Phillie fires, current and possibly to come

Rollins (left) gets a congratulations from Sandberg (right) after scoring last year, but have they tussled over hustle this spring?

Rollins (left) gets a congratulations from Sandberg (right) after scoring last year, but have they tussled over hustle this spring?

Ryne Sandberg laboured long and hard to earn a shot at major league managing. He’d wanted it with the Chicago Cubs, for whom he’d been a Hall of Fame second baseman, and he’d gone deep into the Cubs’ system for his chance only to be snubbed—despite several seasons’ success, a reputation as a teaching manager, and a parallel reputation as a no-nonsense competitor—for a guy who didn’t last much more than a full season.

Homer Bailey, One, None, and Done

Spreading his wings after no-no-ing the Pirates . . .

“Late success,” Sandy Koufax once mused, “is quieter.” I’m not entirely convinced it’s true in Homer Bailey’s case, since he’s gone from a seventh-overall 2004 draft pick to a shaky major league beginning despite the ballyhoo to standing on top of the world, or at least the PNC Park mound with his Cincinnati Reds owning the National League Central, and himself proving, at long enough last, he belonged in any serious Reds rotation plans.

Root, Root, Root, Get Run

If Don Mattingly and Matt Kemp are right, Angel Campos needs to face baseball government and explain why he threw Kemp out of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates for the heinous offence of rooting for a teammate.

If they are wrong, however, and Campos’s real motivation was Kemp and other Dodgers barking about Campos’s balls and strikes, then Campos needs to explain why he waited until Kemp hollered, “Let’s go, ‘Dre!” to teammate Andre Ethier, in the batter’s box leading off the second inning, before he tossed Kemp.

The End for Abreu, Possibly . . .

Abreu—approaching the end of a solid career?

Someone had to go in order for the Los Angeles Dodgers to clear a spot for incoming Shane Victorino, and it looks as though veteran Bobby Abreu, Victorino’s former Philadelphia Phillies teammate, is the unlucky candidate. The Dodgers designated him for assignment Wednesday.

It isn’t that Abreu had become baggage by any means—in seventy games he had a .359 on-base percentage, though he wasn’t hitting quite to his one-time level—but the Dodgers for now just had little enough role for him now other than pinch-hitting duty, with an outfield of Victorino, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier. Clearly, according to ESPN, manager Don Mattingly wasn’t all that anxious to let Abreu go just yet.

It Might As Well Be Spring . . .

To hell with the calendar. Every real American knows spring begins in that blessed spell when pitchers and catchers report and the position players aren’t all that far behind.

Walking the plank to Pittsburgh . . .

* A.J. PIRATE?—It’s looking more and more as though the Empire Emeritus and the Pittsburgh Pirates have a deal to send A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers. Ridding the Yankees of a talented headache on the mound, though from most reports a good guy in the clubhouse.

Showtime, Showdown

What a difference one week makes.

That was last week: Evan Longoria put paid to to the Tampa Bay Rays’s stupefying resurrection, with the walkoff bomb that put paid to the Boston Red Sox’s more stupefying collapse, a collapse one half game ahead of the Atlanta Braves’ near-equally-stupefying collapse, he did it within three minutes of the Red Sox losing the game they most needed to win just to force a win-or-be-gone wild card tiebreaker.