The White Sox are open to trading Mark Teahen rather than making him a high-priced utility man at the four corner positions and DH. Still, Teahen represents insurance for rookie third baseman Brent Morel, an outstanding defender who might not hit right away.
Manager Ozzie Guillen likes Teahen’s left-handed bat and estimates that he could find 350 at-bats for the veteran if Morel wins the starting job at third. The problem: Teahen, who is guaranteed $4.75 million this season and $5.5 million in 2012, would be overpaid as a reserve.
• The two biggest stories in Braves camp are the team’s outstanding pitching and the rejuvenation of third baseman Chipper Jones. General manager Frank Wren, however, also is raving about center fielder Nate McLouth.
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“He’s regained some of the form, some of the mechanics, some of the confidence he had when he was in Pittsburgh,” Wren said. “He’s carrying it to the field every day. He steps to the plate confident that he’s going to make something happen. And when he hits it, he hits it hard.”
• Teams looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder are asking the Red Sox about Juan Carlos Linares, a Cuban defector who signed with the club in 2009 for $750,000. Linares, who hit well in the Arizona Fall League and has carried over his success to the Grapefruit League, is likely to open at Triple-A.
The Red Sox, wary of compromising their depth, are unlikely to move any significant pieces before Opening Day. Linares and Darnell McDonald, for example, could fill the same role as Mike Cameron, but probably not as well. Cameron hits lefties, has power, plays all three outfield positions and — most important — is healthy again.
• A scout following the Dodgers said he does not like what he sees. A number of players are hurt, including third baseman Casey Blake and right-handers Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla. But the issues go beyond injuries.
The offense is the team’s biggest question, but the scout said the pitchers aren’t throwing enough strikes and the defense has been less than stellar. The spring stats bear out the scout’s observations: The Dodgers’ walk rate is the second-highest among NL clubs, and only one NL team has made more errors.
With Jay Gibbons, one half of the left-field platoon, experiencing issues with his left eye, the Dodgers might be better off playing Tony Gwynn Jr. in center and Matt Kemp in left. Meanwhile, closer Jonathan Broxton is topping out at 91 mph and Hong-Chih Kuo is the only quality lefty in the bullpen.
— Ken Rosenthal