On the mound, Mark Buehrle is in control at all times and expertly manages the pace of every game he pitches.
But the White Sox ace was caught off guard when his wife, Jamie, surprised him with a custom motorcycle as a remembrance of the perfect game he pitched against Tampa Bay in July. On Thursday, on an episode of the Learning Channel's "American Chopper," viewers saw Paul Teutul Sr., owner of Orange County Chopper, wheel the bike up Buehrle's driveway during a backyard barbeque.
"I didn't really know what was going on at first," Buehrle, as reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, said on the show. "This is probably the most surprised I've ever been in my life. I mean, other than when [I found out] my wife was pregnant with my first kid."
The black-and-chrome chopper features a catcher's mitt seat, chrome baseball-studded rims, a deer-skull gas cap and Buehrle's No. 56. The word "Perfect" flashes in yellow lights with a backlit box score from the perfect game on the motorcycle's belt cover.
Granderson's TV show to feature stadium tours: Curtis Granderson is hosting a new TV and online series called "Stadium Secrets," in which he will take viewers on explorations of stadiums.
"[The show] will be providing an exclusive, VIP experience for fans everywhere -- a behind-the-scenes journey that will be exciting for all of us," Granderson told the Hollywood Reporter. I am eager to begin working on this project and look forward to a successful partnership."
Wood returns to Chicago for charity event: Kerry Wood and his wife, Sarah, spent last Thursday back in Chicago, hosting the Champions for Children's event at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago.
They were joined at the event by players from both the Cubs and White Sox.
"It's a great cause, and Kerry asked me," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski told MLB.com, speaking of his reason for coming in from Florida to attend. "[Wood] lives pretty close to us in Chicago and I've known him over the years. They also are honoring [White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf], and you can't say no when they are honoring your owner, the guy who writes your checks every two weeks."
Hunter to undergo surgery for hernia: After playing with a sports hernia for half of the 2009 season, Torii Hunter was scheduled for surgery on Monday.
Hunter first injured his groin when he crashed into an outfield wall. The injury forced him to the disabled list for five weeks starting in July.
"It was getting better after the season, but it was going so slow, I decided to get it checked out," Hunter told the Los Angeles Times.
"They said 95 percent of these surgeries are completely successful, and if all goes well, this should never bother me again," Hunter said.
Halama wants to reunite in Milwaukee with former coaches: The Brewers sent scouts to watch John Halama pitch for Aguilas in the in the Dominican Winter League. In six starts, Halama is 3-2 with a 1.66 ERA with 21 strikeouts and only two walks.
Halama, 37, wants to reunite with new Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson and manager Ken Macha. The trio was together in Oakland in 2003.
"He really wants to pitch for the Brewers," agent Joe Rosario told brewers.com. "He would love to reunite with both Macha and Peterson."
A Major League veteran who pitched for seven teams from 1998-2006, the left-handed Halama last pitched in the Majors with Baltimore in 2006. In his career, Halama is 56-48 with a 4.65 ERA.
Gonzalez's services get new look: Free agent Mike Gonzalez has switched agents and is now represented by Scott Boras.
"His abilities are extraordinary," Boras told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The key thing is how to keep his abilities on the field for a long time and for a lot of years."
"He's got a big [free-agent] market," Boras said. "When you look at his true save opportunities in the closer role, it's 85 percent [for his career]. Teams need closers, and this guy is coming off a great year. And a lot of teams also want that quasi-setup guy with closer capabilities."
Heilman traded to Arizona: The Diamondbacks acquired Aaron Heilman from the Cubs for two Minor League players. Heilman was 4-4 with a 4.11 ERA and one save last season in 70 games.
"He's a pedigree guy," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes told MLB.com. "A former first-round pick with a lot of success in the Major Leagues. He's someone we feel will really strengthen our bullpen."
Jakubauskas picked up by Pirates: The Mariners removed Chris Jakubauskas from their 40-man roster and the Pirates scooped up the 30-year old, who went 6-7 with a 5.32 ERA in his rookie season last year.
"It's kind of bittersweet news," Jakubauskas told the Seattle Times. "The Mariners called me today and told me what they'd done and my first thought was 'Wow, I hope I get claimed.' Then the next thing they told me was that I'd been claimed by the Pirates."
"They gave me my first shot and got me in the business," Jakubauskas said. "I'll always be grateful for that. They took a chance on an older guy, and a lot of teams wouldn't have done that."
Grabow back with Cubs: Calling the decision a "no-brainer," John Grabow agreed on a new contract last week to stay with the Cubs and says he will be ready for anything when the 2010 season gets underway.
"The baseball season will bring you down to your knees more than once every year," Grabow told MLB.com. "You have to be tough mentally. You just have to roll with it and have quick memories. That's something I can help this team with, with the younger guys."
Englebrook, three others added to Astros roster: The Houston Astros purchased the contracts of Evan Englebrook, Matt Nevarez and Henry Villar and signed Minor League free agent Jose Valdez. The Astros added all four to the 40-man roster, which now has 37 players on it, ahead of Friday's deadline. Englebrook, Nevarez, Villar and Valdez will all be in the Major League camp next spring.
"First of all, the kids from within the organization all have earned the opportunity," Houston general manager Ed Wade told MLB.com. "Englebrook has been in the organization for a while. There's been somewhat of an ongoing discussion with regards to protecting him on the roster, and the prevailing sentiment was he's made a lot of progress the way he pitched during the season and also in the Arizona Fall League."
Englebrook was 3-1 with nine saves and a 4.25 ERA in 30 relief appearances last season between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Round Rock. Villar pitched in 43 games, including three starts, for Class A Lexington, going 3-4 with five saves and a 2.60 ERA. Valdez spent last season in the New York Yankees organization, splitting time between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.