Here are some links from the Central divisions….
- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts gave votes of confidence to GM Jim Hendry and manager Mike Quade during a state-of-the-franchise address on Wednesday, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "I have 100 percent confidence in Jim," Ricketts said. "He's working very hard to do everything he can to get this season back to where we want it to be. And I think Mike's done a great job. You know Mike has got those guys playing hard. You know they're not giving up. You know there's good spirit in the clubhouse. Yeah, those guys are fine." Hendry's future in Chicago has been a hot topic given the Cubs' struggles, with ESPNChicago.com's Jon Greenberg just one of several pundits who think Hendry will be fired.
- Ricketts also said the Cubs' debt problems wouldn't factor into any baseball-related spending. "The fact is this year we've spent more on Baseball Operations than any year in the past, and we continue to invest in the team," Ricketts said. "[The debt is] no way a limitation on our ability to sign free agents or our flexibility to build a better organization. It's just irrelevant for that."
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks back at the Cardinals' decision to pass on Joba Chamberlain in the 2006 draft and wonders if the Cards have "developed their own" version of Chamberlain in Kyle McClellan.
- Jim Leyland feels the Tigers have "too many" left-handers in their bullpen, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck. With a number of teams short on southpaw relievers, the Tigers could look to a fellow contender in a trade for a right-hander.
- The Twins have signed 15 picks from the 2011 amateur draft, according to La Velle Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Fifth-round shortstop Tyler Grimes is the highest-drafted player to sign.
- The Pirates announced the signings of six draft picks. Auburn third baseman Daniel Gamache, a sixth-rounder, is the highest-selected of the signed players.
- The Astros' pending sale, Hunter Pence's big season and strong play from younger players has the club's future looking bright, writes MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.