The National League
The Kevin Towers
Jim McLennan of AZ Snake Pit: "Ok, so who had Joe Saunders finishing the month of April leading all qualifying pitchers in ERA? If you tell me you saw that coming, I trust you are enjoying your half-billion lottery jackpot as well. But that's where we stand, with Saunders' four starts for Arizona have resulted in three earned runs over 30 innings of work."
The Frank Wren
Carroll Rogers of Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Tim Hudson might have spent a little more time bobbing and weaving -- as he would say -- than he wanted to Sunday against the Pirates, but he brought maturity, some stability, and a little of fire back to the Braves rotation."
The Jed Hoyer
Paul Sullivan of Chicago Tribune: "Cubs starters have compiled a 2.64 earned-run average over their last eight games, giving the offensively challenged team a chance to stay in ballgames."
The Walt Jocketty
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com: "Jay Bruce hit a home run for a career-best fourth straight game on Sunday and it was the biggest one of the bunch because it came in the bottom of the eighth inning and gave the Reds a 6-5 come-from-behind victory."
The Dan O'Dowd
Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post: "During a visit to Coors Field for the Rockies game Sunday, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had one big question: What was outfielder Michael Cuddyer doing occupying his locker?"
The Michael Hill
Craig Davis of South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "When a ballclub is going bad, heads roll. That was the lesson when Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan was sent to the minors last year amid a June swoon. It happened sooner this season as the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans following Sunday's 8-4 loss to Arizona."
The Jeff Luhnow
Zachary Levine of Houston Chronicle: "Days like this one are the downside to managing against convention. When it works, you're celebrated for being free from the tyranny of "the book." When it doesn't -- when you enter two late high-leverage at-bats with your right-handed pitchers facing lefties and those lefties happen to provide the tying and winning hits -- you're whatever the opposite of celebrated is."
The Ned Colletti
Brandon Lennox of True Blue L.A.: "Andres Santiago has flown under the radar in a Quakes rotation that features four top 20 Dodger pitching prospects, but after a dominate performance on Sunday he might start getting some attention of his own."
The Doug Melvin
Todd Rosiak of Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Just shy of the three-year mark since he last pitched in the major leagues, Vinnie Chulk has fought his way back. The 33-year-old right-handed reliever joined the Milwaukee Brewers for Sunday's series finale with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium."
The Sandy Alderson
Chris McShane of Amazin Avenue: "When Kirk Nieuwenhuis was called up fill the void left by Andres Torres' calf injury following the Mets' game on Opening Day, there was no guarantee that he would even play every day. Just over three weeks later, Nieuwenhuis has been nothing short of brilliant."
The Ruben Amaro Jr.
The Good Phight: "Heading into his second year as a full-time starting pitcher, Vance Worley seemed a likely candidate to suffer the dreaded sophomore slump that so many young pitchers have. In the off-season, opposing teams' scouts have time to collect, analyze, and study film of pitchers that baffled their teams' hitters the year before."
The Neal Huntington
Bucs Dugout: "Jameson Taillon continued to justify his top prospect status, throwing six shutout innings in a 4-1 win over Jupiter. He allowed three hits, all singles, and one walk, while fanning four."
The John Mozeliak
Viva El Birdos: "When the St. Louis Cardinals inked catcher Yadier Molina to a five-year, $75 million extension during spring training, many did a double take. The lucrative extension seemed to be based at least in part on Molina's best season with the bat."
The Josh Byrnes
Gaslamp Ball: "Overall, April hasn't been kind to us, but that's not really new. On the upside, our boys have won four of their last seven games, and are looking better (at least in pitching and offense) than the team that began the season."
The Brian Sabean
Scott Ostler of San Francisco Chronicle: "Buster Posey went 1-for-3 Sunday, so his batting average nose-dived from .354 to .353. He did manage to stay in the top 10 among major-league batters, at No. 9."
The Mike Rizzo
Adam Kilgore of Washington Post: "The Nationals have experience rebounding from four-game losing streaks, but not with the stakes they have created for themselves this April. It matters now."
The American League
The Dan Duquette
Peter Schuck of Baltimore Sun: "Orioles starters failed to pitch through the sixth inning only once in the last six games, and the exception was a 5 2/3-inning start by Jake Arrieta that was the only clinker of the week."
The Ben Cherington
Alex Speier of WEEI: "On Sunday, for the first time, Matt Barnes gave up a run as a professional. It took five starts and it was not until his 27th inning of work that it occurred, but it happened."
The Kenny Williams
Dick Van Dyck of Chicago Tribune: "When Jake Peavy won the 2007 Cy Young Award for the Padres, he owned a 3-1 record and 2.06 earned-run average after April. Now with the White Sox and approaching 31, Peavy just finished April with a 3-1 record and 1.67 ERA - plus back-to-back complete games. Peavy didn't have a complete game in 2007."
The Chris Antonetti
Cleveland Plain-Dealer: "Johnny Damon comes at the perfect time to help Cleveland's struggling offense."
The Dave Dombrowski
Lynn Henning of Detroit News: "Gerald Laird is under contract through 2012, which means there's no serious itch to get Rob Brantly to Detroit anytime soon. But by next season, the Tigers will have groomed Brantly for a backup catching job that could evolve into something more regular if Brantly keeps it up. A left-handed hitter who doesn't turn 23 until July is batting .365 at Double A Erie, with on-base and slugging percentages of .406 and .603, good for a heavy OPS of 1.009."
