knows what he's talking about? Check out this photo of what he did during the NFL lockout:

Evan Mathis

Q: How'd you hook up with Matt Kemp?
A: We met six or seven years ago at a now-defunct training facility.

Q: Do you follow baseball at all, did you know much about him?
A: When we first met, he hadn't been in the majors yet.

Q: So after working with Matt last offseason, how closely did you follow him last year?
A: He was pretty much Zone Athletic Performance's first professional athlete client. As soon as we opened he was in there training preparing for his 2011 season. I definitely followed him throughout the season watching his hard work and dedication pay off.

Q: I'm sure you were happy with his success, but where you surprised?
A: Not at all.  The two trainers at Zone who handle our professional athletes, Garrett Shinoskie and Adam Mathis, have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to bringing the best out of an athlete. When you combine that with a player who has the drive and determination that Matt has, it's destined for success.

Q: What's the difference between working with baseball players and working with football players?
A: I'm not the one writing the programs but it is definitely different. But so is training an offensive lineman and a safety. Everybody has different strengths, weakness, goals, and requirements.  All of that goes into the formula for devising anyone's most efficient workout program.

Q: Are there any similarities?
A: Indeed there are some similarities. Most baseball and football players can benefit greatly from developing explosion through their hips.

Q: You mention the hips, that seems to make sense -- it's something you hear from all coaches. Hips seem to be an underrated part of the body to work on, but it makes sense because it's close to your center of gravity and controls everything in both the top and bottom half of the body. What kind of specific things do you do to strengthen that part of the body?
A: In baseball it's more about rotating the hips. A player can make an explosive rotation and put their strength behind the swing. For myself in football, when I hit a defender I explode through my hips and lift their center of gravity on contact. Some simple hip exercises include the medicine ball keg toss, kettle bell swing, step-ups, and the list goes on. The most important aspect of training for hip explosion is maintaining ones flexibility. At Zone, the trainers use the first ten minutes of each workout to do stretches and warm-ups to ensure maximum flexibility.

Q: Not giving away any secrets, but what's a typical workout like for an elite-level pro athlete? What about the diet?
A: Off-season training at Zone usually consists of 6 day weeks, each workout an hour long.  The average schedule is like this: Monday = arms, Tuesday = legs, Wednesday = core/conditioning, Thursday = torso, Friday = power, Saturday = core/conditioning. Each day has different dietary guidelines based on that day's workload.

Q: What's the most important thing you teach at Zone?
A: In a close second to the training is the diet.  Most athletes have no idea how to follow efficient nutritional guidelines. An athlete has to treat their body like a machine and put the best fuels into that machine that will maximize its production. I still have Garrett write out my diet because I'm not the expert in that field and he is.

Q: What kind of diet tip do you have for anyone out there?
A: The biggest thing for me was understanding the importance of carbohydrates. When used the right way, they can feed your muscles to maximum growth and help you maintain a high metabolism. My diet is a carb cycling diet. Based on the intensity of each day's training I will have either a high, medium, or low intake of carbs for that day. A lot of people try the low or no carb diets but that's like trying to drive a car with no gasoline. Your body needs its carbs. Getting into the details of the carb cycle would turn this response into an essay. There are numerous articles on the web about it and the trainers at Zone are actually working on an eBook guide as we speak.

Q: Any workout tips?
A: Change your routine every three-to-four weeks, don't stick to the same lifts for long periods of time. Every three weeks at Zone we have a completely new set of workouts. This aids in injury prevention, avoids training plateaus, and ensures that all muscle groups are getting their necessary attention.

Q: Often when a player starts camp and says they're "in the best shape of their life" people kind of roll their eyes and make a joke out of it. Does it matter or is it just talk?
A: Being in the best shape of your life definitely does matter for an athlete. There are two problems when it comes to an athlete saying that. The first is whether or not it's true when they say it. The second is, while it may be true, some guys won't work to maintain it throughout the season. Kemp stayed in constant contact with the trainers at Zone making sure he was doing everything he could to carry over all of the hard work he did throughout the season. I said I was in the best shape of my life going into last season and it definitely showed on the field.  I had a great year and it gave me a great starting point for this off-season to get in even better shape for 2012.


