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Frank Thomas: Class Act
We need more players like Frank Thomas in baseball. While other players were refusing to talk to Mitchell investigators Thomas was the only player to voluntarily talk to them. He also ripped the Player's Association for telling them not to talk to investigators. Thomas said he did not want to be on the "Did Not Talk to Mitchell" list and have that stain on his career.
It is scary to think what Thomas could have done on steroids with his power, but he was smart enough to avoid them. Thomas should be a lock for the Hall of Fame despite having only 2409 hits going into the 2008 season. He will turn 40 in May, and with 513 home runs, he may never reach the 600 home run mark.
Spring Training News
David Ortiz has recovered from knee surgery after the World Series. This is not good news for AL East opponents. Ortiz played with the knee injury most of last season, but still hit 35 home runs. So his numbers should be even better now that he is healthy. Hunter Pence found out that it is not easy to walk through a closed sliding glass door and was cut up, but he is not expected to miss much time in spring training due to the injuries. It will be interesting to see how Pence does in his first full major league season.
Miguel Tejada will be a huge offensive upgrade for the Astros at shortstop. Adam Everett hit 64 points lower than Tejada. His .281 OBP was 76 points lower than Tejada's .357, and Tejada outslugged Everett .442 to .318, but it was the lowest slugging percentage for Tejada since 1999. Everett's fielding will be missed, but Tejada should make up for it with increased offensive production in 2008.
Juan Gonzalez is getting a chance to play for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. He is in the Cardinals camp trying to play for the first time since 2005 when he was injured after his only at bat with the Indians. Gonzalez will be 38 all season since his 39th birthday won't be until October. Reports out of camp say he is bashing the ball and is the first player on field for workouts. Surprisingly, Gonzalez is very politically aware. He memorized the names of all 78 mayors in Puerto Rico and even knows about the work of President Harry Truman, who left office in 1953.
The Atlanta Braves' training camp will be more interesting than usual with the Braves looking for a replacement for Andruw Jones. Mark Kotsay may have the inside track to replace Jones, but a good spring by one of the young Braves' outfielders like Jordan Shafer could make Kotsay a fourth outfielder.