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Is this guy Wile E. Coyote? Or Pig Pen?

So Alex Escobar was standing near the batting cage this morning when Tony Blanco stepped in to take some hacks. (You remember Tony Blanco, right? Rule 5 pick from a couple years ago. Stayed on the roster all of 2005, when this team -- now really stretch your memories -- was in first place at the all-star break. He's here. I saw him. Really, I did. And the good folks of Harrisburg will likely get to familiarize themselves with him again.)

Anyway, Blanco was taking some hacks. Escobar was protected by a) a batting cage that is supported by metal rods, and b) a net that runs between the rods, and c) the fact that it's batting practice and guys generally hit the ball straight. Even in live BP.

But this is Alex Escobar, the guy with all the talent who, should he walk down a street in D.C., might fall into a manhole which had its cover removed. So, naturally, Blanco fouled a ball off. It hit directly off the plate. And it bounced directly into Escobar's knee.

Out till June.


Escobar jumped back and hopped it off. An athletic trainer tended to him immediately, and he was able to stay out there. "You're not supposed to get hit while you're standing by the cage," he said later. But as talented as this guy is (and you should see how ripped he is), it's almost as if an anvil could fall on him while he's shagging fly balls, or like there's a dark cloud that shadows his every move.

If he's healthy, man, he can hit. Discussions about placing him in a bubble for the rest of spring training have commenced in the executive offices on the fourth floor here at Space Coast Stadium.

Also: Felipe Lopez bought the Millionaire Club lunch. Boston Market meatloaf, turkey, macaroni, etc. Nick Johnson was Saturday (Italian) and Austin Kearns Sunday (Mexican, with a little fried chicken on the side (as he's from the 'K' in KFC, which means he's mourning yesterday's loss to Vanderbilt, which made Vandy's own Dave Sheinin very happy, so there's something cyclical there)).

Tomorrow, new millionaire Chad Cordero will buy the lunch. But who knows what's going to happen once games start? This club's running out of millionaires.

Other non-news: No Teddy Roosevelt at today's workout.

Actual news: Interesting watching some bullpen sessions today. Shawn Hill was working on a cut fastball for the first time under the tutelage (now that's a good word) of pitching coach Randy St. Claire. He has no idea whether he'll use it in a game, but he threw about five or six in a live batting practice session. It'd be an interesting pitch for Hill, whose sinker tends to run away from left-handed hitters, and this would be a pitch he could run the other way, right in on their belt buckle. (You just might be able to read more about this in tomorrow's Post, which only costs $.35, or, of course, is free online. Who knows?)

All right. I'm going to go check out some of the minor league dudes. They've got a whole slew here in "accelerated" camp, and I'm going to try to go watch last year's two first-round picks -- RHP Colton Willems and 1B/3B/OF Chris Marrero -- this afternoon. I'll try to give you something on them later.

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 26, 2007; 1:13 PM ET
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Next: Picture Day With Nook Logan


Barry, I'd be interested to hear who is getting more time at SS, Ian Desmond, Stephen King, or Esmailyn Gonzalez.

Posted by: Brian | February 26, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Was there a morning presser today, Barry? If so, are we going to get some video up soon?

Posted by: JammingEcono | February 26, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

You'd think Soriano would have some pizzas sent over.

Posted by: cevans | February 26, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Barry, when did Marrero add 1B to his potential positions? The word I have always heard is that he is a third baseman being shifted to OF because of Zimmerman. Is the OF transition not working out?

Posted by: curious about marrero | February 26, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey, good questions on the minor leaguers. I just came from that complex, and they're doing lots of exciting stuff over there. Exciting, if you like watching Little League practice.

Just kidding. Those SS: They'll all play this year, just at different levels. Desmond is the most advanced, so he'll play either at Harrisburg or Potomac (AA or A), with the others at lower Class A or, in Gonzalez's case, likely in rookie ball. We'll see.

Marrero: Just talked to Bob Boone about that today, and I'm going to write about it in the next few days. Essentially, they just want to look at him a few places to see where he fits best. It's unlikely he'll ever play much third here because of Zimmerman. But he was a competent third baseman in high school and Boone said he could probably be a decent first baseman. We'll see.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | February 26, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh, also: Forsythe went home, so no press conference video from now on. He's got stuff that he saved that's going to be sprinkled in this week, like the video of Nook Logan going through picture day that's up now or my stunningly insightful spring training preview that's up now.

A prize for anyone who can figure out what my hat says in that video (which is also a good indication that I need to drop, say, 15 pounds).

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | February 26, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

MCLA? Why, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, of course.

Or, Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association.

Or some company that sells used massage chairs.

Any of those right?

Google is cool.

Posted by: Tom Kieffer | February 26, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

And the winner is ... Tom Kieffer.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

(My brother is on the board there. I stole this hat from his house. Don't tell him.)

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | February 26, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Barry-- is tonight the night that you will finally go to Bizarro's in Satellite Beach? FYI, I also found out that Satellite Beach is home to the FL State Champion girl's High School soccer team (thank you, Sports Illustrated). If that doesn't make it at least the equal to Viera as a sports-mecca, I don't know what will. Plus, that AND great pizza?? Just remember, Rt. A1A, right past the Days Inn next south of Patrick AFB.

Posted by: RFK Sec 309, Row 3 | February 26, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Any word on WTWP carrying this Friday's Grapefruit opener? In fact, can't find any of the Spring Training radio schedule anywhere.

Posted by: Sec. 217 | February 26, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Here's the complete broadcast schedule:

Posted by: I Love Charlie and Dave | February 26, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

not exactly a definitive broadcast list -- it doesn't list the 6 or so games that MASN will be televising. The Nats website is possibly the worst of all the MLB sites. Finding current information on there is futile, to say the least.

Barry, keep up the good work!

Posted by: e | February 27, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

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