Q: Are you a baseball fan at all? Do you have any baseball background?
A: Growing up I was always a baseball fan. I was an avid card collector, a huge Frank Thomas fan, and I played a little baseball from ages 12-17. I still dabble in card collecting and can tell you almost any player's rookie year from 1986-2003. I tell Matt Kemp every day I see him that we need to go to the field so I can show him how to crush a ball. He thinks that it would be easier for him to crossover to football than it would be for me to go to baseball. I'm confident that I would crush a few bombs in BP if given the chance.

Check out the attached picture of a tweet between myself and Frank Thomas. I have to make something like this happen one day.


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Posted on: February 15, 2012 3:37 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 6:30 pm
 

Valentine: Crawford will miss 'a few weeks'

By Matt Snyder

Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford is expected to miss "a few weeks" of the regular season, says manager Bobby Valentine (via Pete Abraham). Crawford is recovering from minor surgery on his left wrist, an arthroscopic procedure he had back in the middle of January. Abraham also reports that Crawford can currently do everything except hit -- obviously he could run, but this also means he can use his left hand in the field.

The beginning of Crawford's Red Sox career couldn't have gone much worse. After signing a seven-year, $142 million contract, the four-time All-Star had the worst season of his career. He hit .255/.289/.405 with just 65 runs and 18 steals. Now it appears he'll miss a few weeks before being able to join his teammates in 2012, as they wish to erase the disaster that was the 2011 finish.

With Crawford out -- as we pointed out in the AL East position battles -- expect Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney to man the corner outfield spots, flanking center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Darnell McDonald will then serve as the fourth outfielder.

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Kalish had surgery, clearing path for Sweeney

By Matt Snyder

Newly acquired Red Sox outfielder Ryan Sweeney's path to being the starting right fielder just got a whole lot easier. With Josh Reddick out of the way, 23-year-old Ryan Kalish (pictured right) would have had a shot to win the job in spring training, but Kalish is now on the shelf. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left (throwing) shoulder and probably won't be ready by April.

“As far as starting the season on time, I don’t see it happening,” Kalish said (bostonherald.com). “I hope it would. That would be great. But with everything that’s happened, I just don’t know where I’ll be at come spring training. From what I’ve heard, the timetable on this type of a surgery is longer than when the season will start. Whatever happens, I’m going to be working really hard. As soon as I can get back out there, I’m going to be.”

Injuries ravaged Kalish's 2011 season, as he only appeared in 24 minor-league games. In 2010, he hit .252/.305/.405 in 179 plate appearances for the Red Sox, stealing 10 bases and showing decent extra-base power (11 doubles and a triple to go with his four homers).

Sweeney, 26, came to Boston in the Andrew Bailey trade and will likely only have to beat out Darnell McDonald to win the starting gig right out of the gate. Sweeney hit .265/.346/.341 last season for Oakland.

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Posted on: December 11, 2011 6:35 am
 

Homegrown Team: Baltimore Orioles

Erik Bedard

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Orioles haven't had a winning season since 1997, and part of that has been the team's inability to draft, sign and cultivate its own players. Even the teams with the biggest payrolls, like the Yankees and Red Sox, have learned the lesson that you need to have a steady crop of homegrown players, not only to keep costs down, but also to have the commodities to trade if needed. The Orioles' Matt Wieters emerged as an All-Star in 2011 and Brian Roberts has had a solid career, but the team has still struggled to produce a consistent pipeline to the majors, and when those players have gotten there, they've often disappointed.

Lineup

1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Mike Fontenot, SS
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Jayson Werth, 1B
5. Matt Wieters, C
6. Nolan Reimold, LF
7. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
8. Willie Harris, DH
9. Darnell McDonald, CF

Starting Rotation

1. Erik Bedard
2. Zach Britton
3. Jake Arrieta
4. Brad Bergesen
5. Brian Matusz

Bullpen

Closer - David Hernandez
Set up - Arthur Rhodes, Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara, Jason Berken, Pedro Beato, D.J. Carrasco

Notable Bench Players

Eli Whiteside is the backup catcher, and a pretty good one. But other than that, the Orioles' bench is thin. Brandon Snyder? Ryan Adams? That's about all the team has to offer.

What's Good?

The middle of the lineup -- Markakis, Werth and Wieters is solid and the bullpen is deep. Other than that? Not much.

What's Not?

Take your pick -- the rest of the team's lineup isn't up to snuff. The rotation, minus Bedard, is similar to the real team's rotation in 2011. And then there's not much depth, either in the rotation or the lineup.

