Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.

Contest: An instructional book about baseball

Hey, I wrote yesterday, "Stop by later for a contest." Today is still "later," isn't it?

"Baseball: How To Play The Game" is an in-house production and publication by Major League Baseball. It's extremely well done in both text and pictures; many of the game's current great players cooperated and contributed. If you're a coach, a helpful parent or a player yourself...

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Annual visceral, small-sample-sized observations from spring training, Part II

Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder puts his

(Credit: AP )

This was a far shorter visit than my first - three days, as opposed to 14, and I focused on the Mets, as opposed to jumping from team to team and piling up oodles miles on the rental car.

Nevertheless, spring training always affords a different, arguably closer look than once we get into the regular season, so I enjoy dissecting what I saw. Away we go:

1. Mets. If you read Terry Collins'...

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Tim Byrdak, David Wright and David Robertson

Apologies for the couple of days of lameness here. I hope to get my act together by tomorrow.

--I'm still with the Mets, and yesterday, I wrote about Tim Byrdak's left knee surgery, David Wright's cortisone shot and a Mets bullpen catcher getting arrested for DUI.

Yes, it was a busy day for the Mets. Today, we've got Mike Pelfrey pitching against the Cardinals, whose traveling roster...

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Johan Santana, David Wright, Mariano Rivera, Phil Hughes and the Giants

Just the facts this morning. Well, perhaps a few opinions, too:

--In Port St. Lucie, Johan Santana looked good on the mound, and at this stage, you have to evaluate Santana as much as how he looked out there as the results, which were OK. His body language was encouraging. He didn't look like someone holding back, out of fear that something would go wrong.

His words, however, are still...

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Tony La Russa, Scott Boras, Phil Hughes and Kevin Mulvey

Greetings from Port St. Lucie. I'll be here for a few days serving as Newsday's Mets beat writer. So the blog might be a little Mets-centric. Then again, it might not.

--For my Sunday Insider, I wrote about Tony La Russa, Scott Boras, Jim Leyland and Joe Maddon, and as a token of corporate solidarity, I offered my picks for best and worst Yankees and Mets moves of all time - to correlate with...

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Contest: "Cage Rat"

"Cage Rat: Lessons From a Life in Baseball by the Yankees Hitting Coach" by (not surprisingly) Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, is roughly one-half autobiography, one-half hitting manual. Which you prefer depends on, well, which is more in your wheelhouse.

Me? I prefer the autobiography part. Long's life story is one of perseverance. He played in the minor leagues for 10 years,...

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David Robertson, Ivan Nova, Mike Pelfrey, C.J. Nitkowski and Ryan Braun

Yankees reliever David Robertson throws in the bullpen

(Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

It doesn't sound good for David Robertson, who injured his right foot Wednesday night. Perhaps we'll get more information today.

At times like this, however, it's worth remembering that relief pitchers, except for the truly elites like Mariano Rivera, are both volatile and replaceable. Maybe Robertson could have replicted his 2011 season in 2012 if not for this injury. I would've bet against...

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Comment Winter Olympics: Albert Pujols, the Mets' injuries and sports fans

It was a relatively quiet week here at the blog, as I returned to New York and began work on Newsday's baseball preview section. So the judges had it relatively easy.

Your medalists:

--The bronze goes to Islander505, who predictably reacted to my post showing how amazingly long Albert Pujols has been reliably excellent:

I reiterate my preseason prediction. Pujols WILL...

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Contest: "Scooter"

Yankees shortstop Phil "The Scooter" Rizzuto (March, 1950)

(Credit: AP)

"Scooter: The Biography of Phil Rizzuto," by Carlo DeVito, is what we in the business refer to as "a clip job." It's reported almost excluslvely through secondary sources - previously published interviews and information.

Having written that, if you're a Rizzuto fan, you'll like it. Because Rizzuto was eminently likeable, and his life story is a good one. Besides, you're...

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Starting rotation depth, now and then

Reading about Hiroki Kuroda's start yesterday, and watching it on TV, it occurred to me how welcome the Japanese right-hander would've been in Yankees camp a year ago. In light of Cliff Lee opting for the Phillies and Andy Pettitte opting for retirement, Kuroda would have stood as the second starting pitcher, behind only CC Sabathia and ahead of less reliable options like A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon...

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