02/09/2007 7:38 PM ET
Roundup: Thorman readies for first try
After trading Adam LaRoche, the Braves plan to
give the team's first-base job to Scott Thorman. But
the youngster is taking nothing for granted.
The Braves are confident that Scott Thorman can handle first base in 2007. (John Amis/AP)
"I definitely feel good about it," Thorman told the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution, "but until April 2, the
goal is the same -- I want to be on the roster to open
The Braves are encouraged with the power produced by
Thorman, who has hit 41 home runs the past two
seasons, spent mostly in the Minors.
"He's going to be fine," third baseman Chipper Jones
said. "He's not yet at the point where [LaRoche] was,
obviously. He's not going to put up the numbers
[LaRoche] put up, but I think he will [eventually].
"He's going to make some adjustments, and when he
does, he'll be fine. Good kid, unbelievable power, and
he's going to become a better first baseman. He's just
got to get reps."
One of Thorman's biggest supporters was LaRoche, who
wants him to succeed in his place.
"The funny thing is, we always joked and said he was
going to be the one who got traded," LaRoche said,
"because I wasn't going anywhere.
"When he first came up, he struggled not to go nuts.
He had a little temper, which is great, but you've got
to learn to control it. That's what he's done in the
last year and a half.
"He's produced at every level, and I think people
overlook his defense. He does it a different way, but
he's pretty good. I'm pulling for him, I really am."
Schneider prepped for another kind of delivery:
Nationals catcher Brian Schneider heads to Spring
Training with the same goals as most players -- try to
improve and get ready for the season. But Schneider
will have another thing on his mind, as his wife is
slated to deliver the couple's first child on March 7.
Schneider has already broached the subject with new
manager Manny Acta.
"Manny was great about it," Schneider told the Washington Post. "He said:
'Don't worry about baseball too much. Your priority's
with her.' Whatever I need to take care of, they'll
Still, Schneider's thoughts always return to baseball.
"I feel great," he said. "I'm ready to go. I could get
after it this offseason, lifting hard and heavy. I
feel healthy, which I know a lot of people talked
about last year.
"I know people said I was having a down and bad year,
and obviously I'll accept that. But I had a career
high in RBIs , and those last two months, I was a
different person. I made some adjustments, and I'm
going to take that from Day One this year. I'm looking
forward to it."
Castilla wraps up career in Caribbean Series:
Vinny Castilla last played in a Major League game at
the conclusion of the 2006 season. Now, the veteran
third baseman has officially retired from baseball,
ending his career as a first baseman in Mexico's 4-3
win over Venezuela on the final day of the Caribbean
Series, the Rocky Mountain News
Castilla, who finished his Major League career with
the Colorado Rockies, went 1-4 with a double and run
scored in Mexico's win.
"I knew it was my last game, but I got emotional when
I came to the park and all my teammates came to
congratulate me," the 39-year-old slugger said while
trying to hold back tears after the game. "When the
players from the other countries hugged me after the
game, I couldn't hold back the tears. I felt very
emotional and proud for all my accomplishment."
Castilla is Mexico's all-time leading home-run hitter
in Major League Baseball. He hit 320 home runs in a
career that spanned 16 seasons. Castilla started with
Atlanta and also played for Colorado, Houston, Tampa
Bay, Washington and San Diego. He was picked up off
waivers by the Rockies last season, allowing him to
retire in a Colorado uniform -- the uniform in which
Castilla had his best years.
From 1996-1999, he averaged more than 30 home runs and
100 RBIs. His best season came in 1999, when he hit
.319 with 46 home runs and 144 RBIs.
"I left everything on the field and always respected
the game," he said.
Castilla has said he will work as a special assistant
to Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd, and he hopes to
one day be a coach or manager.
Winter ball a lift for Castillo: Jose Castillo
and the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed on terms for
next season, and the team has liked what it has
seen from the second baseman this offseason. Playing
for Venezuela in the Caribbean World Series, Castillo
has produced to the point where the Pirates took
"It's very encouraging to see what he's doing (in
winter ball)," general manager Dave Littlefield told
MLB.com. "He's maturing, he
has great concentration and is a very talented guy.
Hopefully the adjustments he's made will carry over to
the Major League season."
It's not certain where Castillo -- projected as a second baseman -- could end up, with Freddy Sanchez and Jose Bautista also in the
"Freddy's going to play somewhere on the infield,"
Littlefield said. "Where Bautista and Castillo fit in,
we won't know until we see how things shake out in
Arroyo follows Harang in inking new deal:
Bronson Arroyo and the Cincinnati Reds came to terms
on a contract extension on Thursday that will keep
Arroyo in Cincinnati through at least the 2010 season.
After signing Aaron Harang to an extension just two
days earlier, the Reds were very excited to have
firmed up the top of their rotation in a short amount
"I can kind of get used to this -- twice in one week,"
general manager Wayne Krivsky told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "This
is a lot of fun. We're very pleased and appreciative
of Bronson making this kind of commitment to the
Money aside, Krivsky is encouraged at the commitment
players are giving the team and the city of
"Obviously, there are big dollars involved but they're
making these commitments because they want to be
here," Krivsky said. "As a general manager, you get
emotional thinking about it."
Arroyo said at a press conference that he is glad to
extend his time with the Reds.
"I want to thank Wayne and (CEO Bob Castellini) for
giving me an opportunity to be a marquee guy in the
league," Arroyo said. "I enjoyed myself last year.
Obviously, I wouldn't be signing a deal for five more
years if I didn't enjoy myself."
Castellini added his thoughts on Arroyo.
Bronson to an extension is important because he's a
leader and proven winner," Castellini said.
"Most baseball people agree that with Bronson and
Aaron Harang, the top of our rotation is as strong as
any in baseball. These two contracts show the
commitment of the Reds, Bronson and Aaron to fans of
Johnson making progress: With Spring Training
just around the corner, Arizona pitcher Randy Johnson
continues to make progress from offseason back
surgery. Johnson has not thrown off a mound yet, but
he is playing catch.
"He's making solid progress and continued progress,"
Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes told the Arizona Republic. "We're
still not sure on specifics of a timeline. He's felt
good in all his activities in preparing, whether it's
general conditioning or throwing."
-- Red Line Editorial