Comparison to real 2011

Only the Astros, Twins and Mariners had a worse record than Baltimore's 67-95 mark in 2011, and this team could be even worse. The rotation is about the same and the offense isn't as good without J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds. The Orioles once were known for throwing money at free agents and not developing their own players, now they just don't develop their own players. A team of homegrown Orioles could challenge the 100 loss mark and maybe even the worst record in baseball.

Next: Washington Nationals

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 12:49 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Reddick, Red Sox walk-off winners

Josh Reddick

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh Reddick, Red Sox: In his first four at-bats of Sunday's game against the Yankees, Reddick went hitless and left six men on base. But he came up big in the 10th inning, singling in the game-winning run, for the first walk-off hit of his career. With the win, Boston moved back into sole possession of first place in the American League East, a game ahead of the Yankees. Reddick got his shot because Carl Crawford had three hits in his first four at-bats of the game, so after David Ortiz doubled with one out in the 10th off of Phil Hughes, the Yankees elected to intentionally walk Crawford and take their chances against Reddick. Reddick swung at Hughes' first offering, lining it the other way and just inside the left-field line, easily scoring pinch-runner Darnell McDonald from second.

Jake Peavy, White Sox: Peavy picked up his first victory since June 25 -- and his first win in a start since June 22 -- with eight shutout innings against the Twins. Peavy scattered three hits and struck out six batters without a walk to improve to 5-5 on the season. The White Sox picked up their first sweep of the Twins in Minnesota in more than seven years.

Johnny Giavotella, Royals: In just his third game in the big leagues, Ned Yost put the rookie second baseman in the No. 3 spot in the lineup. The result? A double and a solo homer. In three games this season, he's 5 for 11 and slugging .909. Giavotella started a rally in the fourth inning, leading the inning off with a double, moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on Billy Butler's groundout. The Royals scored two more runs in the inning and his homer off of starter Max Scherzer in the next inning gave Kansas City a 4-0 victory, a lead they'd hold on to for a 4-3 victory over the Tigers.


Kevin Correia, Pirates: Correia wasn't awful -- but he needed to be better than that to put the stops to the Pirates' losing streak. He lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and four runs on four walks and three strikeouts. Correia has 10 wins away from PNC Park, but is 2-7 with a 7.71 ERA at home, as the Pirates lost 7-3 to the Padres to drop their 10th in a row. With the loss and Milwaukee's win, the Pirates fell to 10 games out of first place in the National League Central and into fourth place, a half-game behind the Reds. Pittsburgh is now five games under .500 on the season at 54-59.

Rockies resting on the sabbath: Colorado lost its 16th consecutive Sunday game, falling 3-2 to the Nationals at Coors Field. The Rockies won their first two Sunday games of the season and haven't won since. Colorado came back to tie the game in the seventh, but Jayson Werth's RBI single in the eighth gave the Nationals the lead and ultimately the victory.

Marlins defense: Logan Morrison and shortstop Emilio Bonifacio ran into each other trying to catch Corey Patterson's sixth-inning popup, allowing Patterson to reach second. After getting two outs, the Marlins intentionally walked Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday singled to right, where Mike Stanton let the ball bounce off his glove. Patterson would have scored anyway, but it allowed Pujols to go to third and Holliday to advance to third (not to mention tie the game). After an intentional walk to Lance Berkman, Jon Jay singled in two runs on a blooper. After Florida tied the game in the bottom of the inning, Bonifacio's throwing error on a Patterson grounder led to three unearned runs in the seventh and a 8-4 Cardinals victory.

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:23 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 11:46 am
 

Umpire's missed call costs Blue Jays

Edwin Encarnacion

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Another day in baseball, another bad call that could have been reversed with the simplest form of instant replay review.

But once again since the play in question wasn't a boundary play, instead a play at the plate, the Blue Jays were dealt a loss instead of getting a chance to play for a win at Fenway Park.

After Jose Bautista's two-run homer off of Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon moved the Jays to within a run, Edwin Encarnacion singled. After J.P. Arencibia's two-out walk, John McDonald singled to left. Red Sox left fielder Darnell McDonald charged the ball and made a good throw to the plate that beat Encarnacion there. Catcher Jason Varitek blocked the plate with his left leg, tying up Encarnacion's lead leg. However, Encarnacion swiped the plate with his other leg, his right, before Varitek could put the tag on him.

Home plate umpire Brian Knight called Encarnacion out, ending the game. Watch the play here.

