At long last, spring (training) is here!

Most unlikely names on spring training rosters

1 Mark Mulder (Angels: So where were you on June 15, 2006? What do you mean, you don't remember? Mulder remembers. He remembers because, believe it or not, that was the date -- almost eight years ago -- of his last big league win. How long ago was that? Not a single position player on his team (the Cardinals) who played that day is still active. How long ago was that? Justin Verlander has won 130 games since then. And Ichiro Suzuki has slapped 1,506 hits since then. So yeah, eight years is a long time, even longer than a Red Sox-Yankees series. So if Mulder can make it back from the "Baseball Tonight" set to make a real contribution to the Angels, would that be the story of the season, or what?

2 Tomo Ohka (Blue Jays): Speaking of blasts from the past, it's been five years since Ohka threw a pitch in the big leagues, nine years since he had a winning record and a full decade since he had an ERA in the 3.00s (for the 2004 Expos!). But he's heading for Blue Jays camp this spring to match knuckleballs with R.A. Dickey. You can't make this stuff up.

3 Russell Wilson (Rangers): Hey, it was either him or Tracy McGrady. We don't know if the quarterback of the Super Bowl champs is actually going to show up in Rangers camp, but let's hope. All we ask for is one flea-flicker involving Wilson, Fielder and Jurickson Profar, coming to a spring training field in a desert near you, and our spring will be complete.

Three stories that summed up the offseason

1 AROD-PALOOZA: Phew. Got that one out of the way.


2 The Draft Pick Five: Love this Buster Olney spy-novel nickname for the five free agents who turned down qualifying offers and found themselves still looking for an employer in February: Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew. If Russell Wilson shows up in somebody's spring training camp before Ervin Santana, it's safe to say something went amiss in somebody's offseason scenario.

3 Haymakers in the parking lot: Who says there was no action at the winter meetings? There was furious action. Out in the parking lot, where two agents (still defying firm identification) wailed away at each other in the middle of the afternoon over what was believed (according to circumstantial evidence) to be client stealing -- or the threat thereof. Still not sure what the bigger story was that week -- that brawl or the Boone Logan signing.

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