Thursday, March 11, 2010

Carroll Leads Marlins Past Astros; Sizemore Slugs Slam

Players of the Day for Wednesday, March 10, 2010 American League Grady Sizemore cranked a grand slam as part of a 9-run 4th inning as the Indians scalped the Padres, 10-4. Sizemore's first homer of the Spring came after he had already singled and scored in the opening frame. In a departure from his normal spot atop the Cleveland batting order, Sizemore has been hitting in the #2 spot, seen as a move to make more use of his bat and power rather than his speed. In his five full seasons as an Indian, Sizemore has averaged 25 home runs a year, so the move is a logical one and one which the Indians hope to employ throughout the 2010 campaign, shifting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera into the leadoff role. National League Florida's Brett Carroll is making the most of his opportunity this Spring to land a job with the Marlins. An outfielder by trade, Carroll displayed his versatility by playing center and left field, then finishing with a stint behind the plate. While standing next to the plate, Carroll made an even bigger impression, especially towards Astros pitchers, who allowed him a pair of doubles and home run in 4 at-bats, saw him drive in two runs and score four times. In 2008, Carroll suffered a separated shoulder which sidelined him most of that season and into early 2009, but he apparently is fully recovered and could find himself in a good spot on a Marlins squad which seems to surprise with good players every year. Florida hammered the Astros, 16-4, banging out 17 hits. MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox Finishing third in the AL Central with a 79-83 record in 2009, the White Sox have the make-up of a team that can return to the top of the division. Offensively, they boast both speed and power in their lineup, a dangerous combination. Although 32 years old, Juan Pierre, acquired in a trade with the LA Dodgers in December, still has the wheels for 30 or more steals and will bat in the leadoff spot and play left field. Alex Rios will flank Pierre in center, and bat either fifth or second in the order. Rios was plucked from the Blue Jays during their August fire sale last season, but didn't really pan out for the Sox, who are hoping for better from the multi-talented outfielder. Rios swiped 32 bases in 2008 and 24 more in 2009. He's the second part of the speed formula. Toss in Alexei Ramirez's 14 steals and the Sox may cause other teams problems with men on base. If they're not running, Chicago has the bats to drive them in. Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin and newcomer Mark Teahen (KC, 3rd base) can crush in any ball park. Second beaseman Gordon Beckham, catcher A.J. Pierzynski and DH Mark Kotsay round out a very solid starting lineup. The pitching has had its ups and downs, but when the Sox picked up Jake Peavy from San Diego it really solidified. Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Gavin Floyd and John Danks are as talented a group of 2-5 starters anywhere in the majors. Bobby Jenks will handle the closing duties, with Scott Linebrink and Matt Thornton as set-up men. Along with the Twins and Tigers, the Sox have plenty of sock with which to compete in the AL Central. The White Sox are 12-1 to win the World Series in the future book.

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