The Dayton Moore
Royals Review: "I woke up this morning wondering if [Mike Moustakas] had passed [Eric] Hosmer as a hitter. Obviously, his performance (or perhaps his results) have been better in 2012, but what I was mainly thinking of was some notion of polish or approach at the plate, some idea akin to craftsmanship."
The Jerry DiPoto
Mike DiGiovanna of Los Angeles Times: "When Jordan Walden lost his closer job after giving up a walk-off home run to Tampa Bay's Brandon Allen on Thursday, he was not demoted to a seventh- or eighth-inning role. The right-hander whose 98-mph fastball earned him a trip to the All-Star game last season has been reduced, at least temporarily, to a mop-up guy until he can start throwing his slider for a strike."
The Terry Ryan
Howard Sinker of Star Tribune: "Albert Pujols signed a 10-year contract for $240 million in the offseason and currently has an OPS (on base-plus-slugging percentage) lower than Jamey Carroll's. Ouch."
The Brian Cashman
Bill Madden of New York Daily News: "And on the fifth day, CC Sabathia, as is his sworn $25 million per year duty, provided a welcome respite to the Yankee starting rotation crisis."
The Billy Beane
Athletics Nation: "Well, the Sacramento River Cats have been doing the one thing their parent club hasn't been doing lately -- namely, hitting! The A's Pacific Coast League affiliate averaged nearly 8 runs per game last week, while the big league club averaged just 2 1/2 runs per game over the past week."
The Jack Zduriencik
Geoff Baker of Seattle Times: "George Sherrill's elbow never looked right this spring and did not get any better in two relief outings. Now, he's going to have surgery on it early next month and is very likely done for the season."
The Andrew Friedman
DRaysBay.com: "The Rays are now 14-8 on the season and completed a very difficult opening of the 2012 season which included 19 of their first 22 games against teams that finished .500 or better in 2011 and included their longest road trip of the season (3-city 10 game)."
The Jon Daniels
Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News: "The Rangers now have a clean sweep at having the youngest prospect at every level of the minors currently playing. It underscores the club's philosophy of challenging young players to play up a level."
The Alex Anthopoulos
Andrew Pentis of MLB.com: "The real lesson Blue Jays left-hander Egan Smith has learned in his first season coming out of the bullpen: Always be ready. The Jays' farmhand completed five no-hit innings of relief in Dunedin's 3-0 victory over Tampa. The Class A Advanced Jays are 10-1 at home this season."
Via Andrew Perna/RealGM
Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Misc Rumor
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Kerry Wood threw off a mound on Tuesday, but the Cubs still don't have a timetable for his return.
Wood is on the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue.
He last pitched for Chicago on April 13.
Via Paul Sullivan (via Twitter)
Chicago Cubs, Injury
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Cubs first base prospect Anthony Rizzo is dominating at the Triple-A level once again.
Rizzo has started .377 with five homers and 13 RBIs in 13 games at Iowa.
Despite his success, Chicago's Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein don't seem to be in a hurry to rush Rizzo to the Major Leagues.
Via Boston Globe
Chicago Cubs, Misc Rumor
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The Red Sox acquired veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd and cash considerations on Saturday in a trade with the Cubs, according to an MLB.com report.
To acquire Byrd, the Red Sox sent right-hander Michael Bowden, who was designated for assignment last week, and a player to be named to Chicago.
Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Official Trade
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Alfonso Soriano has eight RBI this season, but they have come on just 11 hits, none of which have been for extra bases.
"It's weird, yeah," he said. "But as soon as I get one, I know myself, and they come [in bunches]."
Soriano has 340 career home runs and he hit 10 in April alone last season.
"I'm just taking what they're giving to me," he said. "I don't know if it's because I've been hitting fourth, but I've seen more pitches away than last year so far."
Via Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Cubs, Misc Rumor
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Cubs Apr 2012 Archive
Gordon Edes/ESPN.com | Apr 21, 2012
The Cubs and Red Sox have discussed a deal that would send Marlon Byrd to Boston.
Andrew Perna/RealGM | Apr 21, 2012
The Rangers have won seven-straight thanks to the highest OPS (.881) in the Major Leagues, while the Cubs have dropped to last place.
Associated Press | Apr 21, 2012
Chicago police said in January that they were investigating an allegation of sexual assault against Starlin Castro.
Chicago Tribune | Apr 20, 2012
He still isn't officially a free agent, but the Cubs remain the favorites for Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler.
ESPN.com | Apr 20, 2012
The Cubs have placed Kerry Wood on the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue.
ESPN.com | Apr 19, 2012
The Red Sox did not invite former GM Theo Epstein to take part in the Fenway Park 100th anniversary ceremonies Friday.
Chicago Tribune | Apr 18, 2012
Kerry Wood has had shoulder issues "on and off" since spring training, according to general manager Jed Hoyer.
ESPN.com | Apr 12, 2012
Lance Berkman could miss the weekend series with the Cubs with a left calf strain.
Chicago Sun-Times | Apr 6, 2012
The Cubs were interested in John Lannan before he requested a trade.
ESPN.com | Apr 6, 2012
Stephen Strasburg dominated the Cubs for seven innings on Thursday in a Nationals 2-1 win.
ESPN.com | Apr 5, 2012
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts hopes the investigation into allegations against Starlin Castro will be resolved "shortly."