EYE ON THE JOB: Nationals' third-base coach Bo Porter knows what he wants, and that's a manager's job.
Porter has been one of the hottest names in managerial circles the last couple of seasons, so he figures to get the call eventually -- perhaps as early as next season. He's built up good experience so far, coaching for two years in the Marlins' farm system before becoming Fredi Gonzalez's third-base coach in Florida. He moved to the same role in Arizona for 2010, becoming bench coach once A.J. Hinch was fired. Porter interviewed for the Nationals' opening in 2009 (that went to Jim Riggleman) and also threw his hat in the ring last winter for the Mariners and Pirates jobs.
One might wonder why Porter's had a hard time snagging that manager's job if he's so highly regarded. That's because it's not easy for a first-time manager to get his break.
“It’s hard for anybody at any level to get their first job,” said Nationals general manger Mike Rizzo. “You have to have the right situation to be the perfect candidate to get your first job. There’s some luck involved, and you have to have that stick-to-itiveness that transcends any time line.”
Porter, for his part, believes being third-base coach is one of the -- if not the -- most challenging assistant coach positions in all of sports, and it's a spot that helps hopefuls prepare for becoming skipper.
“Jim Riggleman can’t jump into my brain and make a decision when the ball is in motion,” Porter said. “The same thoughts it takes to manage a game, it takes to be a third-base coach.” (New Jersey Star-Ledger)MADOFF SCHEME: The New Yorker comes out with a fantastic article on the owner of the Mets, Fred Wilpon. It chronicles his rise to becoming the owner of the Mets, as well as detailing the scandal that threatens his grip on the team in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. It's a long article, but worth the read. (New Yorker)
DEEP DRAFT: Everyone knows the Rays have 11 of the first 75 picks in the draft. But San Diego also has a nice haul, with five of the first 58. That will add a ton of talent from the talented draft into a Padres system already deep in corner infielders. That means you can bet on middle infielders being featured in the draft, along with the crucial center field spot and of course, pitching. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
DRAFTING BEST PLAYER: The Milwaukee Brewers have two first-round picks and although it would be justified for the Brewers to seek drafting a hitter and pitcher apiece, scouting director Bruce Seid says the club will draft the best available player, period. Milwaukee could stand adding a shortstop to its system. Things get a bit more complicated as the No. 15 pick is due to being unable to sign their first-rounder last year. That means that this year, that pick is unprotected, and the player must sign as Milwaukee would not receive compensation again. That could influence the Brewers' choice toward drafting someone they know will sign. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
@LOMOMARLINS: Logan Morrison is quickly emerging as the public face of the Marlins, in no small part due to his large Twitter following, cultivated because of his grounded personality and willingness to engage with the fans. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that he's hitting for a 1.044 OPS, either. (Palm Beach Post)
A-BALL Cardinals: The Cardinals are bringing their low Class-A affiliate to Busch Stadium Thursday for rookies to get a taste of what it's like to play in a major-league stadium. "I think what happens being in the lower minor leagues [is] the big leagues can feel far away," Low-A pitching coach Tim Leveque said. "I think when you play in a ballpark like that, it gives them a taste of what their ultimate goal is. Hopefully it will motivate them and help them realize there is an end to the rainbow." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
AHEAD OF SCHEDULE: Pablo Sandoval is recovering so nicely from his injury that he could be back in a Giants uniform a week or two ahead of schedule. Manager Bruce Bochy says Sandoval could be back in two weeks. S.F. certainly needs his return, as Mark DeRosa is back on the DL and a tandem of Mike Fontenot at short and Miguel Tejada at third will eventually be exposed. (Comcast SportsNet Bay Area via Twitter)
KEPPINGER CLOSE:Jeff Keppinger could be back by the end of the week after being out since mid-January due to foot surgery. The second baseman will likely steal away the bulk of playing time that has gone to Bill Hall, who has already started losing his job with Angel Sanchez getting more at-bats. Keppinger won't win the starting job outright, but he'll receive liberal playing time. (MLB.com)
BAILEY EN ROUTE: The Athletics will get their closer, Andrew Bailey, back as soon as this week, as he will ready to make his second rehab appearance Monday night. The 2009 Rookie of the Year had a strong 2010 despite missing a chunk of time to injury. He has yet to make his 2011 debut. (San Jose Mercury News)
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