• Houston first baseman Lance Berkman(notes) will have "surgery to remove loose particles from his left knee" and is expected to miss two to four weeks. He's clearly no lock for Opening Day, so drafter beware. Luckily, first base is a ludicrously deep position. This short-term loss should not be too devastating for anyone. (Do we still call him "Fat Elvis," or is it strictly "Big Puma"? We'll amend the headline as needed).
• Over at the Star-Tribune, Joe Christensen offers a few interesting notes about the developing closer battle in Minnesota. Please pay attention:
Asked if Francisco Liriano(notes) is a closer candidate, assuming Joe Nathan(notes) can't do it, Gardenhire said every pitcher in camp is a candidate, aside from the team's top four starters: Scott Baker(notes), Carl Pavano(notes), Nick Blackburn(notes) and Kevin Slowey(notes).
So that's where they're at. Everyone is a suspect; no one leaves this room. All of the candidates for the ninth inning role – Jon Rauch(notes), Matt Guerrier(notes), Pat Neshek(notes), Jose Mijares(notes), Liriano – currently have spring ERAs of 0.00, so it's difficult to argue that anyone has clearly broken away from the pack.
• Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (glandular problem) is likely to open the season on the disabled list, and the team is reportedly tempted to throw Ruben Tejada into the major league lineup. Last year at Double-A, at age 19, Tejada hit .289/.351/.381 and stole 19 bases in 22 attempts. Baseball America rates him as the organization's No. 9 overall prospect. Here's a delightful quote about Tejada from Ike Davis(notes):
"He's already a player, so I can't imagine when he gets a little more 'man-strength.'"
When I get my man-strength, look out, commenters.
• Brian Roberts(notes) (age, achy back, malaise) has been given new anti-inflammatory medication, and will reportedly "need at least a couple more days for the medication to take effect before resuming his rehab program." Still, Roberts claims that he's not yet concerned about missing the O's opener.
• Ian Kinsler(notes) rolled an ankle during pregame warm-ups on Friday, but the excellent blogging team at Foul Territory reports that "the injury is not considered serious." No need to panic. This is not the annual Kinsler-to-the-DL event. It's only a drill.
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