Gagne plays sweet music in morning
Reliever pitches early so he can see daughter perform
Eric Gagne has made a name for himself as a record-setting closer during his career. But on Monday, he found himself starting for the Brewers in a 10 a.m. "B" game.
Gagne wanted to pitch at that time in order to attend the music recital of his 7-year-old daughter Faye. Gagne allowed one hit and one walk in his one inning of scoreless work.
"I kind of like it," Gagne told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of the early assignment. "You get done early and get out. I'd rather do that than sit around all day and wait for the game at 1 and then wait another eight innings."
Braves trio joins Tiger foursome: Jeff Francoeur and Tom Glavine joined John Smoltz and Tiger Woods for a round of golf at Tiger's home course -- Isleworth Country Club a few days ago.
"[Francoeur] can flat-out crush it," Smoltz told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "But he doesn't have nearly the control that Tiger has over where it's going."
As for Glavine, Smoltz said it was a vintage performance from the 300-game winner.
"Glav's not fazed by it," Smoltz said of playing with Woods, which Glavine had done at least once before. "Glav's going to hit his shots, complain about some, be typical Glav."
Burnett tough as nails in recovery: Three months ago, A.J. Burnett snapped the nail of his right index finger, losing three-quarters of the nail, when he shut a car door on it.
The nail is still a few millimeters from reaching its proper spot at the end of his finger but those few millimeters can make a difference on the effectiveness of Burnett's curve.
"I'm basically a two-pitch pitcher," Burnett, referring to the fastball and the curve, told The Toronto Star. "There's no pain, but I take that fingernail and put it in between the seams ... I need it to be longer to do that."
Morgan ready to run: Nyjer Morgan believes his time has come and that he can make an impact with the Pirates this season.
"I want to be the starting center fielder," Morgan told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "But if that opportunity doesn't come, I've got to work a little bit harder and help out any way I can. It may be coming off the bench and stealing bases."
Looper shines in afternoon: Braden Looper, who is starting his second season as a member of the Cardinals rotation, is keeping up his day-game dominance.
Last season Looper was 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 10 afternoon starts. At night, though, he was 5-11 with an ERA of 6.75 over a span of 20 starts. So what gives?
"If there is something, I wish I knew what it is, because I'd definitely change something," Looper told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It's just one of those idiosyncrasies in baseball. But I definitely plan on pitching a little better at night."
Carmona gearing up for return to Boston: Fausto Carmona is anxious to take on Boston this season.
"Everyone knows I've had problems pitching there in the past -- as a closer and last year in the playoffs," Carmona, through interpreter/bullpen catcher Dennis Malave, told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "But I'm hungry to pitch there this year. I'm waiting for the opportunity to pitch there."
Jones back on track after appendix removal: Twins prospect Garret Jones had good timing -- if there is such a thing -- for his appendix removal last November.
"It didn't rupture -- that was good. And it happened early [in the offseason], so it didn't completely disrupt my offseason," Jones told The St. Paul Pioneer Press. "Plus, they made little incisions and used a camera to see it, not one big incision. That would have taken six or eight weeks [to recover]."
Church's concussion symptoms easing: A few days after being helped off the field, Ryan Church was back in the Mets clubhouse and feeling better.
The outfielder collided with infielder Marlon Anderson Saturday while chasing a pop fly. He had to be helped off the field by manager Willie Randolph and trainer Mike Herbst. Church, who was diagnosed with a Grade 2 concussion, isn't ready to play yet, but he feels he will be back on the field in a few days.
"Right now, when I move real quick, I get a woozy sensation," he told Newsday. "Other than that, there's no vomiting or anything like that. The headaches are gone, hopefully. [Sunday] night, it was pretty bad."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.