The Nationals informed the press today that three critically important players had undergone "successful" surgeries, none of which are expected to present obstacles to a normal Spring Training. Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com, who was first to report the news on Twitter, rounds up the latest here. Staff ace Stephen Strasburg had bone chips removed from his right elbow; outfielder Bryce Harper had work done to the bursa in his left knee; and first baseman Adam LaRoche had his left elbow cleaned up. Each is reportedly on a four to six week timetable, though as Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington notes, bone chip removal in a throwing elbow typically requires a three to four month window for a full recovery. Elsewhere in baseball's eastern divisions …
- Stephen Drew of the Red Sox has had one of the most anemic offensive post-seasons ever, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders whether it will impact his free agency. Of course, as Sherman also details, Drew has been outstanding defensively during the Sox' run to the World Series. The expectation, he writes, is that Boston will make Drew a qualifying offer and attempt to keep him around, with the shortstop ultimately pulling down three or even four years at around $12MM a pop.
- Looking at things from the perspectives of the New York clubs, each of whom could have a use for Drew, Sherman says that Drew figures to cost too much for the Mets' liking. For the Yankees, meanwhile, Drew seems more of a second-level possibility whose attractiveness will depend upon who else the Yanks can sign and the status of Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.
- With managerial openings beginning to be filled, the Orioles are likely to act soon to decide upon a pitching coach, writes Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The leading candidates, according to Encina, include three men with prior experience as pitching coaches (Rich Dubee, Carl Willis, and Dave Wallace) along with Andy Hawkins, the Rangers' bullpen coach.