Craig Counsell re-signs with Brewers
Versatile player will come to Milwaukee in utility role
Craig Counsell has agreed to a one-year deal to return to the Milwaukee Brewers. The infielder said he received some interest from the Mets, Padres and Mariners, but decided that Milwaukee felt like home.
"Sometimes, timing is the most important thing," he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The timing of this was the right thing for me."
The Brewers contacted Counsell since they still wanted a veteran player who could play nearly every infield position. The two sides were able to quickly come to terms.
"When you put it all together -- the financial aspect, the family stuff, the guys on the team and the organization -- it was the best fit for me," Counsell said.
Counsell started 30 games at third base, 18 at shortstop and 11 at second and played in a total of 110 games last season.
Molina drops weight: Yadier Molina has a new goal for the 2009 season -- start the year healthy and finish it that way. Molina earned his first Gold Glove in 2008 and mentioned at a recent Cardinals event that he'd lost 10-15 pounds since the end of last season.
"I've been working hard with my body, with my knees," Molina told MLB.com. "I just want to play a full season healthy. I've been working with my trainer in Puerto Rico, Felix Molina. I'm just trying to be healthy this year, trying to finish the season -- the full season."
Washburn eyes starting spot for Mariners: The Mariners have a crowded rotation with at least seven pitchers vying for the five starting positions. Jarrod Washburn plans to be one of them.
"I come to camp expecting to be a starter," Washburn told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "But there are more starters than there are starting jobs. That being said, you'd think they'd be looking to free up a spot by making a trade.
"They've given me no indication that I'm on the trading block. And I don't pay attention to the rumor mill. I'll just come to camp with the mind-set that I'm going to start. I feel great physically, so that's good."
Rodriguez, Geary sign one-year deals with Astros: The Astros agreed to one-year deals with Wandy Rodriguez and Geoff Geary on Monday. They were the last two arbitration-eligible players the Astros had left to sign.
"Our goal from the very beginning was to get through the arbitration process and not have to go to a hearing," general manager Ed Wade told the Houston Chronicle. "[Assistant GM)] Dave Gottfried on Wandy and [assistant GM] Rickey Bennett on Geoff Geary were able to get deals done."
Lohse not missing last year's worries: Kyle Lohse doesn't have the worries this offseason that he encountered last winter as a free agent. In 2008, he signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals and went on to win 15 games to earn a new four-year deal before he hit the open market.
"It's been a lot more of a stress-free offseason, that's for sure," Lohse told MLB.com. "Last year at this time I didn't know where I was going to be. Having that security, knowing where I'm going to be the next four years has made family life a lot easier. I was pretty excited to be able to buy a house, stay here for a while. We're looking forward to it."
Lidge finally able to reflect on perfect season: After saving 41 games in 41 attempts in 2008, Brad Lidge has finally allowed himself to bask in the glory that was the World Championship season in Philadlephia.
"For so long, I tried not to think about it," Lidge told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "but after watching all the DVDs this winter and taking a deep breath -- yeah, it was a pretty good year."
Luis Gonzalez targets deal with Pirates: Free agent Luis Gonzalez might be just what the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking for, and Gonzalez's agent says that his client would definitely be interested in talking to the Pirates.
"No question, Luis would welcome an opportunity to come to a team like Pittsburgh, where he can be a mentor to some of their younger players," agent Gregg Clifton told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He's in tremendous physical shape, just like he's always been, and he loves the role he had last year with Florida. That's what he's told me. He wants a situation like that one."
Winning ways sent Lyon to Tigers: In 2008, Brandon Lyon racked up 26 saves as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, which allowed him to entertain many offers this offseason as his services were in demand. Ultimately, he decided on Detroit.
"I want to be on a winning team -- that was the bottom line of where I was going to go," Lyon told the Detroit Free Press. "I wanted to be on a team that had the best chance to win, the best opportunity to play in the postseason."
Crain wants to secure eighth-inning role: Jesse Crain is ready to get the 2009 season underway, and he has his eyes on securing his former role as the Twins' eighth-inning specialist.
"I was always a closer-from the time I was young, all the way up through college and the Minor Leagues until I got up here," Crain told MLB.com. "And then, when I got here, I was pitching the eighth. That's what I want my role to be, and I think I can take it back. That's where I need to pitch to get to the next level if I ever was to become a closer."
Ohman has four movies at the top of comedy list: Will Ohman is a free agent and hopes that interest will pick back up once clubs settle their arbitration cases. In the meantime, he gave his list of favorite movies to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"The top four comedies were easy: The Big Lebowski, Dogma, Blazing Saddles, Fletch. And No. 5 was a tie, just due to difference in styles -- High Fidelity and Snatch. They're both dark comedies, but I love British humor, so 'Snatch' had to be in there."
Kershaw outfits new home: Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' highly rated 20-year-old pitching prospect, is comfortable enough in his budding career that he bought a new home and a ping-pong table.
"That was the first piece of furniture he bought," Ellen Melson, his longtime girlfriend, told the Los Angeles Daily News. "It's right there in his living room. There's a dry-erase board nailed up to the wall above it so he can keep score when his buddies come over. Clayton likes to dominate in ping-pong."
Andrew Brown believes surgery likely: Andrew Brown, who missed most of 2008 with a shoulder injury, is traveling to Alabama to meet with noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Brown believes he will need surgery, although he is unsure how complicated the procedure will be.
"Hopefully, it's nothing major, and I'm only out until the All-Star break," Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I know there is a small labrum tear, and the rotator cuff has some damage, but it might just be irritation. The MRI is not conclusive."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.