"We should still be playing right now," Toronto manager John Farrell told reporters (via the Boston Herald). That play is right in front of Brian Knight. It was clear that Edwin did a good job of sliding around the plant leg of 'Tek, but his swipe tag missed him by no less than a foot. So right now we should be out on that field playing."

Farrell said he couldn't see the play live, but when he saw the replay, he knew Encarnacion was safe.

"After the replay, absolutely, because from our vantage point Edwin is right in line with the play at the plate," Farrell said. "But the wide margin which he missed the tag, a little surprised that the call went that way."

It's understandable why Knight called Encarnacion out, but that doesn't make it right. Once again, I'll go into my broken record mode, but the goal of umpires and Major League Baseball should be to get every call right. We have the technology, we should use it. Let the players decide the games, not the umpires.

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Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:15 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:36 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/7: In Trevor they trust

By Matt Snyder

3UP

Trevor Cahill, A's. Oakland started 1-4 and was quickly digging itself a nice little hole behind the surging Rangers, so a win was rather important here -- not paramount being game No. 6 and all, but you hate to fall too far behind early, y'know? The ace of the talented staff came through by cruising against the strong Blue Jays' offense -- albeit one missing Jose Bautista. Cahill was efficient enough to get through eight innings on 105 pitches, striking out seven and walking zero. He only let three guys on base and one runner to cross the plate. Fortunately for him, it wasn't wasted as the A's pieced together two runs in the eighth and held on for a 2-1 victory.

Edwin Jackson, White Sox. Granted he was facing the most anemic offense of the early-going, but Jackson still struck out 13 hitters and found a way to last eight innings in doing so. That's a feat in how effective he was in helping the White Sox move to 4-2. He's now 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA after two starts.

Esmil Rogers, Rockies. It was supposed to be Ubaldo Jimenez's turn in the rotation, so Rogers figured he'd just do his best imitation. He worked 7 1/3 innings, giving up just four hits, one earned run and one walk against seven strikeouts. Most impressive was that from the second inning until the last batter he faced -- Ronny Cedeno, who singled with one out in the eighth -- Rogers allowed just one baserunner. That's right, he retired 19 of 20 batters during that span. That is straight dealing .

3 DOWN

Darnell McDonald, Red Sox. C'mon, really? You get inserted as a pinch-runner and make a baserunning gaffe to end the game? Not only that, it was completely unforgivable. A ball off J.D. Drew's bat caromed off pitcher Chris Perez and squirted toward third base. For some reason, McDonald seemed to think he could make it to third after Adam Everett picked up the ball. McDonald then threw on the brakes and tried to get back to second but was nailed to end the game. There were two outs, so a runner with McDonald's speed would easily score on a single from second and has no business taking a risk to get to third. If there was one out and he wanted a sacrifice fly in play it would be at least somewhat understandable. With two outs, though, that was an unnecessary risk. One you could argue only happened because the team hasn't won yet (meaning a feeling of desperation caused the mental meltdown).

Pedro Alvarez, Pirates. He was 0-4 with two strikeouts and an error. That's now 10 strikeouts in 30 at-bats with no walks. His OBP is down to .200. What should be Alvarez's biggest redeeming quality isn't yet showing through, either, as he has zero home runs and only one extra-base hit. He's only 24, though, and it's only seven games. Just a rough start.

Jonathon Niese, Mets. I love the seven strikeouts in four innings. The eight hits and six runs against a Phillies' lineup missing Chase Utley? Not so much. This was coming off a disastrous outing by Mike Pelfrey, too, meaning the bullpen had to throw 10 innings in the past two games. A long outing by R.A. Dickey Friday against the Nats would help ease the burden there.

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 6:14 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 6:25 pm
 

Red Sox may trade Matsuzaka, Cameron, more

By Evan Brunell

MatsuzakaThe Red Sox are busy making several players available for trade, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. Players thought to be available include right-handers Daisuke Matsuzaka (pictured) and Tim Wakefield along with outfielders Mike Cameron or Darnell McDonald and shortstop Marco Scutaro.

Out of these names, Matsuzaka is both the most well-known and also unlikeliest to be traded. After taking America by storm his first two seasons in town -- nabbing a ring in his rookie campaign back in 2007 -- Matsuzaka has struggled with injuries, integrating himself into the clubhouse and being completely ineffective as his 11.42 ERA in three spring training starts reveals.

"His rhythm was all out of whack,'' the source who indicated Dice-K was on the block said. "I don't know if it's because that's what the team wants, but I think he's become too much of a conventional pitcher. He's got to go back to pitching 'left-handed' again, dropping down at times, throwing from all kinds of angles, turning the ball over. He's not doing that as much.''

