Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone out there! Only 18 days until Opening Day (that’s right, I don’t count the Sunday night Bost0n-NY game, real Opening Day is April 5th when the majority of the games will be played), so let’s go around the league with some news and notes…

  • This is mildly surprising—the Nationals have cut what was expected to be their starting right fielder in Elijah Dukes. They didn’t just cut him from the Major League roster and sent him down to the Minors…they released him from the organization altogether. Dukes has been hyped since coming into the league in 2007 with the Rays, but made more news with his off-field problems than with his baseball ability. A red flag for Dukes in this story is the Nats attempted to trade him this spring before releasing the outfielder and there was no takers. Never a good sign for a young troubled player that doesn’t seem to ever put it together. Dukes may be running low on chances to stick in the show.
  • John Smoltz has a new deal with…MLB Network and TBS. Smoltz will be an analyst for both networks throughout the 2010 season, but he’s not ready to retire yet? Smoltzy, even though I’m not a Braves fan, you were a terrific pitcher who did it all from starting, going to the bullpen and dominating and then producing back in the rotation, but it’s time to hang it up. Just announce your retirement. After the disaster that was his stint with the Red Sox last year (2-5, 8.32 ERA), I’m not sure who would call on his services again especially after you take a half year or year off.
    While I’m on the topic, Brian Giles announced he was calling it quits earlier this spring. As a Pirates fan, I will never forget the years Giles put together in Pittsburgh. He was a star in this city and was still a productive player in San Diego even though he lost most of his power. I’ll always remember his outstanding catch in left field at PNC Park where he scaled the wall like Spiderman to rob a home run.
  • Sidney Ponson is now a Duck. Quack, quack, quack to Indy ball! After looking at his numbers from the past couple of seasons, all I have to say is good riddance to Mr. Ponson.
  • Rangers manager Ron Washington is sorry he used cocaine last year. I love it how he wasn’t sorry until a couple media outlets were ready to report the story. Sorry he did it or sorry he got caught? Oh and isn’t cocaine use a felony?
  • This whole Ben Sheets-A’s for $10 million deal risk/reward type thing could blow up in the A’s face sooner than later. Sheets already has a 30+ ERA in spring, including his last start where he gave up about 150 runs and recorded ZERO outs. OK, it was 10 runs, but you get the idea. I know it’s only spring training numbers and he’s trying to get his work in, but why leave him out there to just get hammered in the first inning? Take him out and let him go through at a barn door before the ballpark for the rest of his workout. At any rate, this should be a fun development to watch this season…unless you’re an A’s fan.