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.
• Forget Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. The ballplayer causing the biggest double takes with his new uniform on Monday might have been A.J. Burnett. Donning a canary yellow batting practice jersey, the newest Pirate talked about fresh starts and being able to bat full time for the first time since he was a member of the Marlins in 2005. It remains to be seen if the change of scenery makes a difference, but Burnett tells the New York Daily News that he may have listened to too many people in the Yankees organization after his stats went south.
• Erik Malinowski's in-depth Deadspin piece on the 20th anniversary of "Homer At The Bat" is guaranteed to burn thousands of Facebook pages and Twitter feeds today and for good reason. My life has been irrevocably changed knowing that Ryne Sandberg was the show's original choice for second base.
• If there's any drama over Cole Hamels' contract situation, it will be allowed to spill over into the regular season. The Phillies pitcher, who's set to become a free agent after this season, told reporters that no deadline has been set for a possible extension.
• Justin Verlander is tooling around Tigers camp in a new $200,000 Mercedes AMG SLS. But will he take it north once spring training ends? It's a brave man who chooses to drive an import in Detroit.
• The Cubs are instituting dynamic pricing for their bleacher seats at Wrigley Field this season and the team is already assuming that demand will be high. Bleed Cubbie Blue reports that some of the prime games are listed at $86 a pop.
• Stephen Strasburg's elbow will be on the Jordan Zimmermann plan: The Nats say they will cap their ace around 150-160 innings in 2012. In other innings limit news, Rays rookie Matt Moore won't have his work capped. He pitched 155 minor-league innings in 2011.
• After two straight ALDS losses, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon says the team has to raise expectations and aim for the franchise's first World Series appearance since 2008. "We're at the point now, that every time we show up here our goal is get back to the playoffs and our goal is to win the World Series," Maddon told the Tampa Bay Times. "It's got to be."
• Don't expect to see Bobby Jenks in Boston's bullpen anytime soon. According to manager Bobby Valentine, Jenks had a "terrible offseason, health-wise" and might not take part in spring training.
• Spring Swing V! Dave Brown weighs in from Yankees camp as he continues he week-long trip down Florida's Gulf Coast. Follow him on Twitter (@answerdave) for 'round the clock fun.
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