Baseball is back! Here at Big League Stew, we'll take a quick dash around the league each morning in an attempt to keep you updated on all the springtime storylines.
• A whole slew of pitchers and catchers arrived over the weekend, but not everyone came bearing good news. Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson confirmed that offseason back surgery will keep him out of the Braves rotation until at least May.
There is a bright side, however. The disk surgery alleviated a lot of the pain Hudson had been feeling in the past. "I definitely feel like I'm getting around a lot better," Hudson told MLB.com. "I felt like Fred Sanford for two or three years walking around the locker room."
• CC Sabathia has experienced so much success over the early part of his career that he's more or less killed any media hysteria that might have centered on his weight. But the New York Yankees ace made it an issue himself on Sunday when he reported that he had lost 10-15 pounds in the offseason — and maybe even more, according to the waistline-watching eye of the New York Times' David Waldstein. As he enters the second half of his career, Sabathia wants to make sure his knees hold up. He says he'll try to do better with late-night room service orders, which are sometimes a necessary evil given baseball's schedule.
• Our fifth annual swing through the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues begins this week. Check back later for posts from Dave Brown's first stop: Clearwater and the Philadelphia Phillies. Also make sure to follow him on Twitter (@answerdave) as he'll be filing updates from Monday's rendezvous with the New York Yankees at Steinbrenner Field.
• Brian Cashman told Yankees media that it has been "difficult" dealing with his private life going public, but that it hasn't affected his job as general manager. ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Cash wasn't lying, either. Despite addressing his alleged stalker with the media for the first time, Cashman still found time to sign Raul Ibanez to a one-year deal worth $1 million plus incentives.
• Josh Beckett says he can't cite a reason for his weight gain, but the preparation and conditioning were not a factor in his September collapse last season.
• On the off chance his team is still in the postseason hunt, Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he can see the team making the big-name additions it shied away from this offseason. The reason? A prorated salary might actually fit in the team's budget. Take the good news where you can, I guess.
• Jim Margalus of South Side Sox says we should be careful whenever a newly reported player eagerly talks about the "pounds of muscle" they added in the offseason.
• Gary Carter was such a beloved player that we could spend the next week filling Big League Stew with the tributes that keep on coming. But the Montreal Canadiens' tribute to the city's fallen son is really something you should take the time to watch.
• K-Rod is considering a lawsuit against his former agents, contending that they told him of a no-trade clause in his contract that didn't actually exist.