After missing two years due to elbow injuries, righty Ben Sheets made a triumphant comeback start today as a member of the Braves, tossing six scoreless innings against the Mets for the win. Should Sheets manage a dozen decent starts for the Braves, the minor league signing will stand as a shrewd under-the-radar move by GM Frank Wren. Today's shrewd, under-the-radar links:
- "I feel like myself. That's one thing I can say I never felt like in Oakland," Sheets told reporters today including Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Sheets signed a one-year, $10MM contract with the A's prior to the 2010 season despite missing all of '09.
- "It's just as necessary for the Yankees to have young players with a few years of control as it is for the Twins or the A's," GM Billy Beane explained to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times yesterday. The A's GM has been trading away players further from free agency lately, but this year Beane's club is surprisingly in the mix for a wild card spot.
- Scouts from the Yankees, Blue Jays, Braves, Mets, Reds, Padres and Nationals have attended recent Francisco Liriano starts, report Phil Mackey and Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com, though some of those clubs may have had other interests. Slugger Josh Willingham would require a lopsided offer and seems likely to stay put, as we've heard before. Willingham is signed through 2014 and is interested in staying with the Twins beyond his current contract.
- Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer had Mike Trout second on his board for the 2009 draft, after only Stephen Strasburg, writes John Harper of the New York Daily News. The Angels had two consecutive picks at 24 and 25, with the Yankees at 29, and Oppenheimer thought he might get Trout once the Halos took another high school outfielder in Randal Grichuk at 24. Of course, Angels scouting director Eddie Bane took Trout at 25. Trout told Harper he's motivated by all the teams that passed on him.
- The Diamondbacks signed Dominican shortstop Sergio Alcantara, according to Baseball America's Ben Badler. BA says Alcantara draws praise for his defense, and the D'Backs had been favored to sign him. BA ranked Alcantara 18th overall in the July 2nd class.