Baseball's draft begins at 6pm CST today. I'll be hosting a live chat here at MLBTR. Beyond the draft, your afternoon linkage…
- Murray Chass got Nationals president Stan Kasten to admit service time was "one of the factors" in deciding when to call up Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg debuts tomorrow night against Jeff Karstens and the Pirates.
- Lou Piniella is trying rookie Andrew Cashner in a setup role, but the Cubs manager told the Chicago Sun-Times the team is still looking to add a right-handed reliever. Also, Piniella hasn't heard any trade talk about his players.
- NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman tweets Tokyo's Yakult Swallows have acquired first baseman Josh Whitesell and will pay him $300K for the rest of the season. Whitesell had signed a minor league deal with the Nationals in December.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes that the Mets are "so high on rookie infielder Ruben Tejada that they'd be reluctant to include him in a trade for a pitcher such as Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt."