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No sense overreacting to a short-term problem.

But if they doubt the doctors, the big spenders will be back in business. They Yankees will look to patch a hole in their $200 million work of imperfection. It could include something as simple as signing free agent Mark Grudzielanek, who really doesn't provide much more of a solution than Ransom but has the big-league playing time to appease the folks of Yankee Nation. It could be something a bit more demanding such as swinging a trade for the likes of Mark Teahan from Kansas City or even Garrett Atkins from Colorado.

Making decisions is what spring training is all about.

From filling out the bullpen and the 25th man on the roster to weighing a major move to fill a gaping hole, teams spend the spring juggling their options in hopes of finding a championship solution.

While the Yankees are sorting through who's going to be on third, other teams have major decisions, too, including:

  • Mets fifth starter. Normally sorting out the final spot in rotation is no big deal, but with Johan Santana nursing a sore elbow, Mike Pelfrey battling leg problems, and Pedro Martinez unsigned, the No. 5 spot with the Mets assumes more importance. Not much to choose from between prospect Jon Niese and retreads Livan Hernandez, Tim Redding and Freddy Garcia, all of whom have been inconsistent so far this spring.

  • The Pudge factor. Veteran catcher Pudge Rodriguez is unsigned, but playing in the WBC for Puerto Rico so that he can show potential suitors he's in shape. How long can Houston and Florida hold out? Do the Astros really think that the trio of Humberto Quintero, J.R. Towles and Lou Palmisano is acceptable? Are the Marlins really satisfied with John Baker and Mike Rabelo?

  • Seattle closer. The Mariners dealt closer J.J. Putz to add organizational depth. Now they try to sort through Miguel Batista, Tyler Walker, Mark Lowe and Roy Corcoran to find a replacement. Can they really ignore Brandon Morrow, who they say is going to be in the rotation even though he has the best stuff to be the man in the ninth?

  • Colorado closer. With the loss of Brian Fuentes to free agency, the Rockies added bullpen options by acquiring RHP Huston Street in the Matt Holliday trade. Manny Corpas, however, was the closer during the 2007 postseason drive, and at the start of last year. He didn't get himself ready to compete last year, but knows what is at stake this time around, and makes Street's bid to earn ninth-inning honors difficult.

  • Atlanta rotation. Lefty Tom Glavine was the old guy who decided to hang around, re-signing with the Braves. His surgically repaired left shoulder has been cranky this spring. If he's not ready to start the season will the Braves rush uber prospect Tommy Hanson, who has yet to pitch above Double-A? Or do they give Hanson a month or two at Triple-A to ensure he's ready to make the move, and try to piece things together at the big-league level?

  • St. Louis second baseman. First the Cardinals front office decided to say goodbye to Aaron Miles, then manager Tony La Russa won out in his bid to get rid of Adam Kennedy. Now the spring is being spent seeing if outfielder Skip Schumaker can make the transition to second base, which would help alleviate the outfield overcrowding.

  • Oakland rotation. First came the trade of Dan Haren prior to last season, and then the moves with Rich Harden and Joe Blanton last July. As if filling those holes isn't a big enough challenge, the A's are pondering moving Justin Duchscherer back into the bullpen to ease concerns about his fragile arm.

  • Tampa Bay lefty David Price. Former No. 1 pick David Price handled the bullpen pressures of the postseason impressively, but what about the season-long challenges of the rotation? He has one year in pro ball — 19 starts in the minors and one in the majors. Do the Rays proceed with caution, and go with either Jeff Niemann or Carlos Hernandez in the rotation, or do they roll the dice, counting on Price to continue to show the baseball maturity that led to last year's race from Class A to the big leagues?

  • Pittsburgh rotation. Talk about a mess. Management does say that Paul Maholm is set, but what about the other four spots? Are things really that wide open for Ian Snell, Zach Duke, Ross Ohlendorf, Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen and Virgil Vasquez? Even if the Pirates have privately made up their mind to include Snell and Duke that still leaves five to choose from for final two spots.

    Tracy Ringolsby is a regular contributor to FOXSports.com, and is part of the Rockies broadcast crew for FSN Rocky Mountain. He also has a website, insidetherockies.com. In his 34th year covering baseball, Ringolsby was voted the J.G. Taylor Spink Award by the BBWAA in 2005, and honored during the 2006 Hall of Fame induction ceremony.


    Author:Fox Sports
    Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
    Added: March 12, 2009

  • Arizona Diamondbacks News

    News » Decisions that must be made this spring


    Decisions that must be made this spring


    Decisions that must be made this spring
    The biggest decision the Yankees have to make this spring is whether they believe the doctors who tell them that Alex Rodriguez will be back in the lineup by mid-May, most likely even earlier, and that when he returns from his recent hip surgery he will be close to 90 percent of normal, even if he does need a major medical procedure in the fall.

    If they believe, there's no decision to be made. They can piece things together with Cody Ransom, he of 183 big-league at-bats in an 11-year pro career, or mix-and-match with such in-house possibilities as first baseman Mark Teixeira and outfielder Xavier Nady, both originally third basemen, or even second baseman Robinson Cano.

    MLB Spring Training

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