Here’s your Wednesday baseball news long toss covering stories on and off the field.
- Is the 2012 season shaping up to be Torii Hunter's version of The Black Album? The Angel in the outfield (self high-five) is quasi-threatening to hang up his cleats after his contract expires. In lieu of a contract extension offer from Anaheim, the 36-year-old veteran doesn't sound like he wants to play anywhere else. At the very least, the one place you won't see Hunter is on the East Coast. "I really don't like the Beasts of the East," he said. "I really don't want to be the Evil Empire, because I didn't like them for so long."
- Speaking of the Angels, their breakout rookie, Mike Trout, is having quite an impact on the team. In fact, he's turning Vernon Wells into an amateur humorist. When quizzed on the effect Trout was having on the team, Wells said, "That’s just part of the Lore of Trout — or the Lure of Trout?” A post-baseball career in New Yorker cartoon caption contests beckons, Vernon!
- Barry Zito's future with the San Francisco Giants is not certain. Which is fair enough, since it is equally uncertain whether Zito will ever be an effective starter. Manager Bruce Bochy, when asked about whether the freewheelin' Barry Z would get a shot at the Giants rotation, said, "We'll have to sit down and talk about it," he said. "I can't answer that." So you're saying there's a chance!
- On the field and between their respective fanbases, there is no love lost between the Phillies and Braves. But Atlanta's Chipper Jones respects Phils GM Ruben Amaro, the architect of the Phillies golden season. According to Jones, Amaro's acquisition Roy Halladay, Hunter Pence and Cliff Lee were "executive of the year type moves. When he swings moves like those, he throws a gut punch at everyone in the division."
- While the Chipper Jones is writing love sonnets to Ruben Amaro, Mets GM Sandy Alderson listening to The Clipse's We Got It 4 Cheap and working up for-sale signs with Jose Reyes' face on them. The 2012 slogan for the Mets will be "Wait 'Til Next Year," with the team looking to slash payroll and get out from under the bum deals they gave Jason Bay and Johan Santana.
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