Matsuzaka has a full no-trade clause and is due $20 million over the next two seasons, making it difficult for a team to jump for Matsuzaka, no matter the talent that caused Boston to splurge for a $51.1 million posting fee just to talk to the Japanese phenom. However, there are enough teams in need of pitching and Matsuzaka's ace-caliber talents remain hidden somewhere in his body. It appears, though, that both Matsuzaka and the Red Sox are ready to move on, and Boston would do just that if they could add a young catcher to the team.

The Red Sox are set to go into the season with Jarrod Saltalamacchia starting with team captain Jason Varitek backing up. While the club has a few young catchers in the minors, they lack someone with a high ceiling. Despite Salty's pedigree, he has yet to put it all together in the majors and Boston would doubtless prefer to create more depth in the position.

One potential thought could be the Nationals, who have Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores as young catchers. While Ramos is expected to open the year as backup catcher to Ivan Rodriguez and eventually supplant the Hall of Fame catcher, Flores is out of options. Flores is likely of little concern to Boston, who would prefer a player they can send to the minors and groom. Washington has such a catcher in Derek Norris, who was ranked as the No. 47 prospect in all of baseball by CBS Sports.

However, while the Nationals would love to stockpile quality pitching and could be intrigued by Matsuzaka, all the issues surrounding the 30-year-old and Norris' ceiling would make any such deal difficult to bridge unless Boston is willing to eat some salary.

Red Sox

If the Red Sox do move Matsuzaka, it would open up a hole in the rotation that could be filled by Tim Wakefield, reliever Alfredo Aceves or prospects Felix Doubront and Andrew Miller.

However, Wakefield is thought to be on the block himself despite stating he has no interest in playing for another team. Due just $1.5 million in 2011, the Red Sox could dangle the swingman for left-handed relief. The club has no shortage of left-handed relievers in camp vying for a job, but none are clear front-runners. If both Wakefield and Matsuzaka remain, the knuckleballer will pitch out of the bullpen.

Also available are backup outfielders Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald. Cameron is due $7.25 million in the final year of a two-year deal. Slated to start in center for the Red Sox last season, injuries derailed his season and now have him set to be the No. 4 outfielder. McDonald, meanwhile, took advantage of all the playing time afforded him in the outfield last season to finally establish himself in the majors after being a minor-league journeyman. He's making the league minimum so is the more valuable outfielder from a cost perspective, although Cameron holds the edge on offense and defense, which he is renowned for.

The Red Sox do need right-handed outfielders to complement their all-lefty outfielder along with DH David Ortiz, also a lefty. Given right fielder J.D. Drew has a checkered injury past, there's plenty of playing time in store for Cameron and McDonald. One of them is being made available likely to fill more pressing holes, such as left-handed relief. In addition, both outfielders rake against left-handers and are effectively filling the same role.

Cameron and McDonald could draw interest from the Phillies, who have to deal with top prospect Domonic Brown (No. 3 on the Top 100 prospects list) fracturing his hamate bone and likely out for all of April. He appears ticketed for Triple-A after that given his poor start to spring training and newfound need to get at-bats. That opens up a gaping hole in right field for Philly, trying to withstand the loss of incumbent Jayson Werth while worrying about replacing the offense of second baseman Chase Utley, who is unlikely to begin the season with the team. Backup outfielder Ben Francisco is expected to win the starting role.

The Phillies already have a payroll in the mid-$160 million range and would like to avoid paying a payroll tax that would be incurred upon hitting $178 million, so while Cameron makes more sense to become the starter, McDonald appears the more cost-effective solution who could platoon with Francisco as well as fill in for Raul Ibanez in left field. The Red Sox would replace their backup outfield spot with one of Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick or Daniel Nava.

Boston will also listen to offers on starting shortstop Marco Scutaro, who is in the final year of a two-year pact paying $5 million. He would be attractive to other teams given the price and ability to play second, short and third base, with a team option of $5 million for 2012 or a player option of $3 million. The Sox are able to listen to offers on Scutaro thanks to the play of backup Jed Lowrie, who has struggled with injuries the last few years but turned heads with his play late last season. The club also has heralded prospect Jose Iglesias (No. 36) who is widely considered Boston's shortstop of the future. While he could stand to cut his teeth a bit more in the minors with the bat, it wouldn't be outrageous for Boston to promote him.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com