NL Central Links: Taillon, Maholm, Schumaker, Crane

The Brewers have gone 8-2 over their last 10 games to pull away in the NL Central race, currently leading by 8.5 games. There's more to this division than just the standings though, as shown in this collection of links:

  •'s Jenifer Langosch has some quotes from Pirates GM Neal Huntington on top prospect Jameson Taillon. Huntington says that while the 2010 No. 2 overall pick's numbers aren't spectacular — a 4.52 ERA through 79 2/3 innings — he's been working heavily on his fastball command. Huntington says Taillon can overpower Low-A hitters with his breaking ball but has gotten hit trying to improve his heater.
  • In the same piece, Langosch reports that Paul Maholm will see Dr. James Andrews for a second evaluation of his shoulder. Huntington cautions not to read too much into it, but Maholm's shoulder is worth keeping an eye on as it could impact a major financial decision; the Buccos hold a $9.75MM option on Maholm for 2012 that comes with a $750K buyout.
  • Skip Schumaker's 2012 contract status is questionable, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals could non-tender Schumaker this offeseason.
  • In Nick Cafardo's Sunday column for the Boston Globe, he says that Major League owners are "wading through a lot of personal stuff" on prospective Astros buyer Jim Crane before approving him. Crane has had complaints filed against him in the past by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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