1-run losses 1 season can be good sign as Mets proved in '69

Watch for big improvements from Tigers, Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals and Angels

February 05, 2011|By Phil Rogers

To some degree, the 1969 Mets' 27-game improvement was foreshadowed by their losing 37 one-run games in '68, when Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman had made them better than most knew. The teams looking for a lift after not winning their share of one-run games in 2010 include the Tigers (16-26), Cubs (22-32), Red Sox (22-26), Cardinals (20-22) and Angels (24-25). … Lou Piniella's agreement to work as a special assistant for the Giants is a one-year deal, which will be revisited after the season. His primary responsibility is scouting the Florida teams during spring training. … More than any team in the majors, the White Sox are set up the middle. They now have shortstop Alexei Ramirez under control through 2016, center fielder Alex Rios through '15 and second baseman Gordon Beckham through '15. This figures to be bad news for shortstop prospect Eduardo Escobar, who is coming off a huge stint in the Arizona Fall League. … The Yankees didn't invite ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte to big league camp, but Baseball America ranked him among the organization's top 30 prospects. The group of non-roster pitchers in the Yankees' camp has a distinctly Chicago flavor. It is led by Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon and Mark Prior, and includes Neal Cotts, Andrew Sisco, Brian Anderson and Brian Schlitter. Anderson, an outfielder-reliever at Arizona before serving as a center fielder for the White Sox, is attempting to follow Sergio Santos' trail to the mound. … It will be interesting to see whether a market develops for Yu Darvish next winter as existed when Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kei Igawa went on the market. Darvish, 24, is a scout's guy with great stuff and presence, but the performances of Matsuzaka and Igawa do him no favors. … Julio Franco is managing Venezuela's team in the Caribbean Series. Like Moises Alou, he would make a great big league bench coach.

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