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Good Times Are Coming

Take a deep breath and smile. Spring is here.

It really isn't spring, but when baseball starts, it's spring. There may be a storm outside my window as I type this, with snow still on the ground, but no one can tell me it isn't spring.

Boy, I love baseball.

Here are some links for everyone to check out.

Two huge early signs
Two of the most anticipated pitchers to watch this spring entered camp early. Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon.

Francona told Beckett to do nothing stupid. Don't throw 98. Don't throw fastballs left and right. Just pitch and stay healthy. Thank you, Tito, for that message.

And Beckett wants number 19, but Mike Lowell wants 19 also. Bidding war?

Papelbon in '06. I've been saying that since October. I want him in the starting rotation more than anything. I believe he'll pitch better than Matt Clement, David Wells, and Bronson Arroyo at the least. Maybe he could out-pitch the aging Curt Schilling and Beckett, a pitcher who hasn't faced a designated hitter time on the hill.

Thank you, no
Keith Foulke says he's still on vacation until Sunday, so he won't talk to the press until that day. But Foulke said, with the press over his shoulder:
Foulke made some of his throws using a changeup grip. At one point, he told the person he was throwing to, "That's one of the good signs I saw when I started working on basic mechanics. Staying back, staying closed, the changeup's coming back big time."

The changeup better be back, or he'll lose his job pretty quickly.

Youkilis is ready to start the Show
There are a couple of reasons why I like this article. The first is obvious: it's all about Kevin Youkilis and how he finally has a starting job in Boston. Something we've all been waiting for for a long time.

Second, is that it makes little cracks at Kevin Millar throughout the whole article, something I appreciate.

Unless Youkilis really has a mental breakdown this season, he should topple whatever Millar did in 2005. What did he do? Nothing. Yes, that's right. Let's go .400+OBP!

A number of ways to look at Sox
Gordon Edes breaks down some stats in comparison of a lot of players. But he does make a few statements/predictions about the upcoming season.
Jamie Vermilyea or David Wells? His guess is Vermilyea, and that Wells will be traded during spring training. It's going to be interesting to see how Vermilyea pitches during the spring, though. It will make or break whether or not the Sox try to keep him on the squad.
Edes also thinks Lenny DiNardo will be the lefty of the 'pen. DiNardo has been a victim of KYS (Kevin Youkilis Syndrom. Formerly known as LMS, Lou Merloni Syndrom), but not to the degree of others. His time in the big leagues has been short, but he's pitched well in those innings. I think he deserves a full-time job.