Jim Hickey has one of the most important roles in the American League this year, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Rays pitching coach is responsible for rebuilding a Rays bullpen that was depleted by free agency. Hickey says he expects at least one of the team's unheralded arms to break out unexpectedly, adding that if there's going to be a 2011 version of Joaquin Benoit, he'd put his money on Juan Cruz. Here are some of Cafardo's other Sunday notes:
- Domonic Brown has struggled this spring and is now set to undergo surgery on a broken hand. As such, Mike Cameron remains a potential fit for the Phillies. Cafardo argues that "the only problem with a Cameron-Phillies hookup is that he may be a very valuable member of the Red Sox now that he’s completely recovered from abdominal surgery."
- Alex Gonzalez doesn't like changing teams as much as he has in the last two seasons, and would have liked to stay in Toronto. Now that he's playing in Atlanta, the shortstop tells Cafardo that he'd "love to stay here for a long time." Gonzalez will be a free agent at season's end.
- DeMarlo Hale was interviewed for two managerial openings this past offseason, and Cafardo wonders if he'll be hired away from the Red Sox next winter. "Right now," Cafardo says, "there doesn’t appear to be an obvious place for a managerial change next season."