The last game under the lights will be played tonight at Ed Smith Stadium, and you can catch it on MASN and 105.7 The Fan. You also can stick close to the blog. I’ll be cranking out the copy again.
The Yankees are in town, but that’s not all. New MASN analysts Eddie Murray, Brady Anderson, Ben McDonald and Mike Boddicker also are here.
We should know soon whether Koji Uehara is beginning the season in the bullpen or on the disabled list. He’s got to have a side session this week and pitch in at least one game. Otherwise, free up the spot for someone else.
It’s funny how quickly things can change. Kam Mickolio seemed like a lock to make it, but now he’s in danger of being optioned. Matt Albers is out of options and appeared close to running out of chances with the Orioles, but now he’s got a real shot to make the team. David Hernandez and Jason Berken were ticketed for Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation. Now they both could end up on the 12-man staff.
Uehara’s hamstring injury appeared to increase the possibility of Mickolio and Albers both making the Opening Day roster and joining Mike Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, Will Ohman, Mark Hendrickson and Cla Meredith in the bullpen, but Mickolio’s control issues are hurting his chances. And as a reader pointed out over the weekend, Hendrickson would be the only long man without Berken or Hernandez, though Albers could be stretched out.
Manager Dave Trembley indicated a few days ago that there wouldn’t be any surprises in the rotation, but that was before Chris Tillman’s troubled outing and Hernandez’s five scoreless innings. Hernandez making the team would rate as a surprise given the assumption that Tillman would seize the fifth spot. Trembley even mentioned Tillman’s name while talking about the rotation in a Q&A with fans inside Ed Smith Stadium shortly upon our arrival here, as if the right-hander would be the No. 5.
It wouldn’t be the worst news if Tillman was the No. 1 at Norfolk before his 22nd birthday, but we’ll see how it plays out. Again, it’s nice to have some legitimate choices and not find the team so desperate for starters in the last days of camp.
Did you know that infielder Justin Turner is on the ballot for the NCAA College World Series legends team?
The team commemorates the final year of the CWS at Rosenblatt Stadium and is selected by fans at www.ncaa.com/cwslegends. It’s based on the players’ performance at the CWS, and Turner is a worthy candidate after appearing in three of them with Cal State Fullerton and twice making the All-Tourney team.
Other second basemen on the ballot include LSU’s Todd Walker and Arizona State’s Bob Horner.