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Quick Hits: Lee, Branyan, Simon, Francona

Happy birthday to Matt Wieters!  The Orioles catcher turned 25 today, and he celebrated with a 2-for-4 performance in Baltimore's 8-3 win over Washington.

Here's some news from around the majors....

  • The Rangers' offseason courtship of Cliff Lee is recapped by Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.  Lee was brilliant against his former team today, holding the Rangers to just five hits and two walks over eight shutout innings in a 2-0 Philadelphia victory.
  • The Mariners don't have any room, or particular need, for Russell Branyan, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  Branyan was released by the Diamondbacks earlier today.  
  • The Orioles activated Alfredo Simon from the restricted list a day earlier than expected and he was available to pitch today against the Nationals, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Terry Francona was Jim Hendry's choice to manage the Cubs had Dusty Baker not taken the job before the 2003 season, reports Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com.  Francona was also a finalist to manage the White Sox (along with Cito Gaston) before Ozzie Guillen was hired. 
  • Jamey Newberg of The Newberg Report looks at the Rays' cheap, effective bullpen revamp from this past offseason as an example of how the Rangers should approach improving their relief corps.








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