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NL Central Notes: Cardinals, Rolen, Baez, Cubs

It was on this day in 1887 that Grover Cleveland Alexander was born in Elba, Nebraska.  "Old Pete" spent the first eight years of his career with the Phillies and the last 12 with the Cubs and Cardinals, but Alexander was one of baseball's dominant arms no matter where he pitched, amassing 373 wins (the third-most in history) and a 2.56 ERA over his epic career.  Alexander helped the Cards to their first World Series title in 1926 by recording two complete game victories during the Series and also earned a save for his 2 1/3 hitless innings to close out Game 7.

Here's the latest from the NL Central...

  • The Cardinals didn't trade from their surplus of pitching depth over the offseason, a decision that looks wise to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince given the uncertainly over Jaime Garcia's shoulder problems.  Several of the Cards' young arms are still new to the majors and the club doesn't want to make moves until they know what they have.
  • Though Scott Rolen hasn't officially retired and is "simply inactive at the moment," he tells MLB.com's Paul Hagen that he is enjoying his time with his family.  The long-time Reds and Cardinals third baseman recently made an appearance at the Phillies' Spring Training camp, and Cincinnati is interested in hiring Rolen as a guest instructor.
  • Javier Baez could be the top prospect most likely to switch positions, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo opines.  The Cubs shortstop is still a work in progress in the field but his bat could be Major League-ready as soon as this season.  Since the Cubs already have Starlin Castro at short, Mayo suggests that Baez could play third and Kris Bryant (another top Chicago youngster) could shift to the outfield.
  • ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers, meanwhile, thinks Baez could possibly end up at second base.  Rogers discusses Baez, Jeff Samardzija trade rumors and several other Cubs topics as part of a reader chat.
  • Speaking of Samardzija, we can't count him amongst our readership as the Cubs right-hander tells CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney that he's avoiding MLB Trade Rumors and Twitter in order to shut out the trade speculation and focus on the upcoming season.  “You concentrate on doing your job," Samardzija said.  "You can make as many excuses for yourself as you want. But when it’s all said and done, that doesn’t fly. Your numbers are your numbers. Your record is your record.”








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